We’ve tried our best to answer as many questions about Horsforth School as we can below.  Take a look, but if there is something you need to know which isn’t covered off below, get in touch with us.

I need to talk to someone at School, who should I contact?
Both students and parents/carers must see the following staff to resolve issues effectively and quickly.

Concern Who to Talk to in School
General concerns regarding absence, attendance or a medical appointment Form Tutor
General concern regarding behaviour Form tutor or Pastoral Behaviour Officer
Concerns around SEND SENDco
Concerns around friendship groups, peers, bullying and social media Pastoral Behaviour Officer
Concerns around physical, emotional or mental well-being Pastoral Behaviour Officer
Academic concerns, achievement, subject issues, progress and attitude to learning (ALT) Year Co-ordinator or subject leader
Safeguarding or a child protection concern Deputy Headteacher (Mrs Nowell)

or

Designated Child Protection Staff:

Students can talk to any member of the school staff; but we do have specialist school staff who deal with the student safety and protection.

There are lots of posters up in School so students know who to go and talk to.

Here is how you can contact the right person:

What does my Form Tutor do?

Students are divided into 8 form groups of approximately 30 students. The Form Tutor sees the group for 20 minutes each day and this is the first point of contact for students and parents.

Each day the Tutor completes a different task with their form;

  • Planner check
  • Timetable and homework support
  • Projects
  • Credits, attendance and behaviour records check
  • Reading
  • Giving out important information e.g. clubs, trips and after school activities
  • Assembly – takes place in form time once per week for each year group

Form Tutors will help support students, particularly in Year 7, to settle into their new Form and into the school as a whole. They will always be ready to help and they should be the first person that students go to for advice, information or if they have a concern or worry. They will answer their questions, no matter how big or small.

What happens in assembly?

Each Year Group will meet for an assembly once a week which is held in the school hall. There is usually a set day for this and students will be informed which day their assembly is on in September.

Assembly is a formal gathering and students will sit with their Form Group in an allocated space and they must be silent as they enter the hall. Assemblies address the ‘Theme of the Week’ and the key Character Builder for that term, including the promotion of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students.

What is my planner for?

All students are given a planner at the beginning of each year and it is key to their organisation and student reflection. The planner must be brought to school every day and placed open on the desk at the start of each lesson.

The planner will be used to record daily homework, including dates for completion, pastoral tracking, gives a snapshot to parents/carers and school staff and is also a safeguarding measure if students are out of lesson.  It is our main method of communication between home and school. Parents/carers should check the planner daily and sign it on a weekly basis.

Behaviour comments are recorded by teachers in the planner. Five behaviour comments in one week will mean a detention (Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00pm-4:00pm).

Students are not allowed in lessons without their planner. They will be issued a ‘one strike’ sheet if they do not have their planner in school. If this happens any subsequent times, the student will spend the day in our inclusion unit.

What does a normal school day look like?
We operate a two week lesson cycle with 5 lessons per day. Timings are identical whether it is week 1 or 2.

Registration 8:25 – 8:30 (taken in lesson 1)
Lesson 1 8:30 – 9:30
Lesson 2 9:30 – 10:30
Break 10:30 – 10:50
Lesson 3 10:50 – 11:50
Lesson 4 11:50 – 12:50
Lunchtime 12:50 – 1:25
Form Period 1:30 – 1:50
Lesson 5 1:50 – 2:50
End of school 2:50
What uniform and PE kit do I need to wear?

We hope that our students wear our uniform with pride. To understand what our students need to wear for school and where is can be purchased, visit our Uniform webpage.

Our advice for getting to and from school safely

Many of our students walk to school, but please remember to keep to the pavements and use the pedestrian crossings. Be aware that the roads near school get very busy and there are lots of cars around. We ask that students be vigilant and be aware at all times.

Students should enter school through the student entrance.

We encourage students to cycle to school and we have a secure cycle storage unit at the top entrance behind the Bungalow. It is open 8:00am – 8:25am and 2:50pm – 6:00pm each day.

 If you are bringing your child to school in a car, please do not park or drop off on the yellow lines outside the school entrances. We would advise dropping students off before you get to Lee Lane East. The area around school is heavily congested at the start and finish of the school day and we must be mindful of local residents and parking infringements.

What if my child can’t attend school?

The attendance target for our School is 96% and if a student’s attendance falls below this, we will contact you. Make sure you telephone school on each day of their absence before 8:30am.  Failure to inform us will result in a text or phone call home. This will be to alert you to phone school quickly to provide a reason for absence. We must have an explanation for any student who is not in school.

On return to school after an illness, students must bring a signed letter from you stating how many days they were absent and for what reason. This must be given to their Form Tutor.

If your child’s attendance falls below 96% we will not authorise any absence unless relevant medical evidence (e.g. prescription/appointment card/hospital letter) is provided.

 

Why is it important to get to school on time?

For safeguarding reasons, it is important that students arrive at school on time.  Students are expected to be in school between 8.00am and 8.20am.

At 8:20am the movement bell will sound and students should move to their first lesson which starts promptly at 8:25am and registration closes at 8:30am.

Students arriving after 8:25am will be expected to sign in at the Late Desk. They will receive one Late to School (LTS) stamp in their planner. When a student is late more than twice in a half-term period, they will receive a same day detention for 35 minutes. Parents/carers will receive a text notification. Students will then receive a same day detention for any subsequent lates.

Please note – the back gate by St Margaret’s church will be shut at 8:25am.

For safeguarding reasons, it is important that students comply with these procedures. Therefore, any student not following these procedures by attempting to avoid a ‘LTS’ stamp may find themselves in Inclusion.

What if I request leave of absence for my child during term-time?

The attendance target for our School is 96% and if a student’s attendance falls below this, we will contact you.  Absence during term time interrupts continuity of teaching and learning and disrupts the educational progress of individual children. We aim to minimise the amount of time lost to term-time holidays through a policy which actively discourages parents/carers from arranging family holidays during term time – this is in line with Government and Local Authority Partnerships agreements.

School holidays account for 13 weeks of the year and parents/carers are expected to arrange all family holidays or other events during these times. Only the Headteacher can authorise leave of absence during school term-time and it is only in very exceptional circumstances that leave of absence will be granted. We will not permit any holiday request during term-time.

If a request has to be made, please complete the ‘Student Exceptional Leave Of Absence Form’ 10 days prior to the requested date, which can be downloaded here.

What happens at break and lunchtime?

The diners are available to use and packed lunches can be eaten here.

The Library is open for quiet learning to read or to complete school work and our LINK provision is for our more vulnerable students or those requiring an alternative area (by prior arrangement).

In particular for Year 7, they have their own Courtyard for break and lunch times. This is a partially covered, secure area which is manned by a member of staff. Snacks, school purchased food and packed lunches can be eaten here. It is a small, personal and interactive space where new friends are easily made.

What can my child eat at lunchtime?

We have flexible dining choices; students can eat a packed lunch one day and buy a school lunch the next. Packed lunches can be eaten in the diners or Year specific spaces.

Find out all you need to know about the food we provide here.

Please note – high sugar, high energy drinks are not permitted in school. If these are brought into school they will be confiscated. We urge you to consider healthy packed lunch options; we are a ‘Healthy School’, and promote this wherever possible.

How does my child pay for food at school?

We operate a cashless payment system to purchase food in school.  New Year 7 parents/carers will receive a personalised letter in September to explain how to set this up. You can find out about this system by visiting our School Meals information page here.

Can my child use a school locker?

If your child has belongings that they would like to keep at school then we are able to provide them with a locker.  The (non-refundable) rental cost for a locker from Year 7 to Year 11 is £15 (£3 per academic year).  Students in Year 8 to 11 can rent a locker at the beginning of an academic year with the rental period ending at the end of Year 11 for £3 per academic year (non-refundable).

If they also require a padlock then this can be purchased from school for £4.  Students can bring their own padlock from home if preferred.

At the beginning of Year 7, parents/carers should log onto ParentPay to pay for a locker. Once payment has been received the Facilities Team will visit students at Form Time to allocate their lockers.

If a student loses their locker key, the Facilities Department is able to cut the lock off (school does not hold spare keys for padlocks). If a student wishes to purchase a new padlock then this can be provided for £4 and will be issued when payment has been received in cash from the student.

What if our School has to close?

We will always try to keep our School open and only when safety is perceived to be at risk will we make the decision to close our School.  You can read more about what will happen in this situation here.

What if a student needs first aid?

A student requiring first aid or other medical treatment should go to Main Reception, where they will be attended to. No child is sent home without contacting a parent/carer or nominated emergency contact.

To maintain open channels of communication, it is essential that you keep the school up to date with any telephone number changes. Students should store medicines at Student Reception. If there is a medical problem, students should always go the Main Reception first and not contact parents directly. Students cannot use their phones in school.

How do we keep our students safe?

Read about this in our Looking After You section.  Hover over the relevant Year group on the navigation above.

What should I do when the fire alarm sounds?

All students have regular whole school fire drills throughout each academic year.

When the fire alarm sounds, students must leave their classroom immediately. They will follow their class teacher who will lead them out of the building by the nearest allocated entrance.

Please note – Year 7 students will have a fire practice in their first week at school so they know exactly what to do when the fire alarm sounds.

Students will assemble on the tennis courts in their Form Tutor groups. Each form group has an allocated space to line up. Form group letters are painted on the tennis courts for this. Year 7 will be shown their allocated space in their first week here.

Students must line up in register order and their Form Tutor will take the register.

Students must be silent for the whole fire practice; this is a serious safeguarding practice and it must be treated in this way. Failure to comply with this will result in a Whole School Detention.

Can phones and electronic devices be used in school?

Students may bring mobile phones and electronic devices to school for use on the way to and from school only but must not be visible or used at any time, on the school site, during the school day (8am-4pm).  Phones and electronic devices should be switched off and stored securely in school bags only, before students enter the school gates.

Any visible electronic device or phone that is visible (whether it is being used or not) on school site and during the school day will be confiscated and sanctions will be issued.

You can read our full policy on mobile phones here

We recommend that students do not bring valuables into school, especially the following items:

  • computer games
  • cameras
  • jewellery

Students must not bring in laser pens.

What is the Home-School Agreement?

The best outcome for any student is reached when parents/carers work in partnership with the school. It is expected that parents/carers will support the school in the implementation and administration of the Positive Behaviour System. This forms part of the Home/School Agreement in which all parents/carers enter when they accept their child’s place at Horsforth School.

We expect parent/carers to:

  1. Monitor the rewards and negative comments in the student planner and have appropriate conversations with their child
  2. Sign the planner on a weekly basis and add any comments you want the school to respond to
  3. Contact school as soon as you have concerns. This should be the Form Tutor or your child’s Pastoral and Behaviour Officer. This line of communication is vital
  4. Check for the main after school detention dates which are in the planner
  5. Ensure your child is properly equipped each day before they leave for school
  6. Ensure you child has their student planner before they leave for school
  7. Ensure your child is wearing correct uniform and that all aspects of appearance are in line with the school uniform policy, including footwear, hairstyle and jewellery
  8. Ensure your child understands the phone policy and has an appropriate place in their school bag to store the device should they bring it on to the school site
  9. Do not expect your child to read texts or answer their phone during the school day
  10. Contact reception with urgent messages for your child
  11. Attend all parents’ evenings and meetings on request.
How do parents/carers find out how their child is doing at school?
How can I find out when my child’s parents’ evening is and how do I book?

You can find out everything you need to know about your child’s parents’ evening by visiting our Reporting and Parent Communication page.  Here you can find out the all-important dates, gain access to the booking system and follow a step-by-step guide which talks you through how to book appointments.

What can my child get involved in outside of the classroom?

We know that there is far more to school than the time a student spends in the classroom. We provide a very wide range of extra curriculum and enrichment opportunities both in the form of clubs and activities at lunchtime and after school, to trips and visits in both term time and the holidays. You can view the clubs, trips and after school activities available here.

What career advice do students receive?

We provide high quality impartial careers advice for all students and have a Careers Advisor (Mrs O’Donnell) who is always on hand to help.

You can read our careers’ guidance webpage here (Link to Header Navigation>Useful Information> Careers’ guidance) or look at the more specific Year support we offer our students here.

What special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support do you offer?

Our aim is to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to succeed, both within the academic curriculum and socially. Where there are specific learning needs, our SEND Team will ensure that the needs of those students are addressed. They will continue to work closely with all relevant agencies to ensure these students settle happily into the school and achieve their potential.

Miss McFadden works with staff from the primary schools to ensure all SEND information is carried through to us in September.

You can read more about our SEND provision here

Have you got a jargon buster for parents/carers?

Yes, the table below should help you to understand some of the abbreviations and words used in education:

Term Meaning
9-1 Grades These are the new GCSE grades that have replaced the old A*-G grades.  9 is the highest grade.  A grade 4 is roughly the equivalent of an old grade C; a grade 7 is roughly the equivalent of an old grade A
AIP The Area Inclusion Partnership is a group with representatives from the Primary and Secondary schools in North-West Leeds to improve inclusion
Assessment without Levels Assessments at Horsforth are now in 9-1 grades for Years 7 through to 11, using + and – to show where students are within each grade.  This is the system we have adopted in place of the old National Curriculum Levels, which are no longer used in primary or secondary schools
ATL Attitude to Learning scores are awarded from 1-6, with 4 and above being the expectation we have of our students
Awarding Bodies Another term for the Exam boards.  Typical ones we use include AQA, OCR, and Edexcel
B4L B4L stands for Behaviour For Learning, which is our overall expectations for students in the classroom
BST Our school’s Behaviour Support Team.  These are professionals who do not teach but whose role is to work with young people and families to improve behaviour and tackle the issues which can affect students’ behaviour in school
BTGE ROYC Are the letters for the eight form groups in each year.  In the past they were divided into two ‘sides’ of the year on the timetable
CIR-common internal record A record held and contributed to, by school and families-outlining the needs of the child and families
Cluster The Cluster is another term for Horsforth Children’s Services, who provide a range of services to support children and families in our community
CLA A child is classed as ‘Child Looked after’ if they are in foster care. If a child is adopted they are no longer classed as CLA.
CT Stands for ‘Challenge Task’  This is used on students’ work to give them a practical task to do in order to extend their learning, or help them to understand something they got wrong
DfE The Government’s Department for Education, who govern schools, the curriculum and the exam system
EBACC The English Baccalaureate is a measure of school performance which takes into account the number of students who gain a grade 4/ grade C in English, maths, two sciences, a modern foreign language (French or Spanish) and a humanity subject (History or Geography)
EBI Stands for ‘Even Better If.’ When work has been marked, teachers will use this to give students advice on ways they could have improved their work.
EHCP Education and health care plan. The new version of the old statement of SEND, This is a multi-agency document with regular review meetings, outlining the needs of the child. It supports them until the age of 25
EHP-Early Help plan This has replaced the previous ‘common assessment framework’ (CAF) and is put in place to support students and families. This is usually led by someone in school or from the cluster.
EMD At each Progress Review, we judge whether students are Exceeding, Meeting or Developing towards their targets
FE Further Education, typically college courses after GCSEs which are not A levels
Google Classroom We are a Google School, meaning that all students have an unlimited Google Drive, access to a range of free online software including Docs, Sheets and Slides.  Teachers may also use Google Classroom as a way of sharing resources and setting and marking work
Growth Mindsets This is a current issue in education internationally, based on the work of Psychologist Carol Dwek, whose work suggests the ways achievement can be boosted by improved self-belief
G and S-Guidance and support Students can be referred to G and S-which is part of the cluster, led and managed by HCS, who can provide family support, counselling etc.
HCS-Horsforth Children’s services Horsforth School has access to Horsforth Children’s services, sometimes referred to as ‘The Cluster’. They can provide us with support for students and also families, we make referrals on a monthly basis
HE Higher Education, typically degree courses or equivalents after A level or other equivalent level courses
The Hub The Hub is our main pastoral office in school
IEP IEPs are ‘Individual Education Plans’ which are put into place, especially for students with SEND
KS3 Key Stage 3: Years 7, 8 and 9
KS4 Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11 when students do GCSEs
MTG Minimum Target Grade – these are targets that we set for students to aim for in order to make good progress
KSG Our Key Support Group meet in school to help students who need some support, or intervention.  Referrals often come through staff who are concerned about a student
Ofqual The group that is responsible for ensuring that all exams in the country meet shared standards
Ofsted The group who have responsibility for inspecting school to ensure they are meeting standards
PA-persistent absentee A student is classed as a persistent absentee if their attendance falls below 90%
PIP-personal improvement plan Pupil improvement plan is a plan devised by the pastoral leader to outline targets for the student to aim for-these can be behavioural, academic, attendance related etc.
PB PB stands for our Positive Behaviour system, which has clear rules, sanctions and rewards
Progress 8 Progress is what is measured nationally as the improvement students make from their KS2 tests to their GCSEs.  Progress 8 is a score given to the school to show how the progress our students make in 8 GCSE compares to the progress made by all other students in the same year group.  A score of 0.00 means that our students do as well as similar students nationally
Progress Review Up to five times a year for each year group, we gather information on students’ grades, and the EMD and ATL judgements of their teachers.  We feed this information back to students and their parents and use the information to give extra help to those who need it
Pupil Premium The Pupil Premium is additional funding the school receives to support students who are on Free School Meals or who have received them within the last six years.  We also receive other similar funding for the children of armed service personnel, children who have been adopted from care.  We also get some funding for students who were not working at expected levels at the end of primary school while they are in Year 7
Reception We have two reception desks in school: Visitors’ Reception is at the front doors.  Student Reception has moved this year and is now in the entrance hall after the main doors.  If you need to come to school for any reason, you should come to Visitors’ Reception
S4L Standards for Learning at Post-16 are our expectations for students conduct and work
SEMH SEMH means Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SEND SEND refers to students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability.  They are students who need something additional to or different from other students in order to access the curriculum. Students may just receive additional support or they may have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP)
SMART Target A short-term target which students are given when marked ‘D’ for developing at Progress Review, to help them get back on track. These also feature on your son/daughter’s school report
Specifications The modern term for an exam syllabus: the documents which detail what should be taught and what assessments will be used for each different subject at GCSE and A level
Technical Awards A more practical alternative to a GCSE, which is more focused on practical skills for work and has a greater degree of coursework than GCSE exams.  They are assessed using Distinction, Merit and Pass rather than the 1-9 GCSE grades
WWW Used on students work to tell them ‘What Went Well’