I recently enjoyed a comedy sketch in which various phrases were translated into German and the resulting phrase was shared. My favourite was the attempt to translate “Sorry I’m late”. The German person was seemingly unable to translate this phrase, the implication presumably being that Germans are never late to anything, so there is no word in the language to describe this.

Punctuality at Carmel School is something which has increasingly concerned me of late (pun intended).

Research shows that frequent lateness has an impact on achievement and is associated with lower grades, lower scores on standardised assessments and lower graduation rates. Children who are routinely late in primary school are more likely to fail in high school and they miss out on the morning routines which are critical for a successful start to the primary school day. Missing out on warm-up activities that involve reviewing previously learned skills or work from earlier lessons makes it more difficult to successfully master the next step in the learning process.

A really important and sometimes under-rated thing about school is that it is organised and predictable. We know where we have to be at each point during the day and routines are put in place to enable effective learning. As teachers, we often see that those students who are regularly late disrupt these routines both for themselves and for others. They can have trouble settling in and working out what they have missed; they can also annoy others when they consistently arrive late to lessons and distract other students, which can lead to awkward social interactions.

We recognise punctuality as so important that it is listed in our Parent/Caregiver Code of Conduct, where we ask that parents and caregivers “ensure your child arrives to school on time, in correct uniform and fit to contribute to the school day”. Strategies including packing bags the night before and getting uniforms ready before bedtime can help – and these all assist in setting our students up for success in the workplace later in life, where frequent lateness can cause serious issues.

I suggested to a couple of students this morning that if they are frequently five minutes late, then setting off five minutes earlier would mean that they are nearly always on time. Sometimes it’s a habit, sometimes it’s just that they haven’t thought of this as an option and sometimes I understand that it’s just hard to get out of bed at a set time. If this applies to your son or daughter, I respectfully request that you support them to get up ten minutes earlier, eat breakfast ten minutes earlier and, most importantly, set off ten minutes earlier so that they can start their school day on time.

As always, we thank you for your support. As the primary role model of the children, you play a huge part in ensuring that your children get to school on time every morning and we appreciate those who ensure this happens each day.

It is only when parents, students and the School work together that we can make a difference.

Shabbat shalom

Julie Harris