Letter to Parents from John McKee, Headteacher

By   /  25/07/2016  /  Comments Off on Letter to Parents from John McKee, Headteacher

Dear Parents/Carers

It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself as the new Headteacher of Patcham High. It is a privilege to have been appointed by the school Governors and entrusted with the job of leading such a fantastic school.

Many of you will already know me; I have worked alongside Mrs Sargent for nine years. I thoroughly enjoy working at Patcham and I have an unshakable belief in all our students. I am determined that the school builds on its legacy and continues to flourish and maintain its position at the heart of our community. I have several ideas for how we can ensure our school further improves but contrary to any rumours I will not be introducing a new uniform!

I am looking forward to working with the whole community as we strive for even greater success for all our young people. By working together we can ensure that all students enjoy their time at school, make excellent progress and leave us with the necessary skills and attitudes to lead successful and fulfilling lives.

The first step in any school improvement is the raising of expectations. It is important that we are ambitious and I know that our students will always respond positively to a challenge. So, next term we are introducing some changes that we believe will make a significant impact on our school culture. Your support with these changes will be greatly appreciated and will help us get off to a positive and successful start in September.

Start of the school day

To start each day on a positive note we would like all students to enter the building through 2 entrances only. The main front entrance through our Main Reception and the main back entrance (open from 8:15am) over the Warmdene Road Bridge. I and other members of the Senior Leadership Team will greet students at the entrances every morning with a handshake and a friendly greeting. This initial first contact is a very important part of showing that we care for and welcome all students to the school.


Although the standard of student’s adherence to our school uniform has improved vastly in recent years, there is still work to do to ensure that all students represent the school well and wear their uniform with pride. We intend to make uniform a priority in terms of having high expectations of our students. Therefore any student wearing incorrect uniform items will be challenged either at the school entrance or in period 1. They will be offered alternative items to wear (trousers/shoes) if we have them available or we will phone you to ask you to bring in correct uniform for your child to wear. Students who refuse to wear or adjust their uniform to our regulations may be sent to the Isolation Room or be sent home. If there are unavoidable reasons why your child cannot wear the correct uniform please provide them with a note explaining the reasons for this. We will not be allowing facial piercings, 1 small stud in each ear will be the only piercings permitted. Excess make up, jewellery, and nail varnish will be also be challenged and students will be asked to remove dark nail varnish and heavy makeup.


All students are expected to come to school every day with the equipment they need to be successful. This includes a full set of stationery, PE kit, a reading book, their school journal and an appropriate school bag large enough to carry everything needed for school. A full list of our uniform requirements including the new regulations is available on our web site.

Mobile phones

We recognise that mobile phones and other portable devices are important to our students as learning tools, for contacting parents and carers and as a safety precaution that can be used to and from school. We will not be banning mobile devices from the school premises, however, recent research suggests that the use of mobile phones can have a detrimental effect on student outcomes. Mobile phones affect behaviour; they can be a major distraction and can be used to bully and harm others. Furthermore, some students have come to rely on their mobile phones in-between lessons and before and after school to the extent where they may be late to lessons because they are dealing with messages or calls on their phones. For this reason, from September we will not allow the use of mobile phones and portable devices inside the school building. The only exception to this will be if a teacher specifically asks for students to use their mobile phone in a lesson for the purposes of learning. Students will still be able to use their mobile phones outside the school building during break and lunchtimes. This change will be strictly monitored until the new culture is embedded. Any phone seen inside the building will be confiscated by staff, placed in a labelled bag in a locked safe and can be collected by the student at the end of the day. If you need to contact your child urgently please phone the school Reception and the message will be passed on to your child. We are convinced that before long students will readily accept this restriction on the use of mobile phones, and will reap the rewards of a much more focussed culture away from the massive distractions and peer pressure that mobile phones can bring.

Headteacher’s drop-in for parents and carers

In addition to the mechanisms that we already have in place for communicating with the school, we will be introducing a half-termly Headteacher’s drop-in for parents and carers at which you can discuss any concerns or issues that you would like me to address. These will be held 8:30-9:30am on the following dates; 30th September, 18th November, 20th January, 3rd March, 5th May and 23rd June.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter and thank you in advance for your support. I am determined to do the very best for Patcham High, I will always put students first when making decisions and I am excited and enthused to take up my new post in September. I hope you have an enjoyable summer and I look forward to meeting you in the coming months. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns.

Yours sincerely
John McKee