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Fortismere, Muswell Hill

(12 Posts)
MuswellHeeled Wed 21-Sep-11 15:30:10

Did anyone go to the open evening last night? What did you think?
I was a bit underwhelmed though anecdotally we hear it's a brilliant school and we are in the catchment (yes definitely!!)

onceagain Wed 21-Sep-11 18:28:51

In what way were you "underwhelmed"? I went to an open evening there a couple of years ago and found it quite impressive compared to the other local options but I understand there's a new head teacher now.

MuswellHeeled Thu 22-Sep-11 07:51:34

Underwhelmed by the head, I thought the last one was more engaging and charismatic. And it was a bit disorganised - I don't feel I learned much about what is unique about Fortismere. Anyway it's still our number one option as we have friends with dc there. Was just wondering what anyone else thought.

soonbesailing Thu 22-Sep-11 13:11:17

Interesting about your thoughts on the head, I think the last one was rather a marmite character.
The new one had a different approach she does not roll out the stats and is not as dynamic a character, but it depends what impresses you I suppose, I believe she is far better for the whole school, but not everyone will think that.
Personally, I never agreed with the last heads narrow focus and found him rather unpleasant and dismissive whenever I tried to engage with him on a one to one level, but that was only my experience, I know some parents loved him.

soonbesailing Thu 22-Sep-11 13:16:14

Also disorganised... Always has been and still is.... Could be one of it's unique features smile

MuswellHeeled Thu 22-Sep-11 14:39:02


Yes I know the old head divided opinion - wasn't he pretty much pushed out by parent power? I don't have dc there yet obviously so it's interesting to hear your views on him. From what I've gathered there was concern about him following his own interests and not being particularly interested in inclusion/supporting the less able pupils.

I'm glad to hear you think she is better for the school. And yes maybe it was style over substance for him and the opposite for her?

ps She had to wheel out the old school uniform debate didn't she!

soonbesailing Thu 22-Sep-11 14:54:30

Not sure if the parents had much to do with his leaving really, personally I think he is a career head only interested in the marvelous results he can say are down to him. He couldn't wait to get into a grammar school with a selective intake, much more his thing, I'm sure the parents love him.
Mind you that's only my take on things and I personally prefer a more inclusive approach. I like the setting and the new discipline (BFL) is def a good thing.
I don't think Fortismere works for everyone though, as it's quite loose in the early years which can be rather confusing for some children as they are not spoon fed like in primary, also they grow up pretty fast there.
I'm saying this as a current parent so well aware of the good and bad.

MuswellHeeled Thu 22-Sep-11 17:07:36

Thanks, it's really interesting to hear from a parent whose dc go there rather than hearing rumours and churned-out anecdotes.
I think that the 'loose' educuational environment would suit my two.
Morever, I like the idea of them going to a co-ed school where all their friends will live within walking distance. Good social life hopefully - and I won't spend my life ferrying them around to friends 20 miles away!
My ds could prob get into a selective (I know, I know all mothers think that!) but it's not what I want for him. I think...!

NL3 Thu 22-Sep-11 18:58:00

2 DC's at Fortismere - they love it and are very happy there. New head has done three things that have made a difference; she introduced the BFL towards the end of last term and I think this has had a positive impact. She also introduced the Transition Project for the new intake of Year 7s where they spent one day a week in July at the school - it was fantastic and really prepared them for secondary. She also relaxed the setting system a little - they are not set immediately in Year 7 as they were before - although I fully support setting it is nicer for them to have an opportunity to find their feet first. The teachers are a terrific bunch of people - really impressive and the provision they make for exam classes is exceptional. DC1 is borderline B/C in French for GCSE - there are nine pupils in his class.
You may live to regret your comment about the "good social life" smile

WoodRose Thu 22-Sep-11 20:22:22

What is "BFL". Unfortunately, we were sitting towards the back at the presentation and and couldn't really hear much.

soonbesailing Thu 22-Sep-11 20:55:50

BFL Behaviour for learning. They brought it in at the end of last year. Think it's on the website. It's a system of warnings that then lead to detention which is much harsher than previous. 5 class rules and 5 rules for moving around school.

MuswellHeeled Fri 23-Sep-11 06:42:05

NL3 - very reassuring post. Thanks. Re 'good social life' - I was born and raised round here and I had a very busy, and at times let's say colourful social life as a youngster so I can only imagine! Just got to hope they have good judgemental, self control and a will to do well in education...!

Going back to the head's talk, it was quite higgledy piggledy and confusing - there was no real intro, summation of the school and it's ethos. Though saying that I had to leave early so didn't hear it all.

From talking to another mum at dc's school yesterday, others were unimpressed too and there are lots of dark mutterings about 'APS seems far better to me'. I think it's a shame if the head's lack of charisma and oomph put people off and while style is so much less important than substance, you have to grab parents from the off surely to sell your wares? Or maybe that's the thing, the school's so over subscribed that she doesn't have to sell it at all.

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