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Fairfield High marks ten years in state-of-the-art building

Bristol academy that counts Cary Grant amongst former pupils is celebrating a decade in its iconic premises

Posted by Stephanie Broad | April 26, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

Staff and students at Fairfield High School (FHS) in Bristol are marking a decade since they transferred to their state-of-the-art buildings off Muller Road.

They moved into the iconic five-storey premises on April 24, 2006.

The £22 million school provided space to double student numbers and offered improved facilities for 21st century learning. 

Fairfield was one of the first secondaries to have new buildings in an ambitious programme that saw all Bristol's state-funded schools for children aged 11-16 rebuilt or substantially remodelled. It was created on the site of the St Thomas More Catholic Secondary, which closed in 2005. 

Inside the school's Atrium

FHS, which had converted from a grammar school to a comprehensive in 2000, moved from the redbrick premises in Fairlawn Road, Montpelier, where it had been based since 1898. 

Two of its best-known former pupils are Hollywood actor Cary Grant and Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers. 

In the decade since the move, the school has continued to develop, introducing a new uniform and a house system. Its most recent Ofsted report, in June 2013, rated it as “Good, with Outstanding features”. Students are among the best in the country for exceeding expectations in their GCSE exams at the end of five years at the school. 

FHS has a very diverse intake of students, and offers them a wide range of opportunities and activities both within and outside lesson times. The school became an academy in the Excalibur Trust last year. Demand for places has soared, and the school has been oversubscribed for the past two years. It has ambitions to open a sixth form. 

Principal Catriona Mangham, who has led the school since 2009, said: “This is a significant moment for us, and a time to acknowledge the successes of all those who have passed through Fairfield, both in the last decade and at the old school.

“Our main focus, as always, is on providing the very best opportunities for the students who are here in 2016 and those who will join us in future. FHS is a unique school where everyone is valued for who they are and what they can become.”

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