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Why we are doing what we are doing and who we are doing it for

At the start of our fourth school year I’d like to use my blog to reaffirm why we are doing what we are doing – and who we are doing it for.

Why we do what we do

Our pledge, and unflinching resolve, is to be one of the best schools in this country state or private in the next ten years.

To achieve this and pull off the seeming impossible, we have created and constantly reinforce a very distinctive ethos. It is an ethos that is built upon the Christian faith, nurtures enterprise and is geared towards boys. Our ethos and culture is made clear in all our policies and on our website. Furthermore, whenever I speak in public about the school on open days, open evenings or at transition events I make it clear what our school ethos is and refer to our firm discipline and strict rules on uniform and appearance at all times. We constantly remind our boys about the importance of standards. Standards, standards, standards! Knowing how to behave appropriately in different settings – assembly, lessons, on the sports field, to and from school, in the dining room, in the library, walking through corridors, relaxing or letting off steam at break and lunch. Ensuring their uniform is always immaculate and strict rules about hair.

Our policy on uniform and appearance isn’t driven by our Christian ethos. To be a Christian you don’t need to have your hair a particular length or style, neither do you need to wear a blazer, an upper or lower school tie. We have a strict uniform policy because we maintain boys need strict discipline and firm boundaries.  Too pernickety? Too strict? Ask British businesses, law firms and banks what they think. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37244180?scrlybrkr=5c7c1b5b#

Do these policies and firm boundaries somehow constrain boys’ development, creativity or expression?  We think the opposite. Not only are our boys well behaved, they are also well rounded and happy – as is reflected in our Ofsted report. And as the Tri Borough safeguarding lead officer said after her visit to FBS, ‘If there was ever a school whose ethos was embedded with students being happy, safe and well,  The Fulham Boys School was a shining light in this element…if any colleagues from other schools ever wanted to see what a happy and safe school looked like, The Fulham Boys School would be first on my list of schools to send them to look at’.

When I take stock of what all our boys have achieved in the first three years – the sporting trophies, their performances on stage and outstanding work in the classroom – I believe that we are on course to achieve our ambitions aim to be one of the very best. And what I think really sets us apart is that the behaviour and attitude of our boys is exceptional. They are maturing and becoming self-disciplined young men – as Ofsted put it our ‘Boys live and breathe good manners and courtesy’.

Who we are doing it for

But who is all this for? All Fulham Boys.

FBS has a complete cross section of boys. As a non-fee paying school, we are able to draw in a far more diverse deomgraphic than private schools. When it comes to preparing boys for life, this gives FBS boys a huge advantage. Fulham has a vibrant mix of cultures and some of the most expensive housing in London alongside pockets of significant deprivation. Our boys learn valuable lessons from mixing with each other, crossing socio-economic divides, and learning from each other’s perspectives rather than falling back on ‘group think’. No boy is allowed to use his upbringing or background as an excuse for not meeting our high standards, or as a barrier to achievement.

Our demographic proves this. 7% of our boys have Special Educational Needs and the support we give these young men was praised by Ofsted. 22% of our boys have Free School Meals, 43% are Pupil Premium. 15% of our boys come from private primary schools. 18% have English as an additional language (EAL). 7% of our boys are Asian, 10% are Black African, 13% are Black Caribbean, 1% Morroccan, 47% White British, 3% White Eastern European, 7% White Western European, 5% Other mixed background, 1% other ethnic group and 6% White other.  These are Fulham boys.

Everyone is welcome.  As Ofsted commented ‘Christian values of the school are clear while at the same time everyone is welcome and included’ . FBS opened four years ago to provide for all Fulham boys, not for a particular type of Fulham boy.

For those that choose to come, we ask them to embrace our ethos and understand that our school rules are geared to support this.  As with most rules, there are exceptions; the rules allow for these. And if our rules are tested, and found lacking, we do what we teach our boys to do – to reflect, understand and learn. Ofsted referred to our ethos as ‘incredible’. It drives what we do, and who we do it for.

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27 Comments

  1. Denise Paisley

    And we want to thank you for this Mr Ebenezer, we couldn’t ask for a better past 3 years for our boy. He/We have been privileged to have you as a head along with your staff. We fought for this school and will continue to support FBS every step of the way. Please continue doing what you do. Standards are needed, rules are needed.

  2. Fabian paisley

    As a parent of a year 10 boy and one of those who fought for the opening of this school, I have always signed up to and fully agree with the ethos and standards set. These standards have not hampered or affected the happiness and progress of the Fulham boy. Yes some of the rules are strict, but is that a bad thing? No of course not. For me strictness breeds respect, some rules are unpopular with some children but the same goes for home life, not all parental rules are applauded by kids. I have no regrets neither does my son for joining FBS, I could not think of a better start to adult life than the opportunities given at this school.
    #besmartinappearanceandmind.

  3. Rose

    A really sensitive, well written, honest blog. I would like to see this circulated to counteract the extremely unfair negative press Fulham Boys School has received of late. All parents/guardians of children choosing FBS know exactly what the policies and rules are if they are lucky enough to be offered a place where everyone is treated fairly and respectfully regardless of race, religion or background . Feel dreadfully sorry for the young man caught up in this. Hope there is a peaceful and happy resolution for all involved.

  4. Sally Bessada

    Alun, we remain grateful to you and your teaching team for your tireless efforts in striving to maintain your rules/standards in support of our boys, their education and frankly, shaping the men they will grow up to be. Your strict attention to these standards were well publicised to us as prospective parents and I am grateful that they remain consistent as it enables my son to work within these known boundaries – and he is thriving. Please know that we very much appreciate what the school is doing, and wholeheartedly support you.

  5. Linda Allcock

    My two boys are happy and secure at FBS because the rules are so strict – they know exactly where they stand. They know if they forget something they’ll get punished, so now they always double check they have everything. The strict rules are equipping them for a lifetime of good habits. Thank you for having the courage to be strict.

  6. rebecca hathaway

    I echo all the comments above. I have huge respect for the school and its strong and well defined leadership. The FBS boys are the direct beneficiaries but we the parents and the wider community are also fortunate that the extraordinary vision and hard work is making this school so successful. Turning around the educational and life opportunities of children from all walks of life is a worthy ambition. I am very proud that my son goes to FBS.

  7. Sophia

    I absolutely adore Fulham Boys School. My two boys are so happy at the school and they are really thriving under the schools strict rules and guidelines. Thank you so much for all you do for our family and I will be forever grateful for your commitment and love you have shown to my children even when its hard to keep standards so high. This truly is a place where every child is valued and loved. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all you do.

  8. Mariea Brennan

    Well said Mr Ebenezer. We all support your policies 100%.
    I do feel sorry for the young boy in the middle of all this. However, the school clearly states what is expected of the students in dress code and hair styles/cuts.

  9. Karen

    My sons experience of Fulham Boys has been very positive. And I put this down in large part to the very clear expectations the school has for the boys. Having such clear boundaries has created a safe environment that my son is given free reign to flourish in.
    I also put the schools ability to create such a warm and inclusive environment, for boys from many different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds down to the consistent rules and standards expected.
    I feel very fortunate that my son attends The Fulham Boys School and don’t recognise the school that is being so negatively portrayed in the press.

  10. Emilie

    Thanks for this amazing letter ! My son is one of 7% so needs to find his place but he is really encouraged by the school, won few house points already and is super excited about the PGL trip! Thanks for all your efforts

  11. Elaine

    As a parent of a Year 10 boy I couldn’t be happier with the school. We have had three great years and my son has gone from strength to strength. I feel very fortunate that my son is a pupil at FBS. Amazing Head, staff and governors. Really appreciate all your hard work.

  12. Susannah Ward

    My son has experienced so much over the last year from FBS and I am very happy he was accepted a place at the school. He has started to become a young man in himself and gets the help needed where possible. He is learning piano which is great and enjoys his one on one session which I would never of thought he would be into something like that as he loves sports. FBS offers alot for the young boys and prepares them for life ahead. It is an amazing school all the staff and yourself should be very proud.

  13. Louise

    My son is thriving at FBS thanks to such strong boundaries. He started secondary school last year an unorganised, scruffy and shy little boy but with guidance from the amazing staff at FBS he is now a smart, organised and confident young man who has flourished and continues to. We thank you for your strict policies and keeping our boys safe and happy.

  14. Jonty

    Absolutely want to support you in your approach to educating our boys. The rules are extremely clear and consistently applied. We know exactly where we stand as parents and so do the boys. It creates an atmosphere that is so good for learning and ultimately makes the boys feel safer and secure. Thanks so much

  15. Sarah.

    As a parent of a year 9 boy I just want to say THANK YOU! My son has grown into a wonderful young man who has nothing but respect and pride for his School! Running a school cannot be an easy task .. Fulham Boys is outstanding and has the most amazing ethos …
    Boys NEED suitable role models to help them Thro puberty and beyond’ Fulham Boys provides this and so much more for each and every one of their boys! Boys need discipline and guidance’ they respond so much better when they know their boundaries and they know they cannot push those..
    Rules are Rules and made for a reason! We must NOT allow them to be changed.
    Fulham Boys has full support of every parent of every boy and that is obvious to see at any school event. We are so proud our son is a fully fledged FULHAM BOY!
    Once again.. THANK YOU !

  16. Alex Stirling

    I think Alun and the team of teachers at FBS are doing an outstanding job. A school must embrace an ethos and have rules; this is key to its success. By the same token pupils that join a school (and their parents too) must embrace the ethos and understand the rules embedded into the schools DNA. Pupils will find that later on in their lives their careers are likely to have to follow a similar sort of process and therefore it is an invaluable thing to understand and work positively with.

    I support whole heartedly the exceptional work that the FBS teachers and ancillary staff do, their recommendations and the approach they take to educating our children. They have established an outstanding school.

  17. Pippa

    My son has just started in year 7. He couldn’t be happier – thank you to you and your team at FBS!

  18. Tanya Laperouse

    When we signed up for Fulham Boys we were fully informed well in advance of our son’s first day at school what was expected from us as parents and from our son. It took him some time to get used to new school rules, strict codes of behaviour and dress code but he got on with it, sat through some detenti0ns along the way and learned some life lessons in the process as well.
    Today, he is in year 10, he loves his school and is very proud of being an FBS boy. He has been very upset that the school has been portrayed so negatively by the press/media and we have had to explain to him the mechanics of how the media sometimes works and when social media can turn ugly – another life lesson. People should remember that rules for all are not created to exclude anyone but to include everyone. From our experience this has always been the case at FBS.

  19. Lewis Mitcham

    It’s encouraging to see the positive comments from the parents of this school in regards to educate and encourage the boys to succeed.

    In regards to Master Flanders and dreadlocks I would like to put the following forward for thought.

    A statement was released saying the School was unaware of any tenet the hair had in regards to any faith. It holds significance in many cultures. In this case however in the Rastafari religion locks are symbolic of the Lion of Judah which is sometimes centered on the Ethiopian flag. Rastafari hold that Haile Selassie is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, through their son Menelik I. Their dreadlocks were inspired by the Nazarites of the Bible.

    In terms of professional appearance with care dreadlocks can be maintained in such a way to promote a professional and attractive appearance. The below link shows a number of professional and stylised versions of the hairstyle.

    https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/116741815314681495/

    I would challenge the school to reconsider their outlook on this matter and work with Master Flanders and his mother on the best version of dreadlocks that could be presented as I believe all deserve a chance at success – and this school seems to give any child a good shot at doing just that.

  20. Rose

    Many people are unaware of this tenet in regards to the growing of the hair into dreadlocks. I feel a lack of knowledge and communication has been at the heart of this case. Unfortunately the media have now turned this into something it is not, regardless of the upset it would cause to the young man in question and his mother. I am confident the school will resolve this to the mothers satisfaction and I really hope she continues to send her son to the school as he stated he was very happy at FBS.

  21. Mark Hopkins

    Mr Ebenezer is an outstanding head teacher. I have two sons at the school. I believe the clear and firm rules on uniform and appearance will help them prepare for the job market that awaits ahead just as much as exam grades. I could not be more happy with the way the school is run or the vibrant, caring, can do culture that exists

  22. Charlie Hambi

    With two boys at the school and hopefully a third in the future, I believe that against all the odds the school was formed and with continued logistical difficulties has excelled. This is primarily down to having an excellent head teach Mr Ebenezer supported by fantastic staff.

    Their drive and determination is seeking to push the school to the highest levels, not being just content with good but to be the best, is a lesson to all the boys to learn – strive to be the best you can. With hard work, belief and determination everything is possible.

    The school clearly sets it’s standards in all areas and we should all be very proud that the head and his team are striving for a zero tolerance on pupils who wish to compromise these standards. If you compromise for one child then where do you draw the line?

    The head and his staff have my families full support.

  23. Magali Moutreuil

    THANK YOU for all you do with your team. You are of a different era, please do remain so!
    I just wish I could get away from my hectic life to join the ranks of the Friends of FBS and be more proactive in supporting you and your colleagues.

    Respect

    Magali Moutreuil

  24. Dominic Wilson & family

    As parents of a year 10 Fulham Boy we fully support what the school is striving to achieve, the clear boundaries and standards expected. The aims of the school have always been clearly communicated. We accept them and signed up to them.

    Mr Ebenezer is an outstanding and inspirational headmaster, he has our full support, as do the Governors, dedicated teachers. and support staff. Our son is happy and making great progress.

  25. OMOLARA

    Came for one of the open evening. I immediately fell in love with the school and its ethos. My son absolutely love the school. It’s kind of scary going into an all boys school but believe you mean on entering FBS, it was such a comforting and relaxed atmosphere. I pray my son gets in. Ebenezer, well done and I hope all your dreams and those of the school’s 10 founders come to reality.

  26. Jacky Andrews

    My son is in yr 6 at the moment and my husband and I are still contemplating over fbs or going private. One of the few reasons of considering fbs is the ethos, I feel that the strict rules and boundaries are important in order to make a school succeed and become great as the likes of many private and some state schools. From the open day, prospectus and from the founders the rules were always highlighted, any prospective parent would have known that. If rules change just to suit one individual then it goes against its ethos.

  27. Tracy Glastrong

    Very impressive blog.

    Interesting article right on the subject.

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