Parents Handbook

Support and Guidance

Introduction from the Principal
Personal Tutoring
Induction
Study Skills

Additional Support
Learning Centre
E-Learning
Parents Views
Student Support Centre
Financial Advice
Counselling
Careers Education and Guidance

 

Introduction from the Principal

Dear Parent/Guardian

I am delighted to welcome you as the parent or guardian of one of Strode College's students. The purpose of this page is to inform you about what your son or daughter will be doing at College, as well as letting you know more about the College, its services, procedures and expectations. Whichever course your son or daughter is on, I hope they make the most of the opportunities we offer. We shall do all we can to help them achieve their potential while they are with us.

We prefer to work in partnership with students and their parents or guardians and hope that you will join us in this to support your own child as s/he makes the transition from school to college and starts to become more independent and take more responsibility.

In addition to the course(s) your son or daughter has decided on, there are many opportunities to develop other skills through the enrichment programme. This programme includes sports, music, performing arts, creative arts, the Gambia Project, languages and many others. Please encourage your son or daughter to participate in at least one of these activities.

We set out very clearly in our College Charter what students can expect from the College and what we, in turn, expect from them. You will see from this, and the information contained on this page, that we support our students through every aspect of College life. We also ask students to respect the College in every way - through attitude and standards of behaviour to staff, the environment and each other.

Best wishes

James Staniforth
Principal

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Induction

All new students will go through a period of induction which will start on their first day and will continue right up until half term. The first year students have the College to themselves for the first two days so they can find their way around and get to know the place before the second years return.

A Freshers Fair is held during this time and this is an opportunity for all the students to find out about relevant local and national agencies and organisations and to meet members of the Students’ Association and find out more about the social side of life at college.

The students will spend a lot of time with their Personal Tutor and have an opportunity to get to know the students in their own tutor group. This is a key time for new students, especially those who may not know any other students.

Apart from team building activities, the students will also look at how to manage the transition from school to college. They will be helped to look at how to manage their own time, how to plan and fit in their homework or coursework and how to get the most out of their experience in College. They will be encouraged to talk to their tutor if they have any problems during this crucial time, and will be given the opportunity to reflect on their chosen course or subjects so they can confirm that they have made the right choice.

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The Student’s Week at College

Timetable
A College timetable is very different from a school timetable. Students have breaks during the day and, while we want everyone to have reasonable breaks and a social life, the majority of non-timetabled time is intended for private study. We have excellent resources in the Learning Centre, with a large number of computers available around the College for students who wish to use them. We would value any help you can give in encouraging your son or daughter to do coursework or homework at College.

Your son or daughter’s timetable will be provided at the start of term and s/he will be able to print out any future timetables should there be changes. A copy of the timetable will be sent to you early in the autumn term or will be made available at a Parents’ Briefing held in September/October.

In addition to the main course on which your son/daughter has enrolled, s/he will also be involved in other studies and activities at College. In particular, 1:1 tutorials are very important for monitoring progress, for ultimate success on the course. They will also have the opportunity to get involved, express their views, learn new skills, consider future career options and enrichment opportunities. Additional qualifications, may also be available to enhance the overall learning experience. We would welcome your support in ensuring your son/daughter attends and contributes fully.

GCSEs and Functional Skills
Any student who does not have a GCSE grade C or equivalent in Maths, English or ICT, is supported to achieve either the GCSE or the equivalent in Functional Skills. Students who do not have these qualifications are considered to be at a disadvantage in the job market and we would seek your support in encouraging your son or daughter to complete any qualification they have been recommended to take. Some students work towards achieving one of the wider key skills which focus on teamwork, independent learning and problem solving. These skills are highly valued both by universities and by employers and will assist your son or daughter when they progress from College to their next step.

Personal Tutor
Your son or daughter will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will be the main contact person for you, the student and other teaching staff. S/he will meet with your son or daughter for a one to one meeting at least once each half term. This time will be used to review progress, talk about any support which might be needed and to set and monitor targets.

Enrichment
Activities All students have the opportunity to take part in an enrichment activity which develops skills or interests outside their academic programme. This can be any one of a wide choice of sports, languages, music, drama, film making, volunteering or the Gambia Project.

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Attendance Requirements and Absence Procedures

The College’s Absence Procedures are published in full in the Student Diary and we would urge you and your son or daughter to become familiar with them. We expect 100% attendance and punctuality unless there is an unavoidable reason for an absence. In this case, we expect students to follow the procedures and inform the appropriate people in good time. The Absence Line number is 01458 844599 email ftstudentabsence@strode-college.ac.uk. You will find us flexible and supportive in the case of serious illness or emergencies but we do not condone unnecessary absence from any aspect of a student’s programme. Holidays should not be booked during term time.

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Parents’ Views

“I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you and everyone involved in our son’s care at Strode College, for the support you have given him over the past 5 years. He has progressed and blossomed during this time, despite the many set-backs he has encountered and you have all played a significant part in helping him achieve this. I am sure he will miss the many friends he has made over the years, but he is embarking on the next, exciting phase of his life and I know you will all wish him well as he continues on his incredible journey.”

“My daughter is a changed girl and we are really happy with what Strode has done for our her and how she is now.”

“Thanks for a very enjoyable and professional performance of Sweet Charity on Friday evening. Thank you for your time and energy spent with our son. We felt (and I think he does too) that he has made tremendous progress since last year. He seemed very much more confident. It was really lovely to see.”

“My son has secured funding for Farleigh College! This would not have been possible without you. I cannot express in words what this means to me, my son and the family. Through you, my son has a future. Thank you!”

“We are very pleased with our daughter’s progress this year. First and foremost may I thank you and your colleagues in terms of continuing to support our daughter - we are so pleased that finally after much effort from a number of people the work has paid off. Most importantly our daughter seems to be enjoying the course and we look forward to attending another performance at some stage soon.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and understanding. It was a breath of fresh air to be able to communicate with a professional who understood about the need to provide the correct support, which will enable my son to flourish in the future.”

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the hard work you have put into helping our daughter over the last couple of years. When she came to you we’d had a terrible year, and, although as you know it was hard for a couple of months, she has really managed to turn things around for herself. I know this was due in no small part to the help, support and encouragement you have given both her and myself. She has a great sense of worth and is so optimistic about the future, it is lovely. And while she is still the same girl, she has grown and matured into a truly good person. Thank you for helping to bring that out of her. I will never forget your help.”

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The Role of the Personal Tutor

Your son or daughter will be allocated a Personal Tutor. This person will be your first point of contact if you have concerns and will be the person most likely to contact you if there are any issues at College, for example, absence from lessons. Under recent British legislation your son or daughter does have the right to request that we do not share information with you, although this is rarely taken up by students.

Your son or daughter will have a minimum of one individual meeting with his/her Personal Tutor every half term, when progress is discussed and targets set. If there are issues in the meantime then your son or daughter will be able to contact their Personal Tutor very quickly.

Individual Learning Plan
Your son or daughter is unique and s/he will have different strengths and talents from everyone else. S/he will also have skills which need improving – these can be anything from organising the course file to meeting assignment deadlines. The Personal Tutor works with each student to identify what they need to do to achieve their potential while they’re at College, and helps them to set targets and write action plans to overcome any weaknesses they may have – or just to help them to become better at something.

Students often find the idea of setting targets and drafting action plans a bit of a challenge, especially if it is not part of their main course, or related to subjects they have come to study. However, experience has shown us that students who do this well do raise their level of performance and achieve well. It also helps them to mature and take responsibility for themselves and their work.

Progress Reports
The Personal Tutors monitor the students’ progress through their regular meetings and, to support this, other teachers provide progress information both to the student and to the Personal Tutor so that s/he has a good overview of how well the students are doing. Generally, information from these reports is available for parents at Parents’ Evenings and in end of year reports. If you have any concerns, however, please call your son/daughter’s Personal Tutor.

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General Information

Personal Study and Part-Time Jobs
Most students will have work to do during study time at College and at home. As parents, we would ask you to support your son or daughter by encouraging them to do their private study thoroughly in an appropriate environment. We also know that most of our students have part-time jobs and there is evidence to suggest that working up to 6 or 8 hours a week has a beneficial effect on the student’s eventual success. Working more than 8 hours a week, however, can have a detrimental effect and we actively discourage students from doing this.

Educational Visits

The Gambia Project

Guidelines for Students on Educational Visits

Student Diary
Your son or daughter will be given a student diary when they enrol. This contains important information about College services and facilities as well as being a useful tool for organising work and time management.

It is also where the students can store their own important information, especially relating to homework/coursework, deadlines, etc.

Students’ Association

Safeguarding the Welfare of Students
The College works actively with the Somerset Safeguarding Children Board in ensuring that we have systems, policies and training in place to support and protect students under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults of any age. Contact Bill Scott, Student Support Manager, for further information on 01458 844454 or email bscott@strode-college.ac.uk.

Student Code of Conduct
It is our aim to make the College campus a pleasant, healthy and safe environment for students to live and work in. It is with this in mind that we have established a student code of conduct which outlines the behaviour we expect from students. Respect towards each other and shared responsibility for the environment are key components of the code of conduct expected from students. Students who do not comply with this code of conduct may be disciplined under the student disciplinary procedures which are fair, just and supportive.

Honest Work Practices
On starting at the College, all students are asked to sign a statement to say they understand that any work they present for assessment must be their own work. They will be shown how to reference extracts from other people’s work but any attempt to cheat or to pass off other’s work (including information collected on the Internet) as their own will be dealt with appropriately. This will result in formal disciplinary action by the College but may also include a refusal to assess the work (including externally assessed work) in line with the Awarding Body requirements.

All students are also asked to sign an IT Users agreement which stipulates very clearly what they can and can’t do when using the College computer network system.

Disciplinary Procedures
Hopefully, your son or daughter will never be involved in these but the College has clear procedures to deal with any issues involving students’ poor behaviour or academic effort. There are two separate policies, Academic (usually used for poor attendance, lack of work, etc) and Misconduct (for inappropriate behaviour, language, attitude). Each policy has 3 formal stages and these would normally follow more informal warnings given by the Personal Tutor.

The word ‘disciplinary’ may suggest a punishment but the process is a supportive, positive one where a student can learn from previous mistakes and avoid further disruption to their studies. We have a duty of care to all our students and always hope to be able to steer a disruptive or non-achieving student back on track.

A copy of our Disciplinary Procedures is available on request from the Student Support Centre. If your son or daughter should be involved with them, you will automatically be sent a copy of the appropriate document. Parents are encouraged to attend all relevant disciplinary meetings and we welcome their input into the process.

Complaints Procedure
The College is committed to providing your son or daughter with the best possible service, as detailed in the College Charter. However, if you believe that we have failed to live up to the high standards we set ourselves then please ask your son or daughter to let us know by firstly raising the issue directly with the person or office concerned, or if unable to do so then by raising the matter with their Personal Tutor. If neither of these options is possible then please ask them to talk to the Student Support Manager, Bill Scott, who is based in the Student Support Centre.

If, after your son or daughter’s efforts to resolve the situation, you are unsatisfied then please set out your complaint in writing to the Head of Teaching Team, or the Head of Quality, Shonagh Butler or the Principal, James Staniforth.

Please ask for a copy of our Complaints leaflet should you need it from the Reception or Student Support Centre.

 

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