Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Headteacher Update 7 - Monday 15 August 2016

Monday 15 August 2016

Dear Parent/Carer

I am delighted to confirm that all pupils will return to Gracemount High School wef Wednesday 17 August. We look forward to welcoming all our pupils to the school, in particular our new S1.
I wanted to contact you directly before pupils returned to remind you of a number of very important issues. 

Behaviour Policy

Throughout last session the school was in the process of reviewing and implementing changes to our behaviour policy, known as Better Relationships, Better Learning, Better Behaviour.

The policy is being implemented in four phases. Phase 1 and 2 were successfully implemented last session and we have witnessed significant improvements in the targeted areas. Phase 3, Protecting Learning, was due to be implemented on 18 April.  However due to the school closure this will now be implemented on Monday 22 August 2016. Phase 4 will be put out for consultation this session and will be due to be implemented by January 2017.

Full details of our behaviour policy can be found on the school website www.gracemounthighschool.co.uk under the “documents” tab.  A brief summary is detailed below.
Phase 1 – Recognising and Rewarding Positive Behaviour
Values postcards have been introduced to motivate pupils and encourage staff to recognise positive behaviour across the school.   All teaching staff are asked to issue a minimum of 10 values postcards each month. 

There are 3 categories of award:-

1.       Bronze Awards - award issued by the Guidance teacher and letter/text sent home.
·         S1/2               10 postcards
·         S3                   8 postcards
·         S4-6               6 postcards

2.       Silver Awards - issued by the DHT and letter/text sent home
·         S1/2               20 postcards
·         S3                   16 postcards
·         S4-6               12 postcards

3.       Gold Awards issued by the HT and letter sent home. Pupil will also qualify for an end of term year group trip.
·         S1/2               30 postcards
·         S3                   24 postcards
·         S4-6               18 postcards

Every values postcard is also worth 1 house point.
       A bronze award is worth 10 house points.
       A Silver award is worth 20 house points.
       A gold award is worth 30 house points.

Each week we will have a best behaviour house champion (most house points for Values Postcards) - announced by the House Captain

Pupils in each year group with most postcards (merit points) in each value will also win our Value awards at the Celebration Evening and an overall winner will be announced on the evening.
Phase 2

House Points:

1 house point is awarded every time a pupil arrives at school on time in the morning – they must be in their registration class for the 8.32am bell. Every day registration teachers will count the total points from their class and all of these will be added at the end of the week.

Each class in every house will be totalled and each week we will have an Attendance House Champion announced by the House Captain.
We will combine attendance and behaviour points to get an overall house winner for the week. 

This will be announced on Monday morning by the winning House Captain.
At the end of the academic year there will be a house champion – pupils in that house will be given the chance to participate in an afternoon event.

To protect learning in the classrooms Snapchat is banned from all school devices – iPads. This will be tracked by Mr Gordon – app installs will be checked electronically - and random checks will be made.

Registration teachers are asked to check pupil iPads once every week.

Pupils found with Snapchat will have all app and camera functions removed from their school device and may even have their iPad removed. Teachers who discover Snapchat will remove the iPad and hand over to a member of SLT.

Late coming after Lunch

Late coming is defined as when you are not in class by 1.37pm - (third bell).

Any pupil late after lunch will be placed on ‘below expectation detention’ which will happen at the start of lunchtime the next day for 15 minutes – room PSE 2.

If a pupil is late back after lunch they will be signed in by Mrs Hurd who will issue a below expectation detention slip.

A text will be sent home to inform parents of late coming and the detention for the following day.
If any pupil arrives late to class the teacher will check if they have the below expectation detention slip. If not, they are sent to the School Office to collect a ‘below expectation detention slip’ before returning to their class.

Phase 3 – Protecting Learning – Goes live on Monday 22 August

As the name ‘Protecting Learning’ suggests, we are focusing on protecting learning in our classrooms to ensure teachers have the optimum opportunity to deliver high quality learning experiences and pupils have every opportunity to learn in a safe, productive and respectful environment.

Classroom Behaviour

We have aimed to simplify our approach to managing classroom behaviour whilst raising our expectations and being absolutely clear on the consequences of poor behaviour in class.

We understand that being consistent and fair is vital for this next phase and it is important for pupils and parents/carers to trust the teachers in the school and their judgment. We have worked hard together to develop this approach which we feel will raise expectations across the school and improve learning and teaching in the classroom.

If current classroom management procedures (e.g. reminders, moving seat, quiet word etc…..) prove unsuccessful, we have now introduced a 3-step process for classroom management:
  1. 1st step - 1 verbal warning – formally worded (to include the words “formal warning”). This makes it very clear to the pupil that a warning has been issued.
  2. 2nd step – the pupil will be asked to step outside the classroom for a short period of time if behaviour/effort/engagement does not improve. They will be spoken to by the teacher and reminded of their responsibilities as part of the class.
  3. 3rd step – On Call.
If the incident is deemed to be “high level” (see behaviour codes) the teacher can go straight to step 3 where they consider it appropriate.

When a pupil is placed on call, the parent/carer will be notified by either text or phone. The pupil will then be expected to follow the on call rota and attend their on-call class.


Any pupil who has been placed on-call will have disrupted the learning and teaching in the classroom. Therefore an on call will result in a protecting learning detention and we expect this detention to be completed the same day after school. We are further distinguishing between low level (15 minute detention) and high level (25 minute detention). If a pupil has two on calls in one day they will complete a 40 minute detention after school and if they receive 3 on calls in one day they will not only complete a 40 minute detention after school but will also not attend classes the following day. Parents will be contacted in person by the relevant Depute Head Teacher to discuss our concerns.

We appreciate that issuing detentions alone does not change behaviour. They do however act as a deterrent for a number of pupils. This has been demonstrated by a 70% improvement in reducing late coming after lunch by simply issuing detentions for late coming – phase 2.  Your support is vital to the success of this initiative and I have been delighted with your response and support to date.

Behaviour Codes

Low level on calls (LLOC) will arise when a pupil repeatedly behaves in a manner that disrupts their own learning and the learning of others. Examples include:
       Not being on time
       Not being on task
       Talking out of turn
       Being out of their seat (without permission)
       Lack of or incorrect equipment.
       Not following instructions
       Casual use of abusive/offensive language

 High level on-calls (HLOC) are where more serious incidents arise. Examples include:
       The pupil directly challenges staff -
       Threatening/dangerous behaviour towards others
       Abusive/offensive language directed towards others

Supported Intervention

Where there are continuing concerns in a classroom a teacher may choose to place a pupil on Supported Intervention. This will result in the pupil being removed from class for an agreed period of time. They will be issued work and expected to go to another class. Our Behaviour Support Officer (Mrs Hurd) will ensure the pupil is supported. A meeting with the Curricular Leader, class teacher and pupil will take place to reaffirm expectations before the pupil returns to class. Parents/carers will be informed by phone/text/email if this strategy is to be implemented.

Increased SLT Presence

Mrs Sinclair, Mr Hutchison and I are committed to ensuring we support effective learning and teaching. It is our intention to increase our presence in classes and we will work with all staff to identify classes which require additional support. We will be visiting these classes, at the request of the teacher, to support learning and teaching.

Pupils out of Class

If we are to ensure every young person reaches or even exceeds their potential, attendance in class is crucial in order to learn. Too many pupils choose to spend time out of class and as a result we are implementing a system where a pupil will be issued a card by the class teacher before being allowed out of class. Any pupil out of class must show their card at the request of any member of staff. Failure to do so will result in an immediate referral to a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Pupils with toilet cards and/or emergency INSPIRE cards will not be affected. These pupils will need to ensure that they carry their card at all times.

Our Focus

Our focus will always be to support our pupils to learn and to make the right choices. We recognise that some pupils require more support than others and we will do everything we can to support all our pupils and encourage them to get it right.

We do not wish to be at odds with pupils or parent/carers but we intend to ensure that we protect learning in our classrooms and I very much hope you will support us on our journey to make Gracemount High School an outstanding school.

Dress code

Our Dress Code is a very important part of our school and promoting this helps to develop a positive school culture. We feel there are a number of benefits to promoting a high standard of dress across the school:

1.       It helps to encourage good behaviour.
2.       It promotes a sense of belonging to the school.
3.       It reduces any stigma attached to clothing in the school.
4.       It has a positive effect on the learning environment.
5.       It enables staff to immediately identify visitors to the school and enhances security.

All students should wear their school tie visibly with a plain, collared blue shirt/blouse. Ties are available to purchase from the School Office for £5. Our new S1 pupils will be provided with a tie. Students should also wear plain black footwear, black jumper/top and black trousers/black skirt.  Students will be asked to remove any outdoor jackets and tops in class which are not black. I would ask for your support in helping us to promote our School Dress Code.

We are keen to work in partnership with pupils and parents.   We believe that if all our students follow our Dress Code, it will help make Gracemount High School a better school.

Pupils who fail to adhere to our Dress code will be issued with a pink uniform slip. Once a pupil has 5 instances of not complying, contact will be made with home.
I very much look forward to the forthcoming session and to working with you to ensure we do everything possible to help our young people become successful.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions/queries or would like to meet with me to discuss any matter related to the school.

Kind regards

Ross Hunter
Head Teacher