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"Castle School Education Trust is committed to high quality education across the primary, secondary and sixth form key stages. Our schools cover the South Gloucestershire area. We encourage independence within each school within a strong framework of values."

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To report a child's absence for years 7-11 please email or call 01454 862395.  For 6th Form please call 01454 862333.  


As part of our findings from our student voice activities, students requested more opportunities to celebrate culture and promote belonging. We have started slowly and aim to include more opportunities as time goes on.

Assemblies and Staff Briefings

We have a planned schedule of assemblies, which complement our DEI calendar and our Life Skills curriculum. Student-led assemblies have included Black History Month, Disability History Month and Ramadan. We also had assemblies, led by staff, focusing on the celebration of Diwali, International Men’s Day, International Women’s Day and LGBTQ+ Pride. In addition, we have used our weekly staff briefing for further opportunities to celebrate and educate, including World Hijab Day, Pride and Black History Month.


In July 2022, two volunteers from the charity, Just Like Us, visited the school and ran a series of assemblies for different year groups exploring issues around identity and acceptance. This allowed our whole school community to take time to reflect on their thoughts and feelings and how accepting they are of each other. To complement the important messages relayed in the assemblies there were displays around school highlighting positive role models from all walks of life who identify as LGBTQ+ and different subject areas have celebrated Pride in different ways.

Black History Month

In October 2023, we celebrated Black History Month with some assemblies, tutor time activities, displays and lessons. We also put on a photographic exhibition titled 'Celebrating Black Heroes' where staff, students and parents were invited to submit a photograph and explanation of why they had chosen their personal hero. We had a large number of varied and heartfelt submissions, which Nick Smith took photographs of. These were displayed in the 6th Form Centre at the end of Black History Month and staff, students and parents were invited. Although the turn out was small for our first event of this nature, these phtographs are now on permanent display at school for all of our community to enjoy.

In October 2022, we celebrated Black History Month. This involved some fantastic assemblies, including one led by two of our students, who taught us all about the life of Harriet Tubman, including a beautiful solo of a song from the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet. Students also learnt about and celebrated the achievements of Black poets, writers, artists and Mathematicians in lessons as well as taking part in some themed activities in extra-curricular clubs, such as Science Club.

The last day of term was the culmination of our Black History Month celebrations. Last year, as part of the student voice we completed, students asked if they could wear their national or cultural dress as part of these celebrations and it has been great to see some of our students in a variety of national dress today. Miles Chambers, Bristol’s first poet Laureate, has also been performing his poetry as part of these celebrations in special year group assemblies and it has been quite phenomenal to see his talent.



Lunar New Year

Over the past three years the school has had a small but steady influx of students from Hong Kong. Lunar New Year, which fell on February 10th 2024 was a chance to enrich a large school community in a fun and educational way. Mrs Tsui ran some hugely informative assemblies about Lunar New Year and then some celebrations took place for staff and families on the 19th February and the whole student body on 21st February.

Students, staff and parents were invited to partake in a variety of stalls, each stall having an educative element, but involving a fun game or task, with prizes on offer. The competitive spirt was palpable as successful players walked away with gold chocolate coins and lanterns.

Lunar New Year (also referred to as Chinese New Year depending on region) is celebrated across a number of countries. It is Hong Kong’s most significant cultural celebration. Running on a 12 year cycle, each year is represented by an animal. It is believed that people born in a given year will take on the personality of that particular animal. This year was the Year of the Dragon, known for being confident, intelligent and enthusiastic.

Students from Hong Kong impeccably ran the stalls, and although such a small working group in number, were able to enrich a school community of over 1,400 students and staff.

The first event of its kind, the plan is to make it a regular fixture in the schools celebration calendar. The school looks forward to celebrating the Year of the Snake in 2025.


Disability History Month

In the second term of 2022-23, we celebrated Disability History Month (16th November to 16th December). We had the opportunity to mark this in school by celebrating and recognising different people with disabilities. The theme of the national celebration was “Disability, Health and Wellbeing”. We held assemblies for each house on this theme and were privileged that several of our students and staff talked  about their own personal experiences of disability. This allowed our whole school community to take time to reflect on their understanding, thoughts and feelings around how we enable every student and member of staff to live the Downend PRIDE ethos every day.  To complement the important messages relayed in the assemblies there have been displays around school highlighting positive role models from all walks of life who have a disability. These have been thought provoking and stimulated conversations in tutor time and in class. 


At Downend we have a prayer room and Wudhu facilities available all year round, supervised by a member of our teaching staff. For a number of years, during Ramadan, we have been working to do everything we can to support our Muslim students and staff by paying attention to PE and Food Tech lessons, which we know may be difficult if you are fasting; ensuring the prayer room continues to be available for lunchtime and also at break for students looking for a place for quiet contemplation; authorising student absence for Eid and making sure staff are aware of who may be choosing to fast.

In addition, a series of assemblies led by our Muslim students and staff have been really well received each year. 

In March 2024, we broadened this celebration out to all members of our community when we teamed up with Bristol Muslim Cultural Society to host our first ever community Iftar.

In the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Iftar is the name of the sunset meal that breaks the fast, and is usually enjoyed together with family and friends, or at the mosque with members of the local Muslim community.

This was a chance to acknowledge and celebrate Muslims students, staff and parents, whilst also giving the wider school community an insight into what makes this month so special.

For the first event of its kind, the uptake was much larger than expected with around 80 attendees, consisting of a nice mix of students, staff and parents, with both Muslim and non-Muslim members of the school community coming together in good numbers.

The evening started with a presentation from guest speaker Rizwan Ahmed from BMCS who highlighted some interesting facts about Ramadan, followed by the call to prayer by a student, and the breaking of fast with dates and water. The communal prayer, also led by a Muslim student, was impeccably observed by non-Muslim attendees.

Once the prayer was concluded, everyone took their seats in the Sixth Form common room and enjoyed a delicious array of food very kindly arranged by BMCS. Many parents chose to bring in cold food donations in the form of delicious desserts.

Ramadan, so often cited for its ability to bring the community together, was encapsulated in the distinct hum of content chatter that could be heard in the room as attendees tucked into their meals.

The school looks forward to hosting another community Iftar next year.


We have ensured there are plenty of fiction and non-fiction books available for our students in our library that explore and celebrate our entire community. In addition, we have set up and continue to update a social justice library that contains many titles, which are available to our staff.  

Work With Other Individuals and Organisations

Over the past few years, we have begun to work with a range of people, who are committed to addressing inequality; for example:

We would like to expand our links with similar organisations, particularly those in the local community, so please email the admin mailbox on if you are interested in contributing to our work.