Student WelfareBack to Key Information
Absence Reporting and Attendance
It is expected that all students attend school regularly and we ask that parents encourage their children to attend school every day and on time. Good attendance at school is vital to help children achieve the best possible start in life. Not only is there is a strong link between good school attendance and achieving good results, it is also a life skill that will be essential as children embark on careers after leaving school.
The school looks forward to working in partnership with parents to support students in maximising their attendance at school. However, we do recognise that there may be occasions when your child is unwell and we ask that parents follow our absence reporting procedure.
In the event that your child is unable to attend school:
- The parent / carer must contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence (Tel: 020 8297 3540, option 1) OR call into school and report to the reception team
- You must report your child’s absence every day that they are absent from school
If a child is absent and the school have not heard from the parent / carer, the Attendance Officer will text / call the parent / carer to establish a reason for the absence.
For further information, please see our Attendance and Punctuality Policy.
E-Safety and Staying Safe Online
E-Safety and Staying Safe Online
Common Sense Media have produced a range of What is…? Video introductions for the most popular social media Apps for young people. They are all short and explain the core functions of the app but also how the apps present safeguarding risks.
Staying safe online in the summer holidays
Children and young people across the UK are getting ready to have more free time to spend with friends and family as the summer holidays get into full swing. For many young people this time will be spent using the internet to keep in touch with school friends, catch up with the latest apps and online trends, and play their favourite games.
Fortnite is a popular online video game. The recommended age to play is 12 and above. Read about child safety on the
Childnet Film Competition 2018
Childnet is a key Internet Safety Site with lots of advice for parents and children. The Childnet Film Competition invited schools and youth organisations from across the UK to capture their internet safety messages in a short film. This year, the film competition invited young people to think about how we can all make a positive difference online by supporting young people to ‘Connect with respect’.
The Film Competition 2018 was the biggest one yet, with over 200 entries from schools, colleges and youth groups across the UK.
The films were judged by Lisa Prime Children’s Events Programmer at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Catherine McAllister Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection BBC Children’s, David Austin OBE Chief Executive at the BBFC, and Joanna van der Meer Film Tutor and Family Learning Programmer at BFI Southbank.
Grooming or Other Illegal Behaviour
If you want to report someone who is behaving suspiciously online towards a child, you should in an emergency contact the emergency services by calling 999, or otherwise make a report to Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
Criminal Content Online
If you stumble across criminal content online, you should report this to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) at www.iwf.org.uk/report. Criminal content in the UK includes child sexual abuse images, criminally obscene adult content as well as non-photographic child sexual abuse images.
On-line content which incites hatred on the grounds of race, religion and sexual orientation should be reported to True Vision, which tackles all forms of hate crime, including those on the grounds of disability and transgender identity. True Vision, at www.report-it.org.uk, will give you information on content which incites hatred and how to report it.
If you have been ‘scammed, ripped off or conned’ you can report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk. This service is run by the National Fraud Authority, the UK’s government agency that helps coordinate the fight against fraud.
Getting Help/Advice: For Young People
ChildLine: Is a free 24/7 helpline for children and young people. Visit www.childline.org.uk or call 0800 1111. ChildLine is run by the NSPCC.
Getting Help/Advice: For Parents
If you want to make a complaint about an advert, television or radio programme, film, newspaper, magazine, video game or other type of content that you think is unsuitable for children to see or hear, you can report it through ParentPort at www.parentport.org.uk. Click on ‘Make a Complaint’ and ParentPort will take you straight to the right place to complain to.
- Family Lives: A charity providing help and support in all aspects of family life. They have a 24/7 free Parentline on 0808 8002222, or visit www.familylives.org.uk
- Kidscape: Is a leading anti-bullying charity, which provides a helpline for parents of children who have been bullied. From 10am to 8pm, on 08451 205204 www.kidscape.org.uk.
- Childnet International Is a non-profit organisation working to help make the internet a safe place for children. ‘We strive to take a balanced approach, making sure that we promote the positive opportunities, as well as responding to the risks and equipping children and young people to deal with them’. Contact details are: www.childnet.com phone 020 7639 6967, email email@example.com.
- UK council for child internet safety (UKCCIS) has practical guides to help parents and others with internet safety www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-council-for-child-internet-safety-ukccis.
- Thinkuknow has a section for parents which offers advice on protecting children from abuse online offered by the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents.
For parents concerned that their children may be becoming radicalised online the DFE has set up a telephone helpline (0207 340 7264) and an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to enable people to raise concerns directly with them.
Getting Help/Advice: For Professionals Working with Children
Professionals Online Safety Helpline: Helpline operated by the UK Safer Internet Centre offering professionals who work with children across the UK support, advice and mediation with on-line safety issues www.saferinternet.org.uk. The helpline can be contacted by email: email@example.com or telephone on 0844 3814772 (calls on this number are charged at local call rate).
Age Restrictions on Social Media Services
WhatsApp have announced a new age limit of 16 for users based in Europe. With the upcoming changes to Data Protection rules in the EU, this blog looks at what age restrictions are in place across the most popular social media services, why they exist and what our advice is for parents and young people.
Which Social Media Services Are Age Restricted?
WhatsApp have just announced a change to their terms and conditions for users based in Europe. Users will now need to be 16 to use WhatsApp.
Nearly all other social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age to access and use their services. This includes Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Musical.ly and Skype.
Whilst there is no age restriction for watching videos on YouTube, users need to be 13 or older to have their own YouTube account (enabling them to subscribe to other channels, like videos, post comments, share their own content and flag inappropriate content).
Why Do These Restrictions Exist?
The reason most social media services use an age limit of 13 or over is in part because of a law in the USA. The COPPA law or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act states that any organisations or people operating online services (including social media services) are not allowed to collect the personal information of anyone under the age of 13 without parental permission.
To avoid the necessity of obtaining parental permission for any user under the age of 13, most services have instead chosen to place an age restriction of 13 to their services. They write this rule into their Terms and Conditions – which users must agree to when they initially sign up and some services may ask users to declare their age during sign up.
WhatsApp’s new age limit has been chosen in response to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect from the 25th May 2018 and will only apply in the European region, and not elsewhere (e.g. the USA).
Users, and the parents of users, should expect to see more communications from companies and others over the coming weeks as they work to ensure that they are complying with the new General Data Protection Regulation.
What Do We Advise?
Whilst COPPA and GDPR exist to protect the personal information of children, there are also other elements of social media use which may not be appropriate for young users. Our Hot Topic for parents and carers provides more detail and guidance on these risks.
Our advice with regards to age restrictions is that it’s always better to wait until the required age to join any social media service. These rules around age relate to privacy, but also are relevant to safety. Some services offer additional protection for users who are registered as under 18, and by supplying a fake age young people can potentially lose some of this protection. Young people also risk being exposed to content which is intended for older users when they use sites that are not designed for people their age.
Additionally, if a service finds out a user is underage then they may delete the user’s account and any content which has been shared.
We know that social media services are popular with young people of all ages. Parents have an important role in helping prepare their children to go online before they start to use social media platforms. Together you can look at the key things they need to know about staying safe online, critical thinking, and the safety settings that are available to them.
When looking at creating a profile online with your child, have a discussion as a family and make this decision together – talk about why they want the account and ensure that any family members using social media know what tools are available to help them stay safe. You may want to use our family agreement to support with this.
Good Sources of Information and Useful Links for Parents About Online Safety
- Parent Zone, a not-for-profit organisation, offers Parents information to help understand the digital world and raise resilient children. They also offer training for teachers on how to engage parents: http://parentzone.org.uk/
- Parent and Carer support from the UK Safer Internet Centre: http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers
- Childnet, provides information and advice for parents and carer, including a printable sheet available in 12 languages: http://www.childnet.com/resources/supporting-young-people-online
- Vodafone's Digital Parenting resources: http://www.vodafonedigitalparenting.co.uk
- Netware by NSPCC and O2, offers a guide to social networks for parents. https://www.net-aware.org.uk
- Share Aware by NSPCC and O2, offers advice to parents about the internet: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/share-aware
- Parentinfo by CEOP and Parent Zone provides high quality information to parents and carers: http://parentinfo.org
- Parents section of CEOP’s Thinkuknow website. https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/
- Engaging parents with online safety by Kent Country Council: http://www.kelsi.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/29749/Engaging-Families-schools-and-professionals.pdf
The months preceding exams are crucial for students as they prepare to sit their GCSEs. These are important exams for students as the grades achieved will determine what they do next in life and they will want to achieve the best grades that they can. This can be helped when there is a good partnership between the student, the school and parents.
Don't leave it until the last minute.
While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute cramming, it's widely accepted that (for most of us) this is not the best way to approach an exam. To help with your time management, set up a revision timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with.
Look after yourself during exams.
Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night. You'll be able to stay up late as much as you like when exams are over!
Eat properly. Eating a balanced diet enriched with vitamins will make you more alert and positive. Your five-a-day is crucial more than ever right now.
Keep moving. Exercise can help train your brain. Like a sensible diet, regular exercise will make you more alert and positive.
Don't use your phone just before you go to sleep. To get the right kind of sleep, you need to clear your mind and wind down first.
Our canteen is open at break and lunchtimes and is run by Olive Dining, a contract caterer that has a reputation for delivering high quality, nutritious food to young people.
Everything is handmade daily from the freshest ingredients from the best suppliers without the use of any preservatives or additives and the menus are tailored specifically for our school to produce a nutritionally balanced and exciting food offer. All our food is halal and separate menus are created for our Primary and Secondary students.
Olive Dining’s priority is to ensure young people appreciate their food and they strive to make it healthy, enjoyable and educational.
“Riley has made amazing progress since attending Place2Be in Year 7. Then his attitude and behaviour were really challenging. Now he is a lovely young man who can surprise you with acts of kindness.” – Head of Year 10
“Without Place2Be’s support in Years 7 & 8 I might have chosen a different path as I used to hang out with a group who smoked cannabis and often refused to go to school. Since then I have changed friendship groups and I am much happier and more positive” – Year 11 student reflecting on the impact of his Place2Be support
“Oh she has definitely changed…in the way she feels about her school life, her home life, and just the way she is in herself – she is a lot happier” – Parent
"Place2Be helps you feel less angry, make friends, get more confident, sort out your problems, make you feel special, make everything better." – Year 5 student
What difference does Place2Be make in schools?
Place2Be is a national charity working in over 235 UK schools to improve the confidence and emotional wellbeing of students aged 4-14. We help young people develop resilience by supporting them when they are experiencing challenging life issues and helping them to develop self-confidence and lifelong coping skills. When they are supported in this way, they are able to learn more easily and that means less worry for parents.
How we help pupils
All students in years 1 through to 9 can find help with friendship issues and other daily worries by choosing to visit Place2Talk. These short lunch and break time sessions are open to individuals and to groups. Place2Be also works with students one-to-one and in small groups, offering regular time-tabled support for those who will benefit most. The school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and pastoral teams will often refer students for this service.
We always obtain written consent from parents or carers before working with students.
How we help families
We routinely meet with parents to discuss any concerns they may have about their children. A number of Place2Be schools also have A Place for Parents, offering adults counselling support for any issues they may have.
How we help teachers and school staff
Through its Place2Think service, Place2Be also supports teachers and school staff members to think through the emotional needs of students. School staff can consult our trained counsellors on specific issues and discuss solutions to creating better relationships with their students and promoting emotional health and wellbeing across the school.
How Place2Be works
The school has a dedicated Place2Be room where students can meet with a counsellor and talk about the challenges they are experiencing. As well as offering therapeutic support through talking and creative work, counsellors help young people to develop lifelong coping skills, increasing their self-confidence and enhancing their wellbeing and resilience. This helps them to engage productively in their own learning and develop positive relationships.
Times when we’re especially useful
There are times when young people feel particularly sad, confused, anxious or angry, due to family issues at home, or relationships with peers (both in person and online), and pressures at school. Some may become withdrawn; others may become demanding or challenging in their behaviour: that’s when having Place2Be in school is especially helpful.
Who is eligible for Place2Be?
Any student requiring emotional support for any reason.
You are welcome to talk to your Place2Be School Project Manager; either face-to-face or via telephone or email. At Prendergast Vale School, our School Project Manager is Tina Bearman who works in school Monday-Friday. You can contact her via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone on 020 8297 3540 extension 613105.
To find out more about Place2Be, please visit our website:
Social, Emotional and Mental Health Support
In the Leathersellers’ Federation of Schools we aim to:
- provide appropriate support for all students who have Additional Educational Needs
- promote an ethos of inclusion
- enable all students to access the curriculum and achieve their full potential
Providing advice and guidance is an important step in achieving these aims.
There are a small number of students whose needs necessitate additional support from specialist external agencies, many of which can be accessed through referral by your GP. In addition, there is a wide range of skilled support available to students and parents on the internet.
We have information on these pages for a number of support agencies relating to Self Harm, Disordered Patterns Around Eating Habits, Mental Health, Counselling.
We are also aware that specific recommendations are also helpful and we have included these appropriately.
Self-harm does not always just affect the individuals carrying it out, but also their friends, family and other people around them. Self-harm can be lonely and isolating and caring for someone who self-harms can be emotionally exhausting. There is no single cause or event that leads directly to self-harm, but rather a series of risk factors combine to increase the likelihood that a vulnerable individual will start.
Self-harm is a coping mechanism, therefore it is necessary for the individual to learn about safer alternatives. Students have told us that they find www.kooth.com useful as it is a confidential way of accessing counselling for young people. We provide information about kooth in in our schools.
Our policy is that it is unacceptable for students to self-harm in school; we have a rule that any self-harm marks on arms should be covered by long-sleeved tops for P.E. and that students should not show their cuts to their peers. We are happy to support in any way we can, but we always advise parents and their daughters and sons to see their GP so that they can offer the appropriate advice and referral to meet needs.
Alternatives to Self Harm
Help for Young People
Helplines and Online Information/Support:
National Self Harm Network – NSHN
Help for Parents and Carers
Helplines and Online Information /Support:
Mind (over 18s only)
Royal College of Psychiatrists
The Maudsley Hospital
Disordered Patterns Around Eating Habits
While rates of clinical eating disorders are low, estimated from 1% to 3% of the general population, more subtle forms of disordered eating are difficult to pinpoint and mare more widespread. People’s focus on size and weight, diet and exercise means that disordered eating is more widespread; such disordered patterns can also by their nature be episodic.
There are a number of organisations and groups that support young people and families who are concerned about mental health issues.
There are a number of London-based counselling organisations that offer free or low cost counselling for young people and their families.
- Student Welfare