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THURSDAYS IN MAY

On Thursday 3rd of May we held a sixth form evening for our Year 10 boys. It was an informal event for parents and boys to hear about our plans and meet our new Head of 6th form, Ross Maggs, who is joining us in September from Brighton College https://www.brightoncollege.org.uk .

We outlined our ideas about what the sixth form will look like. High standards of appearance and behaviour will continue. No conduct card, no school blazer, but ‘uniform’ will be a school suit which boys will be measured for at the end of Year 11. A sixth form tie, crisp white shirt and of course, black polishable shoes. It will be academic but also cater for a small group of boys who may need a more vocational, bespoke curriculum.

Our plan is to provide 5 taught lessons a week for each A Level subject – despite the average being 3 ½ hours. Sport will continue to play a big part (especially on the back of two more cup wins and a final in football, and some our boys playing rugby at Twickenham this weekend!). Our co-curriculum programme will be different, but still a vital part of producing well rounded young men, providing them with the opportunity to pursue interests and become expert in things that they have had a taste of lower down in the school.

We want our 6th form boys to be at the heart of the school’s House system, taking on leadership responsibilities and we’ll be appointing our first ever head boy and deputy head boys. The 6th Form will provide opportunity for our young men to show that enterprising is what they are, not what they do, with their websites and our FBS qualification coming under the intense scrutiny of Russell Group and Oxbridge universities. Like the rest of the school, the sixth form will be built upon the Christian faith and will provide opportunities for mature debates and discussions about the big questions of life and death; the issues that really matter. The ethos in the sixth form will be the same distinctive, ‘incredible’ (as Ofsted put it) ethos which pervades the rest of the school, just adapted for boys who now really are young adults. We want to create a sixth form it’s privilege to be a part of.. Our 6th Form Prospectus comes out in the Autumn, when we also hold our first official 6th Form evening.

That was the first Thursday in May. Seven days later, we had our annual International Food Market. It was brilliant! Huge numbers of boys, staff and parents. Food from all over the world. Steel bands, boy bands, loads of laughter, a tangible feel good factor and nearly £2000 raised for charity. It was humbling to see parents and staff stay until gone 9 o’ clock clearing up and washing dishes. Even boys responding to requests and volunteering to help out. FBS is something special. Different cultures meeting, socio-economic divides being bridged, a real community working to overcome prejudice and challenge group think. We are determined to set the established order on its head and show what can be done by a government funded independent school. Thursday nights in May like this make me think we can actually do it. We really, honestly, genuinely can!

Which is why this Thursday, 17th May, we are meeting with some people to explore setting up another school like FBS. We believe the time has come to build the brand. Provide career development opportunities for our truly exceptional staff so that we don’t lose them to other schools. As well as to influence the educational landscape across the city; eventually across the country.  

And on the penultiamte Thursday in May – 24th May – the parents of FBS are putting on the annual Staff appreciation tea for all the staff. The food is always incredible, the drinks flow, but the best thing about it is the thought, time and effort that is behind it. It is all prepared by the parents. The same parents that challenge us, send us demanding emails, sometimes have up and downers with me in my office, attend Headmaster’s Coffee mornings and tell me about our shortcomings. All of it because they care, see FBS as a real co-operative and want what the staff and governors want for our boys: to be one of the best schools in this country – state or private. Thursdays in May tell me we might just pull it off.       

So what of the last Thursday in May, the 31st? I’ll be enjoying half term in the Inigo restaurant. A first class restaurant dedicated to gluten free food.

Thursdays in May have been quite something…

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