Fortismere School : is it a caring schol ? Pastoral careany good?(15 Posts)
Hi ... daughter is shy/quiet (introvert). She is of average ability (could probably do better, but often lacks confidence. She surprised us by winning a school council class rep last year and decided last sports day that she wanted to win (so trained) and came second (in mixed boys/girls race). Now we have to choose secondary school : we are in catchment for Fortismere and The Archer. We have very mixed feelings from both open days. Fortismere was our original favourite , but the open day was not a good experience for our daughter (chaotic and 6th former who took us around had nothing to say about the school). We have since heard a number of negatives for Fortismere : pastoral care in Fortismere is very poor; kids are on their own; if a child is quiet they will just not be noticed; lots of supply teachers; the only reason results are good is due to the high proportion of tutoring that takes place. Is Fortismere that bad? Any girls enjoying it?
I've heard a few similar things about Fortismere, (although generally it is thought to be a good school) - the impression I get is of a big boisterous school that works well for bright, outgoing kids but that from the outset they are expected to be independent and that maybe it's not so nurturing. I think someone compared it to more of a university type vibe/set-up. One other comment I've heard is that whilst it's results are good - they should be given the catchment/tutoring etc and that it's less to do with the school itself. I could be wrong though - we are a couple of years off secondary yet. I've heard very good things about Archer - it has a small catchment though doesn't it?
I also live in the catchment for both the Archer and Fortismere and struggling to decide between them . I'm interested to hear any feedback on The Archer? I was a bit put off by the lack of sixth form and the segregation of GCSE students from the rest of the school . Has anyone got any info on how well this school is really doing and how good the teaching is ? It's so hard to know when it's a new school and there are no results .
I can’t be much help on specifics re Archer I’m afraid - but I have heard very positive noises about it.
Fortismere ... we cannot get any positive feedback ... just bad, unhappy children. The open day was a disaster, which means our daughter negative from the start. Very frustrating as the results are brilliant. However, this does seem to be linked to tutoring .
The Archer ... split into two schools . The new campus and the (old) Archer Academy (which is not an old building). We visited both campuses. Looks good , but resources are thin vs Fortismere as new and smaller. Looks like a more caring school. Very strong in dance and drama : has won a number of awards.
Are you close enough to maybe get a place at Alexandra Park School? I haven’t found anyone with a bad word to say. The kids seem happy and polite. The results are very good as is the progress 8 score. It’s intake is far more varied than fortismere as well.
N2DAD2daughters - I think gut instinct is not to be sniffed at.
SeasickCrocodile - yes, I've only heard positive about Alexandra Park school too - everyone seems to love it.
Thanks for replies so far - APS is not an option for us so am only interested in feedback on Fortismere and/or The Archer . Thanks
I have a (shy) child at Fortismere and am friends with parents of kids at other local schools. All kids at some point may need a tutor. I think there are lots of reasons - confidence, too shy to ask questions, dyslexia, advanced etc.... and I know kids who are heavily tutored in other schools. I don't think Fortismere is worse for this at all.
I have a very (academically) average child. My child thinks the teachers are great. There isn't a problem with supply teachers as far as I know - certainly not in core subjects nor the ones my child takes. But of course, there maybe in other subjects? My child enjoys the lessons and feels very safe there.
I do get what a previous poster said about it having a 'uni' vibe. I think that was quite astute. But I think the way they teach encourages discussion and excitement about the subjects.
Although it is relaxed about many things - at the same time it seems very strict about important stuff, like behaviour in lessons - which I like.
I'd say that what makes Fortismere good is the quality of its teachers - and the lessons themselves.
In terms of pastoral care - hmm, I think it could be better. But that said my child is happy there and doing better than they would at other local schools. They started knowing no one but have made great friends.
I do prefer APS because it feels very organised but Fortismere does get good results, year on year, so they are doing something really well -
I guess it comes down to individual children - Archers seems like a good school - you have a dilemma - but between two great schools!
My child is super happy at fortismere and I think the school works well where children thrive in a not very strict environment.
He was really quiet when he started plus he knew no one there so I was really worried. No need to be, he’s gained confidence and has really taken to it.
Good to see the positive comments about Fortismere . I have a feeling this will be my first choice given it's track record in getting good results and the fact it has a sixth form too which Archer doesn't. I also see the local kids around here seem happy there and have lots of nice friends . Fingers crossed I make the right choice .
Re 6th form - I've heard that a lot of kids switch schools around this area for 6th form - eg I've known of some that moved from Fortismere to APS, and one that moved from APS to Fortismere, a few that moved to Woodhouse College (sought after 6th form college) and one who moved private - so whilst I understand that lack of 6th form might be a negative, I wouldn't worry too much if it ticks all your other boxes, as there is a lot of movement at that time anyway.
Agree. Trust your gut and do what you think is best for your child and where you think they’ll be most happy. I wish I’d done that the first time around!
as an introverted girl that once attended Fortismere for five years, I can comfortably say that it was the worst time of my life.
It is so "relaxed" that it felt like the kids were running the school, it is incredibly cliquey (not sure if it still is) and if you were on the Free school meals system, it was well known by the other middle class well to do peers.
I was one of those pupil premium kids from a single parent family and I can remember feeling isolated and embarrassed of my life most of the time.
I spent a lot of those years begging my mum for converse trainers so I could "fit in" and crying my eyes out when the bitchy "middle class" girls of the school pointed out that I would wear the same clothes from year 8 in year 10.
It was the loneliest time of my life and I spent a lot of time in empty classrooms at lunchtime hiding my free school meals lunch card and lunch.
Perhaps I was too sensitive, but I definitely know that Fortismere opened my eyes to a classist system, within my peers.
The only positives, were that I learned how to speak well and I got really great GCSE'S, but I was left with crippling depression, a terrible body image and medication for the next 4 years.
I also experience a lot of backhanded racism and can vividly remember being called Rudolph for my brown skin and red nose.
When I left, I realised how big the world really was and how diverse it was and felt free.
I don't mean to sound so negative but my mum often said she wished she had known about this perspective before she had sent me there, I hate to say it but If you are wealthy enough to buy your child a new outfit every other week, and live in a massive house in muswell hill/highgate, and are progressive with underage drinking you will probably thrive.
I would trade my GCSE grades for my mental health in a heart beat though, and I definitely think that the general ethos of Fortismere impacted on this.
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