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Headteacher’s letter to parents – February 2017

January 2017

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope that you have had a good Christmas break and best wishes to you and your family for 2017 from all the staff and governors at Mount Carmel. We have had a really good start to the Spring Term with our Epiphany Liturgies which took place during the first week back and were led by our GIFT Team (Growing in Faith Together). Our current Year 9 pupils will this term be making their options choices and have already embarked on their weekly ‘Option Assemblies’ which take place throughout January; with the Year 9 parents / option evening taking place on Thursday 23rd February. If your child is currently in Year 9 you will be kept fully informed of events in due course.

Our Year 11s are at present taking part in their GCSE mock examinations. They will be given their results on Thursday 9th February which is our Year 11 Mock Exam Results Day. This is a rehearsal for the “real thing” and will be conducted exactly as it would be on the actual results day. It is followed in the evening by a Year 11 Parents’ Guidance Evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. More details will be sent out to parents shortly.

At Christmas, our Teaching Assistant in Maths, Mrs Gilbert left us for a new post and we wish her well. In Mrs Gilbert’s place we welcome Mr Rauf and also Miss Pollard who has been appointed as our new Food Technician. Mr Hill, our Director of Science, has also been appointed as an Assistant Headteacher. This is a much deserved promotion and Mr Hill will join the Senior Leadership Team with immediate effect. His new role will add capacity to the existing SLT and will focus particularly on raising the attainment of disadvantaged and high achieving pupils. Mr Hill will continue in his role as Director of Science for now but we will hopefully be appointing a Curriculum Leader and Assistant Leader of Science this term to allow Mr Hill to focus on his new role as well as supporting the newly appointed post holders in Science.

Again, as with last term, I would like to impress the importance of the following things:

Attendance and Punctuality: It is of paramount importance that your child attends school and is punctual in the morning. Students must arrive for 8.45 a.m. If you are ringing school to report an absence, please listen to our recorded message and ensure you press 1 for absences/pastoral team. This will ensure your message is received promptly and in the correct department. No holiday leave during term time will be granted. Only in exceptional circumstances will any leave of absence be granted and a request in writing must be submitted before the event. We are required to issue fines or take legal action where parents choose to keep their child off school for unauthorised reasons. Equipment: I am still amazed at how many pupils do not come to school with a suitable bag and equipment. Please make sure your child brings a bag into school containing the correct equipment: pens, pencils, maths equipment, homework diary, PE kit etc.

We are really proud of the high standard of uniform across school. Thank you very much for your support and we will continue to accept nothing but the highest of standards in this regard. Please refer to our uniform requirements on the website and note in particular the following points: trousers must be slate grey conventional tailored trousers – not black; any hoodies must be off and out of sight throughout the school day; there must be no piercings except one stud in each ear lobe for girls; haircuts no shorter than a number 2; girls’ headscarves must be the Mount Carmel logo black scarf; black shoes only. During the winter months please can I remind you of the importance for your child to have a warm coat. The only jumper allowed in school is the Trutex black cotton jumper with gold striping.

Our 3 ‘strikes rule’ ensures consistency across school and gives both staff and pupils a clear system to use. I will continue to insist that staff contact parents direct with any concerns immediately the incident occurs but also encourage staff to make good use of rewards such as ‘Star of the Half Term’, postcards home, and positive phone calls home as well as letters of commendation. As a school we continue to very much focus on positive reinforcement at every opportunity.

Own Learning:
We have a big focus on own learning as a means of improving attainment and good study habits with pupils. Please can you check that you have a copy of your child’s own learning timetable for KS3 which is also available on the website. Planners should have a sticky label with the own learning timetable placed in a prominent place. At KS4 it is expected that pupils do a minimum of 2 hours per evening of own learning tasks. Please not only sign your child’s planner on a weekly basis but ask to see examples of own learning and talk to your child about this, encouraging them at every opportunity. Pupils should be encouraged to read through notes made during their lessons in order to reinforce the key learning from that day. The form sweeps will continue this term where pupils’ planers and exercise books are scrutinised regarding own learning.

ParentMail connects schools and parents efficiently and reliably using modern technology, making essential communications much simpler for everyone. As a school we use ParentMail to send texts which include important school closure information and we send emails for information on school events and to facilitate Parents’ Evenings appointments. If you wish to register for your ParentMail account, please do not hesitate to contact school. School Cash Office (Tucasi) On-line Payments: School Cash Office on-line payment system enables parents to pay for items in school using their credit or debit card, e.g. dinner money and school trips. If you wish to set up an on-line payment account please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Brewster on 01254 357191.

Planning for Bad Weather: Our view is, whenever possible, school should be open to students at all times. We are conscious of our responsibilities to pupils and their families and therefore any decision to close would be in extreme cases i.e. if staff cannot make the journey into school and if it is snowing hard and makes travelling unsafe in our area. If this happens, information will be available to tell you of the school closure via:
a) Local media – Radio Lancashire and 2BR.
b) School Website: this will be updated regularly as information is known and will be shown clearly www.mountcarmelhigh.co.uk
c) School will text parents as soon as possible – which should be before 8.00 a.m. (please ensure you inform school of any change in your mobile numbers).

With this letter I am sending home your information sheets. Please check the sheets and, if anything has changed or needs to be amended, send them back via your child to the pastoral office immediately. It is important that this information is kept up to date. Please keep updated with our newsletters and check our website for the latest news. We have a new website address which is: www.mountcarmelhigh.co.uk Once again, I thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Xavier Bowers