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Frequently Asked Questions

How approachable is the Headteacher?

There is a clear pathway within school for dealing with any student-related issues which may arise. Form teachers, Progress Leaders and Assistant Head teachers are normally able to deal effectively with any day to day occurrences. The Senior Leadership Team, including Mr Birchall, is on duty throughout the school day. There is always one member available to deal with any reported incidents. Even though the above system works exceptionally well, Mr Birchall welcomes contact from parents/carers and students. He is often available at functions for an informal chat or more confidential issues can be discussed by contacting the school office for an appointment.

Will my child fit in?

We aim to keep children with others from their primary school.

How large are the classes?

Forms groups in year 7 usually accommodate between 25 and 27 students. Teaching groups vary according to ability i.e. smaller groups for lower ability sets; these classes will often have the benefit of Learning Support Assistants. Practical subjects house smaller classes, often around 20.

What sort of pastoral support is provided?

A high level of pastoral care is provided by all staff. Form teachers monitor the progress of students and are the main point of contact for parents or carers. All year groups have a specific location in school. Form teachers communicate frequently with Progress Leaders (Head of Year) who are able to deal with any issues which may be causing concern. During the first term for Year 7 students an Induction Evening will be held.

What is the school's attitude to discipline?

The vast majority of our students are responsible, hard-working and enjoy learning. We have a Behaviour Code and School Rules that are well communicated and easily understood. We believe that clear expectations, guidelines and structures are essential in encouraging the highest standards of behaviour. Everyone needs encouragement and we make every effort to reward achievement and hard work. Students’ work is displayed regularly. Students can earn rewards for good work or behaviour in each lesson. These can be exchanged for Fairtrade or recycled products in school. There are Reward Assemblies, raffles, certificates and trips for those who are doing well. Prizes are given each year for Academic Achievement and Effort; certificates for excellent attendance and punctuality are given as well as colours and club colours for sporting achievements. The House System is also a source for rewarding students as House certificates and prizes are given throughout the year. In the event of any conflict issues an established procedure of intervention is used. This procedure clearly defines levels of behaviour and the associated strategies for dealing with them.

What steps are taken to encourage good manners and behaviour?

Our Home School Agreement, which we ask every student and parent to sign, requires that everybody will act with courtesy and consideration towards each other.

Will my child be bullied?

Every student has a right to feel happy and safe at school, bullying of any sort is unacceptable behaviour. Fortunately, only on rare occasions is this a serious problem at Byrchall but, in order to prevent it, we have an agreed procedure in place. All incidents of bullying will be dealt with, but we must stress that we can only help with problems if we know about it. Once a report is made by a student or parent, regular contact is maintained to ensure that there are no further occurrences. There is a peer support system in school which students can use for help and support if they are being bullied or have any other concerns about school life.

How will I be kept informed of my child's progress?

You will receive regular information about academic progress, including two termly progress reports with information on your child’s progress towards their target grades in addition to a full written report. An annual Parents’ evening will give you the opportunity to meet all your child’s teachers.

What is the school's policy on Homework?

Homework is a very important part of your child’s education. It encourages your child to work independently and helps to ensure an understanding of the work covered in class. All students will be issued with a homework timetable. Details of this will be in their planner. Full homework details are also available on our Virtual Learning Network, which can be accessed from home by all students and their parents. Year 7 students should be occupied on average for up to one hour each night; this will increase to about one and half hours by Year 9. Students in examination groups are expected to do more than this; separate details of examination coursework will be sent to you. If, on occasion, it is inappropriate for a teacher to set a piece of homework your son/daughter should spend some time checking through his/her notes or revising. It is important that students get into the habit of working at home on a regular basis.

Is progress accelerated for more able students?

Students are placed in sets accordingly to their ability. In each year there is an express set for the most able students.

Is there provision for students who require learning support?

Students who are identified as having Special Educational Needs will receive an appropriate level of support to meet their needs. This may be in the form of additional interventions, small group work, 1:1 work and in some cases in class support. Each student is given a programme which is tailored to their individual needs.

How does the school deal with the varied cultural and religious backgrounds of students?

A key pledge of Byrchall High School is to “treat everyone justly regardless of religious belief, ethnic origin or social background”. This message is built into the ethos of the school of which all governors, staff and students are aware.

What is the school policy on competition generally and competitive sports?

The school operates a Fair Play Policy and firmly promotes the ethos of sport for all. The school supports competitive sport believing that it allows students to develop new skills, meet and challenge students from other schools and develop excellence whilst progressing towards higher levels of competition and participation.