On Monday 2nd March, there was a question and answer session with interested parents and carers. Questions from parents and carers were answered by the panel: Mr Garrill (Head Teacher); Mrs Roberts and Ms Clay (Deputy Head Teachers).
The summary of questions and answers are as follows:
1. Are there plans to open a Sixth Form?
Answer: we are putting together a business plan to the DFE to open a sixth form, focusing on providing an A Level curriculum that will support our students. There are a number of reasons for this: a lack of local provision, meaning that a lot of our students are going out of borough, and overwhelming parental support (over 90%).
2. Are there enough lockers for all students?
Answer: no: but we are looking into providing more, although some of them will have to go outdoors owing to constraints on space. 150 are about to be vacated by Year 11. Tutors are happy to keep coats in tutor rooms during the day if allowed sufficient time.
3. Is it possible to know about the content of SEARCH Days in advance?
Answer: yes: this will be added to the website in future, and tutors need to be reminded to give out information well in advance.
4. Since the Tutor Time slots are increasing to 30mins, are there any plans to provide themes or structured activities for Tutor Time?
Answer: yes. The focus on Beyond Words has been essential and very successful. However, the extra ten minutes will allow a greater range of pastoral and other activities, which was one of the reasons for the change.
5. Are there planned changes to the AFA target/level system in the light of the National Assessment changes?
Answer: yes: by 2017 there will be a whole new assessment in school, based on GCSE-style skills. There will be parental information sessions and information to support this change.
6. When are parents and carers supposed to sign planners?
Answer: at the end of each week. There is a big planner overhaul going on, but parents and carers are asked to sign planners weekly.
7. Are students obliged to attend after-school clubs?
Answer: we encourage students to attend after-school activities, but do not monitor this. We want to expand our after-school range for KS3, as a lot of our energy is currently focused on KS4 and boosters. We will feed back on this.
8. What are positive reports for?
Answer: to allow tutors to look at how their tutees are doing: sometimes to check students are participating, mostly to see how the quiet and hard-working students are doing and to allow their achievements to be celebrated.
9. Are jersey trousers allowed?
Answer: no. We are looking into aspects of our uniform policy, but girls are expected to wear tailored suit-style trousers, as are boys. This led to a more general discussion about uniform