What to do if…
You know your child will be absent for a family holiday
The Academy does not grant leave of absence for holidays.
You know your child will be absent term times except in exceptional circumstances
All requests of leave of absence in term time should be made in writing to each Principal in advance. Please note term time leave is NOT authorised however each case is examined and under certain mitigating circumstances some leave may by authorised. However, the Academy decision is final and there is no appeals progress. Any leave taken without permission will by UNAUTHORISED. The KCC Attendance Service will be notified and they will consider to issue a penalty notice.
Your child is or has been absent
The parents / carers of any children who is absent must notify the Academy before 9am at the latest. The Academy can be notified of absence on the absence hotline: 01474 700 715 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your child is late
If your child arrives between 8:40am and 9:00am they will be required to discuss their late arrival with a member of the Attendance Team in reception.
If they arrive after 9:00am they should report to the Student Support Office to obtain a ‘late slip’ before proceeding to their lesson.
Students that are regularly late may be required to make up time after lessons.
Lessons at the Academy start at 8:40am promptly. Please help us develop good habits of punctuality so that loss of learning time is kept to a minimum.
Your child has to bring medication to the Academy
All medication MUST be left in the care of the Main Academy Office and not carried around within school. All medicines must be labelled with your child’s name by the issuing pharmacy.
Under the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ we are not allowed to provide medicines for headaches or other minor ailments. Should your child need this type of medication through the Academy day, it can be brought into the Academy, labelled clearly with the child’s name on and left in Reception. If you have any questions please contact Mrs Goodwin in the Main Academy Office.
You are moving house
If you are moving house within the area please inform your child’s College Admin Team of the new address and contact details.
If you are moving away from the area please let your child’s College Admin Team know as soon as possible, and details of the new school your child will be attending. This is important so they receive the necessary information and documentation prior to your child arriving there.
You are changing your mobile telephone number
It is vital that in an emergency that the Academy has the correct contact information for your child. If you change your number please inform their College Admin Team at the the earliest opportunity.
Your child has money to pay in
Every student has a ParentPay account accessible via the Internet. All payments for school activities and events, including money to pay for meals in the Helix restaurant need to be made through this system. The Academy does not accept cash from students.
You need to contact your child in school hours
Please contact your child’s College Admin Team and a message will be passed on. Students are not permitted to access their mobile phones during the school day, and so to avoid conflicting with Academy rules please do not contact them in this way.
We will only withdraw students from lessons in an emergency.
Your child is taken ill during the Academy day
If your child is feeling unwell they should speak to their College Admin Team who will assess the situation and contact you if necessary. For their health and safety students MUST not call home themselves or leave the Academy site without authorisation through the College Admin Team.
Your child has lost something
Your child’s College Admin Team are there to support if you or your child needs any help. Although staff will do their best to locate lost property, the Academy can not accept responsibility. All items that students bring to the Academy should be clearly labelled with the child’s name, and where appropriate marked with a security device.
Your child needs to leave coats and bags somewhere during the day
Students are encouraged to place any items they do not need during the day, or only at specific times, in the cloakroom close to reception. The cloakroom is open and manned at the start and end of the day, and at break and lunch. Due to the layout of the Academy it does not have any individual student lockers.
Your child needs transport
A number of buses serve the Academy each morning and evening, covering Dartford, Gravesend, New Ash Green and surrounding areas. Details of these routes can be obtained from Academy Reception. Students may also use the train from some locations as Longfield Station is relatively close to the Academy.
Advice on transport to and from the Academy can be provided by Kent County Council (KCC), or the Academy Reception. You should contact them if you they think that your child is eligible for a free bus pass. Other students should acquire a ‘Freedom Pass’ in order to travel on the buses.
Where Post 16 students need to access courses at other centres in the Trust during the Academy day, a free minibus shuttle service is operated exclusively for this purpose. Students eligible to access this service will be informed through the Director of Learning: Post 16.
Your child needs a ‘Freedom Pass’
The Council also operates a subsidised bus pass for all students between Year 7 and Year 11, known as the ‘Freedom Pass’. This pass can be used on all buses to and from the Academy, and also provides other travel benefits. This annual pass is only available from KCC, and you can find information about the application process via the KCC website (www.kent.gov.uk) and from reception at the academy.
You wish to collect your child from the Academy
The Academy operates a ‘drop off zone’ at the front of the Academy. This allows quick drop off and collection for a large number of people.
The number of parking spaces is very limited and is just sufficient for those working at the Academy. The car park and drop off zone is very busy, particularly in the evening, and we would ask parents not to park and wait in these areas.
There are a number of disabled spaces near the entrance to the Academy. These are strictly limited to those people using the Academy that are blue badge holders and the taxis for students in the ASD provision. Parents MUST not use these without displaying the appropriate permit.
The area marked as ‘Reserved’ is for the exclusive use of nominated staff that are required on a regular basis to come and go from the Academy as a part of their role. Parents are asked not to use these spaces so that these staff can fulfill their role effectively.
Your child wishes to cycle to the Academy
The Academy has a lockable cycle store at the front of the building. Students should discuss how to access this through their College Admin Team. The Academy cannot however guarantee its security, and you are asked to ensure any bicycle is insured and security marked.
You wish your child to have lunch in the Academy
The Academy operates a full service in the Helix restaurant at lunch time. A more limited service is available at break. Students can also access breakfast service from 8am, and drinks and snacks after 4pm. Post 16 students can use the Helix throughout the day. Details of the services offered through the Helix can be found elsewhere in the website. The Helix, in common with the rest of the Academy, does not accept cash payments. Parents should use the ParentPay system, and students pay for refreshments through a biometric system. All food purchased in the restaurant must only be eaten there.
Students can bring a packed lunch to the Academy. This may only be consumed outside lesson times in either the Helix or in the outside recreational areas.
What is the biometric system and how does my child use it?
The Academy uses a biometric system for purchases from the Helix. When your child goes to the till point, they will place their finger onto a pad which will call up their account and the purchase will be charged against this account. This system eliminates the risk of your child losing their cash both in and outside of the Academy, and also ensures that money you provide for school meals is only be spent on food in the Academy.
To initially set up an account for the computer system a scan of your child’s fingerprint is taken by the admin team which is then turned into a digital signature. Once the computer has turned the fingerprint into a mathematical algorithm, the image of the fingerprint is then discarded and only the numbers remain. Your child’s fingerprint is not stored on the computer. The information that is stored cannot be used to recreate an image of the fingerprint. When your child leaves the Academy the account together with the digital signature is deleted.
Your child is entitled to Free School Meals
For your child to qualify for a Free School Meal, you must be receiving a qualifying benefit. If you think you may be entitled to free school meals, please request a form from the Academy reception or via the KCC website (www.kent.gov.uk).
Students respond well to skilful questioning. As a result, they think deeply and use skills such as inference and empathy to move their learning on. Very effective learning was observed in a science lesson in Year 7 where skilful questioning led to students challenging their own thoughts and considering the views of others.Ofsted
Students receive excellent information, advice and guidance, including careers advice. All students leaving the academy go on to further or higher education, employment or training.Ofsted
Students in the sixth form feel valued and supported. During their time in the sixth form, they take on many different responsibilities around the academy, including supporting and mentoring younger pupils.Ofsted