FAQs

Instead of a school Prospectus, we are pleased to present lots of information about our school in a 'Frequently Asked Questions' format.

Click on the questions below to find out more:

Q1: Waltham is an Academy. What does this mean?

On October 1st 2014, we converted from a Voluntary Aided Church of England Primary School, to an Academy within the Diocese of Leicester Academy Trust (DLAT); however, we do remain a Church School. The whole school community believed that this was the best possible way to ensure the sustainability of our small, rural school within an ever changing educational climate. This means we have more control of our teaching and learning, more control over our budget and generally more control of our own destiny. It enables us to work closely with other schools in the Trust and have direct access to the Business Manager, Health and Safety Officer, Governance director and other key officers as and when we need them; we work in partnership with the directors to support the evolvement of this new Multi-academy Trust together.

Q2: Waltham has an Executive Headteacher. What does this mean?

Mrs Hopkins is our Executive Headteacher which means she works across two schools: Waltham and Redmile CE Primary School. She also works with our pre-school too. This partnership has enabled us to forge strong links with their staff and governors to work together to develop aspects of school improvement, governor committees and training opportunities. Teachers meet weekly to network and train; governors meet at least termly to support the schools' strategic planning. The partnership continues to evolve and this year, Miss Geeson, the senior teacher from Redmile, has also worked across both schools which is a highly effective way of supporting teaching and learning across the two schools. She will be Deputy Headteacher across both schools as of September 2016.

Q3: How do I make arrangements for my child to start school?

When your child is about three years old you will begin to consider which primary school is most suitable for them. We are happy to show you around our school and you will receive a warm welcome. We hold a 'Welcome' session in the autumn term to give prospective parents an opportunity to look round the school, meet some parents, pupils, staff and governors, so please call the school office for further details if you'd like to attend-with or without your child.

The Local Authority is the admitting authority for all County schools and our policy is based on their policy for admissions; you may view this on our website. The school catchment area, maximum school size and conditions for admission are set up by Leicestershire Local Authority and DLAT in consultation with the Governors. Our current admission limit is 14, although we are able to take more pupils depending on current class sizes which is at the discretion of the Headteacher.

When your child reaches the age of 4, you will need to make a firm decision about which school you would like your child to attend. To attend Waltham, complete the on-line admissions form at www.leics.gov.uk/admissions (this is the quickest method and the one preferred by County Hall) ensuring you state that Waltham is your first choice of school. Places are generally given to all children who live in the catchment area; out of catchment pupils are not necessarily guaranteed a place. To avoid disappointment, it is therefore advisable that you contact the school at the earliest possible opportunity so that procedures can be explained.

Q4: When can my child start school?

Our standard admission arrangements are as follows: children whose fifth birthday falls between 1st September and the following 31st August (inclusive) are admitted at the beginning of the Autumn Term (end of August/early September) ie one intake for the whole year for the children who will have their fifth birthday during their first year at school. These “Foundation Stage” or 'Reception' children attend full-time, unless there are agreed reasons with the Headteacher and County Hall/DLAT for starting on a part-time arrangement.

Before starting school, we arrange for new entrants to spend time with us so they can meet their teachers, their new friends and become familiar with some of the routines (including older pupils); a letter of invitation is sent out in April once we have been given your details by County Hall. We liaise carefully with you and your child's previous school to ensure a smooth transition, so that they feel happy and settle in quickly. You will also receive a Parent Helpsheet and a 'welcome' pack with further details and information.

Parents of prospective pupils of all ages are welcome to visit the school and meet the staff by making an appointment. There are also many events during the school year that are open to all members of the community and these provide ideal opportunities for you and your child to meet everyone at Waltham School and find out about some of the things we do here. Older pupils are also invited to spend some time familiarising themselves with our setting before starting full-time by prior arrangement with the Headteacher.

Q5: Is transport provided to and from school?

A taxi is provided free of charge to and from villages in our catchment area by the Local Authority. When you apply for a place at our school, the LA will send you all the details you need. Parents do not need to accompany the children in the taxi; just ensure their seat-belt is secure before departure.

Mrs Hopkins, the Headteacher (or another member of staff in her absence) meets the children in the morning, ensuring their safe passage in to the school grounds and staff volunteer to escort the children to the taxi at the end of the day, ensuring seat-belts are secure before they leave. It is the parents responsibility to ensure someone is there to meet pupils off the taxi. The taxi arrives at school in the morning at 8.40am and leaves at 3.20pm. On occasion it is late and we try to inform parents if we know beforehand.

On occasion, uncertainly arises over whether or not a child should go home on the taxi (usually when parents have made last minute arrangements and have forgotten to inform school in writing.) This causes a lot of distress, especially for the child. Regardless of what the child says, (sometimes they are adamant about what their parent instructed in the morning!), if staff are in any doubt whatsoever, they will keep the child in school until the parents contact us as we know then they will be safe. Effective communication is vital to maximise safety for the child .

Q6: Are there facilities for pre-school?

We have an excellent Pre-school on our site, which is governed by the school. It was rated 'Outstanding' in their last Ofsted inspection. The majority of our children attend the Pre-school although it is not an expectation; the pre-school liaises with a number of other primary schools in our area. For further details see the Pre-school page on this website.

Q7: How can I prepare my child for school?

Parents can do a lot to help their children prepare for school. Helping children to become independent, reading to them and listening to them read will all enhance their education. We provide a pre-school pack and a booklet for parents to go through with their children. Children feel more confident if they have had opportunities to develop basic self-care skills with parents at home before starting school. You might like to:

  • Give your child opportunities to mix with other children and adults
  • Encourage him/her to dress and undress him/herself
  • Learn to take care of their possessions and pack them away when finished
  • Teach your child to use a knife and fork at mealtimes
  • Teach him/her to wash their hands after using and flushing the toilet
  • Give your child the opportunity to enjoy using pencils, crayons, paint and blunt-ended scissors
  • Sand and water play are enjoyable experiences
  • Sorting and building activities are fun
  • They will enjoy imaginative play using dressing-up clothes.

Look at books with your child, getting him/her to turn the pages in the correct order, looking at the pages from left to right. Encourage him/her to use the pictures to guess the story content, to retell the stories to you and to talk about the stories/poems that you have shared.

Talk to your child about the environment as you walk or ride in the car or bus. Teach nursery rhymes and songs. The alphabet can also be learned as a song, but your child will also need to know the sound each letter makes (this is something we will teach them so don't worry if your child can't read before starting school!) Games like 'I spy' help your child to play with initial sounds.

If your child is showing an interest in writing, encourage him/her at every opportunity, even if their 'words' look like random marks on the page this is GOOD! Do encourage them to hold their pencil correctly; a tripod grip which you can purchase from good stationers, is an appropriate way to start.

It is important that child learns the correct movement to write each letter and it is appropriate to show them how to do this from the beginning, but don't force this on them or make them write with a particular hand; many children don't decide until later on.

Q8: What subjects do you teach and are they all taught separately?

Reception Pupils

We teach our pupils according to the Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. This involves learning through 7 key areas.

Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • communication and language;
  • physical development; and
  • personal, social and emotional development.

Four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

  • literacy;
  • mathematics;
  • understanding the world; and
  • expressive arts and design.

Our educational programmes and plans involve activities and experiences for children, as follows:

  • Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them to make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas through discussion, outdoor play, displays and artefacts, celebration of festivals, stories and songs. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. They express fears or re-live anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.

We ask our children about the things that interest them and provide opportunities for them to explore and learn through these interests. As they are part of a class with Year 1 and Year 2 pupils, Reception pupils learn through a thematic approach and have access to higher level activities if they are ready.

The children are grouped for phonics and maths activities and have daily bursts of direct teaching in these key areas to help develop their understanding. A wealth of technology is available to the children and they enjoy learning through a wide range of experiences including computer controlled machines, interactive programs to reinforce learning of basic skills and hand-held recording devices to promote speaking and listening.

We have developed a lively outdoor learning environment for children to use all year round; they especially love the role play area. The sheltered area keeps them dry and we have some large play resources to help develop gross motor skills, eg. bikes and trikes and the beautiful school grounds enhance further learning of the world around them, including our wooded area and pond.

We use a number of schemes across the school, although we do believe that whilst some children will respond very well to all approaches, others may not so we do build in flexibility to account for the needs of all pupils.

Reading

READING We currently use the 'Letters and Sounds' approach to the teaching of phonics which involves daily lessons for all children in small groups according to their level of understanding.

We urge you to view this short film showing you how to pronounce the letter sounds correctly as this is critical when supporting us in helping them learn during these early stages; these are called 'pure sounds' and they form the basis of all our phonics teaching. You will find the video here (external link).

We use 'Oxford Reading Tree' scheme books to support reading, although they are not read in a set order as all books for early readers are colour-coded according to levels of attainment so children are free to select books of their interest; our aim is promote and nurture reading for enjoyment.

We use 'Abacus' scheme of work to support maths and Ruth Miskin's 'Get Spelling' scheme across the whole school.

Year 1 to 6

We teach all subjects which make up the National Curriculum: English, maths, science, computing, art and design, design technology, history, geography, music and PE. In addition to these subjects, we teach Religious Education, PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) and Spanish.

On the whole, we approach the teaching of these subjects through a cross curricular/thematic approach which enables pupils to make links between subjects and so broadens their understanding and awareness of the world around them. During the year, we have introduced whole school themes, enabling everyone to develop greater understanding and shared knowledge, eg. Space, World War II and Proud to be British.

Literacy and maths is specifically timetabled in the morning although plans are linked to the theme whenever possible. RE, PE, Music, Spanish and science are also timetabled separately with themes running throughout whenever possible.

Work is differentiated according to the needs and abilities of the pupils. Through a combination of adult-led group work, direct whole class teaching and independent work our pupils have access to all areas of the curriculum and a wide range of experiences. Individual targets are set and children have discussions with their teachers about the level they are working at and what they need to do next in order to improve.

Details of content within the areas taught in each class are sent out termly to parents; we will endeavour to post these on our website for your further interest. Further details can be found in the Headteacher's weekly newsletter, which is also published on our website.

Q9: As you're a Church school, does this mean you teach about God all the time?

No! We are a Church of England Primary School whereby we aim to provide all children with a meaningful insight into the moral values of the society in which we live. We aim to help children to understand each other and to become caring, responsible people. We promote a Christian ethos in all we do which is centred around friendship, honesty, respect, love, kindness, caring, openness and self-belief.

Pupils receive regular instruction in Religious Education (about an hour per week depending on age) based on the Leicestershire Agreed Syllabus and the Diocesan Syllabus. The teaching is mainly Christian, but does include instruction in other major religions. We enjoy visiting places of worship, both within our community and further afield (eg. Sikh Temple in Leicester, Leicester Cathedral) and are proud of our close links with the local church and enjoy weekly visits from the team to lead 'Open the Book.' We also have a termly 'Messy Fiesta' which is led by the Rector whereby all children work together on a Christian value such as forgiveness, trust and hope. We recently enriched our work on wisdom with a visit from some real-life owls which supported the Bible story beautifully.

We meet collectively for a daily 'Act of Worship' which generally includes singing, story-telling and prayers. These are led either by the staff, pupils or visiting clergy. There are themes for Collective Worship (aka Assembly) each week and festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Most assemblies take place in Oak classroom , but sometimes we all walk down to the Church in Waltham for family services and special assemblies/events.

We hold celebrations of good work and behaviour at our Special Assembly each Friday, to which family and friends are invited. This 'open worship' is a lovely opportunity for you to come along and take part in the life of the school. Children receive certificates, stickers, trophies and special mentions and their names are entered in our Sparkly Book. Everyone loves Friday!

We also say Grace before lunch and say a prayer before home time, which is very important to our children as they remind us when we're out on school trips! As a Parent you have the right to withdraw your child from Collective Worship or RE lessons under the Education Reform Act (1988).

Q10: What is Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)?

All subjects provide opportunities to promote spiritual, physical, moral and social development but specific opportunities will be given in lessons for Personal, Social, Health, and Citizenship Education (PSHCE). Children are also actively encouraged through our school ethos to develop their awareness as responsible citizens.

All children are encouraged to become monitors and to undertake tasks that support the school community. Examples of these roles are: setting up worship areas, looking after resources, librarians, sports leaders, milk monitors, road safety officers, looking after plants and the environment.

We are a recognised Healthy School (enhanced model), placing great emphasis on teaching children knowledge and skills which prepare them for life. We explore nutrition, safety, appropriate drugs education, physical exercise, relationships and well-being allowing children opportunities for discussion of how to make sensible choices for life.

Q11: Does the school teach Sex Education?

Yes, as part of the National Curriculum for science. Please refer to our policy on the website.

The aim of sex and relationships education is to provide children with age appropriate information; explore attitudes and values and develop skills in order to empower them to make positive decisions and sensible choices about their health and related behaviour.

All teaching will take place with consideration of the qualities of relationships within families. Sex and relationships education complements the structure of the schools' teaching framework across the curriculum with specific blocks of time set aside for children in Year 5 to deal with personal hygiene and children in Year 6 to deal with changes at puberty.

The school informs parents when aspects of the sex and relationships programme are taught, with opportunities each year for parents of older children to view the media resources being used. Sex and relationships education may be supported by visitors such as the School Nurse, who might have specialist knowledge or particular abilities in working with young people. Mrs Hopkins is the teacher designated as the person responsible for co-ordinating sex and relationships education. We are able to provide literature for parental support in talking about this subject with their children.

Sex and relationships education is lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of loving and caring relationships. It is about the teaching of sex, sexuality and sexual health. Research demonstrates that good comprehensive sex and relationships education does not make young people more likely to become sexually active at a younger age. Sex and relationships education will reflect the values of the Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship programmes.

Sex and relationships education will be taught in the context of relationships. In addition, sex and relationships education will promote self-esteem and emotional health and well-being; helping young people to maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships based on respect for themselves and for others.

Q12: Will my children do tests?

Yes, appropriate to age.

A new baseline assessment was introduced last year for Reception pupils, which is for school use only at the moment and will not be published locally or nationally. We observe children's initial skills during the first half-term for those children starting school as Reception pupil and this initial 'baseline' profile of skills is discussed with you at your first parents' evening in October/November. Progress is continuously monitored throughout the Foundation Stage (up until the end of the Reception Year) and records called 'Early Years Education Profiles' (e-profiles) are kept that show staff and parents the key areas of achievement. Their 'Learning Journey' file details key developments during the year and is a special document for parents to keep.

In June 2012, the Government introduced a Phonics Screening Test for all Year 1 pupils. On-going teacher assessments provide a guide to levels of attainment and some standardised tasks and tests are used to support judgements in maths.

Year 2 pupils complete tasks and tests called Standard Assessment Tests or SATs, around May each year. Continued on-going teacher assessments provide a guide to levels of attainment in all areas.

Assessment continues throughout Key Stage 2. This is achieved through rigorous teacher assessment as well as diagnostic tests, all of which aid teachers in identifying areas of weakness as well as individual strengths to support Teacher Assessment and monitoring. Year 6 pupils take end of Key Stage SATs in reading, writing, SPAG (Spelling Punctuation and Grammar) and maths, with some schools being chosen at random by the DfE to sit a SAT in science.

The Government have radically changed its view on assessment during the past year which means we are going through an intense period of change. We use a Tracking Programme to monitor your child's attainment and progress against the National Curriculum which enables us to tailor learning according to their needs. Assessment informs planning of lessons, target-setting and ensures that each child reaches his or her own potential.

We do not believe in teaching to the tests; we prefer our pupils to have a varied, dynamic, fun-filled education whereby they are prepared for important tests without the constant pressure and anxiety tests can sometimes cause. We do, however, have an excellent revision programme for our Year 6's which includes exam technique and practise for the SATs.

Q13: I hear about schools offering extended services. What does this mean at Waltham School?

We have a vibrant and thriving After School Club (ASC) which provides child care from 3.15-6.00pm Monday –Friday during term time. Children often choose to attend, rather than because they need to because they enjoy the social, fun element as well as the extended learning opportunities provided by our ASC Leader David Wills and assistant Kay Burrows. Activities include talent shows, dancing, ICT, fashion shows, board games, cooking, sewing, den building in the wood and so much more! They have theme weeks, such as Roman Week, when everyone researched the period and then decided what activities they could do…they chose role play, cooking and dressing up!

David has also introduced a summer camp for two weeks during August.

We also offer Spanish Club and sports club as well as science and maths clubs at various times during the year. Details of costs for all our clubs are available from the school office.

A team of Dads also run a football club, which is very popular. This year we have been able to offer an Early Morning Sports Club free of charge through a Sports England Grant, as well as weekly fitness classes for adults and a week of sports camp during the summer holiday.

We are part of a group of ten Primary Schools and one High School in the Vale of Belvoir and we continue to work together to address the key issues of rural isolation, viability of services and community cohesion. As a group, we provide (or pin-point parents to):

  • High quality childcare – such as child-minders, pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools and wrap-around care for working parents
  • A varied menu of activities – after school clubs organised by schools themselves and for children and adults more widely in the area such as Guides, Scouts, sports, training and courses
  • Parenting support – a range of services providing the support parents and carers need via school referrals and website links
  • Swift access to specialist services – for any particular needs identified for parents, carers or their children
  • Community access to schools – for meetings, events, training, activities and other workshops; these might be in the school or the village hall or other village schools and community spaces.

Please discuss your needs with us and we will do all we can to help.

Q14: How do I keep in touch with my child's school life?

Parents have the opportunity to meet informally with class teachers by prior appointment after school. Children do sometimes experience anxieties and we would rather you came to discuss them with us as soon as possible. Your child may wish to share something s/he has done during the day and it is fine for them to bring you in to school to share that with you.

If you wish to have a slightly longer chat with the class teacher or Headteacher it would be appropriate to make an appointment, ensuring that they are able to offer you sufficient time.

Schools are required to report a child's progress to parents at least once a year. In the autumn and spring term we have parent-teacher interviews and value the excellent support we receive on these evenings.

Normally, during the summer term, we send out the annual school report to parents, enabling us to enhance our partnership in supporting your child in their learning.

Parents are invited in to school by their child/ren at the end of a topic to show them their work and the home-school reading record book is another useful method of communication between us.

We also hold events and concerts during the year for parents and weekly assemblies which are very well attended.

Mrs Hopkins sends out a weekly newsletter, which informs you of things that have taken place as well as exciting things coming up. Parents tell us that they find this invaluable as a means of keeping abreast with school life, especially working parents and those with children who 'can't remember' anything that's going on! These are posted on our website as a further means of reference.

All these give you an additional opportunity to build strong relationships with the school.

Various documents and policies are available for inspection on our website or upon request that give you specific information about school procedures and policy. These include policies and schemes of work for curriculum subjects and inspection reports about the school.

Our aim is that we should create honest, active and mutually informed partnerships based on confidence and respect for the benefit of the children.

Q15: Can I help in school?

Yes please!

Many parents like to help with the children's activities in or out of school hours, and such help is always very welcome and greatly appreciated. Mrs Hopkins trains Reading Volunteers to support reading across the school and others inform us of their special interests and skills which we try to utilise to support learning across the school whenever possible. All volunteers have a DBS check and are never required to take responsibility for the teaching and learning or behaviour of pupils; they support learning alongside members of staff and this proves to be very successful.

Please let us know if you'd like to help. We especially appreciate your help with FOWS events.

Q16: Do you have a PFA or PTA?

Yes! A group of parents organise numerous during the year to raise money to support learning in school. The annual Christmas Fayre, Maypole Event and autumn ball are a few of the popular events they orgainse.

The funds helps us to subsidise school trips or pay for them in full; supports curriculum enrichment, eg. music, visitors, resources for theme weeks; helps provide resources and materials for learning, eg. library books. A significant purchase was the installation of our amazing trim-trail which is very popular with the children.

Q17: Does the school keep records on my child?

Waltham CE Primary School processes personal data about its pupils and is a 'data controller' in respect of this for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998. We process this data to:

  • support its pupils' teaching and learning;
  • monitor and report on their progress;
  • provide appropriate pastoral care, and
  • assess how well the school as a whole is doing.

This data includes contact details, national curriculum assessment results, attendance information, characteristics such as ethnic group, special educational needs and any relevant medical information.

The data may only be used or passed on for specific purposes allowed by law. Parents are sent an annual fair processing or 'privacy' notice, which provides up to date information of how data is handled.

Records are kept for each registered pupil and they are updated regularly. Any parent of a registered pupil is allowed access to the child's educational records. Arrangements will be made within 7 working days of the request for access to records. If a copy of the records is requested, a fee (not greater than the cost of supply) may be charged. It should be noted that reports from the Juvenile Court or Social Services will not be available.

All records are treated as confidential under the current Data Protection Act.

Q18: How do you deal with equal opportunities and anti-discrimination?

At Waltham every person is considered to be valued irrespective of race, age, faith, ability, sexuality, culture, gender or disabilities. Every person is to be treated fairly. The school abides by the Laws that govern equal opportunities and racial equality. We also constantly strive to ensure that our school is accessible in line with the legal requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and subsequent amendments/extensions and the Single Equality Act 2011.

The Governing Body believes that the school always has to be aware of the potential for unconscious discrimination, to avoid assumptions about individual children or adults based on stereotypes and to work actively to encourage all individuals to achieve their full potential.

We are committed, as part of our educational inclusion strategy, to preparing our pupils for life in a multicultural society and are totally opposed to racism and all other forms of oppressive behaviour. We believe that striving for racial equality is important for all schools and colleges whether multi-ethnic or all white, rural or urban.

The curriculum of the school, our policies and practices reflect our beliefs and we actively challenge comments or behaviour by pupils or adults that compromise our equal opportunities statements (something extremely rare at our school).

Q19: My child is entitled to Free School meals; are they treated differently?

No. The school admin officer, Mrs Quine, is responsible for the administration of all school meals. When your successful application for FSM is received by us from County Hall, a meal is ordered for your child in exactly the same way as all other meals: Mrs Quine 'phones the number of meals required through to the kitchens in Great Dalby; no names of pupils are given as this is not necessary.

Meals arrive on the premises at around 11.50am and served like a cafeteria system to all pupils. There are no separate queues for FSM pupils or anything at all which identifies them as being any different to anyone else. All are treated equally and fairly.

All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to Universal School Meals, which meals they will automatically be provided with a cooked meal, free of charge, unless you inform us differently.

Q20: My child can't eat certain foods due to a food intolerance, can s/he still have a school meal?

Yes. Let us know all the details, we inform the kitchens and special provision is made. The lunchtime supervisors, including the dining assistant who serves the meals (Mrs Burrows) are also made aware so that they ensure your child gets the correct food.

It is essential that your child also knows which foods have an adverse effect on their health, so that they aren't tempted to sneak a taste off of someone else's plate!

Q21: What is the Pupil Premium?

The Pupil Premium (introduced in 2011) is an additional pot of money allocated to schools for children from low-income families who are currently known to be eligible for FSM in both mainstream and non-mainstream settings and children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months.

"The Government believes that the Pupil Premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their wealthier peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most."

At Waltham School, the Pupil Premium has been used to provide one-to-one tuition and group support in English and/or math's for those in receipt of the funding. It has also been used to support educational events and trips, where parents are asked to make a voluntary contribution and when the school and parent together believe it will be of most benefit educationally to the child. Mrs Hopkins liaises with parents directly to ensure the needs of each child is being met. Those pupils who benefitted from the Pupil Premium in previous years have superseded expectations in their end of year assessments and, for those at the end of Key Stage 2, in their SATs results, some achieving well above National expectations as well. It has helped boost confidence, which has had an impact on self-esteem and attainment/achievement.

If you think you are entitled to claim Free School Meals please speak to Mrs Quine in confidence, who will advise you accordingly.

Q22: What is Disability and how does the school make provision?

A disabled person (child or adult) is someone who has a physical or mental impairment, which has substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

  • A physical or mental impairment includes sensory impairments: impairments relating to mental functioning including learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dyspraxia; and long-term health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis.
  • Substantial means more than minor or trivial.
  • Long-term means an impairment that has lasted for at least 12 months, or is likely to last 12 months or for the rest of the person's life.
  • Normal day-to-day activities cover the following categories: mobility; manual dexterity; physical co-ordination; continence; speech, hearing or eyesight; memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand; perception of the risk of physical danger.

Someone with an impairment may be receiving medical or other treatment which alleviates or removes the effects of that impairment (but not the impairment itself). In such cases the treatment should be disregarded and the impairment is taken to have the effect it would have without the treatment. Some people are automatically deemed to have a disability covered by the Act – those with HIV, cancer, MS, and severe disfigurements. There are special provisions for people with progressive or recurring conditions.

Actions Taken

  • The school has been made accessible where possible within the constraints of our Victorian building.
  • We work with governors and parents to review policies and practices across the curriculum.
  • We have identified children with physical or mental impairments relating to learning difficulties or sensory needs and those with long-term health conditions and identified how we can best meet their needs in relation to teaching and learning, care and personal development through working closely with parents to set up individual support plans or with the Health Care services.
  • The school Disability Equality Scheme and Accessibility action plans have been fully reviewed by Governors to ensure we are working towards our overall goals for improvement.
  • We ensure safer recruitment practices that are based upon equal opportunities. Governor training is on-going through an on-line service.
  • Teaching practices have been improved through professional development courses and in-school training.
  • We have adopted the principles of being a dyslexia friendly school.
  • All staff are First Aid trained.
  • Staff have had training on diabetes, asthma, and epi-pen from specialist nurses, as well as supporting individual circumstances.
  • Support staff are specifically employed to support and aid individuals in need and we liaise very closely with outside agencies and parents to ensure an Education Health Care Plan is in place with training for staff as required.
  • Inclusive practices are a strength of the school and finding ways to further personalise learning is a key priority for us.
  • We hope that parents will share any specific needs pertinent to their children or their families. We find that people are sometimes reluctant to come forward and need to look at other ways to raise awareness and improve communication in this area.
  • Documents, including the weekly newsletter, are available in large print upon request.
  • We use Target Tracker as a management tool to track pupil progress overall in order to ensure pupils with needs are making progress.
  • We have raised the quality of listening and responding to pupil voice through various questionnaires, involvement in topic planning, council meetings and pupils assemblies.
  • We have raised the quality of listening and responding to parent voice through questionnaires, workshops and meetings. There is a suggestion box located in the school entrance.
  • Improved support at playtimes and lunchtimes through 'buddy' and 'family' systems, as well as pupils organising play equipment for all to use.

A full copy of the disability equality scheme or disability equality & accessibility plan is available on our school website. A full copy of our Equal Opportunities and Race Relations policies are available on the website or upon request. Do please come along and talk to us – we are here to support you and your family.

Q23: How do you ensure children are safeguarded and protected?

Waltham CE Primary School believes that all children have the right to grow up unharmed; to have the opportunity to develop fully and to have their basic needs met. Child abuse represents a failure, by omission or commission, to respect the needs and rights of children. We expect all staff, Governors and voluntary helpers to share this commitment.

It is the duty and responsibility of all staff, governors and volunteers at our school to be aware of the signs of child abuse. The designated teachers to contact are Mrs Hopkins or Miss Geeson (Senior Teacher). If any member of staff has cause for concern about the safety or well-being of a child, it is their responsibility to follow the appropriate procedures for action. All staff and governors receive regular training and updates on child protection issues. The school has a Child Protection/Safeguarding Children policy - parents may view it on our website or request a copy.

It is important for parents to be aware that:

  • Staff and volunteers in the school have a duty to report concerns about a child, whether this means the child may be in need of additional support or help of some kind or whether it is thought that a child may have been abused or be at risk of abuse.
  • There are four categories of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, neglect.
  • In some cases the school is obliged to refer children to children's social care staff, for children to be assessed for their needs or if an investigation into possible child abuse is required. In many cases there will already have been discussions between school staff and the parents of the child, and the situation and concerns will not be a surprise to the parents. However, parents may not be told that the school has referred their child to children's social care if it is thought that this might put the child at risk.
  • Children's social care tries to carry out its enquiries in a sensitive fashion. It has to gather information and generally it can be open with parents about the steps being taken.
  • If you think your child may have been abused you can contact the children's social care office or the Local Authority's Allegations Manager, Safeguarding unit direct. If you think the abuse may have happened in school, contact the Headteacher or SeniorTeacher who are both Designated Senior Persons for Child Protection. If you think your child has been hurt, arrange to visit your doctor. Comfort and reassure your child.
  • If school staff need to express concerns about a child or refer a child to children' social care, it is understood that this can cause distress or anger for the child's parents. It is important that all parties – parents and school staff – try to discuss these matters as calmly and sensibly as possible.
  • There is a new Encompass scheme which has been introduced across Leicestershire this year, whereby the police will contact the Headteacher to alert her to any issues they've had to deal with concerning any family at our school. This is designed to raise awareness and ensure vigilance is maintained.

The well-being of the child will be put first in all cases.

Pastoral care of the pupils is usually the concern of the class teacher and any worries you may have should first be discussed with the class teacher. There may be occasions when you wish to discuss concerns with the Headteacher.

At lunchtimes the lunchtime supervisors care for your child, encouraging a friendly, social atmosphere for eating food and playing together.

Parents are given information on the strategies taken to protect children when using the Internet. An agreement is signed by parents to ensure that permission is given for their child to use the Internet for guided educational tasks. Access will not be given without custodial permission.

Parents and relatives should note that any photographs or video film they take at school events are likely to contain images of other children as well as their own. Such images should not be circulated more widely than the family and should be kept for the exclusive use of the family. They must not be passed on to newspapers, other publications or your own websites and definitely not on social networking sites such as 'Facebook.'. Any distribution or manipulation of images of children can result in prosecution. This statement follows the advised practice of Leicestershire Education Authority and is in place to protect all the children. Parents are asked to give permission on entry to the school before their own children's photographs and work are included on the school's own website.

We have a system of notification for nominated persons to collect children at the end of the school day. In this way we strive to ensure that parents' wishes are clear and that children are only handed over to responsible adults. No child is permitted to leave school unless a member of staff can see this nominated person at the school gate. All doors and gates are locked and pupils know that they are not allowed to open the outside to anyone, including their own parents unless a member of staff is with them. All staff are DBS checked and have a right to work in the UK. All staff receive specialised training in Child Protection, which includes e-safety and the PREVENT issue, First Aid and key staff members receive positive handling training. We have a rigorous Safer Recruitment policy and have in place all necessary Risk Assessments.

Q24: How do you make sure the school is a safe and secure place?

The governors and staff strive to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the children and everyone else who works at or visits the school. For reasons of child protection, visitors and parents should first report to the office to sign in. We have security access system on all doors. Members of staff have special keys or 'bleepers' to gain access. All visitors can therefore only enter via the office.

We have Fire Practise, emergency drills and security 'in quick' procedures to follow. Notices are placed around the school. We undertake health and safety reviews every term and ensure that any identified issues are swiftly dealt with. Pupils are taught about Health and Safety procedures and are involved in writing Risk Assessments and agreeing codes of practice.

Q25: Is the school a smoke-free environment?

Yes. The following statements apply to all staff, pupils and visitors to the school eg. parents, visiting suppliers, temporary staff, contractors and governors:

  • Smoking is not permitted in any part of the school site at any time. This includes all school buildings and the outside areas of the school including playgrounds, field or car park.
  • Smoking by anyone on a school visit or trip is not permitted.
  • Relevant signage displayed around school must be followed ie 'no smoking'.

Q26: What are the school's views on pupil behaviour and how would any incidence of bullying be dealt with?

Discipline begins at home where parents expect their child to follow simple rules for safety and to carry out simple instructions. Where pupils are used to such discipline at home they generally accept discipline at school. The school adopts a consistent approach and has clear standards of expected behaviour that leads to self-discipline in the pupils.

Outstanding behaviour is a strength of our school.

All members of our school community deserve the right to feel valued and respected. Everyone should feel equal and be able to come to school without fear. Bullying is most definitely not tolerated. Any one off incident is generally regarded as inappropriate behaviour, but where incidents continue to occur the school regards the matter seriously.

As a 'listening and telling' school, we are committed to the creation of positive and safe learning environments for all. Children are encouraged to report all incidents of bullying whether they are victims or bystanders. All members of staff will respond to pupil, staff or parental concerns seriously and support the agreed procedures.

A set of agreed sanctions are applied in school, for any disruption caused in lessons. If serious problems regarding discipline occur, parents are informed and their assistance sought. In very serious cases it may be necessary to exclude a pupil and in these circumstances the pupils and their parents will be invited to meet with members of the Governing Body to discuss the problem and future actions.

Pupils devise the School Rules/Code of Conduct and the Consequences of poor behaviour are clearly displayed in all rooms around the school alongside the rules. These can be viewed the Behaviour and Discipline Policy on our website. Systems are currently under review by our Anti-bullying Steering Group, made up of pupils from Years 5 and 6.

Q27: How do you promote knowledge of road safety?

This is a major area of concern and children receive talks from our Road Safety Officer and class teachers. Children have annual workshops on road safety and older pupils are able to take part in Bike For Life Cycle Training. Two Year 6 children take the responsibility of being Junior Road Safety Officers when possible and organise assemblies and Road Safety competitions throughout the school year.

Our children wear high-viz jackets when walking around the village and our Headteacher can often be seen in her high-viz jacket on the roadside, at drop-off and collection times which helps to slow traffic down. Our Headteacher and governors are working closely with the local councils and police to address the issue of road safety outside our school.

Q28: Do you go on educational visits or undertake any special projects?

We believe children learn more effectively from first-hand experience and as such aim to provide as many varied experiences as we can, without it becoming too costly to parents.

We visit places of interest, theatres, museums etc. which link to our curricular work and this in turn motivates and stimulates the educational learning process in many areas of the curriculum. In the past most trips have taken place because parents have generously contributed towards transport and entrance fees.

Recent visits include: Newark Palace Theatre, White Post Farm, Beaumanor Hall, Belvoir Castle, Leicester Cathedral, London, Sikh and Hindu Temples. We also have many visitors and workshops in school during each year. Examples include morris dancing, Falconry, sports coaches, poetry/writing Workshops, Road Safety Officers, Fire-fighters and puppeteers.

Our Year 5/6 residential trip to Duke's Barn in Derbyshire is a highlight of the children's time at our school. Our Year 6's sometimes join up with another local school for these trips to help them make new friends who will be moving on to secondary school with them.

We adopt a cross curricular approach to learning so trips and special events/projects are linked accordingly. Recent themes have included a Young Innovator's Challenge (in 2015 one of our pupils won £1000 for our school for his inventive strawberry-growing irrigation system) and studies at a local geology centre.

Special theme weeks and days are organised by staff and pupils. Recent themes include: Red Nose day, Christmas, science week, maths week, e-safety and anti-bullying.

Since 1 April 1989, no charging can be made for these activities if they take place in school hours. Visits may continue only if parents wish to make a voluntary contribution, no child can be omitted from the visit if parents do not wish to contribute or cannot afford to do so. It must be made clear that unless a high percentage of voluntary contributions are forthcoming the trip might not be able to take place. With your support and generosity we hope that we shall be able to continue to take children as always (see Charging Policy).

Q29: Do you have links with other schools?

Yes. We have strong links with other local schools, whereby the Headteachers and staff work together to bring the pupils together for special events, including sports tournaments and the Vale Choir concert for example, as well as joining together on school trips to develop friendships and cut down on costs.

We are beginning to develop links with an inner city school in Leicester.

Q30: We often see other adults in school – who are they?

We enjoy weekly visits from members of the local clergy, who lead assemblies and sometimes run events.

Visiting teachers such as Mrs Donnelly (piano, vocal and violin teacher), Mrs Newton (flute teacher) and Jan (guitar teacher) are with us each week and supply teachers, who cover for illness or staff out on training courses, are well-known to the school. Miss Cheryl teaches dance, Miss Barsby teaches Spanish and Mr Wing teaches sports.

Many parents help with walking to the Village Hall and church, as well as helping with swimming and other trips; without their help, transport costs would make it impossible for our children to attend. We encourage parents, friends and governors into school. Their support is seen as invaluable and is always welcome.

We have links with local schools, universities and colleges so that students are sent to us to gain experience in teaching and learning practices.

We also provide training for NVQ students from local colleges, PGCE students and offer opportunities for secondary school pupils from secondary schools in the Vale, Melton Mowbray and Grantham areas to gain work experience.

We open our school to other teachers who are able to observe lessons and discuss practice with our staff.

The children gain a wider learning experience by interacting with different people, including educational visitors as previously described.

Q31: What do we do if we have a concern or a complaint?

Our belief matches that of the LAs and DLAT in that we aim to create good relationships with parents and the local community. Our priority is the educational commitment to our children and we always aims to improve our practices and procedures and are pleased to receive comments on the service that we provide. However, there may be times when you wish to bring to the school's attention a concern or complaint about a specific matter which requires immediate attention for the health and well-being of your child (or/and possibly others). These general guidelines should help:

Q32: The Complaints Process:

  1. If a parent is concerned about anything to do with the education that we are providing at our school, they should, in the first instance, discuss the matter with their child's class teacher. Most matters of concern can be dealt with in this way. All teachers work very hard to ensure that each child is happy at school, and is making good progress; they always want to know if there is a problem, so that they can take action before the problem seriously affects the child's progress.
  2. Where a parent feels that a situation has not been resolved through contact with the class teacher, or that their concern is of a sufficiently serious nature, they should make an appointment to discuss it with the Headteacher. The Headteacher considers any such complaint very seriously and investigates each case thoroughly. Most complaints are normally resolved at this stage.
  3. Should a parent have a complaint about the Headteacher, s/he should first make an informal approach to one of the members of the governing body, who is obliged to investigate it. The governor in question will do all s/he can to resolve the issue through a dialogue with the school, but if a parent is unhappy with the outcome, s/he can make a formal complaint, as outlined below.
  4. Only if an informal complaint fails to resolve the matter should a formal complaint be made to the governing body. This complaint must be made in writing, stating the nature of the complaint and how the school has handled it so far. The parent should send this written complaint to the Chair of Governors.
  5. The governing body must consider all written complaints within three weeks of receipt. It arranges a meeting to discuss the complaint, and invites the person making it to attend the meeting, so that s/he can explain her complaint in more detail. The school gives the complainant at least three days' notice of the meeting.
  6. After hearing all the evidence, the governors consider their decision and inform the parent about it in writing. The governors do all they can at this stage to resolve the complaint to the parent's satisfaction.
  7. If the complaint is not resolved, a parent may make representation to the DLAT. Further information about this process is available from the school or from the DLAT. A further meeting is chaired by an independent person, who considers all the evidence and makes a further judgement in an attempt to resolve the complaint.
  8. If any parent is still not content that the complaint has been dealt with properly, then s/he is entitled to appeal to the Secretary of State for Education.

Our Concerns/Complaints Policy is posted on our website.

Please let us know if there is any further information you require.