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Key Information and FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

CONTENTS

Can I park on school site?

Is my son / daughter allowed to drink water?

Are energy drinks allowed in school?

What do I do if I am concerned about the progress my child is making?

What if my child forgets their dinner money?

What provision is there before or after school if I need to drop them off early or collect them late?

What can my child do at break and dinner?

What if my child needs medical attention throughout the school day?

What if my child has a pre-existing medical condition that the school needs to know about?

What if my child needs to take medication in the school day?

What do I do if my child needs a medical appointment in the school day?

Can I request a leave of absence for my child in school time?

What are “exceptional circumstances”?

Can leave still be granted for family holidays?

Where can I find out more information if I am concerned about my child’s social media use?

Where can I buy SGB school uniform?

What happens if I miss the bus home?

How do I change my contact details?

What happens in adverse weather?

How can I be more actively involved at SGB?

How do I apply to the endowment fund for financial assistance?

I have left school and wish to apply for financial assistance from the Endowment Fund.

How do I pay for a school trip?

What happens if I forget my Tucasi password?

What happens if I have lost my password to the Gateway?

How do I find out when my child’s music lesson is?

When and where can my child use their mobile phone?

 

 

 

To drop off or collect students - no. This is because we have several buses arriving and departing at key times with our students and we need to keep the drive clear for them.  As a significant number of students walk to school we also need to ensure they can walk safely to and from school.  Students may be collected from the OAKS housing estate or from Parkside which is just a short walk for the students from the site. 

If you have an appointment in school or are visiting for a parents’ meeting etc., then please park anywhere on the visitors’ car park at the end of the drive.  Please do not park in the bus bays.

 

Yes, we would encourage them to in order to keep them healthy and hydrated. There are fountains around school with which to fill up their plastic bottles, and they may take water in to lessons with them. They are not allowed to drink water in lessons that involve the use of equipment (Science, ICT or Technology) for their safety.

 

We have banned bringing in and the consumption of energy drinks in school or during the school day around the site.  This is due to the detrimental health implications associated with such drinks, which we believe are unsuitable for our young people.

 

Contact your child’s teacher directly to arrange a telephone call or send an e-mail.  If this does not answer your query, please contact the Head of the Faculty in question.  If you are still concerned, please arrange an appointment to see a member of Leadership Group.

 

Your child can go to reception and ask for a lunch time loan.  They receive a slip which will buy them a lunch up to the value of £2.25 which will pay for one of the hot meal choices, a pasta pot or a sandwich.  The money must be returned to reception the following day.

 

Yes there is a breakfast club from 8.20am based in the canteen or your child can go to the DAC centre up until 4.20 to complete homework.  There is also a great range of after school PE clubs.

 

There is a great range of lunch time clubs including Chess Club, ECO club and The Balfour Players which your child could take part in. Please click here for the full range.  The PE department offers Sports Clubs of all varieties including Basketball, Handball to name but a few.  Other departments also have catch up clubs or surgeries where they can go and ask for help.  If you are a little about your child there is a quiet place and Peer Mentors offer a Games Club.

 

If your child feels unwell or is concerned about a pre-existing medical condition during the school day they must report to the Pastoral Office or the Main Reception. At this time the member of staff on duty will address the concern and, where appropriate, send the student back to class. If the member of staff believes it necessary, they will telephone the parent/carer to agree a plan of action. A student will only be sent home once permission is sought from the parent.

 

If your child has a pre-existing medical condition it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to inform the school. They must speak with their child’s Head of House and request a Care Plan form. This form must be returned to the Main office/Reception and they will in turn ensure relevant staff (including named First Aiders) are aware of any necessary procedures to ensure the welfare of your son/daughter.

 

If your child takes regular medication (e.g. inhaler for Asthma, epi-pen) it is the responsibility of the child to keep that with them at all times. A Care Plan Form would also need to be completed, so that the school are aware that your child is carrying such medication. Reception staff will be able to receive ‘spare medication’ which is clearly labelled. This will be kept in the main office until the end of the academic year. Parents are expected to collect any out of date medication as and when appropriate and replace with new.

If your child is receiving medication for a short period of time (e.g. antibiotics): the Main Reception will be able to look after this during the school day. Again, it must be clearly labelled and instructions for its usage visible. Please ensure your child understands fully when they must take it and report to the main reception at the appropriate times.

Parents must complete The Parental Agreement for Schools to Administer Medicines (Form 3B) before any medication can be received into school and stored centrally in our main office.

 

Where possible we ask parents to make routine appointments out of school hours and during school holidays. However, where an appointment is needed during the school day please contact the main reception to let them know the date/time/reason for the appointment so that this can be recorded in accordance with our attendance records. An ‘M’ code will appear in your child’s attendance record to record a medical appointment. Your child will need to sign out at the main reception before leaving for the appointment and sign in at the main reception on their return to school.

 

Regular and punctual attendance at school is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational opportunities. In recognition of this, the law makes it an offence for a parent or carer to fail to secure the regular attendance of their child at a school at which the child is a registered pupil, without good reason or the agreement of the school.

On 1st September 2013 a significant alteration in the law came into effect which changed the grounds on which a Headteacher could allow a pupil to go on holiday during term time.

Prior to the change the law stated that “a pupil may be granted leave of absence from the school to go away on holiday” where the Headteacher considered that there were “special circumstances relating to that application”. This section has now been deleted and there is now no rule which allows for authorisation to be given specifically for holidays.

The replacement section states that “leave of absence shall not be granted” unless the Headteacher considers that there are “exceptional circumstances relating to that application”.

 

Leave of absence due to urgent and unavoidable circumstances (such as a family bereavement) would clearly be considered exceptional. Other than this, however, it will be appropriate for the school to deal with applications on a case-by-case basis.

At Sir Graham Balfour exceptional circumstances means “being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child which outweighs the loss of teaching time”.

Factors that will be taken into account include:

  • the nature of the event for which leave is sought;
  • the frequency with which requests are made for that child;
  • the length of absence; and
  • the pupil’s attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on missed schooling.

This is not an exhaustive list, however, and there may be other factors which are relevant to a particular application.

 

Authorising holidays in ordinary circumstances during term time was not allowed prior to the law changes.

Taking holidays in term time for financial reasons or ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences will not be considered exceptional, but giving permission might be justifiable where, for example, it has not been possible for the family to going on holiday during school holidays because either parent is in military service and is not able to take leave during school holidays, but the number of those to whom this will apply will be limited.

                                                                          

Most online services offer some safety features that can help you manage access to age-inappropriate content, report concerns or protect privacy. It is a good idea to think about the sites and services your family uses, and check out which features these sites have that might be helpful for you. Talk to your children and make sure they know how to use the tools on the sites and services they use.

Within our PARENT section of our school website we post updates from key organisations such as CEOP outlining the current advice and guidance for students and parents as and when appropriate. If you have any concerns about E-safety please contact the Designated School lead for Safeguarding, Mrs Hartley, who will be more than happy to offer advice on any concerns you may have.      

                                                                                              

We expect all students to wear the school uniform which is smart, inexpensive, practical and easy to maintain. Wearing the uniform makes students feel dressed for work, and encourages them to develop a pride in their school.

Our school uniform features a coloured crest denoting the student’s House:

Green

= Chetwynd

Yellow

= Sandon

Red

= Tixall

White

= Weston

Please encourage your son/daughter to wear the uniform correctly.  It is especially appreciated if you check their appearance before leaving for school so that inappropriate ‘extras’ such as jewellery, heavy make-up and trainers can be removed in order to avoid a bad start to your child’s school day.

Our range of uniform will be displayed in school each Wednesday 3.30pm-5.00pm.  Different sized samples will be available to try on and orders can be placed which will then be sent through to our supplier. 

Should the above arrangement be inconvenient for you in terms of the times of opening, you may wish to visit our current supplier, NCA Embroidery and Printing, directly. They have premises at Unit J, Boons Industrial Estate, Derrington Lane, Stafford ST18 9NQ.  Directions - A518 Stafford to Derrington (under M6 motorway bridge), turn right sign posted Derrington (follow signs auto reclaim), follow the road 500 yards Boons Industrial Estate on the right directly ahead as you drive in. 

Their opening times are; 

Monday & Tuesday 

10.00 am – 5.30 pm  

Wednesday

CLOSED (open at school)

Thursday & Friday

10.00 am – 5.30 pm

Saturday  

10.00 am – 1.00 pm

 

 

After school, buses do not leave before 3.30, which should be ample time to e.g. get changed from PE or collect materials from Food Tech lessons etc.  Teachers are very aware of the need for children to leave on time to catch their bus home and do not routinely keep children behind unless a detention has been given for that evening.  So, if a child misses their bus, they should contact Reception who will help them contact a parent or carer who can make arrangements to collect them.

 

The best way to do this is to log on to the Gateway and in your child’s area you will see a link to ‘Data Collection Sheet’ where you will be able to inform us of any changes to your child’s details.  Save your details, and then the changes will automatically be updated by our School Office.  If for any reason you cannot log on, then please either phone the school or email us with the full details of the changes necessary.  Clearly we will check carefully the source of such email or telephone call to ensure that only people with parental responsibility are able to make these changes.

 

Our school strives to stay open in all weather conditions.  So long as we can ensure clear access via the school road, that there is heating and kitchen facilities, we will be open.  However, if we have to close the school, this is the procedure:

Should we decide to close Sir Graham Balfour School in the event of overnight extreme adverse weather, we will –

Even if other schools are affected, if there is no closure notice on the above-mentioned websites by the time stated above, please assume we are open as usual.

Should we decide to close Sir Graham Balfour School in the event of extreme adverse weather during the school day, we will –

  • Place a message on the homepage of our website (www.sirgrahambalfour.co.uk)

  • Send a text message to parents via the mobile phone number we have on record for each student.

  • Email parents via the email address we have on record for each student.

  • Ask students to use their mobile phones to contact parents to confirm that they can get home safely if released.

  • Arrange for school buses to collect children and drive them to their usual drop-off points.

 

Should it be the case that a child needs to stay in school until a parent or carer is able to collect them, they will be supervised in the DAC Centre.

 

Parents and carers are always welcome to our Friends of Balfour group – please contact the School Liason Officer at the school for further details.  Occasionally there are vacancies for Parent Governors on our Local Governing Body – these are displayed on our website.

 

If your family is suffering financial hardship and needs help for example with the cost of uniform, contributions to school activities/trips your child can obtain an application form from the Pastoral Office. This should be completed in full and signed by the parent/guardian and returned to the Finance Office. The application will then be considered by the Endowment Committee and you will be notified of the decision by the Finance Office. 

 

The Application Criteria can be found here together with the Application Form which can be completed and returned electronically. Funding is available for students who have left school and are under 26 and require support with relevant activities. The application details should be completed in full so that the Endowment Committee can fully consider the request and two referees, ideally one from school, will be required and will be asked to comment on the application.  Your application will be considered by the SEE Committee which meets three times a year in February, June and November.

 

The preferred method of payment for trips is through the on-line payments system Tucasi. Log in details can be obtained from the Finance Office on 01785 223490. If you do not have access to the internet please contact the Finance Office on 01785 223490 to discuss alternative methods of payment.

 

If you forget your password you can go to https://www.scopay.com/sirgrahambalfour and request a password reset which will be emailed to you. If you have forgotten which email address you are using please call the Finance Office on 01785 223490 and they will advise you. 

 

If you lose or forget your Gateway password it is very straightforward to get a new one sorted out.  You can either:

  1.  Email gatewaysupport@sirgrahambalfour.staffs.sch.uk with your details and our IT technicians will send a new password to the email address we have registered for your child on our system.
  2.  You can call main reception on Gateway Supportour IT technicians who will be able to send a new password to the email address we have registered for your child on our system.
  3.  You can fill in the Contact Us by Email form on the school website http://www.sirgrahambalfour.co.uk/Contact-Us.  Put Gateway Password as the subject and the form will be sent through to our IT technicians who will be able to send a new password to the email address we have registered for your child on our system.

 

Timetables for Music lessons change on a weekly basis so that your child does not miss the same lesson every week during the academic year.  Updated timetables are put up a week in advance on the Music Lessons display board outside our Music classroom (Room 64).  Your child will be able to check the timetable and let you know when their lessons are.

 

Mobile phones can only be used outside the school building during our morning break or at lunchtime.  Mobile phones are not allowed to be used anywhere inside the school building.  If your child uses their mobile phone in the school building, we do reserve the right to confiscate it and store it securely in the school safe for a week.