Fairlands Middle School

Name Fairlands Middle School
Website http://fairlandsmiddleschool.co.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 15 January 2020
Address Masons Way, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3PG
Phone Number 01934743186
Type Academy
Age Range 9-13
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 483 (51% boys 49% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 20.3
Academy Sponsor Wessex Learning Trust
Local Authority Somerset
Percentage Free School Meals 7.7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 3.9%
Persisitent Absence 10.9%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

Fairlands Middle School is a welcoming and friendly school. Pupils enjoy coming to school. Staff know their pupils very well. Pupils and staff get along and treat each other with respect.

Pupils listen to their teachers, complete their work, and can remember things their teachers taught earlier. They can talk confidently about their work and what they have learned. The school’s curriculum helps pupils to form well-thought-out opinions and to be considerate when sharing their views.

Bullying is rare. One pupil’s comment reflected the views of many when he said, ‘It is simple – we are just nice to each other.’ Pupils say that they feel safe in school. They know whom they can go to if they are worried about anything. They are sure that staff will deal quickly with any problems.

The school provides opportunities for pupils to develop their character and become well-rounded young people. Pupils are keen to help each other. For example, older pupils enjoy acting as reading buddies for younger pupils. Pupils spoke enthusiastically about being digital leaders, librarians and choreographers. They told us that the school ‘provides loads of opportunities and helps us to be whatever we want to be’.

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

Leaders have designed a curriculum that prepares pupils well for the next stage of their education. In most subjects, leaders have thought carefully about what pupils should learn and when. In mathematics and history, pupils have the building blocks to move on to more complex work. In some key stage 2 subjects, however, the curriculum is not as well sequenced. For example, sometimes pupils read texts in English without teachers giving them knowledge that could help them to understand better.Teachers use their good subject knowledge to plan appropriate activities. These help pupils to remember their learning and understand new content. In history, pupils can make complex connections between Medieval England and the French Revolution. In Year 8, pupils use their knowledge about refugees from the citizenship curriculum to make sense of the issues they read about in their English novel. However, in languages at key stage 2, the content and activities do not help pupils to remember basic phrases. Pupils say that they find language teaching too repetitive.Staff use assessment well in most subjects. In mathematics and history, teachers use it to help pupils to embed their knowledge. In English, teachers do not always use the information they have about what pupils can do in order to plan effective teaching in Year 5.The leader for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is making great strides to strengthen the school’s provision. Pupils, parents and carers, and staff work together to identify pupils’ additional needs and put in place appropriate support. Most teachers ensure that pupils with SEND know and remember more over time.

There is a calm and safe environment in the school. Pupils behave well most of the time. Occasionally, some pupils do not follow the activities in class. This is usually when teachers have not planned for those pupils’ needs carefully enough.

Most pupils attend school regularly. If a pupil is absent, they quickly catch up when they return to school. The school knows families well and works with them to improve attendance.

Leaders have developed a strong programme for pupils’ personal development. It is well planned and implemented. It helps pupils to become knowledgeable and tolerant citizens. Pupils talk confidently about how to manage their own physical and mental well-being. Many pupils take part in sport and creative clubs. However, leaders are uncertain about the level of participation of disadvantaged pupils. This means they cannot be sure if those pupils fully benefit from the wider curriculum.

The headteacher is supported well by his senior team, school staff and governors. They share his ambition for Fairlands Middle School to be an inspirational, inclusive and tolerant place to learn. The impact of their leadership is evident in the improvements made in mathematics and provision for pupils with SEND.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Pupils know how to keep themselves safe, including online. They know the safeguarding team and say that there is always someone to talk to if they need help.

School leaders, governors and staff receive regular, comprehensive training in how to keep pupils safe. Staff know pupils well and this helps them to act quickly and effectively to support pupils.

The school supports vulnerable pupils well and works with external agencies to secure the right support for those pupils and families.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Leaders have not planned the curriculum precisely enough in key stage 2 in some subjects, such as English and languages. This means that some pupils do not get off to as strong a start as they could when they join the school. Leaders need tocarefully consider what pupils are capable of, and ensure that the curriculum is more precisely sequenced. . Leaders do not make consistently good use of the key information the school holds. They have been slow to identify some patterns in behaviour, attendance and participation in the wider curriculum. This can prevent them from being proactive in spotting areas for development. A strategic approach will enable the school to have a more coherent plan to support pupils, particularly those who are disadvantaged.