Posted on 10/02/2015

Don’t just take my word for it

This week’s blog is slightly different – with rather less of my opinion than normal…

Most of my blogs are me saying how determined I am to make The Fulham Boys School among the best schools in the country – state or private. Many of you who read my blogs and have applied to FBS will have offers in the next few weeks. You will have to decide whether to accept FBS and some will have to decide between us and an established private school . With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to give you the impressions of a highly respected educationalist.

We had a lot of visitors to the school on Monday, including Elizabeth Phillips OBE, one of our governors and the recently retired headmistress of an outstanding school that often featured in Tatler’s best schools. She was at FBS to help us appoint a Head of Mathematics. She emailed me after her visit to say:

“I took the opportunity when in the school to take stock of the general ethos and to assess how effective the start of the day was.

It was very impressive as all boys were seen by a member of staff and welcomed as they came into school. There was someone there to deal with any problems or to check uniform or to take note of lateness. The receptionist was very good at sorting out minor and some more major problems there and then. She knew the boys and often knew in advance what the problem was going to be. It is a welcoming start to the day as each boy appears to be known by name and greeted. Nothing is missed by the staff on duty so the standard of uniform is high. Lateness was noted.

There were numerous students praised for something they had done or who were challenged to do better next time plus banter about football and rugby. The boys on entry were directed to the school hall for assembly where they sat in silence. There were members of staff around to make sure that all sat in silence. Registers appeared to be taken on laptops as the boys sat in assembly – a very good use of time.

The Headmaster focused on the school ethos and making sure that the general Fulham Boys message and the Christian ethos were repeated and reinforced. The boys knew the answers to the Head’s questions and appeared to be proud to be members of the school.

The Headmaster again reinforced the vision of an OUSTANDING school and that Fulham Boys would be an outstanding school. For that to happen each boy had to contribute and not sit back and do nothing.

The music teacher then had the boys on their feet and warming up for singing. They all sang the hymn with gusto.

The Chaplain gave a very relevant talk linking it to football and ‘The Special One’; quite inspirational and the questions he asked the boys got them interested and involved. At the end of the Assembly the boys left in silence.

Later in the day I saw the boys in corridors waiting for lessons and lining up silently. They even managed to line up for lunch quietly and at lunch time it was encouraging to see the boys sitting eating well and carrying on conversations.

The staff were supportive and had good relationships with the boys, friendly but still retaining their authority. A very reassuring visit.”

To me this is high praise from someone who has rigour and knows what outstanding looks like. It is also encouraging that she saw FBS as a place that insists on the highest standards but at the same time is warm, friendly, happy and fun.

Following my visit to Eton at the beginning of January, I visit Harrow on Wednesday. I am keen to build links with both these ‘giants’ and learn from them. But at the same time, I believe Harrow, like Eton, will be keen to learn from us. FBS is truly unique and something really special. Don’t just take my word for it.

Have a great half term.

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