Mobile phones are owned by a significant number of students and this presents a number of issues for schools:
• The disruption to lessons and interference with teaching and learning
• The high monetary value of many phones and therefore the risk of phones being misplaced, lost or stolen.
• The integration of cameras and recording devices into phones leading to potential child protection and data protection issues
• The potential for mobile technology to be used to bully other students
We understand a parent’s wish for their child to have a phone for their journey to and from school. We do not consider it realistic to prohibit phones being brought to school, nor is it logistically possible for our school to collect phones in each morning and return them in the afternoon. It is our policy to allow students to have a mobile phone with them in school under the following conditions outlined below.
• Phones must be switched off by 9 am when registration begins.
• Phones may only be used during a student’s break-time 11.05 am to 11.25 am and lunchtime – First Lunch 12.35 to 1.10pm, Second Lunch 1.10 pm to 1.45 pm
• They must remain switched off (not on silent mode) and kept out of view at all other times of the day – they must not be used for any purpose whatsoever (e.g. phoning, texting, surfing the internet, mobile blogging, taking photos, checking the time, taking videos).
• Only in very exceptional circumstances will students be able to use their phones in class. This will be strictly controlled by the class teacher and will only be for educational purposes i.e. photographing a project.
• Phones may be switched on at the end of the school day at 3.30 pm
• It is strictly forbidden to record photographic images (still or video) or sound recordings of staff or students.
• The possession or use of a mobile telephone in an examination is forbidden under exam regulations and the school is required to report any offences to the examining body. Breach of the school’s regulation in this incident will result in the loss of marks in the relevant examination. This is regulated by all the examining bodies.
• The use of mobile phones on school trips is forbidden unless the teacher gives express permission for their use for reasons of safety and/or communication. Students should assume that mobile phones should not be used unless told otherwise.
• Year 13 and 14 students are permitted to use mobile phones or other devices in the Sixth Form Centre during study to listen to music. Phones/mp3/mp4 devices should be clearly displayed on desks. Under no circumstances should calls/texts be made or received during lessons or private study time.
• Unsuitable Material – it is strictly forbidden to have pornographic or other unsuitable material on a mobile phone in school. If this rule is broken the matter must be referred to the Designated Teacher for Child Protection. In accordance with EA Child Protection guidelines, any concerns regarding suspected pornographic material on a student’s mobile phone must be acted upon by referring the matter to the Designated Teacher for Child Protection who, in liaison with the Principal, is obliged to contact the PSNI who will initiate an investigation, and parents will be informed.
SANCTIONS FOR MISUSE
• On the first infringement of the rules, the phone will be confiscated and sent to the school office where it can be collected at the end of the school day.
• On the second infringement, the phone will be confiscated and sent to the school office where it can be collected at the end of the school day. The student will be given a break detention by their Year Head.
• On the third infringement, the phone will be confiscated and sent to the school office where it can be collected at the end of the school day. The student will be given an after school detention by their Year Head. Parents will be informed by letter.
• On the fourth infringement, the phone will be confiscated and sent to the school office where it can be collected at the end of the school day. Parents/guardians will be asked to come into school to discuss their child’s behaviour in a meeting with the Year Head.
• All further infringements will be dealt with by the Vice Principal/Principal. Mobile phones may be held in school for collection by a parent/guardian.
A student will always be permitted to use the school phone if he/she has had their phone confiscated.
If a student needs to contact his/her parents/guardian, he/she will be allowed to use the phone in the school office. If parents/guardians need to contact children urgently, they should phone the school office and a message will be relayed to the student. However, this should be kept to a minimum so as to cause as little interruption as possible. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD A STUDENT CONTACT HOME DIRECTLY FROM THEIR MOBILE PHONE.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR MOBILE PHONES
The school accepts no responsibility whatsoever for theft, loss, damage or health effects (potential or actual) relating to mobile phones, MP3 player or such devices brought into school. It is the responsibility of parents and students to ensure mobile phones are properly insured.
We at Devenish College, have a primary responsibility for the care, welfare and safety of the pupils in our charge. The discharge of this responsibility is guided by our pastoral care policies, which aim to provide a safe and secure learning environment that is conducive to effective teaching and learning and free from intimidation and fear.
The school is completely opposed to bullying and will not tolerate it. All members of the school community have a right to work in a secure and caring environment. They also have a responsibility to contribute in whatever way they can, to the protection and maintenance of such an environment.
to prevent bullying and create a safe, secure learning environment for all pupils in the school
to develop caring attitudes and promotion of good citizenship in all our pupils
to deal effectively with all bullying
to involve teaching staff, pupils, parents, non-teaching staff and school governors in the implementation of this policy
“Bullying is defined as the repeated use of power by one or more people intentionally to harm, hurt or adversely affect the rights and needs of another or others”
Northern Ireland Bullying Forum
• Making someone feel bad about themselves
• Calling names and teasing people about their looks or beliefs
• Making someone feel uncomfortable for a long period of time
• Hurting someone physically or emotionally and spoiling their fun
• An offensive way of trying to appear superior to someone else
• An action with the purpose of harming someone physically or emotionally
• Acting repeatedly in a nasty way to lower another person’s self-esteem
• A behaviour inflicted on another which is somehow degrading in a physical, mental or emotional way
Forms of Bullying
Bullying behaviour is entirely contrary to the values and principles we work and live by in Devenish College. Preventing and countering bullying requires an awareness of behaviours that constitute bullying and a collective vigilance on the part of all members of the school community.
Bullying can take different forms:
Physical violence such as hitting, kicking, pushing or spitting at another pupil
Interfering with another pupil’s property including stealing, hiding or causing deliberate damage to that property
Verbal abuse, for example, through racist or sectarian remarks, name calling or demeaning comments
Emotional hurt, through isolating or excluding an individual from the activities and social acceptance of his/her peer group or through passing notes or spreading rumours
Intimidation and harassment, through pressure from members of a group against an individual so that he/she feels uneasy or frightened
Cyber-bullying, for example, through mobile phone calls, text messages, picture/video clips on mobile phone cameras, emails, chat-rooms, instant messaging and websites
Responsibilities of Pupils
We expect our pupils to:
Refrain from becoming involved in any kind of bullying, even at the risk of incurring temporary unpopularity
Intervene to protect the pupil who is being bullied, unless it is unsafe to do so
Report to a member of staff any witnessed or suspected instances of bullying
Listen to, support and help bullied pupils
Any pupil who becomes the target of bullying must not suffer in silence but should have the courage to speak out, to put an end to his/her own suffering and that of other potential targets.
Responsibilities of Parents
We ask our parents to support their children and the school by:
Watching for signs of distress or unusual behaviour in their children which might be evidence of bullying
Advising children to report any incidents of bullying to a member of staff, explaining the implications of allowing the bullying to continue unchecked, for themselves and for other pupils
Advising their children not to retaliate to any form of bullying
Being sympathetic and supportive towards their children and reassuring them that appropriate action will be taken
Informing the school of any suspected bullying, even if their children are not involved
Co-operating with the school in all investigations into alleged incidents of bullying
Responses to Bullying
A range of responses may be used in dealing with instances of bullying. The response(s) to be used will depend upon the severity and persistence of the bullying. It is intended that the person(s) responsible will learn from what has happened and change his/her behaviour Restorative practice, education and awareness-raising are effective ways of challenging bullying and encouraging individual pupils to take responsibility for their own actions. This may include the pupil’s involvement in a programme of mentoring, counselling, group work or referral to an outside agency. Class activities and assemblies may also be used more generally for this purpose.
In responding to an instance of bullying, the intention is to resolve the issue at the earliest stage, ideally using a “no blame” approach and without recourse to sanctions. However, more severe and/or persistent bullying behaviour will result in the imposition of increasingly severe sanctions and/or the involvement of parents.
One or more of the following sanctions may be employed:
Verbal or written apology
Daily Target Report
Guidance for Pupils on Responding to Bullying
What your child should do if they are being bullied:
• Talk to someone you can trust e.g. a parent, Form Teacher, Head of Year, teacher, friend, prefect, peer mentor or school counsellor.
• Write down what the bullies have said or done to you and how you feel about it. Be very careful to write down what actually happened.
• If you need to, ask a friend to come with you to talk to your Form Teacher, the Head of Year, etc.
• Always do something – sometimes bullying will stop. Usually it will not and you will only get more upset which will encourage the bullies.
• If you are being bullied – remember it is not your fault. The bullies need to change – not you.
• Retain evidence e.g. a text message, note etc.
What they should not do:
• Do not suffer in silence – there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
• Do not retaliate – you could be accused of bullying.
• Always be truthful – do not exaggerate. If anything you say is untrue, people will doubt your whole story.
• Do not believe the lies bullies tell about you – you know they are not true.
Possible signs of Bullying
The following behaviours may indicate that a pupil is being bullied:
• An unwillingness to attend school
• Anxiety about travelling to and from school/avoiding regular travelling times
• Under achievement
• Loss of concentration/enthusiasm/interest in school or changed behaviour
• Repeated non-specific reasons for illness, headache, stomach pains
• Unexplained changes in mood especially before returning to school after holidays or weekends
• Physical signs of anxiety stammering, nightmares, sleep difficulty, loss of appetite, nausea, withdrawal
• Physical bruising/scratches/cuts/torn clothes
• Loss of self esteem/confidence/mood swings
• Books torn or destroyed/missing possessions
• Reluctance to say what is wrong
• Request for extra pocket money
Pupils and Parents can contact the following organisations for further information and support:
Childline www.childline.org.uk 0800 1111
National Child Protection Helpline 0800 800500
Parents’ Advice Centre 02890 238800
Lifeline 0808 808 8000
Samaritans Helpline 08457 909090
www.niabf.org.uk – NI Anti-Bullying Forum
This is intended as a summary of our Anti-Bullying Policy. The following more detailed policy statements are available on request:
Positive Behaviour Management
Safeguarding and Child Protection
Drugs and Alcohol
Rewarding Positive Achievement
Special Education Needs
Use of Reasonable Force/Safe Handling
Relationships and Sexuality Education
Use of Mobile Phones
Devenish College is an all-ability school. We emphasise the importance of intellectual development and academic excellence and at the same time seek to develop the personal and social development of the individual young person.
Devenish College aims to create the conditions in which:
Young children will be cheerful, questioning, confident, good humoured, kind and co-operative
They will appreciate sharing and helping others
They will achieve satisfaction in personal success and progress
They will have a commitment to the school, friends, work and attainment
In particular, Devenish College is committed to:
The development of self-esteem
The development of children’s personal, moral and spiritual growth
The pursuit of the highest academic standards in a supportive, stimulating environment
Ensuring pupils gain the skills, attitudes, knowledge and awareness necessary for living in a changing world
Establishing a creative and secure partnership between the school, home and community
Promoting a happy, caring learning environment centred on the needs of the child
The emphasis focuses firmly on ‘care’ – which is the over-riding responsibility of each teacher, both in and out of the classroom.
Each Year Group’s pastoral needs are provided for by Form Teachers and Heads of Year who assume full responsibility for both pastoral and curricular dimensions of pupil experience.
Each pupil is assigned to a particular Form Teacher who takes a special interest in, and assumes responsibility for, the welfare, progress and development of individual pupils. The Form Teacher/Head of Year is an important link between home and school and both will liaise closely with parents/guardians on matters of mutual concern related to the child’s well-being and happiness – thus ensuring that even the smallest of problems do not develop into crises due to oversight or neglect. Similarly, the pastoral team liaises closely with subject teachers in relation to pupils’ academic and personal development. We also have Personal Development classes each week affording the pupils the opportunity to reflect on issues which are important to them in terms of their role as ‘learners’ and as ‘young people’.
Our Positive Behaviour Management Policy is based on positive expectations of the very highest standards of behaviour and on the importance of close contact between home and school.
At Devenish College we expect pupils to show
at all times in their relationships with others.
We aim to prevent problematic behaviour developing in the first instance, rather than focusing primarily on the symptoms of such behaviour. We concentrate on encouraging pupils to understand the consequences of their actions – thus helping them to develop the qualities of self-discipline, respect for themselves, others and the property of others.
We take a very firm line on any form of bullying and if this occurs, contact is made with the home in the first instance so that an appropriate action plan may be agreed and implemented.
SAFE-GUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION
A Safe-Guarding and Child Protection Policy operates in Devenish College. Its aim is to protect our pupils by ensuring that everyone who works in our school – teachers, non-teaching staff and volunteers – has clear guidance on the detection and inter-agency management of situations where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected. The overriding concern of all caring adults must be the care, welfare and safety of the child. The welfare of each child is our paramount consideration.
In all their contact with pupils, all staff in Devenish College follow the guidelines and procedures described in the Department of Education publication ‘Pastoral Care in School – Child Protection’ (1999).
The following principles form the basis for our child protection activity:
Children should be listened to and taken seriously
In any incident, the child’s welfare must always be paramount; this overrides all other considerations
A proper balance must be must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents and families, but where there is conflict, the child’s interests must always come first
Children with disabilities are children first and have equal rights to protection. However, they may have particular needs which require specialist attention
Every child has the fundamental right to be safe from harm and to have proper care given to their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being
In all cases of suspected child abuse, the action that will be taken in Devenish College is that of informing Social Services, the Designated Officer of the Education Authority and the Chair of the Board of Governors.
SUMMARY FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS
Step 1 ) Disclosure / Concerns regarding abuse or neglect
Step 2) Mrs Morton designated teacher for child protection informed
Step 3) Mr Mowbray, Principal, Informed plan of action agreed referral decision taken
Step 4) If No referral then Parents Informed of School Concerns, If Referral Principal/Designated teacher makes referral – Social Services, EA, Chair of Governors informed
Step 5) School will continue to monitor pupils as appropriate
It should be noted that information given to members of staff about possible child abuse cannot be held ‘in confidence’. In the interests of the child, staff may need to share this information with other professionals. However, only those who need to know will be told. The school will update its Safe-Guarding and Child Protection Policy and procedures in the light of any further guidance and legislation as necessary and review it annually.
The pastoral care of our pupils means responding to their needs at a period of their young lives when they are growing physically and acquiring a wide range of knowledge and skills.
By responding to the needs of our pupils we are:
Helping them in the formation of values, attitudes and beliefs
Guiding them through a period of emotional instability
Making them aware of the influences, positive and negative, to which they are subjected
Helping them develop good personal and social skills and above all –
Nurturing their self-esteem
In Devenish College, the Personal Development Programme is designed to meet the developing needs of pupils in years 8-12 and to assist them in their wider learning. This weekly timetabled series of lessons has been planned in a progressive manner and includes topics relevant to each year group. The topics for this programme, which may be added to in response to the needs of individual class groups, fall into the following themes:
Health and the Whole Person
Feelings and Emotions
Managing Influences and Making Decisions
Morals, Values and Beliefs
Learning About Learning
Safety and Managing Risk
Relationships and Sexuality
Our Personal Development Programme also includes topics on self-protection for each year group, designed to equip pupils with the knowledge necessary for making informed choices regarding their personal well-being. Important elements of this self-protection education for pupils includes: age related information on Sex Education, Substance Abuse and Bullying.
If you have any concerns about any aspect of your son/daughter’s welfare, safety or academic development, please contact the school and an appointment will be arranged for you to meet with one or more of the following members of staff:
Form Teacher/Subject Teacher
Head of Year
Head of Key Stage
If you continue to have concerns, you can talk/write to: the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Devenish College – Mr A Baird
At any time you can talk to:
The Duty Social Worker, Gateway Team: 02871 314090
The PSNI at the Public Protection Unit: Ring 101 then ask for: Child Abuse and Investigation Unit (CAIU)
We would also encourage you to attend our yearly Parent/Teacher meetings. In turn, members of staff are encouraged to keep Parents/Guardians fully informed regarding pupils’ progress and development.
This article is intended as a summary of many aspects of Pastoral Care in Devenish College. The following more detailed policy statements are available on request :
Positive Behaviour Management
Drugs and Alcohol
Rewarding Positive Achievement
Special Education Needs
Use of Reasonable Force/Safe Handling
Relationships and Sexuality Education
Use of Mobile Phones
All barriers to learning whether due to literacy, numeracy, physical or emotional problems will be addressed effectively in Devenish College. During the Induction process, we assess our pupils in English and Mathematics to help identify those with difficulties. Students who receive special help are not set apart from the mainstream of everyday College life but their work at a level suited to their ability. Their work is continually assessed and progress monitored to ensure an adequate level of support is in place. Our Learning Support is a major strength of our school
As well as planning differentiated lessons to meet the needs of our students, we offer additional help through in–class support provided by our SENCO and team of Classroom Assistants. Where appropriate Individual Learning Plans will target individual needs and progress is monitored regularly throughout the year.
In class support is provided primarily for pupils with a Statement of SEN who have been officially designated ‘an appropriate level of adult support’ by the Education Authority as part of their Statement provision. Subject teachers and Classroom Assistants work in partnership within the classroom, making these pupils’ learning a priority. Procedures for in class Support have been devised with input from both teachers CAs. In some instances pupils work in a reduced curriculum and avail of additional support in our Learning Resource Centre. The staff in the Resource centre offer a wide variety of support including literacy, numeracy, organisational and emotional guidance.
All pupils in Key Stage 3 receive additional support in preparing for school exams through the provision of a Revision Booklet collated by the Learning Support Department in consultation with subject teachers. The Revision Booklet, specifically tailored to the programme of teaching and learning for each streamed class, provides guidance on how to revise, revision timetable templates and lists of subject topics to be learned.
The Literacy and Numeracy Co-ordinators are responsible for co-ordinating a whole school approach to their respective key skill areas. In addition, they provide after school clubs on a weekly basis to support all pupils. An Accelerated Reading Programme based on the principles of Reading Recovery, is incorporated into the English curriculum for pupils in Key Stage Three.
Additional support arrangement are in place, throughout all the Key Stages, to facilitate pupils whose individual learning needs would otherwise hinder access to exams. This includes extra time provision, readers, prompters and scribes where deemed appropriate.
Transition Planning and support is actively implemented for pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Need from Year 10 upwards in conjunction with our Careers Department to ensure adequate information, advice and guidance.
At Devenish College, we recognise that children learn best when they are happy. Accordingly, the Pastoral Care System in Devenish College aims to provide a safe, caring and orderly atmosphere in which students can develop as individuals, and in which learning may take place effectively.
Pastoral care is the responsibility of all staff and we take pride in our holistic approach. There are those, however, with particular responsibility for the care of your children in college.
The whole college responsibility for pastoral care and overview of its implementation is assumed by Mr Hambly (Vice Principal) and supported by Mrs Stead (Vice Principal Curriculum), Heads of Year and Form Teachers. Heads of Year work closely with their team of Form Teachers and, in KS3, report directly to Mrs Stead (VP) whilst in KS4 the Heads of Year report to Mr Hambly. The team meets regularly to ensure all students are making good progress. Interventions, support and sanctions are closely monitored and communicated to the Principal through regular meetings.
Each pupil is allocated to a House. We have four Houses in the College: Crom, Tully, Caldwell and Necarne. Each House represents a large family with the pupils working within a common bond. Within this structure, we aim to develop a sense of identity and belonging. There are students of all ages in each House. When a student achieves success in school they are rewarded with Achievement Points. These points are also awarded to their House. A running total is kept and communicated through House assemblies. At the end of the academic year the leading House is presented with the House Cup and a House Trip.
We recognise the importance of individual and collective reward and as such students can turn their individual House Points into prizes, accessible from the Principal.
The House Pastoral system is a comprehensive and caring framework which helps us to get to know students, support them, direct them, challenge them, care for them and reward them. Parents can be confident that our Pastoral Care System is effective and that your child will be truly cared for in Devenish College.
Arrangements for children who become ill
A student who becomes ill is given permission by the class teacher to go to the College Office where an assigned First Aider will assess the student’s needs. Parents are contacted, if necessary, and arrangements are made for the student to be taken home. Arrangements will be made for any student that needs to go to Accident and Emergency.
Safeguarding and Child Protection
Any concerns about students which teachers become aware of will be referred to Mr Hambly who is the Designated Teacher for Child Protection. In consultation with the Principal, we will ensure that the safety and well being of your child is paramount. This duty of care and protection is a requirement of the Department of Education. Detailed Child Protection Guidelines are available on request. The Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is available on request and will be sent home in the summer term before arrival.
There is a College Counsellor available to all students. Referrals can be made via the Form Teacher, the Head of Year or by the student. Further information, if required, can be obtained from the Vice Principal. The Education Welfare Officer (EWO) also provides a support service.
Multi-Agency Support Team (MAST)
As part of the Pastoral structure, a Multi-Agency Support Team (MAST) exists to provide a support service to the College so that informed decisions can be reached regarding pastoral issues. As the title of the team implies, experts from a number of professional bodies meet to share information on how particular issues may be resolved for the benefit of students. This supportive approach is particularly effective for the very small number of students who are presenting significant difficulties in the College or who are experiencing challenging circumstances outside of the College.
Relationships and Sex Education Policy
This policy deals with relationships and sex education within the College. Our definition of RSE is lifelong learning about physical, sexual, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of stable and loving relationships; respect, love and care for family life.
Some parents prefer to take the responsibility for aspects of this element of education. They have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the RSE programme except for those parts included in the Statutory Curriculum (i.e. Science or PD lessons). Parents are welcome to review any RSE resources the College uses.
1. This policy deals with substances taken into the body which will change the normal functioning pattern and includes alcohol, illegal drugs e.g. ecstasy, prescription drugs (except for their appropriate medicinal use) and solvents.
The College will not condone the use of any of the above nor their supply and will address any concerns swiftly and robustly. We will promote and develop a health promoting and caring environment which is committed to the well-being and safety of all. To this end the College will take action if necessary to safeguard everyone’s wellbeing. Parents/Guardians will be sent supporting material at intervals, to discuss with their children.
Behaviour and attitudes
At Devenish College we understand that high standards of behaviour are a basic expectation. We recognise that positive attitudes and behaviours directly affect learning. We also recognise that all students can behave appropriately and want to be valued as part of the whole community. We therefore base our approach on the clear understanding of rights and responsibilities and seek to reward students wherever possible.
Students, parents and teachers all have a role in ensuring a positive College experience and this involves working together in partnership while having a clear understanding of each other’s rights and responsibilities. The detail of this approach can be found in the Behaviour Management Policy which is available on the College website or on request.
One of the key elements in this process is the familiarisation with and implementation of a set of carefully constructed College rules and routines. These rules are brought to the attention of students and parents in a number of ways.
• A copy of the College rules is to be found in each student’s Homework Planner. These are brought to a student’s attention by the Form Teacher and are the focus of lengthy discussions.
• Parents are asked to consolidate this process by continuing the discussion at home. Parents should note that the submission of an application for admission is taken as an indication of acceptance of all the College rules.
• A copy of the College rules is posted on each Tutor Group noticeboard.
• In addition, the College rules form an integral part of the Programmes of Study in Personal Development for students in Year 8.
Devenish College maintains a very strong stance on bullying and we aim to challenge these patterns of behaviour at the earliest opportunity. Our Anti-Bullying Policy is available on the College website or by request.
The Student Council – a student voice
We value the views of all students and recognise the importance of student voice in the development of the College. The Student Council of Devenish College is an extremely important body and consists of a group of students who are elected from each Form Group to represent the views of all students. The College Council meet regularly to discuss and address issues raised by the students and/or the leadership of the college. They are actively involved in the consultation process relating to College policies and the overall strategic development of the College. The Student Council is a very important, respected and influential group within the college community.