Frequently Asked Questions
What are the class sizes?
The optimum number of children per class is 20.
What Curriculum do you follow?
We broadly follow the National Curriculum but are not confined by it. The curriculum is adapted to each individual child’s needs.
Who carries out inspections on the school?
We are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. We were rated “Excellent” in all areas following our last inspection in 2011. As an independent school we are not inspected by OFSTED.
Do you have learning support?
Yes. We have a dedicated Learning Support Co-ordinator who leads a team of Learning Support Assistants. They provide extra, individually tailored support to any child who needs further challenges or additional assistance.
Are school lunches provided or can I bring a packed lunch?
School lunches are important in developing good table manners and social skills. All school lunches are freshly cooked by our catering team. There is always a vegetarian option and at least two vegetables, often with a salad bar. Fresh fruit is available daily as an option for dessert. Children do not bring in packed lunches. We are a nut free school and can accommodate special dietary requirements.
Where can I buy uniform from?
Our Uniform Shop is run by Mr Cricket of Burwell. Please visit the website: fairsteadhouseuniformshop.co.uk for further information.
Do you sell second hand uniform?
The Parents’ Association hold regular second hand uniform sales in school.
Do you offer a Breakfast and After School Club?
Yes. Breakfast Club runs from 7.30am until school starts and includes breakfast. The After School Club is from the end of school until 6pm. Tea is provided if required.
What after school clubs and activities are there?
We have a large variety of clubs and activities run by our teaching staff. These include cooking, pottery, multi sports, athletics, chess, animation, storytelling, orchestra and textiles. There is no charge for these clubs unless they are run by someone from outside the school, such as Aikido and Yoga Bugs.
We also have a very successful Equestrian Club which competes at weekends.
What is the House system?
All the children belong to one of three Houses: Buckenham, Taylor or Wedgwood (named after former headteachers of Fairstead House). The children are awarded House Points for achievements such as good behaviour or work. The House Points are recorded and each year the winning House is awarded the House Cup.
What music lessons do you offer?
We offer a wide range of music lessons including the flute, recorder, clarinet, piano, drums and guitar. Singing lessons are also available. There is a school orchestra and school choir which is open to all pupils and a chamber choir for those invited to join.
What sports do you play?
All children take part in PE and athletics, such as cross country. The girls also play netball, rounders and hockey, the boys cricket, football and rugby. We regularly play matches (both home and away) against other schools such as Friends’ School at Saffron Walden, St Mary’s School, Cambridge and Culford School, Bury St Edmunds.
What fields do you use for games?
We use playing fields adjacent to the school on the Severals, nearby at the former St Felix Middle School and at Lacey’s Lane, Exning.
Do the children go on residential trips?
Children from Years 3 and 4 go on a two night residential trip to Burwell House. Years 5 and 6 go separately on a four night midweek adventure trip to places such as Hilltop in Norfolk or Snowdonia in Wales.
After leaving Fairstead House, do all the children continue onwards in the Independent sector?
Some of the children continue onwards in the Independent sector to schools such as the Perse, King’s Ely and St Mary’s Cambridge, many with scholarships. Children also leave to go on to local State schools. We have excellent links with other nearby Independent schools and our pupils have a smooth transition to senior school.
Do you have a Parents’ Association?
Yes, we have an active and dedicated Parents Association who organise very popular school events such as our Halloween Autumn Fair and summer circus for the children and the summer ball for parents.
Do you have an Alumni Association?
Yes. Please contact the Registrar for more information.
Are there any scholarships available?
Yes. Scholarships are available from Year 5 upwards for children showing strong academicability or skill in art, music, drama or sport.
How do I pay school fees?
Payment is due on the first day of each term and is usually made by direct debit.
Can I pay monthly?
The school does not offer monthly payment plans but there are schemes available which, for a small fee, pay school fees upfront and you then make monthly payments to the scheme.
Can I take out an insurance to cover school fees if my child is off school?
Yes and many parents do choose to take out such an insurance. This covers fees if your child is ill or absent for 5 consecutive days (including a weekend) or more. Details are available from the Bursar.
Do you have pupil accident insurance?
Yes. All pupils are covered by pupils’ personal accident insurance for the unlikely but serious eventuality of death or permanent disability. This is in addition to the school’s Employers and Public Liability insurances. The cover is up to £1 million.