PASTORAL SYSTEM Each pupil will be placed in a tutor group of 25-30 pupils under the guidance of a Form Tutor. They will meet in the morning and afternoon for registration and for regular assemblies. Each week there will be tutor time where the tutor can spend more time with their tutor group and activities such as the regular monitoring of progress can take place. The Form Tutor and the Year Head follow the tutor group through its school career and is in charge of their general development and progress. The Form Tutor is the first point of contact for both pupils and parents.
The school is divided into five year groups. Each year group has a team of tutors led by a Head of Year who is responsible for the general welfare and discipline of the pupils.
Pupils are welcomed into the school regardless of where they live provided room is available within the year group. Free transport is provided by the authority to all pupils who live more than three miles from the school and live within the Downlands catchment area.
This area includes parts of Burgess Hill, Albourne, Poynings, Hurstpierpoint, Hassocks, Goddards Green and Ditchling. Parents are advised to check with the Education Office if they are in any doubt.
Many other pupils travel to the school from both East and West Sussex. School times are arranged to fit into the normal coach and train timetables.
We believe that regular school attendance is important. Education provides a means of advancement for all young people and regular attendance is the only way of ensuring that they take full advantage of the opportunities available to them.
Irregular attendance undermines the educational process and leads to educational disadvantage, it places children at risk and can result in them being drawn into patterns of anti-social or criminal behaviour.
In order to ensure regular pupil attendance, legal powers were given to LEAs in the Education Act 1993 to enforce where necessary school attendance.
We recognise that for the vast majority of our pupils very good school attendance is a well established habit and one that brings them success. Downlands has an average attendance record of between 94-95%.
However it is important that all parents understand clearly their responsibilities for their child’s attendance and the consequences for them should they fail to ensure this.
- Parents have a legal duty to send their children to school regularly and risk prosecution if they fail in this duty.
- It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their children arrive at school in time, properly attired and in a condition to learn.
- It is the parent’s responsibility to inform the school of the reason for the child’s absence in the first instance by a telephone call on the day of absence before 8.45am. However all absences must be covered by a note.
- Only the school within the context of the law can approve absence, not parents. The fact that a parent has offered a note in relation to a particular absence does not oblige the school to accept the explanation.
- Pupils whose attendance percentage is below the school average are monitored by the school in liaison with the Education and Welfare Officer.
- Pupils arriving late without good reason will be put into detention on the same day.
- Pupils arriving late persistently will be put into after school detention.
- We strongly urge parents not to take holidays in term time. The effect of absence on the continuity of study is great. Only in exceptional conditions can the school give permission for up to 2 weeks holiday leave. This should not be during examination periods and cannot be used for individual days or “short breaks”. The school would certainly advise against any absence other than through illness at any point.