We are coming to the end of our tenth term at FBS. Every one of those terms has been action packed, colourful, full of battles to fight and obstacles to overcome; exciting, frenetic, vibrant, million miles an hour; successes to enjoy, experiences to savour and a tangible sense of camaraderie and togetherness. But term 10 has been something else again.
Term 10 has been a term of expansion. Our temporary site now has two wings: one at Gibbs Green and one on Beaumont Avenue. This extra space has transformed the school. As with Gibbs Green, we again self-delivered the renovation with help from our friends at the EFA, and accomplished in 7 weeks what some estimated would take years. This provided a great opportunity to exhibit our ‘can do’, ‘anything is possible’, ‘make it happen’ attitude which is in our very DNA.
It has been a term of new faces. We welcomed 120 new Year 7 boys. Some real characters. Sixteen new members of staff also joined us. Seven new to the profession with bags of potential, others who have come in with experience from other schools. Some came from the state sector others from private schools. All excited about working at a school with big ambitions, determined to buck the trend and turn the established order on its head.
Term 10 was a term of trips and visits. Departments making the most of London as their classroom; a Spanish trip to Barcelona, PGL Year 7 weekend away, the Brilliant Club visited Southampton University and the Christian Union have been to several Saturday youth events. As well as FBS going out into London, we have brought London into FBS. Authors have visited, LAMDA Shakespeare Company came in to perform Romeo and Juliet and do workshops with Year 10. In November nearly 70 professionals came into school to take part in Year 9 aspirations afternoon. Boys spent 3 minutes with each of them, finding out about their jobs and what they needed to do to pursue a similar career path.
It has also been a term of sport and enterprise. Boys have been busy on the river and on the pitch. Year 9 boys row every week as part of their PE lessons, we are progressing in the football tournaments, FBS has played rugby on Saturdays against some of the top the independent schools and our Year 9 rugby team won the Middlesex U14 Plate. I’m not sure if I am more proud of that achievement or the Year 7 boys who on Monday played rugby during sports afternoon in freezing conditions. What a great opportunity to show their character, manliness and ‘can do’, resilient, ‘get on with it’ attitude! At the same time, our boys have been busy updating their personalised Enterprise websites, demonstrating the different enterprise skills they are developing and the enterprise projects they are involved in, including cooking for the homeless on Saturday mornings, baking cakes to raise money for Macmillan cancer and running the school shop.
So many of our parents have proved again in term 10 that FBS is more than just a school. There were nearly 200 at Dads and Lads. The theme was Guinness world records with the purpose of encouraging boys to read and spend time with their dads. We have trialled a new approach to parent consultations this term where boys, after looking at their report and talking to their teachers, give a 5 minute presentation to their parents and form teacher on their progress and targets for next term. The carol service keeps getting bigger and better every. The church at Holy Trinity Brompton was packed. Boys read, sung in French, Spanish and English (still no Welsh!) accompanied by the school orchestra and Mr Brown gave a talk on Matthew 2.1-8 on the real message of Christmas. As ever, there was a real buzz at this year’s Christmas fair, ‘Jingle Mingle’.
But term 10 has also been the term that has tested our mettle, and for once has had nothing to do with site! Due to our strict uniform and appearance policy we have ended up on the television, in the papers and had protests outside the school gate.
But as well as having to tough it out, term 10 has also been a term to celebrate. We had record turn outs for our Open Day and Open Evening, we’ve been invited to be part of a parliamentary review of education and on November 22nd and 23rd FBS was inspected and judged as Outstanding in all four areas and Outstanding overall. Not a bad term’s work.
So what of term 11? We appointed a Head of 6th Form today who will start in September 2018 to get our 6th Form ready for 2019, but we need to begin laying down plans after Christmas if we are to build that prestigious, academic, socially and economically diverse 6th form that Fulham craves. We need to recruit more first class staff ready for next September. Our plans for setting up other schools like FBS in London and beyond will start to gather momentum next term. This will enable us to retain our best staff and build our brand of education. Also next term contractors start demolition on our permanent site as we continue to push hard on ensuring we arrive ‘home’ on The Fulham Road as soon as possible.
But before we can start to think about term 11, there’s one day left of term 10 and who knows what might happen?
Have a great Christmas and a happy new year. Nadolig Llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda!