New Pupil Information Booklet

Please find below information from our New Pupil Information Pack, which you can translate into your home language using the Google Translate button above.

Welcome to St Mary’s. We are looking forward to getting to know you and your child.

Please note that many of our school policies are on our school website, including our attendance, homework and behaviour policies, along with information about how we protect personal data. There is also a school calendar (due to the Coronavirus pandemic all events are liable to change depending on our school’s circumstances and local and national regulations). We will keep in touch with you over any changes. If you are unable to access the website and require hard copies of any of the above information, please do not hesitate to contact the school office.

Please read the information in the booklet and complete the permissions form included in this pack. There are also several other essential forms in your pack that you will also need to complete and return to the school office.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information or help completing this booklet.

 

Mrs Kathy Burden

Acting Head Teacher             

 

Schools, Local Authorities and the Department for Education need to collect information to help in planning and monitoring provision and improving outcomes.  The school’s Privacy Notice is available on the website and contains information for you regarding how your child’s data is held and managed by the school, with details of how to obtain further information should you require it.

Information Collection Form

It is essential that the school has up to date contact information for your child. The information collection section asks you to list contact details of parents or other carers that we can contact about your child, particularly if they are unwell. This needs to be listed in priority order on the form, so we know who to call first. This is particularly important during the Coronavirus Pandemic. (Please now complete the Information Collection section)

Absent Parents

We appreciate that both parents do not always live with their children and therefore their details may not be included on the data collection form. In order that we can carry out our statutory duties and inform anyone who has parental responsibility of his/her child’s progress whilst at St Mary’s, please give details of anyone not listed in the Information Collection section that has parental responsibility for your child in the Absent Parents section. (Please now complete the attached Absent Parent section ONLY if applicable)

Other Essential Information

We also ask for your child’s religion (for census purposes) and require the details of your child’s doctor, along with dietary and medical conditions.

 

Collection and Recording of Pupils’ Ethnic Background and Languages Spoken

All schools are required by the Department for Education (DfE) to gather information on ethnicity in schools.  The information is used to compile statistics on the school careers and experiences of children from different backgrounds, to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.  These statistics will not allow individual children to be identified publicly and the information will not be used for any other purpose.  From time to time this information will be passed to the Local Education Authority and the DfE to contribute to local and national statistics.  Information about your child’s ethnic background will be passed on to any other school to which your child transfers to save you having to be asked for it again.  You can ask to check your child’s information at any time and, if you wish, have the ethnic background changed or removed.

The school also has to collect information about the languages spoken by our pupils. We have many children in the school that are considered as having ‘English as an Additional Language’ (EAL). This is not linked to how proficient they are in English - an EAL pupil can be a complete beginner in English or fully fluent. A child’s first language is the one they were exposed to at birth and learnt first. If this was not English, they would be considered as EAL. Government funding is received to support the school’s work with EAL pupils and therefore it is important that we have accurate data. You have the choice not to provide this information if you wish.  (Please now complete the ‘Ethnic Background and Languages sections)

 

Home/School Communication and ParentMail®

We try very hard to keep parents regularly informed about what is going on at the school and do this through a variety of methods. Our school uses ParentMail®, which is a text and email messaging service.  More urgent messages will be sent by text and other information by email. This will go direct to your phone or computer or can be accessed through the ParentMail® app that you can download (we will send you information about how to access this once we have you set up the system). We will need to ensure that we have the correct details of any parent/carer who will need to receive communication.

Please be assured that ParentMail® is registered with the Data Protection Registrar and guarantees that all information you provide will be kept private and will not be passed on to any other organisation.

You will also receive a regular school newsletter by email. This is available on the website and can be translated into any chosen language

We appreciate that you may already have provided your contact details to us but please tick the box so your authorisation for us to share your details with ParentMail® is contained in your child’s information booklet. Please note we sometimes only send texts to the first contact in your list (emails will be provided to both parents) and therefore please ensure your contact details are listed in priority order. (Please now complete the ParentMail® section)

Educational Visits

Each year your child will have the opportunity to take part in educational visits, walks etc. which means they will be taken off the school premises. Individual class letters giving details of a planned trip and requesting payment and/or parental help will be e-mailed to you prior to the educational visit or walk. The consent form gives permission for your child to be taken out of the school by teachers, support staff and parent helpers.  We will of course follow all the health and safety regulations as set out in both our Health and Safety and Educational Visits policies. (Please now tick the Educational Visits section on the Permission Form to give consent).

 

Food Tasting

During their time at St Mary’s, your child will have the opportunity to take part in various activities which include tasting different food types.  Individual class letters giving details of a planned food tasting activity and possibly requesting a contribution towards costs/donations of food etc., and/or parental help, will be e-mailed to you prior to the activity taking place.

Please ensure that you list any dietary requirements/allergic reactions that should be taken into consideration (where indicated) and keep the school informed of any changes to this information.   

We will of course follow all the health and safety regulations regarding the preparation / sharing of food etc. (Please now tick the Food Tasting section on the Permission Form to give consent).

 

Permission of Photography and Videoing

Schools are in a very difficult position in that we have to balance protecting our children whilst at the same time as being realistic in that many of the events and occasions are milestones in a child’s life and are moments that family and indeed schools may wish to keep.  In considering this balance we have to accept that there is always a risk that an individual may have an ulterior motive for taking a photograph or video, or may have an inappropriate thought when doing so.  Only the individual concerned can be held responsible for this.  As a school our responsibility is to reduce the chance of that risk materialising, and to that end we are making the following recommendations:-

  • One person, designated by the school prior to the event, to carry out the videoing of major school events, such as the Christmas Play, School Camp. This will enable the school to have sight of what has been captured.
  • Teachers, or persons designated by the school, to carry out photography during class activities, assemblies or trips, for the purpose of display within the school to celebrate work undertaken. These photographs are taken using school equipment.
  • Photographs taken for use in a newspaper report to be vetted and approved by the school prior to publication, and no surnames or addresses supplied.
  • Parents will be asked not to bring/use cameras or video recorders, (including phone cameras) at school events where ‘official’ photography is provided. (It causes a disturbance if nothing else)
  • Parents to consult a member of staff before using a camera or video camera at any school event.

We would add that if any parent refuses permission for their child to be photographed or videoed (Recommendations 1-3) then this will be respected and the school would need to decide whether or not to video the event at all, or to exclude the child from the video/photo. (Please now tick the Photography and Videoing section on the Permission Form to give consent).

School Website

The school’s website is the main way that you can access school information at any time.  The site has a range of information related to the school and the many activities and events that go on.  It also contains copies of newsletters, termly curriculum overviews, policies and any other information felt to be relevant, including that produced by the Friends of St Mary’s. 

One of the key elements related to a website is the use of photographs.  Clearly the site will contain photographs related to the building and the grounds but if we are to show the many activities and celebrations that go on within a school, such photographs would involve pupils.

As you are aware the school has already sought your consent for the use of photographs used for display purposes within school or in the newspapers however, we need to seek consent if we are able to use any pictures on the website.  (No names would be linked with any photographs; forenames would only be used if there was a piece of work displayed on the site).  It may also be possible to make use of videos and so consent for this has also been incorporated into the Permissions Form.

(Please now tick the School Website section on the Permission Form to give consent).

ICT and E-Safety

The school’s ICT and E-Safety Policy is available on our website.  As part of the pupils’ development in ICT we are required to make them aware of the internet and its uses, including e-mail. However, as you know, the use of the internet can bring all manner of information to the attention of the pupil.  Everything possible is carried out to prevent access to any unsuitable material i.e. implementation of the policy, use of a Local Authority backed filtering system and pre-visited sites by teachers, but we cannot give you a 100% guarantee. With all activities there are risks, but in weighing up the risk element it is minimal and obviously the risk is greater the older the pupils get.

(Please now tick the E-Safety section on the Permission Form to give consent).

 

School Lunches and Pupil Premium

There are two different reasons for free school meals – those available to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (known as Universal Infant Free School Meals) and those across all years groups and are giving according a family’s individual financial circumstances (referred to as Free School Meals/Pupil Premium).

Children can choose between having a cooked dinner and bringing their own packed lunch- they simply tell the teacher what they are having that day when the register is taken. A copy of the menu will be sent to you and is available on the website. (Currently we are only able to offer a packed lunch service due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, although this may change by September).

Under the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme, all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to a free school meal. Children in KS2 can have a school meal at a cost of £2.30 per day, unless you are a low income family, in which case your child may be entitled to a free meal under the Free School Meals scheme.

Who qualifies for free school meals?

Free school meals can only be awarded if you or your partner are claiming either;

  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods, and your monthly average income over three assessment periods should be no more than £616.67.

If the criteria above applies to you, it is important that you apply to see if you are eligible under the Free School Meal Scheme. This applies even if your child is in KS1 and entitled to the Universal Infant Free School Meals, as it will automatically follow them through the school and will also bring additional funding through the Pupil Premium Grant to the school.

What is Pupil Premium?

Pupil Premium is extra money paid directly to schools for each child who is eligible for free school meals due to the household being on a low income from Reception upwards. It is used to support your child’s education. This can mean academic support, financial help such as with school trips, music lessons and after-school clubs and other ways in which we can support your child. This will be carried out in a confidential manner, so that your child would not be identifiable to other students or parents.

You can check if you are eligible by completing the enclosed form or applying through:-

https://find-information-for-adults-children-families.southglos.gov.uk/kb5/southglos/directory/advice.page?id=96T2gCAk10A

 (Please now tick the relevant section on the form to indicate whether you have enclosed the Free School Meals application).

Donations and Gift Aid

Although we are classed as a South Gloucestershire School, we are also a ’voluntary-aided’ school, which means that the school is responsible for maintaining and improving the building and grounds and purchasing equipment to use in the long term. We receive capital funding from the Government in order to do this but as a voluntary aided school the Governors, who act on behalf of the families in the school, are required to make a 10% contribution to the purchase of equipment or any building costs or maintenance

With future current funding uncertainties, the additional expenses of the pandemic and other increased costs on our main school budget (maintenance costs are rising as the school becomes older), we are continuing to look ahead and wish to highlight our donation scheme/Gift Aid scheme which parents have always supported and allows us to make the required contribution towards capital projects. The only way this can be provided is through donations from parents.

Since opening the school in 1999, the school has expanded and developed in order to continue to provide an education of the highest standard.  With the contributions Governors have collected from parents, as well as paying for ongoing maintenance costs, we have also paid for:

  • The purchase of a new cooker for the kitchen in December 2020
  • New outdoor play equipment over the years, mostly recently in Summer 2020
  • A trim trail surface to allow playing on the outdoor equipment whatever the weather
  • Work on our pond area
  • Cark park gates and other security measures
  • Purchase of interactive boards within classes
  • Outdoor classroom
  • ICT Suite / food room
  • Perimeter Fencing
  • An additional classroom and administration extension to enable others areas to be used for teaching 

We ask that parents make a contribution of £10 per year per child to support the Governors’ responsibility to maintain the building, grounds and equipment.  This is a voluntary confidential contribution and it will not be detrimental to your child if you do not contribute. This donation will be set up during each academic year through our online facility, ParentMail®– we will notify you when.

Governors recognise that not all families are in the same financial position and that in some situations contributing even this amount may be difficult.  If this is the case then please feel free to donate an amount that you feel is affordable or you can chose not to make a contribution. If you are a tax payer we may also be able to claim an additional 25% on your donation, so please tick the Gift Aid box if you make a donation.

(Please now tick the relevant section on the Permission Form to give details on donations and Gift Aid)

School Milk (Pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 only)

Your child is eligible for free school milk until his/her 5th birthday. Milk is given to your child each day, usually in the afternoon. Once your child turns five, you have the option of then purchasing milk for your child using the School Milk Service.

Prior to their 5th birthday School Milk Services will contact you by letter, via the school, informing you of the costs involved and how to pay accordingly. If your child’s 5th birthday is in September or early October 2020, the necessary information required to purchase milk for your child will be given to you during July. This will then enable you to process the paperwork accordingly and your child to have milk as soon as they start school. (Please now tick the School Milk section on the Permission Form to give consent for school milk)

Fruit and Vegetables Scheme (Pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 only)

Under the Government’s School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, each child aged four to six in LEA-maintained schools will be entitled to receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.  The fruit and vegetables will be fresh and of good quality. Scientists agree that everybody, including children, can reduce their risk of heart disease and cancer by eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.  On average, children in the UK eat only two/ three portions a day.

The scheme is voluntary, and although there is no obligation for your child to take part, we hope you will share our belief that it has many benefits.  It is a great way to help us teach your child/children the benefits of healthy eating.

It is essential that you inform us of any allergies your child may have so that we can ensure they are not given anything that might harm them. There are opportunities for KS2 pupils to also have fruit, so allergies should also be given for them too. (Please now tick the Fruit and Vegetables section on the Permission Form to give consent, indicating any allergies).

 

Home-School Agreement

At St Mary’s we have a duty and desire to provide your child with a ‘Quality Education’, but a child’s education starts in the home and is continued as a partnership between home, school and parish.

So that this partnership will give every child the best possible chance of success, we feel the partners should be clear about what each can reasonably expect of the others. This is hopefully what this document does.

We ask that you and your child read this document together, discuss each responsibility individually in order to ensure understanding, and then sign at the appropriate places. In the case of pupils in Reception Class, we will allow parents to sign of their behalf if necessary.(Please now sign the Home-School Agreement)

 

Other information

Attendance

Good attendance is vital for your child to access every learning opportunity possible in order to reach their full potential. Our school has a current aspirational target of 97.3%. We celebrate pupils with 100% attendance at regular points in the year.

The school day starts promptly at 8.55am and finishes at 3.30pm. Punctuality and attendance is monitored weekly and we work with parents to ensure every child is in school on-time and ready to learn. There are currently staggered start and finish times during to social distancing measures during the Coronavirus Pandemic – we are unsure whether this will continue in September.

It is vital that anyone experiencing CoVid 19 symptoms does not attend school and are tested at the earliest opportunity. Further details about the pandemic and how we are dealing with this are available on our website.

If your child is unwell please notify the school office by calling 01454 866390 or emailing admin@stmarysbs.org.uk by 9.30am. In the case of sickness or diarrhoea, pupils are not permitted to return to school for 48 hours after their last episode.

Holidays in term-time are not permitted and therefore will not be authorised. Parents taking their children out for a holiday may be subject to a fine as issued by South Gloucestershire Council in the form of a penalty notice.

Where possible we ask that all appointments, including medical, are booked out of school hours. In line with our Attendance Policy, proof of appointment is requested.

Please notify the school of any planned absences by completing a ‘Notification of Absence’ form available from the school office.

What constitutes good attendance?

In order for a child’s attendance to be deemed good it must be 96% or above:

  • 100% -98% Excellent Attendance
  • 9% - 96% Expected Attendance
  • 9% - 90% Risk of underachievement
  • 9% - 85% Serious risk of underachievement
  • Below 85% Extreme risk of underachievement

 

SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

St Mary’s is an inclusive school where pupils, regardless of their needs and abilities, are encouraged to reach their full potential. Kathy Burden, our acting Head Teacher, is also the school SENCO, and works with both pupils and parents with special needs to find the best way of supporting them. There are pupils in our school that have a range of needs including physical, speech and language, behavioural, Autistic and Dyslexic. Please make an appointment if you wish to discuss your child.

Parent Pay

In order to make payments to the school as easy as possible for both parents and the school, most payments can be paid online through ParentMail®, which we use to send texts and emails. Payments for school dinners, trips, breakfast club, music tuition, etc. can all be paid this way, although we will still ask for cash or cheques for charity or sponsored events and other instances where small payments are expected that are not payable to the school. You will be able to pay through debit card, credit card, PayPal or PayCash on ParentMail®. Further details will be sent once you are set up on the ParentMail® system.

 

School Values

The school follows the Jesuit Values, as they accurately reflect the ethos in our school. There is a focus on two values every term and these are learnt through class work, assemblies and the different Masses that take place (class Masses and whole school Masses). We actively encourage parents to support our work in this area.

Parent Link

As a school we recognise that children’s well-being is as important as academic success, with all staff wanting to look after the welfare of the whole child. Mrs Jo Creese is our Parent-Link Worker and she works with both pupils and parents to support them through any bumps in their journey through school. There is pupil mentoring for when a little extra support is required, especially through any difficulties or events and there are drop-in sessions twice a week for parents to come in for advice, guidance or simply a sympathetic ear. Appointments can be made by calling or emailing the school office. (Appointments during the Coronavirus Pandemic will be by telephone).

 

School Governors

Our school governors are an essential part of the leadership of the school. They are made up of foundation governors (parents and members of the community), parent governors, staff and local authority. The governing body is responsible for working with the school to ensure that it delivers a good quality education.  Their responsibilities include setting the school's aims and policies, standards for pupils' behaviour and discipline, overseeing the financial performance of the school, appointing staff and ensuring the school premises are welcoming and safe.

FOSM (Friends of St Mary’s)

FOSM is a parent-led voluntary group, who support the school through many different events and fundraising activities. These include Christmas and summer fayres, ‘Sponsored Bounce’, ‘Taste of the Nations’ family event and regular school discos.  All monies raised are fed back into the school and are used to subsidise trips, books for the library, educational workshops, provide transport for religious trips and purchases of equipment such as iPads, outdoor equipment and much more. The school is very grateful for the work that FOSM does and encourages all families to actively support their events. (Fundraising events may differ during the Coronavirus Pandemic due to social distancing measures.)

School Clubs

There are a variety of clubs running at St Mary’s. Some run in the school day, such as Chaplaincy, School Council, Bike-It and Eco-Council and many are open to pupils from every year group. There are also clubs that run after school that normally come with a small charge. These can change every year and are often for specific year groups – this year we have offered sewing, cooking, multi-sports, homework, football and rugby, netball, gymnastics and choir. (The running of clubs may differ during the Coronavirus Pandemic due to social distancing measures).

 

Sport

St Mary’s offers a wide range of sporting activities, both in the school day and after. PE is an essential part of the curriculum and there are regular opportunities for different year groups to take part in different events and competitions with other Catholic and local schools. We also take part in the National School Games events. PE kits should be kept in school every day. If your child does not have their PE kit in school they will be unable to take part in PE lessons. (The events organised will differ during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Current guidance is that pupils should not be changing into PE kits to do physical activity. However all pupils should have a PE kit available for when this guidance changes).

 

Breakfast Club

St Mary’s runs a Breakfast Club between 8.00 and 8.55am every day in term-time. This is a value for money club, which is run by several teaching assistants in the school. Pupils get to enjoy a healthy breakfast and join in activities and socialise with their friends and other pupils. This is a popular club and there is often a waiting list – for availability and further information please contact maria.power@stmarysbs.org.uk.

 

OOSC – Out of School Club

OOSC run a successful club after school (3.30-6.00pm) in the adjoined St Joseph’s Centre during term-time.  Having received an OFSTED ‘outstanding’ judgement at their last inspection, this facility is in high demand and there is often a waiting list. For further details, please go to www.OOSC.co.uk.

 

Parent Helpers

The school welcomes parents/grandparents to help in the school. This could be changing word boxes, listening to children read, changing books or helping with classroom and ‘Forest Friday’ activities. We also ask for volunteers for school trips and activities. All volunteers in the classroom will need to have a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) before they can help, which the school can arrange. Even an hour a week is appreciated. Please tell the class teacher or the office in September if you would like to help. (We are not currently having volunteers into school during the Coronavirus Pandemic but look forward to welcoming anyone interested when the guidance changes.)

 

Water Bottles

We encourage the children to drink plenty of water during the school day as we find this helps to keep them alert and hydrated. We have found that the children need to drink water on a regular basis and not just at break times. To help with this we encourage the children to bring a bottle of water with them each day which they can keep in their classroom and use throughout the day.

The school has a stock of clear plastic bottles at a cost of £1, available from the school office or your child can bring their own. Please ensure that your child’s name is clearly marked on the side of the water bottle. We ask that you fill the bottle with water only, as flavoured and fizzy drinks are not allowed.

 

Snacks

Pupils are able to bring in a small healthy snack for morning break. This could be items such as fruit, a healthy cereal bar etc. Please no crisps, sandwiches, chocolate or other high in sugar snacks. Please be aware of the size of the snack – pupils are often struggling to eat their lunch due to the size of their breaktime snack.

And most importantly……

We are a nut-free school, due to children with allergies. Pupils will not be allowed to eat any nut products on the premises.

 

Parking

Please be aware that there are parking restrictions around some areas of the school premises. We encourage parents to walk to school where possible. If driving, please allow plenty of time in which to find a suitable parking place in order not to risk the safety of our pupils and others in the school community. We also do not wish to upset our neighbours with poor parking or people turning around in their driveways. Thank you for your co-operation.

Uniform

All the items below are available to purchase direct from our uniform supplier “Monkhouse” with the exception of the items marked *.  These items can be purchased from any retail shop. There is information enclosed in this pack.

WINTER

Jade sweatshirt/cardigan with school logo                                       

Navy school polo shirt with school logo                                            

Grey skirt/tunic *                                                       

Grey trousers/shorts (not black) *                                             

Black shoes *                                                             

OptionalFleece / Waterproof Jacket

 

SUMMER

Girls

Yellow gingham/checked dresses *

Jade sweatshirt/cardigan with school logo

Boys

Grey shorts *

Navy school polo shirt with school logo

 

RECEPTION CLASS ONLY

Waterproof jacket and trousers (for Forest Fridays)

 

PE KIT

Jade t-shirt with school logo

Navy shorts (plain navy track suit bottoms, with no logos, can be worn in the winter)*

Black trainers *

PE Bag

Hooded PE sweatshirt with school logo (optional)

So as to protect all books transported from school to home, we ask parents to purchase a school book bag. For children in KS2 there is now a school rucksack that is also available.

 

Term Dates – 2021/22

                        Start                                                          Finish

Term 1             Thursday 2nd September 21              Friday 22nd October 21

Term 2             Monday 1st November 21                   Friday 17th December 21

Term 3             Tuesday 4th January 22                     Friday 18th February 22

Term 4             Monday 29th February 22                 Friday 8th April 22

Term 5             Monday 25th April 22                          Friday 27th May 22

Term 6             Monday 6th June 22                           Friday 22nd July 22

 

All schools have five INSET days per year for staff training, where pupils do not attend school.