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


MP opens fabulous new classroom

Ably assisted by Year 2 children Claire Perry MP cut the ribbon to officially open the new classroom at Burbage Primary School. Declaring the classroom open she said: “This is a really exciting day; it’s wonderful to see the results of all the fundraising.”

Inside the fantastic new learning space

Children in Reception and Year 1 are already being taught in the new building which their teacher described as: “a fantastic bright and open learning environment in which to nurture a love of learning right from the start of school.” The classroom opens directly onto the school’s extensive outside space which includes a fantastic playing field, large playground, trim trail designed by the School Council, orchard, kitchen garden and chickens hatched and cared for by the children.

Funding for the new classroom came from government grants, generous donations and lots and lots of fundraising by the school community. Former Burbage School Principal Nicola Coupe was also there to celebrate the opening. She had been personally involved in much of the fundraising including completing a sponsored skydive with Reception teacher Bev Thompson. Congratulating Nicola on raising £8,500 in sponsorship Claire Perry said that: “Skydiving was something that she never had, and, never would do!”

Year Two with Excalibur swords at the ready – Claire Perry MP (right) and Nicola Coupe stand safely at the back!

Great Bedwyn Primary School joins Excalibur

Spelling out Great Bedwyn School; at the back Toby Watson; Chairman, Excalibur Academies Trust, Dr Patrick Hazlewood; CEO, Nicola Williams; Principal, Gill Mortimer; Chair of Great Bedwyn’s Local Governing Body

On the hottest April day since 1949 Excalibur Academies Trust welcomed the ninth school to join its family. Great Bedwyn is an outstanding primary school and as most students will progress to Excalibur’s St John’s Marlborough sees the huge benefit of offering a consistent all through educational experience. Joining Excalibur allows Great Bedwyn to retain its autonomy and unique characteristics whilst working with other academies within the Trust sharing best practice to ensure continuous improvement. Nicola Williams, Principal of Great Bedwyn CofE Primary School said, “Having undertaken considerable research, the Governors and I believe that joining Excalibur offers the opportunity to be part of a forward thinking multi academy trust which will ensure we continue to offer an exceptional educational experience for our children and increase development opportunities for staff.

Joining Excalibur was marked with a special assembly about joining a family of schools attended by the CEO and Chairman of Excalibur Academies Trust. The children gave  a beautiful rendition of their school song and were presented with a commemorative pencil, there was also a fabulous cake decorated with the school crest – but only staff were lucky enough to get a piece!

Fairfield goes from strength to strength

“FAIRFIELD High School is a very harmonious and inclusive school where students at all levels make strong progress and achieve some excellent results”.

That was the verdict of Ofsted inspectors after a recent visit. They said the 900 pupil secondary school in Horfield remained a Good school, maintaining standards in all areas since the last inspection in June 2013 and making some significant improvements.

More than 40 nationalities are represented at Fairfield High School and the inspectors said pupils respected and valued the knowledge they gained from being part of such a culturally diverse community.

The Ofsted team praised the support and opportunities given to disadvantaged students, those with special needs or disabilities and those who are the most able.

“You have raised pupils’ aspirations,” lead inspector Kathy Maddocks said in a letter to Acting Principal Nick Lewis. “Pupils identify with others who are like-minded and intellectually curious in these subjects. You provide inspiration for the most able disadvantaged pupils by working with universities.”

Partnership with local businesses and legal firms, leading to work experience and wider opportunities for students, was also highlighted.

A “concerted focus” on teaching was proving effective, the inspectors said. They noted significant improvement in science, probing questions and good use of oracy in English and frequent use of target languages in modern foreign language lessons.

The school was praised for making sure students were safe and secure. “You work determinedly, yet sensitively, with pupils, parents and external agencies to monitor and support the most vulnerable pupils. Safeguarding arrangements are secure and rooted in the school’s culture,” Ms Maddocks said.

Her letter praised the work of Mr Lewis, executive principal Catriona Mangham and Excalibur Trust chief executive Patrick Hazlewood and staff.

FHS joined the Excalibur in February 2015 and Ofsted said this partnership with schools in West Berkshire, Wiltshire and Swindon with varying urban and rural populations had provided further opportunities that had benefited staff and students and contributed to recent improvements at the school.

Mr Lewis said he was delighted with the inspectors’ findings. “Ofsted says we are going from strength to strength. I am so proud that the inspectors recognised this; they got a snapshot of what we strive to deliver every day – a wonderful, happy and successful school.

“This renewed Good judgement is thanks to the hard work of staff and students and the support of parents and carers. It is also a tribute to the dedication and commitment of our executive principal Catriona Mangham and we hope it will give her a boost as she continues to recover after her cancer surgery.”