Fairfield Primary School in Penarth

Fairfield Primary School in Penarth. Some of the trees outside the school were sawn down this year.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is aiming to create a new Nursery Unit within Penarth’s Fairfield Primary School to “change the character” of the struggling school and change it to a “3-11 years school”.

It’s proposed to introduce the change as from January 2018 – subject to the approval of the Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ and a period of public consultation which will run for 6 weeks from January 3rd  2017. The new nursery unit would have 48 part-time places.

Fairfield School - as seen from Penarth Heights

Fairfield School – as seen from Penarth Heights

Currently nursery provision in Penarth is offered by what the council calls  “a range of maintained [i.e. state-provided] and private nurseries”  but there’s been no state-provided nursery facility at either Fairfield or Evenlode Primary Schools. Nursery-age children in the catchment areas of those two schools can attend either a private nursery or the state-sector nurseries at Cogan or Bute Cottage.

Fairfield Primary School is currently under-subscribed. It has a capacity for  316 children between 4 and 11 but had only 292 pupils on the school roll in January this year

Fairfield Primary School Penarth

Fairfield Primary School Penarth

Fairfield Primary School hasn’t had an inspection by the education watchdog Estyn since November 2010 .

At that inspection –  6 years ago – a council report said “The school’s current performance and prospects for improvement were both judged as good”. However an internal  council report admits that in a “monitoring visit” last year Estyn identified Fairfield Primary School “as one in which the Council should have taken a more direct approach to challenging performance.”

It was found that Although performance at outcome 5+ is good in the Foundation Phase, performance at outcome 6+ is not.” The report also said that  “Outcomes in key stage 2 particularly, do not compare well with similar schools and there is no evidence of an improving trend in performance“.

The reading results in key stage 2 were found to be below “local authority and Wales averages”. Inspectors found that “The excellent teaching found in some classes is not consistent across the rest of the school”.

Some of the problems at the school were said to be because the school lacked its own nursery unit . As a consequence, it receives a number of children from other areas in its primary reception classes and the internal report says thatin some instances the level of social skills [of those children] was very low.”  It is thought that a new nursery unit will help tackle some of those problems.

The matter will be discussed in the Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ next week.

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  1. Sick of the same old politicians says:

    So local residents will have to endure even more parents seemingly unable to walk their children to work. What does the local council propose to do about parking enforcement? Nothing I’m sure!

  2. Kirsty says:

    Disappointing headline for this article, my son attends the school and it most definitely not “below average”. Underfunded? Yes. Relying on PTA? Yes. But it is no different to the other junior schools in Penarth, they are all very good schools!

    • Lindsay says:

      Yes indeed, Kirsty. Estyn rated all aspects of the school’s performance as “good”. Penarth is certainly blessed with excellent schools and it should be an a cause for celebration not negativity.

  3. Christopher David says:

    Well I had a child who did very well in Fairfield under a certain head Master that was run out. After that the school appeared to go down hill. My son who was post certain headmaster asked under his own initiative to be transferred to Evenlode. Evelode was streets ahead and son after a month or two catch up flourished. In fairness that was c 13 years ago but some of the negative comments do resonate.

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