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About Fairfax

Name Fairfax
Website http://www.fairfax.bham.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Head of Academy Mr Sean Castle
Address Fairfax Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7JT
Phone Number 01213781288
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1570
Local Authority Birmingham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Fairfax is an inclusive and thriving school.

Pupils enjoy coming to school and attend well. Their personal development is provided for exceptionally well. The school has high expectations for what pupils can achieve.

It has developed an ambitious and holistic curriculum that reflects those expectations. In lessons, pupils respond well to this and focus on their work. Many are keen to engage in discussion and debate.

Relationships between pupils, and between pupils and staff, are respectful and courteous in lessons and around school. Pupils' behaviour during break and lunch times is brilliant. They conduct themselves very well in busy environments.

Pu...pils understand the high standards and clear routines that are expected of them.

Everyone participates in the rich life of the school. The house system is at the heart of this.

Pupils and students in the sixth form speak highly of the house system and all the sporting activities they are involved with. They also greatly enjoy being part of the annual Eisteddfod that celebrates a wide variety of art forms. The school ensures that all pupils are involved and that those in the sixth form take the lead in organising.

A wide range of other activities and leadership opportunities are open to all. These include peer mentoring, a range of interest groups and curriculum enriching trips.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The school, with the support of the trust, has strengthened the curriculum in recent years.

It is coherently ambitious and in all subjects the learning is carefully sequenced. Staff give pupils opportunities to regularly revisit work. Teachers have a strong shared understanding of the crucial knowledge that needs to be acquired in each subject.

However, on some occasions, teachers move pupils on to new learning before their knowledge has been checked. This leads to gaps in understanding for some pupils, making it difficult for them to build on their learning over time. The school has systems in place to support staff with this to address these gaps.

The curriculum is having a positive impact for almost all pupils; however, some disadvantaged pupils are not achieving as highly as they could. Leaders at all levels are deeply aware of this. They have ensured that disadvantaged pupils are central to all their work to improve the school.

There is clear positive impact of this work which is improving the experience of disadvantaged pupils. For example, the strongly personalised pastoral support and detailed work on attendance helps pupils to engage better with school life over time.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) access the same curriculum as their peers.

The school identifies their needs well. It provides staff with the training and support they require to meet pupils' specific needs. Pupils with SEND who access the additionally resourced provision integrate very well in lessons.

Their needs are well met. Pupils who are in the early stages of learning to read are also well supported. Staff provide them with additional help that enables these pupils to catch up.

The school's approach to pupils' personal development is carefully designed to link through each aspect of a pupil's time at the school. Learning from the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education curriculum is reinforced regularly in other subjects and during form time. Pupils are given opportunities to discuss serious and sensitive issues in a considered way.

This gives them a framework to make appropriate and intelligent choices when confronted by difficult situations. Students in the sixth form take up a range of opportunities to support, extend and enrich their academic studies. All students and pupils are prepared well for their next steps in education, employment or training.

This is done through a careers programme that broadens the horizons of all.

Pupils' character is developed exceptionally well. This is encompassed through the 'ARKS' values that are lived throughout school.

Pupils in all year groups, including those in the sixth form, are regularly rewarded for displaying positive behaviours, engaging with additional academic activities and helping others in the community. They take great pride in the colours they can gain for their blazer, which reflects the integrated nature of this work by the school.

The school tracks pupils' attendance and behaviour carefully.

Leaders have put in place a range of measures to improve these. There is significant impact on the experience for all groups of pupils. These are recognised by staff, parents and pupils in their lived experience of the school.

The school is led exceptionally well. All leaders are unified in their vision for the school. They are successful in realising this vision and are not complacent.

This is exemplified through the work for pupils with SEND and supporting pupils with social, emotional, and mental health needs. Leaders are proactively considerate of staff well-being and workload. Staff talk highly of this work.

They receive timely and impactful professional development in line with the identified improvements leaders want to make. The trust has a clear understanding of the school. They question, support and champion the improvements in the school.

Leaders have been able to share this practice with other schools in the trust and beyond.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The curriculum is yet to have a consistent impact for disadvantaged pupils.

Therefore, some disadvantaged pupils are not achieving as highly as they could.The school needs to continue to embed and develop the curriculum in all subjects so that all pupils achieve well. ? Pupils' understanding is not always checked well enough before moving on to the next part of the curriculum.

As a result, some pupils have gaps in their knowledge. The school should ensure that teachers check pupils' understanding consistently well. This will enable pupils to build knowledge more effectively over time.

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