What role do parents play in the life of our sixth form students?
Parents/Guardians have a very important role to play in the three-way partnership students are entering into. In the Sixth Form we do not subscribe to the view that post 16 students are entirely independent decision makers. Indeed it is our view that students entering Post 16 do so in a deliberate partnership with their parents or guardians, who retain an active responsibility for development and progress.
Your Parents have supported you throughout the compulsory stages of education and are encouraging you to continue your studies. Even though you are older, their support is still essential and they will want to share with you the important moments and decisions throughout Post 16, as well as encouraging you to achieve your full potential.
Primarily we will try to deal with students directly as young adults, but out of courtesy information will be shared with parents or supporting guardians. We reserve the right to share with and involve Parents/Guardians even though you are older and in voluntary education. This will happen automatically through reports and consultation evenings, but there is also an open invitation to parents to contact us at any time and this is very much encouraged. Contact can be made directly to teaching staff for subject specific issues or through the Personal Tutor.
What is ALIS?
We use a system called ALIS which is a student centred aspirational tracking system for progression and achievement – information is available here.
A GCSE score will be calculated for each student based on the grades they achieved at GCSE. This GCSE score is then compared to a national database of A level results from students who achieved that same GCSE score and looking at what those students, who achieved the same as your son/daughter at GCSE actually achieved at A level. An ALIS grade for your son/daughter is then set based on this national database of achievement. If your son/daughter achieves their ALIS grade it means they will have achieved in line with students with comparable GCSE performance.
Throughout the year students should compare work they are completing against their ALIS grade to ensure they are on track to achieve their potential. At three points throughout the year subject lecturers will record a current performance grade (CPG) for your son/daughter and this is then compared to their ALIS grade to see if they are on track. In some cases it may be felt a student can and should aim higher than their ALIS so all students are set subject specific targets to aim for to ensure they are always pushing for their best.
What is 'Private Study'?
The balance between taught lessons and private study changes when students move into the sixth form. It is expected that students study individually or in study groups for approximately 5 hours per week in each subject outside of timetabled lesson time. We will be indicating 2 Private Study periods on all students timetables per week where the Study Room will be supervised by a member of staff. We encourage students to use the study facilities offered by the school. Sixth form students have access to several study rooms with IT facilities and the library is open to them all day, as well as after school. They will obviously also need a place to study at home, if possible with a small notice board for timetables, reminders etc.
What if I want to drop / change a subject?
We strongly advise students to think carefully about their core subjects in order to ensure they match future aspirations, When a student starts with us in Year 12 it is essential they begin with 3 core subjects, in order to allow some time to trial an additional subject and reflect on this some students may start with 4 with a view of dropping one within a few weeks. After the last Friday in September students must complete the relevant yellow form, ensuring all sections are complete and signed. We understand that a student may wish to change a subject from their core once the course is underway. Any course swaps must be made by the last Friday in September of Year 12. Accommodating a change will be at the discretion of the Head of Sixth Form and Head of Faculty . Students wanting to drop or change a course need to complete the yellow form available from the Sixth Form and ensure all sections are signed for.
What are our expectations of sixth form behaviour?
Clearly all sixth form students are expected to behave in responsible manner at all times. When coming to lessons students should come in a positive frame of mind with appropriate equipment for each lesson. Points worthy of particular note include the following:
- The school is a no smoking site and students should not smoke on school premises.
- The Common Room is an area set aside for sixth form use only. The space should be respected and kept clean and tidy at all times.
- Students who choose to drive to school do so at their own risk. When using the school car park they should drive responsibly.
- Students should generally behave in an appropriate manner, with respect to others and the school environment.
If students behave in a way that is considered to be irresponsible in any way they will face disciplinary action in line with the School’s disciplinary policy and procedures including the use of the Focus Room and possible removal from the Sixth Form at the Heads discretion if deemed to be unacceptable.
Can students use mobile technology in the sixth form?
Sixth Form students are allowed to bring mobile phones, tablets and laptops into school, but do so at their own risk. The school does not accept any liability for the loss or theft of such items. While students are allowed to bring equipment in they will be for use only in the sixth form common room/corridor and study rooms and classrooms with teachers permission. They should not be used generally around the rest of the school. Mobile phones should be switched off during lessons, registration, assemblies, etc.
What are sixth formers allowed to wear?
In line with the School’s Dress Code there are few restrictions on dress in the sixth form, however students are asked not to wear clothing that is too revealing or offensive in any way to other members of the community. Sixth form students may wear hats in the sixth form common room / corridor but should not wear these around school generally.
Should students undertake employment outside of school?
We understand that many students need to earn money in part-time employment and that this can provide valuable experience for them. We strongly recommend that they work a maximum of 12 hours per week, however, any more than this is likely to prevent them from making a sensible balance between study, social life, exercise and work.
How is student progress monitored?
Students will be monitored throughout the course and at regular intervals progress will be assessed. If a student is deemed to be making unsatisfactory progress parents will be notified by either the subject leader, Head of Sixth Form or Personal Tutor. Entrance to examinations will only be made available to those students that have fulfilled the course requirements and made sufficient progress to pass the course. The decision to enter a student into an examination lies with the Head of Faculty / Subject Leader and Head of Sixth Form. Where a student fails to make adequate progress parents will be notified in advance. Where a student fails to make sufficient progress to pass a course the decision to allow the student to continue further lies with the Head of Faculty and Head of Sixth Form. Parents will have the opportunity to discuss progress at Tutor Review and a subject specific evening later in the year. In addition our teachers are contactable via e mail if you should have any concerns.
What is PSE?
All students are required to take part in the PSE and Guidance programme which takes place each Monday period 1. This will deal with a range of personal, social and health issues relevant to 17/18 year olds and includes topics such as personal safety, driver safety, healthy eating etc. Towards the end of Year 12 the focus shifts towards university and careers guidance. This session is also an essential communication channel for all students.
Should students undertake Work Experience?
All Year 12 students will be encouraged to undertake a Work Experience placement in the Summer Term following examinations. This we feel will allow them to make informed choices and help support future applications for their chosen degree or career. We encourage students to investigate their own placement and upon securing an initial consent we will provide the relevant paperwork to ensure appropriate Health and Safety checks and insurance are in place. If the placement is deemed to be of high risk we will liaise with Derbyshire County Council and will have to give a minimum of 8 weeks notice to county for Derbyshire placements. Anything out of Derbyshire requires a minimum of 12 weeks notice and there is no guarantee that these will be authorised and may incur a charge.
What is Social Action?
We expect all students to undertake some form of Social Action during their time in the sixth form. This could involve for example:
- Helping younger students in school e.g. with reading, mathematics, etc.
- Carrying out a specific community project
- Charity fund raising
- Carrying out school based voluntary duties
This Social Action should be carried out in the students’ own time. The school will assist with the organisation of these activities, but will also expect each student to take on some responsibility for this themselves.
Students are required to complete the blue Sixth Form Social Action Record Form and a blue Risk Assessment Form if the action is outside of the school. Both forms should be returned to your tutor. This is very important since it will provide tutors with the information they need to write university or employment references. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that both universities and employers value such experience.
In addition to this all students are required to take part in Enrichment Week in Year 12, which offers a further opportunity to carry out social action or work experience. Students are also expected to assist with open evenings, acting as student guides, etc. and support Year 6 students during their transition.
Who can I speak to for advice?
An open door policy operates in the sixth form whereby student or parents can seek advice at any time. Obviously there may be times where staff may not available immediately; however, both students and parents can seek advice on any issue. This may involve advice on procedures, study skills, university applications, job applications or careers. We also have a Careers Co-ordinator who offers individual careers advice on an appointment basis.
Key members of the Sixth Form Team
- Paul Brumby - Head of Sixth Form
- Matt Boyle – Deputy Head of Sixth Form
- Fran Lloyd – Sixth Form Student Services Support
We can be contacted via e mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
How will I get important messages?
It is vital that students take some responsibility for keeping up to date with important announcements/news. This is particularly important in the sixth form where students are beginning to take some responsibility for their own futures. Students should check the Urgent Notice Board outside the sixth form common room daily, attend all assemblies and PSE sessions, and all PSE morning registration sessions unless pre-arranged with their tutor. Individual Academic Mentoring sessions will also provide an opportunity to disseminate messages.
We will provide all students with a personal e-mail account and would encourage them to look at this on a regular basis.
How will my attendance be monitored?
By accepting a place in the Sixth Form at Belper School students agree to the following conditions regarding attendance:
- Students must attend all the lessons which make up your programme of study.
- Students must attend all PSE and assemblies.
- Students must meet their Personal Tutor at least once per three weeks at the scheduled time.
- Good attendance is essential if you are to succeed in the job market or progress to higher education. Most employers and universities require the school to comment on attendance in references. Where attendance is unsatisfactory it is our duty to report this truthfully and honestly.
- Electronic attendance records will be kept in the form of:
- Lesson Register – will identify absence from specific lessons. Tutors notified, and absence recorded.
- Reasons for Absence – recording each individual’s reason for absence.
Authorised and Unauthorised absence
If you know that you are going to be absent from school, you should apply for ‘authorised absence’ at least 2 days before that date. For example, you could gain authorised absence for a hospital appointment – other examples are listed below. In this case you must complete the blue absence form available from the Sixth Form Office or from your tutor and get it signed by the teachers whose lessons you are missing and record any work that will be missed. Once completed the form needs to be returned to the Sixth Form office so that it can be input into the daily registers.
If you know that you need to be away, but you don’t apply for an authorised absence and you miss one of your classes, we will always assume you don’t have permission to be away and the absence will be marked down as unauthorised.
Examples of reasons to apply for ‘authorised absence’:
- a medical appointment which can’t be arranged outside school hours
- a particular need to look after a family member or another person who you have caring responsibilities for (NB this would be a one off incident and not happen regularly)
- a religious holiday, subject to school approval
- a visit to a university either to attend an open day or for an interview, subject to school approval
- an appointment with a Careers Personal Adviser (although you should arrange these outside of lessons).
- a work experience placement which is part of a course, and which you don’t receive a wage for
- if you’re taking part in a significant extra-curricular activity, such as community service, drama, music, sport or volunteering. Authorised absence will only be given where the activity reflects a significant level of personal achievement (e.g. taking part in a regional or national event), or for some other one-off event.
- a probation meeting
- going to a funeral of a close relative/friend
- severe problems with your transport (for example, where you travel to school by bus and heavy snow means there is no practical way of getting to school)
- a driving test
- a school representatives’ meeting e.g. Governors’ meeting
You will be asked to give evidence to support your absence where you can e.g. show your appointment card if you have a medical appointment.
This list is not complete and the school has the right to make the final decision on whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.
However, if you are ever away for a reason that you couldn’t have predicted, the school will consider whether your absence was really unavoidable - but you must let them know on the day you’re away before 10am.
(You should phone the School Office (Telephone number 01773 _825281). Unless you have a really good reason why you can’t contact them on the day, they will consider your absence unauthorised .
Reasons that are not generally acceptable for authorised absence:
- holidays (special requests made in advance may be considered, but this may not be accepted).
- part or full-time work which isn’t part of your programme of study
- leisure activities
- birthdays or similar celebrations
- babysitting younger brothers or sisters
- driving lessons
Again, this list is not complete and the school has the right to make the final decision on whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.
Absence due to sickness needs to be explained or evidenced in some way.
Also the school is entitled to turn down an application for authorised absence if there is a pattern to your absences, you are absent a lot or if they have reason to doubt you! If you are ill you will need to ring the school before 10am. The School Office (Telephone number 01773 825281).
What are the procedures in the event of staff absence?
If a member of staff's absence is planned in advance for example due to running a trip or event we ask teachers to inform the students in advance and set appropriate work for them to complete independently in their absence.
If a member of staff is absent and this is not planned, for example illness, in the first instance we will set work for students to complete independently. If it seems likely that the member of staff is going to be absent for a period of more than three consecutive days then a relief teacher will be put in place to cover those lessons and students will be expected to attend as appropriate work will be being covered in the staff member's absence. Details of a staff member's absence will be communicated to students on the morning of the absence through the Sixth Form Information Board. Students need to ensure that they follow departmental procedures for collecting work to complete.
If we have a situation where a member of staff is on long term absence then a suitably qualified and experienced replacement is put in place. Throughout the year Heads of Faculty monitor the situation closely for all their groups and if a situation should arise where additional sessions are required then arrangements will be put in place to support the students.
What are the timings of the school day?
The school operates a 50 period timetable set over two weeks.
What are the school term and holiday dates for this academic year?
The school term and holiday dates can be found on the following link - http://www.belperschool.co.uk/term-dates/
What are the scheduled bus times to and from the school?
Details can be found on the following link - http://www.belperschool.co.uk/student-transport/
What tactful questions can I ask my son/daughter when they are struggling?
- What do the assignment directions or questions tell you to do?
- What words or directions don’t you understand?
- Go through with me what you’ve done so far.
- Let’s look in your book or notebook for some notes and information that might help us.
- What did the teacher say when he or she gave you this assignment?
- Can you tell me how you got that answer?
- What do you think is the most important idea in this section of your report?
How can my son/daughter get extra help in Sixth Form?
For many students additional support is essential to a successful learning experience. This can range from support with dyslexia, special exam arrangements to in-class assistance.
A guide to the variety of support services on offer is available from the Learning Support Team. If you have any queries, please contact us so that we can forward your contact details to them.
It is important that your son or daughter discusses any support needs at their interview to ensure that they get the support they require during their time in the Sixth Form. All full time students are given an informal assessment at the start of the course so that we can identify those needing extra help. We also welcome parents letting us know if they think their son or daughter would benefit from extra help or have other support needs which have not been picked up elsewhere. This could include medical or social issues.
What is the disciplinary code?
At Belper School & Sixth Form we believe in entering into a partnership with every single student that walks through our doors – there is no ‘them and us’, staff and students work as a team. We believe in some basic principles. Everyone in the school has the responsibility to help create a happy learning environment. Put simply, we want everyone to feel as though they are treated as an individual, an exceptional and a valuable person. We do not apologise for having high expectations. On the rare occasion that we have concerns about their progress or behaviour, students may be subject to the the Disciplinary System as outlined below:
- Extended unauthorised absence and student has therefore fallen behind
- Failure to submit homework or coursework over an extended period
- Theft (immediate suspension and in many cases exclusion)
- Possession of illegal substances (immediate suspension and in many cases exclusion)
- Bullying, harassment, victimisation and all forms of aggressive or threatening behaviour, including the use of racist or sexist behaviour
- Breaching the student ICT acceptable use policy
- Inappropriate use of email and cyber bullying
Wave 1 - strategies based on classroom intervention by the subject teacher and or tutor.
Wave 2 - will be passed to the Head of Faculty if concerns persist.
Wave 3 - passed onto Sixth Form Management Team and Head of Department. Final warning
Wave 4 - issues will be passed through the Head of School and may result in the removal of the student either from the subject or school.
So how can I help as a parent?
The good news is that you don’t need to learn plate tectonics or astrophysics.
The basics of good support at home are unchanged, they possibly just require greater tact and sensitivity:
- Ensuring that they have somewhere quiet to study and develop a study regime with homework and assignments.
- Making sure they are punctual and don’t over-commit to part time work.
- Don’t allow them to miss College unnecessarily. There is a clear correlation between attendance and results.
- Checking that they (mainly males) have the basics including pens and paper.
- Taking an interest in their work. Ask them to explain things, this in itself is helpful in developing their ability to articulate their understanding. Praise them for this.
- Helping them plan a calendar with key dates including when to revise, applications for university etc.
- Help them plan for deadlines. Many assignments, especially with BTECs, have very long deadlines and too many students leave things till the last moment. Sit down with them regularly to see where they are up to and discuss how to break things down.
- Offer to proof read (not write!) assignments
- Help them to find sources of information
- Discuss the next stage with them. Having goals that they want to achieve is a great motivator.
- Ensuring that they keep to a sensible size study programme.