29 December 2017

Fairfield is a school where everyone is valued for who they are and for what they can become.

Above all, it wants students to enjoy coming to school and being part of their community.

Fairfield is committed to the highest possible standards in everything it does and has a vision to prepare young people for the opportunities and challenges of our global community.

“It felt like a natural transition,” explains Burges Salmon’s Corporate Responsibility manager Catherine Correia about the firm’s partnership with Fairfield High, a school in the Horfield area of Bristol. “After working with so many different secondary schools over the past years, we were ready to focus our efforts on one school. We set ourselves an ambitious set of targets when we embarked on our three year plan. We’ve just finished the second year and, frankly, it couldn’t be going any better.”

Nick Lewis, Head of School at Fairfield High who works closely with Catherine on the programme agrees: “The partnership, the culture and the ambition between the two sides match up perfectly. When we began discussions, we quickly understood that each side was interested in really making a difference to students’ lives, particularly in terms of giving them real life work experience opportunities. The students will tell you it has been a huge success and that it has made a genuine difference to their career outlook. We’ve joined forces so well – we have Burges Salmon mentors helping students, have had career talks and mock interviews and even a school governor who works at the firm. It’s a major commitment.”

The firm’s three-year partnership is called Business Class and is one of Business In The Community’s (BITC) programmes. BITC is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. In particular, five of the students at Fairfield worked on a programme called Envision, which improves young people’s employability by empowering them to tackle real life social problems. The students are paired with mentors from a business, in this case Burges Salmon.

Catherine is effusive about the results it has produced: “We worked with two teams at the school, one of which (Team Regen) aimed to regenerate the M32 Underpass. The team used drawings made by the primary students to help create their overall art work, which brightens and regenerates the area to the benefit of the local community. Beyond the undoubted success of the programme, it’s the results we produced working with both teams on their projects that have contributed to them believing that they can make it in the business world. This is what means the most to me.”

Nick agrees: “To watch a group of Year 10s presenting to the Mayor of Bristol to the sound of clapping and congratulations is a mental picture that will stay with me forever. The team won the overall Community Apprentice award and were competing against sixth formers, which is particularly impressive.”

Our values in action

The Chemistry of Collaboration

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