End of Term Letter 2018

Ref: CLY/SJM

23 July 2018

Dear Parent/Carer

As we draw to the end of this Summer term, I would like to thank you for your support in what has proved to be another successful year for the Academy. Sadly this will be the last letter I write to you as Principal of Somercotes Academy. Since starting in November 2015 the Academy has continued to improve and deliver excellent education to its students. This September, at the beginning of the new term, the Academy will be in an even stronger position with over 90 students on roll in year 7, outstanding teaching staff, modern facilities and an excellent new Principal. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all stakeholders the very best for the year ahead.

As the year comes to an end it is inevitable that we begin to focus on the next academic year. The new Principal, Mrs Green, has asked me to remind you about a number of important points.

First Day of the New Academic Year

Students return to Somercotes Academy for the new term on Tuesday 4 September 2018.

Uniform

In order to maintain the high standards and discipline expected at Somercotes Academy, we would like to take this opportunity to clarify acceptable styles of footwear and trousers we insist our students wear. Please note that stretch material trousers are not permitted as part of the Academy uniform policy; boys and girls should all be wearing tailored black trousers. Canvas style shoes and plimsolls or trainers are not acceptable at the Academy. Please refer to the Academy website for suggested footwear, trousers and the entire uniform policy. Please can we also remind you that Jewellery is not permitted, other than a wrist watch and a pair of small studs in the ears. Please note that all students must wear the correct Academy tie at all times.

If a student attends the Academy in the incorrect uniform he/she will be placed in the Inclusion Unit until the issue is corrected.

Attendance

A high rate of attendance is essential in order for every student to achieve their full potential. We would like to remind parents that, to support this, the Government now classifies any student who has less than 90% attendance as a Persistent Absentee and this information has to be reported to the DfE.

I need to draw your attention to the fact that parents/carers have a duty in law to ensure their child attends regularly, unless they are able to do so by reason of ill-health or other legally acceptable reason. Please be reminded of the following:

  • Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places upon parents a duty to ensure that their child receives efficient full-time education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
  • Where a child is a registered pupil at a school and the parent fails to ensure that child's regular attendance at school the parents is liable to be prosecuted for a criminal offence under Section 444 of the Education Act.
  • In cases where this duty is not being fulfilled Section 444B of the same Act empowers the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty of either £60.00 or £120.00.
  • We monitor and check the attendance of all students at the Academy. We insist that our attendance team make contact with every parent or carer in the case of absence. Please can I remind you to telephone the Academy every day that your son or daughter is absent. If an absence is for three days or more, medical evidence may be required in order to authorise the absence (i.e. a doctor's appointment card, medical passport stamped or prescription).
  • May I also take this opportunity to inform parents/carers, if your son/daughter is to be collected during the Academy day that notification is given in advance unless in emergencies.

Illness

If your child is ill and cannot attend school please ring 01507 358 352 and advise a member of staff or leave a message on the answerphone. Please ensure you telephone the school every day that your child is ill.

If your child becomes unwell at school the procedure is as follows:

  • The student should initially advise the class teacher that he/she feels ill. The teacher will then send your child to the Medical Room. The Health Assistant will contact you if it is judged that your child should be collected and taken home e.g. if your child is physically sick.
  • Students should not be texting or calling home during the school day to say that they are unwell and making their own arrangements to be collected.
  • For safeguarding reasons Somercotes Academy needs to follow procedure and officially sign a student out from the Academy.

Planners

Academy planners are used in order for school and home to have fluid communication throughout the academic year. Please ensure planners are signed on a weekly basis.

Homework

In September, we ask parents/carers to monitor their child's planner to ensure that they are completing homework and handing it in. Homework is important in helping students consolidate knowledge. If students do not do their homework they will be expected to complete the work in a homework detention session at break time.

Mobile Phones/MP3 Players/iPods/Smart Watches

The Academy has a policy of not allowing students to use mobile phones or MP3 players/iPods/smart watches on site. These devices are not permitted to be used, in order for us to ensure the welfare of every student and limit the disruption to their education. Any student who is suspected of using a mobile phone will be searched by the Academy and the device will be confiscated. Students who continue to use their mobile phone in the Academy will be subject to the Academy's Behaviour Policy. Please note that students found with such a device during a controlled assessment or examination have to be reported to the Examination Board concerned and risk gaining zero marks for their work, disqualification from the subject concerned or even disqualification from all GCSE subjects. These rules apply whether the student is using the device or not. Please discuss this with your child and ensure that he/she does not bring electronic equipment to the Academy.

Contacting the Academy

If you need to talk to a member of staff, please ring the Reception to arrange an appointment. Our intention is for a member of staff to respond to you as soon as possible. If a meeting is required, please contact 01507 358 352 to arrange this. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate parents/guardians who arrive at Reception wishing to see a member of staff immediately—this is not always possible due to teaching commitments, other pre-arranged meetings etc. May we please remind you that all communications with staff should be in a polite and professional manner.

The Academy Reception is open 8:30am-4:30pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 4:00pm on Friday.

Buses

Please can parents/carers discuss with students the importance of appropriate behaviour on the buses and at bus stops. The majority of students conduct themselves in an excellent manner. However, we have had a small number of incidents reported where Somercotes Academy students have failed to act appropriately. Can I remind you that Lincolnshire County Council and Tollbar MAT will issue a fixed period ban, if your son/daughter's behaviour is deemed inappropriate.

If you would like to raise concerns or problems related to Lincolnshire County Council transport buses, this must be reported to the Academy and also Council transport. May I remind you, problems can be reported online through Max-Respect (www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/parents/schools/home-to-school-transport/max-respect/) or by telephone 01522 782 020 (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm)

E-Safety

I also would like to raise awareness of the growing concerns about keeping young people safe online. This is an area that we all need to be mindful of, especially during the holiday, as some children may be using the internet more often in their spare time. Further advice and guidance on E-Safety and keeping safe online can be found on www.thinkuknow.co.uk and www.net-aware.org.uk in addition to lots of other valuable information for parents and carers.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to make a final thank you to all the students and parents that have worked so hard with us to make the Academy a success. I wish all of you the very best for the year ahead.

Wishing you a safe and relaxing summer.

Yours faithfully

Mrs C L Yates
Principal

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Somercotes Academy Principal

Caroline L Yates
BA (Hons).

Tollbar MAT Chief Executive

David J Hampson
OBE, BSc, BA.
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