Uniform Update 6.9.17
I would like to take this opportunity to extend to you a warm welcome back to a new and exciting academic year. The students have celebrated many fantastic examination successes over the summer, both at A-level and GCSE and I will ensure we continue to go from strength-to-strength.
At the end of last term the uniform policy (attached below) was communicated to ensure ample time was given over the summer holiday to source the appropriate uniform. However it appears that a number of parents did not receive the aforementioned communication and although I am currently investigating why this is the case, I wish to apologise for any confusion or complications this has caused.
In order to provide absolute clarity, you will see that the attached uniform policy has in essence not changed since last year, but instead includes some minor alterations/clarifications. A concerted effort has been made since the start of the term to ensure all staff and students fully understand the uniform policy and the following rationale:
"The uniform at South Dartmoor is a symbol of your aspiration to excellence and high achievement. Your appearance is a measure of your self-discipline. It reflects your pride and commitment to being a member of the College, and is a visible sign of your readiness to learn"
A reminder regarding uniform was given to all students as part of their tutorial period on the first day back and included the positive and important message around consistency. The intention behind the tutor’s input was to minimise any future need to have potentially negative conversations with students regarding uniform. Clearly we wish our conversations to be positive and focussed on learning. A ‘grace’ period is taking place this week whereby if students are not following the policy (either by choice or difficulty sourcing uniform items) then a constructive conversation is taking place reminding them what the sanction would be next week.
Due to the fact that a number of parents did not appear to have received the communication before the summer holidays, and in response to parental enquiries, we will now be pursuing the following course of action:
- During Thursday and Friday of next week (14th & 15th September) Performance Leaders will deliver House Assemblies to reiterate the uniform policy and its rationale.
- The ‘grace’ period will extend through the w/c 18th September during which time the sanctions will not be implemented. The expectation will be that by Monday 25th September any issues regarding uniform will have been resolved.
- As the majority of parental communications and student discussion have been based upon skirt type, length and material, I will enter into a consultation period with students, parents and Governors as to whether a singular approved skirt provider should be sourced which includes the College’s logo. Many local schools are adopting this approach, however I am also very conscious that the additional cost could be difficult to many families.
Mr Vile will share with parents the slightly amended C-System (Behaviour Policy) before the end of the week which again includes some minor alterations such as:
i. Removal of the Personal Responsibility ‘yellow’ warning cards replaced by the grace period until 25th September
ii. Sanctions predominantly, and where possible, to take place on the day of the issue (comprising of either a lunch or after school detention)
iii. Personal Responsibility cards to be divorced from any disruption to learning in lessons. This will instead be addressed through the addition of a C2-In or C2-Out sanction (which includes an immediate conversation and support for the member of staff and student by a member of the Leadership Team to resolve the issue and allow learning to continue)
For the purposes of transparency, and contrary to comments I have been made aware of on social media, no students were excluded (nor was this considered) at the start of term for not having the correct school uniform. Instead, following telephone conversations with parents/carers, if the individual’s situation was such that the uniform issue could be quickly rectified by returning home for a short period of time then this was granted. In other circumstances some parents/carers were not able to address the issue on the day but instead were able to give guarantees that it would be resolved the following day and therefore under these circumstances students did not go home. The aim of this approach was to consider every student on a case-by-case basis and work with parents/carers to successfully resolve the issue.
In conclusion, the consistency in our approach and reinforcement of expectations has seen an overnight transformation in the small minority of students who were unable or unwilling to adhere to our uniform policy. Although a number of supportive conversations are still taking place with some students I wish to thank parents and carers for their continued support with the belief that having the highest expectations of our children will directly correlate to the highest possible outcomes.
Head of School