In this section
Progress and Attainment
Year 9 Options
Learning Support (SEND)
“The very well-resourced library in the heart of the building exemplifies the school’s commitment to promoting reading.”
Ofsted Report, January 2024
We are proud to say that Forest Hill is first and foremost a reading school.
Our School Librarian, Mrs Hans, is assisted by Ms Gibson. Everybody associated with the school is encouraged to read and share their literacy experiences: students, staff and parents. Our Library sits at the heart of the school and everything it achieves.
Every student in Year 7 and Year 8 enjoys a weekly supported library lesson in which to read, choose and discuss books. Year 9 students have a library lesson once per half term.
Our Library Website is available in school or from home, students and staff can review the books they have read and search for books and online resources.
Students can reserve books that they want to borrow, these should be collected from the library.
Our Library ePlatform is also available online and as an app for our pupils to borrow ebooks and audiobooks. For simple steps to access the platform online click here.
For a guide on using the eplatform app see below.
The benefits of ePlatform:With ePlatform, your student has 24/7 access to eBooks and Audiobooks for free. This is a wonderful extension of our physical school library and allows titles to be checked out at home, over the weekend or during school breaks without worrying about losing them because they automatically return at the end of the loan period. Students of all ages can benefit from ePlatform’s reading and comprehension tools. A service like this can benefit developing or dormant readers, second-language learners and keen readers alike.
How does it work?Ensure your child has the ePlatform app which can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store, Google Play Store or visit eplatform.co to begin. Students have their own unique login to access the platform. Please contact email@example.com should your child have any trouble logging in.
We hold Poetry Jam in the Library every half term where students and staff get together to share their experiences of poetry through readings and performance. If you feel inspired then feel free to come along and join in.
Word of the Week
Research tells us that vocabulary skills are strong indicators of academic success. Having a wide vocabulary also empowers children and adults to participate confidently and meaningfully in the world around them.
This year there will be a featured FHS Word of the Week for boys and staff to practice using and to absorb into their vocabulary.
Parents are encouraged to use the words too and to continue fostering a love of reading in the home, as reading and a wide vocabulary go hand-in-hand.
Have fun with our Word of the Week:
Paul Crooks visited Forest Hill School during Black History Month 2023, to speak to pupils and parents about his journey of researching his own family history (back to Jamaica and Ghana) and the world history and rich social history he learned along the way, which is relevant to us all. We were reminded of the strength of his relatives (and millions more) who survived enslavement and their prior and subsequent cultures and exploits, such as being involved in uprisings leading to Abolition.
Paul’s novel Ancestors is available to borrow from the library.
Writer Tia Fisher’s life story was inspiring and affirming (not a straightforward career path!), the subject matter of her novel “Crossing the Line” was compelling and the verse style of her writing was engaging – all in all a fabulous visit. As well as speaking to the whole of Yr8 and Yr9 in back-to-back sessions, Tia took a creative writing masterclass for a small group of 15 KS3 pupils. She was very impressed with the shape poems they started and is looking forward to seeing some of the finished pieces. “Crossing the Line” is available to borrow from the library and boys who enjoy creative writing should look out for details of a creative writing club in the Autumn Term.
Author Jennifer Killick led a very creative writing class with 18 keen Yr7 and 8 pupils who all went away with stories to work on and great tips.
Kamali (Yr7) and William (Yr8) had also brought in their previous writing and had very positive and useful feedback from Jennifer and from her publisher who also joined us (and was highly impressed with the boys’ writing skills and general brilliance).
The main event was a talk from Jennifer for the whole of Yr7 about her books and her passion for stories – especially Manga. We all enjoyed the session very much and our pupils are happy that Jennifer’s books are available in the library and that the Yr7 tutors are going to be reading Crater Lake to them this term.
We’ve been privileged to have Dan Freedman visit us twice this half term, once for our Yr6 summer school and now for our Yr7 pupils.
Dan’s journey into writing is a very interesting one and hearing about the footballers and celebrities he has met, for example, Nelson Mandela, is very engaging and entertaining.
Dan took lots of questions from the audience (his ‘bosses’) and finished by reading aloud from his “Jamie Johnson” series. We gave out prize books to 7 of the questioners and Dan brought along an FA mini football and a pen to give as additional prizes.
Award-winning author and widely read by our pupils, Chris began his visit to Forest Hill School by acting as Mr Sullivan’s bodyguard, racing him out of the theatre in response to a sudden dramatic noise. A great start to a very exciting and interesting presentation of what it takes to be a top bodyguard.
Lots of our Year 9 boys got to take part as volunteers – as well as Mr Sullivan! Chris also spoke to our Year 8 pupils, this time about his Young Samurai series and he demonstrated some moves with his real samurai sword – he is a highly trained martial artist as well as a bodyguard.
Chris very kindly gave out lots of signed posters and chatted with lots of KS3 boys at lunchtime. The following day we had lots more boys coming to the library to borrow the books!
We were thrilled to welcome Alex Bellos to Forest Hill School, especially as he agreed to come all day and speak to a huge range of pupils.
Some of our Maths department were particularly excited as they were already fans of Alex’s maths books: “Alex in Numberland” and “Alex Through the Looking Glass”.
The day began with Alex speaking to 6th form Maths students and then two Year 9 Maths classes, including awarding some Maths Champion certificates.
We continued with a very lively session in the KKT for the whole of Year7, looking at Football and connections with a range of school subjects, then a mind-blowing session for the whole of Year 8 including marvelling at the abacus skills of children who learn maths in a different way to us in the UK.
Alex awarded signed mini-books to the Year 7 & 8 boys who thought of the best questions to ask him.
We have Alex’s books available in the library and a great range of other maths and football-related books, some of which we promoted to pupils following Alex’s visit.
Femi Fadugba spoke to Year 8 about his first novel “The Upper World”, an exciting tale weaving quantum physics and time-travel into the streets and issues of South London. The book is currently being filmed for Netflix.
Some of our boys were able to discuss scientific concepts with Femi, which was very impressive as he is a published physics scholar!
Tom Huddleston was a hit with pupils when he visited us in March 2020 to talk about his books “Floodworld” and “Dustroad”, these are just some of the many positive feedback comments from our pupils:
– I liked how we discussed how to make the world better.
– I enjoyed today’s lesson because I found it interesting to hear what inspired people to be writers.
– I liked when he talked about his inspiration for the book.
– I enjoyed when we asked questions. There was a very interesting discussion about trade deals I liked it when he read the book.
– I liked the story idea, it was very cool and interesting.
– I loved the new world and the futuristic planet.
– I have learnt that we can make things with science.
– I learnt how to say bread in Latin (Panem).
– I enjoyed thinking about how the future would be.
– I learnt that it is very easy to come up with an idea for a book than actually writing it.
Tinoosh wrote this fantastic review of Floodworld, which Tom’s visit inspired him read:
“This book made me feel excited on every page and I didn’t want to put the book down. The book has made me think before I dump rubbish into the ocean and the effects it will have on my and others’ lives now and in the future.
The best aspects of the book were the setting as it went well with all the characters. The story and the setting fitted perfectly with my expectation as a mostly water-based setting it didn’t subvert my thoughts as I didn’t know that much about the story. The major turning point in the story is when you think the bad guys are good but it turns out they are actually bad.
The world in the book has many aspects like the real world except the planet has been devastated by climate change which caused the sea levels to rise drastically and flood many countries including London, England where the story is set. The story ends when people who seemed like they were enemies drive the actual bad guys out of London.
The main characters are two friends from the poor area of London whose dreams are to move to Canada where they say everyone is safe. The biggest problem that they face is the bad guys are out to capture them all for a map. The characters biggest choice is to risk their lives to save others or protect themselves and run away. They are motivated by the thoughts of getting a better life. The consequences are almost being killed by the bad guys.
They learn to cooperate and put others before themselves. The characters change by learning they have a brilliant home where they are. The author uses a detailed style of writing and they also convey the story in quite intricate detail.”
Year 7 had a fabulous time with author Tom Mitchell, who talked about infamous bank heists, the tension created by attempted heists and the adrenalin rush of car chases in films.
These were all sources of inspiration for his first novel, along with a funny story of what had once happened to his dad. Tom also read a couple of extracts from his novel “How to Rob a Bank”, which lots of boys are now eagerly reading, some were able to buy their own signed copies and we also have a supply in the library.
Author Sue Cheung came to Forest Hill School to speak to Year 8 about her first novel “Chinglish”. We invited other local schools to bring a few pupils as well, as Chinglish has been chosen as one of the Lewisham Book Award older category titles this year, so will be read in schools all over the borough.
Sue’s story is very interesting, as was her presentation – often funny, at other times tragic. There were lots of questions asked at the end and sometimes the answer was “Read the book to find out!”, lots of our boys are doing just that, with copies on sale on the day and available to borrow from the library.
The whole of Yr8 enjoyed a presentation of Alex’s story & readings, followed by the same for half of Yr 9.
After a short break, Alex met a class of Yr9 pupils who had attended the presentation and worked with them on creative writing ideas + enjoyed and gave feedback on some raps they had developed after reading from Crongton Knights and Straight Outta Crongton.
After some lunch Alex met ‘fans’ who bought books and had them signed – a mixture of staff and pupils, then Alex had a small group session with a group of Yr9 pupils with learning needs.”
It was a privilege to host author Nikesh Shukla in Black History Month 2019. He spoke to all our Year 10 students about a racist threat he suffered, explaining how he overcame the reaction he had by building his confidence and presence and how he had drawn on those experiences in writing his latest book “The Boxer”.
The boys were very interested in hearing about his life and that of his uncle, who brought the first case under the original Race Relations Act.
Nikesh Shukla is an award-winning writer of short stories, writes for the BBC and national newspapers and has written another YA novel called “Run, riot”.
Lucy Van Smit
Lucy Van Smit struggled with dyslexia when she was younger, but went on to work successfully in television.
She engaged our Yr 8 boys with the story of her life and the making of stories. She also spoke to our set 1 / top set (not sure how the school will want to word that) Yr 9 English classes about her remarkable book “The Hurting” and you could hear a pin drop as they took in the nuances of the story and then discussed the ways in which storytelling can be used in many careers, including in top tech companies.
Copies of “The Hurting” are available to borrow from the library.
Author Bali Rai visited Forest Hill School Library on Friday and enthused our Yr9 boys, library helpers and other invited pupils with his thought-provoking talks.
He covered empathy, stereotypes, British black history and the importance of reading. As well as engaging 200+ pupils in the theatre he worked with RE, drama and history classes. Staff and pupils agreed it was a fantastic day.
Bali’s fiction books are available to borrow from the library and we also have a good stock of British black history non-fiction books for those who want to research some of the topics Bali spoke about.
FHS boys enjoyed Andy’s previous visit and some have eagerly read his “Inventory” series. Pupils and staff will be able to buy copies of Andy’s books and have them signed at 3 pm in the KKT. Copies will also be available in the school library for boys to borrow
On 12th June author Penny Joelson spoke to our Year 8 and 9 students about her recently published book ‘I Have No Secrets’ which has been nominated to be included in the book list for the 2017 Lewisham Book Award (older category).
She led an interesting and thought-provoking session examining how vulnerable voices can be represented in literature and society at large, as well as some fascinating insights into the process of how an author’s manuscript is transformed into a printed book.
Several copies of her book are now available to borrow from the school library.
Tom Angleberger, bestselling author and comic writer, will be talking to students about his Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Rocket and Groot series on Friday 26th May.
Derek Landy has sold more than 17 million books in 37 countries around the world with his internationally acclaimed Skulduggery Pleasant series. We at Forest Hill were lucky enough to welcome him on Friday 24th February.
Students collected their author visit slips and book order forms and took part in what became one of our most anticipated library events of the year!
How could an orphan living in Vancouver end up in 16th Century Japan, fighting against the terrifying forces of darkness in a battle to save the world? Author Ambrose Merrell gave his first-ever school talk, meeting some Readers’ Club members and Year 8 classes.
Our Key Stage 3 boys and some girls from Sydenham School enjoyed an excellent talk from Sara Grant about her new book, Chasing Danger, and the creative writing process. All that attended will hopefully have been imbued with the desire to write their own masterpiece!
The whole of Year 7 enjoyed finding out about beetles as well as getting a glimpse into the pages ofBeetle Boy, the new novel by M.G. Leonard. We also invited pupils from the nearby Adamsrill Primary School who were enthralled and asked great questions. Copies of Beetle Boy are available to borrow from the Library.
In library lessons, pupils are given a Reading Journal in which they keep a record of their weekly home reading and are encouraged to reflect on books as they finish them.
Parents are encouraged to support their child in reflecting on what they have read and drafting a review using the Reading Journal Information Sheet.
Lewisham Book Awards
The Annual Lewisham Book Award titles have now been launched at Forest Hill School, with six books aimed at Years 7 & 8 and another five aimed at Years 9 & 10.
There are five months to read the books, and boys are encouraged to read all the chosen titles for their Year group to gain praise points and a place at the LBA event in the summer term.
Copies are available in the library, but there is a waiting list, so go to the library website and reserve a title or two & see trailers or author interviews for all the books.
Scholastic Book Club
Go here to browse the latest books and order online. For every £1 you spend in the Book Club, our school will earn 20p in Rewards to buy new books for the library.
Researching and Referencing
Click the link below to download a Powerpoint explaining useful sources.
Useful sources & referencing
2023 Reading Championship
Reading extensively and for pleasure can foster the development of stronger reading habits and increase literacy skills at a greater rate than through formal literacy lessons.
The Reading Agency 2023
We launched the Reading Championship back in March, encouraging the students to read and review books in their reading journals, thereby earning behaviour points and prizes along the way. We kept a tally of their reading as individuals and by tutor groups.
To earn the title of Reading Champion students had to read 8 books and were rewarded with a place on the Champions display board. The tutor group with the most Reading Champions this year were A7G and therefore won sweets for the whole class.
The students that challenged themselves the most in their reading within their tutor group, therefore winning a £10 lovetoshop voucher, included:
Noah (A7G), Patrick (A7F), Janek (O7F), Ossian (P7F), Darius (P7G), Nemuel (T7F), Thomas (T7G), Ben (O8F), Ralph (O8G), James (A8F), William (P8G), Daniel (T8F) and Cooper (T8G)
The students who read the most in their House were awarded with medals, presented by staff from Lewisham Public Libraries in a celebration assembly. These included Noah from Turing House, Ben from Ofusu-Asare House, Daniel from Tull House and William from Parks House.
The overall winning House was actually a draw (proving that every book counted!) between Turing and Parks House. In total 757 books were read and reviewed by Year 7 and 8 in the Summer Term.
We are immensely proud of the students’ efforts in their reading this year. Students have commented to staff that the competition encouraged them to read more widely and try new books they might not normally pick up, as well as helping them develop their reading stamina – where some boys spent more time reading than they may normally do and discovered that they were actually able to improve their reading fluency and speed.
Murder by the Book
Year 7 and Year 8 pupils were recruited as Detectives by testing their grey cells on a series of questions during Library Lessons.
The highest scoring pupils from each tutor group were formed into House teams and invited to help solve a crime which had taken place in the library – the murder of a library assistant!
The Yr8 library monitors formed a fifth team and each of the teams had an hour in the library to find, think about and discuss a range of clues and other information, such as a coroner’s report and confession note (was this a red herring?).
Each team wrote up a case report with their ideas of the murderer(s), their motive(s) and the method. The challenge was to hone in on the key evidence.
After lunch all of the teams came back to the scene of the crime and presented their ideas to each other and to our community police officers (who were very impressed with the activity and the team work and brain work of the pupils).
The murderer was then revealed to be the Librarian (which all had guessed correctly!).
Ofosu-Asare House were the team who put the tightest case together to convince the Crown Prosecution service and eventually a jury, they each chose a book prize and every participant was awarded a “Champion Detective” certificate and an epraise accolade.
Find out more about your local library and how you can join and begin borrowing books, ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, magazines and more….