Care and responsibility

It was great to be back together as a school in St Nicholas’ Hall for assembly on Monday, after Trial exams had meant a return to a blended version at the start of term. In assembly, we enjoy celebrating pupils’ many achievements, successes and contributions. It is also one of the ways in which we share our values as a community – a community in which we take much pride, as both pupils and staff.

I explained to pupils on Monday that membership of any community depends on adherence to the shared expectations and rules of that community – which are devised for the well-being of its members and of those with whom we come into contact. It means taking care of ourselves and others and taking responsibility for our actions.

We are fortunate that our pupils are generally very ‘biddable’ and keen to please, and we would prefer to avoid negative interactions when our individual and collective happiness depends so much on the positive relationships which underpin our success.

I therefore reminded pupils of some reasonable expectations, and I would be grateful if you would lend your support by reinforcing our high standards:

We want pupils to take pride in their appearance and in wearing their school uniform. We therefore expect top buttons to be fastened at all times, and shirts to be tucked in. Rules on skirt-length are clear and we do not expect pupils to roll skirts up. Pupils should polish their shoes when necessary – and that means they should be polishable in the first instance! We do not expect to see any non-stud earrings, rings, bracelets or necklaces below Sixth Form – unless religious dispensation has been granted.

The job of our hard-working cleaners, ground staff and site services team is to keep the school clean and tidy for our benefit, and not to clear up after pupils because some cannot be bothered. We have plenty of bins in school and we ask pupils to take the time to sort any rubbish between recyclable and other waste.

It is important that pupils look after their own property, never take what is not theirs and ensure that all their belongings are stored in their lockers.

We also expect them to arrive at registration and lessons on time, as they otherwise disrupt others and lose valuable learning time.

We believe that our school rules are reasonable and there for a reason. We do consult pupils and they have the opportunity to effect positive change via school councils – and there are plenty of examples of when we have listened to them and responded constructively.

We hope that all our pupils will play their part in ensuring the good order and happiness of the community to which we all belong. We have a splendid bunch of young people, with whom we are fortunate to work as they grow towards caring and responsible adulthood.

Best wishes,

John Watson