Contact us on (01255) 245 460

Headteacher’s Letter

February 2024

Dear Parent/Carer,

Please accept this letter as a communication sheet designed to point you in the right direction for communication with school and other frequently asked questions (FAQs).  It is designed to be a one-stop shop of information. 

Please let us know if you would like a hard copy of this for the fridge door and we will print it off for you and send it home with your child.

What is Preparedness?

The Preparedness agenda is the code of conduct for the whole school including behaviours we expect from all students.  It is in the form of ABCD for ease of remembering.  We expect students to be:

  • Prepared to Achieve (as demonstrated through their AtL)
  • Prepared to Belong (as demonstrated by wearing their uniform correctly)
  • Prepared to Connect (as demonstrated by connecting with the school rules)
  • Prepared to Develop (as demonstrated by wanting to learn and grow as a person as well as thinking about their future goals)

What is AtL?

Attitude to Learning. It is a simple 4 point scale to keep it understandable for the students. Teachers, when reporting on AtL will go with a ‘best fit’ to summarise the AtL of the student for the period of time since the last AtL report.  

The student friendly version of the descriptors are:


AtL 4
  • Meet all the criteria for ATL of 3.
  • Independently takes notes without a teacher prompting.
  • Ask your teacher for extra work. 
  • Complete additional tasks outside of lesson and present them to your teacher.
AtL 3
  • Be fully equipped for the lesson.
  • Complete all tasks set out by your teacher to the best of your ability.
  • Be on time.
  • Wear the correct uniform.
  • Homework is completed and up to date.
AtL 2
  • Not meeting the criteria for an ATL of a 3.
AtL 1
  • Head on desk.
  • Disrupting the learning of others.
  • Truancy
  • Homework never attempted. 

Students’ AtL is reported on 5 times per year and their average score calculated accordingly.  The expectation is for a student to be at an average of 2.8 which is recognised at certain points in the year with a recognition activity.

What is the school’s behaviour policy and where can I find it?

Here is a link to the School’s Behaviour policy.  This has recently been updated and ratified by governors, and can also be found on the policies page of our website here: 

What is different in the new Behaviour Policy?

The new behaviour for learning policy means that all students have multiple chances to connect with the behaviour expectations but, if they choose not to connect then sanctions do escalate daily.  Sanctions begin with a very short restorative conversation with staff at the end of a lesson giving the student a chance to move on quickly without escalation. The behaviour policy outlines the escalation process in more detail. 

This new policy was designed around student, parent and staff feedback. If the behaviour expectations are not met due to poor classroom behaviour, incomplete homework or out of lesson disruption then a sanction will be set for the next working day and communicated with the student and parent. If the sanction is not completed it will automatically escalate to the higher sanction the next working day (unless a student is absent from school and then the sanction rolls to the next working day rather than escalates).

What is the expectation of me as a parent? 

Here is a link to our Home School Agreement which outlines these expectations. This can also be found on the policies page of our website here: 

Who should I contact about curriculum matters?

For anything classroom based, please contact the Senior Faculty Member for that particular subject.  All phone calls will go to our main reception on 01255 245460 and will be connected to the faculty.


Faculty Subjects Who Email address
English & Communication English Literature, English Language Miss Rogers 
Maths & Enterprise Maths, Computer Science, IT, Marketing and Enterprise Mr Newley
Science Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Trilogy science Miss Gill
Art & Innovation DT, Engineering, Photography, Food and Nutrition, Art, Media Mrs Craigie
Humanities Geography, History, RE Mr Cook
Languages & Culture French, German, PSHE, Psychology, Criminology, Sociology Mrs Bell
Vocational PE, Dance, Sport, Hairdressing, Child Development, Health & Social Care, Public Services, Performing Arts, Preparedness 2.0, Music, Employability, Construction Mrs Gardiner

It may be the case that the Faculty Lead asks the class teacher to contact you.  In all cases, it is our policy that you have a holding email or phone call within 24 hours so that you know your message has been received.

For anything pastoral such as wellbeing, attendance or behaviour, please contact Student Services in the first instance who will be able to pass your message to the correct person:


Year Group Student Support Assistant Email address Extension number
7 Mrs Rawe 27155
8 Mrs Hammett 27175
9 Mrs Mason 27120
10 Mrs Wells 27154
11 Mrs McDermott 27156
12 & 13 Tutors or sixth form team 27125

Where can I find my child’s timetable and homework?

Your child’s timetable can be found on the Satchel:One app or website. Login and you will see a number of available options; these include homework and timetable. A guide, including a 7 minute video explaining the app, can be found here:

How will I know if my child has a Keep Up?

You will receive an email and text message informing you on the day that it is set. This will usually be for the following day but sometimes may be in advance – the day will be specified in the message. You / your child would also be able to see any Keep Ups on their Arbor timetable.

Why are mobile phones not allowed?

Please follow this link to the Mobile phones letter that was sent to parents on 19th March 2021.

Please find here the guidance given to schools across the country by the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan regarding mobile phones.

What if I need to contact my child during the school day?

Mobile phones are not banned from being in the possession of students, they just must not be seen or heard from 8.35am until 3pm.  If you message your child during the school day, as long as their phone is switched off and in their bag then it will not cause a disturbance and your child can access the message when they switch their phone on at the end of the school day.  If it is an urgent message, you can contact Student Services and we will immediately pass on any message by taking it to their classroom.

How will I know if my child has been on time to school and what are the sanctions for this?

You can use Satchel:One to see an overall percentage of how often your child is late. Information can also be found on Satchel:One about your child’s homework and attendance and punctuality:

You can register and log into Arbor as a parent if you would like more details about your child’s punctuality: 

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Yours faithfully

Kate Finch


If you need to contact the Headteacher at any time, please email and ask for this to be forwarded on to Mrs Finch.


Previous letters from the Headteacher:

Headteacher FAQs February 2023
Year 11 Letter from Headteacher 9th Feb 2024
Newsletter – November 2023
Academic Update – Year 11 Prom 03.10.23
Letter from Headteacher regarding pastoral changes from September 2023
RAAC Letter for HDHS 1.9.23
Final Letter to Year 13 Parents August 2023
Final Letter to Year 11 Parents July 2023
Vape letter July 2023
Headteacher Letter to Year 9 Parents re changes to arrangements for 15th March 2023
Arbor Launch 2022-23 14th Nov 2022
Year 7 Letter from Headteacher October 2022
Attendance Expectations Sept 2022
Welcome to HDHS Year 7 September 2022