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(49 Posts)
MarianneM Mon 28-Feb-11 13:58:23

I understand that Fortismere secondary school in Muswell Hill is very popular and oversubsribed, but having looked at the Financial Times 1000 best secondaries list Fortismere is only around 650th. And its last Ofsted report only rates it "good".

So anyone with a child who is/was in Fortismere, is it a good school? What makes it good?

I am about to move to the area and have every plan to get my daughters there eventually.

grovel Mon 28-Feb-11 14:09:58

Well, Crispin Bonham Carter is a governor.

gramercy Mon 28-Feb-11 15:08:49

The other parents are plu .

happygolucky13 Mon 28-Feb-11 15:12:23

If you want your daughters to be educated in a laissez-faire environment, where 11 year old girls dress like hookers and working hard is optional, then Fortismere is definitely your place. The parents hounded out the last headteacher because he tried to instil some discipline and academic ambition into the place.

Put it this way, it is the kind of place I would have loved to have gone as a teenager smile

The results look adequate until you take a look at the catchment area of million-pound houses occupied by highly-educated middle-class families. Then the results look pretty poor.

Still, people pay a huge housing premium to buy their way into the catchment area, so it's clearly a winning formula.

WoodRose Mon 28-Feb-11 17:00:04

Crispin Bonham Carter may be a governor at Fortismere, but he teaches English & Drama at APS!

Know lots of parents with children at Fortismere. I fear happygolucky's post is only too accurate. Parents often comment on how "sophisticated" their 11 & 12 year old children become when they start at Fortismere. For "sophistication" read under age drinking and dressing like a slapper sad

happygolucky13 Mon 28-Feb-11 17:16:24

Yes, "sophisticated" as in "my DD has settled into Year 7 so well, she's already had five dates with different boys! And we've found the most wonderful tutor so she doesn't fall too far behind in her studies..."

APS seems to be the choice of locals who have been priced out of the Fortismere catchment area by incomers. And I know a number of Crouch End/Muswell Hill trendies have started colonising the houses around APS, in the same way they all gravitated towards Fortismere a few years ago.

Humbert Mon 28-Feb-11 18:57:33

It's interesting to note that tSt Ann's psychiatric hospital's highest referral rate for teenage girls with eating/self-image disorders is from Fortismere. The stress of dressing like hussies certainly takes its toll.

Fortismere probably owes a lgood deal of its high results to the fact that so many of the pupils are tutored, which shows just how much those Muswell Middle Classes ultimately trust the school to deliver.

It's not a bad school at all, but certainly over-rated. It would definitely benefit from not being stripped twice a term of electrical and electronic educational assets by thieves who seem to know an awful lot about the internal layout and wiring systems of the alarms...

happygolucky13 Mon 28-Feb-11 19:24:36

I know I was the first to mention the attire of Fortismere girls, but can I just point out that not all Fortismere girls dress like streetwalkers. Some dress like down and outs for example.

Can we please have some Fortismere fans on here to give the other side of the story? I'm sure there are loads of positives about the place. For example, students do seem to come away from there with very strong friendships, and there is a real community of ex-pupils.

Also I have noticed that some of them are incredibly well-connected. So it's no problem getting jobs in the media afterwards, even if they have failed their GCSEs, especially when daddy is something at The Guardian and mummy does PR for MTV. In that respect, it's right up there with the top private schools in terms of "jobs for the boys".

MarianneM Mon 28-Feb-11 20:00:40

Yes, does anyone actually have anything positive to say about it? If it's that bad why is everyone dying to get their kids in?

happygolucky13 Mon 28-Feb-11 20:14:42

Marianne, I assume people are dying to get their kids in because it achieves better results than most London comprehensives, and has a higher proportion of white middle class kids with English as a first language than most London comprehensives. It has a vibrant atmosphere and is in a well-to-do suburb. The pupils generally seem to like the easy-going attitude.

As London comps go, it's a good school, as long as your child has self-discipline and doesn't get side-tracked too easily by the social side of things. The kids who do well there, do very well, though - as has been mentioned by myself and others - it is well-known locally that the majority of high-achievers are tutored. One local tutoring company recently said that they laughed whenever they saw Fortismere boasting about their exam results, because they alone had tutored 50% of the pupils.

Welcome to Muswell Hill by the way wink

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Feb-11 20:17:55

Why do people want to go there - look at the alternatives?

squatbottom Mon 28-Feb-11 21:52:15

Gosh, the vipers are out in force today.
Why would anyone with DC at fortismere want to come on this thread and defend the school?

happygolucky13 Mon 28-Feb-11 22:06:53

Because they think it's a good school? To put across their point of view? To reassure the OP?

Why on earth wouldn't they?

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Feb-11 22:18:41

Having looked at more league tables and OFSTEDs than is probably healthy
(I check out every school that DH gets enquiries or bookings from which is around 500 a year)
that school looks no worse than many. I can think of other areas in London who would give their eye teeth for those outcomes, regardless of the tutoring.

Every school has slappers and tramps (I got rather roasted on the subject a while back) and many kids are give 'advantages' by parents.

WoodRose Mon 28-Feb-11 23:08:02

TalkinPeace - Fortismere isn't critisised because it is worse than other schools in London; it is criticised for not being as good as it ought to be given its intake. It doesn't stop locals (and "not so" locals) from selling their granny to get their DC admitted though! grin

squatbottom Tue 01-Mar-11 08:01:02

Hi marianne, have a search on previous threads and you will find info on fortismere from parents at the school. Much more useful than reading comments from those with axes to grind or sour grapes from those who've never had dc at the school.
Also worth visiting the school and meeting the pupils and parents eg at the spring or summer fair or at school concerts. These are usually advertised locally and are probably listed on the school website.

Good luck, your probably going to need it if the comments on this thread represent the local population. So kind, supportive and positive towards young girls wink

MarianneM Tue 01-Mar-11 14:47:46

Thanks for the helpful replies!

happygolucky13 Tue 01-Mar-11 15:05:12


Please do bear in mind that you will need to move within half a mile of the school to be confident of getting a place. The catchment seems to be shrinking every year, and some roads that once guaranteed a place at Fortismere now no longer do. Don't believe anything an estate agent tells you until you have checked the distance for yourself.

isgrassgreener Tue 01-Mar-11 22:53:23

How very sad I am to see such negative comments on here about teenage girls, many of them based on their choice of dress!
The OP was asking about the school and one presumes the education they receive, not what they look like.
As for the parents hounding out the last headmaster!! I won't even go there.
As a parent at Fortismere I can say that if you want your child to think for itself, not be spoon fed everything, have a mind of their own, question, have opinions, make lots of good friends,enjoy themselves, and still do well in their education, then Fortismere may be of interest to you.
Yes, it has a reputation it probably does not deserve, it is not the best place for everyone and has lots of faults, its big and shabby and underfunded, but it is also not just full of smug middle class kids who are tutored at home.
You would be amazed where some of the children live, they are not all on the doorstep and there is a lot of coming and going like in any large London non selective school.
It all depends what you are looking for in a school and if you are so quick to judge based on what the kids wear then its probably the wrong place for you.

WoodRose Tue 01-Mar-11 23:17:33

I don't think anyone is criticising the girls per se; the critisism is of a prevailing culture of "coolness" within the school which pressurises its pupils to behave in a way which may not be in the best interest of an 11 or 12 year old child. However, I agree with squatbottom that the OP really needs to check out the school for herself. Different schools suit different people and Fortismere may be exactly the sort of school where her DC flourish. As happygolucky has already stated, a self-disciplined child who isn't swayed too much by the social side of things can do fantastically well at Fortismere. Less focused "coasters" like my DS would probably sink without a trace though!grin

isgrassgreener Tue 01-Mar-11 23:18:43

And yes Crispin Bonham Carter is a governor, he may teach at APS but sends his children to Fortismere.
Mind you I don't think I would like my children to come to a school I taught at (I'm not a teacher by the way) I also happen to think APS is an excellent school, but a very differnt type of school to Fortismere.

happygolucky13 Wed 02-Mar-11 08:19:36

I am intrigued by the assertion that "You would be amazed where some of the children live, they are not all on the is not just full of smug middle class kids".

This is a school described in its last Ofsted as serving "a generally advantaged community. Most students live within half a mile of the school".

Indeed, its catchment area has not gone above 0.6 miles in a decade, as far as I can remember. How are these other children beating the admissions system?

DELHI Wed 02-Mar-11 10:19:45

CBC lives much nearer APS than Fortismere - I wonder how his kids got in?

GypsyMay Wed 02-Mar-11 12:43:56

I think it is a bit distasteful to be questioning how a specific persons kids got in to a particular school.

Regarding the catchment, the distance to which offers are made is greater once the waiting list is taken into account, 3 years ago it went to about .85 (from memory).

The introduction of the music criteria for admissions caused it to shrink last year.

hifi Wed 02-Mar-11 13:41:44

lots of people rent near the school and keep their regular houses on to get their kids in.wheres aps?

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