Information for Parents
Policy Updates and School Development Plan
The following policies affect the daily experiences of pupils and are available from the School on request.
· Acceptable Use of the Internet Policy
This policy sets out the School’s position on internet safety and the need for appropriate behaviour when using the Internet in school. The policy includes useful advice for parents in monitoring their child’s Internet activity.
· Assessment for Learning Policy
Assessment for Learning is an important element of the Northern Ireland (Revised) Curriculum. The School’s policy on AfL identifies aspects of the learning process and not simply outcomes.
· Written into schemes of work and communicated at the beginning and end of each lesson.
· Related transferable skill(s) highlighted at beginning and end of each lesson without reference to specific lesson content.
· Shared with pupils.
· Arrived at with reference to pupil input (‘negotiated’).
· Linked to classroom tasks, assessment, homeworks.
· Does not include scores or grades.
· Positive, encouraging.
· Offering clear advice on how to improve.
· Variety of types of questioning.
· Time for pupils to think.
· All pupils involved.
· Open ended.
· Pupils can see examples of work of various standards.
· Promotes open, sharing, collective approach to learning.
· Clear ground rules – ‘safe’ activity to build rather than damage self-esteem.
· Encourages pupils to reflect on their own learning.
· Pupils gain deeper understanding of themselves as learners.
· Controlled Assessment Policy
Controlled Assessment became an integral part of the revised GCSE specifications in 2010 and was introduced to counter claims that the traditional coursework elements of GCSE had become open to abuse. The School’s Controlled Assessment Policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of Senior Leadership, Heads of Department, Classroom Teachers and pupils in the CA process.
· Curriculum Statement
The statement of the School curriculum is set out in this document, which explains the provision at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.
· Learning and Teaching Policy
The Learning and Teaching Policy is a statement of the School’s core business and sets out the expectations of teachers, pupils and parents. The policy focuses on classroom environment, classroom relationships, teaching methodologies, pupils’ learning skills and the teacher as a reflective practitioner.
· Homework Policy
The Purpose of Homework
A strong homework philosophy is central to the ethos of a high-achieving grammar school:
· It affirms high expectations within the classroom
· It encourages the development of pupils’ understanding of topics and allows the pupil to be personally involved in the learning process
· It encourages pupils to develop their learning skills, such as research techniques, leading to an increase in intellectual curiosity
· It instils a self-disciplined study culture that will prepare them for 6th form, university and, increasingly, the world of work
· It encourages the revision and consolidation of work covered in class
· It develops links between home and school
The Vision for Homework
In Down High School, the importance of homework will be valued by pupils, parents and teachers. Homework tasks will be well planned, effectively assimilated into lessons and recorded accurately in Homework Diaries. Homework will be viewed as useful and relevant by learners and their parents, contributory to the learning process, encouraging of new and emerging technologies, varied and interesting and not seen by busy teachers as an extra burden. Homework will either be marked, checked, observed in class activity, peer-assessed or self-assessed. Homework will encourage a strong study culture that develops a curiosity for learning and which will prepare pupils for assessment at all levels as well as for the world of work.
It is envisaged that homework will be managed and monitored effectively through the Homework Diary and that parents will be informed in the event of deadlines being missed. Departments and subject teachers will be supported by procedures established to deal with the non-completion of homework. The classroom teacher will have high expectations and will ensure that pupils record accurately and complete their homework tasks. The Form Teacher will monitor pupils’ use of the Homework Diary.
The high expectations set for the planning, setting, recording and monitoring of homework will help to deliver strong outcomes in terms of laying the foundations for strong academic results and preparing pupils for university education.
· Literacy Policy
We in Down High School believe that the effective use of language underpins and enriches learning and teaching throughout the entire curriculum and that each area of learning has a significant contribution to make. Equipping pupils to become more competent readers, writers, speakers and listeners is the shared responsibility of all teachers. Developing our pupils’ skills in language and literacy enhances their learning experience and helps prepare them for the challenges and demands of the modern world.
· Drugs Policy
The overall aim of the drugs policy is to identify the strategies employed by the school to protect Down High, as a drug free environment. The policy sets out how the School deals with the issue of drugs and the mechanisms of discipline and support that can be employed.
· Pastoral Care Policy
Down High is committed to providing a supportive, secure environment in which the personal and social and academic development of the pupil may be fully realised. The Pastoral Care Policy sets out the structures that are in place to support and maintain positive behaviour, good relationships and academic achievement.
· Anti-Bullying Policy
This policy sets out the School’s position in relation to preventing bullying and the strategies employed to address it when it emerges.
· Child Protection Policy
The School’s Child Protection Policy identifies ways in which young people can be seen to be at risk and outlines the role of designated teachers.
· Attendance Policy
Down High School recognises that punctual and regular attendance is an essential prerequisite to effective learning and is, therefore, committed to improving levels of attendance and punctuality. The school believes that if pupils are to maximise the curricular and extra-curricular opportunities provided by school, it is essential that attendance levels remain high. The school recognises the important link between academic attainment and good attendance and therefore encourages parents and pupils to ensure regular attendance throughout the school year.
1. To promote regular and punctual attendance at school
2. To establish clear and consistent procedures for recording and monitoring pupil attendance
3. To recognise and reward good attendance
DHS School Development Plan 2011-14