At Hillcrest, the care and guidance of students are most important to us.
The school promotes a strong caring ethos where every child is treated as an individual. A wholehearted interest in the welfare and progress of all children is an essential quality for everyone working in the school. If students are to achieve their full potential they need to feel happy and secure within the school community.
Our pastoral system plays a key role in our commitment to promote British Values by instilling in all students a clear sense of right and wrong by being tolerant and respectful of the needs of all members of our school community.
Key Pastoral Staff
- Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral) – Mr S Connor-Hemming
- SENDCO – Mrs J Penn
- Senior Learning Mentor and Designated Mental Health Lead – Mrs M Bunce
- Oaks Emotional Well-Being Co-ordinator – Mrs D Haslam
Our Pastoral System
Students are organised in three Colleges dependent on their age.
- Year 7 Nightingale College: College Learning Leader – Miss E King
- Year 8 Rosa Parks College: College Learning Leader - Miss N Shaw
- Year 9 Rosa Parks College: College Learning Leader – Miss A Adenike
- Year 10 Malala College: College Learning Leader – Miss K Ankiah
- Year 11 Malala College: College Learning Leader – Mr S Kennard
Safeguarding and Student Welfare
In line with ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (September 2020), we have robust safeguarding procedures in school to protect students who may experience neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Further information is available in our Safeguarding and Child Protection policy.
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead is Mr Connor-Hemming (Deputy Headteacher).
Our Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads are Mrs Penn, Mrs Bunce and Mrs Preston.
If you have any concerns about your child’s physical or emotional well-being, particularly returning to school after the period of Covid-19 lockdown, please contact either your child’s College Learning Leader or a member of the safeguarding team.
Mrs Bunce is also our Looked After Child Co-ordinator and works with external agencies to support children in care.
If we have concerns about the welfare of any students, we will endeavour to contact parents/carers as soon as possible to share these concerns. However, our first priority is a student’s welfare and therefore there may be occasions when our concern about a student means that we have to consult other agencies even before we contact parents/carers. These procedures have been laid down by the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership in compliance with the Right Help Right Time Service. If you want to know more about this procedure, including Early Help assistance, please contact Mr Connor-Hemming (Deputy Headteacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead).
The Learning Base
The ‘Base’ is used particularly by students where English is not their first language. A range of activities take place in this area to allow students with different languages to positively work together to support each other.
The ‘Base’ is also our Inclusion Centre and provides daily support for all students with Special Educational Needs and disabilities. We are aware that students with Special Educational Needs may find it particularly difficult to settle back into school after the period of school closure. Please contact Mrs Penn (SENDCO) if you have any questions about your child’s learning needs or concerns they or you have about their return to school.
Medical and Emotional Well-Being Needs
Students are able to access ‘Student Reception’ throughout the day for any needs they may have. These may include when students are feeling unwell or returning any correspondence from school. Medication can be stored safely in student reception for students to use during the day. Parents/carers should provide a letter outlining the frequency and reason for any medication required to be administered in school.
Our School Nurse is Ms Sandra Wakelam who works as part of the South West School Nurse Team. The service is based at Quinton Lane Health Centre, 27 Quinton Lane, Quinton, Birmingham. B32 2TR (0121 4663510). She can also be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, there is a weekly school nurse community clinic at Quinton Lane, which is held every Monday from 3.00pm-5.00pm. An appointment for this can be made on the above number, or young people and parents/carers may prefer to drop in.
We have an Emotional Well-Being Co-ordinator in school (Danielle Haslam) who supports identified students who are experiencing mental health and emotional difficulties. Please contact Mrs Bunce (Designated Mental Health Lead) if you would like to discuss your child’s emotional well-being.
Alternatively, students and parents/carers can access support for a wide range of emotional issues at PAUSE in the city centre. This is a walk-in centre that is open seven days a week. It is located at 21 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6BJ. Students can also access on-line support via KOOTH (www.kooth.com) and Barnado’s ‘See, Hear, Respond’ (www.barnados.org.uk/see-hear-respond)
Personal Social Development
The ‘Personal Social Development’ programme is delivered to all students in Years 7-11. Students participate in six ‘PSD Days’ each year. The programme covers all aspects of personal development including study skills, sex and personal relationships, moral and social awareness, citizenship, careers guidance, health education and social issues, including all forms of bullying and discrimination. Our PSD and wider curriculum ensures diversity is embraced and valued, notably through the work we do on and the support we provide to the LGBT community.
A key aspect of this programme is focused on empowering our students to keep themselves safe at all times, particularly out of school both off and on-line. On-line safety is central to the work we do in this area, specifically in relation to the risks of cyber-bullying and online harassment, child sexual exploitation, abusive relationships, people trafficking, County Lines activity, gang culture, extremist radicalisation and the impact of such risk on people’s mental health.
In accordance with updated guidance on ‘Relationships Education’ and ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ (September 2020), we also focus on more sensitive issues that may play a significant role in the lives of our students, notably in relation to forced marriage, honour-based violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, different forms of peer-on-peer abuse and the overall impact on people’s emotional well-being and mental health. In addition, our provision meets the requirements of the updated ‘Health Education’ curriculum (September 2020), with specific focus healthy lifestyles, exercise, dieting, first aid, the impact of smoking, alcohol and drugs, disease prevention and treatments, mental health and the impact of the coronavirus on people’s health and lifestyles.
Our ‘Theme of the Week’ schedule allows us to cover many of the issues outlined above in assemblies and form period activities. Each weekly theme is linked to an inspirational woman and the role she has played in improving the lives of women around the world. We actively engage with a range of external agencies and our students have the opportunity to participate in workshops delivered by medical professionals, the police, the Counter Terrorism Team, to name a few.
Central to our wider curriculum provision is the promotion of British Values designed to ensure our students value the importance of the law and the principles of democracy, as well as playing their role as tolerant citizens in an increasingly diverse society.
The school offers a challenging programme of visits, residential experiences, and foreign exchanges. The willingness of staff to contribute to extra-curricular activities is widely evident and greatly appreciated. We have a multi-purpose prayer room that is open to students from all religious backgrounds throughout the day. As a result, our students celebrate different religious festivals and embrace the diverse nature of our school community.
Students actively participate in many aspects of school life. There are annual elections for key positions of responsibility, notably College Prefects. Each form group elects 3-4 students to represent their College as a Prefect. The team of prefects will then elect four members to represent their College on the ‘School Parliament’.
As a result, students play a key role in making important decisions in many aspects of school life. Additionally, students can be elected to the posts of Form Captains, IAG representatives, Literacy Champions and Sports Captains. We value the importance of democracy by ensuring students play an active role in driving forward whole school events and initiatives. Student voice is a key element of our school development
Independent Advice and Guidance
Students in all year groups receive a high level of careers guidance and support from specialist careers advisers. Students in Years 11 – 13 have a minimum of two careers interviews each year with our Careers Advisor, Gurjit Matto. Students in Year 10 have an initial interview as part of the process.
All students in Years 7 – 11 participate in a range of careers related activities throughout the year and have access to our IAG Library to research careers for themselves. Every department links learning to careers education and teachers provide students with an insight into post-16 options, university life and the world of work. In addition, students have meaningful encounters with employers, apprenticeship providers and universities in assemblies and form period activities, and on PSD days.
We have an annual ‘National Careers Fortnight’ and ‘Careers Fair’ each March. During this time all lessons are geared towards careers and there are a series of lunchtime workshops and assemblies on a wide range of career-related issues.
Students have the opportunity to organise their own work experience placements at the end of Year 10 and 12.
Communication with Parents/Carers
The support and involvement of parents/carers, is vital and a major factor in the schools’ success. Parents are always made welcome in the school. We also keep in contact via ParentMail and the ‘The Hillcrest Messenger’, regular letters, parent/carer meetings, reports and progress files and the Hillcrest website.
Parents/carers are asked to sign a ‘Home School Agreement’ when their child starts at Hillcrest School. The agreement aims to enhance partnerships between parents and the school and sets out the role of the school, parents/carers and student. We also ask all parents/carers to respect our visitors Code of Conduct when on the school site.
Parents/carers have a key role to play in ensuring students attend school every day and arrive at school on time. Please refer to our ‘Attendance Matters’ policy for further guidance on what to do if your child is absent from school, particularly if their absence is related in any way to the coronavirus pandemic. The policy reinforces the messages that if a student has attendance below 95% the school will view this as unsatisfactory and attendance below 92% will result in parents/carers being invited into school to meet our Educational Welfare Officer, Mrs Anita Gray.