Fulham School seeks to offer an outstanding education, combining the best of tradition with innovative skills and methods, founded on the principles of co-education and a diverse ability range.
At Fulham School our goals are simple:
- To encourage the development of creative, problem-solving individuals with tenacity, kindness and secure self-worth
- To provide the most distinctive, forward thinking and outward-looking co-educational environment, where diverse abilities are recognised, celebrated and given fullest expression
We are a School in which each pupil’s personal talents are identified and developed, and where all pupils learn the confidence to embrace what they find hardest and join in with everything. From the most academic to the most creative, the most driven to the most supportive, we want each pupil to take delight in what they do, not where it will get them, and to be driven on by that delight to achieve more than they ever expected.
Above all we believe in co-education in its broadest sense: not just girls and boys learning together, but learners of all abilities understanding that they have much to offer each other, and teachers as keen to learn and evolve as their students. Good schools achieve consistently strong results. Great schools help each individual achieve his or her best outcomes.
Fulham School supports the highest of academic high-flyers to achieve the scholarships and university places that will challenge them most alongside pupils whose chief passions and interests are expressed in practice and rehearsal rooms, on the sports field, or among friends. All pupils are encouraged to make contributions where their strengths lie and recognise the contributions of others. As a school we believe in genuine personal recognition, expressing the pride we feel in every single one of our pupils.
From philosophy to practice
Ethos and identity are important, but we believe they are evident in what we do, not what we say. Here are some of the distinctive elements that exemplify our philosophy:
Whole-school teaching, themes and projects
When children start school, teachers often use themes and projects to link together a course of study and help children see the connections between disciplines. At Fulham we love this approach and carry it through all the way to Senior School. Even in years 9 and 10 at times every teacher and every pupil in the school come together to teach the same issue and pose a single problem from multiple angles. It creates cohesion among pupils and emphasises the practical application of academic skills.
Project-based learning: trying, failing, succeeding
Direct instruction is an excellent teaching technique and we use it often at all stages of study. However, true project-based and child-initiated learning is a wonderful complement that is built up right from Reception. This may involve flipping lessons and homework so that pupils teach themselves using resources provided and come to the lesson armed with questions and expecting answers. Most pertinently it allows our children to try to find answers, fail, and learn the resourcefulness and confidence to try again.
Co-teaching across subject disciplines
In the early years of study every subject connects. By Year 11 that can often feel as if it isn’t the case; and yet the subject distinctions that seem so ingrained are artificial. University research is increasingly multi-disciplinary, especially in the sciences. At Fulham School we don’t add in elements of cross-curricular teaching when we can: we build our teaching around the connections between and beyond subjects.
Skills and passions in the core curriculum
We believe that wider learning such as public speaking, enterprise, teamwork, creativity and performance, general studies, and courses exploring individual teacher’s academic passions are not optional extras to a traditional curriculum but share value with it. Lessons in these areas are built into our curriculum from an early age to demonstrate the value they share with traditional academic disciplines.
Theory of knowledge: the extra-curricular is curricular
We don’t often refer to ‘extra’-curricular activities because we believe these do not complement academic learning: they allow an opportunity for learning of equal value and one that academic disciplines sometimes cannot provide. Lessons focus heavily on ‘know-what’: knowledge that can be communicated and tested. However, pupils need to develop ‘know-how’ – skills that can only be practised, not learned – and ‘know-of’ – knowledge that can only be experienced first-hand. For us performance and sport are central to the curriculum, not additions to it.
The UK education system, with its admissions processes at 11 and 13, and dual public examination in senior school at 16 and 18, can focus excessively on closed outcomes. However, much of the work done at university and nearly all the work and experiences in life cannot be reduced to a grading system. We provide our pupils with frequent opportunities for open-ended assessment where the pupils themselves evaluate what they have learned and how they would work differently next time.
Real student leadership
We aim to give all pupils a chance to experience leadership, and we want those opportunities to be meaningful. From the Pre-Prep to the senior School pupils work with younger year groups to assist with teaching (while consolidating their own learning) and older pupils have the opportunity to act in a tutorial role alongside teachers, mentoring and guiding younger peers.
Universal recognition and individualism
A common experience in many schools is the ‘lost middle’: students who may not win academic prizes, nor need special support, who can feel as if the attention and acclaim goes elsewhere. At Fulham School we believe everyone deserves recognition for their contribution to the community, across lessons, sport, music and everyday interactions. Initiatives such as the universal honours board in the Senior School, where every student is honoured not just the scholars and leaders, are tangible demonstrations of our commitment to all in our community.
Supporting welfare across the whole community
We continually review teacher and pupil workload and look at smart planning, homework and marking techniques to encourage a healthy work-life balance for all. We want everyone at Fulham School to work hard while managing their time to ensure the space to breathe that is crucial in the teaching and learning process. We strive to ensure all our staff are happy in their work, which reflects on pupils and creates a positive working atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Teachers learning alongside students
We want to instil a lifelong love of learning in our pupils and believe that enthusiastic teachers are best placed to set that example. All our teachers teach the subjects about which they are passionate, but also work in areas they don’t know well: supporting a new sport, leading a Trivium or general studies course, guiding students through a project in an area new to them. Pupils and teachers working together on unfamiliar projects symbolises our collaborative learning environment.
A London school with a global outlook
London is a global city, and we want to encourage all our students to be global citizens. Our membership of the Inspired Group of schools opens up exposure to the best teaching and learning practice across the world, as well as a remarkable cultural diversity via video-conference, exchanges and correspondence. Meanwhile we are determined to make the most of our location by linking teaching to the many educational opportunities that London’s rich cultural life affords.
Progress over results
League tables are wonderful tools for parents, but horrible burdens on pupils. No matter how good the pastoral care that schools provide, if both teachers and pupils know that every individual grade counts towards a school’s standing, the sense of pressure builds. For that reason we will not publish public exam data and will not enter league tables based on it. We are instead developing simple measures based on anonymised performance data to demonstrate the value we add to all students across the ability range. We appreciate parents’ desire for a transparent and straightforward way to understand the performance of schools: our intention is to provide that while defending rather than exposing the children we all work so hard to support.
An Inspired philosophy
Fulham School is part of the Inspired Group and shares its educational philosophy.
Inspired schools are united in a dedication to excellence across their academic, performing arts and sports programmes. They also share a desire to go well beyond the confines of a traditional curriculum, teaching life and communication skills, study methods and time management.
The three pillars of the Inspired approach to education are lateral thinking, comprehension and the innovative application of skills and concepts. Progressive and challenging academic methods underpin everything the group does.
A diverse philosophy
Each stage of Fulham School – pre-prep, prep and senior – has its own identity. Just as Fulham School shares ideas from the Inspired Group, so each section shares the philosophy and ethos of the whole school but interprets those ideas in its own way.
Explore each section of the school to learn more.