The school is justly proud of the happy environment and the excellent relationships that exist among pupils and between staff and pupils.
To help fulfil the school aims all teachers will have responsibility for the pastoral care of pupils, but in addition a Form Teacher will be given specific responsibility for the welfare of a class group. Form Teachers will play a vital role in the partnership between parents, staff and pupils. He/she will liaise with parents, monitor academic progress, and deliver the Personal Development programme. Pupils are assigned to the same Form Teacher throughout their time at the school. The Head of Year has responsibility for the whole year group and works closely with the Form Teacher on pastoral matters.
Parents’ Meetings will be arranged so that teachers, parents and pupils can discuss progress. Reports on pupil attainment will be sent home regularly. Parents may, at any mutually convenient time, make an appointment to talk to staff about any concerns they may have regarding their child.
A Student Planner helps pupils, parents and teachers to be better informed about daily progress and to make them aware of quality of work, punctuality, behaviour and other notable achievements. A copy of the school rules is in the front of the school planner. The planner is to be signed weekly by parents, pupils and Form Teachers.
The school is completely opposed to bullying and will not tolerate it. The school actively promotes positive relationships between all members of the school community. Pupils are encouraged to report any form of bullying which is dealt with promptly and sensitively and in line with school policy. We are proud to have a group of anti-bullying ambassadors. These are pupil volunteers who have been trained to assist other pupils and provide a ‘link’ between staff and pupils in any matter relating to bullying.
Pupil attendance is closely monitored as there is a link between educational attainment and pupil attendance. Form Teachers monitor attendance and liaise with parents when required. Rewards are distributed to acknowledge good attendance.
All staff have received Child Protection Training. The school shall refer any concerns about the well-being of its pupils to the Social Services Department to protect pupils in its care and to comply with the Department of Education (NI) regulations. Pupils may speak to the Designated Teachers for Child Protection, Mrs Sayers, or the Deputy Designated Teachers, Ms Doherty or Mrs McKenna
To further support our pupils, the Department of Education currently provide a counsellor on each campus. Pupils who require this service may self-refer or speak to any member of staff who can arrange counselling sessions.
Pupils are encouraged to take on leadership roles in school. Each form class votes for a ‘Form Captain and ‘Deputy Form Captain.’ Pupils also have the opportunity to become Junior Prefect in Year 10 and Senior Prefect in Year 14 as well as selection as captain on one of our many sports teams.
Policy on Drug and Solvent Abuse
The school policy on Drug and Substance Misuse will revolve around prevention and response.
Prevention – The school will aim to prevent the misuse of substances (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, controlled drugs, volatile substances, psychoactive substances) through its school rules, and drugs education programme. The school rules about substance misuse will be available to all pupils at all times (e.g. in the Student Planner).
Response – Each member of staff in Strabane Academy has been trained and is aware of the problems, signs and symptoms of drug and substance misuse and has a responsibility to adhere to and promote this policy. Parents are provided with relevant literature from time to time.
Positive Behaviour Management
It is our belief that positive behaviour is based primarily on good relationships between teacher and pupil and high expectations exists in terms of pupils’ behaviour and work. Good behaviour is an integral part of the learning process and is best promoted by a positive working environment. To achieve this there must be a shared understanding of rights, rules and responsibilities. Therefore pupils have produced their school charter which is on display in each classroom. To encourage and reward pupil achievement, merit marks are awarded for all types of successes including musical, academic, sporting or simply being helpful to others! Pupils work towards receiving their bronze, silver and gold Merit Certificates based on the number of merit marks they receive. End of year reward trips are the highlight of this for pupils. In recent years’ trips have taken place to Portrush and Creggan Country Park.
In Religious Studies pupils will have two periods a week in Years 8-10 and a GCSE course in Religious Studies will be taught in Years 11 and 12. An ’A’ level will be available in Years 13 and 14. Parents who do not wish their children to participate in Religious Studies classes, morning assemblies or special services should make such a request in writing to the Principal, who will make alternative arrangements for these pupils. Religious Studies in Strabane Academy is committed to a programme of study that is inclusive of all belief systems. This includes those of no personal faith, those who are undecided and those of minority faith groups in the community, as well as the more mainstream religious traditions in Northern Ireland. We seek to empower students to think independently as they consider their own ideas and traditions, and those of others. We promote valuing diversity in the world around them.
Each form class elects one pupil as their representative on the School Council. The Student Council acts as the student voice in decisions which affect all pupils.