FAQ for Families
Being a parent/carer of a secondary school age child can be challenging. There are huge pressures on students as they mature and develop. Below are a list of frequently asked questions which are e designed to support families. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your child's form tutor, year tutor of another member of the pastoral team.
What are the times of the school day? There are six, 50 minute periods during the day. This is designed to maximise the learning experience of all students across a broad curriculum. The day begins at 8.30am and finishes for all students at 2.50pm. Throughout the school year, there will be a range of after-school clubs and lessons available for students, especially those sitting public examinations.
Is there a Parent/Teacher/Friends Association (PTFA)? Yes, we do have a PTFA and are always looking for new members. The PTFA was relaunched in recent years to help strengthen the link between home and school, while raising money to help invest in the education of the children of the school. For further information about The PTFA please visit the relevant section of the website.
How can I get involved with the school? There are a variety of ways to get involved including: attending various sporting, musical and cultural performances; regularly visiting the school website and following us on Twitter. We welcome feedback via email, letter or in person too.
Can I see the Headteacher? Of course. However, to ensure your concern is dealt with as swiftly as possible we would ask that you first try the member of staff directly responsible for the issue/enquiry you have. Each first Monday of the calendar month, there is an 'open door' evening, where families can attend (between 4.00pm and 6.30pm) to discuss any matters with Mr Grech. Should you require an appointment with Mr Grech, please contact Mrs Maunders, PA to Headteacher via email.
Who is the best person to contact with general questions about my child? Your child's form tutor and Head of Year are the primary points of contact. If your concern is about school or more than one subject, we would recommend you speak to the form tutor and then year tutor. If you are still concerned then we would recommend you speak to the relevant Head of Year. These are listed on our staff page. If your concern relates to a subject, then we would recommend the first point of contact being the class teacher, then subject leader. A list of staff contacts is available under the 'about us' section.
Why does the school have a chaplain? Mrs Richards is our school chaplain. She is on hand to discuss any concerns students may have. Mrs Richards supports the Wellbeing team to help ensure they are happy during their time at school.
I have emailed my child's head of year but they haven't replied. What should I do? All of our staff have a significant teaching commitment. Therefore, it is likely that there is a genuine reason you have not yet received a reply. We aim to reply to any concern within 24-48 hours.
Is it ok to arrive to school and hope to meet a member of staff? Regrettably, this is not possible. Our teaching staff have busy commitments delivering lessons to over 1400 students. Therefore, please avoid arriving to school without an appointment. Please use the staff page to make an appointment with a subject teacher. For a meeting with a Head of Year or Mr Downs, Deputy Head then please contact Mrs Davies, Wellbeing Coordinator [email protected] to make an appointment.
What if I have a query about uniform? Please call the main office or the wellbeing team and they will assist you with any queries. If you are unsure about purchasing the correct uniform, then please see our Uniform Expectations Guide which is designed to provide clarity on our expectations.
What if my child’s shoes break? Please send your son/daughter into school and the pastoral team will provide a spare pair for his/her use until you are able to purchase a new pair.
What if my child has lost or forgotten his/her tie? Your son/daughter can go to the pastoral office and borrow a tie for the day if they have forgotten or lost their existing one. New ties can be purchased at the main school office for £5.00 for a replacement.
Will the school contact me if my child doesn’t arrive at school? Yes. We have dedicated support staff who closely monitors attendance, and will contact you by phone or text if your child is absent and you have not called in. Please make sure that your contact details are up-to-date. You can contact the school office or update the SIMS Parent App with any change of contact details.
My child has injured themselves – what should I do? Once your child is ready to come back to school after an injury, we will make necessary arrangements to ensure that he/she can continue to learn at school in a safe environment. We will undertake a risk-assessment with you to ensure you are content with the arrangements in place. Please feel free to call the main office to discuss further.
What if I want to take my child on holiday during term time? Students are expected to attend school for 190 days of the year. We expect students to have strong attendance and not below 95%. Attendance below this seriously jeopardises a child's educational attainment. The school does not authorise family holidays during term time. Queries can be directed to [email protected]
When should my child arrive to school? Your child must be in school by no later than 8.30am. A bell is rung at this time to indicate students should make their way to their form room.
Will I receive a home visit from the school if my child is persistently absent from school? Yes, perhaps even if you have phoned in. This is intended to be a supportive measure.
How can I find out what level/class my child is streamed into? Please attend Parents’ Evenings regularly, and contact individual teachers for up-to-date information. Dates for Parents’ Evenings can be found on the school calendar.
Is it okay to email teachers directly? Yes. Under "About Us" there is a Staff List page with links to email addresses which will allow you to do this. We aim to respond to emails within 24-48 hours. If you have not heard from a member of staff in this time then please do contact the main office.
What if I am concerned about my child’s academic progress? Please contact your child’s teacher, subject leader or year tutor to arrange a meeting to discuss any concerns.
How will I know if my child receives a detention? The School operates a list of non-negotiables in terms of undesirable behaviours. If these are breached then a detention after-school will be issued. You will receive notification by email and text to this effect, and it is also visible on the SIMS Parent App. An after-school bus is run every day so we do not expect students not to attend. Failure to attend will lead to a further sanction, including 1-day in the internal sanction room (ISR).
I’d like to discuss my child’s behaviour outside of school – who is the best person to speak to? The wellbeing team are available to discuss any queries you may have and can direct you to the person most suited to support. Please be aware that we sanction students for misbehaviour outside of school and outside school hours.
After School Clubs – does my child have to attend every week or can they drop in? Your child is welcome at after-school clubs whenever they want to attend. However, some extra-curricular activities such as school performances may require committed attendance to avoid letting others down. A copy of the numerous lunchtime and after-school clubs are available on our website.
How much homework should my child receive? We aim to set students in key stage 3 (Year 7 and 8) at least one piece of meaningful homework each night. In key stage 4 (Year 9, 10 and 11) there is usually one/two pieces per night. However, this will vary at more demanding times in the school year. In addition to this, all students have a reading book and we encourage them to spend around 15-20 minutes reading each day. All homework is recorded via Google Classrooms. Sixth Form students are expected to use their independent study sessions as well as wider reading to support their learning, as well as completing formal homework set.
Who do I contact about homework? Please contact your child’s teacher to discuss any homework queries. If you have broader questions about homework then please raise these with Mr James, Assistant Head.
Who should I contact about my child’s additional learning needs? Please contact your child’s teacher to discuss queries around your son/daughter’s additional learning needs. Alternatively, please contact Mrs Rogers, Head of Centre (Inclusion), for queries regarding provision available or your child's specific needs. You may contact Mrs Rogers via email.