Posted on 06/11/2019

A Bridge

Next Tuesday, 12th November, we are holding our Sixth Form Open Evening: our opportunity to explain to current Fulham Boys and external students alike what FBS offers and delivers for their critical, final years of school. We’ll be explaining how we are drawing on the best practice and ideas from the state and private sector to prepare our students for A levels, and to equip them for what follows in university life and the world of work. 

What are we offering? FBS is an academic sixth form. This means traditional A Level subjects and the EPQ (to some boys) along with BTEC Sport. We have small class sizes and a high number of teaching hours per subject.  We want our teaching to provide a route to the top universities in the country, so two of our sixth form tutors are spending time at Pembroke College, Oxford and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge learning how to fully prepare our boys for Oxbridge.  Students visit the colleges, look at the departments that they are interested in and spend time with undergraduates. We are also building strong links with Brasenose College, Oxford and Trinity College Oxford, through partnerships centred on rowing but again giving our boys the opportunity to experience university life and lose inhibitions about applying to these big beasts. 

Academia is just part of our Sixth Form. We know the critical importance for their future lives of developing well rounded young men, so we have a rich co-curriculum and sports provision which all students are expected to take part in. For the same reason, our Sixth Formers are also there to be role models and active student leaders at the heart of the school -  leading some clubs, as lead guardians, as head boy and deputy head boys, as volunteer teaching assistants in curriculum areas once a week, having lunch with the rest of the school a couple of times a week and driving their school houses. We are also offering paid lunchtime and break time duties - providing a service to the school and giving some boys extra money so they may not have to get part time jobs outside school, taking them away from their studies.

The three pillars of FBS run strongly through our Sixth form. It is geared towards young men. It nurtures enterprise: we want our boys to go into the world and make things happen; change things for the better. It is built upon the Christian faith: we want our boys to continue to think about the big things, have opinions, and for the Sixth Form to be a hot bed of debate. 

As with the rest of the school, we insist on high standards- attendance, punctuality, behaviour and uniform and appearance. Sixth Form uniform is a suit, from the school stockists. Why not  their own suit? Because the strength of FBS is that we draw boys from all backgrounds. Some of the richest and some of the poorest. Wearing their Sixth Form suit, you have no idea who is who because they all look immaculate. Facial hair must be neat and tidy and shoes must be polished. Too strict? Too inhibiting? Ask British businesses, law firms and banks what they think.

In a nutshell, FBS Sixth Form contains all the elements we think are important for FBS, now just a bit more for grown ups. There’s no conduct card (!), students are allowed out of school once their lessons have finished. They can go out for lunch most days. They will have their own sixth form area in our new home on the Fulham Road from September 2020. But it is not college. If boys want total freedom, FBS is not the Sixth Form for them. We believe these two years are the bridge between school and being a boy, and university or the world of work and being a man. We’ve designed it as a bridge because there’s a huge jump from Year 11, with every period accounted for, to sixth form where  more work is done outside lessons than in class. For most boys this will be like putting an 8 year old in a sweet shop on their own and saying don’t touch any of the sweets! That is why some of their ‘free’ periods are free periods where they can relax, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, play pool, have a game of table tennis; other periods are guided study periods. We are not out to spoil their fun or suffocate them but they need help and guidance to make the transition. Our pastoral care is integral to this: all our sixth formers are known, looked after, helped and given increased freedom and responsibility to make the transition from school to university and beyond. 

Come along next Tuesday to find out more.

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