From: The Head Master 25th October, 1977
I hope that the following observations will be helpful to colleagues on certain matters of school policy
1 - Letters from parents
(i) Correspondence of a private nature,(eg, an invitation to a Form Tutor to go to tea) should dealt with privately and on private writing paper.
(ii) Correspondence of an official nature, when delivered by hand, most commonly received by Form Tutors or by the P.E. specialists. Much of it is concerned with routine matters such as absences, reasons for late arrival or non-participation. All of it should be transmitted to the School office, either with the register or subsequently.
(iii) Correspondence of a contentious character, containing complaints against the individual teacher or against the Schools policy, should be brought to the attention of the Head Master. It will suffice for this purpose to write on it "please forward to the Head Master" when sending it the Office.
(iv) Colleagues are requested not attempt to defend themselves to parents: it has already been made clear to parents that correspondence should be addressed to the Head Master. Before sending any reply to a parent in a matter in which a particular teacher is involved the Head Master will always show the letter to the teacher.
(v) All letters on the Schools official writing paper have the Head Masters name at the top of the page; consequently, unless the letter is some circular about routine procedure already agreed upon, no letters should be sent written on official school paper unless they have been first shown to the Head Master.
2.Misbehaviour of boys in class confronts us all in varying degrees of severity and frequency. Colleagues, it is hoped, do not need assurance of the Head Masters support in their maintaining good order and discipline. Nevertheless, some uniformity of procedure should constantly be observed.
Boys sent out of class should always have a written "docket" preferably the printed form provided stating their name, offence, etc. Colleagues are requested also to desist from the practice of using Detention as a punishment for misbehaviour in class The boy should invariably be sent out to the Master in charge of the building, to will determine his punishment. It is, of course tempting to detain the entire class when the entire class has been making a noise, and certainly corporal punishment of the entire class is to be avoided. All the same, colleagues are asked not to impose class Detention without first asking the Head Master, who will only approve if the Detention is intended to induce a guilty boy to own up to an offence which all his school fellows know he has committed.
For dealing with unruly classes, the standard procedure is first to impose silence and then to send out, one by one, boys who infringe the silence from then onwards.
3.Homework. Monitors appear to be making frequent use of the expression "none set". This is authorised only when the teacher who would normally set the homework has been absent. Ideally, in such a situation the Head of department would set some homework, but in practice there are few schools which can attain this ideal and in our present circumstances seems beyond our power.
A similar problem arises when the teacher is present and takes the lesson but is so overwhelmed with written work requiring marking that he dare not set any more knowing that he could not mark it. In such a case he need not hesitate to set "learning homework", e.g. "Read the next chapter" (it is often more effective to add "in preparation for a test".)
4.Private Study , I thank colleagues for their services in what is one of our least interesting tasks and one which, as far as it goes, makes but small demand on our training and experience. The opinion is not unknown in our profession that Sixthformers, who are, after all, being prepared for the freedom of the world of higher education, should be left unsupervised in their private study. This view is not borne out by the fact that in student hostels the basic unit of accommodation is the single room, with a single desk. One remembers also flat young students are very much attracted to public libraries, not necessarily because they wish to use the books which can be found there, but because silence is enforced by officials. We owe it to our pupils to provide such supervision as will save them from their own folly and immaturity, not to speak, of the sense of solidarity which prevents the more conscientious students from imposing their will on those who initiate distracting behaviour.
It sometimes seems also that, whereas colleagues on the whole are faithful in executing this duty, like any other, they do not in practice give it quite the same priority, so that some who would never be late for class arrive late for private study, and some who would never abandon a class, even to retrieve important books, would not feel the same compunction about abandoning private study for a short while. I hope we are all agreed that the standard of punctiliousness in private study should be the same as for any other form of supervision that we undertake.
In the matter of private study our pupils often reveal incredible immaturity; we must never weary of correcting them. It needs to be said unfortunately with great frequency - that during private study they are not allowed to sit on the more comfortable upholstery near the windows, but must be seated at a table; they must also have text books open and writing materials at the ready. Inspection of the books being read sometimes reveals quite unacademic books under the guise of English set texts. Games of cards are of course prohibited, as are transistor radios, not to mention conversation.