January 25, 2023

Rector’s eNews – 25 January 2023

/ Rector's eNews

We had a really wonderful start to the academic year: a week of sunshine (and intense heat!) during which the boys have grappled with their new circumstances, begun lessons, been involved in school and House activities, in sport and, in their tutor groups, have begun to set their goals for 2023. The energy which they display has been palpable every day from early in the morning with water polo and gym sessions in the HPC through to all the activities and prep before bedtime. This energy was perhaps never more evident than in the Inter-House Swimming Gala on Friday which was a spirited event, won by Farfield.

Last week I spoke of the fact that senior staff often guide boys in our weekly assemblies and, of course, clarify the position with regard to a range of circumstances at school. I do not always refer to exactly what has been under review at our assemblies, but I thought I would do so today. At our opening assembly, I spoke about the importance of discipline and I elaborated a little on this topic on Monday. A sense of discipline is important in any team or society or year group or House if that group is to make progress. If individuals simply “do their own thing” there will be no cohesion within a particular team or group – it will not move forward. In particular, I wanted to draw the attention of the boys to the outcome for them if certain rules are broken and, inter alia, I spoke about the use of drugs, including cannabis. I recognise that it can be confusing for boys since cannabis has been legalised for use by adults in private, but it remains a dangerous drug for teenagers because of the development of their brains over this time (13-19) and, it falls into the category of all drugs in the way that the school responds to its use. The message to the boys was simple and intended to be proactive: boys have been told that if they bring drugs (other than prescribed medication) into the school or are found with them here or test positive, they must expect to lose their place at Michaelhouse and, thus, have to leave the school. I give this message to the boys at the beginning of each year and do so in the clearest possible way to protect them on those difficult occasions when they may be at a party somewhere and they need to make a snap decision as to whether they go down the slippery slope or steer clear of drugs. It is always helpful to the boys when parents reinforce what the school is saying in terms of rules and approaches to discipline so that boys cannot steer a course between parents and the school. We, as a school, would really appreciate your support in this regard.

As you will be aware, the notion of a holistic education is of great importance to us at Michaelhouse and we seek to develop your sons/our boys as fully and in as rounded a fashion as possible. In doing so, we rely on your wholehearted support as this makes it possible to educate the boys in every sense more effectively. I thought it might be helpful, therefore, to remind us all of ways in which we can work together for the benefit of your son. These include:

• Engaging with your son regularly in respect of issues raised by Michaelhouse and raised by him.
• Supporting your son and Michaelhouse in its academic programme and in the recommendations made to assist your son’s academic progress.
• Supporting your son and Michaelhouse by your attendance at school functions and parent meetings wherever possible.
• Keeping us informed of matters that affect your son, in particular issues related to his health and mental and physical well-being. His state of health is clearly a material factor in his on-going enrolment.
• Assisting and supporting Michaelhouse in respect of the general rules of the school and policies relating to alcohol and drugs, including a commitment not to permit your son to drink alcohol in a school situation or to take part in any form of drug consumption.
• Ensuring that your son when under your care conducts himself in a manner that does not bring the name of Michaelhouse into disrepute.
• Committing yourself not to insult or abuse teachers or staff, including sports coaches, and to maintain a courteous and positive relationship with staff as we would expect from our staff to you.
• Assisting Michaelhouse in dealing with instances when your son has broken school rules and is being disciplined in line with the legitimate processes necessary for the effective operation of the school.
• Assisting the School in dealing with social media issues and understanding the impact which social media may have on those in the Michaelhouse community.

My pledge to you is that we continually review our policies and procedures and aim to make good any shortcomings that may arise or occur.

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