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“Pupil well-being and success sits at the heart of their decisions”: praise for Fairfields Primary School as it is judged Good by Ofsted

Fairfields Primary School, part of the Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) multi-academy trust, has been judged Good by Ofsted – with inspectors highlighting Outstanding areas of practice in behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and early years provision. They also rated leadership and management as Good.

In a two-day visit in July, Ofsted inspectors met with senior leaders, a range of subject leaders, representatives of the local governing body and IFtL. They conducted deep dives in early reading, mathematics, art and geography, which involved talking to subject leaders, class teachers and pupils, visiting lessons, looking at pupils’ work and listening to pupils read. Inspectors also looked at curriculum documentation for the teaching of PSHE and physical education. As part of inspecting early years, Ofsted met with the early years’ leader and also made visits to the Reception class and Nursery.

Comments about the 430-pupil school, which caters for children aged two to 11, include:

  • Staff are wholly united as a team to provide high-quality education for all pupils.
  • Pupils are rightly proud to be part of a happy and inclusive community.
  • Staff have high expectations for all, and pupils are keen to rise to challenges set for them. They know that staff want the best for them.
  • Pupils respond maturely to the routines in place to support positive behaviour. As a result, behaviour is consistently exceptional.
  • Staff are highly skilled and demonstrate their excellent subject knowledge through clear explanations and interesting activities.
  • Pupils feel safe and appreciate how much the adults at school care about them.
  • Leaders have carefully thought about what progression looks like within each subject area. They are ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
  • Pupils spoke with particular relish about the leadership opportunities they are given within the school.
  • Leaders, including those responsible for governance, demonstrate a relentless drive to positively impact the lives of all pupils. Pupil well-being and success sits at the heart of their decisions.
  • Local governors work closely with the trust to drive positive outcomes for pupils. Together, they are passionate and knowledgeable advocates for the pupils of the school and provide appropriate support and challenge to school leaders.

Matthew Shotton, Executive Headteacher at Fairfields Primary School, said: “We are delighted that the hard work undertaken by our Fairfields staff and IFtL Trust community has been recognised. The report itself is very detailed and highlights the many elements of effective provision as well as the next steps needed to take the school forward. What is very satisfying is that these next steps were already within our development plan prior to this inspection and the associated adaptations are being implemented.”

He continued: “The report in full evidences a school that is not only good, but one that continuously strives to improve and excel. This is an excellent report, particularly at a time when the benchmark for ‘Good’ is at the highest level it has ever been, and we have been acknowledged as having exceeded this in three of the five areas. The Ofsted inspection was thorough, robust, and professionally rigorous. As a leadership team we were open and transparent around all aspects of school life and had much evidence to support the process.”


“I thank all those involved in the inspection itself, especially the staff, governors, Trustees, parents and the children who shone during the inspection process and continue to make a positive contribution to school life.”

The report said that school leaders and governors have overseen “rapid improvements in safeguarding whilst maintaining a positive school community” after this was graded as Inadequate in a previous visit in January, meaning the school as a whole was judged Inadequate for overall effectiveness. An internal investigation, supported by external and independent safeguarding reviews, found that original concerns related to a small number of procedural matters. These were reviewed and rectified immediately where necessary.

Now, following the further visit in July, Ofsted inspectors have confirmed that arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Their report says that “staff at Fairfields prioritise pupil safety and well-being” and “leaders work closely with support from the trust and external agencies to continually assure themselves they are making the right decisions at the right times to keep all pupils safe”. It adds that “staff demonstrate a clear understanding of how to identify pupils at possible risk of harm and a secure knowledge of what to do to support them” and “pupils know what to do if they are worried about something”.

Sarah Bennett, CEO of IFtL, said: “I am pleased to see this report celebrate such a wide areas of provision at Fairfields Primary School. The previous Ofsted report was a shock to us all, staff and parents alike, but we take safeguarding extremely seriously and moved quickly to address the procedural issues that were highlighted. Given how we prioritise staff wellbeing and development at IFtL, I was also particularly heartened to read that the colleagues inspectors spoke to feel well supported and valued by leaders at all levels. Fairfields has now achieved the grading it deserves from its first five years as a school, and the Trust will continue to support the team to strive for further improvement.”

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