The Independent Grammar School: Durham
(The following document is given to all parents when their child joins The Independent Grammar School: Durham. It is accompanied by a form to be signed and returned).
It is imperative, as we begin what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship with you as a family, that we are all agreed on what IGS: Durham stands for: its values, its standards and its policies. As a school, we would prefer that you decided not to enrol your child with us if you do not fully support these principles, as they will form the very basis of his/her education. Of course, we very much hope that you will support them and confirm that by signing the accompanying form to indicate your agreement with, and commitment to, these rules and principles.
We recognise, of course, that in the early stages of the life of IGS: Durham we will only have very young children and we will exercise appropriate judgement in applying these principles. Appropriate adjustments will also be made for children with disabilities or special educational needs. Within that context, however, we will continue to insist on the highest standards.
Respect is a core value of IGS: Durham: respect for oneself, for other pupils, for staff, adults, visitors and those who may be different. Any demonstration of lack of respect will result in disciplinary action. Defiance of, disobedience to or disrespect towards teachers or other staff undermines this core value, is quite unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Similarly, lack of respect towards others’ property and towards school equipment (e.g. graffiti, defacing books) is unacceptable. We will take particularly seriously any disrespect shown to others on the basis of race, religion, sexuality etc.
2. Pupil Attendance
It is very important that pupils attend every session of the school year except when ill or in other exceptional circumstances, when the Executive Principal’s permission must be obtained. Taking holidays during the school year is particularly disruptive to a child’s education and to the work of teachers who try to ensure that pupils keep up with work. By signing this document, parents agree not to take holidays during the school year. The school will consider keeping a pupil behind beyond normal school hours (including during holidays and at weekends) to make up for any lost time. It is also acknowledged that major school events such as Prize Giving, Carol Concerts and Sports Day are an essential part of school life and the attendance of every pupil at these events is compulsory. Pupils are expected to attend lessons on time and with the correct equipment.
3. Food and Drink
Food and drink may only be consumed during break and lunch periods, and at no other times. Pupils found eating or drinking outside these set times will be disciplined accordingly. This rule does not, of course, apply to water which might from time to time be provided by the school and made available to pupils during or between lessons. Chewing gum is absolutely forbidden in school because of its damaging effects on the fabric and appearance of the building, and the difficulties and cost involved in removing it, especially from carpets. This rule will be unambiguously explained to pupils. Therefore, the school reserves the right to make a £10 charge against pupils who bring chewing gum into school, in which case parents will be invoiced accordingly.
As the best schools have known for years, and an increasing number are rediscovering, uniform is an important aspect of a school and encourages a positive attitude to school life as a whole. At The Independent Grammar School: Durham, we do not allow pupils to attend school with incorrect uniform for any reason. The way in which uniform is worn is also very important, i.e. neatly and tidily, making allowances for very young children. Other aspects of appearance are also important. For example, hair colour must not be unnatural, pupils’ hair if long must be fully tied back off the face using green fastenings/bobbles and pupils must not wear excessive hair gel (the school’s definition of “excessive” is final). School PE kit must be worn for all school activities taking place outside school, e.g. at local sports centres. Full school uniform must be worn whilst travelling to and from school and at all school events, including those held outside normal school hours. The uniform code at IGS: Durham is very clear. All pupils are expected to adhere to it and parents are asked to support it by providing the correct clothing and equipment, and ensuring uniform is worn appropriately. In all cases where there is room for interpretation, the school’s interpretation will be final. Parents of pupils who come to school with incorrect or inappropriately worn uniform will be asked to rectify the situation at the earliest opportunity.
No bullying of any kind is ever tolerated at The Independent Grammar School: Durham and is always taken very seriously. Bullying will be dealt with in accordance with relevant school Policies (i.e. Anti-Bullying Policy and Peer-on-Peer Abuse Policy) which all parents should read carefully.
6. Personal Property
Valuable personal property should never be brought in to school unless specifically required (e.g. musical instruments) and no electronic equipment whatsoever other than mobile phones may be brought on to school premises. All legitimate personal property, e.g. sports kits, must be stored in the prescribed manner (appropriate allowances will, of course, be made for very young children).
It is important that pupils who need to do so are able to use mobile phones to communicate with parents/carers on the way to and from school. However, the use of mobile phones for whatever reason (e.g. making calls, texting, taking photographs, recording video or listening to music) during school hours is strictly forbidden. Phones being used during the school day will be confiscated and held until the end of the day. Pupils must hand their phones in to their class teacher or form tutor at the beginning of the school day and may collect them at the end of the day. Pupils are responsible for the care of their own phones, and the school accepts no liability whatsoever for lost or missing phones in cases where the school rules have not been observed.
7. Drugs and Other Illegal Substances
It is important for all to be clear that the school will deal immediately and firmly with any incident involving drugs, alcohol or any other substances which it is illegal for a child of the relevant age to buy. The school will adopt a “zero tolerance” approach in this area. Pupils who are found to be, or suspected to be, in possession of drugs (using the commonly understood meaning of that word) on the school premises, supplying or acquiring drugs from another pupil or associating with those who are openly in possession of drugs, will be immediately suspended pending a thorough investigation and if found to have been involved in one of the ways described above will be expelled and the police and any other relevant bodies will be informed. Pupils found smoking or in possession of cigarettes will be subject to disciplinary measures which will usually involve suspension from school.
Pupils at The Independent Grammar School: Durham have many opportunities to participate in exciting, educational and mind-broadening activities. Residential activities are an important part of life at IGS: Durham and all pupils are encouraged to attend such events. Pupils’ selection for a school team, or to represent the school for any other reason (e.g. a musical performance), takes precedence over any other arrangements including other sports teams outside school, part-time jobs etc. Pupils are expected to participate fully in PE lessons. Genuine medical reasons for not doing so are, of course, acceptable but unjustified failure to take part in PE will result in appropriate disciplinary action.
9. Facebook and other Social Networking Media
The school’s approach is clearly set out in our policy on the use of social networking websites and shared communication media in general. Any inappropriate use of such technologies by students is regarded as being in the public domain and therefore might be damaging to the school’s reputation or to the reputation of, or hurtful to, specific staff or pupils. Parents are strongly encouraged to monitor their children’s activity in this area.
The school takes personal data very seriously, particularly in light of the General Data Protection Regulations which came into force in 2018. Among other things, this means that a) we will not publish any photograph of your child without your active consent and will never assume that consent to have been given unless it is in writing; and b) we will destroy all photographs upon request or within one year, whichever comes first. In general, parents should be prepared to be asked to agree that a student’s photograph or image may appear with his/her name attached in printed or electronically transmitted internal school publications. When such images are offered for publication in the public domain (including the school’s website, newsletters, etc.) you will be consulted about the specific images of your child and must give active consent before we can use them. In such cases, your child's name will not appear in association with the image unless you have also given your specific consent (or your child, if he/she is aged 16 or over, has given consent). All photographs, other than those used in internal school publications (booklets, prospectuses etc.), which might be retained for longer periods, will be destroyed, physically and electronically, one year after being used. Parents are asked to cooperate where possible and act reasonably in allowing the school to use photographs of their child - although it is always the case that you have the right to refuse us permission to do so and we will always respect that without question.
11. Drop off and Pick up
Given our position near the city centre, it is vital that we observe traffic restrictions. Parents must do so at all times. Should a parent repeatedly not do so, this is not only dangerous but is likely to damage our good relations with the local authority. In such cases, and following due warning, the parents concerned may be asked to remove their child from the school.
12. Payment of Fees
Because IGS: Durham is offering an outstanding education at a relatively very low fee, the prompt payment of fees is extremely important in enabling us to continue providing the best for every child. Therefore late or missed payments will be referred to the school's accountant who will apply the school policy in relation to these matters. Neither the staff, nor the Executive Principal can enter into discussions regarding non-payment of fees. However the Executive Principal should be contacted in the first instance if parents are experiencing difficulties in paying fees and he will provide relevant contact details. Parents who are unable to pay fees will in most cases, and following reasonable warning, be asked to remove their child from the school. The school does not in any circumstances offer fee reductions or "holidays", discounts or scholarships. Parents should note that at the discretion of the School Board, fees are likely to rise every year in line with the June Consumer Price Index and parents will be informed accordingly. (This will not apply in 2017).
13. School Policies
It is vital that parents read thoroughly the following school Policies which govern how we will deal with a range of situations:
- Anti-bullying Policy
- Peer-on-Peer Abuse Policy
- Behaviour Policy
- Assessment Policy
- Child Protection (Safeguarding) Policy
- Medication Policy
- Safe Use of Technology Policy
- Use of Reasonable Force Policy
- Attendance Policy
The full range of School Policies is available on the school website. All are important for parents to understand but the above are especially relevant and by signing the parental commitment parents confirm that they have read and understood them.