At Hillcrest, the care and guidance of students is most important to us.
The school promotes a strong caring ethos where every child is treated as an individual. A wholehearted interest in the welfare and progress of all children is an essential quality for everyone working in the school.
If students are to achieve their full potential they need to feel happy and secure within the school community. Our pastoral system plays a key role in our commitment to promote British Values by instilling in all students a clear sense of right and wrong by being tolerant and respectful of the needs of all members of our school community.
Our Pastoral System
In September 2015 we moved to our new pastoral structure called the ‘College System’. Students are organized in three Colleges dependent on their age.
Rosa Parks College (vertically mixed Years 7 and 8)
College Learning Leader – Miss Adenike
Malala College (vertically mixed Years 9, 10 and 11)
College Learning Leader – Miss Perry
Nightingale College (vertically mixed Years 9, 10 and 11)
College Learning Leader – Mr Perks
Mrs Penn will take on the role of working with the College Learning Leaders to implement a wide range of interventions to support students at risk of under-achieving across Years 7 – 11.
Our new pastoral system will support our students in many different ways:
KS3 (Years 7 and 8)
· Year 8 students will support Year 7 students as part of the transition process.
· Year 8 students will acts as guides / mentors to ensure the Year 7 students understand important aspects of school life. For example; following timetables, movement from lesson to lesson, recording homework and merits in planners, completing their Achievement Profiles, applying for extra-curricular activities, etc.
· Year 8 students will consolidate their own learning by acting as peer coaches during form periods and supporting Year 7 students in daily literacy and numeracy activities.
· Year 7 students will have positives role models and guidance from Year 8 students in their tutor groups. This will increase peer mentoring and learning support at KS3.
KS4 (Years 9, 10 and 11)
· As students will start their GCSE studies in Year 9 from September 2015 onwards, this system will support Year 9 students as they will work during form period, on a daily basis, with Year 10 and 11 students. They will receive guidance and support from the Year 10 and 11 students in their tutor groups in key areas for their GCSE studies, ie – homework, study skills, revision techniques.
· The system will also support Year 10 students as they will receive guidance and advice from Year 11 students in their tutor group in the key areas outlined above.
· This system will consolidate the learning experience for Year 11 students as they reinforce key aspects of their own learning through the support they give to Year 9 and 10 students.
· Students will complete daily literacy and numeracy activities in form period. This will provide opportunities for peer learning and academic mentoring for students across Years 9-11.
· Year 9, 10 and 11 students in each tutor group will have regular opportunities to compare their academic progress and motivate each other to achieve highly against their target grades
Students can access ‘The Zone’ at anytime during the school day and seek support in all aspects of the pastoral system. A Learning Mentor who is a non-teaching member of staff is based in ‘The Zone’ throughout the day and is accessible to all students.
The ‘Base’ is used particularly by students where English is not their first language. A range of lunchtime activities take place in this area to allow students with different languages to positively work together to support eachother. The ‘Base’ is also our Inclusion Centre and provides daily support for all students with Special Educational Needs and disabilities. Our SENCO is Ms Harris.
Students are able to access ‘Student Reception’ throughout the day for any needs they may have. These may include when students are feeling unwell or returning any correspondence from school. The school nurse operates a weekly drop in session for students and parents.
The PSD programme (delivered by tutors in Years 7-11) covers all aspects of personal development including study skills, personal relationships, moral and social awareness, citizenship, careers, health education and social issues. A key aspect of this programme is focused on empowering our students to keep themselves safe at all times, particularly out of school both off and on-line. E-safety is central to the work we do in this area, specifically in relation to the risks of child sexual exploitation, people trafficking, gang culture and extremist radicalisation. We also focus on more sensitive issues that may play a significant role in the lives of our students, notably the issue of Forced Marriage, Honor-based violence, LGBT and Female Genital Mutilation. Our ‘Theme of the Week’ schedule allows us to cover many of the issues outlined above in assemblies and form period activities. We actively engage with a range of external agencies and our students have the opportunity to participate in workshops delivered by medical professionals, the police, the Counter Terrorism Team, to name a few. Central to our wider curriculum provision is the promotion of British Values designed to ensure our students value the importance of the law and the principles of democracy, as well as playing their role as tolerant citizens in an increasingly diverse society. Further information can be found in our ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ and ‘Preventing Extremism’ policies.
Religious Education is taught separately by specialist staff.
The school offers a challenging programme of visits, residential experiences, foreign exchanges and, in Year 10, work experience. The willingness of staff to contribute to extra curricular activities is widely evident and greatly appreciated. We have a multi-purpose prayer room that is open to students from all religious backgrounds throughout the day. As a result our students celebrate different religious festivals and embrace the diverse nature of our school community.
Students actively participate in many aspects of school life. There are annual elections for key positions of responsibility including School Council, College Council, Form Captains, IAG representatives, Literacy Champions and Sports Captains. We value the importance of democracy by ensuring students play an active role in driving forward whole school events and initiatives. Student voice is a key element of our school development.
Students in all year groups receive a high level of IAG (Information Advice and Guidance) support for specialist careers advisers. Students in Years 11 – 13 have a minimum of two careers interviews each year. Students in Year 10 have an initial interview as part of the process. All students in Years 7 – 11 participate in a range of careers related activities throughout the year and have access to our IAG room to research careers for themselves. We have an annual ‘National Careers Fortnight’ each March. During this time all lessons are geared towards careers and there are a series of lunchtime workshops and assemblies on a wide range of career- related issues.
We have robust safeguarding procedures in school to protect students who may experience neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Our Designated Safeguarding Leader is Mr Connor-Hemming (Deputy Headteacher). Parents / Carers can also contact Mrs Penn and Mrs Bunce (Deputy Safeguarding Leaders) if they have any concerns about their child’s well-being. Mrs Bunce is also our Looked After Co-ordinator and works with external agencies to support children in care. Further information can be found in our Safeguarding and Child Protection policies.
The support and involvement of parents / carers is vital and a major factor in the schools success. Parents are always made welcome in school. We also keep in contact via the ‘The Hillcrest Messenger’, regular letters, parent / carer meetings, reports and progress files and the Hillcrest website. Parents / carers are asked to sign a ‘Home School Agreement’ when their child starts at Hillcrest School. The agreement aims to enhance partnerships between parents and the school and sets out the role of the school, parents / carers and student.
Parents / carers have a key role to play in ensuring students attend school every day and arrive to school on time. Please refer to our ‘Attendance Matters’ policy for further guidance on what to do if your child is absent from school. The policy reinforces the messages that if a student has attendance below 95% the school will view this as unsatisfactory and attendance below 92% will result in parents / carers being invited into school to meet our Educational Welfare Officer.