Key Policies of The Blue Tangerine Federation (including statutory policies)
These policies have been equality impact assessed and we believe that they are in line with the Equality Act 2010 as they are fair, do not prioritise or disadvantage any pupil or adult and help to promote equality at this school.
Supporting diversity and inclusion
A commitment to diversity and inclusion can be grounded in, but not limited to, an employer’s responsibilities under equality legislation. The Equality Act 2010 sets out the ways in which everyone is protected by the legislation, and requires schools and other areas of the public sector to:
eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and other conduct prohibited by legislation;
advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not;
foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
There is a clear moral case for diversity and inclusion, but it is also important to remember that there is a strong stand-alone case in terms of running a high performing school. A culture of inclusivity, where people can aspire and achieve their best, produces results for all.
What do we mean by the terms ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’?
Diversity is about each individual in the school; it is about the variety of unique experiences, qualities and characteristics each employee possesses. Diversity isn’t just about protected characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, supporting diversity and inclusion and sexual orientation; it’s also about social inclusion and making sure that working in a school is seen as open to all – no matter what someone’s background is or where they went to school. Inclusion is about everyone; it’s about creating a culture that strives for equality and embraces, respects and values differences.
Inclusion in the context of the workplace can often require a shift in internal culture and a recognition that policies alone are not enough to build an inclusive workplace. Building an inclusive culture where people feel they can participate and contribute means making lots of small changes that add up to more than the sum of their parts. There is no quick fix.
A commitment to inclusion requires a genuine effort by the senior leadership team in a school to ensure that everyone is supported and respected regardless of their age, disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, social backgrounds, and pregnancy or maternity. It should not be treated as a “box-ticking exercise”. Leadership really matters, having the senior leadership team be vocal about the benefits of embracing people from diverse backgrounds and making it clear that they believe that workplace inclusion can drive stronger performance and results can drive the cultural shift needed to imbed this change.
The Blue Tangerine Federation is committed to promoting inclusivity, equality and diversity in its policies, practices and procedures.
We continue to seek to embed inclusion in our practice and culture to provide a great pupil experience and to be an employer of choice. We see recruitment, promotion and career development as an area to improve our profile with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and communities meaning a fuller range of talent, skills, diversity and inclusion perspectives across society.
We have a policy that treats all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not to discriminate unlawfully against them and that equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities.
Is there any need to take appropriate positive action (as permitted by the anti-discrimination legislation) to provide special training and support for groups that are underrepresented in the school, and encourage them to take up training and career development opportunities?
We are confident that any concerns would be raised with the school leaders and have the school head has undertaken a reverse mentoring programme that equips senior leadership with a better understanding of the experiences of colleagues from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Supporting diversity and inclusion in our teaching enables staff to begin to lead open conversations about diversity and inclusion in relation to LGBT+ issues, Black Lives Matter and celebrate International Women’s Day. Staff training takes place to remind everyone of the need to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner through our Code of Conduct and includes:
- what appropriate behaviour looks like
- treating others with dignity, trust and respect;
- having an awareness of the effects our behaviour may have on others;
- giving and receiving constructive feedback as part of normal day-to-day activities, which is evidence based and delivered appropriately;
- starting from the assumption that everyone is working to the best of their abilities, taking account of their current stage of their professional development
- what unacceptable behaviour looks like (including bullying, harassment and victimisation) including words or physical gestures that could reasonably be perceived to be the cause of another person's distress or discomfort. Unacceptable behaviour does not have to be face-to-face, and may take many forms, such as written, telephone or email communications, or it could be through social media. It is clear how members of staff should report unacceptable behaviour if they are subject to it ,and what they should expect once this is reported
Only when all members of staff can bring their true selves to work will the school benefit from the best everyone can be. True cultural change in any organisation takes time and will only be achieved by small and consistent changes. School leaders are exemplars of behaviour and it is within our control to set the bar for this in the schools of the federation.
Health & Safety
Health & Safety
FHEC Health and Safety Policy. Statutory. Annually. Review Aug 2020
BTF Premises Management Documents. Statutory. Review Annually.
Working with External Occupational Therapists
Our external therapists work within the guidelines and policies of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. Information on their policies and guidance can be found here.
Safeguarding and Medical
BTF Single Central Record of Recruitment and Vetting Checks. Live Document.
School Operational Policies
BTF School Information Published on a Website. Statutory Live Document.
Teaching & Learning
FHEC Careers Guidance and Careers Programme. Statutory Review Annually Sep 2020
Relationships and Sex Education
Our Schools' SEN Information Reports (link to SEN page)
Teaching & Learning
Advice & Guidance
Dealing with low attendance
All teachers are aware that if children have poor attendance at school, the likelihood is very strong they will underachieve significantly. We are also only too aware that children who are frequently absent from school are much more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and criminal activity, including gangs and county lines. Overall, there is a distinct link between low school attendance and poor life outcomes. So how do we keep attendance at the highest level possible?
Here are some examples of approaches we use in combination:
1) Our DSL is in charge of improving attendance across the federation, having the time and resources to manage the required teams
2) Our attendance policy is written in a way that’s understandable for all who might have cause to read it
3) Our home-school agreement is clear that it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their child’s attendance is as high as it can possibly be
4) We take every opportunity to push the message to parents regarding the importance of good attendance, including new parents’ events, newsletters, our school website and prospectus.
5) We conduct regular attendance data analyses and discuss the findings with staff, governors and, where appropriate, parents. We have a series of letter templates to send home whenever a child’s attendance falls below the agreed threshold figures.
We look for patterns of absence: are there certain days which are missed more than others; do they tie in with certain subjects or activities? Does the child have any special needs or weaknesses in certain curriculum areas? Are there reasons outside of school which might explain the patterns? We look for targeted interventions that could be put in place and then analyse the success of the interventions and adapt and amend them if necessary.
6) Use anonymised data to show the link between good attendance and academic success – it rarely turns out the correlation is not there. There is evidence that parents are more likely to listen to arguments about attendance if they’re presented with data that represents your own school’s experience.
7) Class teachers act as a mentor and supporter of a child whose attendance is a concern. They arrange regular meetings to check in with the pupil and search for potential bars to them getting into school and search for solutions with the DSL
8) We ensure our first day calling system for absence is effective and maintained. Contacting parents about the absence, straight away, appears to be the most effective way of reducing the frequency and length of absences.
9) We use ‘pupil voice’ to help look for ways of improving attendance. Children can have ideas as to why their peers are out of school and how they might be enticed to be in school more regularly - some of those ideas might well have an impact.
10) We celebrate excellent attendance and link it to successes when possible.
11) We run attendance campaign. These include posters highlighting the need to be at school as much as possible, the presentation of certificates or awards and letters home for excellent or very much improved attendance.
12) If parents continue to allow their children to be absent from school, then we work with the local authority to consider and impose legal measures.
Mixed Age Classes
In our settings, we combine single year group classes into classes of pupils with a mixed-age range, which is typical and often deployed in small schools and special schools.
Advantages and disadvantages of mixed-age classes
Although some may perceive mixed-age arrangements as challenging, particularly in relation to planning effectively across a broader range of ability groups, it’s important to recognise the benefits which mixed-age classroom arrangements bring. Potential benefits include having the opportunity to separate pupils, especially those whose personalities may have a negative impact upon each other’s learning within the same classroom. A class with a mixed-age range also allows for the separation of siblings which may enable them to develop more independence.
Funding limitations of our schools and comparatively low pupil numbers in small schools may result in classes comprising pupils from three or even four-year groups. Decisions must be made about what will be the best criteria against which to separate pupils to optimise teaching and learning opportunities for all pupils across the school. These may include a consideration of friendship and ability groups as well as whether to use age as the defining criteria upon which to separate pupils. Allowing staff time to discuss the idea on a regular basis supports parental engagement. Accommodating any parental request for a child to be moved to a different class should be considered carefully before being agreed.
Finance - School Budgeting
Those who carry the accountability and responsibility for good financial management and stewardship of their school are under more scrutiny than ever before to maximise and legitimately squeeze the pips out of their overall resources.
What good practice looks like
The governing body is responsible for the maintenance of a school’s finances. This responsibility is delegated to the Headteacher to be maintained as part of their leadership and management responsibilities. Although responsibility for maintaining the budget may be delegated to a school business leader or bursar, the governing body will hold the head accountable for managing their school’s finances effectively.
Regular reports ensure the governing body is fully aware of the financial status and health of the school, and they also provide an opportunity for the head teacher to identify any particular issues that are likely to arise in the future. Local authority schemes of delegation may also require governing bodies to draw up three year budget forecasts. This is a particularly challenging task given the many factors that will need to be considered, such as accurately forecasting future pupil numbers.
Budget deficits and how to survive them
While a maintained school has a right to manage its delegated budget, it has no right to manage or deploy the local authority’s funds without its agreement outside of the delegated budget share. This means there’s no right to set a deficit budget. However, local authorities must have a financial scheme that, among other things, includes provision for deficits to be carried forward. Delegation of the school’s budget share is subject to the provisions of the financial scheme. Schemes may preclude planning for deficits or may allow schools to plan for deficits but only in certain approved circumstances. The Department for Education’s guidance on financial schemes, 4.7, states the following: “The scheme should contain a provision which makes it clear that the authority can’t write-off the deficit balance of any school. “If an authority wishes to give assistance towards elimination of a deficit balance, this should be through the allocation of a cash sum, from the authority’s schools’ budget (from a centrally held budget specified for the purpose of expenditure on special schools and pupil referral units in financial difficulty or, in respect of mainstream maintained schools, from a de-delegated contingency budget where this has been agreed by the Schools Forum).”
Most local authorities, which allow schools to plan for deficits, have policies/guidance on when deficits may be approved. They include details of information a school would have to provide for the local authority to consider a request for a deficit budget to be agreed. For example, some local authorities say the deficit must be ‘repaid’
School Classroom Temperatures
Recent high temperatures have made working, teaching and learning in schools particularly challenging. In the past, the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 set out legal thresholds for minimum temperatures in schools. These were as follows:
- 18ºC in areas of normal levels of physical activity (eg in the classroom)
- 21ºC in areas of lower than normal activity (eg a school’s sickbay)
- 15ºC in areas of higher than normal activity (eg a school’s gym).
While the 2012 regulations discontinued these temperature thresholds, many schools still refer to them because they were the last meaningful guide to temperature control. Currently, there are no set and (therefore) enforceable minimum or maximum temperatures set for workplaces, including schools.
Health and safety regulations simply stipulate that working temperatures must be ‘reasonable’ and must ‘not be excessive’. The World Health Organisation, however, recommends 24ºC as a maximum for comfortable working. All this said, under health and safety legislation, all employers have a duty of health and safety to monitor working conditions and take proportionate action to remedy danger and deficiencies in the workplace (including excessive heat conditions). The impact of excessively-high classroom temperatures When temperatures soar without a great deal of notice, as is often the case across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the impact can be equally sudden and typically affects staff and pupils alike:
ADVICE & GUIDANCE
- Pupils can quickly become lethargic and lose focus
- They are likely to lose their concentration and cognitive capacity
- Their health may be compromised, especially if they are vulnerable to heat
- Young children don’t and won’t know how to keep cool, so they can overheat quickly
- Staff, especially teaching staff, may tire at a faster rate because they are ‘performing’
- Certain staff are especially vulnerable to high temperatures (eg pregnant women). The role of school leaders
What can schools leaders do in the circumstances?
• Establish a health and safety task force that’s chaired by our school business leader
• Commission the task force to carry out a risk assessment across the school
• Assign weather forecasting and mitigation plans to the task force
• Invite pupils to contribute to the task force.
Practice and prevention
• We will consider adjusting the school day (with the consent of parents of course)
• Close blinds and curtains to prevent sunlight from entering the classrooms
• Consider appropriate adjustments to the school menu (eg minimise hot food)
• Shift desks so that they are away from direct sunlight
• Move lessons to cooler areas of the school
• Ensure there is adequate ventilation of pure or fresh air in the classrooms
• Instal sun-deflecting materials or blinds to classrooms’ windows
• Moderate pupils’ physical activity and move PE lessons to cooler times of the day
• Encourage children to stay in shaded areas at break times.
• Ensure children have adequate access to water at all times (including throughout lessons)
• Arrange to hire air conditioning units where possible (fans are ok, but they are not as effective)
• Keep a stock of sun-protection aids (eg after-sun lotion)
• Relax the school’s uniform policy (eg lighter and/or shorter trousers for boys)
• Raise awareness with parents, so they provide their children with adequate sun protection
• Provide ice lollies on some particularly hot days.