Posted on 02/11/2015

Guest Blog: A Prospective Parent’s Journey

A guest blog written by a prospective parent

Few things inflame the passions of West London parents as much as the subject of their child’s education. And few things are as central to this subject as which school said child will attend. Mothers can be the worst during the decision process…either fanning the flames and insecurities of each other or else, worse, growing cagey and evasive on the subject as decision dates draw near. Fathers are often less engaged in the process. In my particular case my husband had always felt there was no reason for our son not to obtain his Secondary school education from our Nearby Outstanding School.

I’d gone to the Open Day at Nearby Outstanding School for the past three years running, and it did seem the sensible choice on a number of levels. I had done my due diligence. I’d visited many, many schools over the past few years, talked to parents and current students, pored over OFSTED reports, compared exam results, you name it. Then, at the last school visit on my list, I attended the Fulham Boys School open day. I left the school after the talk and tour, and immediately called my husband at his work and insisted he drop everything to attend the final 2015 FBS open day session that afternoon.

You see, the benefits of an all boys’ school hadn’t really registered until I heard Mr Ebenezer’s speech. It opened my eyes to the differences in teaching and enthusing boys. Also, one of my biggest concerns had been the sheer size of Nearby Outstanding School. Why, then, the advantages of an emerging and therefore only partially filled school weren’t immediately apparent years ago still escapes me.

My husband, who simply could not understand why I was spending so much time and effort on this selection process, did make it to the last FBS open day. He listened to the speech, asked a lot of questions, and offered to come speak to the boys about the stock market (a good sign.) He then proceeded to go and do a lot of research on free schools (another good sign.)

I went onto the FBS school website, reading through past blogs and news articles. I read in backwards order about the exciting new site, about the first day with students and about the dreadful 2 weeks in July 2014 when parents were told they had no school for their child. The backwards journey through the school’s existence ably demonstrated how the FBS families, teachers and founders showed their “enterprise.”

And yet, a fledgling school, on a temporary site, with no inspection findings or exam results under its belt still felt risky.

Several parents of Year 6 boys at my son’s school wanted more information, particularly around tracking pupil progress, and organised a meeting with the Assistant Head. The group of us were shown to the library, given cookies, and allowed to spend an hour grilling not only him, but also a school founder and the Head. They addressed all our questions with good grace, even the somewhat impertinent ones. They were honest in their responses, patient with the considerable onslaught of questions, and never flailed in terms of demonstrating the enthusiasm and direction that was spoken of at the open days.

The decision was made. Roll on Offer Day!

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