Heads of School: Term 2 UpdateBack
Dear Parents / Carers,
We hope you are well and healthy as Christmas approaches like a juggernaut!
This letter has an update of some of what is going on across our amazing school. Please follow Kingdown School on Twitter for day to day news (@kingdownschool).
We’ve chosen a few key areas for updates; we are working relentlessly to drive up standards and continually make improvements to areas that need it.
Please can we take this opportunity to thank you for your support. It was great that so many of you logged in to meet your child’s tutor at the start of term and we hope you found it helpful. We’ve had some lovely emails about how well our tutors know your children - thank you, we love receiving these.
Keeping your child safe at school
Safeguarding will always remain our number one priority in school. The Department for Education sets out the legal requirements that schools must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 within a document called Keeping Children Safe In Education (KSCIE). It is updated annually and the new version comes in to effect every September. KCSIE 21 is now in force and has had a number of changes and additions. These are predominantly in the areas of:
- Peer on Peer Abuse
- Safer Recruitment
- Managing allegations and low level concerns
- Online Safety
- Greater emphasis on Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation
All of our staff receive annual safeguarding training and regular updates on safeguarding throughout the academic year. Our staff have all received training on the changes within KCSIE 21 and have read the appropriate sections of the updated document. Our curriculum has also had some tweaks to reflect the changes within KCSIE21.
We would particularly like to ask for your support with keeping your child safe when they are online at home and on their mobile phones etc. We will send out useful information soon but we feel you have every right to limit and filter internet use at home and to check what messages your child is sending and others are sending to them to keep them safe; particularly when they are younger.
If you have any questions or concerns about safeguarding, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
How to support your child’s learning
As usual, we are so impressed as we walk the school daily and look into our classrooms – students are attentive and learning, following our behaviour expectations and working hard on their subjects. We know they are particularly enjoying again all the practical elements of lessons they missed during lockdown like science experiments, drama, PE, Art and Design and Technology.
We are currently re-writing the ‘curriculum’ section of the website and if you are interested in what topics your child is learning this term and in any term, do have a look. The best way to support and find out what your child is learning is to make sure you have the Go 4 Schools app on your phone, or that you visit it online and log in. Through this, you can help your child prioritise and organise homework tasks and this will also give you a clear idea of topics too. Even if you have a child in Year 10 or above, it’s a good way to stay involved and support, particularly with revision. We really appreciate your support!
Year 11 mocks are approaching and by looking at the revision tasks set on G4S and helping your child set aside time to revise, you can make a huge difference. Revision can reduce the stress of sitting exams too – being prepared is a good feeling!
Since October half term, we have seen a rise in student attendance at school. Our school target is 96%+ and through work by our Tutors, Head of House and and Mr Hatcher (our Attendance Manager) your child will be supported to ensure that they move their attendance as close as possible to 100%.
We see good attendance as being 98% plus – you can check on Go4Schools what your child’s % is at any time. We recommend using Go4Schools via a tablet or computer and scroll down to click on ‘View detailed attendance record’. There is a clear link between high attendance and students maximising their learning and achievements and we want all of our students to reach their potential. Please keep checking on Go4Schools for the ongoing attendance percentage and keep the 98% figure in mind.
Our Anti-Bullying work
Since the start of the year, Mr Bindon and our Head Students have been working with a range of staff to raise the awareness of our Anti-bullying procedures. The Head Students have lots of fantastic ideas and we have been lucky enough to get some of these in place ready for Anti-Bullying week, 15th -19th November. To help the head students focus their ideas, they participated in a training session, delivered by the Diana Award. This means that they are now Anti-Bullying ambassadors and we are delighted to say we are now an anti-bullying ambassador school.
The first thing that the Head Students wanted to introduce after the training, was a system for reporting incidents, which could be done remotely, as they felt some students find it difficult to approach teachers or speak to their peers. This is one of the reasons for the introduction of the Worry Box, the link for which can be found on the Kingdown School website (see link below). We have told all our students very clearly that they must report anything they see or if experiencing it so we can act.
Another big change was the introduction of the Anti-Bullying section of the Kingdown website. The Head Students thought it was important that students and parents had a place where they could find all the relevant information about the Anti-Bullying procedures at Kingdown. This includes the Diana Award definition of bullying, our flow chart for dealing with bullying accusations and our Anti-Bullying policy. Another reason for this introduction, was as a response to a recent parental questionnaire.
All information can be found here - https://www.kingdown.wilts.sch.uk/567/anti-bullying
What students say about Kingdown School
In Term 1, we conducted a Student Voice survey to ask students their views on school life, their learning and the support offered to them at Kingdown School. It was great to get a response from 956 students (over 60% of the school population).
Some of the very pleasing results were as follows: 87.5% of students said that they were happy to be back at school; 94% said that they felt supported in their lessons and knew that they could ask for help if necessary, and 86% said that they found their homework manageable. This is wonderful to hear and demonstrates the enthusiasm and trust students have for their school.
Students proved how conscientious they are in their learning when 92% said that they had checked and knew how they were performing in their subjects and 93% knew about the homework clubs and revision sessions they could attend if they needed further support.
One of the highlights from the survey was the comments students made about feeling part of their tutor groups, houses and the school community as a whole: one student declared, “We’re like a little family” and another said “My tutor always has a welcoming tone”. There was a common point made about tutor time being a place to express yourself and one person said that their “views and opinions matter[ed]”. Noticeably, the return to vertical tutor groups has been well-received with students claiming, “the Year 11s take care of me” and, “being in a group with Year 11s and 6th formers gives me an insight into what’s to come”.
We will work on the feedback we were given in this survey and areas for improvement and hope to see as much positivity and enthusiasm in our next student voice.
As a school, we are very proud of the Extra Curricular opportunities available to our students. We strongly recommend you to check our Extra Curricular page and encourage your child to try a club. It can really raise self-confidence and help them to make new friends.
If there is a particular club your child feels is missing, please ask them to speak to their tutor and we will see what we can offer as a school.
Keeping in touch with school / your child's tutor
From late November, Tutors are being a one hour protected slot on their timetable to focus on communication with the parents / carers of students in their tutor group. Communication may be via a phone call or email and there are a number of outcomes we hope to see including: support / encouragement for students who have attendance gaps, checks on how students are finding study at home, highlighting the strengths and achievements of the student, checking for any uncertainty about subjects including options, transition between Key Stages.
We really do hope that the discussion held on the Tutor day (Monday 1st November) continue throughout the rest of the academic year and will provide both parents / carers and tutors with the clearest picture about how school is going for the child. Please remember too, that you can contact teachers by email and a full list is available on our website.
Thanks again for your support this term so far.
Helen Carpenter Toby Holman
Heads of School