Fairfield Park was a new housing development on the site of the former Fairfield Hospital just to the south of the Bedfordshire town of Stotfold. This occupied a mature, parkland site within Stotfold's boundaries but separate from the town. This separation is now accentuated by the main A507 road which bypasses Stotfold and forms a major link to the A1, A1 (M) and M1.
The Fairfield Development initially comprised of 900 dwellings of different housing types and about 100 apartments in the imposing Victorian Grade II* listed former hospital building. Given the size of development and its distance from the Stotfold lower schools, the County Council decided that this new development would be best served by a new lower school sited within it. It will primarily serve the new development and its defined catchment area will reflect this. It was initially built as a 150 place school with a 3+ nursery unit. The building's design readily allows for additional capacity to be easily provided.
The school will be sited in the centre of the Park off a public square with many mature trees along its perimeter. It is surrounded by housing, some of it social, and a purpose-built community centre is adjacent.
Number, size and type of classrooms were in accordance with the latest advice from the Dfe and feature a specialised IT suite and landscaped internal courtyard as a secure outdoor classroom. Grounds to the rear will be mainly laid out as a grassed playing field with a small nature area. Two themed gardens are envisaged for the front of the school.
The development has high quality housing built to a common design brief echoing the hospital building and in common with many Victorian country estates. The school's design follows this brief being brick-faced with a pitched slate roof and wood sash windows and follows the Fairfield Park Urban Design Strategy.
Recognising the school's important role as a centre of any community, it has been designed to facilitate community use with parts of the building, such as the kitchen and hall readily accessible.
The school was completed and opened in September 2007 with approximately 70 children and the Headteacher Mrs Stone was recruited to establish and set up the school with resources and staffing. An opening ceremony was held with the local community and the school was opened by ‘His Grace the Duke of Bedford’.
As part of the opening ceremony the school members in 2008 planted a ‘Time Capsule’ with the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire to be opened in 25 years. This time capsule has been moved several times due to the later extension work and now has a new location on the school grounds.
It was soon recognised that the school needed a fully Extended Services offer and the Head and Governors bid the Local Authority for funds to build a bungalow on the school site in 2009, which is now known as ‘The Pavilion’, this houses our pre – school and full wrap around care of breakfast and after school club run by an independent company called Poppyfields.
The school has continually grown over the years in the local community and attained an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted in 2012; the Head was extremely pleased of this status especially in terms of immense growth of staff and pupils year on year. The success has been down to the relentless focus on standards and teaching and learning from the Head and the stable leadership team. This was further recognised when the Head became a National Leader of Education and the school a National Support School supporting other local schools and Heads on School Improvement.
The school has constantly been oversubscribed and popular in the local community. The Head and governors once again lobbied the Local Authority for additional space and the school has now been doubled and extended from a 1 form entry school to a 2 form entry school. This was complete in July 2013 and staff and pupils moved into their new wing ready for the academic year 2013-2014.
The housing development has further grown year and year since 2007 and now has a flourishing Parish Council and community. Please see Fairfield Matters the local magazine that informs the community of key events and local information.