You mention you have strong links with the local pre-schools that you conduct transition visit to. My daughter currently attends a childminder in the area (with her younger sister who will be joining Year R in 2022)- how will transition look for her?
Sorry I should have said Pre-schools and Childminders. We carry out the same induction for children with childminders. We have a phone conversation with them and if we can the same as pre-schools make a visit. They will be sent the same Induction welcome booklet that we leave with all early years settings.
Will there be the opportunity to virtually meet the Year R teachers - video or live chat?
We move our teachers around so ensure they have experience of both key stages. You will meet the year R teachers in the June welcome meeting. Again I truly hope this can be in person by then. However, if this is not the case then it would be a virtual meeting. All our current staff are listed on the website and most of them have read a story which is featured in our school virtual library on the website. You may like to have a look here or share a story with your little one.
What will the settling in sessions look like for the September 2021 cohort? It would be good to get a sense of what they will be like for a 'normal' school year as well as how they will run if Covid restrictions are still in place.
The only change we made due to COVID this year for Year R was the start time. This was under the government guidance we had to offer an alternative start time to our day for each year group. We believe in a staggered start as we feel that this enables the children to develop strong relationships with their new adults. The staggered start is not because we believe a child cannot cope with the school day, it is to enable them to learn new routines and establish strong relationships. We believe if children feel happy, confident and safe then we can develop them as a learner. The staggered start is currently worked on the basis that the children are grouped into their birth months. So September - December are our Autumn children, January to April are our Spring children and May to August are our Summer children. The children attend a session in their groups and we slowly build up the class over the three weeks to 30. The children are full time by the third week.
You recent Year R cohort complete their reading through a programme (similar to AR reading, I believe). Will this remain for the 2021 cohort or will they be able to take actual reading books home?
This is currently working for COVID to ensure children can assess books to support their phonic phase ability and consolidate their sound knowledge. We truly believe an actual book is the best way and have invested heavily in new books last year to do this . Our aim when we can is to return to our normal reading programme of sending books home.
How do you help summer born babies settle in when they may potentially be less emotionally mature and anxious compared to older children?
We believe our staggered start supports all children but particularly the Summer born children. As they are the younger children in the year group we can extend their part time sessions in liaison with the family for slightly longer. We have a clear balance of child initiated (child led learning) which replicates the pre-school provision and we build up to make the learning experiences more formal for their learning. The children work in small groups of 1 adult to 2 children and gradually build up to a 1:3 and then 1:6. We believe each child is an individual and we plan our activities to support the next steps for each child. We believe that our environment, planning and ethos supports all the birthday groups and tailors appropriately to their needs.
What do you offer for ‘gifted’ children, or high achievers? And on the inverse of this how do you support struggling children?
Our planning is differentiated to support each child’s next steps. This will be to extend their learning, consolidate or revisit key barriers of learning the child may be finding difficult. We run interventions that may extend children or consolidate learning. We have a range of resources that offer children challenge and support. This support and provision is across our curriculum in all areas ie PE, History, PSHE, English and Maths.
What is your teacher retention rate like? How long have most of the current staff been there?
We have a very low turnover of staff. If staff leave this is mainly for a progression in their career of retirement. Many of us have been in the school for over 10 years and we have some new staff who have been with us for 2 years.
Do you have an ‘open-door policy’ (current situation aside) if parents have any concerns?
Yes in normal circumstances we do have an open door policy. We like to ensure we have strong relationships with our families as this brings out the best for the child. We would much rather parents raise small concerts then these grow in to bigger worries. The staff will always make time to make phone calls or have a meeting with families. The senior leadership team like to be involved in these or are also easily contactable should families wish to talk things through. We are doing our best to keep this policy with the current circumstances and will make phone calls to families who need to talk something through. We will also contact you if we have a worry.
What clubs and extra-curricular activities do you run?
Our after school activities are run by Team Spirit or Learning through sport. There is a large range from dance, cooking, football, circus skills, Music, choir, high fives, Lego club and many more.
How many infants don’t get into the junior school?
We are a feeder school in our policy. All Infant children get into the Junior school providing their application is with the Local Authority on time.
How do you make children who are nervous feel comfortable on their first day?
We have a very important induction process into school that supports your little one in becoming familiar with the school. We have:
a parent welcome meeting in June
contact with all the preschools that the children attend and visit or have a telephone call with the key worker. We send a book all about school for them to share in their Early Years Setting.
a Class activity session is held in July. This is where the child and parents get to meet the class teacher and teaching assistant. At this session the children bring home a virtual book all about school. The children receive a postcard with their class adults photos too for the fridge.
a week where the pre-schools can bring the children to the school for a visit in July.
a home visit or meeting in school in July or September depending on the year. Here we ask you and your child to make a family book so it can be kept in school but brought in with the child on their first day.
We believe our staggered induction supports this heavily too. By doing this the children walk into a new environment in smaller groups and therefore, the adults can ensure they support them on smaller ratios. This means they can establish strong relationships with your little one to ease the transition between home and school. We believe if children feel happy and safe then they are ready to learn.
What are your discipline procedures?
We believe every day is a new day. We use restorative practice to support the conversations between children or a child and adult if the wrong choice has been made. We use positive praise and support the child with making the correct choice to own their own behaviours. Our policy is underpinned by the United Conventions of rights of the child. Please see on the website click on Key information/Policies and Procedures/ behaviour policy for the full policy
What wrap around care is available?
There are a number of before and after school clubs available that our children attend. We unfortunately do not have our own on site provider.
Do you have a relationship with Paint Pots on Waterloo Road?
Yes we do. However, please be assured we make contact with the settings the children attend before starting with us. At home, pre-school, nursery, nanny or childminder.