Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to you with some key reminders about attendance, punctuality, uniform and mobile phones.
As a school we have been very proud of how well our pupils have returned from the last lockdown; the vast majority have returned to school keen to learn, smartly dressed and are complying with the school rules. Having a long absence from school is not easy and pupils have faced significant challenges in having their usual social freedoms and education severely compromised.
We have been very accommodating and flexible as pupils returned and I am enormously grateful to the fantastic support we have received from you as parents and carers. You have trusted and helped us by supporting our expectations and this has made the return to school very smooth for most of our children.
Now that we have established school routines and expectations again, it is important that everyone is clear about our school rules and standards. Please read the following information carefully as it sets out some key points about how school operates.
Good attendance at school is one of the most significant influences on the academic and social success of a child. It also prepares young people for employment and gets them into good habits for adult life.
As a school we set a minimum expectation of 95% attendance for all pupils. In September I will be raising this to 96%.
From April 19th schools have been instructed to start normal procedures for dealing with poor attendance and persistent absence. These procedures can include fines for parents and carers whose children fail to attend school on a regular basis.
Whilst the last 12 months have been very challenging and unusual, I now expect all pupils to attend school every day unless there is a genuine reason for absence such as illness or self-isolation due to Covid-19. We will be instigating our attendance procedures and I will be writing directly to the parents and carers of children whose attendance is of concern. School is as safe as it can possibly be in terms of Covid-19 risk management and we continue to follow government guidelines outlined in our risk assessment.
Members of my pastoral team have been working extremely hard to support some families who are struggling with getting their children into school. However, there is only so much we can do as a school and ultimately it is the responsibility of the parents/carers to ensure their child attends school.
All pupils are expected to be on site for 8.40 a.m. and the gates will be shut at this time. Pupils who arrive after 8.40 a.m. will need to report to reception and you will receive notification that your child was late for school. If a child is late on 5 occasions, he/she will be placed in senior detention. Further lates will result in you having to attend a meeting with your child’s Head of House to discuss why your child is late for school and what the issues are surrounding their poor punctuality.
We will also be recording lateness to lessons and again, once 5 lates have been recorded for either being late to school or late to lessons, a senior detention will be issued.
I make no apologies for insisting that pupils are on time for school and for lessons. Again, as children leave school and go into an adult world, they will be expected to be punctual in their places of employment. Teaching children to be on time is a valuable part of character education and also helps them to organise and manage their time effectively.
We have a very clear and sensible policy regarding mobile phones; between 8.40 a.m. and 3.10 p.m. pupils must not use their mobile phones. They are a significant distraction from learning and my staff are spending too much of their time dealing with issues because a pupil has used their mobile phone.
We have systems in place in school for dealing with situations when a pupil is unwell or has a problem and there is no need for a child to call or message you unless we have asked them to do so. Please do not call or message your child on their mobile phone during the school day. If you need to contact your child, please ring through to the main reception on 706 4200. This will ensure that the correct channels of communication are used, messages are not misinterpreted and time is not wasted dealing with miscommunications or incorrect information.
The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has pledged his support to schools in taking a tougher stance on mobile phones. I believe that our policy has always been fair and sensible but unless I see a return to the strong position we were in before lockdown with mobile phone compliance, I will consider a much more rigid approach for September.
UNIFORM AND SCHOOL P.E. KIT
Tutors of pupils in years 7-10 carry out daily morning checks on uniform and I am very pleased with the high standard of uniform in school. Looking smart is important; it creates a sense of belonging to a community and presents a positive representation of a pupil.
We are currently reviewing the use of changing rooms for P.E. and after half-term we will be returning to the system of pupils bringing their P.E. kit to school and changing for their lessons rather than pupils wearing their P.E. kit to school. All pupils should now have school P.E. kit which is available to order from Midland Schoolwear in Acocks Green.
In the last few weeks my staff and I have had numerous conversations with pupils about piercings. The rules are very clear - one small stud per ear and no other piercings. Nose piercings are not permitted and pupils will be asked to remove any jewellery which does not comply with our uniform policy. I would strongly advise parents and carers that if they are considering allowing their child to have a piercing, this is done at the start of the summer holidays to allow sufficient time for the piercing to heal and for it to be removed in time for school.
Could I also remind you that hoodies and denim jackets are not permitted. Over the next few weeks we will be carrying out additional checks during the school day and prohibited items which do not comply with our uniform policy will be confiscated.
By having high expectations of our pupils and putting in place these rules, this will support us in helping your child achieve outstanding academic results.
If you need to speak to a member of staff regarding any of the points I have raised in the letter, please contact your child’s Head of House in the first instance.
May I thank you in advance for your continued support.
Miss H Burrows
May standards letter 2021
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