A secondary school is set to expand after going from strength to strength in recent years.
Casterton College Rutland, which provides education for 11 to 16 year-olds in Stamford and the surrounding villages, is oversubscribed for September – the first time this has happened.
Each school year can accommodate 180 pupils but already the school has up to 10 more applications than this and more could come in.
It marks a dramatic transformation for the school, which only three years ago had just 108 Year 7 applications.
The school’s headteacher Carl Smith is confident that its numbers will continue to grow. He believes the school could “comfortably accommodate” 950 - equating to 190 per school year - but currently doesn’t have Government permission to do so.
He said: “I have been here for almost three years now, and we had a significant rise in the number of young people applying for places.
“This year the number is up some 65 per cent, and that’s a simply phenomenal number.
“We are the most successful school in the area, and this growth is down to all the hard work of our staff and the children we have here.”
Mr Smith puts the school’s renewed popularity down to its ‘different approach’ to creating a special ‘community’ feel within the school, for children and staff alike.
Mr Smith said: “We do things differently here, and our way of doing things is paying off. We pride ourselves on creating a calm atmosphere in the classroom and the school as a whole, one of mutual respect, and we are reaping the rewards.
“We are a comprehensive and take children of all abilities and from all backgrounds, and our results are great – we have the best maths department in England, and our other departments are catching up fast.
“But parents are concerned about far more than results alone. They want their children to feel comfortable in their environment, and to feel positive about their education, and I’m very proud of the community we have created here.
“Our staff have worked hard to create a special atmosphere here at Casterton, and it feels very much like a large primary school rather than a large secondary school.”
It’s this friendly feeling which is a key factor to the school’s success.
Mr Smith said: “Building a relationship with the children and giving them continuity and stability is the key. We don’t have a high turnover of staff, and we don’t use supply teachers.
“We all fill in for each other when needed, and this gives the children the secure platform they need to develop and flourish.”
Another reason behind the school’s success is its commitment to inviting primary school children into the school for a week-long introduction into secondary school life, a move which means pupils can hit the ground running when they join in September.
This is backed up by a range of pupil services, which includes counsellors, voluntary mentors and other pastoral care specialists.
“We have the capacity to comfortably accommodate 950 students, and I’m looking forward to welcoming more children to the school in the future.”