Weekly News Bulletin: 13 June 2014

School Uniform
Whilst on duty outside the gates earlier this week, I was disappointed with the state of the school uniform.  Therefore, we are reinforcing the standard of uniform expected of students at this school.  May I remind you of the following uniform regulations:

  •  Formal black shoes – no trainers, canvas plimsolls, mules or boots.  Vans, Converse and other types of casual footwear, regardless of colour or material are not considered formal and are not permitted.
  • The school jumper may be worn in addition to the school blazer.  It should not be worn instead of the blazer.
  • Students may wear a top coat over the blazer, but should not wear a sweatshirt or tracksuit top underneath the blazer.
  • Piercings – a single plain stud earring is permissible in each ear.  Hoops, bars and facial piercings, such as those in the nose, lips or eyebrows are not permitted for health and safety reasons.  If a student is seen with an unauthorised facial piercing, they will be sent home or isolated until it is removed or a clear plastic non – protruding retainer is used.  We would ask parents and students to think carefully about when piercings are done, preferably during summer holidays, so that they can be removed safely for PE lessons.
  • Shirts should be tucked in and a belt should be used to avoid the trousers being worn too low at the waist.
  • Skirts should not be rolled or altered to make them shorter in length.
  • Girls should wear plain navy, black or natural tights or black or navy ankle socks.  Leggings must not be worn instead of tights, white or knee length socks must not be worn.
  • Girl’s makeup should be discreet.  Students may be asked to remove makeup if it is seen as excessive.
  • Jewellery should be limited to one ring, a single bracelet and plain stud earrings.
  • Extreme hairstyles are not acceptable and should be conservative; hair should be of natural colouration.

If for any reason, financial or other, you are unable to provide your child with the correct clothing and need to make alternative arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s tutor or Director of Learning.  Uniform may be purchased from Trutex Direct via internet, telephone or mail order or from Jack & Jill’s of Dunmow.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.
Mr S Knight – Headteacher

Successmaker withdrawal sessions – Year 7
It’s GREEN week, so the hour withdrawal sessions for Successmaker students are from SCIENCE.
Miss P Jackson and the Extended Learning Team

Year 10 Work Experience – Monday 23th June to Friday 4th July
 All Year 10 students will be in their work experience placements from Monday 23rd June to Friday 4th July, and as far as possible, we arrange for a member of staff to visit the student and their employer.  If a visit is not possible, we will check all is well by phone.

Please ensure that your son/daughter has either had an interview or contacted their employer beforehand to make final arrangements.

Before the placements start, all students should have handed back to me a blue Agreement form (if issued) which is signed by the student, parent or carer, and the employer.

Please be mindful that as your child will probably still be at their place of work out of school hours, you are fully aware of their arrangements for getting home each evening. Although employers and the BEP Group have been given emergency “out of hours” contact phone numbers for HRS staff, we need to ensure the students are safe at all times.
Mrs P Abbott – Careers Co-ordinator
Direct line: 01371 878634

English Novels
Letters have gone out to Year 7 to 11 students regarding English books that have not been returned.  Some books have been returned and some parents have very kindly responded to the letter.  However the English Faculty still have a number of books outstanding, this will have an effect on next year where students may not be able to have a book to take home if all books are not returned.

If you received a letter and have not returned a book, please could you return the book to the English Office.

The books are:

  • Year 7 – ‘Holes’
  • Year 8 – ‘Hidden’ or ‘Noughts & Crosses’
  • Year 9 – ‘Martyn Pig’
  • Year 11 – Of Mice & Men/ Lord of the Flies.

Thank you.
Miss V Cheyne – Head of English

A Message from the Designated Child Protection Co-ordinator
We have become aware of an incident whereby a child has become the victim of abuse after playing an online game called “Clash of Clans.”  This site has been used by paedophiles to befriend young people who are then contacted on “Kik” in order to obtain indecent images of them.  There has also been use of a chain type letter sent to the child’s contacts in an effort to maximise potential victims.  If your child uses this game site, or any other for that matter, please keep a close eye on who they are talking to.

Once again, we must re-iterate that “Kik” is a social networking site aimed at those aged 17 and over and is apparently the most commonly used app by sex predators worldwide.  It should not be used by under 17’s.

The article below by Australian cyber safety expert Susan McLean gives some further useful information.

The basics
According to Susan, the biggest dangers for teens on social media are twofold.  “Firstly, kids are signing up for sites with age restrictions — there’s a problem with them being on sites they shouldn’t be on.  Secondly, there are dangers if they’re not using the safety features, don’t know how the site works and behave in a way that is inappropriate or puts themselves out there to be a victim.”

“Once you’ve got over the question of ‘Are you legally old enough to be on this site,’ you need to sit down with your children and put in place rules around social networking,” she continues.  “What’s it going to have, what’s it going to look like, what safety features does this site offer?  Spend some time together trying to sort them out.”

The top five to watch for

1. Instagram

A place to share photos and videos and to follow, share and “like” content from other users, Susan warns that most problems will come from privacy issues.  “Ninety per cent of kids on Instagram don’t set their profile to private,” she explains. “So make sure that they know the people who are following them.  And if you don’t turn off your GPS setting, then people can get the GPS data of where you were when a photo was taken.  So your house, your backyard, your bedroom etc.”


2. AskFM

An anonymous question and answer site, this site is rife with bullying and has already been linked to several teen suicides.  “Anything that promotes anonymity is going to be unsavoury,” warns Susan.  “The selling point for these sites is that you can go there and be nasty and allegedly get away with it.”

While there are no safety settings on AskFM, if your child does get into trouble Susan reminds parents that they’re not truly anonymous here.  “Everything is recorded and handed over to the police if they become involved,” she says.


3. Kik Messager

A free texting service rated 17+, “Kik is the number one app for sex predators worldwide,” warns Susan.  “Within Kik itself there are probably 20 adult content apps that you can connect into and predators love it because they know there are so many kids on there unsupervised and unmonitored.”


4. Tumblr

A popular microblogging platform, it’s also a place that exposes at risk kids to harm.  “Tumblr has the most eating disorder blogs anywhere on the internet,” Susan advises. “If your child is suffering a mental illness, an eating disorder, depression or is cutting you need to be extra vigilant (because) they can go on and link with like-minded people.”  In addition, Tumblr is unsupervised, unmoderated and known to house a large amount of pornography, including child porn.


5. Snapchat

A photo sharing app where images “disappear” after a period of time, Snapchat is a huge hit with teens.  “However, the images don’t delete at all, they’re retained in the devise so if used inappropriately there can be serious consequences,” explains Susan. While the sharing of naked photos is common, many teens don’t realise the images can be kept, recorded and shared and can lead to criminal prosecution for the distribution of child pornography.

Please be vigilant.  We are seeing more and more of these types of issues.
Miss L Brammer – Designated Child Protection Co-ordinator