Welcome to the new school year. We hope you enjoyed an excellent summer.
It’s been great to welcome everyone at the start of the autumn term, especially those in ‘Pluto’ class, starting school for the very first time.
This newsletter is mostly made up of start-of-year reminders, so it’s a bit longer than normal. Please read it carefully and ask if you have a question about anything here. I’m sorry if it seems a bit like a list of do’s and don’ts, but it’s probably best to be clear about all these things…
We use our email and messaging service, callparents, to send you a lot of information. As long as our school records are accurate you’ll automatically get stuff sent to your email address and/or mobile. So if contact details change please tell us straightaway and you’ll not miss anything. Thanks.
Newsletters are sent electronically, roughly every month. Just for once, at the start of the year, we’re sending you a printed slip to tell you that this newsletter has been distributed. If you get only the printed copy something’s not working. Please tell us and with your help we’ll put things right.
At the start of the school year we give you the chance to say hello to your child’s new teacher, learn a bit about what to expect, and consider how you can help at home. We advertised these meetings back in the summer: they’re at 2:45 in your child’s classroom and the dates are in the Calendar on the school website (and repeated below). Please do come along.
N.B. ‘Saturn’ class’s meeting is in the early evening.
School photos are being taken on Wednesday September 12th. (You'll have had details of this in a separate message.)
Each year we provide several opportunities for parents/carers to discuss their child’s progress. This term our parents’ evenings are:
Wednesday November 7th from 3:30
Thursday November 8th from 6:00.
Details of how to book your appointment will follow nearer the time.
Partnership between home and school is vital, so when the time comes please do take the chance to learn how your child has settled into the new school year. (But don’t wait ‘til then if you’ve got a concern: always get in touch at any other time if you need to.)
The Friends of Nursteed School (FoNS) is a group of parents and others who work tirelessly to organise community events and raise money for the school. This could include you, of course! Look out for upcoming events so you can help make them happen or support them by coming along.
All parents, grandparents and friends are welcome as we raise money for an excellent charity. If you’re new to the school it’s an especially good opportunity to get to know others in the school community. It’s on Friday September 28th straight after you’ve dropped the children off. This is a joint venture, with ‘Saturn’ class (Y6) playing a big part in its organisation.
We’re grateful to parents and friends who are willing to offer regular help in school. If you’d like to volunteer please speak to a teacher. If you offer to help we need you to complete a DBS check. As the school is charged a (not inconsiderable) sum for each check you must know that you can commit regularly and for a reasonable period of time to make this worthwhile. (N.B. Please do not arrange a check with the office without first discussing an on-going role with a class teacher.)
Braeside Education Centre offer excellent extra learning opportunities for children who are particularly good or particularly interested in a range of subjects. If you think your child (who has to be in Y2 to Y6 to take part) would benefit from one of these courses the best thing to do is have a look at their online brochure. If you want to apply you'll need to print a copy of the application form or ask for a copy in school. You'll need the school to help complete the form, which we'll gladly do. You'll probably need to get on with this if you want to secure a place - the courses are popular. There is a charge, but if your child is eligible for free school meals we'll gladly help with the cost (just get in touch with the school office).
Will your child turn 4 years old before September 2019? You must apply for a school place before January 15th 2019.
Will your child be transferring to secondary school in September 2019? You must apply for a school place before October 31st 2018.
In both cases you can find out more and apply online. There’s nothing automatic about either process. You must meet the relevant deadline to stand any chance of getting the school place that you want. You won’t get a place by doing nothing!
Please make sure your child can take a full part by making sure he/she has P.E. kit in school.
During the year there are five days when the school is closed to children for staff professional development. Four are known:
One more is yet to be finalised. We’ll tell you about it with plenty of notice once it’s been confirmed.
Authorisation for holidays in term time will only be given in exceptional circumstances. If you choose to request a holiday absence you must obtain and return a form (available from the school office or on our website) in good time. Holidays can never be authorised after the event. If the absence is long enough you will be served a penalty notice by the educational welfare service and you will incur a fine. More importantly, repeated or protracted absence undoubtedly affects children’s learning, which is (of course) why we discourage it.
If a child needs to take medicine in school we prefer a parent to administer it. Teachers are not required to administer medicines of any sort. However, if your child is fit enough to be in school, needs medication, and you are unable to administer it, we will usually do so under your instruction. You must complete a consent form with full details (available from the school office). Please do not just send in medicine expecting school staff to administer it. Thanks.
Arrangements are different for children with inhalers for asthma. These are usually self-administered (under supervision). If this applies to your child please contact us to make the necessary arrangements or, if things are to carry on as before, review the relevant paperwork (this will be sent to you) and check that your child’s inhaler is still in date.
Please remind your child to keep to the paths at the front of the school. Bikes and scooters must be pushed along the paths.
Please make sure that your child knows what to expect at the end of the day. As children get older expectations change, so it matters very much that your child is clear about what is going on now. If your child is collected each afternoon, please explain what to do if the expected person is not on time. Namely: wait, tell a school adult (we’re always around at home time) and not go home alone or with any other well-meaning mum or dad.
If you see the child of a friend who has not been collected please don’t, under any circumstances, be tempted to ‘help’ by taking responsibility for him/her. Instead, let a school adult know without delay.
If you need someone else to collect your child please inform the school office and ask that person to report to the office before collecting him/her.
Routines change at the start of the year so please help your child be absolutely clear about how things are now. Thank you.
If your child has diarrhoea or sickness he/she should certainly not be in school. In this situation we require children to return to school 48 hours after the illness ends. Coming back sooner can result in others suffering the same fate, so please stick to this timescale for everyone’s sake.
We have robust policies in place to keep children safe. You can see these on the school website or request copies from the school office.
We have a clear ‘Behaviour Policy’ which guides the work of all school adults as they help children behave well and treat others with respect. This, too, is available on the school’s website, or you can request a printed copy at any time.
We’re happy for parents and friends to take photos at school events on the clear understanding that images of other people’s children are not placed on social media sites such as Facebook. Please always bear this in mind if you take photos in the coming year. Thank you.
If your child is absent from school we’ll always need to know. Please contact us at the start of the day each morning that your child is away. If you don’t we’ll ‘phone so that we can be reassured that your child is safe and absent for a valid reason.
Parents must not drive onto the school site at the beginning or end of the school day. (There are just a few people who have permission to do this for specific reasons.)
Like just about every other school we experience congestion near our site at these times. Unfortunately our near neighbours sometimes experience inconvenience because parents and carers of Nursteed School and Little Bears’ children park thoughtlessly. Please show consideration, e.g. not parking in designated spaces. If you can, please walk to school. Access via the underpass makes this a very safe option. If you have no choice but to use a car please do so with regard to children’s safety and the impact on others. Thank you.
In lesson time children may access their own drinks bottle filled with water.
Children can access their water bottle or use the water fountain. Alternatively you can provide a carton of drink from home (please write your child’s name on this so they can spot their own).
Children may bring a snack for playtime but this should be a healthy choice, not crisps, sweets or chocolate. (Children in YR, Y1 and Y2 get a portion of fruit or vegetable for free.)
If you are eligible for free school meals please complete the relevant paperwork whatever age your child and even if you choose to provide a packed meal from home. If you do the school gets more funding, and why would we turn that down?
All infant children – those in YR, Y1 and Y2 – are entitled to free school meals. Just tell us this is what you want. However, even if your child is young enough to get the infant free school meal we still ask you to register if you qualify for free school meals under the old system.
If your child is older – in Y3 to Y6 – you can get a free school meal if you are eligible. We ask that you do this even if you don’t want to take up the meals. Because of the extra funding available.
You are entitled to free school meals if you receive:
So, if you’re entitled, please register regardless. Get the form you need from the school office or Wiltshire Council's website. The income we can receive is not a tiny sum. We predict that we will receive less in future years and this will have an impact on what we can afford. If this is because fewer families are eligible, fair enough, but if we’re missing out on something we’re entitled to we’d like your help to change that. Thanks.
If you child goes on an educational visit and is off site at lunchtime we ask you to provide a packed lunch. If he/she is eligible for free school meals we’ll gladly provide a packed lunch at your request. We’ll never assume that this is what you want and rely on you to let us know. (Permission slips for trips usually include a reminder to this effect.)
For parents/carers of children due to start school in September 2019. Enjoy an informal tour of the school, guided by the pupils themselves. Just turn up at the school reception between 9:15 and 11:00 on Wednesday October 10th.
Look out for a separate newsletter about this term’s clubs. It’s sent as a paper copy to all children in Y1 to Y6. This is because we send out paper copies of letters when there’s a reply slip to be filled in, and, of course, there is in this case. Fill in the slip without delay. Most clubs start in the week beginning September 17th.
Class Dojo has proven to be a very popular way to communicate between parents and teachers, so we’ll certainly carry on using this handy app. Below is an explanation of how we use it.
The ‘Stories’ page lets you see a bit of what goes on in class. You’ll already have told us if you want your child to feature in school photos so unless you tell us otherwise we’ll stick to what you’ve said. (If you don’t want your child’s photo to ever appear here please let us know.)
These can be sent between you and your child’s teacher. This is for simple, day-to-day, organisational stuff. We’re not using it for a discussion of your child’s progress, nor for discussing concerns, though it might help arrange an appointment so you can have a proper face-to-face conversation.
We ask that all the adults linked to a child are aware of who is using Class Dojo for that child. We’ll recognise parents’ names but we may not recognise other partners or step parents as they’re not all listed in school records. Of course, we’ll not send messages to people we don’t know so we may need to approach a parent to find out who’s signing up. We expect all Class Dojo users to be transparent about their use.
If it should happen that partners split up we will expect to close the account of any person no longer actively involved in a child’s care. Those with parental rights may well wish to continue to use the app, but we rely on you to be told if an account should close please.
If you’re not signed up to Class Dojo we’ll happily provide instructions to let you start using it.
This is a mammoth newsletter. Thank you for reading it to the end. You might want to retain it as it contains information that stays relevant. We’ll keep it available on the website for a while in case you want to check anything it says.
Look out for a shorter, more typical newsletter with recent news and a reminder of forthcoming events. In the meantime, please refer to the school website or (of course) please come and speak to someone.
This information is also on the Calendar.
First day of the new school year for younger Reception children
2:45 ‘Meet the Teacher’: ‘Jupiter’ class (Y5) with Mr. Butterfield
2:45 ‘Meet the Teacher’: ‘Venus’ class (Y4) with Miss Kennedy
2:45 ‘Meet the Teacher’: ‘Neptune’ class (Y2) with Miss Colling
2:45 ‘Meet the Teacher’: ‘Mars’ class (Y1) with Miss Cope
2:45 ‘Meet the Teacher’: ‘Pluto’ class (YR) with Miss Cleverley
5:45: ‘Meet the Teacher’ plus ‘Beacon’ residential visit information: ‘Saturn’ class (Y6) with Mrs. Stanley and Mrs. Dunstone
Start of the day: MacMillan Coffee Morning
Open Morning for parents/carers of YR entrants for 2019
Last day of Term 1
First day of Term 2 for children
3:30 Parents’ Evening
6:00 Parents’ Evening