Meet the head: Richard Stevenson at Castle Court School
PUBLISHED: 11:24 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:24 12 October 2017
Richard Stevenson is headmaster of Castle Court School, the family-centred prep where children's talents are nurtured and the freedom of childhood treasured
It is a rare privilege indeed to return to the very school that inspired you to become a teacher, and then become its head. For Richard Stevenson his time at Castle Court School as a pupil was a formative one and helped him to achieve his dream to be a teacher. Now he is headmaster of this mixed prep school near Corfe Mullen, where its extensive grounds provide an additional classroom for learning and developing confidence and lasting friendships.
Who inspired you to be a teacher?
It was one of the founders of Castle Court, Mrs Scott who was Head when I was a pupil. She really cared about the children in her charge and created the family-centred school it is today. Through my schooling I realised that legacies are built in the classroom.
What makes your prep school special?
Each member of staff genuinely cares about the children, wanting them to reach their full potential. When Old Castellans visit the school, which they do on a regular basis, it is wonderful to see how thrilled they are to meet members of my team, and share memories.
Your school’s ethos is ‘We have one childhood. It has to be the best’
We allow children to be children: they can climb trees, build camps in the woods and have space for friendships. We want them to explore the world around them and to make learning fun. Children are then relaxed and able to take full advantage of all the opportunities open to them here. This year our students won 20 scholarships to public schools, proving that this approach works.
Tell me about your Forest School
We wanted to use the 40 acres of woodland surrounding the school as an extra classroom. Some children find learning easier with the freedom of the outdoors and all benefit from the added responsibility of learning to use tools, manage the fire etc. It is a wonderful addition to our curriculum and forms a base to the skills the children then develop through our “activities week” each year. We also offer extra-curricular activities ranging from swimming, golf, sailing and tennis through to Ancient Greek, geocaching, pottery, cookery, dance, rock band and choir, it’s a huge ever-changing list.
What are the benefits of a mixed prep school?
We are reflecting society, and helping children learn to relate to all. It also gives them opportunities to nurture friendships across the genders, and keeps the majority of them younger for longer.
Best moment at Castle Court?
So many! Building camps in the woods with the children, opening the new sports hall (a new library, science lab, music school and art and DT facilities are opening over the next year) and watching the school’s production of Bugsy Malone, to name but a few. Next year will bring many more “best bits” I am sure!
For more details about the school please visit castlecourt.com or call 01202 694438