Parents involvement in Carshalton College
We warmly welcome all contact that we have with parents, guardians and carers of our students. Parents’ evenings provide an opportunity for you to talk to your child’s tutors and teachers about the formal side of their life at Carshalton but we also want to celebrate their success and achievements with you and get parents’ input on college developments.
Parents’ evenings are an important opportunity to discuss your child’s progress with teachers and tutors. They are important events in the academic year and we ask that every parent or guardian attends. Appointments may be made at other times with tutors to discuss your child’s progress. We always send reports in the post at least one week before and an invitation to the parents’ evening a few weeks before.
Support for our students
Carshalton prides itself on the support and guidance it offers its young people in its safe and positive environment. Whatever support a student needs, the college will do its best to help. These are some of the areas where the college provides support to your students:
- Tutors Every student has a personal tutor with whom they meet weekly. Tutors monitor student attendance, punctuality, progress in class, and how to plan progression to university or employment.
- Study support The college has an excellent Learning Resources Centre (LRC) with a huge range of books, publications and electronic media available to loan, alongside a large suite of PCs. The LRC offers further study support to students through drop-in workshops or booked sessions.
- Financial support The college has a bursary scheme to help with the costs of coming to college. Priority support is given to young people in care, care leavers, young people in receipt of income support and disabled young people receiving employment support allowance or disability allowance. Students may also be able to get help towards the cost of travel and equipment. If students received Free School Meals, they may also be entitled to Free College Meals.
- Learning support assistants (LSAs) The college has a dedicated team of LSAs who help those students who require support while at college. They provide educational, emotional, mental and physical support to those students who require it.
- Careers guidance The college has two dedicated careers advisers and we work with a number of external organisations to help your son or daughter research future opportunities, develop employability skills, decide which direction to take and put their career plans into place. The careers team are available at drop-in or booked sessions. They also organise careers sessions and open days with speakers from universities and businesses as well as the college’s popular higher education fair and careers fair.
- Personal support and wellbeing We are committed to looking after students’ well-being while at college. The college’s student advisers can provide information and support on a range of personal issues that may affect a student’s life both inside and out of college. Please also refer to the Safeguarding information in this booklet or on our website www.carshalton.ac.uk/about/parents
We expect 100% attendance as this is the best way of ensuring success. This is a commitment every student makes when enrolling at Carshalton. Our programmes are intensive and lost study time inevitably affects achievement. Absence is authorised only in exceptional circumstances. The college has an absence line that students must phone on each day of absence or we will not be able to authorise the absence.
It is a student’s responsibility to ensure they arrive well before their class is due to start. Lateness not only affects a student’s own learning and achievement but disrupts the whole class. The college therefore has a very strict attitude to punctuality and does not tolerate lateness, which will always be followed up and may trigger the disciplinary process.
The college does not expect students to take holidays during term time as they miss essential delivery that will impact on their success. We ask you to ensure any holidays are taken during the college holiday periods.
Our college also has a team of security guards who ensure a safe and secure environment.
There are similarities: students are expected to attend classes; they will be set homework that they will need to complete within the deadline. They will be expected to commit to their learning and behave responsibly and respectfully. There are exams or coursework assignments set throughout and at the end of the academic year. There are differences: there is no uniform, staff are called by their first name. Carshalton offers a safe, calm and purposeful adult environment with the right atmosphere to encourage responsible, independent study and positive working relationships.
What should my son/daughter do if they have any concerns about college?
They should speak to their personal tutor. If they do not feel able to do this then they could speak to someone in student services or any other member of staff.
Does my son or daughter have to be in college even when they do not have a class?
Students are not required to be on campus when they do not have lessons but are welcome to use college facilities outside these times. When on the campus they must ensure that they display their student ID card at all times.
Keeping your child safe from radicalization and extremism
All Parents, Guardians and Carers will be aware from recent items in the news, that a new risk threatens the safety of our children and young people - the risk of radicalisation by an extremist group. Extremist groups from many political factions including animal liberation groups, homophobic groups, right wing racist groups and so called ISIS inspired groups, are Actively trying to recruit our children on-line, in schools, in colleges and within our local communities.
We aim to:
- Raise parents’, guardians and carers’ awareness of this danger
- Provide some suggestions of how you can reduce the risk of this danger to your child
- Let you know who you can contact if you have concerns.
How extremists groom our children and young people
Extremists seek to exploit and manipulate any vulnerability our children and young people may have. Our children may be:
- Searching for answers to questions about identity and belonging
- Driven by a need to raise their self esteem
- Drawn to a group or an individual who can offer identity, social network and support
- Angry about world events and feeling a need to make a difference
Extremists have developed very effective ways to recruit young people through personal befriending and through the internet. All sections of society are all at risk of being radicalised. It’s easy to think that this will not happen to you or your children and although we don’t want to be alarmist, this is a real danger to us all.
What to look for - the signs of extremism
If your son or daughter is being groomed by extremists they might display certain types of behaviour such as:
- Out of character changes in dress, behaviour and peer relationships
- Secretive behavior
- Losing interest in old friends and old activities
- Glorifying violence
- Possessing extremist literature
- Advocating racist or hate filled messages
Many of these behaviours are standard for children and young people and do not necessarily mean that your child is in danger. However, please be aware that no one is immune.
How can parents/guardians/carers help their children to keep safe?
- Know who your child’s friends are
- Be aware of your child’s on-line activity and update your own knowledge on social media
- Keep talking with your child about what they watch on the TV/ Internet and on the news
- Encourage debate and questioning on local and world events and help your child to see different points of view
- Explain that anyone who tells them to keep secrets from their family or teachers is likely to be trying to do them harm or put them in danger
Keeping your child safe
The following information may be useful if you are the parent, guardian or carer of a learner at Carshalton College, or are studying at the college and are a parent, guardian or carer yourself.
The College is committed to maintaining a Safeguarding ethos and creating a culture of openness and honesty. We strive, at all times, to work appropriately with services, outside agencies, parents, guardians and carers to help protect and promote the welfare of our learners.
Parents, guardians and carers are encouraged to access our Safeguarding Young People and Child Protection Policy (carshalton.ac.uk/About/Policies) to better understand the college’s statutory responsibilities in regard to Safeguarding, Child Protection and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults.
When appropriate we aim to discuss concerns about learners with their parents, guardians and carers, but in some instances this may not be appropriate. Decisions around this will be taken by the team of Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs).
Children and young people missing from education
Learner absence can be a possible indicator of safeguarding issues or vulnerability, and detrimental to success.
The College wishes to give all learners every opportunity to succeed and has a statutory responsibility to help protect learners from going missing, therefore we are committed to:
- identifying unauthorised/unexplained learner absence as soon as possible
- identifying and providing support for any underlying issues that result in absence
- engaging with the learner or appropriate organisations to ‘find’ them
- monitoring and tracking progress, and supporting as appropriate.
Support for parents
The following external organisations offers advice and support for parents/guardian/carers.
Young Minds Parent Survival Guide
Bullying - Young Minds
Drugs and Alcohol – Drink Aware
Forced Marriage and Honour based violence - Karma Nirvana
- Show an interest in what your child is doing on the net but try for a balance between respecting their privacy and making sure they don’t feel the need to be secretive.
- Agree rules such as never giving out contact details online and make sure that your child knows why they should never give out their full name, home address, telephone number or email address.
- Agree with your child what they can and can’t have access to on the net. Insist they don’t download anything from ‘pop-ups’ that can appear on the screen. These are often pornographic. Ask them to fetch you if the ‘pop-ups’ keep reappearing as they can be very persistent. Software like ‘Net Nanny’ or ‘Adware’ can be installed to block undesirable sites or ‘pop-ups’.
- Remember some young people will use chat rooms to ‘reinvent’ themselves which is perfectly normal.
- Use this opportunity to talk to your children about related issues such as sex and relationships.
- Don’t just have one-off conversations about keeping safe.
- Ask your Internet service provider what service they offer to protect your family.
- Are you intimidated by technology, don’t have access to the Internet or haven’t had the opportunity to learn? Try your local family centres, colleges, libraries and Internet cafes.
There are special types of software that can be installed to block unwanted sites or ‘pop-ups’. They offer online activity monitoring, recording and blocking. This software protects your children and gives you with the comfort of knowing that you are protecting them without stopping them from using the internet. It also means that you can know at all times what your children are doing when online and are able to put a stop to any potential threats and dangerous situations that might appear. Read reviews on the best software available (for example on reviewcentre.com) before making your choice.
What is online or cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is an increasingly common form of bullying behaviour which happens on social networks and mobile phones. Cyberbullying can include spreading rumours about someone, or posting nasty or embarrassing messages, images or videos.
Young people may know who’s bullying them online – it may be an extension of offline peer bullying - or they may be targeted by someone using a fake or anonymous account. It’s easy to be anonymous online and this may increase the likelihood of engaging in bullying behaviour.
Cyberbullying can happen at any time or anywhere - a child can be bullied when they are alone in their bedroom - so it can feel like there’s no escape.This is the e-safety information we have given to students.
Top 10 E-safety tips for young people
(This is the e-safety information we have given to students)
- Always think of your personal safety first when using ICT or your mobile phone. Remember it is easy for anyone to lie about who they are online, so you can never really be sure about who you are talking to.
- Do not give out any personal information about yourself online to people you do not know. This includes your full name, address, street name, postcode, or school name. Only ever give out your location as London.
- Never give your contact number to anyone who you don’t know.
- It’s a good idea to use a nickname rather than your real name.
- Don’t meet people that you have only spoken to online. If you do decide to meet up with anyone in real life then make sure you take a trusted adult with you and meet in a public place at a busy time.
- Never give out pictures online or over a mobile unless you know the person in real life. It is easy for people to take your pictures and alter them, send them on, or even pretend to be you with them.
- Always use private settings whenever you are setting up a social networking page or an Instant Messenger (IM) account. This is so people who you don’t want to see your profile can’t.
- Anything you post or upload to the internet is there forever so be very careful what you put online.
- Never go onto webcam with people you don’t know in real life. Webcam images can be recorded and copied and also shared with other people.
- Do not send private and intimate information out through technology. The term ‘sexting’ describes the use of technology to share personal sexual content. The content can vary, from text messages to images of partial nudity to sexual images or video.
- If you receive any messages or pictures that worry or upset you talk to an adult you trust. You may also report it online, via the thinkuknow website thinkuknow.co.uk.
Need more advice?
Student Support: 020 8544 4405
OR if you are particularly concerned that your child might leave the country to travel to a conflict zone:
Lock your child’s passport away in a safe place
Then contact the college’s safeguarding team as above
OR contact local services:
London Borough of Sutton MASH 020 8649 0418/0420
Out of hours Duty Team (evenings and weekends) 020 8770 5000
Speak to the confidential help line run by the Active Change Foundation (ACF) an organisation concerned to prevent British nationals from travelling to conflict zones 020 8539 2770