As we head into the last week of half term, it’s disappointing to have to write to parents with a reminder of responsibilities around standards. Currently only 40% of parents have downloaded our Class Charts app. We want every parent to engage with Class Charts so they can see how their child is performing on a daily basis at school.
Excellence is expected here and we are very clear and transparent about what we expect. All our policies are on the website and have not changed and I expect parental support with them all if your child is on roll at Jewellery Quarter Academy. We are clear in our expectations of the role of parents at the school.
Last week, for example, 42 students had detentions for their mobile phone being seen or heard on site. This rule has been in place for years. As soon as students enter our site, their mobile phones should not been seen or heard. This has been reinforced recently by the government announcing a ban on mobile phones in schools in England. If students cannot adhere to this rule, they will be banned from having their phone on site completely and I will confiscate phones if necessary with the support of the authorities. As the Education secretary states: ‘headteachers should now be reassured that their efforts to keep schools mobile-free will be backed by the DfE.’ I have been very clear with our stance on this. I do not wish to confiscate phones for prolonged periods of time, but will be left with no choice if parents cannot support our clear rules.
Similarly, I have sent a text again to parents to remind about our clear uniform standards. Dyed hair, hats, make-up, acrylic nails, branded jumpers under blazers, hoodies – none of these have ever been permitted. We will confiscate items of clothing that students choose to wear such as hats instead of the correct uniform and insist students wipe make-up off and remove nails. I would also remind parents of our policy when it comes to dyed hair: I do not expect to see students arriving back after half term with freshly dyed hair, considering our policy on this is very clear. I would also like to insist that all parents purchase the full PE kit as there are too many students still arriving without the expected items of uniform and equipment. We do insist that students have multiple pens, a school bag, the basics to learn. If your child does not have a bag, pencil case or essential items of PE equipment, please use the half term holiday to purchase these.
If your child is set a detention for choosing to break our clear and simple rules, our Gold Standards, that detention will be sat. There will be no negotiation about it, no moving of it to lunchtime because it inconveniences you, it will always be after school as per our clear behaviour procedures which are again, published on the website. If your child has an after school detention and it is an inconvenience, please insist and ensure your child meets our standards and does not have to leave later than everyone else. No teachers want to ever set any detentions – they want to come to work with children and deliver the lessons they have planned without interruption or disruption as part of our high-quality curriculum and I will support them to be able to do this because our children need high quality teaching to learn and achieve.
The vast majority of students meet our high standards every day and the vast majority of parents encourage and ensure their children do this. There have been over 22,000 positives set in just 7 weeks for the students who turn up on time every day, work hard, and meet our CORE values.
However, I will not have the same small minority of students disrupt learning for the majority. I will not have the parents of children who make these choices to disrupt the learning of others in Reception demanding their child is taken out of detentions or indeed, these parents shouting and swearing at staff on the gate. I will issue letters to ban parents from our site where this is the case and refer any abusive behaviour to our Police Liaison Officer at Ladywood WMP. Our policies and procedures are clear and transparent and I say to this small minority of parents: there are other local secondaries with spaces. We have waiting lists and families with children eager to start because we are a good school and I know we have the support of 95% of our parents who want their children to be in disruption-free classrooms so they can learn and achieve.
We do what we do because it’s what the best schools in this country do: all our policies are rooted in evidence and research into what the best schools do. We all want our children to learn and achieve. That’s our ambition for our children. Only in a culture of high expectations and shared standards will our children achieve and the partnership between parents and school is key to achieving this aim. Please re-familiarise yourself with our expectations for this parent partnership at the school should you feel you need to and I look forward to the support our children need and deserve.