Update from the Principal
As we head towards the summer holidays we can reflect on a very successful year at Fairfield; we have some great events lined up to finish off the year like our Summer Gala on Thursday 18th July, but like most schools and communities we face our challenges too. For this reason I thought I’d share these with you to give a sense of how news stories and politicians’ words can impact on schools.
At Fairfield, three key aims are that students feel “valued and respected”, that we “make the world a better place “and that we “deliver the ambitions of our diverse communities”, but we are increasingly finding ourselves in a context where such values are under threat. The following quote from May 20th Guardian shows the issues clearly:
“Ethnic minorities in Britain are facing rising and increasingly overt racism, with levels of discrimination and abuse continuing to grow in the wake of the Brexit referendum, nationwide research reveals.
Seventy-one percent of people from ethnic minorities now report having faced racial discrimination, compared with 58% in January 2016, before the EU vote, according to polling data seen by the Guardian.”
Trends in society, like this, work their way into schools with some students feeling attacked or simply unvalued in our country. At Fairfield, we aspire to stand as an example to other schools and we do much good, but even at Fairfield we have noticed incidents of racism or other intolerances continue to occur in the year 2019. We are not alone in this, but such things will never be accepted at our school and we must challenge them better.
I would ask our students and communities to ready themselves to join with us in the new school year in a “Big Education Conversation” about how we can even further address issues such as sexism or racism. At our school we are proud to say we “live our values” and sometimes it is the right time to show solidarity and support and to speak out or stand up to make the world a better place. The summer holidays are a great time to have unpressured conversations about the kind of changes we like to see.
As always, our students are the inspiration and I have awarded 10 of our Year 10 students certificates for their exemplary work with University of the West of England and the charity “Aid Box”. They have created a scheme to help and support newly arrived refugees and this will further support our bid to become a School of Sanctuary - a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers to be educated. Actions like this really do change the world and make it a better place.
This month I am also very pleased to say that we have achieved the Health Schools “Health and Wellbeing Badge”. This recognises the excellent practice and support that is offered across the school in this area. From September, students will additionally benefit from the installation of a multi station outdoor gym in the school grounds, helping all our health and fitness go from strength to strength, thanks to a grant from Excalibur Academies Trust. This has been requested via the Principal’s Teas that I run on a Friday, so its rewarding to be able to deliver on that request.
Environmental action has also been another of our lived values, with students from Fairfield representing the school at the mass lobby of Parliament on climate change. In school, as Senior Leaders, we are pleased to have been able to invest in replacing all of the lights across our building with the very best low energy LED lighting units. This has cut our carbon emissions. The brilliant thing about this is that the building is much brighter too. A double benefit.
So, in conclusion, there is much to celebrate and look forward to in readiness for September, which is a good time to remind everyone that school starts back on Wednesday 4th September at 8.40 am for all year groups. Hope to see you at our Summer Gala and if not, have a restful and restorative summer break.
Mr Nick Lewis