The ethos of Watford Grammar School for Girls favours principled action over hopeful ideas, an attitude which is summed up by the alternative motto: “I can do it and I will do it”.
For this reason, our policies, particularly those which directly affect the pupils – Behaviour, Bullying, Child Protection – are written as accessible codes of conduct or as procedures to be followed in certain circumstances. The school believes that only when specific examples of bad behaviour occur should there be an automatic punishment. These specific misbehaviours include physical violence, smoking, involvement with drugs or alcohol, and misbehaviour on school trips. The automatic sanction will usually be a fixed term exclusion from school (or being barred from participation in school trips for a given period).
The School Code, was developed through collaboration of pupils and staff to reflect the values of our school, and acts as the basis of our Behaviour Policy. It specifies the expectations the school holds for the conduct of pupils and staff. The school also has a clear set of rules, based on the School Code, which give clarity for students about how they should behave.
The school’s values include inculcating an understanding in the pupils of appropriate behaviour in any situation, whatever the degree of formality.
The Behaviour Policy will be reviewed regularly.
All girls are expected to wear correct school uniform. The school maintains a stock of very good quality second hand uniform at very reasonable prices, many items hardly used. Please contact Matron at the school office for further details.
Mobile Phones In WGGS
What are the school rules regarding mobile phones?
Girls in Year 7 – 11 are not allowed to use their mobile phones in school for any reason whatsoever. The phone may be brought to school but it must be kept in the locker from the start until the end of the school day.
There is considerable evidence that mobile phones can have a negative impact on learning: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/28/what-do-five-experts-think-about-mobile-phones-in-schools
The Harvard Business Review also found that even having the phone nearby, even if it is switched off can impact on concentration levels : https://hbr.org/2018/03/having-your-smartphone-nearby-takes-a-toll-on-your-thinking
Is this the same rule for Sixth Formers?
Sixth Formers may use their mobile phone in the Tennet Centre and in the library during silent study periods. Smart devices, including phones, may also be used with the expressed permission of the member of staff. At all other times, including walking to and from rooms, the phone must not be seen or used.
What is the sanction for being found with a mobile phone during the school day?
If a phone is seen, heard or found it will be confiscated and held by the Headmistress for one week.
Why is it kept for a week?
The period of a week ensures the consistency for all pupils and such an extended period of time ensures the girl rarely repeats the offence. If the sanction were shorter i.e. four days, then if the phone were confiscated on a Monday it would be returned by the weekend, however if it were confiscated on a Wednesday, then it would be over a weekend. This would mean unfair treatment for girls depending on the day the offence was committed. The sanction of one week ensures all girls will experience one weekend without their phone.
Are you legally allowed to confiscate a phone?
Government Legislation does allow for schools and Headteachers to confiscate property: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/40/section/94. The school is required to ensure that pupils and parents are informed of the school’s policy and that measures are put in place to enable pupils to remain safe. The school makes its position regarding pupils’ mobile phones very clear and allows pupils to call home from the school office. We also provide supervised study for one hour each day for any pupil who needs to stay on site for a parent to collect them. On the school website we give a clear statement of our policy. This is at the end of this document.
My daughter has learnt her lesson. Can she have it back before the end of the week/over the weekend?
I do receive requests from parents to return their daughter’s phone to them before the end of the week of sanction. I have refused this request on each occasion and do not intend to relent in the future. Given the strength of evidence that mobile phones have a detrimental impact on learning I believe that this is a rule that must be enforced and maintained.
How can my daughter be kept safe without her phone?
There is very little evidence that having a mobile phone will keep a person safe from harm. This article suggests that although having a phone may make a child feel safer, it actually leads to more risk: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/23454855/ns/health-behavior/t/students-feel-safer-when-armed-cell-phone/#.XEsUXlX7Spo .
If you do not wish your daughter to travel home without her phone then she may remain in school, either in the Study Club or in the Tennet Centre if she is a Sixth Former, until an adult can collect her by 5pm. All girls may also ask to use a landline phone to contact home at the school office.
If it is necessary for your daughter to have a phone, it must be turned off and kept in her locker. She must not use it in school. Staff will confiscate any mobile phone found in school and hand it to the Headmistress who will keep it for a week. Girls are not allowed to use their mobile phones in school for any reason whatsoever. If they are unwell, have any concerns or need to contact parents in an emergency, they must see Matron in the School Office and she will make the necessary arrangements. The school will not be held responsible for lost or damaged phones.
A similar statement is also written into the Behaviour Policy:
Pupils in Year 7 – 11 may bring a mobile phone into school but is must be locked in their locker as soon as they arrive in the school building. Phones may only be removed and used again once they have left the school site.