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The Principal's February News

In this article, written by GPUTC's Principal, you will find updates on uniform, timings of the day as well as our first ever Ofsted report.

A warm welcome to our 3rd edition of the GPUTC monthly newsletter. This edition comes to you fresh out of our first ever Ofsted inspection. Our draft report was sent to me early this week, therefore we chose to slightly delay the newsletter so that we could fully share with you the findings of the report. This is included in a separate section of the newsletter. We are pleased with the report as the outcomes are a fair reflection of where we are on our journey.  It highlights all the positive work we know is happening and working here currently; we are equally pleased they agree with all the next steps we have already identified, and that they have absolute confidence in the capability and determination of my leadership team and staff to deliver on these.

The link to the Ofsted report and GPUTC's covering letter can be found at the bottom of this article.

Despite only being half way through this year, the main focus of this newsletter is looking at some significant changes proposed for the 2019/20 academic year. I wish to use this newsletter to look at both matters, and to gain your valuable feedback.

Firstly the definite change. It is common knowledge now that we intend to do away with the compulsory school jumper/uniform in Years 10 & 11 from September 2019. What we have yet to do is release any guidance on what it will be replaced by. 

Please see our initial proposed guidance on uniform for all students from September 2019/20 below. We are currently working with Students and Staff to confirm our final guidance, one of our new parent governors will seek parental opinion on these proposals.

It is worth noting, this is almost identical to our current 6th form uniform guidance and intends to bring all students and staff under one set of dress code guidelines in keeping with our professional ethos.

 

The following business dress is deemed professional and appropriate for staff and students at the Greater Peterborough UTC:

Male Students & Staff

  • A suit suitable for a professional environment.
  • A long or short sleeved shirt (coloured/patterns shirts are permitted).
  • A tie is compulsory if a student is choosing not to wear a jumper or suit jacket. If a suit jacket or jumper is worn, the tie is optional. 
  • Ties are compulsory at formal events (advance notification of this will be given).

Female Students & Staff

  • A skirt, skirt suit, dress, trousers or trouser suit suitable for a professional environment.
  • The skirt/dress should be of formal style and be no shorter than the top of the wearer’s knee.
  • A top or blouse suitable for a professional environment, low necked tops, vest tops and crop tops are not suitable.
  • Blazer style tops are optional for female students.

All Students & Staff

  • A jumper may be worn instead of, or under a suit jacket.
  • Jumpers must be plain, sweatshirts and hooded tops are strictly forbidden inside the building.
  • Roll neck, turtle neck jumpers are permitted. If this option is chosen no shirt is required.
  • Any words or diagrams on clothing must be minimal and must not be offensive, or seen to be offensive. (the final decision lies with the Director of Student Support).
  • Smart, polished shoes or boots. Open shoes, any form of training shoe and flip flops are not suitable (other shoes/boots may be determined to be unsuitable at the discretion of the Director of Student Support).
  • All outdoor wear is to be removed once inside the building.
  • Make up should be subtle.
  • The following jewellery is permitted for students, a watch, a single set of earrings and a single necklace (which must be worn inside the students shirt/blouse at all times).
  • Lanyards must be worn around the neck at all times unless instructed to remove them (this may be required in workshops or during other practical sessions where the lanyards may pose a health and safety risk).

I welcome feedback or questions on this proposal for September 2019. A final Uniform Policy will be sent to parents in the Summer term.

We are planning to give students the option of trialing our new uniform rules with the introductions of 'Formal Fridays', these will commence after the May half term break (w/c 3rd June 2019), as the name suggests, we will allow all students to wear the new style formal uniform on Fridays up until the end of the academic year. Please note, this is optional, students can still follow normal school uniform rules on these days.

 

The second discussion piece is the significant one for us. In my last newsletter I formally informed you that we are looking at the timings of our day, the curriculum we offer, and specifically how we use the final hour of the school day. 

We are proposing that the final hour of each day be reallocated for optional enrichment, extra curricular sports, revision and independent study. This is currently what the majority of this time is used for, but is compulsory for students to stay and take part in this. 

What this means is that there will be opportunities for those student who want to, or have to, stay until 4.45pm to be engaged in a range of high quality enrichment and revision activities. Parents can sign their child up for the activities they want to take part in (for as many days a week as it appropriate), meaning they still finish at 4.45pm every day like our current model. You may choose to give your child the option of leaving at 3.45pm if you feel that is more appropriate for them and you. There is flexibility in this plan, so if a student only wanted to stay for activities on a Monday and Thursday they can, but students will be expected to attend their chosen activity every week in that half term. The vast majority of activities will be free of charge, but there may be some projects where there is a small charge for resources. This will be clearly communicated in advance.

 

There are several key reasons why we feel this is a beneficial move for the GPUTC:

1 - In the most recent parental questionnaire, a large proportion when asked what they would change about the GPUTC commented that the length of the day was too much of a strain on their child. In some cases, this was effecting their child's mental health.

2 - Our student feedback is that they would prefer a shorter day, but they would like the option of staying if the activity interests them.

3 - The late finish means some students are getting home at very unsociable hours and are not getting an adequate work/life balance.

4 - Evidence suggests that 3.45pm - 4.45pm isn't the most productive time for learning. In short, people are tired by then and learning time isn't maximised.

5 - By making P6 optional, we can focus our attention on those that want, or need to be here.

6 - It frees up valuable time to run an increased offer of enrichment and support sessions. To just name a few, here are some of the P6 options we are considering: Duke of Edinburgh award, Duke of York award, Junior sports leaders award, Sea Cadets, Young Enterprise Business award. Alongside this will be debate clubs, sports teams as well as targeted revision clubs and independent study options for our learners to catch up on coursework. There will be at least one supervised IT room available every P6 for students to access computers.

7 - This enables us to dedicate more time to our mentoring programme, allowing students greater access to meaningful careers information, advice and guidance. It also allows us more time to cover additional key themes such as PHSE, RE and life in modern Britain.

 

To clarify, if as the parent of a child, you do not wish for them to finish at 3.45pm and instead wish for them to remain under our supervision until 4.45pm, that is absolutely fine. There will be a published timetable of all supervised activities happening every day of the week. I expect these sessions to be delivered at the same standard as normal timetabled lessons and to be building students’ employability skills.

Please note, this will not impact on the quantity of lessons they receive in their core qualifications, instead it moves all our 'extra' curriculum offers to the end of each day.

 

To move this proposal on further, please complete the 6 question survey below, (all responses are anonymous):

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=c62ORdPXnUSrtqHlpmXp4QSDDeL_M6NGqnp464Tfg2VUOTZNWUFZUzVUUkw0MFUzU0ZFUllUNDc4NC4u

 

I appreciate that there is a lot to take in this month, but hopefully you can see that these decisions and your feedback will be crucial to how we move the GPUTC forward in our mission to establish ourselves as the 14-19 education provider of choice for STEM in the region.