Guest Blog by the Head Boy
January 2019 and January 2020 have something in common. In both of these months FBS year 11s have had to make momentous choices regarding their futures. Staying? Going? What subjects? These are the typical January questions.
Therefore, I would like to offer some advice to students and parents currently in these nervy times. Consider this my witness statement for Fulham Boys School Sixth Form (FBSSF).
If I had to describe the FBSSF in one sentence it would be the following: A Sixth Form that embraces the founding ethos of the lower school, whilst granting greater independence and responsibility to its students. It is the Middle Way or the Transition Element, if you like, between school and university. For this, the Sixth Form has various assets that make it the best possible vehicle for students to be accompanied into the apprentice world, the working world or the world of further education.
Firstly, the FBSSF gives students freedom and independence. We can go out at lunch if we want, and free periods are scattered throughout our timetables. But yes, I must admit that it is not the level of freedom a college offers. However, this in my eyes is the unique selling point of the FBSSF and is immensely crucial for students. Firstly, we are given compulsory private study sessions and secondly, we remain a vital part of the rest of FBS. In regards to the former, private study sessions are in my eyes the one thing that has kept me from being overwhelmed by the significantly demanding workload, imposed upon students at A Level. They offer a structured time in the week to allow us, students, to complete all the ownwork that is set. This then gives us more time at home to go further and do the super curricular and extracurricular work, both essential for post-18 applications. Regarding the latter, I believe that it is so important that Sixth Formers work in an environment both detached from the lower school but also intrinsically linked to it. Having visited the new site on the Fulham Road, I can truly say that it will fulfill this as a whole floor is dedicated to Sixth Formers, giving us the required detachment. However, the immensity of the school hall and the intimacy of the canteen also allow for a better interaction between Sixth Formers and all the lower years (outside COVID times, of course).
Secondly, the FBSSF offers teaching of the highest standards. I am currently studying the captivating field of the social sciences, my subjects of choice being: History; Politics; and Religious Studies. In all of my subjects I am being taught by teachers that continue to proliferate and nurture my passion for this field. Having spoken to many of my friends, this is a theme throughout the Sixth Form, from Chemistry A Level to Sports BTEC. This inevitably begets a strong academic basis for the FBSSF. Having achieved high grades at GCSE, this was the aspect of the school that I was most concerned about. However, my doubts were debunked by the fact that class sizes are never above the teens, and students are consistently pushed with extra reading or further research. Teachers have routinely given me further work to do, be it academic articles or documentaries. Further, the long day allows us to get 6 lessons per subject every week, permitting us to go fully in depth in all our lessons. In humanities subjects, this is for example translated into more time for discussion. Therefore, the Sixth Form in my eyes is well on its way to achieving outstanding grades.
The third asset of the FBSSF is the opportunities it offers in the Arts and Sports. In considering these departments, I must point to the new site. Facilities will include: a theatre space, many music studios, fully equipped DT and Art rooms, a full size sports hall, a gym and a large outdoor space to satisfy the needs of all the artists and sportsmen of the Sixth Form. The Arts and Sports have and continue to to be a crucial pillar of the school, especially in Sixth Form. Despite the fact that in current times, much of culture has been canceled, the FBSSF allows students to foster their love of performing and visual arts as well as sports. The state of the art facilities will be rendered worthy of such an adjective when they will be combined with the pool of talent and will that Fulham Boys Sixth Formers have in these fields.
Lastly, I would like to touch upon the uniquely bespoke nature of the FBSSF. FBS being a young school has meant that students have had a significant impact on its shaping. Student councils, House Captains and the Head Boy team are not the only ones to have a say on how the school could be changed. Individual students have been able to bring great ideas to better student life at school. This is even more relevant to the Sixth Form. The Sixth Form staff offer great tailored help on post-18 opportunities, be it Oxbridge or a British Airways apprenticeship. This engrained value of Community at FBS is made extremely relevant in Sixth Form as teachers work extremely hard to give best possible advice and opportunities for students to expand their experiences outside the classroom.
I vividly remember the pressure of this decision when I had to make it last year. I remember my parents contemplating what the best choice would be. I really hope that this has made it easier for you to make your decision and put you in no doubt that the FBSSF is right for you. I sincerely believe that the FBSSF is the right choice for anyone who has high ambitions and a willingness to succeed.