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Fairfield High School

Update from the head Dec 2014

I find it hard to believe that is the holiday period is once again upon us; so much has been achieved at Fairfield High School.

I have just stopped reading the latest results from the DFE which show that FHS achieved an amazing 'value added' score of 1026.3 for 2014, placing us in the top 15% of schools in the country. Our Maths GCSE results were outstanding with students making significantly more progress than nationally and attaining the national average; this was recognised by the faculty receiving the Princes Trust Award for outstanding teaching.

This term has already included a whirlwind of events with students raising over £1200 for Children in Need, a visit from Lord Rosser, MP Charlotte Leslie opening our own cinema and our table tennis club being launched. We are continuing our focus on ensuring every student achieves their best and goes through their school life with strong expectations of behaviour and achievement. Our work to develop the school has come to fruition, particularly the reality of us joining the Excalibur Trust as an academy next term and working together on a proposal for a sixth form at FHS.

We have seen record numbers applying to join the school in September 2015 which will mean a full Year 7 intake; a real testament to the faith and belief the community has in the education we are providing here. Our term ends with two very important days – our academic review days. It is very important that parents attend the appointments to understand fully their child’s progress and targets; it is also an opportunity to communicate any concerns that have arisen. Our Winter Concert has taken place in the last week of term and I thank you for your support once again this year.

We are looking forward to the new challenges that the government will bring us next year in education (whatever that may be!) and the opportunities we will be able to grasp to ensure we are continuing to raise the achievement of all in the FHS community. Thank you for your continued support.

Academy Consultation Outcome Dec 2014

Following a consultation period with parents and stakeholders, an Extraordinary Meeting was held on Thursday 13th November; the governors of FHS have, after careful consideration, voted to join Excalibur Academies Trust and become an academy around February 2015.

At the forefront of the governors' and Excalibur agenda is to ensure that FHS continues as a local community school which maintains its unique values and ethos. There were some key questions raised during the consultation period and the responses are outlined here:

- FHS will not be rebranded. It is a unique place and that is the way it will stay. The name won't change, neither will the uniform, ethos or values. The trust is not about 'cloning' schools; St John's Marlborough is an outstanding school and will share good practice to help FHS reach outstanding too. FHS staff are really excited to have the opportunity to link with other staff and share their expertise. - Excalibur Academies Trust is very much about preserving educational communities and the schools maintaining their individuality. - Excalibur Academies are non-denominational. St John's Marlborough is not a church school. We share the same values and ethos and no ethos or values will be imposed on FHS. One of the many things Excalibur Trust like about us is the diversity of religion and culture here. Excalibur has a strong international focus, with links in the Gambia, New Zealand, and elsewhere.

Feedback from Simon Bell following information evening (parent to students in years 7 and 10): 'I was reassured by the attitude of the Excalibur Trust's CEO and the views of our own Chair of Governors on the proposed partnership.

It would be easy to imagine that schools in rural Wiltshire had nothing in common with Fairfield but, although very different, it seems the two organisations value the same things. Larger Academy's may have sought to impose their own way of working on our school, threatening those things we most value, but there was a recognition from the CEO of the Trust (himself the principal of one of the Trust's outstanding schools) that they had a lot to learn from Fairfield and that the existing culture of our school would be something to be valued and nurtured rather than something which needed 'fixing'. There seemed to be a genuine desire on the part of the Trust not only to support Fairfield in becoming an outstanding school in all respects, but also to learn from our staff and pupils. Cat Mangham stressed how isolated the staff at Fairfield had felt, how hard they had worked to get Fairfield where it is today and how excited they were at the prospect of being able to share thoughts and ideas with staff at other schools in order to achieve their ambition of being an outstanding school themselves.

Although this might appear to be a decision that has been arrived at hastily, Fairfield's Chair of Governors stressed that it is the result of a lot of work by them behind the scenes. Of several Trusts Fairfield approached, Excalibur was the only one which scored highly on a set of criteria arrived at by our own Governors. They felt it would be a productive partnership and after last night's meeting I agree. '

Parent Governor Vacancies Dec 2014

There are currently two Parent Governor Vacanices at Fairfield High School. Please do not hesitate to contact the school for further details. Please contact Mrs Anne Dando, Head's PA, who will pass your details on to our Clerk to Governors : Governors are volunteers who give up time to govern the school. They have expertise in many areas, not just within education but also in such areas as management, finance, law, parenting, the local community and many more.


A BRISTOL school that boasts one of Hollywood's greatest stars among its best ex-pupils has launched a cinema club. Archibald Leach – aka Cary Grant – attended Fairfield Grammar School until he was expelled in 1918 for sneaking into the girls' toilets. Nowadays Fairfield hosts a mural of the screen icon and one of its houses is named after him. The school, which moved into new buildings in 2006, launches its cinema club in the month that Bristol is holding a Cary Comes Home festival weekend. It features a From Horfield to Hollywood talk and red-carpet gala screenings of two of his hits, North by Northwest and Arsenic and Old Lace. Fairfield High School has a strong partnership with Watershed, which is hosting the festival with the Bristol Hippodrome on October 11 and 12. Head of humanities Claire Greenwood, who works with the media centre as a schools liaison officer, said: "Film is a powerful educational resource, accessible for students of all backgrounds and abilities. This club will help broaden our students' learning - as well as being relaxing and fun." Watershed and IntoFilm officials attended the first event, along with Charlotte Leslie MP, for a showing of The Lego Movie, complete with popcorn and drinks for around 60 students. The cinema club will offer free weekly screenings for students thanks to the education charity Into Film.

Fairfield News- LETTER FROM THE HEAD Sept 2014

Hello and welcome to a new academic year at Fairfield High School. The new academic year has got off to a fantastic start. For many of our new Year 7s they have already spent a week in school enjoying an exciting and rewarding summer school experience. It is lovely to welcome our new Year 7s whom are all very excited and engaged by their learning already. It has also been delightful to see our students looking very smart and positive and ready for a year of learning and achievement. We have started the new year with that strong focus on achievement and while congratulating our Year 11s on excellent results once more we are now looking forward to the current Year 11 achieving even better. We were also delighted to hear of FHS students whom have achieved outstanding results at A level with once again students heading off to Oxford and Cambridge and other top Universities.

The school staff are also enjoying success of some fabulous individual subject GCSE results A*-C: 80% Geography, 88% two good sciences, 66% Maths, 97% Languages, 97% Drama to name but a few. We are equally delighted to welcome so many new students to the school with year groups now reaching capacity.

We are looking forward to seeing prospective parents at our Open Evening on Thursday 25th September from 6-9pm and the following Open Mornings: Thursday 2nd, Friday 3rd, Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th October from 9.15-10.30am. This special issue newsletter will give you the opportunity to share these dates with your local community and we thank you in advance for doing so. Thank you for your continued support of the school.

Ms Catriona Mangham

Aug 2014

We make every effort to know and understand the needs of individual children before they join us. Our aim is for every family to be part of the Fairfield family.

The FHS Stepping Up transition programme has won national recognition. Sport and creative sessions during Year 6 are supplemented with weekly support for vulnerable students. Holiday activities follow, so children make friends and get to know teachers. In Year 7, weekly parents' teas give the adults similar opportunities.

We support our students to realise their academic potential throughout their time with us, while also helping them to develop and grow as people. Our curriculum is continually adapting to meet the needs and demand of our diverse population. Latin and Classics are new this year, Engineering is increasingly popular and community languages are strong. We believe in the importance of the arts to develop imagination and creativity; all students study drama, dance, art and music.

Staff give their time freely to support extra-curricular activities, which provide a wealth of opportunities, challenges and experiences. Students take part in Young Enterprise, debates, science, technology, engineering and maths clubs and successful sports teams.

Above all, we want our young people to enjoy coming to school and being part of our community.

We are committed to the highest possible standards in everything we do. FHS has aspirations to open its own sixth form; already, many of our students excel at A-levels locally and win places at top universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

While most students come from our immediate neighbourhood, an increasing number of families from further afield select FHS because of our growing reputation for excellence.

Following an open evening earlier in 2014, one mum said: 'Parents spoke of having their eyes opened. Of finding a good school - right on their doorstep - where their child will fit in and will do well.'

We couldn't put it better ourselves...

Ms Catriona Mangham


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