• Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use
    to change the world
    Nelson Mandela


FHS Marks Ten Years in Allfoxton Road

Fairfield-School-20150029-300STAFF and students at Fairfield High School are marking a decade since they transferred to their state-of-the-art buildings off Muller Road.

They moved into the iconic five-storey premises on April 24, 2006.

The £22 million school provided space to double student numbers and offered improved facilities for 21st century learning.
Fairfield was one of the first secondaries to have new buildings in the ambitious programme that saw all Bristol’s state-funded schools for children aged 11-16 rebuilt or substantially remodelled. It was created on the site of the St Thomas More Catholic Secondary, which closed in 2005.

FHS, which had switched from being a grammar school to a comprehensive in 2000, moved from the redbrick premises in Fairlawn Road, Montpelier, where it had been based since 1898. Two of its best-known former pupils are actor Cary Grant and Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers.

In the decade since the move, the school has continued to develop, introducing a new uniform and a house system. Its most recent Ofsted report, in June 2013, rated it as “Good, with Outstanding features”. Students are among the best in the country for exceeding expectations in their GCSE exams at the end of five years at the school.

FHS has a very diverse intake of students, and offers them a wide range of opportunities and activities both within and outside lesson times. The school became an academy in the Excalibur Trust last year. Demand for places has soared, and the school has been oversubscribed for the past two years. It has ambitions to open a sixth form.

Principal Catriona Mangham, who has led the school since 2009, said: “This is a significant moment for us, and a time to acknowledge the successes of all those who have passed through Fairfield, both in the last decade and at the old school.
“Our main focus, as always, is on providing the very best opportunities for the students who are here in 2016 and those who will join us in future. FHS is a unique school where everyone is valued for who they are and what they can become.”

St John’s chosen to help train the next generation of teachers

Classroom-sqSt John’s Marlborough has been selected to become a National Teaching School.

Teaching Schools take a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession. They identify and develop leadership potential; they provide support for other schools, and work with schools across their alliance to raise standards of teaching. 

St John’s is one of 54 schools in England to be granted teaching school status in the latest round.

Introduced in 2011, Teaching Schools are all rated as “outstanding”. They work with partner schools in an alliance to ensure high quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career.

They raise standards through supporting other schools, engage in research and development, and ensure that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful headteachers.

Nicky Edmondson, Principal of St John’s said:

“I’m delighted that St John’s has been afforded this opportunity.  It will allow us to build on the work we already do to train and develop new teachers. By working closely with our partner primary schools and Bath Spa University, Excalibur Academies Trust will become a leading edge provider of professional development for teachers and others working in schools, and a centre for training new entrants to the profession.

This is an exciting opportunity for our staff, many of whom are already experienced mentors of trainee teachers, and will give us a considerable advantage in recruiting high calibre teachers at a time when there is a national shortage of teachers in some curriculum areas”. 

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has responsibility, in partnership with headteachers from the Teaching Schools Council, for the designation and quality of the teaching schools programme.

The latest designation round takes the number of Teaching Schools to over 700.

Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said:

“I’d like to congratulate St John’s Marlborough – they should be very proud of this achievement. Teaching schools have shown themselves to be at the heart of school improvement. They’re supporting other schools, attracting and training the best new teachers and developing the next generation of leaders. At NCTL, we want to do all we can to support their work”.

Popular author Cathy Cassidy offers expert advice & signs books at FHS

Popular children’s author Cathy Cassidy visited Fairfield High School in Bristol the day before the publication in paperback of her two latest books. Cathy, who has twice won the Queen of Teen title, has written more than 20 books, which have sold more than a million copies. The latest, Fortune Cookie, is the sixth and final title in the Chocolate Box Girls series. Also published this month is Looking Glass Girl, a reworking of Alice in Wonderland.

Cathy, who used to work at Shout magazine and before that was fiction editor on Jackie magazine, is a former art teacher. She tours extensively around the UK, meeting more than 10,000 young readers every year.

She spoke to Year 7 and 8 girls from FHS, students from Elmfield Secondary School, and Year 5 & 6 pupils from Glenfrome and May Park primary schools, and signed copies of her latest books. Cathy was on the third day of a two-week tour to promote her books; her next title is The Broken Heart Club, which comes out in April.

She told the students how she literally dreams up her stories, and how she develops her characters by drawing sketches and making mood boards.

Asked for her advice to budding writers, she said: “Write lots. Write a little bit every day, maybe a diary or journal. Don’t just write at school. It’s like everything – you have to practise. “Write from the heart, about the things you care about. I always knew I wanted to write. I write because I have stories  in my head and I get inspiration from all around me.”

Cathy encouraged those with ambitions as authors to share their daydreams by penning entries for her Dreamcatcher blog, which is written by her readers for other readers.

She signed books for students and encouraged them to explore her website, www.cathycassidy.com for more information and inspiration.

Natasha Edmunds, Head of English at FHS, said: “It was wonderful for the students to meet such a successful author. Cathy’s visit encouraged them to continue to enjoy reading and inspired some of them in their own writing.”

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