Update 25th February
Expectations, Uniform, Social Media, PPEs, Strike Day
I hope this finds you well. We have now completed one week of this half term. It has been great seeing our students back and focussed on their learning. Please find below some important information:
This week, senior leaders led assemblies for year groups. We relayed how we are halfway through this academic year, and that time waits for no one! We also spoke to all students about our expectations. These are regularly drip-fed but the assemblies enabled us to outline that ‘disruption free’ learning is what we want every lesson, every day. This is because learning time should not be lost so that our teachers can continue to deliver high quality lessons every lesson, every day. I was pleased with how students responded to these messages. Please continue to have conversations with your child(ren) so that we are united on this front. We want our children to do exceptionally well. They are in control of their attitudes to learning. Our values of Aim High, Be Kind and Take Responsibility ought to be lived and breathed every day. ‘Disruption free learning’ is enabled by these values too.
In terms of uniform, communication was relayed just before half term as a reminder to all of you. Please ensure to go through this again with your child(ren). Particular attention to jewellery and make-up should be noted. Your child(ren) should not be coming to school with multiple earrings (but one small stud in the ear lobe). No facial piercings are allowed, including nose studs. Nails should not be ‘fake’ ones and must be of a natural colour. Students will be asked to remove any of these, if seen. Thank you for your continued support.
Social media and ‘protests’
In the past week, there has been some traction in the media on children discussing ‘protests’ on social media. In a small number of cases, these have materialised in schools. More often than not, these ‘protests’ are not that by definition. Instead, they are an opportunity for a small number of children to disrupt learning. In turn, they affect many more students’ learning which is both unwarranted and unfair.
Whilst we have not had ‘protests’ of any kind, I do want to relay how all students can speak about and relay any concerns that they may have. In most cases, such concerns are personal and do not involve others. If a student has a concern, they can do any of the following to share it:
- Speak to their Tutor, who they see everyday
- Speak to the Head of Year team, who are available each day
- Speak to any teacher who will direct them to further support
- Access to Safeguarding team at all times (the office is based in B Block) and speak to one of the team
- Anti-bullying ambassadors (peers, who are trained) are available at lunch times in the Focus Room to listen and support
- Student Leadership Team (Form Reps and the School Council) where views can be shared, and then discussed with teachers
- Student surveys, which we did last term and will do again soon
Please discuss this with your child(ren) and signpost the support available to them. Their views matter. Doing it through the correct channels is important. As mentioned above, our values must be exemplified every day, in every interaction.
In our Brakenhale News sent just before half term, we included some factsheets on social media apps, for parents/carers. This is to inform us of their usage and includes information that is of use to all of us. It’s important that we know this so that we can support our child(ren)’s correct use of social media.
Pre-Public Exams (PPEs)
Next week is the start of the PPE fortnight for Year 11 and Year 13. In fact, some of these began last week. However, over the course of the next fortnight, students will sit papers, mirrored to their final exams, which gives them another chance to go through the motions before the summer. I know information has been sent to the respective families and students from the year teams. Please ensure you have read this, are clear on it and support your child(ren) through these PPEs too.
As I relayed last half term, national and local industrial action (strike) is taking place across the country. The second of these days is on Thursday 2nd March 2023.
I can confirm that the school will remain open for the following year groups: Year 11, 12 and 13 only. For Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 (all other year groups), work will be uploaded on the Google Classrooms for the day. This will be available from 09.00 on Thursday.
If you are a critical worker and would like your child(ren) to come into school, please inform us by emailing email@example.com by 09.00 on Wednesday 1st March. This provision is also available for students with additional needs.
I understand that this will be an inconvenience for families but I have made the decision based on the most up to date risk assessment. Protecting the health and safety of our students is my first priority. My decision takes into account the number of teaching staff potentially taking strike action. I also have to consider the number of staff who are able to take on additional responsibilities.
As before, I want to thank you for your understanding and for making alternative arrangements for your child(ren). Whilst we appreciate the disruption that this may cause, we respect the right of our NEU members to participate in industrial action.
Mr B Tailor, Headteacher