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Fortismere School crowdfunding to raise £50,000 to support its mental health provision

PUBLISHED: 07:43 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:43 21 November 2019

Co-headteachers at Fortismere School Zoe Judge and Jo Davey. Picture: Sam Volpe

Co-headteachers at Fortismere School Zoe Judge and Jo Davey. Picture: Sam Volpe

Archant

A Muswell Hill school is hoping an ambitious crowdfunder will enable it to keep up "essential" mental health provision as funding cuts bite and mean "day-to-day operations can be a struggle".

Fortismere School. Picture: Sam VolpeFortismere School. Picture: Sam Volpe

Staff at Fortismere School in Tetherdown - a foundation school which takes students aged 11 to 18 - are looking to raise £50,000 to maintain and improve its support for students with mental health concerns.

The school raised more than £7,000 in September 2018 which has gone towards supporting mental health in its sixth form, and after this success the school is looking for help with paying for the counsellors and charities which work with its lower school pupils.

Co-headteachers Jo Davey and Zoe Judge spoke to the Broadway about the funding drive.

Zoe said: "We are facing all manner of challenges, one is maintaining the level of support we have.

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"We are not willing to compromise on the level of support for our students and we are having to think really carefully about how we can keep the provision as it is and how to improve it."

Mental health is something the school's bosses say it cares deeply about. It has three counsellors - one in the sixth form and two in the lower school - who work with students suffering "crises", while staff from charity Place 2 Be help to operate "a broad range" of provision within the school.

Jo added: "The money's dried up. We've put a lot of time and effort into making sure that we had the kind of mental health coverage we wanted.

"We are very aware that there is increased pressure on students. There's social media, and GCSEs and A-Levels are much harder.

"They are not snowflakes. That's a very nasty narrative. They suffer very genuine threats to their wellbeing."

She added: "We should be funded by taxpayers, not ourselves. It seems to chime with the community.

At the time of writing, the school has raised £8,080 towards its £50,000 target. To contribute, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/student-mental-health-1

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