02 Jun HT Blog 33 – Summer
Even though all schools follow an established pattern of routines and rules, and this has certainly always been the case for Daubeney Academy, the second half of the summer term can often bring a great deal of unnecessary confusion with it. Because the temperature may, or may not – we do live in England, after all, rise, many people understandably query about what is or isn’t suddenly acceptable to wear for school. The answer, however, is a lot more straightforward than the question and will hopefully dispel any sense of befuddlement before the thermometers reach beyond a staggering 20 degrees (which in many countries means adding more layers for school, not wondering about what to leave at home): we have a school uniform that remains the same whatever time of year it is. During the autumn, winter and summer terms – all 40 weeks of the school year – our students are expected to wear the complete and correct Daubeney Academy school uniform, namely their Daubeney blazers, their Daubeney ties, their white shirts, sensible black trousers or skirts and completely black footwear. In late autumn or winter, when it’s colder or when it rains a lot, it would be sensible for our students to wear appropriate additional items for school, such as coats, and during the late spring or summer, when it might heat up a bit, our students are able to leave the extra items at home. If it actually does get really hot during the summer term, like it did last year, we will always allow for reasonable adjustments, such as the removing of blazers or ties, to our uniform so that our students can continue to access the learning in classrooms with appropriate comfort, but we expect our students to come to school and to turn up to lessons dressed perfectly and to ask their teachers politely if they could take certain items off. No teacher at Daubeney will ever refuse this request if it is made correctly, but if students demand rudely or ask whilst other parts of their uniform are incorrect, such as when they’re still wearing trainers from a PE lesson or when they’re otherwise unacceptably unkempt, then it’s possible that the answer in this instance and at least until attempts to improve appearance are made is a very clear no. Most of our students prefer to not leave items at home and to always come to school dressed perfectly anyway, as coming to school without a blazer might also mean coming without a library card, pencil case or other personal items. Having a bag, for students of any age, also tends to mean that young people are more organised than those who don’t have one, and as our older students in particular move closer and closer towards their GCSE exams they will need to ensure that homework and revision tasks are arranged neatly and appropriately at all times, whatever season it is.
Another aspect of preparing for the summer that our students and their parents must take responsibility for is ensuring that our young people arrive to school each day either with a bottle of water or with a bottle that they can fill up at our water fountain during the school day. Staying hydrated during the hotter months of the year is essential, and this means not only making sure that enough water is drunk but also that no other unhealthy drinks, such as energy drinks or other fizzy, sugary drinks, are consumed. With some regularity, teachers at Daubeney continue to take unhealthy and inappropriate drinks (and food such as sweets) from our students during the school day so that they can collect them again once school has finished, and on many occasions they claim that their parents don’t mind that this is what they spend their money on at the shop on the way to school. Staying healthy during summer, and indeed during any time of the year, almost always means using common sense rather than following confusing checklists: wear appropriate clothing, drink water (and nothing else!) and eat healthy food. It may also be a good idea for students to bring a hat with them to wear at break or lunch time, should they wish to sit, as many of them do, with their friends on our enclosed grass tennis courts. Although we do have covered areas on two of our playgrounds and over the walkways near our quad area, not to mention some beautiful trees whose leaves and branches offer considerable shade, these spots can’t house everyone and they quickly fill up. However, my caveat to the guidance above about how to prepare for summer would also be that we do indeed, as mentioned earlier, live in England, so it might also be wise to bring an umbrella or a raincoat instead.