Supporting Our Pupils
The pastoral organisation of the school is concerned in particular with the development of pupils’ social skills, attitude, academic progress and their personal welfare. All staff are involved in this work but the focus of the school’s caring ethos is the form tutors (directly responsible for the progress and welfare of each member of their form), and the Heads of Year (who lead the teams of form tutors within each year group).
We expect pupils to do well at Hillcrest and there is a positive reward system for academic achievement and effort. The school’s first priority, over and above all other responsibilities, is the welfare of pupils. If staff are concerned about the welfare of any pupils, parents/carers are the first to be contacted. If the concerns are sufficient to suggest that a child may be at risk of significant harm, staff will contact the appropriate child protection agency; usually social services.
The school is aware that this occasionally causes problems in relationships with parents/carers but if the school is concerned about a child there are procedures which the school will have to follow to ensure the safety of pupils.
All matters of concern regarding the welfare of pupils are recorded in the school files and these are available to be seen by parents/carers. In accordance with the Data Protection Act this information is completely confidential and cannot be shared with other professional organisations or agencies unless concerns have become sufficient to initiate a child protection referral.
The school has a social worker located on site that supports the Netherton area cluster of schools (primary/secondary). Alongside the Parent Link Worker she aims to remove barriers to learning for young people. In addition to this Hillcrest works closely with other agencies (for example; Dudley Young Carers, Youth Services) to provide ‘drop in’ services to give support and advice to our pupils.
The Government has evidence, which suggests that firm boundaries and structures lead to happy and successful pupils. With this in mind discipline at Hillcrest is administered on a firm but fair basis.
The Hillcrest School Charter is found in the school booklet “Introduction to Hillcrest School”. This is issued to all pupils when they join the school. The school adheres to a Behaviour for Learning Policy and utilises many positive behaviour management strategies.
The Behaviour Policy shows that a range of strategies, additional support and a hierarchy of sanctions are used to modify poor or unacceptable behaviour. On rare occasions a senior member of staff will become involved and parents/carers may be invited to the school to discuss particular problems. In serious or persistent cases of poor behaviour, exclusions from school may be authorised by the Principal and Governors. An alternative to fixed term exclusions is inclusion, where pupils are placed in the school’s inclusion room. The inclusion room operates on slightly different school day and cold lunches are provided for pupils entitled to Free School Meals. Please note, Hillcrest has a zero tolerance for drugs and weapons. Any pupils found in possession of these will be permanently excluded.