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School Policies Overview

Copies of the following school policies are available from the Headteacher’s Personal Assistant by request. Brief details are provided to assist parents.

Acceptable Use of the Internet Policy

This policy sets out the School’s position on internet safety and the need for appropriate behaviour when using the Internet in school. The policy includes useful advice for parents in monitoring their child’s Internet activity.

Anti-Bullying Policy

This policy sets out the School’s position in relation to preventing bullying and the strategies employed to address it when it emerges.

Assessment for Learning Policy

Assessment for Learning is an important element of the Northern Ireland (Revised) Curriculum. The School’s policy on AfL identifies aspects of the learning process and not simply outcomes.

Attendance Policy

Down High School recognises that punctual and regular attendance is an essential prerequisite to effective learning and is, therefore, committed to improving levels of attendance and punctuality. The school believes that if pupils are to maximise the curricular and extra-curricular opportunities provided by school, it is essential that attendance levels remain high. The school recognises the important link between academic attainment and good attendance and therefore encourages parents and pupils to ensure regular attendance throughout the school year.


  • To promote regular and punctual attendance at school
  • To establish clear and consistent procedures for recording and monitoring pupil attendance
  • To recognise and reward good attendance

Bring Your Own Device Policy

Sixth Form students have access to a limited number of private study periods during which they have the opportunity to focus on coursework, homework tasks and assignments. Traditionally much of this work has been completed using pen and paper. As the nature of exam courses change and more materials are made available in digital form, students are increasingly required to use and to produce materials in digital form to aid learning. The school recognises the benefits to learning from offering Sixth Form students the opportunity to use personal ICT devices in school to support learners and their learning. It is the intention of this policy to facilitate and support the use of personal ICT devices in school in furtherance of individualised student learning. Sixth Form students are expected to use personal ICT devices in accordance with this policy and must sign a declaration agreeing to be bound by the additional school rules and requirements set out in this policy before they will be permitted to use personal ICT devices in school.

Child Protection Policy

The School’s Child Protection Policy identifies ways in which young people can be seen to be at risk and outlines the role of designated teachers.

Controlled Assessment Policy

Controlled Assessment became an integral part of the revised GCSE specifications in 2010 and was introduced to counter claims that the traditional coursework elements of GCSE had become open to abuse. The School’s Controlled Assessment Policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of Senior Leadership, Heads of Department, Classroom Teachers and pupils in the CA process.

Drugs Policy

The overall aim of the drugs policy is to identify the strategies employed by the school to protect Down High, as a drug free environment. The policy sets out how the School deals with the issue of drugs and the mechanisms of discipline and support that can be employed.

Homework Policy

The Purpose of Homework

A strong homework philosophy is central to the ethos of a high-achieving grammar school:

· It affirms high expectations within the classroom

· It encourages the development of pupils’ understanding of topics and allows the pupil to be personally involved in the learning process

· It encourages pupils to develop their learning skills, such as research techniques, leading to an increase in intellectual curiosity

· It instils a self-disciplined study culture that will prepare them for 6th form, university and, increasingly, the world of work

· It encourages the revision and consolidation of work covered in class

· It develops links between home and school

The Vision for Homework

In Down High School, the importance of homework will be valued by pupils, parents and teachers. Homework tasks will be well planned, effectively assimilated into lessons and recorded accurately in Homework Diaries. Homework will be viewed as useful and relevant by learners and their parents, contributory to the learning process, encouraging of new and emerging technologies, varied and interesting and not seen by busy teachers as an extra burden. Homework will either be marked, checked, observed in class activity, peer-assessed or self-assessed. Homework will encourage a strong study culture that develops a curiosity for learning and which will prepare pupils for assessment at all levels as well as for the world of work.

It is envisaged that homework will be managed and monitored effectively through the Homework Diary and that parents will be informed in the event of deadlines being missed. Departments and subject teachers will be supported by procedures established to deal with the non-completion of homework. The classroom teacher will have high expectations and will ensure that pupils record accurately and complete their homework tasks. The Form Teacher will monitor pupils’ use of the Homework Diary.

The high expectations set for the planning, setting, recording and monitoring of homework will help to deliver strong outcomes in terms of laying the foundations for strong academic results and preparing pupils for university education.

Learning and Teaching Policy

The Learning and Teaching Policy is a statement of the School’s core business and sets out the expectations of teachers, pupils and parents. The policy focuses on classroom environment, classroom relationships, teaching methodologies, pupils’ learning skills and the teacher as a reflective practitioner.  It is the most important policy in determining effective classroom practice and developing pupils as learners.

Literacy Policy

We in Down High School believe that the effective use of language underpins and enriches learning and teaching throughout the entire curriculum and that each area of learning has a significant contribution to make. Equipping pupils to become more competent readers, writers, speakers and listeners is the shared responsibility of all teachers. Developing our pupils’ skills in language and literacy enhances their learning experience and helps prepare them for the challenges and demands of the modern world.

Pastoral Care Policy

Down High is committed to providing a supportive, secure environment in which the personal and social and academic development of the pupil may be fully realised. The Pastoral Care Policy sets out the structures that are in place to support and maintain positive behaviour, good relationships and academic achievement.