Fairfield House School


Name Fairfield House School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 25 February 2020
Address 57-59 Warburton Lane, Partington, Manchester, M31 4NL
Phone Number 01617762827
Type Independent (special)
Age Range 8-25
Religious Character Christian
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Trafford
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

Fairfield House School is a place where pupils feel safe and happy. Classrooms come alive with happy chatter, singing and laughter as pupils arrive at school. Staff provide a calm and nurturing environment. Pupils and staff enjoy each other’s company.

Staff help pupils to develop a love of learning. The headteacher plans a wide range of interesting activities. For example, pupils relish the time they spend on the school’s farm. They take pride in caring for the farm animals and growing vegetables. Pupils achieve well personally and academically.

Pupils develop a sense of belonging. They contribute to the school and wider community. For example, pupils made and sold Christmas cards to raise money for charity.

The headteacher has high ambitions for each pupil. She encourages and helps pupils to achieve their best. Pupils are enthusiastic in their lessons. This is because staff know pupils well. They make sure that activities capture pupils’ interests.

Pupils typically behave well. Staff provide a wide range of carefully tailored support to help pupils to improve their behaviour. Pupils learn to regulate their own behaviour when needed. Bullying is very rare. Adults handle any situations that do arise with expertise.

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

The headteacher has planned a carefully sequenced curriculum. Across different subjects, staff plan activities that build on pupils’ previous learning. At the start of each lesson, staff check that pupils have understood what they have learned before. Staff make sure that pupils revisit their learning to help them know more and remember more. For example, in mathematics, pupils have lots of practice to help them develop accuracy in their written calculations.

Staff plan a wide range of practical experiences to support pupils’ learning. For example, in personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, pupils learn how to manage a budget. They visit local shops to practise using money. In science, pupils visit local outdoor areas and places of interest. Through well-planned visits, staff help pupils to deepen their knowledge and understanding.

The curriculum that the headteacher has planned is broad and engaging. Pupils develop their skills and knowledge across a range of subjects. For example, in art and design, pupils practise painting and drawing. They use different materials for sculpture. During our visit, a pupil was working with deep concentration to make a model of a volcano. In PSHE education, staff plan lessons which help pupils stay healthy. Pupils learn about the importance of healthy eating. Older students learn important life skills, such as self-care, cooking and how to change bed linen.Staff help pupils to understand the importance of reading. Pupils practise their reading skills by reading a range of texts. These include books and recipes. Pupils learn to read signs and notices when out on visits. For pupils at an earlier stage of reading, staff share rhymes and reread favourite stories. Staff plan regular opportunities for pupils to practise their reading comprehension skills. The headteacher makes regular checks on how well pupils are learning. She ensures that teaching builds on the reading skills that pupils already have. Some of the early reading books that staff use to help pupils practise their phonics skills are too difficult. They include too many sounds and letters that pupils do not know.

Staff, including those new to the school, have received a wide range of effective training. This has increased their expertise in helping pupils to improve their behaviour. Staff are skilled in supporting pupils’ personal development. Most staff have not had recent training in teaching the curriculum. This means that there are some inconsistencies in the approaches that staff use when teaching. For example, staff use different approaches when teaching handwriting.

All pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Many have social, emotional and mental health needs. Staff are successful in meeting the diverse range of pupils’ needs. A parent we spoke with described the noticeable improvements in her child’s behaviour and confidence since attending the school. Pupils are keen to come to school. Attendance is well above the national average.

The school’s curriculum is rooted in the personal development of pupils. Staff work hard to build pupils’ independence. Pupils develop important skills for their future lives. Students in the sixth form are prepared well for work experience. The headteacher is meticulous in ensuring that students gain the skills they need to contribute to society. For example, a student had plenty of practice helping at meal times to prepare her for work in a local cafe.

The building is well maintained, clean and well resourced. The newly refurbished sensory room is used by pupils on a regular basis. There is an attractive garden area for pupils to get fresh air at breaktimes. Leaders make full use of the school’s nearby farm. Pupils access physical education three times a week away from the school building.

Leaders make sure that all staff follow the school’s health and safety requirements, including fire regulations and risk assessments. The headteacher keeps parents and carers well informed about the work of the school. The school’s policies are available to parents and others. The complaints policy is fully compliant.

The proprietor ensures that all of the independent school standards are met. The headteacher and proprietor are clear about their roles and responsibilities.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff provide an extremely caring and nurturing environment. Pupils’ safety and welfare take the highest priority for leaders. Staff are effective in keeping pupils safe. Leaders ensure that safeguarding policies and procedures are in place and that everyone knows them. All staff read the relevant parts of the latest national guidance about safeguarding.

Leaders work well with other agencies to support pupils. Adults in school make sure that pupils are well looked after. Staff act quickly if they have concerns.

Pupils learn how to stay safe and behave responsibly in different situations, including when using the internet.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

Reading books for pupils who are learning to read are sometimes too difficult for them to practise their decoding skills. Leaders need to make sure that reading books are closely matched to pupils’ phonics ability. . Gaps in staff knowledge have led to some inconsistencies in the approaches to teaching. Leaders should ensure that staff training is used to develop the expertise of staff across different areas of the curriculum. Leaders should use this training to develop a consistent approach to teaching.