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Start of year letter

15 September 2017

Dear Parent/Carer

Welcome to a new school year and a modified school building. The pupils have been back at school for almost two weeks and all have settled in well. Studies are going well in all subject areas and I feel very positive about the focused learning and progress that will take place this year.

Key Worker

All pupils at the Courtyard have a key worker. Your child’s key worker fulfils a pastoral role for your child. They will support your child to best access the curriculum and make progress. If your child is experiencing any anxiety which is creating a barrier to them making progress with academically or socially, it is the responsibility of the key worker to investigate this and best aid your child to reduce this anxiety. Your child’s key worker is your first contact if you have any concerns regarding your child’s health and well-being. If you are unaware of who your child’s key worker is, please refer to their planner where it is documented.


All pupils will be receiving homework for all subject areas they are studying. The pupils will be required to write their homework in their planners, including the date the homework is due in. We recognise that completing homework at home can sometimes be a challenge for our pupils but the expectation is still in place to support their transition into mainstream further education or employment in the future. We therefore ask that you can be mindful of this expectation and support your child as much as possible to complete homework to the best of their ability and to hand it in on time. It is important that you refer to your child’s planner to keep abreast of the homework set and discuss it with your child. It should be noted that non-completion of homework will have consequences such as missing breaks or lunch times to catch up and/or a demerit if incompletion continues.

Homework schedule

Courtyard lessons:

Maths, English, ICT – 1 hour a week
PSD, Citizenship, Home Cooking, Self-Discovery, Science, SRE – 1 hour per fortnight
Mainstream SMMA lessons:
Maths, English, Science – 2 hours per week
Art, Geography, Spanish, Food Tech – 1 hour per week


All pupils have been issued with their timetables. The pupils must have a copy of their timetable in their planner. It is the expectation that the pupils are aware of the lessons they have the next day and are prepared. I therefore ask you to encourage your child to look at their timetable the night before and ensure that all necessary equipment is in their bags and that any homework due the next day is completed.

Uniform and equipment expectations

All pupils in KS4 are expected to wear the SMMA uniform and we would require that parents/carers support the uniform expectations.

The school uniform, including the PE kit, can be purchased from: Rough Cut Casuals at 16 Chapel Market, Islington, London, N1 9EZ (phone: 020 7837 7924). Opening times are: Mon-Weds, Fri-Sat: 10am-6pm; Thurs: 10am-2pm; Sun: 10am-3pm.

The school uniform can also be purchased online.

Please see the SMMA Secondary School Uniform Policy for full details.

KS5 students can choose to wear their own clothing, which is expected to be smart/casual. Pupils are not allowed to wear ripped clothing or slogans. Hats are also forbidden on the school premises.

Pupils are expected to come to school equipped to carry out the work set in the different subject areas they are studying. This includes a blue/black pen, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, a ruler and a calculator. An equipment check will be carried out by the pupil’s key worker each week and a note will be written in the planner if equipment is missing. If you recognise that your child has difficulty in remembering their equipment, we would highly encourage providing them with two sets, one which they keep in school and one which can stay at home and be used to complete homework.

Behaviour Expectations

The Courtyard has a high expectation of behaviour in order to benefit the learning and progress of all pupils. To maximise the learning opportunities, the school uses a number of behaviour strategies to support the pupils to self-regulate their behaviour and remove any barriers to learning. As in previous years, the pupils will be earning merits and points towards end of term reward trips. Running alongside this, we also have a demerit system, where behaviour which limits learning is recorded. A demerit is issued after 3 warnings. We hope that the warnings system provides our pupils with the opportunity to adjust their behaviour before a recorded demerit is issued.

Communication with parents in these instances is vital. If your child receives 3 demerits in a single week, you will receive a phone call from your child’s key worker, who will discuss the incidents with you and work out a strategy to ensure that your child is supported to adjust their behaviour.

Occasionally, break or lunch detentions may be issued to pupils who are not adhering to the Courtyard Code of Conduct. We have found this method of sanction extremely beneficial so far this term, as it has given the pupils the opportunity to reflect on the incident directly with the member of staff who issued it.

Year 11 prefects

In recognition of our Year 11 pupils who consistently follow the Courtyard Code of Conduct, the school will be introducing prefects after the October half term. Year 11 prefects will be recognised by their different ties and the wearing of their prefect badges. Prefects will also have the opportunity to go off-site at lunch times.

Our Year 11 Prefects will be expected to be the examples of model behaviour in and around the school. Any deviation away from this positive behaviour will result in the removal of the prefect tie and badge and the privileges attached.

You will be notified if your child has earned their prefect status in the week beginning Monday 16 October. A permission letter will sent out asking for your consent for your child to go off-site at lunch times.

Pupil Premium and Free School Meals

Pupil premium is a designated amount of money that the government allocates to each school, based upon a number of factors which are linked to the perceived deprivation of certain pupils in school. This money is meant to be spent directly or indirectly on those pupils who are considered vulnerable because they are not meeting National Expectations in terms of attainment. Within our school, the money is spent on children entitled to free school meals.

Parents can apply for free school meals by completing the free school meals form which is attached to this newsletter. By supplying the information required on this form, we are able to check your income status to check eligibility. The eligibility criteria are stated on the form.

I strongly urge you to consider whether your child is eligible for Free School Meals and as a result, the Pupil Premium funding. Not only will your child be able to access a free hot meal each day but the school receives £935 which will be used to directly support your child’s learning.

If you require any further assistance, please contact Louise Norman, the Courtyard Deputy for Behaviour & Safety.

Extended Day

From Monday 25 September, the school will be introducing an extended day for all KS4 (Year 9 – 11) pupils. The day will run until 4:30pm and will provide opportunities for our pupils to access additional subject revision lessons as appropriate or a range of enrichment activities that are not part of our core curriculum programme. Further information will be sent out by Ms Norman next week.

Dates for your diary

6.10.17 – INSET Day – the school will be closed on this day for staff training
13.10.17 – Careers Event – 2pm – all parents are welcome. Further information will be sent out by Ms Vidal next week.
30.11.17 – Parents evening
15.12.17 – RA1 reports
23.3.18 – RA2 reports
7.6.18 – Parents evening
16.7.18 – 20.7.18 – Activities Week
19.7.18 – End of year reports

If you have any questions or concerns about your child and their learning please do not hesitate to contact your child’s key worker or email me directly.

Yours Sincerely

Deborah Shepherd
The Courtyard
07940 551400




Photo of pupils and staff at The Courtyard on a snowy World Book Day

World Book Day The Courtyard turns into a colourful literary festival as students and teachers dress up as their favourite fictional characters in honour of World Book Day