Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a number of questions which we have attempted to answer to help you with your first few days, weeks and months at St Edmund’s. More information can be found in the Glossary section.
What time is school open?
For Year R, children may be dropped off at their classroom between 8:40am and 8:50am when the school day starts. Year R children are to be collected at 3:15pm from the classroom. For all other classes, children can be dropped from the time the school bell rings at 8:40am and must be in the playground by 8:50 am. These children finish school at 3:20pm. On the last day of each term (NOT half-term) we close at 2pm.
We run our Clubhouse from 7.45am and after school until 6pm.
What happens during the day?
The children start the day with registration and a prayer followed by lots of learning. On most days there is an assembly before break which is at 10:30am and then more learning until lunch. We say Grace and have our lunch – the year groups have a staggered start to ensure no-one is rushed. After lunch, lessons continue until home time. We thank the Lord for our day and go home or to a club.
Can I help in the classroom?
We do welcome parents in to hear readers or share whatever skills they have. Some parents volunteer to run clubs, which the children really enjoy. To help in the classroom, contact your child’s class teacher. All regular volunteers will need a DBS check and this can be arranged with Mrs Sciberras in the school office.
My child is having difficulty making friends?
Don’t worry! Children take their time to settle into school: there is a great deal for them to learn and to take on board. Children are encouraged to mix as they move through the many and varied school activities and will naturally find a friend with whom they can feel comfortable. Friendship groups tend to be fluid as they move through the school and your child will soon have an instinct for who she/he will feel happy to play with. However, if you feel that there is a significant problem in your child forming friendships, then we would encourage you to get in touch with your child’s Classteacher.
What if I lose or damage the school’s reading or library book?
We teach the children to respect property, especially books. Please be honest if there is an accident or a loss and let the office or the class teacher know so that we can arrange for a replacement to be purchased at your expense.
Where do I collect my child from?
Year R from their classroom. Years 1 and 2 will be released from their classroom by the teacher via the classroom door which opens onto the playground; Years 3 to 6 will come out of the classroom on their own and meet you in the playground.
What if I’m late picking up?
Sometimes you may be unavoidably delayed. Please let the office know as soon as possible and we will look after your child in the front entrance until you arrive. Key Stage One children who are not collected will be looked after by their teacher and then brought to the office when it is clear that there is no-one to collect them. If children are regularly collected late will contact you to discuss how we can help.
What if I’m late getting in to school?
Being on time is very important to your child’s education and welfare. School starts at 8:50 and children should be on site by then. In conjunction with the Local Authority’s Education Welfare Officer, we closely monitor lateness and will contact you if the problem persists. However, if you are late arriving at school you MUST bring them to school via the front office and not directly to the classroom.
Where do I drop off and pick my child up?
You can either park along The Drive and walk your child into the playground, or you can use our Drop-Off ‘In and Out’ facility without you having to park in the morning only. Please take every possible care not to park in such a way which is neither illegal nor inconsiderate towards our neighbours.
What if my child is going home with someone else?
If your child is in Years R, 1 and 2 then you must let the teacher know in advance, preferably via a note sent in that morning. We will not let a child of that age leave with another parent without your permission. Children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and above) are old enough to know who they are going home with, so please let them know.
Should I label everything?
Yes! If it has got a name on it, it is less likely to end up in Lost Property or the bin!
How can I avoid missing what is going on?
Religiously read the newsletters and keep your home diary up to date. Children get upset when you miss a Mufti Day or special event and the office get frustrated when deadlines for return of forms or money are missed. All newsletters are updated regularly on the school website.
What should my child bring to school each day?
This varies according to class, but as a general rule they will need their reading book, water bottle and snack in Years R, 1 and 2. In Key Stage Two they will also need their pencil case. Please check your child’s reading folder daily for letters.
What if my child loses something?
The first port of call is the Lost Property basket outside the school office. Failing that, have a quick look in your child’s cloakroom or in the classroom if the teacher doesn’t mind. Please do not ask the office to send a note to all parents.
Will I know if my child has done something against the rules?
Our Behaviour Policy has a very clear set of rewards and sanctions. If an incident occurs which we feel you should know about or if misbehaviour is persistent then we will contact you. We can then work together to help your child.
What is “Star of the Day”?
Every class has a “Star of the Day” each day where children are chosen for particularly good piece of work, attitude or effort. The child is given a small certificate for them to keep or put on your fridge.
What are Houses and to which one does my child belong?How does my child earn House Points and how are they used?
Children can earn House Points by working well, helping others or good manners. There is an individual tally for each child and children can earn a certificate for either having the most House Points in their class in a Half Term or by reaching a milestone such as 100 (Bronze Award), 200 (Silver Award) or 300 House Points (Gold Award) in the school year. Each child is allocated a house, either at random or because an older sibling is in a particular house. Our houses are named after the Evangelists and are called St Matthew (Green), St Mark (Blue), St Luke (Red) and St John(Yellow). The House Points of all children in each house are accumulated to give a winning House. We also have sports events where children compete for their house. On Sports Day the children are asked to wear PE kit in the colour of their house.
Can my child bring toys into school?
Children may not bring toys to school as they may easily get lost or damaged. The only exceptions are for Show and Tell in Key Stage 1or when permission is given by the class teacher for a specific event.
What is pen shop?
We want the children to experience handling real money and Year 6 children run a pen shop twice a week at lunchtime, selling stationery at cost (e.g. glue sticks for 35p). As well as being good for children’s maths it will save you money as we can buy the stock much cheaper than in the High Street or supermarket.
Can I keep my child off for a non-medical reason? What constitutes authorised or unauthorised absence?
Children are in school for 190 days a year, allowing 175 days to enjoy outings and holidays. It is a myth that parents are entitled to take their children out of school for two weeks per year. If you do feel you have to take your child out of school then you may request leave of absence by filling in the form found on the school website. The Headteacher will only authorise such leave on compassionate grounds (e.g. a family wedding / funeral, etc.). Term-time holidays will never be agreed and these absences will be treated as unauthorised. Such unauthorised absences are monitored closely by the Education Welfare Officer and fines can be imposed for persistent offenders.
What is a ‘mufti’ day?
About once a term children are allowed to come to school in home clothes or ‘mufti’. Children pay for this privilege by bringing in £1 for charity or a contribution to a school event such as a bottle or sweets for a PSA Fair.
Where can I park without annoying the neighbours or breaking the law?
If you do choose to park you must follow the Highway Code and not park opposite a drive or within 10m of a junction. It is never acceptable to think that blocking someone’s driveway is OK for a short period of time. We encourage our neighbours to report bad parking to the police. If you have a grandparent, other relative or friend visiting for an event, please mention this to them too.
Does the school offer childcare before and after school?
Yes, we run our own wrap-around care called The Clubhouse from 7.45am before school starts and until 6 pm in the evening.
How do I find out if my child can get transport to school?
You need to contact Surrey County Council’s Admissions and Transport Office on 0300 200 1004. Equally, you can download the transport application form by going to their website https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/schools/transport/under-16
Lunch / meals
How long do the children get to eat lunch?
Each class has at least fifteen minutes in which to eat their lunch. As this drifts towards 30 minutes we will start to chivvy your child along (usually because they have been chatting too much!)
What do they get in their cooked meal?
Our menus are available under School Information / School Dinners
What could go in a packed lunch?
We recommend a healthy packed lunch, which may include savoury sandwiches, a cereal bar, fruit, yoghurt or other items which are good for a growing child. Children should not bring sweets or anything at all which contains nuts.
What happens if my child does not like their lunch?
Whether you have made it yourself or the school kitchen has, children will sometimes not like what they have been given. We encourage them to try as much as they can. If we feel they will suffer in the afternoon if they have not eaten enough we may contact you to discuss what could be done to ensure that they eat a better lunch. If you are concerned that they are not eating please come and see us.
What snack should I give to my child?
Healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, are best. Nut-free cereal bars, which are full of slow-release carbohydrates, are an important source of energy for growing children. Chocolate bars and sweets and crisps are not allowed. Items containing nuts may never be brought to school as we do have children with severe nut allergies.
Why is my child being offered milk and fruit or vegetables?
Children in Reception Class, who are under 5 years old, are eligible for a free small carton of milk every day. Children further up the school will be required to pay for the milk should they choose to receive it. Also, children in Key Stage One are given a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable each day, again free of charge. This is a government initiative to encourage children to eat healthily and to develop a liking for fruit and vegetables as they grow up. This is not available to Key Stage Two children.
If you would like your child to receive milk then you can register on the cool milk website www.coolmilk.com.
What do buddies do?
Buddies are chosen from the Year 6 children to look after the others. Buddies work on the Key Stage 1 playground and in the Board Games club, helping the youngsters learn how to play with each other and make (and keep) friends.
How do I pay for lunch and by when?
In Reception and Key Stage 1 classes every child has a free school lunch, the 'Universal Infant Free School Meals', so there is no need to pay until your child reaches Year 3. If you are a parent of a child at St Edmund’s School you must have an Arbor account as this is the means by which we communicate via email and SMS text message. It is also the means by which things can be paid for, e.g. school trips, special visitors to school, theatre companies and, for children in Years 3-6, dinner money.
How is my child prepared for moving into Year R or on to their next class?
Before your child starts school the Reception teacher will visit their pre-school establishment. This helps your child to familiarise themselves with their new teacher. It is also an opportunity for a handover discussion with their nursery teachers. Your child will come into school for two visits before they start school. The Reception classteacher will also make a home visit in the first week of September. If a child joins the school at a later date we encourage them to come in and look round and maybe spend a session with their new class before they start at St Edmund's.
Before the end of the Summer term, will the children spend a morning with their new teacher?
Yes, towards the end of the summer term all children will 'move up' to their new class for a morning and meet their new teachers.
In Year 6 the children visit their chosen secondary school for a whole day. We are aware that the transfer to “big” school is both a worrying and exciting time. Year 6 teachers and the Head of Year 7 provide opportunities to discuss or answer any questions.
What happens on school trips?
School trips occur throughout the year and are a valuable addition to the curriculum, taking learning out of the classroom and into new contexts. Not only are trips a chance to find out more about topics, they also allow children to experience different places and learn how to be safe outside school. Each class usually has three trips during the school year. We try very hard to achieve value for money and keep costs down but we do rely on parents paying the cost of the trip. Payment is by voluntary donation and we can help if necessary through a fund set up by the PSA.
All school trip venues are visited in advance by staff and a full risk assessment is drawn up and agreed by the school leaders. Adults who wish to help need to be checked via DBS check which can be arranged with the Admin Manager.
Sometimes a school trip may simply be a walk in the local area. We won’t necessarily give you notice or ask your permission for these walks as you will have signed a general consent form when your child joined the school.
On a full day school trip the children will need to take a packed lunch and may have to carry it around themselves during the morning so parents need make sure it’s not too heavy and will not come apart. If the bag it comes in is disposable then they won’t have to carry it around in the afternoon.
Residential trips take place in Year 4 (3 days/2 nights) and Year 6 (5 days/4 nights) and these are much anticipated by the children and long remembered.
Your class teacher can tell you which trips are coming up in the year.
When do we teach swimming?
Swimming is part of the National Curriculum and children in Year 3 have ten 30-minute swimming lessons in the summer term. There may be a catch-up programme offered to Year 6 pupils who cannot swim 25m. The costs of instruction and travel need to be met, so parents are asked to contribute. Even if your child can already swim, then these lessons are excellent exercise.
How do I get involved with the school?
There are a number of ways in which you can get involved. You can be in class to help the children learn (hearing readers, art lessons etc.) or you could run a lunchtime club. The PSA is the fundraising body of the school: they organise events such as the Summer and Christmas Fairs, Film Shows, Discos, Quiz nights etc. and are a good way for parents to get involved socially. The Parents’ Forum is a more formal committee which works with the Headteacher to be a voice for parents on matters involving children's learning and the daily life of the school. More details of the PSA and Parents’ Forum can be found in the Parents section of the school website. Finally, parents can become a member of the Governing Body, a body which is concerned with the legal, financial and strategic direction of the school. The Governing Body appoints the Headteacher to run the school on a day to day basis. Vacancies for Parent Governors arise occasionally.
What are all the types of assemblies for?
It is a legal requirement for schools to have a daily Collective Worship, but even if it was not, then we would do it anyway. Assemblies are an ideal chance for the children to get together to listen, learn, take part and celebrate. Generally speaking, on a Monday the Headteacher speaks on the Gospel reading of the previous day’s Mass, on a Tuesday it is either a Key Stage 1 badge assembly or a Key Stage 2 assembly where a teacher can share a story pitched to the older children. In the badge assembly some children receive an award for good work and good behaviour and we celebrate birthdays. We also give children areas of responsibility within the class such as being a helper or leader. Wednesday’s assembly varies: sometimes it is a Liturgy assembly where children devise an act of worship and praise for the whole school to join in; there may be a Bible story from the Old Testament; an assembly from the Eco council; or a ‘Golden Assembly’ where awards are handed out based on effort, meeting the Golden Rules or gaining house points. Children also have a weekly Class Collective Worship time where they plan the worship and readings in class. On Thursday we have Ethos Statement time in class and Fridays there are Class Celebration Assemblies or hymn practice. Class Celebration Assemblies are a chance for children to perform in front of the school and their families. All parents and grandparents are invited to these and assemblies start at 9:05am.
What clubs are there?
We have a wide range of clubs including football, netball, basketball, sewing, coding, choir and cross country. Please see the latest list under School Information/Clubs on the website. Clubs are run by either staff members or outside agencies (the latter will have to be paid for).
Can I bring siblings in to class assemblies?
Yes, but if they are noisy you must step outside with them, as the children have worked hard to practice and then perform the assembly, and to not hear their words because of a noisy toddler is not fair.
What other performances are there?
At Christmas we have performances from all year groups. Years R, 1 and 2 perform a nativity, Years 3 and 4 perform a Carol Service and Years 5 and 6 do a Christmas performance. Year 6 finish off their time here with a celebratory show in the summer, and the school celebrates Easter with a Passion Play at the end of the Spring Term.
Why has my child won a Headteacher award?
Teachers and other members of staff nominate children for these awards and the citations can be seen in the folder in the entrance hall if you want to take a look. Your child will have been handed the citation when receiving the award.
What are the Golden Rules?
These were devised with the School Council and are:
- Love God
- Show respect
- Put others first
- Let everyone learn
- Work hard
- Share ideas
- Challenge yourself
- Think things through
- Forgive each other
- Tell the truth
- Be gentle and kind
- Stay safe
These are displayed around the school and are a way for the children to measure success.
What is “Sports Day”?
On Sports Day, the children will compete in the morning at the field of Busbridge Infant School and children from Years R, 1 and 2 competing first followed by KS 2. Parents are invited to watch and cheer them on. Children compete in and for their houses and should wear their house colour if possible.
A Catholic school
What exactly is a School Mass?
Every term the school and parish join together for a special ‘School Mass’ at one of the three parish Mass centres. Some children will undertake to read the readings whilst others will want to read a Bidding Prayer or take part in the Offertory Procession. All children and their families are warmly invited to attend.
Can I attend school services?
Parents and parishioners are warmly welcome when Mass is celebrated in school. Parents may also attend Class Celebration Assemblies. Should there be any other occasion where parents are welcome to attend we will let you know in the weekly newsletter.
What is the Wednesday Word?
This leaflet is sent out via email every Wednesday. This initiative is funded by both the school and the parish. Every Wednesday, a ‘word’ (inspired by the Sunday Gospel) will be suggested for you and your family to talk about in your home. This new weekly Family Time has been structured around the Sunday Gospel because evidence shows that Gospel values really do help family relationships to thrive. The Wednesday Word 'Family Time' leaflet is designed to ensure that all family members feel included. It presents an effective way for even the busiest of parents to enrich relationships with their children through spending a very special five or ten minutes together each week.
What is the First Holy Communion programme?
This is run by the parish for children in Years 4 and above. It leads the children towards receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation in April and then making their First Holy Communion in May. If your child expresses an interest in this, then you must approach your parish priest to discuss it.
How do I sound letters out correctly?
There is an annual session for parents on reading with the Phonics Subject Leader. There is also a short video on the school website under Parents / Curriculum.
What should I do if I think my child is having trouble learning?
Contact the classteacher who can discuss your worries. The classteacher may refer you to our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
Can my child learn a musical instrument at school?
Yes, lessons can be arranged via Surrey Arts or Rocksteady music. You can collect an application form from the school office or contact them via their website: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/recreation-heritage-and-culture/surrey-arts. or https://www.rocksteadymusicschool.com/primary/ Lessons will need to be paid for and may be scheduled in lesson or break time.
How do I arrange a meeting with the class teacher if I have a concern?
Please catch them after school to arrange an appointment, or call the office. Please avoid trying to see a classteacher before school as they have to prepare for the day ahead.
What are Parents Consultation Evenings?
These are an opportunity for you to discuss your child’s progress and any worries you may have with the classteacher. With 30 sets of parents to see, appointments are for a maximum of ten minutes and take place online. If you have more to ask and discuss then please make a separate appointment. These meetings occur in October and February.
What does SEN / SENCo / EHCP stand for?
SEN is Special Educational Needs and the SENCo Coordinates provision for these children. Many children have difficulties learning and the SENCo will help you to understand how your child can be supported and will organise professional help from other agencies. Children with SEN will have a Target Plan with specific targets to help the children. Some children may need extra support and may be given an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).
Who is “Kelso” and why does he have “choices”?
Kelso is a frog who helps children make the right choice if they are having problems with each other. We use the choices wheel to help children think about which choice they should make in a particular situation.
What should go in my child’s book bag every day and what is needed on particular days?
In Year R your child’s reading folder must be returned each day but their homework book and library book can stay at home and be returned on Monday or Friday.
What is “Show and Tell”?
This is an excellent opportunity for your child to practice their speaking and listening skills. They can bring in a small object from home to talk about which is related to their topic in class.
At what time can I phone to tell the office my child is unwell?
We have an answerphone in the office to take messages before 8.30am. The office itself opens at 8:30am and we would like to know if your child is not coming in by 9:30am at the latest. If we do not hear from you by 9:30am, then we will call to find out where your child is.
What happens if my child has an accident (wets him/herself)?
This is not a rare occurrence, particularly in Year R. We will deal with the situation sensitively and provide spare underwear which can be worn with your child’s PE kit. You will be given your little ‘package’ wrapped for you to wash and ask that you return the borrowed underwear, nice and clean. If the accident is of a more unpleasant nature, we may well contact you during the day.
What if my child seems ill at home or doesn’t want to come to school?
If you genuinely feel that your child is not well enough to come to school, just let the office know and keep your child away from school. If a child is actually sick or has had diarrhoea, then he/she must not be returned to school for at least 48 hours after being ill. If your child seems well but just doesn’t want to come to school, you should bring them to school but alert the Classteacher that there was a reluctance to come to school. It may well be that there is something bothering your child which could be easily fixed.
What happens if my child has a medical appointment?
Please let us know in advance. Please note that routine dental and medical check-ups should not be made during the school day wherever possible.
What do I do if my child needs to be given medicine during the day?
Please bring it in to the office where you will be given a form to complete and leave with the office giving permission for a specific dose to be given at a specific time of day.
What do I do if my child has nits?
If you find that your child has nits and headlice, then these must be treated before returning your child to school. You should tell your child’s Classteacher or the school office. Your child will not be named as the carrier of nits/headlice, but we will be obliged to send out a letter to everyone in the class asking them to check for headlice due to the ease with which they spread around a class.
What do I do if I have to collect my child during the school day for an appointment?
Please warn us in advance by a phone call or letter and then arrive at school in plenty of time, as the office staff will have to go and find get your child from the classroom. This can take up to five minutes. .