Parents Handbook

WELCOME TO THE FERNCUMBE FAMILY

Dear Parent/ Carer

This page has been compiled by teachers, parents and governors to give you useful information about our school. We really hope that the beginning of your child’s formal education at The Ferncumbe will mark the start of your long and happy association with our ‘Ferncumbe Family’. We encourage close partnership with parents. Over a long career in education I am convinced that one of the most important factors in ensuring pupils achieve well and develop as confident life-long learners, is the quality of the homeschool partnership. There is pressure on everyone’s time these days, but your children’s years at primary school are so special, and can be a defining time for you all, as you establish lasting friendships and community spirit. Do try to get actively involved in supporting school in some way. You might volunteer to be a regular helper* in the classroom or to accompany children on school trips. Parents Associations make a huge difference to the life of any school, so I would urge you to support the events of the ‘Friends’ or, better still, become a member of the committee. You may have special skills or talents, or useful business links, that we could call on from time to time. Children are always proud to see their parents being involved in school life! We provide a rich and varied curriculum in which your child will be encouraged to develop and achieve. But education is a process, not limited to academic knowledge and attainment. Children are learning for all of their time in school – how to play, how to behave and how to develop positive relationships with other children and adults. We encourage everyone in our school to have a positive, optimistic outlook on life – both in school and in the wider community. We hope that you find this booklet useful and would welcome your comments if you feel it could be improved. Please read it carefully and keep it safe. Some pages will be updated when necessary. Should you require further information or wish to make an appointment to discuss a school related issue please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help Sally Morris, Headteacher. * Regular volunteers have to be cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Our School Ethos Statement:

Enjoy, Believe, Achieve

We all belong to Ferncumbe Family sharing love, learning and respect as we follow the teachings of Jesus


The School Day

7.00 am Main front gates unlocked

8.30 am Playground gates unlocked for children to come into school

8.45 am Playground gate locked and start of school day

9.15 am Official close of registration period

10.45 – 11.00 Playtime Y1– Y6

12 – 1.15 pm Lunch

3.00 pm Playground gates unlocked.

3.15pm End of school day

This gives a learning week of 23.75 hours (excluding breaks, registration and collective worship). Children who arrive after the close of registration are recorded as ‘unauthorised absence’ for the whole morning. This is the law, not a school rule. They then need to be signed in by a member of staff, and the time of arrival recorded.

In cases where the buses are late, we do not record that as ‘late’ on children’s individual records, as this seems to be very unfair. We do however keep a separate log and draw it to the attention of officers of the Local Authority and the School Transport Service.

Please ensure that your child arrives in time to start at 8.45. Children have ‘Early Morning Activities’ to start as soon as they enter the classroom. Those who arrive late get off to a bad start, immediately needing to ‘catch up’ and can disturb others who are already settled. We never blame children for being late as it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure children are in school on time.

Please collect children promptly at 3.15. Teachers often have courses or meetings to attend straight after school. Reception and Key stage 1 children are brought to the playground by a member of staff. Key stage 2 are supervised out into the playground. Bus children are accompanied to the bus by their teachers.

Children are not allowed to use the Play Trail or Tyre Park at the end of the school day, this includes younger siblings.

Attendance

Regular attendance is one of the keys to a happy and successful time at school. It is amazing what we get through in a day or week. A child who misses odd days often feels left out and confused. Our average attendance rate at Ferncumbe is very good – well above the County average.

Children of school age must attend school when it is in session unless there is a valid reason for absence. Absence due to a valid reason is said to be authorised. If there is no reason given or, if in the opinion of the Headteacher the reason given is not valid, then the absence is unauthorised. Attendance is closely monitored and returns have to be sent both to Warwickshire County Council and the Department for Education (DfE).

If your child is away from school we would be grateful if you could let us know immediately. The school office is manned from 8.30 am. For security reasons, we phone home to find out where any absent child is, if we have had no notification. Please help us in keeping the records accurate by ringing every day of absence to let us know why. If a child is going to miss time because of a medical or dental appointment (please try and make them in the holiday or outside of school time) then please let us know in advance. Please provide a copy of the appointment card/letter to the School Office if possible.

The School Policy concerning illness is set out below. This follows the guidance of the Health Protection Agency.

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting 48 hours from last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting

Chickenpox 5 days from the onset of rash

Impetigo Until lesions are crusted and healed or 48 hours after commencing antibiotic treatment

German Measles 6 days from onset of rash

Measles 4 days from onset of rash

Flu Until recovered


We ask all parents for their co-operation in minimising cross infection.

Taking children out of school in term time for holidays is very disruptive and is strongly discouraged. Please make an appointment to see the Headteacher to discuss all holidays in term time. Please note that permission would not be granted during times of statutory assessments, where a child had already had other significant absence for any reason or are not making expected progress academically.

Uniform and Equipment

We believe that children work better and have more of a sense of belonging if they are in uniform and ask for your support in this. Parents certainly find uniform easier than endless daily arguments about what is going to be worn. We have tried to keep the uniform simple and, apart from the sweatshirt/ cardigan and coat, items can be purchased from many sources. The sweatshirts, cardigans and coat may be ordered via the website www.brigade.uk.com. If your child attends school in an incomplete uniform they will be lent uniform for the duration of that day.

Boys

Dark Grey School trousers/shorts

Ferncumbe sweatshirt, White polo shirt,  Maroon Ferncumbe Elite Storm Jacket with Logo, suitable black shoes* or boots, Art Apron

PE Kit Plain white T-shirt, black shorts, Pumps. A black track suit for winter games is needed for children from Year 2 onwards. These need to be in a suitable bag to be hung on the child’s peg and left all week.

Girls

Dark Grey skirt / pinafore dress / trousers/ culottes

Ferncumbe sweatshirt/ cardigan, White polo shirt, Maroon Ferncumbe Elite Storm Jacket with Logo, suitable black shoes* or boots, Art Apron

PE Kit Plain white T-shirt, black shorts, Pumps. A black track suit for winter games is needed for children from Year 2 onwards. These need to be in a suitable bag to be hung on the child’s peg and left all week.

Forest School Kit

Autumn/ Winter

Long trousers, Long sleeved top, 2 pairs of thick socks, Woolly hat & Gloves, Walking boots/ wellington boots, Fleece

Summer

Long trousers, Long sleeved top, Sun hat, Walking boots/ wellington boots

*Shoes and boots

School shoes should be black, sensible and comfortable for the safety of all. We like children to be active at playtimes. They are not allowed on the tyre park or on the adventure playground unless they have footwear with a good grip. Shoes with ‘high heels’ are not allowed. In winter, children are allowed to wear black boots.

Hats, Sun lotion & Water bottles

Children should have a sun hat in school during hot weather for protection at playtime and lunchtime. Parents are encouraged to apply “all day” sun tan lotion to their children prior to arrival at school. Staff are unable to apply sun lotion to children during the school day. A named plastic container/ water bottle should be provided from home, otherwise children do not have access to a drink. Children are discouraged from drinking during lesson time but have full access during breaktime and lunchtime.

Jewellery & Make up

For safety reasons the only items of jewellery allowed in school are small stud earrings. These must be removed or taped over for PE and Swimming. Nail polish is not allowed.

Please make sure that all clothing and equipment is clearly marked with the child’s name.

Mobile Phones

Children are not allowed to have mobile phones in school.

Assessment

Children are continually assessed during their time at school, through a variety of formal and informal methods, to ensure that work is sufficiently well targetted at a child’s abilities. These are not ‘tests’ in the old-fashioned sense and are not revised for. Each child has a “Learning Journal “ which is a shared document for parents, pupils and school to contribute the pupils learning journey throughout their school life.

Statutory Assessments

Early Years Foundation Stage ( 4/5 year olds) As each child starts school they are assessed in the form of the Foundation Early Years profile, this takes place over their first year in school. The process begins within the first six weeks of the child’s school life and this forms the baseline from which teachers gain information about the skills that the child brings to school and acts as a starting point for teachers to plan the child’s next learning steps. Throughout the year the children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals and progress is assessed using 2Simple software and emailed to parents every half term.

Key Stage 1 ( 5/6/7 year olds)

In June of Year 1 pupils have a phonics screening check. This requires decoding 40 real and nonsense words. If pupils are unsuccessful they are retested at the end if year 2. Towards the end of Year 2 children are summatively assessed in English, Mathematics and Science (KS1 SATs). The judgement given to each child is largely based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child’s work over a period of time rather than their performance in a formal test.

Key Stage 2 (7/8/9/10/11 year olds)

Currently, in the final term of primary school, Year 6 pupils take statutory assessments in Reading, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling and Mathematics (KS2 SATs). Children in Year 1-6 are assessed against end of year expectations for their year group. Your child will be judged at the end of the academic year as either working towards, meeting or working at greater depth within the expected standard for their age.

This is detailed more fully in our Assessment Policy which is available for parents to see.

The Curriculum

We follow the National Curriculum for England & Wales, which is statutory for all maintained schools. The curriculum is more fully described on the DofE’s website, but includes: English; Mathematics; Science; Information Technology (IT); P.E. (including swimming); Art and Design; History; Geography; Music; Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship (PSHE & C); and Design Technology. We teach Religious Education in accordance with Warwickshire’s Locally Agreed Syllabus. French is taught from Year 3 to Year 6, but all classes learn to communicate using words from many languages.

As a small school, the way we deliver the curriculum will vary from a larger one. We use rolling programmes to ensure coverage in our mixed age classes. We aim to provide a broad, balanced curriculum which promotes visual and expressive arts and sports. We believe that a thematic cross-curricular approach endows learning with more relevance – and fun!

Reporting to Parents

There are two formal occasions in the year when parents can meet their child’s teacher. In the autumn term, and again in the spring term we hold parent teacher consultation meetings. Key stage 2 pupils are expected to attend these meetings with parents. These meetings are also used for individual target setting. In addition to these meetings, each child has a progress book which is sent home each term with recent assessment results and, in the summer, a longer written report. We hold review meetings for pupils with identified special needs. Parents are always invited to these meetings, which are sometimes attended by other professionals working in school e.g. speech therapists, physiotherapists, educational psychologists.

School Office

The school office is open every day from 8.30 am until 3.30 pm. You can contact school by telephone, or call into the office first thing in the morning when you drop your child off. They will be able to provide information and assistance on a range of items such as; admissions, school meals, holiday forms, bus passes, permission slips, absences and up-dating pupil contact details. Outside of school hours a telephone message machine will operate if no members of staff are available to take the call.

Money

As you can appreciate in a busy environment it is easy to forget who has given money if it is not in an envelope. We therefore request that all monies that come into school are in a sealed envelope with the child’s name and a note, about what it is for. Cheques are normally made payable to The Ferncumbe C of E Primary School.

Food, Drinks & School Meals

Please note – We are a Nut Free School. All pupils in Reception, Year 1 and 2 are entitled to receive a free school meal. For Key stage 2 (years 3,4,5 & 6) the current cost of a school meal is £2.20 per day / £11.00 per week. Payments are made in advance for each half term period. Payments are now made via our online payments Sims Agora. 

Children have the choice of bringing their own lunch or eating a school lunch. Changes to these arrangements may only be made at the end of each half term. A copy of the lunch menu is displayed on the Notice Board in the Hall weekly. Lunch is eaten in the hall and is seen as an enjoyable occasion.

We are fortunate to have worked in partnership with Warwickshire County Caterers to provide a production kitchen, whereby the majority of food produced and served to our children and is prepared on site, using fresh ingredients.

The Lunch Menus are monitored termly, and amendments made as necessary. We are able to cater for a variety of dietary requests such as vegetarian or no pork. To discuss special diet requirements again, contact the school office.

Drink is provided for children who have school lunches but others should bring their own. We provide a water cooler for drinks during the day. A named plastic container/ water bottle should be provided from home and regularly washed please! We ask that children do not bring ‘fizzy’ carbonated drinks into school. If children have a drinks container in their school lunchbox, they still need a water bottle for classroom and playground use. Lunchboxes are stored away from the classroom during the school day. We keep them in a cool place for safety.

We do not allow children to share food in the dining hall and we ask them to take uneaten food and rubbish home. This allows you to see what they have eaten and pack the right amount of food. It also saves us money on rubbish disposal.

UNIVERSAL INFANT Free School Meals

All Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in state-funded schools are automatically entitled to a free school meal.

FREE SCHOOL MEALS

if you think you receive one of the qualifying benefits we recommend that you apply for free school meals. This will mean your child’s school does not miss out on important funding. It may also mean your child will continue to receive free meals after the end of Year 2. If you think that your child is entitled to free school meals the necessary forms are available on line. To complete an application form click on the link below:

www.warwickshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals

Packed lunches for eligible children can be provided when we go on trips. Information will be provided with trip letters.

Healthy Eating Snack Bar

The children up to Year 2 are each provided with a free piece of fruit daily at break-time. We have a Healthy Eating Snack Bar which runs daily for children from Year 3. It provides juice, milk shake, toast and fruit. Children are able to bring money in on a daily basis to purchase these snacks. The children are responsible for their own money and it should be in a named purse. We are proud that our playground is a litter free zone.

Sweets & Cakes

We have a number of children with food allergies so if it is your child’s birthday, it is fine to send a special treat for the class but please see their class teacher before hand. Please remember that we are a Nut Free School.

Voluntary Contributions

From time to time the children take part in educational visits which incur transport and entrance fees. We use a coach which transports children to the swimming baths. In common with other maintained schools we have to recoup these costs by asking parents for a voluntary contrbution, but no child would be excluded from an activity, or in any way discriminated against, because a contribution is not forthcoming.

The nature of the school budget means, that if these activities cannot be financed through contributions they cannot take place so we hope that all parents are willing to pay for these very worthwhile activities. We do our very best to keep costs to a minimum. A few of our trips are subsidised by the ‘Friends’ eg., our annual visit to the pantomime.

If however, anyone has genuine difficulty in meeting a contribution please see the Headteacher. It goes without saying that all such approaches will be met with the strictest confidence. For further information see our Charging Policy on the school website.

Communication between Home and School

It is vital that we have daytime contact numbers to get in touch with you in the event of any emergency involving your child, or in the event of us needing to send all children home because school needs to close for any unforeseen reason. Mobile numbers are not helpful if the phone is switched off or onto the answer message. Do remember to let us know if you change your place of employment or your ‘phone numbers.

Groupcall – texting and emailing service

We use a text service to notify parents of meetings, class assemblies and school closures. It is a one way service so please DO NOT respond by text. If you need to contact school call or email the school office. For this system to work it is essential we have an up to date mobile phone number and email address for each family.

Twitter –feed

Each class will have their own twitter feed to keep parents up to date with the exciting learning in school. Please search the classroom name @ Ferncumbe.

Letters from School

Notices of events happening in school and within the community are to be found in our fortnightly Friday newsletters. These are emailed to parents, can be found on our school website and a hard copy can be collected from the school office. Please check your child’s book bag regularly. It is important to respond promptly to any requests such as permission slips for trips etc.

Policies and Documents

Many of our policies and a variety of government documents are available in school and relevant ones are on the school website www.ferncumbefamily.co.uk should you wish to read these at any time please contact the school office.

Insurance

The Local Authority does not provide personal accident insurance for pupils in its schools. If you wish you may acquire your own personal accident insurance. The Authority is insured against legal liability to pupils if they are injured accidentally due to the negligence of the Authority or its employees.

Access during the school day

During the day, the front door of Wren House is the only entrance to use, if you need to collect your child. It is important that the children arrive promptly for the start of the school day before the playground gates are locked. If they do arrive late, please bring them to the office so that the register can be corrected.

Consent Forms

Local Visit Consent Forms - This allows us to take the children, properly supervised, on trips around the village, to church, to Aylesford Primary etc.

Photography Consent Forms – This allows your child to be photographed for School photographs, press photography, newsletters, Twitter etc.

Internet Permission Form – For use of the internet in school.

Permission slips will also be required for any educational visit further afield, these will be sent to parents when notifying of trips. Without a signed slip we will be unable to take your child on any visits. You may hear your child say - ‘NO SLIP – NO TRIP’

Inclusion

We follow the Special Educational Needs (SEND) Code of Practice. This ensures more specialised support for children who need it. Our Inclusion Manager Sue Twemlow, coordinates this support. The governor with responsibility for SEN is Mrs Janet Johnson. Both are contactable via the school office.

Child Protection

In common with all schools in Warwickshire we operate under the agreed Child Protection procedures. This is an inter-agency agreement and provides us with clear guidance and protocol. The named teacher for Child Protection issues is the Headteacher, Sally Morris and Tracey Webb deputises in her absence. In some circumstances, if we are seriously concerned about the safety or welfare of a pupil, we have a duty to contact social services.

We seek to work in productive partnership with parents and will support as much as we can when there are problems or difficulties. Please let us know.

‘Under the Education Act 2002 (Section 175 for maintained schools), schools must make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Parents/carers should know that the law (Children Act 1989) requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to a concern about a child’s welfare, including risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Staff will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the parent/carer and discuss the need to make a referral to Children’s Social Care if that is considered necessary. This will only be done where such discussion will not place the child at increased risk of significant harm or cause undue delay. The school will seek advice from Children’s Social Care when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Occasionally, concerns are passed on which are later found to be unfounded. Parents/carers will appreciate that the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead carries out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and acts in the best interests of all children.’

Protective Behaviours

Taking Care Project To further safeguard our children, they are taught anually about protective behaviours. This is a national programme to help prevent abuse and harm. There are two main themes:

We all have the right to feel safe all of the time

 We can talk with someone about anything, even if it is awful or small.

Parents/carers will receive additional guidance on how to support and reinforce protective behaviours to help keep children safe.

After School Care

We have a very popular before and after school club, called ‘Wren’s Nest’, which operates from every morning from 8.00am and Monday to Thursdays from 3.15 to 6pm and on Friday until 5.15 pm For more details please contact the school office.

Complaints

As in any family, problems may arise from time to time. The procedure is as follows. Initial approaches and enquiries should be made to your child’s teacher. If this does not prove successful please contact the Deputy Head Teacher or Head Teacher.

In the unlikely event that the issue cannot be resolved please put your concerns in writing to the Chair of Governors, Adrian Sloan who will take up the concern. The Local Authority provides the next steps. They can be contacted at: Saltisford Park, Ansell Way, Warwick CV34 4UL

General Advice

Warwickshire County Council can give advice or ‘signpost’ useful services for families. They can be contacted at: Tel: 01926 410410 www.warwickshire.gov.uk