St John Plessington Catholic College

25-Jan-24 - Letter from the Headteacher - Standards & Expectations

25 January 2024

Dear Parents / Carers

I hope that you and your families are well. As we embark on the new calendar year and as our academic year is well underway I felt that it would be timely to remind both parents and students of what our minimum standards and expectations are. I am pleased to report significant improvements over the past year surrounding behaviour and many of the recommendations identified by OFSTED have been addressed. I wish to thank parents as always for their support in ensuring all our children have access to a conducive learning environment.

Sadly a very small number of pupils have returned following the Christmas break and require a timely reset and reminder of our expectations and I would ask for your support in reminding your child of these expectations.


We expect that all students buy into our key values of Pride, Respect and Determination along with our touchstone principles Be Present, Be Smart and Be Kind. Unfortunately, some students are falling short of these expectations, which is having a negative impact on the learning environment for our community. Our staff have had extensive relational training to be able to offer not only high levels of support but also high levels of challenge. Our behaviour policy is clear with a staged approach to dealing with disruptive behaviour. Students will be given a reminder, followed by a warning to ensure they are clear about what is expected from them. In the event that the reminder and warning are ignored, then consequences ranging from class teacher detentions to removals will be issued. For serious breaches of our College Behaviour Policy, students may be issued with Senior Leader Detentions, be removed from lessons, suspended or excluded. These latter measures will be used as a last resort and I very much hope that we can continue to work together to ensure that we create a harmonious learning environment for all.

I would urge all parents to download and use the Arbor app to be able to access your child’s record. Further information on how to access this is available here. Where detentions are issued these must be attended, no exceptions! We will always notify parents via Arbor.

Attendance & Punctuality

As I write this letter there are a significant number of pupils absent from school, many of these in year 11. It is important that all students attend school regularly. Attendance below 96% equates to 8 days of absence, which is over 40 hours worth of learning in a year. This can cause significant gaps in a child's knowledge and understanding and significantly impact outcomes. Guidance from the DFE states that parents are responsible for making sure that their children of compulsory school age receive a suitable full-time education. As a school we will do everything we can to support good attendance at school. Where pupil absence is unacceptable, we will follow the procedures in our school attendance policy. Can I take this opportunity to remind you that when a child is ill and unable to attend school, you must inform the school before 08:35 in the morning. Holidays cannot be taken and will not be authorised during term time. Medical appointments should be made outside of school hours. I appreciate that students may need time off for hospital and specialist appointments, however attendance to school before and after the appointment should be maintained. Being punctual to school is not only important now but is a skill for life and pupils who are late to school will be expected to make up the time that they have missed. It is unacceptable for students to be late for school, also to encourage absence, as some pupils would rather not attend school at all, than arrive late.

5 minutes late per day equates to 3.4 days learning lost per year

10 minutes late per day equates to 6.9 days learning lost per year

15 minutes late per day equates 10.3 days learning lost per year

20 minutes late per day equates 13.8 days learning lost per year

30 minutes late per day equates 20.7 days learning lost per year

Our school gates will open at 08:15 and close at 08:35. Punctuality to school and lessons is equally as important. Where a child is late to school or lessons, they will be issued with a late detention. We will continue to monitor this over the coming weeks and where necessary issue EPNs (Education Penalty Notice) for poor attendance and punctuality. Students who use public transport (buses and trains), including the 410 and 38, must ensure that they get the bus that gets them to school before 08:35.

Please see the links below for bus times and routes for the 410, 38 and school buses.

38 Bus timetable

410 Bus timetable

School bus timetable

Please speak to your child and remind them of good behaviour and courtesy when using public transport and travelling to and from school. When in our uniform students are representing our school community and there will be consequences where behaviour falls short of our high expectations.

Uniform & Appearance

Our meet and greet checks at the gate continue to ensure that all students are in school happy, safe and ready for their day ahead. Our uniform policy is available on our school website.

I would like to remind all parents of some of the key points from the policy:

  • All students should now be wearing their winter uniform, which includes the tank top or jumper. Hoodies and other sweaters should not be worn and will be confiscated.
  • Jewellery and piercings should not be worn in school. Any jewellery being worn will be confiscated and can be collected from Reception on Friday after school.
  • School shoes must be worn at all times, trainers are not acceptable (please check the policy carefully to ensure the correct shoes are worn).
  • Make-up, including coloured nail varnish, lip gloss and fake tan, is not to be worn. False nails, false eyelashes or other such beauty accessories are not acceptable. Hair fashion accessories are also not to be worn. Black or navy coloured bobbles are to be used when tying the hair back. Scrunchies and large hair clips are not allowed.
  • All students must have a SJP school bag to ensure that they can carry their planner and equipment needed for lessons. Other brands of bags are not acceptable.
  • Coats may be worn to and from school and while on the yard - but must be removed on entering the school building.

Pupils who do not conform to the College’s uniform and appearance policy will be sanctioned in line with our Behaviour Policy.

Mobile phones

We advise that pupils do not bring mobile phones into the College. However, we do recognise that some parents may wish their child to have a mobile phone with them as they travel to and from school. Any mobile phones brought in should be both switched off as they enter the school premises and put away until they have left the premises. We do not take any responsibility for loss of or damage to mobile phones. Inappropriate use of phones in school will result in confiscation, without notice. Airpods and ear phones are not permitted to be worn in school. Should your child wear airpods/ear phones in school the mobile that they are connected to will be confiscated as per our policy above. You will receive a text notification from the school office and the phone will need to be collected by an adult (no exceptions). Phones will not be returned to pupils under any circumstances. Should you need to contact your child in an emergency, please use the main College number 0151 645 5049. Do not seek to contact your child in school directly, as your child’s phone should be switched off as they enter the premises in the morning.

All students will be reminded of these expectations during form time this morning.

Again, I hope that this letter is taken in the spirit it is intended. For some, to recognise some significant changes will be required and for others to assure you that I continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all children access the education they deserve. Thank you for your support and cooperation. Should you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to contact your childs Head of Learning.

Kind regards

Mr P McLoughlin