Maritime Academy Trust

Maritime is a charitable education trust with schools across London and the South East.

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Communication with Parents

At Danecourt, we recognise and value the importance of effective and positive communication. This is essential to ensure parents and carers are informed of their child’s experiences and development when at school, especially when children have challenges in communicating this directly themselves. We recognise that with so many of our children arriving at school via local authority transport that this can create a barrier to informal communications taking place between home and school.

If a parent or carer has a concern or question it is recommended they contact their child’s class teacher in the first instance. If further support or clarification is required, then this can be raised to a member of the senior leadership team.

Response to Queries and Concerns

At Danecourt, we will endeavour to respond to you as quickly as possible and in many cases this may be the same day. However, outside of teaching their designated class all staff have additional duties which they perform either before school, during break/lunch or after school. This may cause some delay in the response to you. Therefore, we will commit to ensuring a response is made within three working days of the concern being raised.

Newsletters

Parents and carers will receive a termly newsletter. This will highlight key information, topic and summary of learning that will take place. The hope of sharing this information is that it will allow parents to support their child(ren) at home while continuing to learn about the same topic. These will be shared via MCAS (My Child at School) or Class Dojo as these are environmentally friendly. Paper copies can be printed upon request to the class teacher.

Emails

Parents and carers are reminded that teachers have little to no time during their teaching day to check emails and therefore requests which require immediate or quick action should not be sent via email. For example, emailing your child’s teacher to inform them you will be collecting them for an appointment or to change pick-up arrangements is not appropriate due to the high likelihood that the message will not be read in time. It is important that families contact the school office with this information.

All emails requiring an answer should be responded to within 3 school days. Staff are not expected to, and are discouraged from, checking and responding to emails outside of their working day. However, staff are encouraged to work flexibly and respond to emails in a way that suits them to balance their working hours. Staff do not expect families to read, respond or action emails outside hours that suit them. Where there is a concern or question that needs to be discussed at length, email is often not the best platform for this. Whilst initial contact can be made via email, staff will arrange a phone conversation, online meeting or face-to-face meeting with you to discuss fully.

My Child at School (MCAS)

Communications may be sent to parents via the MCAS (My Child at School) app. This platform enables us to send letters, newsletters and other communications in a paperless way. Parents and carers are encouraged to speak to the school office if they require support in using this facility.

Telephone Calls

Inbound - All telephone calls will be answered by staff in the main office. It is our policy that office staff do not interrupt teaching for staff to answer a telephone call unless it is an emergency. Messages are taken and forwarded to the relevant person. If the call requires a response from a member of staff, we aim to do this within three school days.

Outbound - Telephone calls will be made where immediate contact with a family member is required i.e. for injuries or accidents. A member of staff will call the first named emergency contact as listed. Where no contact is made, a call will then be made to the second named contact and so forth. In the event that no live contact can be made, the member of staff will either leave an answer phone message or ensure that repeat calls continue to be made to the contact numbers, where possible.

Where information needs to be shared with a parent that is of a more sensitive nature or where it is preempted that parents and carers may have further questions, staff are encouraged to do this either face-to-face or over the telephone rather than via a messaging platform. Examples include to share an injury or incident that occurred during that school day.

For parents and carers of children that come to school via SEND transport services the class teacher will call home at least twice a term (roughly within a six-week period). The purpose of this is to maintain informal communication and build relationships in a similar way to what happens organically for parents and carers that are able to drop and collect their child regularly from school.

Class Dojo

As a school, one of our main communication platforms is Class Dojo. It enables staff to share photos, videos, announcements and celebrations as well as messaging between school and home. Staff will send whole class and whole school information via the class and school stories to share information widely. In addition, for classes not using Evidence for Learning, parents and carers can expect to receive three communications a week that are personal to their child, with at least one of these being a photograph. The purpose of this is to ensure parents and carers have an insight into what their child is learning in school or experiences. Staff are not expected to check and respond to Dojo messages outside of their working day. However, staff are encouraged to work flexibly and respond to Dojo messages in a way that suits them to balance their working hours. Staff do not expect parents/carers to read, respond or action Dojo messages outside hours that suit them. As with email, where the response is lengthy, staff will decide the best platform and may offer a face-to-face meeting, online meeting or telephone call. Staff and families are discouraged from entering into in-depth discussions about a child’s progress or well-being via Class Dojo.

Social Media

As a school, we use Twitter and Facebook to occasionally share information with the school and wider community. Staff are advised not to communicate with families via social networking sites. Any negative comments or complaints will be deleted and the school reserves the right to ‘block’ any user from the school’s pages.

Formal Reporting

We provide a full written report to each child’s families on their progress once a year. This report identifies areas of strength and next steps. Parents’ and carers’ meetings are scheduled three times a year to discuss progress. For these meetings, where available appointments are not suitable for parents/carers then class teachers will make every effort to arrange a more mutually convenient time. Families are encouraged to request additional meetings should they have a concern regarding their child’s progress or well-being. Likewise, staff will arrange additional meetings if necessary.

As all children at Danecourt have an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), an annual review will be held each academic year to discuss their progress in relation to the aims and objectives of their plan. At this meeting, if relevant to the child, other documents of support will also be shared and reviewed such as care plans, targets from other agencies such as SALT (speech and language therapy) or OT (occupational therapy), personalised learning plan and behaviour plan.

Evidence for Learning

Evidence for Learning is one of the main ways that your child’s progress is documented in class. Evidence for Learning is an online evidence gathering tool which allows photos, videos and comments relating to progress that your child has made towards personal targets to be uploaded and stored. This then allows teachers and parents to review the progress being made and see specifically what targets children are currently working on. Once live, a minimum of three pieces of evidence will be shared weekly with parents through the Evidence for Learning app (for children in these tracks, this communication will replace the minimum of three Class Dojo personal communications a week) This will allow you to see what your child has been learning that week and comments about how they achieved their targets.