Mr Giles Monks, Deputy Head, is responsible for learning and Pastoral Care. This involves supporting all our girls to enable them to reach their potential.
Each year group has a Head of Year who co-ordinates the work of individual Form Teachers. The Heads of Year meet regularly with the Deputy Head to evaluate girls’ progress, support individuals, and discuss any causes for concern. The school is organised on a form basis and Form Teachers are primarily responsible for the day to day care of girls. All staff, including the School Matron, are responsible for the well-being of the girls.
Mrs Jenny McFadyen is the permanent Head of Year 7 and deals with all matters relating to transition and continuing care of new Year 7 girls. All other Heads of Year follow their year group through to the end of year 11. Sixth form heads of year take their year group through the two years.
However, it’s not just the teachers who get involved in pastoral care. There is also a wide range of opportunities for our students to take on roles of responsibility and support one another.
Many girls in Year 11 choose to become Befrienders. Each form in Years 7 and 8 has four Befrienders who visit regularly to offer a friendly face to the younger pupils. Joining secondary school can be a difficult adjustment, and girls are often more ready to talk about these issues with fellow students who have been through the same experience only a few years ago. Every class from Years 7 to 11 also has a Form Prefect who meets with them once a week and is available to discuss any problems or questions that the girls have.
We also have a School Counsellor, Nicole Wilkinson, who is in school on Mondays and Thursdays from 12 – 2.30pm, offering half-hourly appointments. These can be booked via the black book in the school office, or girls can come to Nicole's room in the Courtyard and speak directly to her.
Counselling is a safe, supportive environment in which you can talk about anything that is worrying you. Nicole's job is to provide you with support, to help you find solutions to your problems, and to encourage you to become more self-aware and confident. She may just provide a listening ear or a place to let off steam or cry. Whatever kind of support you need from Nicole will be non-judgmental and confidential, unless you tell her something that leads her to believe that you or somebody else is at serious risk of harm. In these cases, she may have to tell someone, but would always endeavour to let you know first.
As part of their pastoral development, each form throughout the school has a timetabled lesson every week when a programme of Personal Social Health and Citizenship Education appropriate for the age group is followed. These programmes aim to give girls the opportunity to develop their personal effectiveness in academic work, personal and social relationships within school and the wider community and to prepare them for life after school.
Meetings of staff and parents to discuss general progress are held during the year on a year group basis. Information Evenings are arranged as is appropriate to the curriculum and as the need arises, for example, to discuss choice of GCSE subjects, entry to the Sixth Form and Higher Education or to provide information on pastoral-related matters such as relationships, study skills and drugs.
Parents are encouraged to contact the school whenever they wish. For day-to-day matters the Form Tutor is the first point of contact. In the case of short-term illness, Matron should be telephoned on the first day of absence, and an absence note given to her Form Tutor on her return. For more serious issues the Head of Year should be contacted.
The Head is available for informal consultation from 5.30 - 7.00pm on the first Monday (in school) of each month - no appointments are needed. Mr Cooksey is also available at other times by appointment.
All pupils are encouraged to take an interest in their school. Our School Forum, chaired by a Deputy Head Girl, gives each pupil a voice in school affairs such as those relating to uniform, the school environment, and the awards system. All girls agree to abide by the Home School Agreement which is regularly reviewed by the School Forum.
A close relationship with parents is fundamental to our approach. We value the rapport which exists between staff, parents, and girls and strive to make parents feel a part of the school. Meetings with parents to discuss general progress are held during the year. The Head holds regular clinics and appointments can be made with the Head, who can arrange for the Head of Year and other staff to be present if necessary.
At Dr Challoner’s High School we endeavour to create an ethos which:
- Values each pupil for her own sake
- Creates a learning environment where each girl is able to pursue her own goals
- Supports girls by the provision of committed and caring teachers
- Creates a friendly, caring and supportive atmosphere in which learning is stimulating and empowering
We expect that parents will:
- Endorse and support the ethos of the School
- Endorse and support our code of conduct
- Support us as we work within the DCSF guidelines, avoid seeking authorisation for holiday leave during term times and thus, in all but the most extenuating circumstances, minimise disruption to the learning process
- Ensure punctuality and good attendance, within the constraints of the transport system
- Work with us if there are any negative trends arising from attendance or punctuality concerns
- Ensure your daughters come to school wearing the correct school uniform
- Support the school to ensure Library books are returned on time
- Support the school to ensure that the Internet and email Code of Conduct are met
- Take an overview of homework and support sanctions if there are problems
- Attend parents’ consultation evenings
We expect that girls will:
- Always try to understand and respect other people’s point of view
- Make it as easy as possible for pupils to learn and the teacher to teach
- Move calmly and sensibly about the school
- Always speak politely to everyone and be silent when required
- Keep the school clean and tidy so that it is a welcoming place
- Respect other people’s possessions
- Regard bullying as unacceptable in any circumstances
- Act with the same courtesy and consideration out of school
In no circumstances may girls bring to school: firearms, knives or other weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, cigarettes. If these are found in a girl’s possession she may face exclusion.
The rules of the school are the minimum necessary to secure a well ordered, courteous and friendly community. If a girl infringes the rules she may be detained during her lunch break and required to carry out an appropriate task. For persistent poor behaviour or failure to complete homework girls may receive a lunchtime departmental detention; for more serious incidents girls may receive an after school detention with Mr Monks or Miss Hulse. Parents are informed when it is deemed necessary.
We encourage girls to use the School Planner to assist them in the organisation and management of their homework.
Homework is an integral part of the curriculum. In Years 7 and 8 the amount set is 20-30 minutes per subject for three subjects per night. The amount increases slightly each year until in Year 11 the time required is approximately 2 - 2½ hours per night. Social activities cannot be accepted as a reason for failure to complete work on time.
In Years 12 and 13 girls need to do a very considerable amount of work at home and to organise their own private study time in school. Freedom to organise the pattern of study is an essential part of their development as students: the Learning Resource Centre and study rooms are available for private study.
Pupils’ progress is monitored and assessed by a variety of methods including continuous assessment, end of topic tests and end or mid-year examinations. The School will provide Progress Reports during the year which will include ‘working at grades’ and an ‘attitude to learning’ assessment for each subject. This will allow parents and pupils to see how they are progressing. GCSE is the main method of assessment at the end of Year 11. Information from these assessments is used to assist the target-setting process and classroom practice.
At the end of Year 11 girls sit GCSE examinations and the majority take nine or ten subjects.
Girls studying Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced (A2) level GCE courses take module papers at appropriate intervals during Years 12 and 13.