Safeguarding and Pastoral Update | Newsletter

There have been a number of changes in school this academic year and I hope the additional pastoral support that is available to students, is proving beneficial to all.

Aside from the Sixth Form Centre for older students, we also have a Pastoral Hub which is open during lunchtimes for students to meet their KS3/4 Pupil Achievement Leaders and where my office can be found.

We have a new Learning Hub, where Mrs Miras-Pye our SENCO resides from Monday to Thursdays, as well as additional support on a Thursday from My Time, who specialise in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and The Wellbeing Crew, who provide short, 15-30 minute sessions of holistic counselling on a Friday. Mrs Foulkes, Student Support will also be available four days a week after Christmas (excluding Thursday), is based near the Playroom and works with students to improve their emotional health and wellbeing as well as addressing more generic concerns such as organisation or friendship issues. Mrs Felton continues to work as Student Support with the Sixth Formers and the Director of Post-16, Mr Heppel, in the Sixth Form Centre.

Our School Nurse is based in the Dining Block and pupils can drop in every Wednesday to see her between 1.00-1.30 and by appointment from 1.30-3.30. Details of how to use the School Nurse Advisory Service outside school hours are displayed around school so that queries can also be answered at other times. If any medical conditions are brought to our attention, our School Nurse can also arrange a consultation with students and parents to establish how best we can support the young person in school.

Aside from the increase in pastoral support staff in school we have revised some of our existing policies and procedures and I would like to draw your attention to these as they are fundamental to the smooth running of the school and to the safety and security of everyone here. These policies and procedures can be found on our school website and I would encourage you to take some time to read them and share their contents with your child. They include:

  • Behaviour for Learning Policy;
  • Anti-bullying Policy;
  • Attendance Policy;
  • Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Illegal Substances Policy;
  • PSHCE and SRE Policy; and
  • In our ‘About Us’ section under ‘statutory information’ you will find our SEN and medical needs policies and information report.

I would particularly like to draw your attention to the Attendance Policy as you will shortly be receiving an update on your child’s attendance and how we are working within the revised Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board framework.

As part of our focus on attendance, I would also like you to be aware of the implications of your child being late to school. There is reference to this in the Attendance Policy, however, please note the sanctions below:

  • Our Attendance Officer will update form tutors on Mondays with a list of names of students who have been late to school the previous week, and for whom there are no mitigating circumstances; these students will make up the minutes they have been late in a detention with our Attendance Officer the next day (Tuesday).
  • If students do not attend, our Attendance Officer will communicate with the Form Tutor and rearrange for a lunchtime detention on the Friday. Any students who have more than 30 minutes of late marks in a week, will also do a further detention on a Friday, to make up the minutes lost.
  • The escalation process, as a result of either failing to attend detentions or continuing to arrive late in to school, will include a further detention with the Attendance Officer or Pupil Achievement Leader and ultimately a Senior Leadership detention after school on a Wednesday.

I hope, therefore, that you can support us in encouraging your child to be in school and on time every day.

Because safeguarding is of the utmost importance to us, in January we are launching a new app called tootoot.

Tootoot can be used to report all worries and concerns that students have – from bullying or worries about a friend to issues at home or to mental health related concerns – whatever’s on the mind of any student can easily be reported using tootoot.

Students can log into tootoot on a computer, tablet or mobile and report any worries or concerns they might be having directly to the Pastoral Team at school safely and anonymously (if they choose).

The app is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, although concerns can only be dealt with during school hours. We will therefore be providing contact details of emergency support from external providers who can help when our Pastoral Team aren’t immediately available.

Finally, I would like to remind Year 7 parents that we have our annual Challenging Changes evening on Thursday 25th January, at 6.00pm. The aim of this evening is to share with you the views of the Year 7 students, as well as to hear presentations from both myself and Mrs Stringer but also Liz Bates from Services for Education who will give you an insight into the changes and challenges that lie ahead for parents of teenagers! We hope you will find this a very useful evening.

For Year 9 parents we have our Options Evening on Wednesday 10th January and Parents Evening on Wednesday 17th January and our Careers Evening on Thursday 1st February. Further details will be sent to you in due course.

In the meantime, please let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very safe and enjoyable festive season and best wishes for the year ahead.

Miss J Glendenning, Director of Pastoral Care Years 7-11