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Headmaster’s Letter 26th April

Posted on 26th April 2019

Dear Parent,

Mobile phone/portable device policy

I am writing to you to outline the School’s new policy regarding the use of mobile phones/ portable devices etc. that will take effect immediately after May half-term.  There have been significant discussions at School Council and in form groups about the new rules regarding the use of these devices while students are on the school site.  I recognise that they will not be popular amongst some students but, as I explain below, they are being revised to ensure students’ safety and to encourage some students to detach themselves from their device.

The new rules will be differentiated based around year groups.  However, the main principle is that phones should be switched off and put away as soon as students enter the School site.

In Years 7-10, students will not be allowed to use their phones while on the school site during either lunch or break times.  Phones must be turned off.  Students will be able to use their phones in lessons (e.g. research work) if the teacher allows this.  The use of phones on school trips (e.g. listening to music on a coach) is at the discretion of trip leaders.

In Year 11, students will be allowed to use their phones in the Elevenses area of the Dining Hall ONLY during breaks and lunchtime.  At all other times, phones must be turned off.  Students will be allowed to use their phones in lessons (e.g. research work) if the teacher allows this.  The use of phones on school trips (e.g. listening to music) is at the discretion of trip leaders

In Years 12 and 13, students will be allowed to access their phones in Casterby and the Library.  In study rooms, they can have access with the teacher/study supervisor’s permission.  Like other year groups, they should not use their phones in open areas of the school site.

Students who need to use a phone to monitor a medical condition (e.g. diabetes) are aware that they can only use their phone for monitoring purposes.

We’re changing the rules for the following reasons:

  1. There have been a few incidents in school recently where students have suffered minor injuries because they have been pre-occupied by their devices and have been in collision on stairs, with doors or other students.
  2. Research indicates that there is an emerging link between mobile phone/portable device use/dependency and mental well-being.
  3. There have been some recent safeguarding/pastoral concerns relating to social media via 4G/3G networks.  (We can only block inappropriate sites via our school network.  We have no control over students’ use of 4G/3G networks although parents can impose blocks, etc, via their network provider.)
  4. Extra-curricular clubs (of which there were 50+ last term across the week) are a more productive use of time.

Parents can still contact their child in an EMERGENCY via the school reception.

With regards sanctions, any student that chooses to use a phone without staff’s permission will have it confiscated for the remainder of the day.  They can collect the phone from reception at the end of period 9.  Any student who is caught for a second time in the same term will have their phone confiscated permanently: it will only be returned when a parent/ nominated adult comes to school to collect it from reception.

I am happy to respond to any parents’ questions or concerns regarding this change in policy.  I will let you know when the complete policy, once approved by governors, has been published on the school website.

School production – Autumn 2019

I am delighted to announce publicly that the school production for the Autumn term will be The Addam’s Family.  Here’s a synopsis of the plot from the production’s website.  It’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met.  And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother.  Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia.  Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.  Auditions take place on Tuesday 30 April for Year 11 and Wednesday 1 May for Year 12.  Male students should prepare the song ‘Happy/Sad’; female students should prepare the song ‘Pulled’.  I’ll keep you up to date regards tickets, etc.  As ever, my thanks to Messrs Harris, Jago and Thompson for the time and commitment they put into providing this high-class opportunity for students.

Parent governor elections

You will have received a letter yesterday (Thursday) via ParentMail about a current parent governor vacancy.  I hope that the details are self-explanatory.  If you are interested in supporting your child’s school and determining its strategic direction, then please consider sending in a nomination form.  I am happy to have an informal conversation about the level of commitment required.


We have begun the recruitment process for a part-time Teacher of English and a part-time Teacher of Biology, commencing 1 September.  The latter appointment’s time is likely to increase as more time will be given to GCSE Sciences over the next two years.  Details of both posts are on the website and I would encourage you to share it with anyone that is interested in working here to speak to the relevant head of department for more information.


From walking the site, some boys have reverted to wearing the incorrect grey trousers to School.  I would like to remind you that school uniform is charcoal grey trousers and not a lighter colour.  Similarly, some girls have taken to wearing trousers of a shorter length, meaning the end of the trouser comes to their ankles.  Please ensure that trousers are full length.  As the temperatures increase, I ask that all parents help us to maintain our high standards.

Well-being day

The Caistor Heritage Centre is hosting a well-being and pampering day tomorrow (Saturday). Click here to learn more.  Several of our students and parents work at this valuable local resource. Please do support them if you can.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Hopkins