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Forest Hill School - Performing Arts Survey
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Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2010
Post: #1
15-07-2010 10:17 AM


b]Would you like to win 1 month’s complimentary family membership at David Lloyd Leisure (Beckenham)? [/b][align=center]

Forest Hill School - Specialist School in Performing Arts would like to hear your views on how you think we should use our specialism in the performing arts (music, dance and drama) to provide high quality learning opportunities and experiences for the members of our wider community.

Simply download and complete the attached consultation questionnaire, and return it to: or the [b]Community Performing Arts Team, Forest Hill School, Dacres Road, SE23 2XN. Questionnaires received by 23rd July 2010 deadline, will be entered into our prize draw, and the winner will receive 1 month’s complimentary family membership at David Lloyd Leisure, Beckenham (

The questionnaire will only take a few minutes to complete, and by doing so you will make a positive contribution to shaping local arts provision.

So if you, a family member or friend have an interest in the performing arts, would like to attend a workshop or club to develop your artistic skills or improve your health/wellbeing; or if you have a good idea about how the arts can be used to make positive changes in the Forest Hill and Sydenham areas, then have your say!

Attached File(s)
.doc File  Community Consultation Questionnaire Prize Draw July 2010.doc (Size: 51 KB / Downloads: 407)
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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #2
15-07-2010 08:18 PM

I'd rather they dropped the specialism in performing arts all together, and specialised in science and maths like their sister school Sydenham girls.

The outside perception and focus of the school needs to change if it is to successfully compete with or join in with the new academies.

Additional performing arts facilities are a nice extra for a school, as are additional sports facilities, but most parents will primarily judge a school on its academic results and the school needs to be clear that improvement in the core curriculum subjects remains its number one target.

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Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2010
Post: #3
16-07-2010 12:19 PM

Thank you for your comments. It is always useful to hear the opininons of the community the school serves.

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Ofsted Inspector

Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #4
17-07-2010 02:13 PM

I disagree. Forest Hill is a good school with outstanding features. Pupils' personal development and well-being are outstanding. The school achieved performing arts college status in 2004, and this initiative has very effectively supported the school's commitment to challenging traditional macho stereotypes. Music, art, drama and dance are promoted at all levels, during the school day and beyond. The school's strong ethos promotes harmony amongst the different ethnic, religious and linguistic communities from which its pupils are drawn; pupils say this works very well.
Academically, the Maths, English and Science results are significantly above the national average and continually improving. The value added scores put it firmly within the top 25% of schools nationally.

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Posts: 25
Joined: May 2010
Post: #5
22-07-2010 02:45 PM

Since I started school (many years ago) I was labelled as more "creative" than "academic", so find it frustrating when people insist on the focus of science and maths in schools, especially as I'm a firm believer that creativity is an aid to learning.

I agree that schools should make sure they are teaching a balanced selection of subjects, but just because a school specialises in the arts does not mean they neglect "academia". I went to a school that specialised in sciences and did not excel.

Forest Hill School is a superb school, all of the students I have encountered have been intelligent, polite and well rounded individuals, and I hate to generalise but, in my opinion, there are many children about who do not tick any of those boxes nowadays.

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Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #6
04-08-2010 07:54 PM

Specialist options for boys' schools seem to be either sport or performing arts, and I'd definitely prefer the latter. While there are some areas in which I'd prefer the school to be more academic, the performing arts focus is a huge plus; the provision in these areas is excellent and meets the varied needs of such a wide spectrum of children. Not to say there's nothing to improve at the school - there really is, not least home school relationships - but this is a great strength, and efforts to engage the local community more should be applauded.

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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #7
05-08-2010 11:47 AM

If FH Boys - Specialist School in Performing Arts - allows the children full choice of subjects and the performing arts are largely optional, (as presumably they were before the specialisation) then I'm not certain what specialisation actually means in practice.

Did specialisation just allow schools to borrow money to improve some facilities - facilities that can also be made available to the local community (for a price)? Certainly sports and performing arts facilities will have wider use than rooms of fully equipped fume cupboards.

I have no objection to school facilities being shared this way (as a background activity) and wish SLK every success in promoting them.

What I do object to is the very title/motto of the school being changed, without local consultation, as this must eventually change the focus and expectations of the children/parents/teachers of the school towards the performing arts.

This will suit many of the children, but currently there is no other local choice and I still think that if somehow another boys school opened in se23 (with the same ethos), but specialised in maths/technology instead, then it would be over subscribed by X10.

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Posts: 133
Joined: May 2007
Post: #8
06-08-2010 10:50 AM

As an ex FH School boy I am pleased to hear that the school is continuing to perform well. However, having worked in a university for many years, my experience suggests that more time needs to be spent on teaching basic literacy and numeracy.

The fact is that is doesn't matter how well a pupil might be able to act, sing, dance or play a musical instrument (and we did all of those things when I was at FHS - but it wasn't considered to be specialist) you still need to be able to read a set of instructions, write (type?) a letter and mentally calculate the change you are given.

Since universities are under pressure to admit everyone nowadays, we have to spend a considerable amount of time on "refresher" type courses, just to bring them up to a suitable first year standard, which indicates to me that either not enough is being done at secondary level, or if enough is being done then standards have dropped.

The problem with specialising in something is that it can shift the emphasis away from the important basics - ie, because the school specialises in performing arts, the pupil considers it's ok not to take their english and maths studies so seriously.

Hence, in considering english and maths, I don't think the conflict of interest here is whether the school should teach either science based subjects or performing arts, but rather on where most importance is being placed and my experience suggests that in some specialist schools it might be misplaced.

As for the school's commitment to challenging the traditional macho stereotypes then I would question why performing arts should be considered to be any different? Some of our greatest actors, musicians, singers and dancers might be considered to be very macho and stereotyped. Like everything else in life, there is a right time and place for macho and the world would be poorer place without it. Although I'm far from being a sporty person myself, I am pleased to see from the school's curriculum that a good choice of sporting activities are still available.

I commend the school for diversifying and catering for all types and abilities, whether it be in science based subjects, sport or the performing arts. But in doing so what it must ensure is that it continues to place most importance on the key subjects of english and maths.

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
06-08-2010 11:00 AM

Ofsted Inspector wrote:
Academically, the Maths, English and Science results are significantly above the national average and continually improving. The value added scores put it firmly within the top 25% of schools nationally.

Clearly the school 'continues to place most importance on the key subjects of english and maths'.

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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #10
06-08-2010 01:04 PM

"Forest Hill Boys - academically, firmly within the top 25% of schools nationally"

I like it! Now that is a title/motto that sets expectations.

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Posts: 106
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #11
06-08-2010 02:21 PM

I was lucky enough to have been given a guided tour by the Headmaster a few years ago. I was very impressed by the large number of facilities available to all pupils, both academic and performing arts.

We now learn that the school is well within the top 25% of schools, academically. The school also has within the daily programme and outside school hours an excellent record for Performing Arts.

I would be very pleased if I had a son who gained admittance to the school. What's the debate about? Let's all support an excellent school, an excellent Headmaster and a lot of lucky boys.

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