Forest Hill School - Update from Cllr Paul Maslin



I think what Paul Maslin was saying is if they took on this debt in any form (if they had to), then with a finite budget other services would need to be cut.


Really sad. I’m so proud of my daughter starting Uni in London, but not sure what the future holds for my son sadly due to these circumstances, especially as he has SEN.

Saying that I don’t know the best way to make cuts in general in our society.

To be frank, it’s crap & I think someone on our local Council has to grow a pair & start fighting against Central Government to stop these cuts - someone has to start somewhere right?

This is the whole reason why I thought about running for a local Cllr - I don’t see anyone breaking the mould & fighting our corner anytime soon, but someone needs too!!!

And soon!

BTW Not me, I looked into it & I couldn’t give it my all.


A reminder to all participants in this thread: this is an important source of information and updates for all interested in the future of Forest Hill School. It needs to be focused on the current situation and immediate solutions for what is a critical situation.

Wider discussions about central government school funding, and protests relating to that, properly belong in Politicos. Discussion about the pros and cons of academisation is, I think, relevant here, if we can make an effort to keep it non-Partisan, both in our comments and the sources of data we share.

As ever, this is a tricky thread to mod and I want to keep it as open, active and relevant as possible.


Indeed, and to treat them fairly. It is only state maintained schools that have to follow the increasingly rigid national curriculum. Schools that opt for Academy status, of their own volition, seem to get a easier ride with Ofsted too (as do Private incidentally, totally different framework). As FHS is more likely to be converted to Academy (as mentioned above), the pressure would still be on them so, apart from the deficit transfer, less of an advantage. Source:

There are currently 1,012 open schools with no inspection grade. As schools close and re-open they can lose their inspection history9 and this can affect the national proportions of overall effectiveness grades. Of the schools with no inspection grade:

73% are sponsor-led academies
20% are new free schools, studio schools and university technical colleges
4% are local authority schools
3% are academy converters


I agree that exam results are definitely not the be all and end all, but if FHS did become a Harris Academy, at least exam results doesn’t look like it’d be a worry. The good thing about the new emphasis on progress measures such as Progress 8 is that for schools to get a good score, it is just as important for them to help low achievers and high achievers and middle achievers, as it’s all about their amount of progress, not just their actual results. The old measures used to incentivise schools to help ‘D’ grade pupils to get a ‘C’ grade, as the emphasis was on the proportion getting grades A*-C.


:information_source: @moderators have moved some posts debating union involvement and central government policy into our opt-in Politicos section


Agreed the discussion was wandering but am lost as to how some of my comments that were moved into politicos fall into the debate around the broader issue of union involvement and central government financing. So I’ll paraphrase here.

I’m heartened to see parents and teachers working in unison on common issues at FHS. It is clear from talking to both groups that they have much to collaborate on to the betterment of “our” children/students’ education. This is particularly relevant as the financial situation of FHS is directly affecting teacher levels and that directly affects quality of education. Striking is naturally divisive among parents (some for/some against) but both sides have some interesting points. There is a healthy debate on this at the Forest Hill School Parent’s Action Group facebook page. Regardless of issues on striking, it was also obvious from the meeting transcript that parents are universally concerned about teacher staffing levels at FHS.

Even though I have no kids (now), I am sincerely interested in the state of our local education. Notwithstanding the importance it holds to many friends who do have kids in full time education, I am increasingly engaged in this community and want all facets of it, particularly social, to succeed.


Thanks for that round-up, @starman. It was impossible to split the thread without scooping up some posts that might or might not be overtly political, but all had strayed somewhat from focussing specifically on the situation in hand. Your post above is a good example of how to keep the discussion focussed on FHS, while allowing the scope of discussion to go beyond budget spreadsheets. :+1:


Nicola Mitchell, who wrote these notes, has decided she doesn’t want them visible here. So she has altered the permissions making them unreachable.

Update she has since deleted the above tweet, in which she made an interesting request - that our link to the notes be removed, and also all the ensuing discussion about them be removed from this site.

Does Ms Mitchell represent the “Action Group”? Perhaps someone can explain why they are unwilling for the proceedings of a public meeting with a local councillor to be discussed on an inclusive, open forum?

I have spoken to an attendee and in no way was this meeting declared confidential.


I’m afraid I’m the one at fault here. I failed to ask permission to link to the transcript and given that it was released to a closed group I am terribly remiss in this regard. Furthermore, given the public animosity between @ChrisBeach and FHS PAG I should most particularly have sought permission first.

I’ve removed my post with the link.

I don’t think anyone has suggested the meeting was confidential. Bit of a straw man. This person who is not an admin of FHS PAG took it upon herself to transcribe the meeting and share it with the group she belongs to. I’m now told she had no wish for these to be shared beyond the group as they are not or have never been intended to be official minutes of the meeting. My rush to share these gave the indication they were official. They aren’t. I cannot stress this strongly enough. Its akin to one of us taking notes of a Forest Hill Society meeting and then publishing them as some official notice.

The meeting was open to any parent of a child at FHS… The meeting was however closed to only parents and that was as at the request of Paul Maslin himself. So sadly neither I or you would have been welcome.


Don’t feel bad, Jason - linking between relevant pages is a basic function of the World Wide Web, and no one can tell you not to link to their publicly accessible page, provided you do not actually share any of their content on your own website. You’ve done nothing wrong.

This incident raises questions about the nature of FH “Action Group” meetings, which in this case was entered into in good faith by a local councillor.

If the transcription was designed to be shared with certain “parents” groups but not others, that strikes me as a bit odd. No?

Update I see you have edited your post to add a long piece about her supposed intentions. Have a read of her (public) tweets to get a better feel for her thinking on the matter. It strikes me that she’s concerned that the Action Group won’t be able to control the narrative and discussion if it’s on the open web:

If the notes of this public meeting were shared on Facebook, I see no reason why they cannot be shared on other social media?

Obviously Nicola is more than welcome to comment on this here as we are an inclusive, open forum.


Chris. I don’t agree with you here. The meeting was open to all parents of FHS. Any parent on could’ve gone and discussion entered into. I now understand Nicola though made notes available to the FHS PAG which is a closed group.


Seems a shame that people who were not able to make the meeting, including future parents and ex-pupils of the school, are not able to understand the problems faced by the school, the council, and by current parents.

The notes from the meeting were very useful in understanding some of the issues and the position of different groups.

It is such a shame that after the school was completely rebuilt 10 years ago that this is how it has ended up. Even with the PFI contract, it shouldn’t have ended up like this. I really hope that this year’s results are better than last year, and I wish every success to all the pupils and teachers at my old school.

I’ve been through periods of massive cuts, teacher redundancies, and strikes at the school in the 1980s. It wasn’t a pleasant atmosphere at the school and it wasn’t a pleasant period in my life.


Is there any reason to suppose this information won’t be made available in due course via official channels?


Perhaps what is needed is an edited summary of the key points raised and answers. However because some of the actions here and general accusatory tone of some I suspect Nicola will probably be unwilling to do that herself now.

I am keen that everyone manages to be reasonable and polite to each other and not hostile. As you can imagine that is tricky enough within an informal group with a range of different views and a complex set of issues, let alone when others wade in too.


But the Facebook group were not the only people at the meeting, yes? I’m just wondering if there will be any official minutes released by any parties present.


I am very appreciative of having had the chance to read Nicola’s minutes. I have young girls, so will never be sending them to FHS, but it was a real eye-opener in terms of understanding how the relationship between government and council and school works.

It’s a really difficult problem, with no easy solution. As Councillor Maslin said, we have to live within our means, and this is a direct result of not doing that. On the other hand, we’re talking about the future of hundreds of boys, so it’s a very emotive issue.


As Nicola has made it clear that her notes were never intended for public consumption and they are no longer publicly accessible, I think we should refrain from referring to their content, however obliquely. I don’t think anyone has stepped over the line here, but I think it’s a courtesy we could extend to her from this point forwards.


I have amended the title of this thread to reflect the latest update.


I have changed it back - I didn’t think it was particularly helpful