Posted on 07/07/2014
Following the news last Tuesday of the DfE’s decision not to allow The Fulham Boys School to open in September 2014 I wrote a blog entitled, ‘So Wrong’. From observing the reaction of the FBS boys, parents, staff, governors and community, this week’s blog can be nothing other than, ‘So Proud!’
The staff, whose livelihood and careers have been seriously threatened by this decision, have all shown immense character. I have made no secret of my belief that if FBS is going to be outstanding it has to have outstanding teachers. I believe we have appointed seven of the very best (including some award winning) teachers, as benchmarked against my 16 years’ experience in 5 different schools, Ofsted judgements, references and lesson observations. Along with these seven, we appointed three teachers new to the profession who are bright, creative, energetic, engaging and have the potential to be quite brilliant. What they have all shown this week though is what they are like as people. When we told them the news, the first thing every one of them asked was ‘How are the boys?’ ‘Are their families okay?’ Furthermore, their instinct was ‘What can I do?’ not, ‘What about me?’ They showed the Christian values of putting others before themselves, and the kindness and compassion that FBS is built upon. So Proud!
The reaction of our boys and parents has also been impressive. In the meeting on Thursday evening, the enterprising, ‘Can do’, ‘won’t lie down’, ‘never known when you’re beaten’, spirit that we want in the very DNA of FBS was clear for all to see. Instead of feeling sorry for yourselves and licking your wounds, FBS parents and boys’ reaction was ‘what can we do to sort this out?’ It became evident that FBS already has a strong culture and sense of community. It was our responsibility in the meeting to advise and encourage parents to listen to the advice of the Local Authority’s admission team about other options for their son’s schooling. However, the parents and boys were unanimous in their desire to do all they can to ensure they start in FBS in September. The message back was, ‘We just want Fulham Boys School. We would prefer our sons come to FBS for two years on the temporary site we already have lined up than not have FBS at all. Two years of FBS is better than no FBS. And at least we would have two years to sort our sons’ education rather than two weeks!’
As well as showing the FBS enterprising spirit, the parents demonstrated the Christian values our school is built upon. Emotions are clearly running high. People feel anxious, hurt, angry and let down. Our impassioned plea on Thursday evening was that we fight this campaign not on emotion and sentiment but on reason and sense, and that we do it respectfully, peaceably and with dignity. This you did and I hope will continue to do. To serve such a group of people, So Proud!
Finger pointing and blame is not the answer and will achieve nothing. I simply believe that it is in everyone’s interest to work hard and to work together over the next 48/72 hours to get FBS open in September 2014. I ask the Department for Education to take the bold, courageous but sensible decision to think again and give us the funding to open this September. In return, I pledge to deliver a flagship school for the Department. To our Council I ask you to do whatever you can and to work with whoever you need to make FBS happen. My offer to you is a much needed outstanding academic boys’ school for your borough. One that is confident under the most intense scrutiny, promoting traditional British values; one that will make you all ‘So Proud!’