I want to take a moment to point out how proud I am to be the Head of a school:
Where the internal exclusion rate has fallen from 31.7% of children to 18.9% of children over the last two years since I became Head, and is lower again by November this year than it was the year before.
The main reason I am writing to you however is to say thank you to all who filled out the most recent online parent questionnaire and thank you for your continuing support of the school’s ambition and care for your children. I want to clarify the school’s position in relation to some requests in answer to Q2 ‘Please tell us anything at Kingsmead you would like to see done differently next year’.
Most responses fell under a four key themes:
Firstly, a number of parents raised the issue of mobile phones, usually in the context of student safety on the way to and from school.
The school has a long established no mobile phones policy that would have been made clear when you chose to send your child to Kingsmead, and it is something members of the Government have been advocating for all schools:
‘Schools should ban their pupils from bringing smartphones into school or the classroom.’
Nick Gibb, Schools Minister
Aside from the potential for them to cause disruption or distraction in school, the main reason we ban phones completely is that we believe students are safer on their way to and from school without them. It is widely accepted that teenagers using phones on the street are at greater risk of robbery and being involved in road accidents. In addition, Enfield Police have reported to us that Kingsmead students are less likely to be targeted because it is well known locally that they do not carry phones. Indeed, those incidents reported to us over the last year have been because a child did have their mobile phone and became a target. Either that or because they were left alone by criminals when it turned out they did not a mobile phone.
Parents naturally want children to be contactable on their way to and from school, but carrying a phone does not make children safer, it puts them at greater risk. It can create a false sense of security, with children staying out later and making riskier decisions because they have a phone. In our view, students should be travelling straight to and from school by main routes where they are visible, on public transport and in groups where possible. Apart from being brought and picked up by an adult, that is the safest thing for them. If they need to contact home or have any doubts about their safety, they should come to reception and talk to us. There is a homework club in the library that they can stay in if they need to be picked up or to wait for a certain time.
Second, a number of parents were querying the way students do detentions at Kingsmead - sitting in silence with no opportunity to complete homework or read. This is deliberate as the detention is something that should be a chore, and certainly not an invitation for students to do what they should be doing at home while we watch them! It should be something the student wants to avoid.
If the detention is being given for non-completion or lower standard of homework, we already offer two homework clubs every day, one during lunch and another after school. Students can get help there and a space to complete homework before a deadline. Were we to allow students to complete homework in a detention after they failed to meet the deadline, we may as well just invite them along to detention and forget about the deadline entirely!
The most successful students at Kingsmead are the ones who do the most work in their own time and we encourage that habit as much as possible. If a student is consistently struggling with homework, then the underlying reasons are examined, a plan put in place and they are expected to come to homework club for an extended period of time.
One of the bigger changes this year is a far more comprehensive system for being positive toward students. We have always had merits, green tickets, prizes in assemblies and celebration evenings, but it should be that from this week onward you are able to see more on the school gateway. You should now be able to see exactly what positive things we are praising a child for in just as much detail as those things we have chosen to sanction.
There was a request for more feedback from the school as a priority this year, e.g. additional parents’ evenings. The school has looked at different ways of conducting parents’ evenings but there are constraints - including union agreements about teachers working hours - which prevent us from offering more than one formal parents evening for each year group.
Parents can always communicate with staff via their child’s planner, by email and by phone. Learning Directors of Year (LDYs) or their deputies will be happy to meet parents who have a concern and their emails are below.
We also offer Senior Staff Surgeries two weeks per term where parents can raise an issue with the Senior Leadership Team. If you are not able to get to the school for any reason, please contact our Parent Support Advisor, Mrs Cevik, at the school and she can arrange a home visit.
Please do not forget to download the school gateway app to keep up to date with news from the school and your child’s progress. There is lots of information on the parent pages of the school website too.
Some felt that homework was not always clear enough and a couple mentioned websites that offer to publish all the homework set online for parents to check. While such sites are convenient, they take responsibility away from the child to record homework in their planner and to organise themselves. One of our key values is rigour and we are determined to expect children to apply it in their approach to their learning.
We have published homework timetables and guides on the school website, in the parents’ section. Many departments also publish homework tasks on the VLE. We will, however, continue to expect students to write homework set in their planners.
As stated above, there are many places students can go to get help with homework in school should they need it. If your child is having difficulties writing homework in their planner, please contact your child’s LDY in the first instance. Throughout 2019-2020 departments will be centralising their homework to make tasks more consistent and predictable, which means we will be able to be clearer with you about what tasks they are being set.
If you have any concerns about your child’s progress or other issues at school, please contact your child’s LDY in the first instance.
|Year 7||Mr Palmerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Year 8||Ms Noel-Smith||YNoel-Smith@kingsmead.org|
|Year 9||Mr Ganapatheeemail@example.com|
|Year 10||Ms Georgioufirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Year 11||Ms Tasheremail@example.com|
|Sixth Form||Mr Winstanleyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Thank you for your continued support for the school. Please show your support by following Kingsmead Parent Community (KPC) on Facebook.
David Medway - Headteacher