Guidelines for communications between home and college
Newton Abbot College aims to foster an environment of inclusivity in which parent participation is encouraged. Our primary concern and our first priority is the well-being and education of all our students. We recognise that communication between students, parents and staff is an important part of education and we are committed to providing respectful and honest communication with parents.
Our aim is to ensure that all communications and discussions about students and their families are positive and move matters forward in a mutually respectful manner.
If an emergency situation arises, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible and explain what has or is happening.
Our communication commitment to you:
Newton Abbot College will:
- ensure that there is regular, proactive communication about your child’s achievement and wellbeing
- display polite, professional conduct at all times
- acknowledge receipt of an email – and confirm that a fuller response will be sent within two working days.
- ensure an appropriate member of staff is found by the school Receptionist to deal with any urgent matters as soon as possible
To ensure that all communication between home and college is positive, we ask parents, carers and guardians to follow the guidelines below when communicating with the college. For the purpose of these guidelines, communication means telephone, email, written and face to face communication.
Guidelines for communication with Newton Abbot College
- Communication with college staff is important and encouraged. We would like to hear of anything that you think will help us support your child and provide them with the best possible educational experience we can.
- Good communication is the result of parents/carers, staff and students working together, in partnership. We recognise our commitment in this and will endeavour to always communicate with parents/carers in a timely, appropriate and sensitive manner.
- Communication should be respectful, honest and courteous at all times. It should also be measured, proportionate and rational.
- Phone calls are most appropriate for immediate or urgent concerns. Parents are advised to contact the college reception on 01626 367335 or by email on email@example.com for time sensitive issues. Please be aware that it may not be possible to make telephone contact with your child’s tutor or teacher during the college day due to their teaching commitments.
- Email or letter is suitable for non-urgent concerns.
- When emailing, we ask that you ensure your emails are brief and clear, and refrain from sending multiple emails regarding the same query. In the interests of GDPR, you should also limit the number of people you email about a query
- All our staff will do their utmost to reply to an email/letter within 48 hours of receiving it and we would ask that parents/carers recognise that in that window staff will have teaching commitments, meetings and roles within school that will not allow them to reply immediately. Parents are asked to bear in mind that the non-student time immediately preceding and following the college day is used for lesson preparation, marking, assessment, staff meetings, scheduled appointments, training and professional development. Therefore, for an immediate response, please use the telephone number/email detailed above.
- It is not always possible to address all concerns immediately as there may be an investigation to undertake, or conversations to be had, however, in these situations, a ‘holding’ email will be sent so you know your communication has been received and is being acted upon.
- The college has a duty of care to its staff to protect them from intimidatory, threatening, vexatious or aggressive communication. Any communication determined to be of this nature will be stopped/not responded to and the Headteacher will make contact to set out guidelines for future communication.
- Communications that are deemed to be parental concerns/complaints will be acknowledged as such and will be dealt with according to the college’s complaints procedures. These complaints procedures are available on the college website. We take all concerns seriously and will seek to resolve them as soon as possible and without the need to escalate through the stages of the policy.
- Communications that are considered inappropriate, in tone or content, may be passed to a more senior member of staff who may well respond to the communication, rather than the member of staff to whom the communication was addressed.
- The college retains the right to ask a parent/member of the public to communicate only through one named contact amongst the college staff – for example if previous communications have been inappropriate in tone/content or are becoming unreasonable in frequency, number or the demands made.
- In all circumstances, unreasonable, abusive or offensive communication is unacceptable, and the school reserves the right to address any such problems as they feel are appropriate. This can include restricting correspondence to a specified email address, using a single person as a point of contact or using hard copy post and/or by placing restrictions on phone calls. Parents and carers have an implied licence to enter a school site, in cases where behaviour is inappropriate, threatening or argumentative, this licence can be revoked.
- When seeking to meet face-to-face with a member of staff, a parent/member of the public should always contact by telephone and seek to make an appointment with that member of staff. It is almost certainly NOT possible for a member of staff to make themselves instantly available to a parent/member of public who has reported unannounced to the college premises/reception.
- If there is an in-person meeting, everyone must show mutual respect. The meeting will focus on resolving the issues that are relevant to that family or student.
- No offensive language, insults or personal attacks on school staff will be tolerated. If any such incidents occur, the meeting or call will be terminated with immediate effect.
- A parent, carer or student may only record a meeting or conversation with the express permission of all parties to that call or meeting. We would ask that at all times you show our staff the same level of respect and courtesy that you would wish to be shown to you or your family. Our staff are very hardworking and well-meaning and undoubtedly share your desire for the very best for your child/our student. Our staff are also very busy professionals with limited time and capacity. Please be understanding and reasonable in your communications with us.
- Should a parent at the college also be a member of the Newton Abbot College staff, it is in their role as a parent that these communication guidelines must be applied when addressing concerns that relate to their child.
- The college encourages parents to contact their child’s tutor as a first point of contact. Depending on the nature of the concern, it may also be appropriate to contact your child’s Head of Learning. Concerns of an academic nature can also be shared with the Subject Team Leader, if subject specific.