Case Study: Fortismere School, London
Muswell Hill, London
Fortismere School is a high achieving and dynamic mixed community comprehensive secondary school and sixth form college in Muswell Hill, North London, teaching 1,602 students. With a strong focus on academic excellence, as well as diverse cultural enrichment, the school recently featured as one of the Top 20 comprehensives in the country in a Times newspaper article.
Most recently this involved the development of new accommodation for the department in September 2010. Sarah Ogilby, head of music, comments:
"This exciting new phase for Fortismere means that we had the opportunity to really celebrate our music provision. To meet our needs, we needed equipment and facilities that could optimise our music education to make the best of our enviable position."
Opportunity for all
The school turned to Counterpoint to support its development programme, confident in its work and support from a previous investment in a temporary studio in 2006. Sarah found the project to be a smooth and supportive process, and believes this is largely due to Counterpoint.
"My long association with Counterpoint made it a natural progression to contact them when we were looking to expand. This is due to their complete professionalism; they are always quick to respond, helpful and strive to find innovative solutions which I have found to be incredibly constructive. It feels like a personal relationship as I know that they always have the best interests of our teachers and students at heart."
Fortismere School is now equipped with four new music suites using over 50 networked Apple Macs, as well as a second music studio. The integration between all the teaching facilities, the classrooms, practice rooms and recording studios allows for a smoother and more closely aligned process. For Sarah, the new accessibility of music for all students is important. She comments:
"We had not previously been able to offer adequate music technology for Key Stage 3, so the fact we can now offer it to a whole key stage has been a massive bonus. A lot of students like to play and compose, and for those who do not play an instrument, the computer is a way of accessing and expressing their ideas in an easier more familiar format."
The school has found that a significant benefit of the technology installed has been improved opportunities for personalised learning. In a typical lesson, the teacher can demonstrate concepts and the children can go away and put these into practice, taking control of their own learning process. Sarah believes that this really aids quality music making, accessibility, and the profile of music as a subject in a student's mind. She explains: "The ability for students to develop their work and share their performances with each other means that each can express their contributions and be accountable for their learning journey."
The fully equipped recording studio enables students to engage in a high level of composition, recording and sequencing work. This makes an important difference for Key Stages 4 and 5 students in terms of both examination work and extra-curricular activities.
Inspiring the future
Fortismere School is determined to continue to develop and expand the use of its new facilities and technology to maximise the potential of each student. Plans for the future include the possibility of establishing a school radio to further the music education opportunities available.
"Top quality studio facilities have raised the bar of what our students can achieve, as our results show. This year, each of our BTEC entries is expected to achieve a distinction, and I believe this is partly due to the new opportunities available to them."
- Sarah Ogilby, Head of Music
"Our relationship with Counterpoint is ongoing as they support us in using our exciting new facilities with both our students and our wider community, strengthening this new phase for music education at Fortismere."
- Sarah Ogilby, Head of Music