Christmas will soon be upon us and it will be the end of another busy term. We hope you and our pupils have enjoyed the various festive activities that are now part of our annual school calendar. Our PTA Christmas Fayre took place on Friday, 30th November and once again was a fantastic success. We are blessed to have such a supportive and active PTA. I would also like to sincerely thank everyone who came to support us. We raised nearly £1500 for school funds. Our Annual Christmas Party for the elderly, sick and housebound from the local parishes took place on Monday 10th December. This was our sixth Christmas party and this year we had 80 guests, who were all treated to a 3-course meal and entertainment from our own choir and the choir of Broadfield Special School. Everyone had a wonderful time, including our Health and Social Care BTEC pupils who helped to serve lunch and did a great job in making our guests feel very welcome. Our Annual Carol Concert with our Catholic partner primary schools took place on Thursday 13th December. Once again this was an opportunity for everyone to get together as a family of Catholic schools and to remind ourselves about the ‘real’ Christmas message, putting to one side wrapping presents, shopping, and all the other things that we busy ourselves with over the festive season. Thank you, once again, to everyone who came and we hope you enjoyed the evening.
I would like to impress the importance of the following things for the new term in January;
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE, ABSENCE AND THE LAW: Regular school attendance is an important part of giving your child the best possible start in life. Talking to your child and their teachers could help solve any difficulties you may have in getting your child to go to school and there are other forms of support available if you still have problems. The law requires parents to make sure their children receive full-time education suitable to their needs. Regarding taking holidays during term time; Government legislation now states that requests for holiday leave during term time will not be authorised by the headteacher and could also be subject to a fine. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to not take family holidays during term time and attend school every day. It makes a massive difference to your child’s progress towards their exam results at the end of year 11.
Equipment: I am still amazed at how many pupils do not come to school with a suitable bag and equipment. Please put these items on their Christmas list and make sure your child brings a bag into school containing the correct equipment: pens, pencils, maths equipment, homework diary, PE kit etc.
Uniform: We are 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. 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. If pupils choose to wear a ‘hoody’ rather than a coat then we will ask for it to be removed and, if it happens again, it will be confiscated. SHIRTS: Shirts must be tucked inside skirts/trousers and the top button must be fastened; SKIRTS: Skirts must be worn just above or on the knee and not rolled up at the waist; TROUSERS: trousers must be slate grey conventional tailored trousers – not black and not “skinny fit”; Traditional sensible low-heeled black school shoes – TRAINING SHOES OR BOOTS MUST NOT BE WORN. MOBILE PHONES: Please could I remind parents and students that mobile phones should remain in school bags throughout the school day. If the phone is not kept out of sight and a member of staff sees a child using their mobile phone during school hours, it will be confiscated and parents must collect it from the main school office. We make no apologies to having a zero-tolerance approach to these school rules and ask for your full support in these matters.
Behaviour: Our new behaviour policy seems to be working well. Persistent offenders are having to rapidly improve their behaviour or face spending more time in the school ‘Reflect Room’. This ensures more consistency across school and gives both staff and pupils a clear system to use. We will continue 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 are very much trying to focus on positive reinforcement at every opportunity.
Parental concerns and appointments with staff: From January, please note that, due to timetabling and school commitments, teachers and members of staff can only see parents via an appointment system. It will no longer be possible for parents to call into school and expect to see a member of staff immediately. We will endeavour to address your concerns on the same day or as soon as possible. Please do not come into school without an appointment as we would not want you to be inconvenienced. Thank you, in advance, for your support with this.
Homework: There continues to be a big focus on Homework as a means of improving attainment and good study habits with pupils. Please ensure that you make good use of ‘Show my Homework’ to track when homework is set by teachers in school. This has been very successful in assisting pupils with homework tasks. Please do not forget to log in as a parent and see what tasks you son or daughter has been set. If you are having problems with Show my Homework, please contact Ms Carruthers at school. Passwords can be re-issued on request. Please can you also check that you have a copy of your child’s Homework timetable for KS3 which is also available on the website. Planners should have a sticky label with the Homework timetable placed in a prominent place. At KS4 it is expected that pupils do a minimum of 2 hours per evening of Homework tasks and one hour in KS3. Please not only sign your child’s planner on a weekly basis but ask to see examples of Homework 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.
Planning for Bad Weather: It is that time of year again when we start to plan for bad weather. Our view is, whenever possible, school should be open to pupils 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, and based on the following:
• If the school site was not safe
• if staff cannot make the journey into school and / or if it is snowing hard and makes travelling unsafe in our area.
• If the weather was likely to worsen during the day and our pupils may not be able to get home safely.
If this happens, information will be available to tell you of the school closure via:
a) 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).
b) School Website: this will be updated regularly as information is known and will be shown clearly (www.mountcarmelhigh.co.uk)
c) Local media – Radio Lancashire and 2BR.
Please keep this information in a safe place for future use but be assured that we will always try to open school where safety permits.
Staffing: We will be saying farewell to several members of staff at Christmas who are leaving for pastures new; Ms Valentine, Teacher of Maths, Miss Haworth, teacher of RE and Mrs Harris who is retiring after 18 years at Mount Carmel as Personal Assistant and Office Manager. We wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement and our other colleagues leave with our best wishes as they take up their new posts. In the New Year, Mrs Claire Munroe will take up the post as my Personal Assistant. Claire has been with us as Reprographics Technician this last year so is not new to Mount Carmel, and we wish her luck in this new role. Mr Asghar Ali will take up a post in maths and Ms Abida Husseini a post in RE.
The last day of term is Friday 21st December and the arrangements for the day are as follows:
• 8.45 to 9.10 a.m. – pupils register for first session
• 9.10 to 10.10 a.m. – Period 1 – Form time (years 7 to 11)
• 10.10 to 11.00 a.m. – Period 2 – Normal lessons for Years 9C, 10 and 11; Christmas Singalong for Years 7, 8 and 9M
• 11.00 to 11.30 a.m. – Early Lunch
• 11.30 to 12.30 p.m. – p.m. session (the second register will be taken at 11.30 a.m.); Christmas Singalong for Years 9C, 10 and 11
School will close at 12.30 p.m. on Friday 21st December and buses have been ordered for this time. It will be a free non-uniform day with pupils and staff wearing a Christmas jumper if they have one. School will re-open for the Spring Term on Monday 7th January 2019. Please continue to look on our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts which are updated regularly with Mount Carmel news.
May I wish you all a happy and holy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. As always if you have any concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Xavier Bowers (HEADTEACHER)