`You learn more if you come on time,' says Theo, 10

St Bernadette Grant Maintained Roman Catholic Junior School in Clapham, south west London, introduced a home-school agreement in 1991. Among things expected from pupils are school uniform, homework and punctuality. Above average SATs results are credited to the agreement.

THIS PART of Clapham is not an easy area in which to teach. More than a quarter of the children live in over-crowded houses and flats; a third of the children in the school have special educational needs; and well over a third qualify for free school meals.

Challenging children go to this school, and the school offers a much needed structure to their lives, and sets firm parameters of acceptable behaviour. It has high expectations of the children. As a direct result, it has an excellent reputation in the local community. The school is over- subscribed and parents believe in the school and the agreement - all of them have signed.

Nuala Sullivan's four children have all been to St Bernadette - eight- year-old Christopher and 10-year-old Mark are still there. She says: "As a parent, it gives you guidelines, it sets the boundaries. You know what your children are allowed and not allowed to do." Theo Gonzales, 10, says: "You learn more if you come on time. It helps you do well, ready for the SATs."

The behaviour policy is the existing agreement's backbone, and of the new one which will be in place from the autumn term. It is the most important factor in making the school calm - teachers and children speak to each other with respect.

Sections of the Ofsted report that praise the school for this are blown up to A3 and displayed in corridors.

Parents are expected to toe the line. Keith D'Cruz, the headteacher, believes that parents who refuse to sign, should be asked to go to another school. He is determined to make the agreement work.

He says: "I would be very willing to sign an agreement if my child was going to school because it would show my commitment to the school. I can also then challenge the school and say, `Look, I've met my part of the bargain. You've promised me my child was going to achieve this. Where's your part of the bargain?'"

Mr D'Cruz expects the parents to discuss the contracts with their children, and explain what is expected of them.

In the autumn term all the children will be expected to sign a more child- friendly agreement. There are six short sentences for them to agree to. They must get to school on time; bring all their equipment every day; wear school uniform; do all their work as well as they can; be polite and helpful; and keep the school clean.

The underlying factor is to stay focused without allowing any of the distractions that would be irritating to teachers in the classroom.

In return the school promises to foster the religious development of all the children in the Catholic faith; encourage the children to do their best at all times; encourage children to take care of their surroundings and other people around them; inform parents of the children's progress at regular meetings; inform parents about what the teachers aim to teach the children each term; tackle any special needs; and let parents know about any concerns or problems that affect their children's work or behaviour.

Stephanie Cooper

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Guru Careers: Product Training Specialist / Software Trainer

£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence