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Fortismere students demand a say in foundation status controversy

PUBLISHED: 15:18 18 July 2007 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 September 2010

HUNDREDS of students have demanded a say in the debate raging over the future of flagship school Fortismere. They have presented a petition with 750 signatures to headteacher Aydin Onac asking to be consulted about any changes he makes to the school. Gove

HUNDREDS of students have demanded a say in the debate raging over the future of flagship school Fortismere.

They have presented a petition with 750 signatures to headteacher Aydin Onac asking to be consulted about any changes he makes to the school.

Governors are currently consulting parents about plans to adopt foundation status, which would give the school power to sell off land, set admissions criteria and decide new terms an d conditions for staff.

Bella Travers, 18, who has just taken her A-levels, said: "People feel like they are being ignored. I'm opposed to the change to foundation status, I think it's completely unnecessary and won't benefit the school or the students.

"There has been a big breakdown in communication between staff and students and it would be a mistake for them to ignore this petition. There is huge resentment already and it will just get greater if the situation carries on."

The petition was organised in March after students wrote to Mr Onac asking to be more involved in the consultation process but received no response.

They are angry about his attempt to introduce stricter admissions criteria for those wishing to do A-levels, which saw several people banned from returning to school last year because their grades weren't high enough.

The change was ruled illegal by the Department for Education and Skills earlier this year.

Maths teacher Sue Caldwell said: "Part of the curriculum is about encouraging people to be active citizens, we teach students to be part of the democratic process and they haven't been able to do so here.

"It's quite encouraging they have organised themselves to say what's happening is wrong."

Chairwoman of governors Jane Farrell said: "The school encourages and welcomes student involvement, which is why it has been very proactive, especially over the last 12 months, in developing a student voice and the student council and why Ofsted commented on this as a strength of the school."

The statutory consultation period on foundation status ends on July 16. Responses should be sent to The Fortismere Governing Body, Fortismere, Tetherdown, London N10 1NE.

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