Welcome to St Mary’s Primary School

 

St Mary’s is a community school in a thriving rural town. Our children come from many different backgrounds and the school enjoys a rich and diverse cultural life.

St Mary’s has a talented staff dedicated to teaching all pupils to the highest standards. We are proud of our pastoral care and our innovative behaviour policy, which allow children to work and play in a secure yet stimulating environment. It was described in our most recent Ofsted report as a “positive learning culture.”

This prospectus contains practical details about the school and about the curriculum. As you will see, at St Mary’s the creative arts and computer technology go hand in hand with an emphasis on the best possible academic standards. A variety of out-of-hours clubs and classes are also available for the children to extend their learning and development.

Parents and carers are a key part of our school. We welcome your involvement and offer a range of adult education opportunities.

Our mantra here at St Mary’s is “growing together.” It means your child is not only an individual pupil but part of a thriving community where we support each other to achieve shared goals.

So welcome to St Mary’s!  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.

Yours sincerely

Jacqueline Herbst

Head Teacher


Contact information

Our mailing address is St Mary’s School, St Mary’s Road. Our telephone number is 01783 222333.

The school email is: admin@St Mary’s..sch.uk and our website is www.your-community.co.uk, then go to Schools. The Governors email is governors@St Mary’s.sch.uk.

Our local education authority is CEA@Rural, a private company which is under contract to the local district council. It can be contacted at CEA@Rural, Laycock Street, Manchester N1 1TH, by telephone at 01207 527580, or by email at info.cea@is.gov.uk.


Growing together

At St Mary’s School we believe that everyone in our community can grow to be a highly motivated life long learner. We provide a safe and vibrant environment where children and adults thrive on challenging and creative learning experiences. We will equip everyone with the skills to achieve their full potential in a climate of mutual respect and personal responsibility.

“Growing together” at St Mary’s means that we:

·         Treat everyone fairly and with respect

·         Believe everyone is special and has something to contribute

·         Work hard to achieve success and demonstrate excellence

·         Support each other to succeed and have fun

·         Celebrate our achievements

·         Recognise we are all life-long learners

·         Provide a broad, rich and relevant curriculum

·         Ensure the school is a safe and secure place to work and learn

·         Promote a healthy life style

·        Foster partnership with the wider community

Our school

St Mary’s is a community primary school with a Nursery class of up to 26 children and a main school of up to 210. That makes us a relatively small school, with just one class in each year.

The school is in a Victorian building with two main playgrounds which include imaginative play structures and a small garden tended by the children. St Mary’s’s classrooms, spread over three floors, are large and airy. There is a library and a recently refurbished computer suite. We have a resources room which is also used for working with children with special educational needs.

Admissions

Applications to the Nursery can be made directly to the school. Applications to the Reception class are made to the education authority, CEA.

Children join the Reception class when they are five. Those with birthdays between 1 September and the following 29 February start in September. Children with birthdays between 1 March and 31 August join in January.

For entry to both Nursery and Reception, priority is given to children who have older brothers or sisters already attending St Mary’s. The remaining places are allocated to children living nearest to the school.

You must fill in a Reception application form for your child, even if she or he has a place in our Nursery. A place in the Nursery does not guarantee a place for your child at school.

Entry to other classes is dependent on availability of places.  Applications should be made directly to the school.  If your child is not given a place, you may appeal against this decision. The Head Teacher will advise you how to do this.

Beginning School

In the term before your child starts school, you will be invited to meet your child's teacher. You will also be invited with your child to visit the class. We have no set pattern for this but encourage a few visits so that parents and their children become comfortable with the new experience of school. The visit need not be a long one. Half an hour is often enough for a four-year-old.

Once your child starts in either the Nursery or the Reception class, you are very welcome to stay with them in the classroom for a while.

The School Day

Please make sure your child arrives on time every day. The school schedule is given in the table below.

For the Main School, the day begins at 8:55. There is a break from 10:25 to 10:40. Lunch is from 12:05 to 1:30 for Infants and 12:30 to 1:30 for Juniors. Afternoon break is from 2:45 to 3:00. School ends at 3:30.

For the Nursery, the day begins at 9:10. Lunch is from 12:15 to 1:15. The day ends at 3:15.

Except for those in the nursery and reception, children should be delivered to the playground. A Primary Helper is on duty before school, but children remain the responsibility of parents until 8:55 am unless they are at the Breakfast Club.

A sunflower sign, our school symbol, is brought out by one of the pupils at the time pupils should enter the school.

Coming to School

Please always use the playground entrance at the beginning and at the end of the school day. This door is locked between 09.10 and 15.15 to ensure your child's safety. At other times, please use the main entrance where we have an intercom system.

The Breakfast Club

All St Mary’s children are welcome at the Breakfast Club. We provide breakfast, including cereals and hot food, from 8.15 every morning for a small charge.  Children then enjoy supervised play until school starts.

Lunch Time

Lunch is cooked at the school in our newly refurbished kitchens and there is a three-week menu cycle. A copy of the menu is on the parent's notice board in the entrance foyer. There is always a vegetarian option.

Paying for school lunches

Please pay in advance at the school office. If you wish your child to have a school lunch you can either pay weekly each Monday morning (money in an envelope please, marked with your child's name and class) or you may pay by cheque for the term or half-term

Free school meals

If you are receiving Income Support you can claim for free school meals. Ask the school's Administrative Officer for details.

Packed Lunches

Children can bring packed lunches if they wish. Please try to include a variety of foods that are nutritious and that you are sure that your child will eat. Please give the Administrative Officer a week's notice if your child is switching from having school lunches to packed lunches.

Other Food in School

Children are allowed to bring fruit for morning playtime. However, sweets, biscuits, crisps, chewing and bubble gum are not permitted.

Collecting your Child at the End of the Day

If your child is in the Nursery or Reception class you or another responsible adult should collect him or her directly from the classroom. Older children should be collected from the playground. This not only ensures your child is safely handed over to you but also gives you regular contact with the class teacher. There is a shelter under which parents can wait.

Please be on time to deliver and collect your child and if you know you are going to be late, please tell us.

If you arrange for a friend or someone else we don’t know to collect your child please inform the class teacher beforehand. We need to make sure your child is safe.

Behaviour

Children learn best when they are happy and feel safe. At St Mary’s we aim to keep the atmosphere friendly but also controlled and we have clear rules, devised with the children, that establish acceptable boundaries for behaviour. Good behaviour is actively encouraged, and children are praised whenever possible, Unsatisfactory behaviour is dealt with through our highly effective Traffic Lights procedure:

Red for a warning

Amber for a time out period of reflection

Green for exit to another class, or if the behaviour persists, to the Head Teacher.

Bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Children are actively encouraged to discuss the subject and disclose any incidents or concerns.

Clothes

We do not have a school uniform but we do have a school sweatshirt with our sunflower logo. We suggest that children come to school in comfortable and practical clothes. We ask that your child not wear expensive items such as jewellery and watches, and that their outer clothing and sportswear are clearly marked with their name.

Attendance and Absence

To achieve their full potential, children need to be in school for all lessons, except in the case of illness. We also want children to develop a positive attitude towards school and to learn the importance of punctuality and respect for the rest of the class. That is why we have an Attendance Cup awarded weekly to the class that has achieved the best attendance overall. The results are published in our fortnightly newsletter. We also award individual certificates each term for those children who have done better than the government-required 95% attendance rate.

We ask that you make sure your child is at school on time by 8:55 each morning.

If your child is going to be late or unable to be at school, contact the school office at the beginning of the day (and no later than 9:30am) to inform us.

Please let us know in advance if your child is to be absent for a medical or dental (or other) appointment that cannot be scheduled for outside school hours.

When your child returns to school after more than two days away because of illness, please send a note explaining their absence.

We also expect you to seek written permission from the Head Teacher if you intend to take a child out of school for any extended periods of time (i.e., more than two days).

We follow the government’s rules on unauthorised absences. Unexplained absence is classified as unauthorised and may therefore be investigated by the borough’s education authority. In exceptional circumstances such as illness in the family, permission can be sought from the Head Teacher for an absence of up to 10 days.

Teaching and Learning

We have high expectations of all our children at St Mary’s, whatever their abilities. We are no less demanding of our staff who work hard to achieve the best possible results for the children.

Foundation Stage Curriculum (Nursery and Reception)

As recommended for all state schools, St Mary’s follows the Foundation Stage curriculum set out by the government.

For children in the Nursery and Reception classes, this means  a curriculum that is organised into six areas of learning: personal, social and emotional development; communication, language and literacy; mathematical development; knowledge and understanding of the world ; physical development; and creative development.

Some learning is led and structured by adults and some is initiated by children through play and exploration.

National Curriculum for Years 1 – 6

As required for all state schools, St Mary’s follows the National Curriculum set out by the government.

This divides the school into Key Stage 1 for the younger children and Key Stage 2 which they complete in Year 6. Throughout, there are three “core” subjects: English, Maths and Science. Children are also taught what are known as the “foundation” subjects: Religious Education, Art, Music, Physical Education (PE), Geography, History, Design, and Information Technology.

About an hour a day is spent on English and Maths from Years 1 to 6. The time spent on other subjects will vary depending on which year they are in. For all subjects, children are taught as a class with work adapted for groups or individuals of different abilities where appropriate.

Assessment

All lessons are carefully planned in advance, with the Head Teacher overseeing the plans on a weekly basis. Subject Coordinators (senior teachers in the school) also monitor the plans to make sure the curriculum is being covered and progress is being made.

Children are formally assessed each term, and their progress is carefully tracked. After the assessment, the class teacher discusses each child at pupil progress meetings with the Head and Deputy Head. Targets are set which are then discussed with parents or carers.

Children take compulsory SATs tests at the end of Year 2 and the end of Year 6. They also take optional SATs in Years 3,4 and 5 to help us monitor their progress.

Every child gets a full report written by their class teacher at the end of each summer term.

All our teachers are also regularly assessed by the Subject Coordinators and the Head Teacher.

Homework

At St Mary’s we use homework to reinforce and develop a child’s learning, encourage independent research and to help get parents or carers involved in their child’s education. We try to make it enjoyable and relevant and ask that you give your child the space, time and encouragement they need to complete their work.

In Years 1 and 2, when homework will mostly take the form of reading, your help is vital. As they get older, children will be asked to learn their times tables and other tasks. For some of the more able children, their homework may include topics for them to research independently at home or in the library.

Children with Special Educational Needs

Some children need extra support at some point during their school life. They may have greater difficulty in learning than other children their age, or an emotional or behavioural problem which affects their progress.

At St Mary’s we have an SEN Coordinator who works with children, teachers and parents to provide the extra support necessary. We attempt to identify children with special needs as early as possible through monitoring and observation. Once identified, an Individual Education Plan is drawn up for each child. These are reviewed twice a year with parents or carers. Children will also be consulted whenever possible.

The SEN Coordinator is available in the school every week for informal discussions should you have any concerns. In addition, we have 5 Teaching Assistants and a Learning Mentor who work with our children with special needs, and trainee Art Therapists also come to the school to support some of the children.

Children who Excel

St Mary’s also works hard to support pupils with a different kind of special need: those who excel in a particular subject or subjects. To avoid their becoming bored or distracted, teachers will adapt daily work to a child’s abilities as much as possible. But we also make additional arrangements to stretch and challenge the most able of our pupils by making full use of  resources within the school and those offered by authorities and agencies outside.

Sex and Relationship Education

This is part of the Personal, Social and Health Education framework and is taught by your child’s class teacher in mixed and single sex groups. Relationships and personal and social skills will be discussed throughout a child’s time in school, often during “Circle Time,” the regular structured discussion and play times led by the class teacher. 

From Year 4 upwards, specific sex education topics are taught. These provide children with accurate knowledge and understanding about sexuality and relationships. The language and topics taught are carefully designed to be appropriate to the Year’s age and maturity.

Parents have a right to withdraw their children from sex education but we would strongly advise you to discuss this with the school before making such a decision.

Beyond the National Curriculum

Music

Music has always been important at St Mary’s - as shown in the above photo from 1961. Today, African drum and dance lessons are part of our creative curriculum, and assemblies often include a musical contribution by pupils.

We are very proud that St Mary’s was one of the first schools in The district chosen to introduce SoundStart. This is a national music initiative in which every child in Year 4 is loaned a string instrument and given free tuition. The children learn to play together, performing in regular assemblies and concerts.

When they move on from Year 4 they have the option of keeping the instrument and receiving tuition organised by the school. They can also join an after-school ensemble or take part in borough-wide musical groups. Piano lessons are available during school hours (a fee is charged).

Swimming

Children in Years 4 and 5 have swimming lessons once a week as part of their regular class timetable. They are taken by coach to the local swimming pool where they are taught to swim by a qualified swimming instructor and encouraged to enter for certificates. The class teacher is present during the swimming lessons.

Everyone takes part unless there is a medical reason for not doing so in which case please write to the class teacher. Your child will need a swimsuit and towel, both with their names attached, and a means of tying back long hair where necessary.

Outings and Trips

All classes make several trips a year to museums, art galleries, theatres and parks. Some are local, others involve a short journey on public transport.

Every year we organise a residential trip for the older children, usually with an environmental focus and emphasis on outdoor activity. Destinations include study centres in Essex and the Isle of Wight.

School Council

Children have an official voice in the school through the School Council. Each class has an elected representative who takes issues arising from class discussion to the School Council meetings.  The children  organise and run the meetings but an adult is in attendance to support them and to communicate issues to staff.

The School Council allows St Mary’s children to learn about citizenship and democracy,  while also having a real impact on decision making in the school.  For example, discussions on the quality of lunches were an important factor in the decision to invest in a new kitchen so that fresh food could be cooked on the premises. The School Council also contributed to the development of a range of high quality playground activities and resources.

After School

In addition to an After School Club organised with Elizabeth House, St Mary’s offers numerous activities that allow our children to develop their interests and talents outside school hours. These include:

·        Cycling proficiency

·        Football  (separate training for boys and girls)

·        Tag rugby club

·        Gardening club

·        “Wicked Wire” art club

·        School choir

·        French language
lessons (a fee is charged)

·        Bengali language
lessons

Medicines and Health

All children are seen by the school doctor shortly after they start school. It is always helpful if a parent or carer can attend. We also have a nurse who is in school regularly and can carry out sight and hearing tests.

If your child has a medical condition we urge you to give us full details as early as possible so that we can take any appropriate action. If she or he needs to take medication while at school, written authorisation must be given by the parent or carer and a pupil support plan completed. This gives all the details necessary for a member of staff to supervise self-medication by the pupil.

Similar documents will have to be completed if you wish a member of staff to administer medication directly to the child. If training is needed, we will endeavour to obtain it for key staff so that there is always a trained member available when the child is in school.

Our detailed School Medicines Policy is available from the school office.

Healthy School Status

This is part of the government’s effort to improve the general health of all school children - from the food they eat to the opportunities they have for sports and active play. St Mary’s is on track to gain Healthy School Status in 2007.

Working with You

St Mary’s keeps in touch with parents and carers in a variety of ways. We send you our school newsletter every fortnight. We hold regular parents’ evenings where you can discuss your child’s progress with their teacher. We also conduct surveys of opinion amongst the parents to see what you are thinking about various issues.

When your child joins St Mary’s, we ask you and your child to join us in signing a Home–School Agreement. This is the basis of the partnership between you, your child and the school. It states clearly the part we would like you to play in your child’s education, and what you can expect from the school.

At the beginning of the year, class teachers invite parents for an informal gathering to introduce themselves and discuss the year ahead. They also send a letter home at the start of each term with information about what your child will be learning.

Our Governing Body also issues a regular newsletter and pots it on the school website. Beyond these formal arrangements, the Head Teacher and staff are always available to discuss any concerns you may have.

We welcome your involvement in many of the school’s activities, whether on a regular or occasional basis. This might include listening to children read, helping out in art classes, joining in the experiments during Science Week, or accompanying classes on educational visits.

Family Learning classes

We value the involvement of parents and carers in their child’s education which is why St Mary’s has recently started “Family Learning” classes. The short courses are designed to help you understand your child’s transition through the lower stages of the school and later, to learn more about how they are prepared for the national SATs tests in year 6.

Adult Education opportunities

Because we believe education is a life-long experience, we offer weekly English classes for parents and carers whose first language is not English. We also provide weekly classes in basic computer skills in our computer suite.

Collective Worship

Assemblies are held regularly to allow all members of the school community to come together to enjoy music, stories and poetry. There is an emphasis on moral and spiritual themes. Each class leads one assembly each half-term. You are welcome to come and watch!

We also aim to reflect the multi-cultural nature of the school by learning about major festivals and events in world religions. At the same time, many children may not have any religious beliefs and their views are respected equally to those having religious beliefs.

Our Parents’ Association: Friends of St Mary’s

You don’t need to join - all parents or carers are members just by having a child at our school (staff members are automatically members too). FoG is a charitable association which holds meetings during the first week of every month, either just after school or later in the evenings. Its main role is in fundraising and organising social events such as the International Food Evening and the Summer Fair. Amongst many notable successes, FoG raised the money for our new bike and scooter racks.

The School Governors

The Head Teacher is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school, but it is the duty of the Governing Body to appoint the Head, oversee his or her work, and monitor the way the school is developing. The Governors include people from the local community, local authority appointees, four parent governors and two members of staff as well as the Head Teacher.

The Governing Body meets once a term, and all parents are welcome to attend the full meeting as observers. You can also come along to the committees that meet throughout the term where we discuss finances, building projects, teaching and learning, and fundraising.

A list of the Governors and of the Chairs of committees is available in the school office or at the school website. You can also contact them directly via email at governors@St Mary’s.sch.uk

Complaints

There is an official procedure for dealing with serious complaints about schools.

Any complaint should be addressed first of all to the Head Teacher and/or the Chair of the Governors.

Everything will be done to try to resolve the matter at school level. However, if a parent is not satisfied, the Head Teacher will tell you how to pursue the matter further.

All contact details are in the front of this brochure along with details of how to get in touch with the local education authority.

For more detailed information

Please ask at the school office if you would like to see a copy of any of our specific policies. These include:

·    Teaching and Learning

·    Sex and Relationships

·    Race Equality

·    Behaviour

·    Drugs

·    Homework

·    Attendance and Punctuality

·    Medicines.

 

Note

This prospectus is not a legal document and does not form the basis of a contractual obligation. It is for information only and is as accurate as it can be at the time of publication.