Name Fairfax
Website http://www.fairfax.bham.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school, converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Inspection Date 10 February 2011
Address Fairfax Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B75 7JT
Phone Number 01213781288
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1471 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.5
Local Authority Birmingham
Percentage Free School Meals 12.4%
Percentage English is Not First Language 4.5%
Persisitent Absence 11.1%
Pupils with SEN Support 8.8%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

Fairfax School is much larger than the average comprehensive school. It serves the area of Sutton Coldfield which has retained two selective grammar schools. It was awarded specialist status for Business and Enterprise in 2004. The proportion of students with special education needs is below average. However, the proportion with a statement of special educational needs is much higher than average because the school manages specially resourced provision for students, currently numbering 26, with a range of physical disabilities. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is average, as is the percentage of students from minority ethnic groups. The school holds many awards, including: Artsmark Gold; Sports Mark; the Healthy Schools Award; the International Schools Award; Investors in People Award; the Economic, Business and Enterprise Quality Mark; the Quality CEIAG Award (Careers Education and Information Advice and Guidance); and, most recently, the National Standard for Enterprise Education.

Main findings

Fairfax is a good school. It has some outstanding features. The students reach high standards in their academic work, behave in an exemplary manner and contribute extremely positively to the life of the school. They develop a wide range of broader skills relevant to their future education or employment. Attendance is high. The school has nurtured a range of very effective partnerships with other schools and agencies to extend the curriculum and underpin the outstanding care, guidance and support it provides. Students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are well catered for, especially those with a statement of special educational needs who attend because of the school’s enhanced provision. These students make good or better progress and are included fully in the life of the school through well-managed support. The quality of teaching is good, with some that is outstanding. The sharpness of the teachers’ insight into the students’ level of understanding is a marked feature of the most effective lessons. This awareness enables these teachers to plan and adapt work to suit the needs of a range of students. Many teachers confidently use a wide repertoire of strategies to engage the students in thinking deeply about their understanding of new ideas. The most consistently effective teaching and learning is at Key Stage 4. A significant proportion of teaching, mainly at Key Stage 3, is no better than satisfactory because : although relevant techniques are employed, they are not fully exploited. Learning and progress in these lessons are restricted by teachers spending too much time explaining facts and demanding too little from more-able students. The governing body plays an outstanding role in establishing the school’s strategic direction. It takes its own development and training needs very seriously and has the confidence and professional insight to hold the school to account in a rigorous manner. The headteacher, senior leadership team work and governing body work together effectively so the school is well placed to continue improving. The school has addressed key issues in science, languages and the sixth form which were identified in its previous inspection. It has made significant inroads into tackling other issues, but has not entirely succeeded in securing the effective use of assessment information within lessons. Consequently, although attainment is high and rising, achievement and outcomes overall are good rather than outstanding, reflecting the inconsistent quality of learning. The school’s self-evaluation is crystal clear and accurate and is used well to determine priorities and steer development planning, which is of good quality. Monitoring activity is comprehensive and an accepted process which has encouraged improvement. However, it has not involved all middle leaders enough and its impact has been less emphatic than hoped for in some respects.