Successful Information Evening at Fairfield High School

Today on Bishopston Matters is a local parent’s view on the recent Information Evening held at Fairfield High School in Horfield. Fairfield High has recently made strong academic progress and received a very favourable Ofsted report; all great news for local parents.

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I walked through the door and was blown away by what I found.’

So said newly appointed assistant head Chris Campbell, when describing his first visit to Fairfield High.

Chris was speaking at the recent information evening held at Fairfield for parents with concerns about secondary school provision in North Bristol and who, like myself, wanted to discover Fairfield’s offer for themselves.

To begin the evening, Head Teacher Catriona Mangham presented the school’s ethos, vision and statistics to the audience of 50 parents from primary schools across North Bristol. Then, we were treated to a talk from Niamh – Fairfield’s impressive Head Girl – who described how she wouldn’t have wanted to go to any other school ‘unless it was Hogwarts’. I got the impression from staff, that they would transform Fairfield into Hogwarts in an instant if they could. Just to give Niamh the opportunity to experience it. Such is their determination to ensure that all students achieve their best.

Along with refreshments (which won my husband over immediately) Fairfield school had assembled a panel to answer questions from the audience. When asked about Fairfield’s strengths, pupils stated opportunities, variety, safety and friendliness. Current parent Simon revealed his year 6 daughter was Fairfield’s youngest ambassador, being crazy about the school already thanks to the enthusiasm of her elder sibling. Their passion for Fairfield was obvious – and infectious.

It was not all smiles. Parents who asked about the school’s previous reputation were given refreshingly honest answers. Fairfield is a different school today and Catriona Mangham has the evidence to prove it. An excellent Ofsted report, the highest Value Added score in Bristol (which makes it the best school in Bristol, according to Simon) and an increase in admissions, all show the school is doing something right. Even the litter problem, mentioned by pupil Josie, is being dealt with by the school council. Something rather special is emerging on Alfroxan road and parents are beginning to notice.

Popular perceptions were also laid to rest. Fairfield doesn’t have a catchment area, and takes pupils from throughout Bristol and South Gloucestershire. It does have room to expand as the population rises. 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. The ethos and the vision (post-16 education, Latin – yes Latin – on the curriculum) produced an air of excitement and a feeling that the school is aiming high.

Niamh is right. It is not Hogwarts. But at Fairfield High, a little bit of magic is happening, none the less.

More information about Fairfield High School here:

Helen, from Next Step Horfield

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