Students at Marlwood School are celebrating the highest results in the school’s history.
We are delighted with the individual performance of a large number of our students. 

With the new grading systems in English and Maths it is difficult to make comparisons to previous years, however it is pleasing to see that 74% of the cohort have achieved a standard pass (grade 4+) in these two subjects.  We have also seen students achieving grade 9s which are the very highest level possible in these subjects.  This is the best set of data we have seen at the school and we are absolutely delighted both for the individual students and staff.  Outcomes for students are improving and we are confident that they will continue to do so because of the increasing focus staff and students have on high quality learning.  We look forward to seeing the continuing improvement in grades for further generations of students at Marlwood School.

These results are a reflection of the hard work the students have devoted to their study and the support and dedication of Marlwood School Staff.  We would like to extend our congratulations to them all and the families who have supported them.  

Well Done!

The students in the joint Sixth Form at Castle and Marlwood schools have enjoyed great success in their A-levels this summer. Almost 80% of the entries achieved at least a C grade, and over 30% of the entries obtained an A or A* grade.

In total, over 40 students obtained A grades in at least 2 of their 3 A-levels2 A grades.

Louise Davies, Head of the joint Sixth Form said: -

“We are delighted with these results and the fantastic achievements of all our students. It’s not just about those with the very highest grades – we’re equally delighted for all those who have worked so hard, and met their individual targets at all levels of ability. As a result of this work, there are over 130 young people from our joint Sixth Form now preparing to head off to universities across the UK, and others heading into exciting apprenticeship and training opportunities.

This was the first year of revised national A-levels in some subjects, which were undoubtedly harder and which caused much uncertainty for teachers and students when we didn’t know what the new exams and standards would look like. It’s a testimony to the hard work put in by everyone at Castle and Marlwood that the results have been maintained at their consistently high levels even with these changes.”

We would like to thank all the teachers and parents for their support of these students. We have all enjoyed working with them, and wish them well as they move on to their exciting futures.

Well done

Peru 2017

Final blog ………… just on the coach to return to Marlwood. Flight went really smoothly. All still in good spirits after one of the experiences of our lives. Had lots of ups, a few downs and many a funny story to tell.

Mr Richards signing out

We are now enjoying our last few days in Peru. We went sand boarding and dune buggying last night in an oasis which was awesome. Travel to Lima today before we start to head home. The trip has flown by...
Peru 2017 – Update from 28th July 2017

We have finished our time in the Sacred Valley. We were rewarded with a meal at the Presidents house. Stone cooked lamb and potatoes. Lovely!

Machu Picchu was extraordinary. Got up at 4am to be there for sun rise. Amazing place to go to. Unforgettable!

Chilling back in Cusco before we depart for the Amazon via an overnight bus. We are all  excited for the river boat tour.

Peru 2017 – Update from 30th July 2017

In Madre de Dios preparing for the trip to the jungle.  Leave tomorrow morning.  Another exciting stage of the journey coming up.

The House Championship reached its conclusion this week with the whole school attending a special assembly in the Sports Hall on Thursday, 20th July.

A presentation showed highlights of the multiple games and competitions which were held across the year, and each House cheered as the winners of the individual competitions were recapped.

Finally, when all points from all competitions and achievements had been reckoned up it was time to reveal the winners.

4th place went to Witton, 3rd to Berkeley (last year's winners) and 2nd to Holt which means the winners of the House Championship 2016-17 are KINGSLEY.

Well done to all members of Kingsley House.

All students and tutors in Kingsley House - accompanied by all students with 100% attendance and the top ten students with the highest Praise points - made their way in convoy to Air Hop at Cribbs Causeway before returning to Marlwood for an ice cream, in time for the buses home.

The House Championship trophy accompanied the students for the afternoon and the photo shows House Progress Leader of Kingsley, Miss Bullock, proudly displaying it, with its yellow ribbons, on their return.

The House Championship Assembly is always a special day in the calendar and the atmosphere as the results were made known was spirited and good natured - indeed electric!

Roll of Honour
2016-17: Kingsley
2015-16: Berkeley

2014-15: Kingsley


South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Board have made available to us information with regard to keeping children safe during the summer holidays.  It details an awareness campaign for schools with secondary age children, and for their parents/carers, ahead of the summer holiday.  The last page gives advice for parents/carers on possible signs of CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation).

This information is being shared by House Progress Leaders in end of term assemblies this week via a more student-friendly Powerpoint.

We hope you find this guidance helpful and that it contributes to all members of our school community staying safe during the summer holiday.


Please follow the links below for a letter outlining the changes to the Tutor Teams for next year and an updated list of tutors: -


Please follow the link below for my end of term update:


We cannot emphasise enough how important attendance is for all students.  High Attendance allows them to achieve their full potential.  Please see information via the links below with regard to attendance which has been emailed home today and is also available on the school website.


Last week Year 7 students went to Morfa Bay in Wales for their 3 day residential trip, the weather was kind and it would seem that a great time was had by all!

Feedback from staff, students and parents has been very positive – one parent emailed the school saying – ‘Thank you so much for giving Year 7 such a fantastic time at Morfa Bay. Our son, enjoyed every minute of it. The activities were brilliant fun, the assault course was 'epic' and he really enjoyed getting to know the Year group better and making some new friends.  Thank you for helping to create some memories which will stay with the children forever’.
Update from Peru 2017 Team below: -

We have Spent a lovely day in Lima. Then travelled to the amazing city of Cusco 3,300 metres above sea level.

Fantastic views from the hostel in Cusco.

Met the project organsiers yesterday. We now know what we are doing and have been thanked for the invaluable help.

The team leaders so far of Jonny Morris, Harry Smale and Alex Stagg have all done an excellent job.

Berry Lewis and Harriet Foulner doing a great job as our Spanish translators.
Ready to Learn Update

As we approach the end of term I thought it appropriate to share some feedback about this development at the school.

We have hosted visits from staff who have similar systems at their schools, carried out student voice work with different groups of students at Marlwood and convened meetings of a staff steering group who have launched and monitored this system.

The main outcomes of the Ready to Learn review are:
·         Numbers referred to the room have steadily declined to single figures on most days
·         Low level disruption is no longer a feature of any lessons observed
·         Staff are consistently implementing Ready to Learn protocols
·         The rules regarding warnings will be slightly adjusted and clarified at the start of Term 1
·         Students welcome the positive impact of Ready to Learn on their progress in the classroom
·         Students referred to the room recognise that the class they have left is better able to work and make progress because they have been taken out.

Additional provision from September:

The Ready to Learn room should have six computers installed and networked plus the facility to offer private coaching to those who are having issues relating to settling to learning in the room.

We remain committed to the work of Ready to Learn and thank staff, students and parents for their support since its introduction.
On Thursday 13th July current Year 12, Post-16 students from Marlwood School departed for a month expedition to Peru.
The trip is an opportunity to experience the culture and sights of Peru, undertake volunteering in the Scared Valley, trek in the Amazon rainforest and visit the lost city of Machu Picchu.
The students will develop their own personal skills and each day students will take it in turns to look after the needs for the whole group.
For many their exciting journey started over a year ago raising the funds to finance the trip through, fundraising show, catering at events, car washings and taking part time jobs whilst balancing studying. 

The expedition is an opportunity for the students to discover and experience a different culture.  At Marlwood development isn’t just about learning but developing and preparing students for the wider world.   


It was my pleasure to be asked to join the judging panel for the Rotary Club Primary Pupils Speaking Competition.  The grand final took place on Monday 3rd July at Olveston Parish Hall.  The finalist had been through a rigorous process of selection – having been through a competition at their primary school in order to secure a position in the final.  It was clear that the standard of speaking was going to be high.  The pupils had selected topics on a wide range of subject.  The audience and judges were informed about the details of each topic which were:-

·         Gymnastics
·         Gloucester Rugby Club
·         Irish Dancing
·         Social Media
·         Porsche
·         Bullying
·         Barcelona
·         Smoking
·         Street Dance

With the standard so high, judging was very close.  Marks were awarded for the structure of the speech, context, confidence, clarity of delivery and engaging evidence.

The overall winner for 2017 was George Peacock from Olveston.  All three judges were in agreement that his was the strongest presentation.  We are deeply delighted at Marlwood as George will be joining us in Year 7 in September.

Many thanks to the Rotary Club for organising this speech event and inviting me along to help with the judging also I would like to thank the ‘inner wheel’ for providing delicious refreshments.


Marlwood School was alive with rock as it proudly presented ‘We Will Rock You’ by Ben Elton with music from the legendry rock band, Queen, last week.

Over 100 musicians, singers, actors, dancers, designers and technicians from all year groups worked tirelessly to bring this fantastic show to life. Matinee performances were enjoyed by local primary schools and New Siblands Secondary School.  Evening audiences from the community and families loved singing along to all their favourite Queen hits.

It was a joy to watch the Marlwood community coming together to put on this toe-tapping extravaganza!’

I would personally like to thank students and staff involved – putting on a show to this high standard takes a lot of hard work.

Well done!


Marlwood Samba Band joined the procession for Thornbury Carnival on Saturday, and although I was unable to attend myself, I have heard several comments on how brilliant they were.

Well Done!

Marlwood School is proud to present ‘We Will Rock You’ by Ben Elton with music from the legendry rock band, Queen.

If you love the music of Queen, you will love this! This fun, futuristic musical will have your toes tapping and your hands clapping. Our amazing musicians, singers, actors, dancers, designers and technicians from all years have been working tirelessly to bring this fantastic show to life! Don’t miss out on a real treat. Come in your favourite rock and roll gear! Bring your friends and families!

Performances will be taking place on Wednesday July 5th and Thursday July 6th at 7pm in The Drama Hall.

  • Tickets: £6 or £3 concessions -on sale from Wednesday June 28th each lunch time, the Drama Hall
  • Cheques made payable to Marlwood School with child’s name on the back, in an envelope clearly marked with child’s name, show choice and quantity of tickets needed.

We look forward to seeing you there!

As part of the Readiness to Learn programme we are looking to enhance our Praise system. The School Council will be sending out a questionnaire to all students next week to look at ways which our students would like to receive praise. This might be through a series of graded certificates, using Praise points as ‘currency’ to purchase items from a stationery shop or events such as a celebratory tea with the Head…

Meanwhile we continue to monitor Praise and are delighted that our categories P1, P2, P3 are P4 well represented by all groups of students. An example of this is that our Special Needs students, who represent 13% of the school population, received 22% of the share of P3 awards. P3 is particularly valued because it represents excellence in learning – either a consistent effort over time or a piece of work which has equalled or surpassed a target grade.

On average staff are awarding over 800 Praise points per week and a letter to appear on the school website shortly will outline the way these are shared with students and yourselves. This week Mr Reed has written personally to a number of students to reflect on Caught Being Kind in Term 5 and excellence in lessons over the past week.

All Praise points will be totalled and fed into the House Championship score at the end of term.

Readiness to Learn is now settled and embedded in the school procedure.  We have carried out surveys with students, about how they think RtL is impacting on their learning and the response is overwhelming positive with comments such as “the people who mainly disturb the lessons have been sent out leaving the people who actually want to learn to be able to try their hardest” and “while the teacher is teaching nobody interrupts anymore”.

Responses from the students and data collected from incident logging by staff is showing a drastic drop in poor behaviour in the school.  Data shows that this has dropped by almost 50% which is very reassuring and underpins the visible signs around the school that behaviour has and is improving

Wow, what a week!

Our students have responded in the most incredible way to our raised and higher expectations for learning in our classrooms.  Walking around Marlwood School has always been a pleasure and over the past 2 years we have seen an increased focus from our students.  However, Readiness to learn has elevated the learning behaviour of our students even further.  Students have used the practice days from last week to familiarise themselves with the new raised expectations and the numbers of students referred to our Readiness To Learn room has fallen sharply.  The small number who have found themselves in the room have followed instructions well and have completed work, they have been fairly unanimous in agreeing that they don’t want to miss anymore lessons and will therefore be ‘Ready To Learn’ in lessons from now on.  The atmosphere and learning culture in our classrooms is now of a very high standard.  Teachers are already reporting that students are getting through more work to a greater depth.  Students are saying the same thing!

We have also been delighted with the positive responses and feedback we have received from parents.  We will of course be requesting feedback from you; please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss any aspect of ‘Readiness to Learn’.

Yesterday was the first day of trials of the new Readiness to Learn programme starting at Marlwood.  We are very pleased to let you know that this was embraced positively by both students and staff and an air of calm was felt around the school.  The programme will come off trial and be implemented fully on Wednesday, 3rd May. 

Information has been emailed home regularly to parents and is also available on the school website.  Mr Reed, Deputy Headteacher will be holding an information meeting for parents who were unable to attend the last one on Tuesday 2nd May in the school Learning Resource Centre (Library) from 5.30 – 6.30 pm.

Many of our Year 11 students have decided on the route they wish to take at the end of Year 11; whether that is staying on at school, going to college or taking an apprenticeship.   SGS College automatically sends out a prospectus at this time of the year to all Year 11 students so those who may still be undecided can look at other options.  You will receive this from them shortly if you are in Year 11.


Hundreds packed the Armstrong Hall in Thornbury for the Youth Showcase Awards.  Many organisations attending including Krunch, Jigsaw and the Army, Navy and Sea Cadets to promote groups available in the local area for young people.

Entertainment was provided by the street dance group BALPA and the Northavon Youth Theatre Show.

Well done to the 7 students from Marlwood who won awards


Abigail Crew is set to take the stage next month in the latest production from the English Youth Ballet.

Marlwood Student Abigail Crew, who has trained at the Sharon Phillips School of Dancing since she was two and a half years old, was casted for the double bill of Nutcracker Suite and Ballet Etudes, having proven herself over more than 150 other hopefuls in a series of auditions.

Having shown herself in what the company directors have said was an ‘electric’ series of auditions, Abigail, has joined the rest of the company at Bishop Wadsworth School for the first weekend of 10 days of intensive rehearsals to make sure the performance is perfect.

The shows themselves, a matinee and two evening shows, will take place at Salisbury City Hall on April 21st and 22nd.

We have also been told today that Abigail has been unconditionally accepted at Scotland Ballet West.

Well done Abigail – we are very proud of you!


Please follow the link below for the end of Term 4 Newsletter

BRECON BEACONS 24/03/17-26/03/17

Last weekend, the Peru team visited the Brecon Beacons for a training weekend in preparation for their overseas expedition in the summer. 

After arriving at Newcourt Farm campsite, they began learning the many skills involved which including putting up tents and planning the routes for the next day. Saturday included a 25km trek around the peaks and countryside of Wales whilst practicing navigating, carrying heavy loads and working together as a team to achieve our goals.

Sunday they trekked only a couple of hours carrying our bigger rucksacks up some steep gradients whilst finishing in the beautiful sunny weather of Brecon.

During the treks they got the chance to practice walking over a variety of terrains including rivers, boggy mud, forests, fields and mountains.

On reflection, the group felt that they all worked well as a team sharing out jobs evenly which included cooking, washing up and dealing with tents. Furthermore, they encouraged team members with group positivity and overcame all our obstacles whilst always keeping up morale.

Well done to all involved
Join Marlwood Music Students at The Fleece!

Monday 3rd April - Doors open 7pm

>>> The Gobos feat. Richard Sawyer <<<

>>> No Backstory <<<

Tickets £5 - available from Marlwood Music Dept. 


The 2015/2016 Academic Year marks the 50th Anniversary of St Helen’s Primary School, being located on its current site in Alveston.  To celebrate this occasion, the whole school community is concentrating its efforts on raising funds to build a brand new Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) on the site of a redundant outdoor swimming pool.  The aim is to mark this special year by transforming an area of the school site and leaving something for future generations of children in Alveston to enjoy.

To achieve this, £70,000 needs to be raised.  They are hoping to reach this target through a mixture of grant funding, school PTA and individual donations.

They are going to create a paved pathway leading up to the new Multi-Use Games Area and are inviting people to purchase their very own limited edition brick, professionally engraved with your name or special message. This will become a permanent legacy to St Helen’s 50th Anniversary project.  The pathway will be made from high quality paving bricks.  You can choose from a single paver (£50) or a double paver (£75) and then work out what message you would like to be engraved on your brick!

For more information click the link below:

For the fourth time, the Humanities Faculty took 45 students on a fantastic tour of the Bay of Naples, Italy to experience first-hand things that they had studied in class, or to enhance their cultural and historical awareness. Visits to Mount Vesuvius and Solfatara gave Geography students a rare glimpse into a volcano, along with the sights; very powerful smells (Sulphur) gave them a sensory overload. They had very enjoyable visits to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Capri which gave them insights to how the famous eruption of 79AD affected the Roman world.

A guide who accompanied the trip wrote to me stating  - “I wanted to send a quick email just to applaud their behaviour and attitude to their studies during the trip, they were a real credit to Marlwood School and to Mr Helliker and the staff team, you should feel really proud of them.”

Well done to staff and students – it sounds like you had an excellent learning experience!


Well done to students and staff at Marlwood School who raised £197.50 for Brain Tumour Support.  A special thank you goes to Ellie Clark who organised this event.


A group of students from our joint Post-16 provision with The Castle School enjoyed a day out at Oxford University to give them an insight into life at university to help them make future choices.


Both students and staff alike were delighted to meet Oscar and BAFTA winning scriptwriter Bob Baker last Friday.

Mr Baker, who co-authored the Wallace and Gromit films and has written for Doctor Who, spent the day talking to students about life in the film industry.

Starting the morning talking to sixth formers studying creative and media courses before working with children from other years, Mr Baker shared some of his past experiences and answered questions as well as playing some of his work, including a short film he made when he was 16-years-old.

As well as copies of the Flora’s World books, he brought a range of his works and memorabilia to show the students, including a model of one of his creations, Doctor Who character K9, and two eye-catching BAFTA awards.


We were delighted to welcome Richard Hiscock and Richard Craddy from the Rotary Club into school on Thursday 2nd March to present to certificates and cheques to six of our students who had recently been successful in the Rotary Club Competition.

The winners were:-
Senior Competition
Georgina Lewis
Oscar Knowles

Intermediate Competition
Simon Kitson
Megan Handover
Pippa Sumner

These students entries were then put through to the District 1100 Competition, which Freya Bigwood went on to win the Senior Age Category.

Well done to you all!


On Friday 3rd March we welcomed a team in from Brain Tumor Support formerly known as Hammer Out into school to sell bandanas to raise money for families affected by brain tumors.  This is a local charity who we have supported for a number of years on their ‘Go Bandanas Day’


You may have seen in the national and local press articles related to the increasingly difficult funding situation faced by schools.  This is a national issue and schools across the country are faced with very difficult decisions.

It has been hoped schools such as Marlwood, that a government pledge to introduce a ‘National Fair Funding’ formula would alleviate the difficult financial situation we are facing.  Sadly this has proved to not be the case.

We each expect the best education for our children, quite rightly so, however all schools are faced with decisions around their expenditure as a result of the current funding that will require us to reduce the services we offer.  It is always difficult telling people that there is no longer enough money to provide the services that have been taken for granted for a long time but we have reached crisis point along with most other schools in South Gloucestershire and many across the country.  We will manage these decisions with the full intention of maintaining the quality of learning experience of our young people.

We ask for your support:
1)    Your understanding that the way our schools are run may need to change
2)     With our petition at Click here for the link
3)   By writing to your local MP asking them to voice our concerns in parliament.  If you feel so inclined I have placed a sample letter here and your MP will be either:

Jack Lopresti MP
29 The Courtyard
Bradley Stoke
South Gloucesershire
BS32 4NQ


Luke Hall MP
26 The High Street 
Chipping Sodbury
South Gloucestershire 
BS37 6AH
E-mail: Luke.hall.mp@parliament.uk
We hope that you feel able to support our campaign, and I thank you in advance.

Parent Consultation 2 will be taking place on Thursday 16th March.  Preparations are underway for the event and we look forward to meeting parent/carers then.  Information can be found on the school website or you can follow the link below.


Mrs Davies, Director of Post 16, Miss Thomas, Assistant Headteacher and I have been interviewing Year 11 students who have applied to attend Post-16 in September.  We have all been very impressed with the high quality of interviews taking place and will look forward to welcoming them back in September ready to start Post-16 study.


We have now had our list of new students from the local authority who will be transferring from primary school to us in September.  Initial paperwork will be sent out in the next few days and we look forward to welcoming them to Marlwood.  The Parents’ Information Evening will be held on Wednesday 28th June and the Student Visit Day is on Thursday 29th June for all those of you who like to plan!

Welcome back to Term 4 – this is a little late as the blog has not been working so far this term which is all tied into the IT infrastructure changes which took place over half term.  Term 4 is a busy term for both staff and students with exam preparation for when the external exams start in Term 5.


The latest version of our Newsletter is available on the School Website under the 'news' tab or you can follow the link below:

Marlwood Term 3 Newsletter



As you may have heard in the media, all schools are currently having to make difficult decisions regarding their budgets. The income that we receive from the government for each student has reduced in recent years, especially for Sixth Form students. At the same time, our costs are rising significantly, for example increased national insurance contributions, local government pension costs, the apprentice levy, and an additional charge for all schools in South Gloucestershire to repay a deficit in the council’s education budget. We had hoped that “national fairer funding” when introduced would relieve the mounting financial pressures, but the indicated increase for Marlwood  School is insignificant, despite us being located in one of the worst-funded authorities in the country under the current arrangements.

The financial position of Castle School Education Trust is currently secure, but we are having to take difficult decisions in order to maintain that position. Yesterday we initiated a consultation on staffing reductions, affecting some leadership and support staff posts at The Castle School and Marlwood School. This will be a challenging time for those colleagues who are directly affected, as well as for teachers who work alongside them.

You may be aware that Castle and Marlwood have shared some Sixth Form courses in recent years, with some students travelling between sites in order to access courses. We have decided that from September 2017, all courses for the new Year 12 from both Castle and Marlwood schools will be co-located at our Gloucester Road site, which will enable us to continue providing very high quality sixth form teaching whilst reducing costs by not duplicating courses across two sites.  Year 13 in September 2017 will continue to operate the same as they have in Year 12, eg using both Marlwood and Castle facilities.


Thank you to all parents/carers who attended the Year 8 and 9 Options Evening last night.

The hall was full of parents/carers who came to hear about the new Options Selection Process.

Feedback from parents/carers was extremely positive.


To catch up with the news from Severn Beach Primary School you can follow the link below:

Click here


I am delighted to let you know that I have received notification today from the Thornbury Rotary Club that following students from Marlwood have been successful in their recent Photography Competition.

Senior Competition
1st Prize - Freya Bigwood
2nd Prize - Georgina Lewis
3rd Prize - Oscar Knowles

Intermediate Competition
1st Prize - Simon Kitson
2nd Prize - Megan Handover
3rd Prize - Pippa Sumner
These winners have then been put forward to the Young Photographer District 1100 Competition ad after much deliberation from the judges I am pleased to announce that Freya Bigwood won the senior age category for the district.

Well done to all students who took part and especially to Freya

Please see information below about an interesting day out available locally in half term



I am delighted to announce that Marlwood will be working closely with JIGSAW and the Mayor of Thornbury, Helen Harrison on a pilot ‘Disability Awareness and Inclusion Programme.  Initially it will be used in schools but it is hoped that it can be adjusted to be used in the wider community.