Posted on 15/06/2015

‘So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance’

At The Fulham Boys School we set out our intention from the word go to be one of the best schools in this country – state or private – within ten years. From the outset, we have said that it is only right and proper all shortcomings are exposed – as in setting up a new Free school, we were effectively saying we were not happy with the provision that existed and believed we could provide something better. On the BBC last year I said that if we are not outstanding when Ofsted inspect the school in term 5 then sack me! http://player.vimeo.com/video/99912720.

So with the stakes as high as they could be, you can imagine how I welcomed the news last Monday that it is ‘almost impossible’ for a new school to be rated outstanding by Ofsted when they visit in term 5. It is ‘highly unusual’ for a new school to be given the top rating before any public exam results, such as GCSEs, have been published.

However, when I thought about it, the important word isn’t ‘impossible’ but ‘almost’. In the film Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas falls in love with Mary Swanson. He says to her, “I’ve come a long way just to see you Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?” After she tells him they’re one in a million, he pauses and says, ‘So you’re telling me there’s a chance!’

If it is only ‘almost’ impossible then it is still possible, and the fact that it is ‘highly unusual’ simply strengthens our resolve. It means that we now need to work even harder to prove that our boys have made outstanding progress since they joined us in September. Of course we haven’t got public exam results to point to and boys’ progress over 5 and 7 years to be measured against, but we have got the work in their books from when they started to compare to the work they are producing now. We have tracked their progress every term, discussed how they are doing every fortnight in line manager meetings and put stretch, support and challenge in place where necessary. We have appointed a SENCo and Assistant SENCo to work closely with boys with learning difficulties and higher ability pupils to really ‘pull up the trees’ and push all boys on.

And all the while, we continue to ensure that teaching and learning is of the highest quality in every lesson, and day in day out, relentlessly insist on the highest standards of behaviour, appearance and attendance, while giving boys fabulous opportunities in sport, music and drama.

Our pledge remains. Our resolve is strengthened. The enterprising spirit that is in the very DNA of FBS means that, however unusual or impossible it is to achieve something, ‘if you’re telling me there’s a chance’ we must do it!

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