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Staff handbook

Staff handbook


1. Mission statement
2. Asher profile
3. Individual attention
4. Academic results
5. Diversity
6. Expectations
7. Key college policies
8. Academic expectations, procedures and protocols
9. Exams and mock exams

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1. Mission statement
Ashbourne’s mission is to be the most desirable destination for A level students in London by:

  • Attracting highly motivated individuals with an ‘Asher Profile’, who aspire to achieve academic excellence within their potential through a balanced and well-rounded education. Ashbourne wishes to achieve this by respecting the best academic traditions of independent education whilst meeting young people’s need for encouraged autonomy and self-reliance;
  • Delivering inspirational and innovative education whilst providing a learning experience that is personalised and tailored to the individual needs of each student. Ashbourne is distinct from a formal, traditional school. Working mostly with students at A level and final year GCSE, we promise small class sizes to ensure students achieve their aspirations in a friendly, informal, international and disciplined college;
  • Recruiting and retaining staff with an Asher Profile (a will to win and a relentless ambition to improve): rewarding them with competitive remuneration and working conditions to encourage and support their professional development;
  • Achieving a level of profitability that will sustain and enhance the college and provide adequate returns to shareholders’ investment.

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2. Asher Profile
An Asher is an individual who epitomises the spirit and values of Ashbourne. Ashers are proactive and motivated in all they do. They are ambitious in their chosen field, always striving for excellence through hard work and unwavering in trying their best. They are independent and self-reliant team players, always prepared to lend a hand and go the extra mile to help others. They are courteous, honest, trustworthy, self-accountable and most importantly, committed to treating people fairly at all times. Ashbourne recruits and retains staff with this Asher mentality and rewards them with competitive salaries and working conditions, providing our genuine investment in our employees’ professional development.

Sophie Smith, who is a former student and member of staff at Ashbourne, says:
“An Asher is someone who is enthusiastic, curious and kind; someone who is quick to help and excited to learn. I look back very fondly at my time at Ashbourne and look forward to seeing smiling faces when I come to work.”

We encourage our students to be independent and self-reliant both academically and personally. There are three aspects in particular that we take pride in, which are: individual attention, academic results and diversity.

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3. Individual attention
Our governing ethos has always been to answer the individual needs of students through providing high quality tuition and pastoral care. Each student receives personal attention and guidance at every stage of their development, primarily through our Personal Tutoring Scheme. The college strives to create a friendly and informal atmosphere where students refer to teachers by their first names, and our class numbers rarely exceed more than 10 students. This enhances student and staff engagement, communication and understanding. Ashbourne is very hands-on and complements the excellent relations between staff and students with the proactive insistence on high academic standards.

4. Academic results
Ashbourne is among the top performing private A level colleges in London ranking either number 1 or number 2 in the London league tables for private colleges. Over the last ten years Ashbourne students have achieved, on average, 52% A/A* for A level and more than 50% are now at Russell Group Universities.  Ultimately this is a result of the entire college body working together to support Ashbourne’s mission and reflects the quality of our students, teachers and operations team.

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5. Diversity
Ashbourne is attractive to international students for many reasons; chief among these are the welcoming atmosphere, the extensive range of subjects offered and the overall quality of education that keeps our inflow of oversees students so strong and consistent. Forty per cent of Ashbourne’s students are from overseas, representing up to 40 different nationalities. As a result of this there is vast diversity in the different personalities, ambitions and interests making Ashbourne a very exciting place to work and study.
The diversity applies to our staff as well with Ashbourne staff coming from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures.

6. Expectations
We ask that all staff and students support Ashbourne’s mission with a proactive and positive approach. Beyond fulfilling the duty of the employee’s specific role, we expect that all staff members meet behavioural expectations of Ashbourne and understand the responsibility to guide the students to do the same. We therefore ask that all members of the team familiarise themselves with our Code of Conduct, outlined in this handbook, to ensure they feel confident in the delivery and relaying of our behavioural expectations.

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7. Key college policies
7.1 Child Protection and Safeguarding
7.2 Staff Code of Conduct
7.3 Whistleblowing
7.4 Acceptable Use of ICT and e-Safety
7.5 Student Behaviour and Exclusions
7.6 Missing Child
7.7 Health and Safety
7.8 Data Protection
7.9 Equal Opportunities
7.10 Anti-bullying

7.1 Child protection and safeguarding
It is surprising how many of our students have a special need of one sort or another. Most of the time these are low level concerns such as anxiety but occasionally they extend to more severe issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, abuse, sexual or otherwise, and depression. Ashbourne has been quite successful in supporting such students largely because we respect the challenges they may be facing, constantly reviewing their situation, offering counselling where necessary and liaising with appropriate officials. Our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy DSLs (DDSL) have a significant role to play in this regard.

7.1.1 DSL and DDSL
DSL: Frances Burns
DDSL: Lee Kirby
DDSL: Mike Kirby

All staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children learn.

7.1.2 Early help, the DSL and the referral process
You should identify children who may benefit from early help to deal with possible child protection and safeguarding concerns and issues and understand how the referral process works. In particular you should speak directly with the DSL.

7.1.3 Abuse
From our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy you should be aware of the various types of abuse and how they might be identified.

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Neglect
  • Child criminal exploitation
  • Child on Child/Peer on peer abuse
  • Serious violence
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)

7.1.4 Mental health
Although proper treatment of mental health issues should be left to professionals, you should also be aware of signs of a problem and alert the DSL if you have any concerns.

7.1.5 Watchfulness
It is important that everyone act as ‘if it could happen here’. Common points of failure to deal properly with safeguarding concerns are:

  • Failing to act and refer early signs of abuse
  • Failing to listen
  • Failure to share information or sharing too slowly
  • Failure to challenge the college or the local authority if the concern persists.

7.1.6 Safeguarding concerns about other members of staff
You will find various protocols depending on which members of staff are concerned in the college’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.

7.1.7 Safeguarding concerns about the college
If you do not think that the college is dealing properly with issues of safeguarding you might contact an external organisation such as the Local Authority.

7.1.8 How to report a concern
For safeguarding concerns which are not emergencies you may use our FileMaker system to make this known to the DSL or talk to the DSL yourself. In the rare event of an emergency, you may contact the LCSB (Local Children’s Safeguarding Board) yourself but, of course, you must still inform the DSL.

7.1.9 Record keeping
In the absence of a referral to the DSL, a child might confide in you. It is important to keep comprehensive notes should a child disclose a concern to you. You must never promise confidentiality and, as far as possible, listen without judgement.

7.1.10 Keeping children safe in education
The Government’s statutory guidance on this is called Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE); you are required by statute to be familiar with Part 1 of this document but should read through it all each year. You will find a copy in the appendix.

7.1.11 The golden rules of safeguarding
R – Legal duty to REPORT crimes and serious safeguarding concerns.
U – UNDERSTAND who the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)and Safeguarding Team are.
L – LOG all safeguarding concerns in writing, using the secure system.
E – ENSURE you follow up concerns; it is a legal obligation.
S – SAFEGUARDING trumps everything, including data protection.

7.1.12 The role of the DSL
All the applications of students to the college must be vetted by the DSL to ensure that:

  1. Any safeguarding issues are properly investigated;
  2. As required, ensuring that the college has the appropriate resources to deal with any safeguarding issues or has the capacity to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure the best possible provision of education;
  3. Because of vulnerabilities often present, any SEND issues present are analysed from a safeguarding perspective.

If there are safeguarding concerns the DSL will liaise with the previous school in order to arrange a transfer of the safeguarding file. The DSL will also make contact with any relevant professionals or agencies who may have relevant information.

The DSL will interview students with safeguarding issues to ensure they know where to turn for support and classify their concern level on a scale for 0 to 4, 0 being no concern and 4 requiring a referral to Children’s Social Care (CSC).

The DSL will liaise with teachers to open a line of communication should the teachers have any new information or concerns.

The DSL will meet with each of these students throughout the year, the frequency depending on the seriousness of the concern.

7.1.13 Education
Next to dealing directly with students who are a safeguarding concern, the DSL’s primary role is to educate students and staff about important, current safeguarding issues. These include contextual safeguarding concerns such as mental health, peer-on-peer abuse, online safety and cyber bullying. The DSL is able to educate because of opportunities provided by PSHEE classes for year 11, PT classes for year 12 and 13 and at plenary meetings of Heads of Faculties and Personal Tutors.

7.1.14 Training
Aside from ensuring that they are constantly up to date with current safeguarding legislation and guidance, the DSL also must ensure that new employees complete safeguarding training upon joining and existing staff are retrained each with particular regard to KCSIE.

7.1.15 Referrals
Should a safeguarding concern become critical because of strong evidence, the DSL will refer to CSC, Channel or another relevant agency as appropriate. Referrals typically include concerns or instances of physical or sexual abuse and assault, suspected radicalisation or suspected abuse by member of staff.

7.1.16 Information
The DSL will ensure that important information about safeguarding is made available to all members of the Ashbourne community, staff, students and parents. They will ensure that the communication and storage of personal data complies with GDPR, bearing in mind that data protection is always a secondary consideration compared to the welfare of children. They will keep accurate, up-to-date records of all safeguarding concerns and liaise with appropriate agencies, schools and professionals to support the welfare of our students and staff.

The DSL will ensure that knowledge of safeguarding is made available to parents, staff, students and prospective students and parents.

The DSL will review the policy and its implementation in a formal meeting with the safeguarding team at the end of each academic year.

7.1.17 Ashbourne College Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedure

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7.2. Staff code of conduct
The policy sets out to clarify the legal position in relationships between staff and students and staff and parents. For example, two of the issues dealt with are the proper use of force and the prohibition of intimate physical relations between staff and students. It sets out expectations and standards and confirms professional responsibilities. You are obliged to read this through prior to commencing employment with us but we have summarised below some of the important issues found there.

Most sexual activity involving a person under the age of 16 (male or female) is an indecent assault which is both a criminal offence and a matter for which damages can be awarded. This is so, even when the younger person is alleged to have provoked or encouraged the activity.

7.2.1 Staff and student relations
Although rare, occasionally the relationship between teacher and student becomes strained emotionally. For example, a student’s overweening seeking of affection, a student’s persistent grudge, a student’s overt sexual flirtation or vindictiveness leading to false or malicious accusations against a member of staff. In such circumstances you should alert the DSL at your earliest convenience, always keeping a record of circumstances surrounding the case. You should familiarise yourself with the section on allegations against staff found in our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and be aware of general procedures found in this policy.

7.2.2 General conduct

  • Smoking, alcohol and drugs – You should be aware of our policies for each of these, in particular our reservation of the right to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs. These reflect our tough but fair outlook, which underpins the seriousness with which we treat our educational ambitions.Neither smoking nor the consumption of alcohol is permitted anywhere within the college premises.It is a criminal offence to use, possess or deal in any controlled substances and anyone found through the Disciplinary Procedure to be involved in any of these activities, whether during or outside working hours, will normally be dismissed for gross misconduct.For more detail please refer to: the Alcohol and Smoking Policy and the Drugs and Substances Policy.
  • School property – You must report any weaknesses in our physical infrastructure and necessary repairs to our Site Manager. Of course, you should always leave your classroom tidy after any lesson.
  • Use of premises – You must obtain consent should you wish to use the premises outside of scheduled classes or for purposes other than official college business.
  • Good order and discipline – You are not expected to resist physically any student who is behaving in an aggressive, destructive or abusive way. You must report such to your line manager or another senior member of staff and the DSL. For example, it would be grossly unprofessional not to report a child in possession of alcohol or drugs.
  • One-to-one meetings – You should restrict the time required to that necessary to achieve the purpose of the meeting.Avoid any unnecessary physical contact or conduct which might be taken as a sexual advance. Apologise in the case of any accidental physical contact and always report any such incidents.
  • Meetings outside college – These should not take place without the prior consent of your line manager or a senior member of staff.
  • Language – Unless necessary, avoid words with sexual innuendo and always avoid the use of gratuitous sarcasm. Of course, you must never swear.
  • Dress – We encourage all staff to dress in a ‘smart but casual’ way.
  • Force and physical restraint – Corporal punishment is illegal; you may use ‘reasonable force’ to prevent a student harming, or threatening to harm, themselves or others, whether inside the classroom or not.Before intervening, you should strive to tell the student that unless they desist from such behaviour you will apply physical force but will stop when they stop whatever questionable activity.Self-defence is permissible provided a minimum use of force.There is no legal definition of reasonable force except to say that it is the minimum required to achieve its aim.
  • Physical contact in other circumstances – You may use your professional judgement when considering comforting a child in distress or applying first aid for example. You should note that children who have suffered abuse may be particularly sensitive to the application of any force.All children have a right to privacy, for example in changing rooms at the gym.
  • Contact with student outside of school – In general you should avoid communicating except for obvious purposes such as dealing with a homework assignment. You should certainly not give out or seek any contact details and not engage with students using social media.When engaged with students outside of school you should always be accompanied by another adult; if this is not possible you should clear such activities with the 
DSL.All activities need some form of parental consent, risk assessment and clearance from the Director of Studies.
  • Confidentiality – You must never reveal the contact details, or indeed any other confidential information, of any member of the Ashbourne community to anyone else. If asked you should always refer to the Head of Administration.
  • Photographing and videoing students – All staff and students sign a ‘marketing and photography privacy notice’ which asks for their consent (which may be withheld) for the college to use images captured in day-to-day activities for promotional purposes. Regardless, we would always seek consent again from any student or staff member who would appear in such a photograph.Nevertheless, staff are not permitted to take photographs or make videos of students without the college’s consent (and of course the student’s consent).
  • Inappropriate material – You must not provide students with any inappropriate material such as pornography or literature supporting extremism; if you discover any student or another member of staff in possession of such you must report immediately to the DSL.
  • Gifts – All gifts with a value great than £100 must be reported to the Director of Studies but, to avoid any suspicion of favouritism, you are advised to report all gifts.

7.2.3 Use of Language other than English
Ashbourne is an international college with around 50% of its students coming from countries outside of the United Kingdom. We therefore encourage students to speak English at all times, even when conversing with others from their own country, as it helps them improve their language skills and, more importantly, prevents other students from feeling alienated when around them.

7.2.4 Ashbourne College Staff Code of Conduct Policy

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7.3. Whistleblowing
It is possible that you may become concerned about the behaviour of one of your colleagues, management or senior management. This could be a concern about fraud, unlawful or unethical abusive behaviour. It is important to know:

  • What to do;
  • That the college will support any member of staff who raises such a concern.

In general, you should communicate your concern to the DSL although there are slight variations depending on who is involved, including a concern about the conduct of the college itself. For more information, please refer to the Whistleblowing Policy found on our website (link below).

7.3.1 Duty of Disclosure
You are required immediately to notify Ashbourne College if you are charged or convicted of any criminal offence, if you receive a police caution, reprimand or warning, or if there is a formal child protection investigation of you or any member of your household under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 as amended.

7.3.2 Ashbourne College Whistleblowing Policy

7.4. Acceptable Use of ICT and E-Safety
All teachers must read both of these policies and sign the Acceptable Use Notice to acknowledge their understanding of the critical issues surrounding technology and their support for keeping the college secure.

There are several areas of concern:

  • Security of passwords and usernames
  • Security of our entire information system against malware and spam
  • Security against fraud
  • Data protection in general but especially in relation to the use of social media
  • Cyber security including cyber-bullying and grooming for sexual and terrorist purposes

You should be familiar with the following related policies:

7.5. Student behaviour
A student may misbehave at levels 1, 2 or 3. Level 1 offences are minor and include such examples as minor classroom disruptions, lateness to class, poor quality or untimely submission of homework or both. We expect you to note such using the behaviour share tool on the college’s FileMaker system. This will reach the student’s Personal Tutor.

Level 2 offences are repeated incidences of level 1 offences. In this case you should inform the Personal Tutor and Director of Studies. They will then arrange a disciplinary meeting with the student and inform you of the outcome.

Level 3 offences are those which may lead to exclusion. Examples are gross misconduct such as bringing prohibited drugs onto the premises or the failure of a level 2 meeting to achieve an improvement in behaviour.

7.5.1 Ashbourne College Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy

7.6. Missing Child Policy
The welfare of all children at the college is our paramount concern. Everyone who works here has been trained to appreciate that they have a responsibility to ensure that children are safe. Where staff have a concern that a child is missing from college the Missing Child Policy should be followed.

As you know Ashbourne monitors attendance rigorously every 2 hours (i.e. sometime during each double period throughout the day). If late, students must obtain a late slip from reception and all attendance must be recorded within 5 minutes of the start of any lesson. All unauthorised absences (UAs) will be telephoned by our Attendance Officer who will note the reasons for absences on our FileMaker system.

We also ensure the physical security of the premises through the use of security cameras, keypad entry to all buildings, insisting that all students and staff wear a lanyard and patrolling the premises four times throughout each day.

7.6.1 Trips and outings
This entails special arrangements whose details are found in our Risk Assessment for Educational Visits Policy. If a child goes missing the following procedure should be adopted:

  1. Take a head count to ensure no other students are missing
  2. An adult should search the vicinity
  3. Inform the DSL
    • DSL to inform parents
    • DSL to contact police
    • DSL to inform LSCB and LADO
  4. Return other students to college

7.6.2 Action in the case of poor or irregular attendance
We will inform the Local Authority if a child attends irregularly or is absent without permission for a continuous period of 10 school days.

7.6.3 Action in the case that a child goes missing from college

  • Check with a friend
  • Check with Attendance Officer
  • Call student’s mobile.

7.6.4 Ashbourne College Missing Child Policy

7.7. Health and safety
Ashbourne places the greatest importance on health and safety and encourages all employees to participate in developing and practising safe working practice and have regard for the welfare of themselves and others. We all have a responsibility for health and safety.

7.7.1 Health and safety responsibilities
The Health and Safety Officer and delegates are responsible for overseeing health and safety issues at the college, in particular the manager for premises and IT.

7.7.2 Management and supervision
All staff with a responsibility for managing health and safety at the college, in particular our Senior Leadership Team (STL), Directors of Studies, Heads of Faculties and Personal Tutors, must promote positive attitudes to health and safety.

7.7.3 Duties of all staff

  • Report all accidents;
  • Be familiar with all emergency procedures including fire, lockdown and critical incidents;
  • Know the location of all first aid boxes, fire points and fire-fighting equipment;
  • Be familiar with our health and safety policy;
  • Practise good housekeeping;
  • Prevent injury to themselves and others;
  • When reaching for objects at a great height make sure you use available ladders and do not over-reach.

7.7.4 Fire safety

  • If you see a fire, sound the alarm;
  • If safe to do so, attempt to control the fire, possibly seeking assistance;
  • Memorise the location of the fire points and fire-fighting equipment;
  • Keep work areas as free of waste as possible.

7.7.5 Evacuation

  • Switch off equipment as appropriate;
  • If safe to do so, close windows and doors;
  • Leave the building by the nearest exit; do not run; use handrails; do not collect personal belongings.

7.7.6 Fire wardens
In each building a fire warden will sweep the premises and take a roll.

7.7.7 Electrical safety

  • You should never touch any electrical equipment when wet;
  • Always disconnect electrical equipment before moving;
  • Never attempt to repair without authorisation;
  • Always switch off after use;
  • Electrical power cables, in particular laptop chargers, should never lay across any area where others may walk.

7.7.8 Working with computer screens

  • Adapt furniture to suit your body;
  • Make allowances for natural light;
  • Relax periodically by looking into the distance;
  • Exercise with moderate stretching from time to time.

7.7.9 Smoking
There is no smoking allowed anywhere on our premises.

7.7.10 Personal protective equipment (PPE) and labs
Especially in labs, you must wear the PPE supplied and ensure that it is properly looked after. You should check that the equipment supplied is present and in good order prior to commencing any experiment.

7.7.11 Security and lanyards
All of Ashbourne’s premises are covered by a receptionist who will refuse admission to our premises of any person who is not wearing a lanyard (guests must sign in to receive a visitor’s lanyard). If they are not wearing a lanyard and can identify themselves, the receptionist will issue a temporary lanyard. It is therefore essential that all members of staff wear their lanyard and that they refuse admission to class of any student who is not wearing a lanyard. Before admitting them, we ask that you send such students to reception to obtain a temporary lanyard.

As an additional measure of security against intruders and for fire safety, one of the members of our premises team patrols the premises once every two hours. Naturally, should you encounter any person who does not ‘belong’ you should report this immediately.

7.7.12 Ashbourne College Health and Safety Policy

7.8. Data protection
Staff should be aware of the rights set out in our Data Protection Policy and summarised in their Privacy Notice for Data Protection. Any individuals about whom they record information on college business (notably in emails and notes) whether digitally or in hard copy files, may have the right to see that information. This absolutely must not discourage staff from recording necessary and sometimes difficult incidents or conversations involving colleagues or students, in accordance with the college’s other policies. Occasionally there may be grounds to withhold these from such requests. However, the starting position is to record every document or email in a form they would be prepared to stand by should the person, about whom it is recorded, ask to see it.

7.8.1 Data handling
All staff have a responsibility to handle the personal data they come in contact with fairly, lawfully, responsibly and securely, in accordance with relevant college policies and procedures. In particular there are data protection implications across a number of areas of the college’s wider responsibilities, such as safeguarding and IT security. All staff should read and comply with the following policies:

7.8.2 Reporting, mitigating and avoiding data breaches
Certain types of data breach must be reported to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) within 72 hours. In addition, data controllers must notify individuals affected if the breach is likely to result in ‘high risk’ to their rights and freedoms. The college must keep a record of any personal data breaches; if staff become aware of any personal data breaches they must inform the college’s Lead Compliance Officer.

7.8.3 Care and data security
Data handlers must always consider what is the most assured and secure means of delivery and what the consequences would be of loss or unauthorised access. The college must ensure appropriate security against unlawful processing of personal data and against the accidental loss of or damage to person data.

  • No member of staff is permitted to remove personal data from the college premises in whatever form without consent.
  • If agreed, and data is removed on a memory stick, it should be encrypted.
  • No member of staff should provide personal data of pupils, parents or other members of staff to third parties without consent.
  • Use of personal email accounts or unencrypted personal devices for college business is forbidden.

7.9. Equal opportunities
Ashbourne is committed to equal opportunities. A full statement of our policy may be found on our website however we highlight below some of the important elements for staff.

Ashbourne strives to ensure that those employees with protected characteristics are treated fairly. The protected characteristics include: pregnancy and maternity, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, marital or civil partnership status, and religion. It also tries to ensure that those with disabilities are treated fairly and will implement reasonable adjustments to its delivery to accommodate their needs.

7.9.1 Equal opportunities must apply to:

  • Recruitment
  • Promotion and training opportunities
  • Benefits and conditions of employment
  • Grievance and discipline
  • Termination of employment and redundancy

7.9.2 Promoting equal opportunities
Generally, through our programmes of Personal Safety Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) at year 11 and Personal Tutoring for year 12, we actively promote the rights of all, including those with disabilities and protected characteristics. We would always want to encourage any employee who believe they are being treated unfairly to come forward without fear of recrimination. We will investigate any complaint promptly. Management and staff have a particularly important role to play to ensure that equal opportunity is a living reality at the college.

7.9.3 Types of discrimination
Members of staff should familiarise themselves with the different types of discrimination: direct, indirect, harassment and victimisation which are found in Ashbourne’s Equal Opportunities Policy.

7.9.4 Part-time staff
Part-time and fixed-term staff should be treated the same as comparable full-time or permanent staff and enjoy no less favourable terms and conditions (on a pro-rata basis where appropriate), unless different treatment is justified.

7.9.5 Breaches of the Equal Opportunities Policy
We take a strict approach to breaches of this policy, which will be dealt with in accordance with our Disciplinary Procedure. Serious cases of discrimination may amount to gross misconduct resulting in dismissal.

If you believe that you have been the subject of discrimination you can raise the matter informally in accordance with the Anti-Bullying Policy, or formally through our Grievance Procedure. Complaints will be treated in confidence and investigated as appropriate.

There must be no victimisation or retaliation against staff who complain about discrimination. However, making a false allegation deliberately and in bad faith will be treated as misconduct and dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.

7.9.6 Related policies
Staff should also be familiar with related policies:

7.9.7 Ashbourne College Equal Opportunities Policy

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7.10. Dignity at work and anti-bullying
7.10.1 Anti-bullying and harassment; dignity at work
Staff should be in no doubt that the college does not tolerate any form of bullying or harassment and should familiarise themselves with our Anti-Bullying Policy which deals with the various types of bullying or harassment. If they wish to take formal action against bullying behaviour, they may proceed through the Grievance Policy for staff.

7.10.2 Ashbourne College Anti-bullying Policy

8. Academic expectations, procedures and protocols
8.1. Registers, attendance
Teachers are expected to complete their registers within the first five minutes of class. It is highly important that they are taken punctually to comply with our Health and Safety regulations and so that any late attendances are acknowledged fairly. We request that teachers should not leave their registers or database open and unattended when students are in the room.

8.1.1 Ashbourne College Attendance Policy

8.2. Year 11 and children of compulsory school age
For students of compulsory school age, taking attendance for the first session of the morning and afternoon is an essential duty; failure to implement this condemns any school or college to failure upon inspection.

8.3. Children missing in education
In a similar vein, it is a critical duty for us to report any student who has missed 20 consecutive school days without authorisation or has not returned to school after 10 days from an authorised absence. In the case of international students this could lead to the revoking of their study visa and failure to report such unexplained extended absences will not be welcomed by the UKVI, which is the authority that grants Ashbourne its license to sponsor study visas for international students.

8.4. Reporting late arrival
If a student arrives to their lesson late, they should not be allowed to join the class until they have reported to reception. On the student register they must be shown as late using option ‘L’.

8.5. Food and drink in class
Students often go out of college during breaks, sometimes to buy food and drink as they are allowed to have hot and cold drinks during class. However, there is a strict policy against bringing hot food into the college, and cold food should not be eaten during class time, unless it’s required under their individual health circumstances.

8.6. Lanyard and ID policy
Both attendance and lanyard policies are vital to oversight and security. All students, staff and visitors must wear lanyards suspended from their necks; no one should be allowed into the college without a lanyard, even if of temporary issuance.

8.6.1 Lanyards are colour-coded:

  • Black – staff
  • Red – visitors
  • Blue – senior students
  • Purple – students of compulsory school age

8.6.2 Best practice
Challenge anyone on the premises without a lanyard.
8.6.3 Ashbourne College Lanyard and ID Policy
Lanyard and ID Policy

8.7. Academic
Educational research has revealed a few things that have the greatest impact on children’s learning. They are:

  • Good teaching
  • Assessment
  • Feedback
  • Active learning
  • Homework

Interestingly class size is not considered to be a significant factor, nor is streaming.
If students are not thinking, they are not learning, may be considered as one of our mantras.

Among schools and colleges in the country offering A levels, Ashbourne consistently ranks in the top 5% for value added. Ashbourne’s students exceed the achievements of other schools with the same GCSE grades. It is our goal is to continue to improve upon this achievement.

8.8. Teachers’ standards and appraisals
The Government publishes guidance, a copy of which you will find the in the appendix at the end of this document. This is an excellent guide, sets a standard to which all may aspire and will be used in any appraisal of your work.

8.9. The Ofsted Framework
In addition to standards of teaching, the college’s delivery will also be measured against this guidance which provides the basis for all inspections. A link to this guidance can be found in the appendix at the end of this document.

8.10. Expectations in the classroom

  • Teachers must confidently and assertively address any students who breach classroom rules such as: inappropriate language, derogatory comments towards fellow pupils or teachers, use of mobile phone in class, eating in class or possessing any banned substances on college premises such as alcohol or drugs.
  • Teachers must provide a safe and nurturing environment within the classroom by treating all students with respect and providing the necessary attention required so that they are comfortable and confident with the material that is being covered.
  • Teachers must ensure that all students are wearing their student ID lanyards at all times, both in the classroom and around the college.
  • If a teacher feels that a student is falling behind on their homework or classwork, they have permission to request that student to catch up the work in a free period.
  • Teachers must not threaten or attempt to suspend or expel students; if a teacher believes this is a necessary implication, they must notify the student’s Personal Tutor with a body of evidence and reasoning to support this belief.
  • Teachers must not reprimand students physically unless it’s the only option through which they can protect the safety of themselves or others, and then only with reasonable and controlled force.
  • Teachers must not contact students’ parents directly without consulting and receiving approved confirmation from their Personal Tutor.
  • Teachers must not informally refer to inappropriate or sensitive subjects outside of the professional bounds of their subject material.
  • Teachers must not bring illegal substances onto the premises of Ashbourne or have alcohol on their person at college outside of in-house events where alcohol is provided.
  • Teachers must not scrutinise, criticise or project personal opinions towards the personality, beliefs, religion or lifestyle of students in class.
  • All members of staff are responsible for leaving rooms in a fit and proper state. Please be mindful of simple but effective practice, including: cleaning the whiteboard at the end of a lesson, ensuring chairs are tucked under tables and all match in colour, replacing any moved furniture and removing any used mugs/drinking vessels when leaving the room.

8.11. Lesson plans
We expect teachers to take an organised and proactive approach to thoughtful lesson planning, allocating time before term begins to ensure the correct curriculum content is relayed using effective strategies and at the correct pace. Each lesson plan should outline a clear learning objective that can be tested at the end of the lesson. There should also be a form of testing students’ foundational and new acquired knowledge throughout the lesson, which should involve some time dedicated to independent work. Teachers are also expected to ensure students are aware of assessment objectives and therefore are able to reformulate their expanded knowledge in line with the expectations of the exam boards.

8.12. Lesson format
Students are expected to be in the classroom and ready to work on the hour of their class time. A 10-minute break should commence after 50 minutes, during which students are expected to spend their time wisely, fetching water or visiting the bathroom if needed. They can spend their break times in or out of the classroom, and it’s only during this time period that they are permitted to use their mobile phones inside their lesson room. However, when class recommences on the hour, they must turn their phones on silent and put them away out of sight and reach. The class will then continue for another 50 minutes, finishing at 10 minutes to the next hour.

8.13. Homework
Prep should be set and received on a weekly basis, with a flexibility allowed depending on the size and time requirement for the task. Homework should be returned back to students with a mark and feedback within a week. Ashbourne tutors commonly use Google classroom to upload homework instructions.

8.14. Reports
Teachers write reports for their students four times a year: at the end of HT1, HT2, HT3 and HT4. This will include providing a current working grade, a target grade and towards the end of the year a predicted grade. Within the report teachers must reflect upon the student’s personal and academic progress within that particular subject, referring directly to their work ethic, quality of homework, punctuality, level of engagement and participation in class, as well as reflecting upon their Mock Grade result. The reports should be honest but encouraging, outlining areas to improve upon but also areas of accomplishment.

Additionally, after their Mock Exams, Year 12 and Year 13 students will carry out a self-report analysing their result and outlining how they intend to improve and practically go about accomplishing these goals.

8.14.1 Working grade (WG)
The working grade is designed to give a parent an ‘at-a-glance’ idea of how the student is currently performing. Based on evidence obtained from preps, coursework and tests, on the topics covered so far, the working grades are the grades that the subject teachers and Heads of Faculty judge are likely to be achieved at the end of this academic year by the pupil if they continue to work at the current level. The working grade may go up and down throughout the year and should be the most important performance indicator for parents.

It is important to note that, especially at an early stage in the course, we expect the working grades to be below final grade achieved. Data from ALIS and YELIS may be useful when listing initial working grades.

8.14.2 Target grade (TG)
The target grades are not predicted grades but are based on what teachers believe a student should be aiming to achieve by the end of this academic year. Target grades could and should change throughout the year and will normally be at least a grade higher than the working grade.  ALIS and YELIS again can be used for target grades.

8.14.3 UCAS and predicted grades (PG)
The predicted grade is what the teacher believes is the most likely final grade to be achieved by the student by the end of this academic year. This is a professional judgement. It should not necessarily be based on the outcome of a single mock exam but should be a realistic prediction based on the relationship between teacher and student.

Year 13 Personal Tutors will use the PG for UCAS purposes although they will be allowed flexibility to alter the predicted grade if, in their opinion, it is in the best interests of the student or the college to do so. For example, the PT may elevate the predicted grade by one grade (say from B to A) to ensure the student has a target to work towards, that they are made an offer to aspire to or to give them the opportunity of attending a more prestigious university. The onus will be on the student to demonstrate they have earned this flexibility.

Therefore Year 12 grades should reflect performance, targets and predicted outcomes for Year 12 (AS) examinations and not their final A level results. Past performance must be taken into consideration. In some cases, a student may have scored very highly in previous examinations but be struggling with one current unit or module. This is common in Maths when a student has a high score from five of six units but is struggling in the sixth.

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9. Exams and mock exams
9.1. Mock exams
Mock exams always take place during the penultimate week of the first four half-terms. They are held in the classroom of the timetabled lesson, with the exception of HT4 Mock Week. During this week all mock exams, excluding practical Art subjects, will take place in the location where the students will sit their official exams in the Summer. We see these examinations as a crucial step to help students prepare for the May and June examinations. During this week students will not have classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is compulsory that any students who fail to complete their mocks on these dates must attend on the Saturday immediately following mock exam week to sit their test.

9.2. Official examinations
9.2.1 Admin for student exam entries
The first stage of submitting students’ exam entries begins when teachers receive a list of their Year 13 subject students, who have been allocated with the paper references they are expected to sit. Teachers must either confirm these details with a tick next to the candidate name or use a cross to withdraw them from the paper allocated to them. This will then be sent back to the Examinations Officer (EO) who will process the information and at a later date, send out the official exam entry forms to teachers to fill out and distribute to their students. Teachers must please support students when filling out their forms by checking the exam paper references and other details are correct before handing them back to the EO before the deadline.

9.2.2 Internal end of Year 12 examinations
For certain AS Linear qualifications, our students will sit Ashbourne internal exams. These students will not be entered for the actual exams with the exam boards but will do question papers prepared by the subject teachers.

We treat internal Year 12 examinations exactly the same as the official AS examinations. These exams are not mock exams and will be the student’s end of year grades, which will determine if they should continue with the subject and also their ability to progress to Year 13. Results of internal Year 12 examinations will also be used as a key determining factor for university predicted grades and, therefore, we require students to prepare for these examinations in the same way that they would official AS examinations.

According to the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) regulations, Year 12 internal exams may not take place at the same exam hall as official examinations.

Teachers must moderate Year 12 internal exams as a department to ensure that marks are entirely in line with the band descriptions and assessment objectives prescribed by the exam board. Grades must reflect what students would get if these were real exams.

9.2.3 Individual tuition
Ashbourne can provide extra tuition sessions during term time, Summer Holidays and Easter Holidays to accommodate the individual needs of our students. These sessions are arranged by our Head of Administration, Hien Nguyen; however, if students wish to arrange individual tuition, they must firstly consult the Director of Studies. Teachers are not permitted to arrange individual tuition with students without consulting the Director of Studies. The college has no obligation to pay for sessions organised without the acknowledgment and consent from the Director of Studies.

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