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Headteacher’s Letter

19th March 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

Thank you for your support in our return to on site learning.  The testing of the students has been a huge undertaking but has been carried out expertly by the staff at HDHS.  Now that we are through that first phase of the return to school and approaching the end of the spring term, I would like to re-emphasise some of the expectations of the school and introduce a new one for after the Easter holidays.

Uniform

Firstly, I would like to remind all parents and students of how we correctly wear our school uniform in order to show preparedness: ready to achieve, belong, comply and develop.  The Easter holiday is a chance for you to ensure that your child has all of the correct uniform items.  If there is any difficulty for you in this in any way at all, please contact the year team next week before we break up and we will support you. Full details of the uniform are in the policy on the website, but this is a summary:

  • Skirts must be worn at an appropriate length; 
  • Ties must be worn at all times; 
  • Shoes must be worn, not trainers;  
  • Shirts must be tucked in and the blazer must be worn at all times unless the Short Sleeve Order (SSO) is in place on a very hot day.  In this event, the blazer must be carried around and with the students at all times;
  • Hair should be a natural colour;
  • Bar badges that have been earned should be worn proudly on the lapel of the blazer;
  • Jewellery should be discrete and nothing facial;
  • Nails should be a natural colour and length.

I understand that some students have a hooded sweatshirt in place of a coat.  If a sweatshirt is being worn in this way it should be on top of the blazer, not underneath, and taken off immediately upon entering the building.

Please expect more checks on uniform as we return to more usual schooling.

PE Kit

PE Kit continues to be worn on the day that a student has PE or Dance as the changing rooms remain closed in line with Covid-secure guidelines.  The PE kit is:

  • Black shorts 
  • Plain dark jogging bottoms 
  • Black dance T shirt (not thin straps)
  • Black leggings (appropriate for sport)
  • Blue socks (especially for football, rugby and hockey)
  • White polo shirt or blue HDHS rugby top 
  • Appropriate sporting jumper 
  • Appropriate footwear 

Please expect more checks of the PE kit as we return to more usual schooling.

Mobile Phones

You will remember that I asked for your views on mobile phones in school last year.  Thank you to everyone who responded, it was a great number of parents.  Overwhelmingly, parents agreed that they wanted their child to have a mobile phone for their journey to and from school but that the phone should not be seen or heard whilst at school.  

As we return from the remote learning period, we are finding that the very minor disruption caused previously by mobile phones and other devices has increased.  We think that during the time learning from home, students have become reliant on having the phone by their side. The greatest negative impact of lockdown on young people was the loss of social time with their peers, face to face, interacting and talking. Now that we have returned, we feel it is more important than ever that students socially interact at lunch and break times, developing their social skills, which are adversely impacted if students play games at lunchtime or look at social media rather than interacting with one another.

In addition to this, we have always found, before lockdown, that mobile phones are the biggest cause of social difficulties amongst young people including cyberbullying and a constant feeling of missing out on something and so having to check their phone.

If a teacher has to speak to a student about having their phone out in class, just in doing so, time is taken away from the other learners in the classroom.  This is unacceptable.  The disruptions to on-site learning over the past year mean that every single minute in school is more important than ever as we seek to catch up on any lost learning to ensure that young people in Harwich are not disadvantaged in any way; this is especially the case  given that they are entering into an unknown post 18 world of work or higher education, in direct competition with all the other young people in the county, and beyond.

We must support the mental health and future of young people more than ever now and make new and concerted efforts that have not been necessary previously.  It is for all of these reasons that we have decided to ban mobile phones from the school site.  Students may have their phones in their bag, switched off during the school day, but they must not be seen on site, including at break and lunchtime. 

A school bag has always been a necessity, but even more so now if a student wishes to keep their phone in their bag, keeping the phone in a pocket will not be permitted as it can still be seen and will still be a distraction. 

You can support the school in this in the following ways:

  • If you need to contact your child during the school day, please call or email the year team (a reminder of the contact details are overleaf) or the main school office.  We will always pass on messages immediately.
  • If your child needs to contact you, they can speak to their Year Team who will support them in doing so – this may be by using the school phone or in allowing the child to use their mobile phone in the year team office.
  • If a phone is confiscated for the day, please come to school to collect the phone at a time that is convenient for you.
  • Please discuss all the mental health issues around phone usage at home with your child.

If your child has a particular special educational need with regard to the use of a mobile phone, please contact our SENCo to arrange a time to discuss any exemptions.  Contact details are below.

We are certainly not the first school to put this measure in place and we feel it will benefit our students hugely, which is our main goal.

Thank you very much for your support in these matters of preparedness.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Finch
Headteacher

 

Contacts

Year 7 Pastoral Team: 

Student Services: amanda.hammett@hdhs.school (extn 2290)

Assistant Head of Year: joanne.maasz@hdhs.school (extn 2287)

Head of Year: joanne.green@hdhs.school 

 

Year 8 Pastoral Team:

Student Services: danielle.mcdermott@hdhs.school (extn 2247)

Assistant Head of Year: jacqueline.hughes@hdhs.school (extn 2245)

Head of Year: grace.bradshaw@hdhs.school

 

Year 9 Pastoral Team:

Student Services: sarah.mason@hdhs.school (extn 2210)

Assistant Head of Year: louise.brundle@hdhs.school (extn 2257)

Head of Year: thomas.gooder@hdhs.school

 

Year 10 Pastoral Team:

Student Services: alison.wells@hdhs.school (extn 2283)

Assistant Head of Year: gemma.harris@hdhs.school (extn 2249)

Head of Year: paul.day@hdhs.school

 

Year 11 Pastoral Team:

Student Services: deborah.locke@hdhs.school (extn 2254/2286)

Assistant Head of Year: amie.beynon@hdhs.school (extn 2286)

Head of Year: gary.lewis@hdhs.school

 

6th Form Pastoral Team

Admin Support: melanie.lear@hdhs.school (extn 2218)

Head of 6th Form: sarah.parker@hdhs.school

 

SENCo:

Assistant to SENCo: sharon.fox@hdhs.school (extn 2220)

SENCo: cecely.manners@hdhs.school

 

Main Office:

admin@hdhs.school, 01255 245460