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Communication Guidelines

Aquinas College aims to foster an environment of inclusivity in which parent participation is encouraged.

Our primary concern and our first priority is the well-being and education of all our students. We recognise that communication between students, parents and staff is an important part of education and we are committed to providing respectful and honest communication with parents.

To ensure that all communication between home and college is positive, we ask parents, carers and guardians to follow the guidelines below when communicating with the college. For the purpose of these guidelines, communication means telephone, email, written and face to face communication.

Guidelines

  • Communication with college staff is important and encouraged. We would like to hear of anything that you think will help us support your child and provide them with the best possible educational experience we can.
  • Good communication is the result of parents, staff and students working together, in partnership. We recognise our commitment in this and will endeavour to always communicate with parents/carers in a timely, appropriate and sensitive manner.
  • Communication should be respectful, honest and courteous at all times. It should also be measured, proportionate and rational. Email is our preferred method of communication in the first instance.
  • Email or letter is suitable for non-urgent concerns.
  • We will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible to all communications but please allow up to 3 working days for a response from staff. Part-time staff may take slightly longer to reply. We would ask that parents/carers recognise that in that window staff will have teaching commitments, meetings and roles within school that will not allow them to reply immediately. Parents are asked to bear in mind that the non-student time immediately preceding and following the school day is used for lesson preparation, marking, assessment, staff meetings, scheduled appointments, training and professional development. Therefore, for an immediate response, please use the telephone number/email detailed here.
  • Phone calls are most appropriate for immediate or urgent concerns. Parents are advised to contact the college Reception on 0161 483 3237 or by email on reception@aquinas.ac.uk for time sensitive or urgent issues. Please be aware that it may not be possible to make telephone contact with your child’s tutor or teacher during the college day due to their teaching commitments.
  • It is not always possible to address all concerns immediately as there may be an investigation to undertake, or conversations to be had, however, in these situations, a ‘holding’ email will be sent so you know your communication has been received and is being acted upon.
  • The college has a duty of care to its staff to protect them from intimidating, threatening, vexatious or aggressive communication. Any communication determined to be of this nature will be stopped/not responded to and the Principal will make contact to set out guidelines for future communication.
  • The college has a duty of care to its staff to protect them from intimidating, threatening, vexatious or aggressive communication. Any communication determined to be of this nature will be stopped/not responded to and the Principal will make contact to set out guidelines for future communication.
  • Communications that are deemed to be parental concerns/complaints will be acknowledged as such and will be dealt with according to the College’s complaints procedures. These complaints procedures are available on the College website. We take all concerns seriously and will seek to resolve them as soon as possible and without the need to escalate through the stages of the policy.
  • Communications that are considered inappropriate, in tone or content, may be passed to a more senior member of staff who may well respond to the communication, rather than the member of staff to whom the communication was addressed.
  • The College retains the right to ask a parent/member of the public to communicate only through one named contact amongst the College staff – for example if previous communications have been inappropriate in tone/content or are becoming unreasonable in frequency, number or the demands made.
  • When seeking to meet face-to-face with a member of staff, a parent/member of the public should always contact by telephone and seek to make an appointment with that member of staff. It is almost certainly NOT possible for a member of staff to make themselves instantly available to a parent/member of public who has reported unannounced to the College premises/reception.
  • We would ask that at all times you show our staff the same level of respect and courtesy that you would wish to be shown to you or your family. Our staff are very hardworking and well-meaning and undoubtedly share your desire for the very best for your child/our student. Our staff are also very busy professionals with limited time and capacity. Please be understanding and reasonable in your communications with us.
  • Should a parent at the college also be a member of the Aquinas College staff, it is in their role as a parent that these communication guidelines must be applied when addressing concerns that relate to their child.
  • The college encourages parents to contact their child’s tutor as a first point of contact. Depending on the nature of the concern, it may also be appropriate to contact your child’s Head of Year or Senior Tutor. Concerns of an academic nature can also be shared with your child’s Personal Tutor, Subject Teacher or the Subject Team Leader, if subject specific.

Points of Contact

  1. If your question is relating to college policy, calendar, events then please contact reception@aquinas.ac.uk
    • Pastoral concerns should be directed to the Personal Tutor or Senior Tutor and their details are available on MyAquinas which all students can access.
    • Subject specific concerns should be directed to the tutor for that subject. Again their details are available on MyAquinas
    • Careers Guidance queries should be directed to careers@aquinas.ac.uk
    • Exam queries should be directed to exams@aquinas.ac.uk
    • Completion of UCAS applications (not personal statements) and associated questions should be addressed to kate.clitheroe@aquinas.ac.uk
  2. Staff will not be expected to respond to emails outside the college working day 9am to 4pm
  3. For safeguarding and GDPR purposes we can only discuss college matters with a registered contact.
  4. The Parent Portal is accessible for all registered contacts and contains details of a student’s timetable, subject reviews and up to date attendance data.
  5. Parents will receive weekly updates related to unauthorised absences. Where parents want to update us about attendance in light of the automated emails, i.e. to report a medical appointment or absence due to sickness, they should call Student Information.