Castlethorpe has a First School, a Pre-School, a Nursery, two well-equipped play areas and a thriving Youth Club, so the village's childtren are well catered for. Below are the details:
The First School is a small village school with a strong family atmosphere, catering for children aged 4 – 7 years with approximately 40 children on roll. It provides a high standard of education where children enjoy a friendly and caring school life, as well as a stimulating environment in which all children can become well-motivated, independent learners.
The school's Vision is to ensure it is:
● A school that parents, teachers, pupils, governors and the local community can be enormously proud of:
● A school that is vibrant, happy and has high expectations.
● A school that believes that every child can succeed and achieve.
● A school where children enjoy learning because they are encouraged to be independent thinkers.
● And where children develop a sense of self belief and a love of learning, forming a strong basis for lifelong learning.
To achieve this we aim:
● To provide a caring, nurturing and stimulating environment where all children feel safe, secure and happy.
● To inspire children to achieve and celebrate their successes.
● To maintain high expectations in all aspects of children’s learning.
● To encourage children to embrace new challenges.
● To be an integral part of the community.
Castlethorpe has a small, friendly, village Pre-School which has been running for almsiot half a century. Initially children from Castlethorpe attended Hanslope playgroup. In September 1972, with the encouragement of the leader of the Hanslope Group, Rosemary Otter (the then Vicar’s wife), Margaret Wilson, Gill Wilson (Sibthorne) and 15 children moved into the Village Hall. The Playgroup opened on two mornings each week.
Over the years thanks to many village residents, the Playgroup, later Pre-School, developed to be a very successful village provision. Numbers vary according to the birth rate. At present the Pre-School is registered for a maximum of 26 children at any one time.
The Pre-School is administered by a committee of volunteers who are responsible for the management of the provision. In recent years as a result of government initiatives, the Management’s role has grown considerably. The Pre-School Manager has responsibility for day to day running.
We meet at Castlethorpe Village Hall Monday to Friday 9:15am – 12:45pm (3.00pm on Wednesdays) during term time. All children between 2 and 5 years of age are welcome and funding is available for all children over the age of 3, with limited funding available for 2 year olds.
The children have an opportunity to participate in a variety of educational, social and physical activities. All aspects of the OFSTED requirements are covered to ensure a rounded curriculum. We are fortunate to have an excellent outdoor garden and play area made possible by the joint efforts of a parish councillor, parents and villagers.
The Pre-school is OFSTED regulated. All staff are well qualified and have considerable experience. The adult to child ratio is well above statutory requirements. Parents are encouraged to become involved and visitors are welcome.
The Acorn children’s day nursery in Castlethorpe is situated in a converted Wesleyan Chapel in South Street, backing onto the school and with access into the school playground. It was established in 1989 and caters for up to 36 babies and children from 4 months to 4 years. Catering for working parents, the nursery is open for 51 weeks of the year, from 7.30am to 6.15pm.
The nursery is one of eight run by Acorn Childcare in Milton Keynes and Northants. The Head Office is situated on the first floor of the Castlethorpe nursery. The aim of the nursery is to offer the flexibility and individuality of a small, homely nursery combined with the professionalism and facilities you’d expect from a larger one. The nursery also provides a Breakfast Club, After-school Club and a Holiday Playscheme for children aged 4 & 7. The nursery cook prepares healthy meals on site and also provides cooked lunches for children attending Castlethorpe School.
The nursery offers a range of activities and facilities, including weekly trips to its own Forest School in Salcey Forest. Forest School has been developed to offer learning opportunities in a woodland environment and has proved very popular with the children.
The nursery is also linked to Tall Oaks Training, based in Hanslope, which offers training for Early Years staff. Based on a farm smallholding, this is being developed into a field centre which the nursery will also be able to access to extend its outdoor activities.
The nursery is also hoping to develop its links with the local community, building on the links already in place through nursery families and staff who are also village residents.
Castlethorpe has managed to largely avoid the problems of anti-social behaviour experienced in other local communities in and around Milton Keynes. This has not happened by accident and relies on volunteer efforts to run community groups such as Castlethorpe Youth Club (CYC) to ensure a strong community spirit continues to thrive in the village.
Now the longest running Youth Club in the MK area, CYC has seen hundreds of young people develop with a sound grounding in social responsibility and community spirit, developing self-confidence and interpersonal skills.
CYC is open to all young people aged between 11 (School Year 6) and 16 (Year 11) who live, or have strong ties with, Castlethorpe. It runs weekly in the Village Hall on Tuesdays from 7.30pm to 9.30pm and is overseen by fully CRB accredited volunteers from the village. In the winter months a range of activities such as dodgeball, uni-hockey, music quizzes and cooking are organised in the village hall. In the summer months CYC take advantage of the fantastic facilities offered at Castlethorpe sports ground where we play tennis, softball, tag rugby and 5 a-side footie.
In addition to numerous weekly activities CYC has an Xbox, table football, pool/snooker tables and table tennis. We also run numerous trips; laser shooting, ten-pin bowling, swimming and have an annual cycle trip to the chippie in New Bradwell. Every few years CYC runs an adventure weekend away, in the past travelling to Wales and the Cotswolds.
One important aspect of CYC is the work the young people have undertaken over the years supporting the village, such as helping with the duck race, the senior citizens Christmas lunch and the “Carols on the Green”.
The Club received the highest OFSTED rating at its last inspection. Registered with Milton Keynes Council, we work closely with their Rural Youth development teams putting into practice both council and national youth initiatives. Over the years, villagers have looked back and appreciated this grounding and felt good about putting something back into their community.
For more information contact Tony Rice on 01908 510206.
There are two fully-equpped play areas in the village ̶ at the Fishponds off The Chequers and in Thrupp Close, next to the Allotments.
The Fishponds play area also features a new ̶ and extremely popular ̶ zipwire as well as the equipment shown above, while the Thrupp area caters more for smaller children.