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Gateway College

New Lateness Policy

"A Full Lesson Every Lesson"
Notes for Parents and Guardians.

What is the policy?

Simply this:

• Every student must be in the lesson within five minutes of the timetabled start time.

• After five minutes, students who have not arrived are marked absent and must not enter the room.

• Students who miss lessons due to lateness must see the teacher afterwards (or contact in an agreed way such as email) to explain that they missed the class due to lateness and to collect any catch-up work.

The only exceptions allowed are students whose personal circumstances mean that it is particularly difficult for them to arrive on time for a specified class. These students should make a prior arrangement with the teacher for that occasion only stating the time at wish they will arrive. They will be allowed to join the class up to five minutes after the agreed deadline, but will be marked late on the register.  Should they arrive more than five minutes after the agreed time they will not be allowed to enter the classroom.

Why are you doing this?

• As a sixth form College, we have to treat our students as young adults, not as children. We do not have detention systems, bells, exclusion rooms or any of the disciplinary systems you would find in a secondary school. Instead, we expect our students to take responsibility for themselves. They should understand that their lessons are important and that the start of each lesson is an appointment they must attend on time.

• Teachers prepare their lessons with a structure – a beginning, middle and ending, so it is important for every student to be there from start to finish.

• Late arrivals disrupt the structure and prevent the rest of the class from starting effectively.  Every latecomer has a negative effect on other students’ learning.

• All students who arrive on time deserve the benefit of a full session of learning and teaching.

• By not accepting lateness, we will help prepare our students better for their future – and make them more employable.

Won’t students miss out on work?

• Students who arrive on time will not miss out on work or support at all.

• Most students value their lessons and understand how important they are – they will not wish to miss classes and will make the extra effort to break bad timekeeping habits.

• Every student who misses a lesson due to lateness will be able to collect the work from the class teacher – and so will have an opportunity to catch up in their own time. This is not as good as being in the lesson, but if the student is rarely late they should not suffer too much.

What about students who end up late through no fault of their own?

Occasionally, a student may end up missing a lesson because they have been unavoidably held up.  For most people, this will be an extremely rare event and the student will be given work and support to catch up.  We believe that the regular benefits to everyone will outweigh this infrequent cost to a few individuals.  We want:

• every lesson starting on time without interruptions;

• the whole class getting the full teaching session every time.

What will happen to students who miss a lot of lessons by being late?

They will be treated like any student who misses a lot of classes.  This will mean Level 1 or Level 2 contract.  Any student who repeatedly chooses to be late, and therefore to miss lessons, is deliberately absent with no reason.

Won’t some students use this as an excuse to miss lessons?

Only if they do not understand that it is not an excuse to miss a lesson.  It is just the same as missing a lesson and will be treated in exactly the same way.

The majority of students do not wish to miss lessons and will not be looking for excuses of any sort.

Lateness isn’t really a big thing – isn’t this quite extreme?

• Part of the problem is that lateness is seen as very minor by students who are late and for each individual student it may be so.  It is the impact of lateness on others that can be severe.

• Teachers report that regular, relatively minor lateness is one of the biggest disruptions to learning and teaching that they face. Three students arriving late one after another can ruin the first 10-15 minutes of a carefully prepared 60 minute session.

• Students who are absent only have an effect on themselves; students who are late affect the whole group.

Has this been tried before?

Individual teachers have used systems similar to this in the past, and report that it generally has a very positive effect on student punctuality.

Several years ago at Gateway, the Business Faculty operated a trial policy along these lines, and reported that it was extremely effective. However, due to difficulties with the EMA system at that time it could not be put into general practice.

More recently there has been a pilot in English and Media that has had similar success. Students have valued not having continual interruptions to the start of the class by latecomers. Staff have welcomed the ‘gain’ in time and have recognised that certain students have significantly improved their punctuality.

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