SIXTH FORM LEARNING AGREEMENT
(Including processes and rules for pupils receiving Education Maintenance Allowances)
To be allowed to study at Sixth Form Level at St Columb’s College, all pupils who are accepted for admission to an approved Advanced Level course in Year 13 must sign a Sixth Form Learning Agreement. This Agreement will then be countersigned by a designated member of the College staff. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) must also sign an undertaking to support the College and the pupil with adherence to the Sixth Form Learning Agreement. On entry to Year 14 pupils must renew their Learning Agreement. Attached Form
The Learning Agreement consists of two parts:
Sixth Form Learning Agreement Part One
In this part pupils give an undertaking to attend full-time the Advanced Level Course at St Columb’s College.
If a pupil fails to attend the course each week to the satisfaction of the school authorities, it will be treated as a breach of the Learning Agreement and he will be subject to sanctions in accordance with the St Columb’s College Discipline Policy.
Attendance of pupils in Sixth Form is monitored by the Form Tutor and Year Head and overseen by the Senior Teacher (Post-16). Procedures for registering attendance at Sixth Form Advanced Level Courses in St Columb’s College are explained below [with particular reference to attendance requirements for authorisation of the EMA weekly payment].
Sixth Form Learning Agreement Part Two
In this part pupils undertake to fulfil general responsibilities and particular objectives.
• To give leadership and example to younger pupils, and to support the College staff;
• To show evidence of sufficient academic performance in line with my ability and potential;
• To inform and seek advice from subject teachers and/or Form Tutor as soon as any difficulty is encountered with any aspect of my work or chosen course;
• To inform the College if any personal circumstances change.
• To demonstrate good behaviour and respect to teachers and fellow pupils at all times in line with the College Code of Conduct;
• To maintain good attendance, punctuality and disciplinary records;
• To be present in school throughout the entire school day;
• To attend and arrive on time for all Registration Periods, timetabled classes, examinations, arranged meetings and School Assemblies (except when excused);
• To undertake conscientiously, thoroughly and on time:
~ all preparations for class work;
~ all written assignments;
~ all coursework/independent study requirements;
• To devote unassigned periods to quiet private study in areas that the school has set aside for this purpose;
• To abide by all school regulations, including those relating to school uniform and appearance.
The Learning Agreement Part Two for all pupils in Sixth Form will be reviewed in January and June of Year 13/14. Performance of pupils in Sixth Form is monitored by the Form Tutor and Year Head and overseen by the Senior Teacher (Post-16). [Pupils applying to receive Education Maintenance Allowances must meet their particular objectives to receive the bonus payment for January and continue to meet these to receive the bonus payment for June].
At the time of these reviews, the imposition of a sanction at the level of Formal School Detention or greater will be taken as evidence of failure to meet the above objectives.
The performance of a pupil may be deemed unsatisfactory when the pupil gives serious cause for concern by failing to honour any or all of the obligations contained in the Sixth Form Learning Agreement. Particular procedures (see below) will be implemented for those pupils in Years 13 and 14 whose performance remains unsatisfactory after preliminary attempts to secure progress have been unsuccessful.
ATTENDANCE PROCEDURES FOR SIXTH FORM PUPILS
(INCLUDING REQUIREMENTS FOR EMA PAYMENT AUTHORISATION)
Attendance of pupils in Sixth Form is monitored by the Form Tutor and Year Head and overseen by the Senior Teacher (Post-16). Statutory attendance is recorded at Registration Period (9.10 a.m. the start of the a.m. session) and at the beginning of Period 8 (1.45 p.m. the start of the p.m. session). It is the pupil’s responsibility:
1. To be present in the centres designated on his timetable;
2. To ensure that his attendance for all a.m. and p.m. sessions is recorded.
In addition, staff members record ongoing attendance at the beginning of each lesson or study/library period.
Explanations of absences are recorded by the Form Tutor using codes on the school information management system (SIMS). Absences will be recorded as unauthorised unless proven otherwise.
It is the responsibility of each Sixth Form pupil to ensure that all his absences have been promptly and appropriately explained. In accordance with the College Code of Conduct, a pupil must provide his Form Tutor with a written explanation of any absences signed by his parent/guardian immediately upon his return to school.
Authorisation of absences for the purposes of EMA weekly payments
For the purposes of authorising EMA weekly payments, attendance data will be collated electronically each week using the SIMS attendance module in the C2K reporting system. This collated information will be translated into a decision about whether to authorise the weekly payment or not. This decision will be authorised by the Senior Teacher (Post-16) before 5 p.m. on the Tuesday of the following week (defined as the date of submittance).
Pupils will only receive an EMA if they attend all the sessions for which they are required to register, unless their absence has been authorised. Absences are unauthorised for EMA payment unless proven otherwise (in the form of a written explanation signed by a parent/guardian provided by the pupil to his Form Tutor at Registration immediately upon his return). It is the pupil’s responsibility to provide this written explanation. The College has the right to turn down a request for EMA authorisation if it is suspected that the reason provided by the pupil was not genuine. The College will provide, on request, a reason to pupils as to why any weekly payment has been suppressed.
Pupils must also be aware that they must provide the written explanation for their absence on their return to school and not later than two weeks after their return. Failure to do this may result in the payment not being authorised.
1. Absences can only be authorised for a good and clear reason e.g.
• Medical appointments, which could not be made outside school hours;
• An educational visit approved by the school e.g. visit to a university open day or career related interview;
• Work experience which is part of the school curriculum;
• Attendance at a funeral or wedding of close family member;
• Attendance at probation meeting or court;
• Severe disruption to a pupil’s method of transport (such as a transport strike or snowstorm which leaves the pupil with no alternative method of travelling to the College);
• Driving test;
• Representing the school in an approved sporting or other activity.
Exceptional circumstances: The following may be acceptable for one-off authorisation of absence (any developing pattern will be investigated):
• Family emergency;
• Extra curricular activities such as sports participation at national or county level.
The following are examples of reasons which would not be acceptable on their own:
• Suspensions from school;
• Holidays (as pupils are expected to take these out of term time);
• Part or full-time work (that is not part of the school curriculum); • Leisure activities; • Birthdays or family celebrations;
• Babysitting siblings;
• Driving lessons.
2. Illness absences will be recorded by the Form Tutor using the code “I” on the SIMS attendance module.
N.B. Authorisation of illness absence for the purposes of the Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) weekly payment.
Since Education Maintenance Allowances are intended to cover costs incurred by attending the College, long-term sickness is NOT an acceptable reason for authorising absences for EMA purposes. Currently up to two periods of illness only, but not exceeding a total of two days illness absence per term, will be EMA authorised if the pupil provides written explanation(s) of absence(s) immediately upon his return, signed by a parent or guardian.
ADVICE AND APPEALS MECHANISM FOR PUPILS APPLYING FOR EDUCATION MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCES
If you have any questions or need general advice about the procedures for Education Maintenance Allowances in St Columb’s College, please make contact with the Mr John Johnston, Senior Teacher (Post-16). The Education Maintenance Allowance Customer Service team can be contacted at 0845 601 7646. Further information is also available at www.emani.gov.uk.
Pupils have the right of appeal in two circumstances:
1. Appeals against the initial EMA entitlement decision. This might be regarding the level of entitlement awarded or might concern a pupil who has not been awarded an EMA at all. The appeal is to the Scheme Provider via the EMA Customer Service Hotline, 0845 601 7646. The Scheme Provider can provide further advice on how to appeal to the scheme sponsors.
The College has no responsibility for such appeals.
2. Appeals against Attendance and Bonus Payment decisions taken by the College. Where the College has taken a decision that a pupil is not entitled to receive a weekly or bonus payment, the pupil should contact the Senior Teacher (Post-16) within two weeks of the date of submittance and ask for a reason as to why payment has been stopped or unauthorised. (The date of submittance is defined as the Tuesday following the week containing the data to which the appeal applies).
Since all pupils have been provided with these clear guidelines about attendance requirements etc. and will have signed Parts One and Two of their Learning Agreements, these will be taken as explanation of the rules for authorising absences or bonus payments. (An absence is deemed to be unauthorised unless proven otherwise). The explanation given may therefore be nothing more than a simple statement of fact, such as ‘you did not attend on Tuesday afternoon’, ‘you received a Formal School Detention for…’.
Should a pupil be dissatisfied with the explanation given by the Senior Teacher (Post-16), he may make an appeal in writing using the College EMA appeal form to the Vice-Principal (within three weeks of the date of submittance) who will handle the appeal from then on.
The pupil will be invited to an appeals hearing (within five weeks of the date of submittance) where his written case will be considered and where he may have his parent/guardian present as an adviser. All appeals will be conducted and completed within six weeks of the date of submission. One appeal hearing will be allowed for each decision. The decision of the appeal is final.
In accordance with DE/DEL EMA Guidance for Learning Centres 2004-2005, there is no right to appeal to the Scheme Provider, DEL, DE or anyone outside of St Columb’s College.
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