New Sixth Form offering IB opening in West London September 2021

International families, as well as relocation and HR global mobility professionals supporting their moves to London, will be pleased to learn that Fulham School is opening a new Sixth Form offering the IB, in time for the new academic year. Welcome news at this busy time of the year for the relocation sector. Fiona Murchie finds out more from Chris Cockerill, Head, Fulham Sixth Form.

Fulham School - West London - school entrance

Fiona Murchie in conversation with Chris Cockerill, Head, Fulham Sixth Form at Fulham School

Fiona Murchie and Chris Cockerill, Head, Fulham Sixth Form at Fulham School

Q: Tell us about your new Sixth Form facilities in Chesilton Road, Fulham and why did you decide to introduce this new school? 

A: When founding our Senior School, we were guided first by parents and others in our community: we all felt there was a clear need for a local co-educational through-school that was not distorted by artificial and heavily tutored selection and an overly narrow set of educational outcomes. Fulham School seeks to not only meet that need but to do more. We stand against some of the constraints and frustrations that mar the present system, and we offer a distinctive curriculum and fresh approach that aims to provide a genuine alternative. Senior School is such an exciting stage in the educational journey. From the first year, pupils start making choices about what they study, with GCSE options considered in the Spring term of Year 9. The end of the school year, which is when they are making the momentous choice of what to study or do next as adults, brings choices, challenges, and opportunities, as well as newfound independence as students become young adults and decision-makers. The newly refurbished Senior and Sixth Form building has been aptly named after the founder of Fulham School, Jane Emmett, who is still actively involved in school life and sits as a Governor on the school’s Board. The light and airy site offers a range of integrated facilities to provide the best environment for learning and personal development. The new features include lighting that gives optimum intensity levels for the classroom and colour schemes that instil a positive, calming, and homely environment, as well as supporting alertness and creativity. There is also acoustic treatment in place to provide further clarity in the space, ergonomically designed furniture both inside and outside the classroom, and numerous areas for independent style that offers a more mature style of learning for Years 9 to 13.   

Q: Why did you decide to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma?

A: Fulham School is a candidate school* for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme and pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy - a commitment to improve the teaching and learning of a diverse and inclusive community of students by delivering challenging, high-quality programmes of international education that share a powerful vision.** The IB is well established and offers a rich and deeply rewarding learning experience for students that aligns with the Fulham School philosophy.   The IB focuses on developing critical thinking skills, independence, and self-motivation. It prepares students to succeed in a world where facts and fiction merge in the news and where asking the right questions is vital. It provides a fully rounded education involving a strong ethos of community service and broad co-curricular involvement as part of the overall diploma. Fulham School is part of the Inspired Education Group, a world leader in providing the IB Diploma. We are confident that we will prepare our students for life and will draw on best practices from leading IB schools in the Inspired network to ensure we continually strengthen our own offering. * Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. **Mission Statement from the IB The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. 

Q: What opportunities does the location of the new Secondary and Sixth Form provide to your students, and what other clubs and activities does it offer? 

A: Fulham Sixth Form students are in a prime position to use London as an extension of their classroom. Students have access to a range of fantastic libraries including Imperial College London, University College London, and the British Library. Students are encouraged to visit these libraries as part of their research, to begin emulating the experience of undertaking undergraduate research. Another benefit of our city centre location is the wealth of amenities surrounding us. We are currently in the final stages of securing partnerships with local providers to deliver both on and offsite activities for our students. These include rowing on the Thames, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, ballet, drama, and cycling. 

Q: Are you looking to attract international families moving to London?  

A: Fulham School is looking to attract all students who are naturally curious, and are looking for more from their education beyond being a means to an end.     International families would be very much at home in our multi-cultural environment. The IB Programme facilitates the international mobility of students, by providing a curriculum and qualification recognized by universities around the world. 

Q: Why is the Creativity, Action, and Service element of the IB programme so important for young people today? 

A: Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) sees students pursue a range of activities that complement their academic studies. Creativity encourages students to engage in creative thinking and the arts. Action utilises physical activity to help students develop healthy lifestyles, and service focuses on a voluntary community exchange that has a learning benefit for students. The programme develops students’ initiative, perseverance, problem-solving and decision-making skills. This is the time when students feel their creative, community, health and sports pursuits are supported, and that those interests are really nurtured.   

Q: How does the extended essay stretch students and help prepare them for further study at university? 

A: The extended essay is a significant piece of work that prepares students for the breadth and depth of university study. By undertaking the extended essay in Sixth Form, students have the added advantage of having access to personal tutors who are there to guide their hand through the process. The extended essay gives students a choice – either to use the essay as a specialism, in their Higher-Level subjects, or as a way to maintain breadth across their subjects and interests outside of their Higher-Level studies. It is a 4,000-word paper written over 6-8 months on a topic relating to one of the student’s diploma subjects, or as a world studies essay that reflects on a topic of global significance. 

Q: How do universities and employers regard the IB Diploma? 

A: In 2016, the Higher Education Statistics Agency compared students entering UK universities who studied the IB with those who studied more traditional A levels. They found that students who take the IB have a greater likelihood of attending top universities, achieving a first or upper second-class degree and go on to further study. The median salary of a student who studied the IB and who went on to hold a degree in Mathematical Sciences is substantially higher than A level students who graduate with the same degree. The IB is well recognised by employers.  Most now rarely look for expertise and hard skills in their new employees.  They evaluate soft skills, many of which are well fostered and explicitly targeted by an IB education.  An IB education grows students into confident and competent individuals who are able to think outside the box and work collaboratively. 

Q: What are the university prospects for students obtaining the IB Diploma? 

A: The IB undoubtedly gives students unrivalled preparation for university and the future job market by creating a more desirable candidate profile across a broad range of industries. It is recognised by all universities in the UK and USA and numerous surveys support the claim that it provides outstanding, and often better preparation for university and life thereafter. 

Q: Why are Fulham and West London so popular? 

Fulham is a very residential area of central London with great access into the city centre.  A number of nearby museums and universities give the area an erudite feel.  Fulham is adjacent to a long stretch of the river Thames, benefits from a multitude of green spaces and parks, and has a great diversity of shops, restaurants and cafés. The tree-lined residential streets and rich local history contribute to a sense of pride by the local residents.  

Q: Is it possible for students to enrol now? 

A: Yes, we are still accepting students for September 2021, and applications for September 2022 and beyond.  

Q: What is the admission procedure, and how do (or can) parents, relocation companies and employers find out more? 

A: The admissions process is designed to let us get to know the student as an individual, as well as their academic aspirations. As part of the process, I meet the students individually via a Zoom meeting, they sit assessments and have a tour of our facilities. We have a wonderful admissions team, led by Ms Clare Beckwith, who are available to answer questions, arrange visits and assist new families in any way they can.  All enquiries can be sent to Fulham School is part of Inspired Group, a leading global group of premium schools focused on supporting students to reach their full potential.

Find out more about the New Sixth Form opening September 2021