New Parents Induction
Information for new Foundation Stage Parents (Goldfinches)
If your child will soon be joining us at St Mary’s, then they will no doubt be both excited and a little nervous. It is a similar situation for new parents, and we aim to do all we can to make the process as easy as possible.
At St Mary’s we offer a range of opportunities during the Summer term prior to admission to ensure that your child settles into school successfully in September. These include:
a fun afternoon in the playground with parents
a class visit
- a visit at lunchtime to eat a school meal
During this period our Goldfinch teachers liaise with each child’s nursery teacher. In September all the new children will begin school full time during the first week of term. The day of their starting will be allocated according to their birth date.
Home / School Partnership
We aim to establish and promote a close relationship with all parents, in the interests of their children. We recognise that children will feel more secure when they receive consistent messages from both home and school. Parents’ views about our school are welcomed, including the expression of any concerns. At the same time we undertake to inform parents as soon as possible about any issues of concern to the school so that we can work together in resolving them.
We value the atmosphere of mutual trust we have established with parents. All members of staff are aware that:
we are ‘in loco parentis’
we build on the care and experience of the home
education is a partnership between home and school
We have developed a Home/School Agreement which outlines how we can best work together to achieve our School Aims. We ask parents and, (if parents feel it is appropriate), children, to join us in signing this Agreement. Click here for a copy of the agreement.
At St Mary’s School we endeavour to keep parents informed of all aspects of school life through:
Regular curriculum information sheets for each class
Our school website
Parents’ evenings held in the Autumn and Spring terms
Open Evening for children and parents in the Summer term
Regular newsletters from the Headteacher
After-school teacher consultation time (by appointment)
Before Your Child Starts School
Mrs Sharon Miller and Mrs Georgina Gilchrist are our School Secretaries and your first point of contact until your child starts school. They can be contacted on 01252 792406 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Mrs Nicola Scanlon is our Bursar.
Please name every item, whether a daily essential such as sweatshirts, or things which are needed occasionally, such as wellington boots, snackboxes and sun hats. Name tapes can be ordered from Brenda’s Schoolwear in Frimley Road, Camberley. We do not recommend biro as it quickly fades. Please name school jumpers, coats, etc in the neck, so identifying them is easy for staff.
When Your Child Starts School
These are available from our uniform suppliers. Each child will need one for the duration of their time at St Mary’s. You need to think of them as a government red ministerial box! By the end of the first term in Goldfinches the Back Pack will eventually carry a Reading Book, a Home/School Book, a Library Book, a ‘Words to Learn’ Book and a Poetry Book! They may also carry letters with slips to be returned, although the majority of letters will be sent by e-mail Please try to check them daily. Please put your child's name clearly on the Back Pack.
- The Reading Book - This will be pitched at the level your child is at. (Your child’s progress in reading will be assessed from time to time so that the teacher will know if they are ready to move on to the next level, (pink, red, yellow and so on).
- The Home/School Book is a record of your child’s reading. We ask you to sign and date it when you share the reading book with your child and invite you to write any comments you may have about how the reading went. For example, ‘Today we looked at the pictures and made up our story and then read the book together to see if it was as good!’ or ‘Mary was really good at spotting the word ‘the’ in the text today.’
- The Library Book can be changed weekly if the book is returned to school. A new book cannot be issued without the previous week’s book being taken in. The class teacher will let you know which day of the week is Library Day. This will depend on the availability of volunteers. The Library Book may be more suitable for you to read to your child.
- Words to Learn Book - Once the children have settled into school they will begin to take home a few words home to learn to read each week. These are taken from the first 100 high frequency words, or linked to the phonics that we have been learning that week. You are asked to try and help your child learn to read these words each week. The teacher will see if your child knows them and if successful issue a new set of words. Later in the year when all are known, the children start to learn how to write them, a few at a time.
In Goldfinches homework is kept to the minimum, so that the children can go home and play, have supper and go to bed early ready for the next school day!
We would encourage you to…
Share their Reading Book with them daily.
Help them learn their set of words.
Enjoy their library book with them during the week.
Learn their poem by heart during the week.
Spend a little time on Maths Homework Games which can be borrowed from the classroom on a weekly basis.
Help your child to develop a tripod pencil grip when they are colouring or play ‘writing’.
Please also refer to our Homework Policy available here.
Please park close together around the Green. We run a one-way system around the Green, entering from the Farnham side of the Green, passing the school on your right and exiting from the Frensham Pond side. Please do not park on the yellow lines as this is illegal. They are there for the safety of the children. Also, do not park in front of our neighbour's driveway (near the school field gate). Thank you.
Children may arrive at school through the playground gate from 8.40am when they go straight into their classroom. Classes begin promptly at 8.55am. The school day finishes at 3.00pm, please come into the playground from 3.00pm to collect your children from their classroom door. Please leave promptly to enable another parent to park. You may collect your child up to 3.15pm.
The school operates a secure site. The playground gates are unlocked at the beginning and end of the school day for you to deliver and collect your child. At other times entry is via the reception area and parents should report to the school office. A fire drill is held once a term and the children assemble on the green. All parent volunteers and visitors are asked to sign in and out of the school and are provided with a visitor’s label.
Your Child’s Health
Children learn best when they are fit and well. Therefore, please do not send your child to school if they are ill. Also, if there are any circumstances which are likely to affect your child’s well-being, such as family sickness or an emotional upset, e.g. a bereavement, please inform the school. This will help us to be sensitive and supportive to your child’s needs. Should your child be unwell and absent from school, please inform the school office by telephone or email by 9.30am.
The school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff, governors and volunteers to share this commitment. The school has a policy for safeguarding and child protection which is available on this website under Our School/Policies and Forms. A paper copy would be available from the school office on request.
Snacks, Lunches and Milk
Please provide your child with a water bottle. They can access this throughout the day. At break time they may also have a piece of fruit or vegetable sent from home. Please do not send packaged products such as Fruit Winders. Nuts or nut products must not be brought into school. We participate in the national ‘Free Fruit and Vegetable scheme’, so each child will also receive an extra piece of fruit or vegetable daily. We also take part in the Cool Milk scheme, and each child registered receives a beaker of chilled milk to drink each day. This milk is free for children under five and subsidised for those over five. Our school lunches run on a three week menu, which are changed at the Spring and Autumn half terms. Paper copies of the menus are sent home when the new menus are introduced and the week's menu is displayed in the playground notice board. The current menu can also be seen on the Surrey Commercial Services website - click here to access this. Children can choose from the main menu or the vegetarian option available each day.
Lunch Time Clubs
Reception Children take part in Football Club from the Summer Term onwards. The other clubs are available to Year 1 and Year 2 children.
Chelsea Football Club - Year One and Year Two (a small charge is made for membership of this). Reception Children can join the football club in the summer term. Places are limited in number, and applications are accepted in date order.
Spanish - run by Perfecto Spanish
The Governing Body are legally required to provide 10% of teaching time as non contact time for teaching staff, to enable them to work on curriculum planning, preparation and assessments.
To deliver some of this non-contact time we employ a qualified sports coach who teaches part of our PE curriculum each Tuesday morning. Each class has a 50 minute session. The class teacher teaches one other PE lesson a week, either dance or gymnastics, depending on the half term planning.
Before School Care
On Monday The Dance Movement run a club in the School Hall from 8am. On Tuesdays Chelsea Football come in to do multisports with the children. On Wednesday and Friday mornings 'Frenchtastic' run a French language club in our library. Finally on Thursdays, Tatty Bumpkins are in to teach the children yoga. All these activities start at 8am. Forms to sign up are sent home each term. There is a charge for these activities.
After School Care
On Mondays to Fridays After School Care is available in school until 6.00pm, provided by New Forest Childcare. Parents should register with New Forest Childcare directly: https://www.newforestchildcare.co.uk/ Whilst in the club they play inside and outside and are given healthy snacks and drinks.
The main events of the school year are…
Harvest Festival - in St. Mary’s Church, Frensham
Book Week - in March
Christmas Nativity play - with one morning and one afternoon performance in which all the Reception children are involved
- Summer Show - for all Year One and Two children
Epiphany Day - including a service in the church and traditional activities e.g. a King / Queen for the day in each class
Egg Week - egg rolling, Easter Hat making and parade, and Easter Egg hunt on Frensham Common
May Celebrations - including crowning the May Queen by the May King, dancing around the may pole in the playground. Floral decorations are donated and created by parents
Sports Morning - towards the end of the summer term; a mix of competitive and fun sports. This event is followed by a Family Picnic on the field
School Worship – You will be invited to our end of term services in St. Mary’s Church, and occasionally you will be invited to share one of your child's Acts of Worship in school.
Helping in School
Please see your child's teacher or Mrs Downing if you would like to help in school. There are all sorts of activities from which the children benefit e.g. cookery, needlework, listening to children read, helping with the school library as well as parental help on outings and walking to the church etc. Perhaps you would like to run a club at lunchtime? If you are a keen gardener you may like to volunteer to watch over our few flower beds and tubs?
We require that all parent helpers have been cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service, DBS (previously known as CRB). Please contact the School Office who will forward you the DBS link for completion on line. There is a school leaflet about volunteering in school which we ask all volunteers to read and sign.
Out and About
The children walk to St. Mary the Virgin Church, Frensham, for a service at least once a term. You will be invited to attend. We ask for parental volunteers to run a crèche for younger siblings during these services. Without small children in the church the congregation can hear the school children sing and speak. If everyone who uses the crèche takes a turn running it you should only have to volunteer once!
These are linked with current learning topics and take place locally and further afield. We use coaches fitted with lap belts. Voluntary contributions are asked for to help cover the cost of any visits.
Your Child’s Progress
If you want to speak to your child’s teachers about their progress, or indeed any other matter, they will be happy to see you after school. Mrs Downing is also happy to make appointments to see you at a mutually convenient time. You will also be invited to Parent Evenings for an individual discussion with the Class Teacher during the Autumn and Spring terms.
We hold an Open Evening in the Summer term when your child acts as your guide, showing work folders and displays in their current class and taking you to visit their next classroom. You will receive a written annual report at the end of the summer term.
Complaints Procedure summary
From time to time you may have a query or worry about an aspect of your child’s schooling. What can you do?
We expect all our pupils, staff and parents to listen carefully and respectfully to each other.
In the first instance, any concerns should be discussed with your child’s class teacher as soon as possible.
Where you are unable to resolve the concern with the class teacher you should contact the Headteacher .
In the unlikely event that a complaint has not been addressed to your satisfaction you should contact the Chair of Governors.
A formal complaint in writing to the Governing Body via the Chair should be made if the issue remains unresolved, when it will be addressed by a small panel of Governors.
Should the issue still remain, a formal complaint may be made directly to the Education Committee by contacting the Director of Education on 08456 009 009.
More information about the Complaints Process, and a leaflet entitled ‘Working with Parents and Responding to Parental Concerns’ are available via links in the list of policies on this website.
FOSMS - Friend's of St Mary's School
When your child starts at St. Mary's you automatically become a member of the school's association. Meetings are held about twice a term, alternating between the school day and the evening. Do try to come along as it's a great way of being involved with the school and hearing about and / or helping organise the social events.
FOSMS raise funds for the school and runs a number of events such as the Autumn Bazaar, quiz nights and curry nights. These are always enjoyable and provide a great opportunity for meeting other parents and staff.
For more information about FOSMS click here.
Children, of statutory school age, living a distance of two miles or more and for whom St Mary’s is the nearest school, are entitled to free transport to and from school. In addition, some children living within two miles may be transported as a concession by the County. Details will be given by the Education Call Centre, Tel: 08456 009 009.
Tips from previous new parents
Below is a list of ‘tips’ from past Goldfinch parents. Please let the school office know if you have anything useful to add!
Show and Tell
Children often have the opportunity to bring in an interesting item to show and talk about in Circle Time. This encourages talking, self confidence and listening. The items could be something from nature, maybe from somewhere recently visited or something made at home. The class teacher will tell you when it is your child’s turn.
E Mails and Texts, the School Website.
Newsletter and other messages are generally sent by email. When a parental signature is required we send a paper copy home. We try not to bombard you with emails, but some times of the year are busier than others! We ask parents to register with ParentMailx. Through this service it is possible to pay voluntary donations for school outings, and to receive urgent text messages,i.e.. if the school has to close in bad weather. Please also check the School Website. The Diary is updated with events, and the Class teachers regularly update their class pages, which give a good insight into what the class has been learning.
At the start of term class reps will collate a class list giving the names and contact details of all the other Goldfinch parents who have agree to be included. The school office will not give out any parental information so this must always be done via your individual class reps.
During the Summer Holidays a couple of picnics are sometimes arranged for new parents and children before starting in September – perhaps a gathering at Frensham Pond beach or Alice Holt. This is often organised by existing St Mary's parents who also have a sibling starting in September. Over the year, a range of social activities will be organised by FOSMS and your class reps will arrange class specific events.
The organisation of these social events is the sort of thing a class representative would do, so if you are interested in taking on this role please let the school know. There should be a minimum of 2 representatives per class, but you can have more. The class reps are a great link for the staff and FOSMS and other class parents to speed up and clarify communication.
Also the class reps get involved with organising the termly cake sale, recruiting helpers for various events throughout the school year and other ad-hoc requests from the staff.
Click here for more information about what is involved in being a Class Rep.
Governors are like a Board of Directors and make decisions about how the school is run.
Governors are all volunteers and act as ‘critical friends’ to the school. They come from various backgrounds and bring a variety of experience and expertise to the management of the school. At St. Mary’s we meet as a Full Governing Body once each half-term and each committee meets to feed in to the main meeting. Our committees are:
Buildings / Health & Safety: responsible for the maintenance of the building, managing building projects and ensuring we comply with Health and Safety legislation.
Curriculum: ensuring the school provides a curriculum which complies with national requirements, monitoring standards and looking after the provisions for Special Needs and Gifted & Able children.
Finance: Setting and managing the school budget and monitoring expenditure.
Personnel: Overseeing the recruitment and management of staff and ensuring we comply with current human resources legislation.
Being a Governor can involve a significant amount of time, but seeing the school develop and improve, and knowing that you have contributed to that, is very rewarding.
Two of the twelve members of the Governing Body are ‘Parent Governors’. If you are interested in becoming a governor, then please contact our Chair of Governors, Claire Milne. Even if we currently have a full complement of governors, we occasionally recruit ‘Associate Members’, which helps to develop new talent for when vacancies arise. This also helps us to view the school through fresh eyes thus avoiding complacency and allowing us to continually challenge the school.
Click here for more information about our current governors.
Our Governors wish to point out that the children are not insured during school hours, except in the case of negligence. What this means in effect is that the situation is the same as when children are at home or are visiting friends and relations. There are insurance companies who provide schemes which give continuous protection 24 hours a day which do not depend upon proving negligence by a third party.