Milton Keynes primary school shoots from 'Inadequate' to 'Good' Ofsted rating in just a few months

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Inspectors paid a second visit and were brimming with praise

A primary school left reeling by an Inadequate Ofsted rating has turned the tables within months to win an overall Good.

Fairfields school was shocked in April this year when its very first inspection resulted in an overall rating of Inadequate – despite being jusdged as Outstanding in three out of the five categories assessed and Good in the quality of education it offers.

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The 430-pupil school is part of the Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) multi-academy trust and opened just five years ago on the Fairfields estate.

Fairfields Primary School is now rated an overall Good by OfstedFairfields Primary School is now rated an overall Good by Ofsted
Fairfields Primary School is now rated an overall Good by Ofsted

Ofsted said the low rating was due to safeguarding, and criticised the trust-run school for failing to effectively pass on concerns to other agencies involved in keeping children safe.

The Trust tried to challenge the factual accuracy of the rating, saying the safeguarding concerns related to “a small number of procedural matters”. They even issued a formal complain to Ofsted but the inspectors upheld their judgement.

Meanwhile, executive headteacher Matthew Shotton reassured parents that children are safe and the school takes its safeguarding of pupils “extremely seriously”.

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He invited Ofsted inspectors back into the school and this visit happened just two months later, in July. Today Ofsted has published the results of this follow-up inspection – and the school is delighted to have received an overall Good with plenty of praise from the inspectors.

Fairfields Executive Head Matthew ShottonFairfields Executive Head Matthew Shotton
Fairfields Executive Head Matthew Shotton

They highlighted outstanding practice in behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and early years provision. They also rated leadership and management as good and the pupils’ behaviour as “consistently exceptional”.

They said staff were united as a team to provide high-quality education and the pupils were “rightly proud” to be part of a happy and inclusive community.

Other comments included:

Staff have high expectations for all, and pupils are keen to rise to challenges set for them. Pupils respond maturely to the routines in place to support positive behaviour. Staff are highly skilled and demonstrate their excellent subject knowledge through clear explanations and interesting activities. Pupils feel safe and appreciate how much the adults at school care about them. Leaders are ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Leaders demonstrate a relentless drive to positively impact the lives of all pupils. Pupil well-being and success sits at the heart of their decisions. Governors work closely with the trust to drive positive outcomes for pupils. Together, they are passionate and knowledgeable advocates for the pupils.

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Mr Shotton said: “The report in full evidences a school that is not only good, but one that continuously strives to improve and excel. This is an excellent report...The Ofsted inspection was thorough, robust, and professionally rigorous.

“I thank all those involved in the inspection itself, especially the staff, governors, Trustees, parents and the children who shone during the inspection process and continue to make a positive contribution to school life.”

Sarah Bennett, CEO of IFtL, said: “I am pleased to see this report celebrate such a wide areas of provision at Fairfields. The previous Ofsted report was a shock to us all, staff and parents alike, but we take safeguarding extremely seriously and moved quickly to address the procedural issues that were highlighted."

“Fairfields has now achieved the grading it deserves from its first five years as a school.”