Dear Parent or Carer,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. As we end this first half term after what has been a challenging time for everyone, I want to pay tribute to the job that our parents and carers have done throughout the national health crisis. Now that schools are fully reopened and we have had this first half term to adjust to the Government’s guidelines and the Trust’s safety and control measures, the partnership between home and school has never been more crucial. The young people in our care need us all as adults to work together and support their education, catch up lost time and ensure that their futures aren’t blighted by this health crisis. I am determined as Principal, along with my dedicated colleagues, to ensure that they aren’t.
We have effective plans in place to make sure we get students back on track as quickly as possible, but your role as a parent or carer in supporting us in this work in the coming weeks and months is absolutely vital. Good standards of behaviour, smartly worn uniform and positive attitudes to learning are the foundations on which we build a sense of pride in ourselves and in our Academy. I wanted to write to you to update you on certain aspects of our Academy policies and to remind both you and your child about our expectations and standards. I would also like to share some highly positive developments within the Academy with you.
Proud Thursdays and Praise, Rewards and Recognition
Starting after half term, we want to further acknowledge and reward our fantastically hard working students and make sure that they get the praise and recognition that they deserve. This new initiative will be about ‘Catching our students being good’ with shout outs on Twitter (if permissions are given) in Proud Thursdays, digital praise post cards sent out every week, Above and Beyond Commendations and Praise Points from teachers, support staff and senior leaders with prizes and vouchers available for students who work hard, behave well and contribute to positive learning environments.
However, whilst praise, reward and recognition are vital to motivate young people and make them realise that their efforts are valued, all successful schools are based on core values and standards: that is part of the adult world they will shortly be entering into and we want them to understand the importance of these. There are certain non-negotiables and expectations that we must insist on and that are part of our Care Support Guidance and Behaviour Policy.
The attendance of your child at our Academy is paramount to their education. Days missed from their learning can have a severe impact on their progress and achievement but also on their self-esteem and confidence as they try to catch up on the work that they have missed and fill gaps in their knowledge. In order to raise our attendance above the national average, our focus this term will be on students with low attendance levels and we will be working closely with students and their parents/carers where attendance is below expectation. It is only through the support of parents and carers, in partnership with the Academy, that we can have a positive impact on attendance and ensure that your child receives the education that they deserve and thereby, maximize their potential. It is the responsibility of parents/carers to ensure good levels of attendance and we will expect your support.
In order to reward those students with exceptional attendance there will, each half term, be a prize draw for students who have achieved 100% attendance. Next half term the first prize in the draw will be a Google Home Mini. If you have concerns regarding your child’s attendance or wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Jewellery, Hair and Make-up
No jewellery or piercings of any kind are permitted and the school rule is that no make-up other than discreet foundation is to be worn at Ash Hill Academy. Furthermore, make up, eyebrows and eyelashes should be subtle and neutral. Shaved, or partly shaved haircuts and hairstyles dyed in unusual ways or in an unnatural shade or shades are unacceptable. Any hair accessories worn should be plain and either black or brown. Hair extensions are not permitted. Nail varnish and nail extensions are not permitted. Any form of tattooing is strictly forbidden. This is a criminal offence as laid down under the ‘Tattooing of Minors Act’.
Important points to remember
- Shoes must be plain black (there must be no gold or coloured trim).
- Boots, trainers or pumps may not be worn (students wearing trainers/boots or inappropriate shoes must borrow school shoes for the day)
- Skinny trousers, jeggings and jean styles are not allowed.
- Skirts must be plain black and knee length. Tight fitting Lycra skirts are not appropriate.
- Hoodies and tracksuit tops are not allowed.
- Make up should be natural and limited to foundation and concealer.
Mobile phones and other hand-held devices
I would like to make it clear that mobile phones are not allowed to be used anywhere on our premises during school hours. The Academy and Delta Trust policy clearly states that the use of mobile phones is prohibited and that ‘if a student has their mobile phone confiscated, then their parent/carer can collect the phone that evening or a subsequent day. A student, however, cannot collect their phone for themselves until the last day of that half-term’. Any student who refuses to hand over a mobile phone to a member of staff, when required to, will be isolated pending a fixed term exclusion on the grounds of refusing a reasonable request and transgressing Academy policy.
Whilst I do understand the importance of students bringing a mobile phone to school to enable parents/carers to contact their children before and after school, contact via their mobile phone is not permitted during the school day. If mobile phones are switched off and completely out of sight in students’ bags then there will not be an issue. If you wish to pass on a message or speak to your child during school hours, please contact the Academy. Students attending after school interventions or enrichment activities should notify parents/carers of the time they expect to finish to ensure they don’t cause unnecessary concern. You will be notified of set detentions through notifications in your child’s planner. It is your child’s responsibility to bring these planned detentions to your attention.
Social Media Platforms
At Ash Hill Academy, we take a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate use of social media and the distribution of malicious communications or indecent images. Our students have been told repeatedly about the inherent dangers of inappropriate use of the internet and social media and how to stay safe online. I would strongly advise you as responsible parents or carers to carefully monitor your child’s internet access and ensure that they are using social media apps appropriately and safely. Parents/carers should also be mindful of the age restrictions in place for using such social media platforms. Any form of cyber bullying or victimisation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly. If you need advice and guidance on how your child can use the internet safely and how to monitor that they are being appropriate and safe, then please use the following link to a very useful and informative website:
Moving Forwards – the importance of home and school partnership
The next half term is an absolutely pivotal period in your child’s education as we move towards the Christmas holidays and end of a very eventful and challenging year so far. We want to ensure that we provide the very best for our students educationally and, in their best interests, we need to continue to work in partnership with parents and carers to help them maximise their potential and make accelerated progress: together, with your invaluable support and that of our dedicated staff, I am positive that we will do this.
Best wishes to you and your family.
Ash Hill Academy