Parents Protocol and Communications Policy
1. Aims and Purpose of this policy
We are determined to create an inclusive culture of learning where all children will be challenged in their thinking, to achieve to the best of their abilities and strive to become lifelong learners.
We aim to empower our children to become respected citizens, to enable them to make valuable contributions locally and globally, and to contribute to our world’s sustainable future.
We believe that this can be done most effectively when all staff, parents and children understand their responsibilities and work together towards the same goals.
The purpose of this policy is to outline a protocol for positive, constructive communication between staff, parents and pupils which will ensure that we can develop the effective working relationships necessary to achieve our common goals.
2.1 What should parents and carers expect from the School? In the interests of effective relationships and constructive communication, the School will:
- ⦁ Provide your child with a high standard of education, implemented by rigorous national guidelines, within a balanced curriculum.
⦁ Ensure that our learning environment is stimulating and challenging.
⦁ Celebrate your child’s academic and personal achievements.
⦁ Make provision to enable your child to achieve their full potential.
⦁ Care for your child’s safety and well-being following all safeguarding protocols.
⦁ Teach children to develop a positive attitude to one another, regardless of differences.
⦁ Regularly meet with you to communicate the progress of your child, celebrating their strengths and explaining how we can support them with areas for development.
⦁ Provide information to you about our school, including relevant policies, meetings, workshops, activities, newsletters and open days.
⦁ Welcome you if you would like to contribute to our school’s broader curriculum.
⦁ Where a parent has a concern the school will:
⦁ explain clearly how and when problems can be raised with the School,
⦁ respond within a reasonable time
⦁ be available for consultation within reasonable time limits and respond with courtesy and respect
⦁ attempt to resolve problems using reasonable means in line with the school’s complaints procedure
⦁ keep complainants informed of progress towards a resolution of the issues raised
2.2 What should the School expect from parents and carers?
In the interests of effective relationships and constructive communication, it is expected that all Parents/Carers will:
⦁ Make sure children arrive at school by 7:45am prepared to start their lessons and ensuring they are wearing named school uniform (primary and college), or other suitable clothing (preschool).
⦁ Do their very best to provide a safe, secure and happy environment at home.
⦁ Let the school know of any concerns or worries that may be affecting a child’s learning, behaviour or ability to do homework in a way which does not prevent staff from continuing with their work.
⦁ Support the school by encouraging children to develop a positive attitude towards our diverse community.
⦁ Attend meetings (when necessary) with a child’s teacher and other staff, aiming to be positive and productive, working towards moving children on in their learning.
⦁ Support and work with the school to ensure that the behaviour management policies of the school are maintained.
⦁ Encourage a positive attitude.
⦁ Read all information sent home as this gives important details of relevant policies, meetings, workshops, activities, newsletters and open days.
⦁ Support the school by making sure that homework tasks are completed and returned on time.
⦁ In communication with members of school staff, the School can expect parents/carers/members of the public to:
⦁ treat all school staff with courtesy and respect
⦁ respect the needs and well-being of pupils and staff within the School
⦁ avoid any use, or threatened use, of violence to people or property
⦁ avoid any aggression or verbal abuse
⦁ recognise the time constraints under which members of staff in schools work and allow the school a reasonable time to respond
⦁ recognise that resolving a specific problem can sometimes take some time
⦁ in the case of a complaint, follow the School’s complaints procedure
⦁ not to use any social media platforms for the purposes of complaint / denigration
2.3 What can pupils expect?
In the interests of effective relationships and constructive communication, it is expected that pupils will:
⦁ Respect one another’s culture, race, feelings, beliefs and values.
⦁ Accept responsibility for the things they do.
⦁ Be responsible for their school and home work.
⦁ Ask for help and try their best.
⦁ Ensure they take home any letters.
⦁ Be kind and speak politely to everyone in school.
⦁ Take good care of the building, equipment and school grounds.
⦁ Behave in a safe way.
⦁ Be helpful.
⦁ Tell a member of staff if they have worries or are unhappy.
Pupils themselves can expect to be:
⦁ treated kindly, with respect
⦁ listened to
⦁ friendly to one another
⦁ encouraged to play and join in games
⦁ encouraged to feel happy, wanted and safe.
3. Our Communications Code
The aim of this code is to foster good communications between parents/carers and the School.
The School always welcomes contact with parents/carers because this fosters mutual understanding and support which has a positive effect on children’s performance and their attitudes to learning.
The School wants to ensure that parents/carers always have an appropriate and helpful response to their communications. However, unlike some businesses and other occupations, the professional duties of staff can make it difficult for them to speak or meet with parents/carers during the school day.
Due to teaching commitments, staff will typically be unavailable between 8.30 am and 2.00pm/3;00 for pre/primary and college respectively each day. There are also other times outside these hours when they attend meetings. The important business of working with and responding to parents/carers must be managed within this context. This is due to the fact that teachers are expected to monitor children at all times.
Teachers welcome brief messages/meetings from parents/carers when they are collecting or bringing in their children at morning arrival.
Principles for responding to parents/carers
In order to achieve the most effective balance for children, parents/carers and teachers, have always followed the following principles:
⦁ welcoming contact from parents/carers;
⦁ responding as quickly and fully as possible to parents/carers;
⦁ involving parents/carers in our work with children;
⦁ sharing information as often and as fully as possible with parents/carers.
When correspondence is made to an individual parent/carer on an important matter, the letter will be sent via email or handed directly to the parent/carer to ensure confidentiality and security. On some occasions it may be appropriate for the school to contact parents/carers by text messages. For day to day or routine matters correspondence will be sent via the children’s communication dairy.
Guidelines on responding to parents/carers
It may be helpful for parents/carers to know how they can expect their telephone calls, letters, emails and requests for meetings with the school to be dealt with. The following guidelines show how we aim to respond to parents/carers.
⦁ Messages: All telephone calls are received through the main office. A message will be taken and sent to the relevant person as soon as possible. Staff will normally take details of the caller’s name and telephone number and purpose of calling. The person concerned will try to respond as soon as possible if not immediately or before the end of the school day. The school’s telephone numbers are 07025007703 and 07025007704
⦁ Urgent calls: The call will be put through to the most appropriate or available senior member of staff if possible or a message will be taken.
⦁ Messages for pupils: Messages for children will be taken by the school front desk staff and passed on as soon as possible.
⦁ Telephone calls made at arranged times: If teachers have arranged with parents/carers for them to receive calls at particular times of the school day, those teachers will try to ensure that they are available. Should other commitments or events make this impossible, the front desk staff member will take a message and the person concerned will try to call back within the shortest time possible or the same day.
Letters and emails
⦁ The school will always try to acknowledge letters and emails received from parents/carers within two working days during term time.
The school email is: email@example.com
⦁ If more time is required to provide a fuller response or to arrange a meeting, staff will try to include in the acknowledgement details of when these will happen.
⦁ Staff will try to respond to pressing concerns of parents/carers as quickly as possible. It is our intention to try to respond to any letter or email as soon as we can and within two working days within term time. If there is likely to be a delay we will let you know the reasons why.
We will investigate any complaint and aim to respond within a maximum time of one/two working days. If we cannot provide a full response within the aforementioned working school days then we will write/call to the complainant explaining this and giving a time/date by which, we will endeavour to provide a full response.(The school has a separate complaint policy)
Where situations are more complex, a face-to-face meeting is preferable to a letter or phone call and this will be arranged at the earliest convenience for parents/carers and staff.
Meetings with class teachers
The class teacher is the first point of contact for any concerns about a child. Teachers are not available between 8.30 am and 2:00/3.00 pm but mutually agreed appointments can be made outside these times either through the office or directly with the class teacher.
Depending on the nature of the situation, a meeting may include a more senior member of staff.
A record may be kept and notes shared with all parties where appropriate. Parents/carers will only be invited to discuss their own children. Staff will not talk about other children in front of other parents/carers. All meetings and discussions are confidential between the staff involved and the parents/carers and parties should not divulge information to others without the agreement of parents/carers and the school.
The school has a system of sending all standard forms of communication home to parents/carers who have requested it via e-mail, WhatsApp and text messages. For all other correspondence, hard copies will be provided. Parents/carers must ensure that the school office is informed of any changes to e-mail addresses.
The school seeks to put as much information as possible on its website. Most general information that parents/carers would seek can be readily available at the school office. Parents/carers are encouraged to look at the website on a regular basis.
Protocol for Communications
The school undertakes to treat all communications with parents/carers with courtesy. It expects to receive the same in return. Both parties will work towards identifying and resolving problems quickly and efficiently. Where difficulties cannot be resolved, team leaders and/or the Head of School or Deputy Head of School may be involved. The proprietors or other agencies will be invited in situations which are particularly complex, and in an effort to move forward.
The school reserves the right to take appropriate action if aggressive behaviour from any party occurs on school premises.
Social Media Code of Conduct
The widespread availability and use of social media applications bring opportunities to understand, engage, and communicate in new and exciting ways. It is important that we are able to use these technologies and services effectively and flexibly. However, it is also important to ensure that we balance this with our duties to our school, the community, our legal responsibilities and our reputation.
For example, our use of social networking applications has implications for our duty to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults.
The policy requirements in this code of conduct aim to provide this balance to support innovation whilst providing a framework of good practice. They apply to all members of staff at the school.
The purpose of the code of conduct is to:
⦁ Protect the school from legal risks
⦁ Ensure that the reputation of the school, its staff and governors is protected
⦁ Safeguard all children
⦁ Ensure that any users are able clearly to distinguish where information provided via social media is legitimately representative of the school
Definitions and Scope:
Social networking applications include, but are not limited to: Blogs, Online discussion forums, Collaborative spaces, Media sharing services, ‘Microblogging’ applications, and online gaming environments. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, YouTube, Xbox Live, Blogger, Tumblr and comment streams on public websites such as newspaper site.
Many of the principles of this policy also apply to other types of online presence such as virtual worlds.
All members of staff should bear in mind that information they share through social networking applications, even if they are on private spaces, are still subject to copyright, data protection and Freedom of Information legislation. They must also operate in line with the school’s Equalities, Child Protection and ICT Acceptable Use Policies.
Within this policy there is a distinction between use of school‐sanctioned social media for professional educational purposes, and personal use of social media.
Use of Social Media in practice:
⦁ School staff will not invite, accept or engage in communications with parents or children from the school community in any personal social media whilst in employment.
⦁ Any communication received from children on any personal social media sites must be reported to the designated person for Child Protection
⦁ If any member of staff is aware of any inappropriate communications involving any child in any social media, these must immediately be reported as above
⦁ Members of the school staff are strongly advised to set all privacy settings to the highest possible levels on all personal social media accounts
⦁ All email communication between staff and members of the school community on school business must be made from an official school email account
⦁ Staff should not use personal email accounts or mobile phones to make contact with members of the school community on school business, nor should any such contact be accepted, except in circumstances given prior approval by the Head of School.
⦁ Staff are advised to avoid posts or comments that refer to specific, individual matters related to the school and members of its community on any social media accounts
⦁ Staff are also advised to consider the reputation of the school in any posts or comments related to the school on any social media accounts
⦁ Staff should not accept any current pupil of any age or any ex‐pupil of the school under the age of 18 as a friend, follower, subscriber or similar on any personal social media account
School‐sanctioned use of social media
⦁ There are many legitimate uses of social media within the curriculum and to support student learning.
⦁ Courses require the use of blogs for assessment. There are also many possibilities for using social media to enhance and develop students’ learning.
⦁ When using social media for educational purposes, the following practices must be observed:
⦁ Staff should set up a distinct and dedicated social media site or account for educational purposes. This should be entirely separate from any personal social media accounts held by that member of staff, and ideally should be linked to an official school email account.
⦁ All videos to be used for any lesson MUST have been downloaded and previewed by facilitator before use
⦁ Staff are advised NOT to stream live any video but download for use
⦁ The URL and identity of the site should be notified to the appropriate Head of Faculty or member of the SLT before access is permitted for students
⦁ The content of any school‐sanctioned social media site should be solely professional and should reflect well on the school.
⦁ Staff must not publish photographs of children without the written consent of parents /carers, identify by name any children featured in photographs, or allow personally identifying information to be published on school social media accounts
⦁ Care must be taken that any links to external sites from the account are appropriate and safe
⦁ Any inappropriate comments on or abuse of school‐sanctioned social media should immediately be removed and reported to a member of SLT
⦁ Staff should not engage with any direct messaging of students through social media where the message is not public
5. Policy Review
This policy will be reviewed every year, or if a situation occurs which necessitates any amendment.