Commonswood Primary & Nursery School 2012 ~ 2013
Commonswood School Brochure Contents Page Welcome............................................................................... 3/4 School Staff ............................................................................5 School Governors ....................................................................6 Vision, Aims & Values .............................................................7 The Nursery...................................................................... 8/13 The School..............................................................................14 School Organisation .............................................................15 Starting School .....................................................................16 The School Day......................................................................16 School Meals ..........................................................................17 Attendance / Holidays.........................................................18 Home/School Liaison............................................................19 School Uniform..................................................................... 20 Health & Welfare .................................................................21 Helping Your Child at Home .............................................. 22 Homework .............................................................................. 23 Helping the School ............................................................. 23 â€˜Friends of Commonswoodâ€™.................................................. 24 The Curriculum .............................................................. 24/29 Inclusion................................................................................. 29 Assessment ..................................................................... 30/31 Educational Visits ................................................................31 Extra Curricula Activities...................................................31 Behaviour Management ................................................ 32/33 Child Protection/Safeguarding......................................... 34 School Council ....................................................................... 34 Charging Policy...................................................................... 34 School Closure Procedure .................................................. 35 Security ................................................................................. 36 Community Partnerships..................................................... 36 School Leadership................................................................ 37 Secondary Education........................................................... 38 Concerns & Complaints Procedure.................................... 39 Term Dates ........................................................................... 40
Tel: 01707 880420 Fax: 01707 880422 Email: email@example.com Website: www.commonswood.herts.sch.uk Commonswood is a two form entry primary school with nursery classes. We admit up to 60 children to each year group, with almost 450 pupils in total at present. Whilst we are larger than many primary schools, we still create a caring, warm and friendly family atmosphere. Each child is valued in our calm, creative and nurturing environment in which pupils thrive. Our approach to education is that it should be fun; enthusing children to fulfill their potential and reach the highest possible standards without pressurising them. We provide stimulating, inspiring and enjoyable lessons and regularly take children on educational visits as well as inviting a range of specialists into school to generate memorable learning opportunities. We promote health, fitness, personal safety, environmental awareness and a collective responsibility for our planet. We have very large well equipped classrooms that incorporate toilets, cloakrooms, art facilities and computer banks where everything needed for day to day lessons is at hand. Each of our classes has at least one teaching assistant, nursery nurse, or early years practitioner to support the diverse needs of our pupils. Our grounds are extensive and include a large sports field, “wild area”, ponds and wildlife habitats. Four playgrounds provide ample play space and many contain large fixed apparatus which children enjoy at break times. Our ICT facilities are excellent, with a suite of resources augmented by banks of computers in every class as well as a mobile wireless network of netbooks. This ensures that ICT is fully integrated in pupils’ learning. Performing and creative arts are strong features of the school. Special productions mark children’s passage through each phase of the school and there are class assemblies for every child each year. Attractive art work is displayed throughout the school in halls and corridors which reflect and show case children’s achievements. Naturally, we invite parents and carers to come and see these events, as well as their children’s work at termly parent consultations. These opportunities are publicised in our monthly newsletter.
Commonswood School The Commons Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL7 4RU
We teach a wide variety of sports including football, netball, rugby, gymnastics, dance, tennis, swimming, and athletics. Over time every child has the opportunity to take part in all these sports and for some there are representative teams. Children also take part in special “outdoor education” weeks that include sailing, caving, climbing, abseiling, surfing, canoeing… to list just a few. Some sporting skills are developed further in a variety of after school clubs run by our staff, who also lead cooking, gardening, choir, art, film and drama clubs that enrich children’s education. The school has many partnerships with other schools, colleges, universities, businesses, the NHS and voluntary groups. The Commons Pre School is an outstanding independent early years setting located within the school grounds which also provides Breakfast and After School wrap around care for families that require this facility. We look forward to building a strong, happy and successful partnership with you. Gill Seymour Headteacher
Commonswood We are here
Interim Deputy Headteacher
Foundation Stage & KS1 Teachers & Classes Jacky Farmer Karen Cox Kalin Harada Jemma Hull Alison Fuller Alison Barrett Teresa Frost / Anna Kress
KS2 Teachers & Classes
Acer Redwood Ash Magnolia Cherry Chestnut Oak
Site Manager Rod Anstey Assistant Caretaker Dave Wood
Alison Godfrey Almond Carole Frater Elm Antonia Poole Maple Steve Burt Cedar Nicola Scatchard/Susie Cox Willow Rebecca Klust Birch Paula Spencer Holly Hannah Dogherty Sycamore
Bursar Admin Assistants
Jenny Anstey Toni Cannon Maxine Fryer-Kelsey
Sam Honey Jo Royall Wendy Somerville Michelle Fisher Michelle Brinkley
Kalyna Barnes Jennie Parker Cathy Greene Amanda Beeton Laura Langford
Teaching Assistants Jo Bates Caroline Ferguson Alana Harrod Alison Cannon Louise Smith
Mel Turpin Kerry Lee Jenny Burgess Vicky Jeffery Vanda Adams
Higher Level Teaching Assistants Dinah Cunningham
Early Yearsâ€™ Practitioners Parent Support Worker
Jackie Harrison Judith Williams
Mid-Day Supervisors Mel Turpin Susan Reekie Jenny Burgess Christine Griffiths Donna Overton
Lisa Curtis Tracy Clark Jo Bates Emma Joyce Jacqui Ingham
Michelle Brinkley Denise Gibbons Diane White Marie Lisowski Vicky Kaye
Mark Singleton Louise Smith Chloe Matthew Laura Langford
Cleaners Rikki Morris Kayleigh Young
Cooks Gill Norris
Peripatetic Staff Terry Cook
Community Partners Onika Fox School Nurse Lindsay Woods Speech & Language Clare Cooper Educational Psychologist Eileen Armstrong School Counsellor Val Gardner Creswick Childrenâ€™s Centre 5
Claire Mason / Tina Covill The Commons Pre School Dan Foster Baptist Minister Rev Averil Lauckner St Mary Magdalene Church Julie Turner Police Stuart Johnson Hatfield Cricket Club
School Governors Mrs J Williamson
Mrs C Dixon
Mr P Turpin
Mr M Paddick
Mrs E McAleese
Mr C Harrington
Mr J Clare
Local Education Authority Governor
Mrs J Noakes
Local Education Authority Governor
Mr M Dunn
Local Education Authority Governor
Mrs M Fraser
Mrs T Lewis
Ms J Egglishaw
Mrs G Seymour Mrs A Barrett
Headteacher Interim Deputy Headteacher
Mrs K Cox
Mrs M Fryer-Kelsey
Mrs J Burgess
Mrs A Barrett
Mrs E Davey
Clerk to Governors
The school field is our summer playground 6
All members of the school community work in active partnership so that children go into the wider world as well-rounded, happy, aspirational citizens who are forward-thinking and responsible.
Our Aims •
To inspire a love for learning
To develop children’s skills for building positive relationships
To provide a relevant curriculum with high expectations for all
To foster a sense of belonging to a community
For children to aim high in everything they do
For children to operate as independent learners and thinkers
For children to value themselves and others
Our Values •
Friendship and loyalty
Respect and consideration
Honesty & trust
Our school bell in winter
We run flexible Nursery sessions.
Our session times are: Morning session 8.30 – 11.30 am Afternoon session 12.20 – 3.20 pm It is important that your child attends Nursery regularly to gain the greatest benefit from the Nursery environment. Also, please try to ensure that your child arrives on time as the first part of the session contains the more structured learning time. Children may only be collected from Nursery by someone over the age of 16. We will ask you to let us know who will normally be collecting your child from Nursery so that they do not go with anyone other than those people authorised by you. If someone different is to collect your child, please let us know beforehand. To keep your children safe we ask you not to let them climb on the fences.
The way your child is introduced to the Nursery is very important to us. Getting to know the Nursery and its staff will initially be a shared experience. We begin by visiting you and your child at home. This is an opportunity for you to ask us questions or tell us important information you think we should know about your child. We then invite you and your child to spend an hour with us in the Nursery. This will give your child an opportunity to explore the Nursery whilst feeling secure. Also, it will be easier for you to talk to your child about the things they especially liked, and help to make your child’s first step on the ladder of formal education a positive and exciting experience. Nursery entry is then staggered over several weeks so that a small number of children start each day. This enables us to get to know the children and to spend more time with them as they settle. We have arranged a NURSERY VISIT for you and your child where you can explore the Nursery together. Date:___________________________ Time: _______________ Your child’s FIRST DAY at Nursery will be Date:___________________________ Time: _______________
At Nursery, messy activities and outdoor play are an important part of the day. Please make sure that clothes are: • NAMED • Comfortable and safe with sleeves that roll back easily • Easy to put on and take off, with manageable fastenings • We find it best for children to wear older clothes • Shoes should be suitable for running and climbing (no heels or flip flops) and preferably with Velcro fastenings to enable your child to take them on and off easily
• The children do have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Outdoor Area. For summer weather please provide a sun hat, and for winter a warm coat, hat and gloves.
• A pair of NAMED shorts will be required for the weekly PE session. They can be left at school. For safety reasons, children should not wear jewellery such as earrings, rings, necklaces or bracelets to Nursery. Small stud earrings only may be worn. .
Food & Drink
Milk, and a piece of fruit or vegetable, is available free for all Nursery children. Water is offered as an alternative. The children are also welcome to bring in their own piece of fruit or vegetable as an alternative to what is offered.
We discourage children from bringing in toys from home as they are easily lost or broken.
Birthday Celebrations & Religious Festivals Our fire engine
Please let us know if there is a special event in your family that your child wishes to share.
We encourage you to participate in choosing a book with your child as often as possible. It does not matter if your child chooses the same book again and again. 9
You might find it useful to know what your child will be learning throughout the week so that you can support them at home. The learning intention for adult directed and small group time will be displayed on the Nursery door. The following timetable is an example of the sort of pattern a session might take. • Open door. Children assemble at their table in the classroom where they participate in a range of activities to develop their hand and finger control. • Registration (including days of the week, counting the number of children, the weather etc.) • Small Group Time. Then children plan what they are going to do during the ‘play’ session. • Child Initiated Learning begins where the children have choice of indoor or outdoor activities. • Tidy Up Time. • Adult/child led session exploring all areas of the curriculum through singing, rhyming, actions and musical instruments. • Snack in small groups. Review what the children have done. • Story • Children are encouraged to get themselves ready for home time - putting on cardigans, coats, collecting bags etc. Empty going home box. • Home time. NB
Wednesday’s small group session is a whole class P.E session in the hall. Friday’s small group session is a whole class ICT session in the suite.
Visit from a Search Dog 10
Individual learning journeys are kept as records of progress. These are available for parents to look at and contribute to.
The Early Yearsâ€™ / Foundation Curriculum
Parents as Partners
We work closely with parents/carers to build up a partnership in which we share information, knowledge and expertise. In this way we work together to develop each child’s full potential. We encourage parental involvement and would appreciate any help you are able to give us . This also gives you an opportunity to see at first hand what happens during a Nursery session. If you feel at any time that you are able to offer some help, please see one of us for details. We encourage communication from you, especially if you have any concerns or anxieties. We are always available at the end of a session and can arrange appointments when necessary. Please do not hesitate to ask us.
How to support your child’s successful transition to Nursery Independence • Encourage your child to dress and undress themselves eg put on and take off their coats, shoes and socks themselves. Enable them to use the toilet independently and wash and dry their hands. Listening • Make listening fun! Play games eg have a listening moment—how many sounds can they hear (birds singing, dogs barking, traffic, aeroplanes).
Number Awareness • Counting, as you walk upstairs, doing up buttons, laying the table. • Looking for numbers on the front door, on clocks, buses etc. • Play card and dice games. Pre-Reading • Sharing books together, singing nursery rhymes, noticing print in the environment (shop names, road signs).
• Turn off the TV, radio, music, computers. • Have a quiet time each day to share and talk about books. • Let children see you read every day.
Commonswood School was formed in 1980 by the merger of Burnside, Howlands and Rollswood Schools. It enjoys a large, well established site on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City overlooking open countryside. There are two spacious halls that are used for assemblies, physical education and musical activities. Classrooms are equipped with Interactive Technology and a computer network is established and develops ICT skills Year 1 visit to Celtic Harmony across a range of curriculum areas. The importance of using books for learning and enjoyment is reflected in the provision of two fully carpeted libraries. Each classroom also has its own class library providing easy access for all children, Most classrooms each have their own toilet, hygiene sinks, art and cloakroom areas. Teachers organise their rooms to stimulate and inspire children to become selfmotivated, independent learners. There are links with organisations outside the school, including local churches, industry and sports clubs. Parents are encouraged to help us to develop links that will enrich the provision and increase the opportunities for the children. There are several large playgrounds including one that is screened off so that our youngest children may use large play equipment, bicycles and trikes safely. Our vast playing field provides facilities for major sports such as soccer, rugby, cricket, athletics, basketball and netball. Beyond these open play areas, we also have our own environmental reserve that include shallow ponds. Adjacent to our own land, is a nature reserve run by a local community group which extends to some 80 acres.
Adventure day on the water 14
The school is co-educational and has space to accommodate 480 children, including those children who attend the Nursery half-time. The children are taught in two mixed ability classes for each year group. Each teacher is responsible for the education and pastoral care of the children in their class and take on an overall responsibility for leading a particular aspect of the school’s curriculum. The children in each class may be taught as a whole, in a small group, or individually, depending upon their needs and the activity at any particular time. It is in this way that teachers are able to meet the wide range of needs that may be found within each class. Children are encouraged to be independent and to organise and obtain the resources they require. In recent years we have significantly expanded the number of adults supporting teachers within our classrooms. Each class now has at least one Early Years’ Practitioner or Teaching Assistant, working alongside class teachers.
Admissions Admission Criteria 1.
Children in public care.
Children for whom it can be demonstrated that they have a particular medical or social need to go to Commonswood School.
Children who have a sibling on the roll of Commonswood School or linked school at the time of application. This applies to reception through to year 5 in infant, junior and primary schools.
Children for whom the school is their nearest community or voluntary-controlled school.
5. Children who live nearest to the school. Please note: The rules are applied in the order they are printed above. Children are admitted to our Nursery on a half time basis during the academic year that they reach four years of age. Most children join our Reception from Nursery but there is no automatic right of admission. Admission is on a full time basis to the Reception class during the academic year that children are five. During the term before the children enter school, parents are invited to meet with the class teacher to prepare for their child’s entry to school. This also provides the opportunity to meet with other parents. We admit infant children up to our annual admission limit of sixty and where there is over-subscription, priority will be given to children using the county criteria, full details of which are available from the school Office and outlined above. Admissions are dealt with by Hertfordshire County Council who allocate places.
Commonswood is located on the south eastern edge of Welwyn Garden City, close to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital. As with all primary schools in Hertfordshire, Commonswood does not have a set geographical catchment area. We serve a community stretching towards Creswick to the west, Peartree to the north and Swallow Dell to the east. 15
Whilst many children attend our nursery and other settings, for some children coming to school is their first experience of being away from home for any length of time. It is very important that this experience of the world outside the family should be a happy and successful one, Much that follows depends upon the attitude to school developed in the earliest weeks. High levels of attendance are essential and have a huge impact on long term progress, attainment and development. We hold a briefing meeting for parents whose children are due to start school in the following term. This is a great opportunity to meet staff and pass on vital information.
Year 6 visit to HMS Belfast
There is very little parking adjacent to the school, and none within the school grounds. Parents are asked to encourage their children to walk to school rather than bring them by car. Should it be essential that you bring a child to school by car, please ensure that you do not park on the verges in The Commons, or block the entrances to local residents’ driveways. Restriction on parking in The Commons has been in place since Summer 2007.
Fines and penalty points can be imposed by the police for parking, or even stopping on the markings in front of the school. Parking and access to the school can be a challenge, to put it mildly. Over recent years we have implemented a “Travel Plan” to ease the difficulties but more needs to be done. A voluntary one-way system operates in The Commons between 8.15 and 9am and 2.45 and 3.30pm on school days. Drivers are asked to keep the school on their lefthand side.
The School Day
Infant classrooms open at 8.40 am and parents are invited to bring their children into their classroom. Once children have settled into the routines of school, children come into class independently. Junior pupils are collected from the playground at 8.40 am. Children should not be left unsupervised outside the school, and remain the responsibility of parents and carers until collected by staff from the junior playground or until infant classroom doors are opened. Sessions commence as follows: Nursery Infants Juniors Morning 8.30 am – 11.30 am Afternoon 12.20 pm – 3.20 pm
8.45 am – 11.35 am 12.50 pm – 3.10 pm
8.45 am – 11.50 am 12.50 pm – 3.10 pm
It is vitally important that your child arrives for school punctually. All children are expected to be on the school site no later than 8.40am
The school break is taken mid-morning. The Infant and Junior playgrounds are well equipped with adventure areas and hard play areas. Playground games are marked on the play surfaces for games like tennis, netball and basketball. Play equipment is provided by the school and has been expanded greatly thanks to parental contributions. All Nursery and Infant children can be provided with milk to drink at mid-morning break for which a termly charge is made. Please order in advance; details of costs are available from the school Office. A piece of fruit or vegetable is provided for Infant children at no cost, and older children may bring their own choice of vegetable or fruit. A carton or container of drink may be brought in, but no fizzy or sugary drinks please. Crisps, chocolates or biscuits should not be brought to school for morning snack.
Snacks & Drinks
Reception visit to Butterfly World
A high standard of school meals, prepared in our own kitchen, and served on a multichoice cafeteria system, are available to all children. Meals currently cost £2 for all pupils and should be paid on the internet using a credit/debit card through the ParentPay secure banking system. Half-termly bills can be issued for parents wishing to pay in advance by cash or cheque which should be made payable to Hertfordshire County Council. Cash or cheque should be brought to school each Friday, in a sealed envelope. In the case of absence, credits are given for meals missed or, if the child leaves the school, the money is refunded. Parents whose children may be entitled to Free school Meals are asked to collect guidance on how to apply from the office. Taking up this entitlement could be worth over £300 tax free for each child. The school also benefits from a pupil premium as a result Facilities are also available for children bringing packed lunches. These should be brought in lunch boxes clearly marked with the child’s name on the outside. Water and beakers are provided. ‘Carton drinks’ or an unbreakable flask may be brought with packed lunches. Parents are strongly encouraged not to include sweets, chocolate bars, crisps, other fatty products or highly processed foods. 17
School gates are open at 8.30am and parents are asked to ensure that children leave the site by 3.30pm unless attending an authorised activity. Gates are locked after children are in class, except for the entrance leading to the school office.
Good attendance is essential if progress is to be maintained. If your child is absent from school please telephone us by 9.30am on each day of absence. If possible, our office staff will contact you by text or phone at home or work if your child is not at school, and we have not received information regarding their absence. Levels of attendance at Commonswood are good. The Educational Welfare Officer checks registers regularly and follows up instances of unexplained or persistent absence. Information on periods of exclusion for infectious diseases is available from the office. If your child has to leave school for any reason during normal school hours s/he must be collected by an adult from the office. Children will not be permitted to leave unaccompanied during the school day. Children who have been physically sick or had diarrhoea should not attend school for at least 48 hours after the last episode.
The school grounds are open to the public from 8.30am (8.20am for families bringing children to Nursery. Children remain the responsibility of parents until the classroom doors open. Activities start promptly following registration, and it is essential that children arrive by 8.40 am to start the school day promptly at 8.45 am and avoid missing the vital introduction and instruction which usually occurs at this time. Children arriving after registration must report to the office. Parents are asked to collect children promptly at the end of the day, but not to enter the school site before 3 pm. Infant aged children must be collected by an adult. Adults and children are asked to leave the site by 3.30pm unless attending our After school Club or an authorised activity.
Holidays & Other Absences
Parents are asked to ensure that family holidays are arranged to coincide with 14 weeks of school holidays. These are shown elsewhere in the brochure. Governors will not authorise a pupilâ€™s absence for holidays during term time, unless there are genuinely exceptional unrepeatable circumstances. Any requests for pupils to participate in family holidays during the school term should be made in writing to the Headteacher, detailing the exceptional need to arrange a holiday during term time. Supporting evidence may be requested. Please note that Hertfordshire has now implemented fining procedures for persistent unauthorised absences (ÂŁ100). Some children quite properly pursue their hobbies and interests to a high standard outside of school. We strongly encourage them to take part in music, drama, sporting and similar activities. However, we are unable to authorise term time absences or grant licenses to take part in dance, drama, filming, modelling, coaching or similar events unless it has been organised through the Local Authority. If your child has any persistent difficulties, with attendance or lateness, please discuss these with the Headteacher or the class teacher.
We are really keen for every parent to become actively and constructively engaged in the life of the school. Please consider how you can contribute to Commonswood, as well as what you would like to gain from your child’s time here. Effective liaison and contact between home and school is essential for your child’s progress. During term time, our newsletter “News on the Ninth” is published and sent home as close as possible to the ninth day of each month. This celebrates special events and activities at the school as well as giving diary dates for some months ahead, but dates are subject to change. Parents’ evenings are held each term. Once children have been able to settle into their new classes for a few weeks each Autumn, we invite parents to meet with staff so that we can share views on how well children are progressing, as well as reviewing targets which were set at the end of the preceding academic year. This may also provide an opportunity to set even more challenging targets. We strongly encourage parents to bring their children with them to parent consultations so that a clear message is heard by all parties. During the Spring term, approximately half way through the school year, a second opportunity to meet with teachers is arranged. Parents have the opportunity to look at children’s work, review targets previously set, and agree what further action may be needed to help each child achieve their full potential. Towards the end of the Summer term we provide a full written report on children’s academic Outdoor pursuits at Young Mariners progress, as well as their personal and social development. This report also includes targets for children to achieve during the first few weeks of the next academic year. Parents are invited to meet with the class teacher to discuss the end of year report. If you wish to contact the school at any other time staff are available to meet with parents by appointment. Teachers are usually available in their classrooms at the end of the afternoon. (The mornings can be very busy and this is not an easy time to talk with parents). If you are ever worried about anything in school please do not hesitate to contact the office to make an appointment to speak with a member of staff. If worries or anxieties cannot be resolved there are procedures to deal with these situations that are outlined at the end of this brochure.
Home & School Liaison
Other than children in our nursery, pupils attending Commonswood School are expected to wear school uniform. Governors have deliberately chosen uniform that is readily available from local high street stores at reasonable prices. Items bearing the school logo (sweatshirts, polo shirts and coats) are available from the school office. Governors feel that uniform is important because it promotes a sense of belonging to our school and pride in the individual and collective achievements of pupils. It also provides children with sensible clothing in which to participate in educational activities. In addition it frees parents from the pressures to dress children in fashionable, expensive clothing and footwear. Our school uniform comprises: • Plain grey, black or dark blue short or long trousers (not sports wear or jogging bottoms) • White or sky blue polo shirts or shirts • Plain grey or dark blue skirts / dresses or pale blue gingham dresses • Navy blue sweatshirt (preferably with the school logo) • Dark footwear (preferably shoes) - No white trainers
PE clothing: - Please bring to school each Monday morning and take home to wash every Friday.
All pupils are expected to participate in PE / Games lessons. Children need to dress safely for PE. They should wear plain, close fitting : Shorts – blue or black Tee shirt – white Leotard Trainers or plimsolls A loose fitting sweatshirt, (preferably not school uniform), may also be useful during the colder, winter months when some PE / games lessons take place outside. Children should not wear replica kits or expensive branded clothing. A bag for PE and games kit should be provided. Drawstring bags can be purchased from the School Office at a cost of £2.00.
Children are asked to carry their reading book to school each day. The reading book needs to be protected from the weather. Book bags are available from the school Office priced £3.00
Jewellery & Makeup
Jewellery, including earrings, rings and necklaces, should not be worn to school as items can cause nasty injuries in PE lessons and in the playground. If your child has pierced ears they should wear sleepers which must be removed or taped for PE. Please note that the school will not take responsibility for any loss. Make-up, nail varnish and hair dye are not appropriate for primary school pupils and should not be worn. For art and craft activities you may wish to provide your child with an overall – an old adult shirt with the sleeves shortened or elasticated is ideal. Please name all items. The only reliable method is by sewing in woven labels, which can be purchased from our PTA the Friends of Commonswood. Biro/felt tip pen markings may need to be renewed after each wash. 20
If you have any worries regarding your child, and you feel that we could be of help to you, please do not hesitate to come in to school to discuss matters. School Staff, the School Nurse, Advisory Teachers, Educational Psychologist and Attendance Improvement Officer are all able to offer advice. School medicals take place during a child’s first year at school and you will be asked to complete a medical form and invited to be present. Eyesight and hearing checks are carried out by the school nurse, and dental checks take place from time to time. You will be advised if any action is necessary following these routine screenings. (Parents are sometimes worried if their children suffer from headlice (nits) and information on how to deal with this is available from the office).
If your child has been prescribed a course of medicine, they should normally be kept at home until this has been completed. However, if it is necessary for ‘prescribed medicine’ to be taken during the school day, staff will administer according to the pharmacist’s instructions (in which case a form should be completed, available from the office). Alternatively parents can come into school and administer the medicine themselves. Antibiotics do not normally need to be given during school hours. If a child is in school, it is presumed that they are fit enough to follow a full programme of education, including physical exercise. If your GP or consultant has advised otherwise it is essential that we are informed in writing by your medical professional. Some doctors charge for this service and the Educational Welfare Officer can assist in obtaining such information free of charge.
If your child is taken ill in school, or on a school trip, we will try to get in touch using the information provided by you. Please advise us immediately of any changes in contact details that occur so our records are kept up to date. If we are unable to contact you we will take whatever course of action we believe necessary, eg the child may be taken to a doctor or hospital. If you have any objection to this, please let us know in writing. If your child has an accident resulting in a minor injury, first aid will be given. Accidents of a more serious nature, or any injury to the head, will be dealt with following the procedure outlined above. A child who has sustained a minor bump on the head will be given an information sheet to bring home and you will be contacted by phone if the incident is more significant, even if your child does not require collecting from school. If your child has experienced vomiting or diahorrea they should not attend school for 48 hours after the final episode.
Illness and Accident
Infectious Illness Children will come into contact with infectious diseases as a normal part of their early childhood. We ask you to inform us if your child shows any symptoms which could indicate an infectious disease and that they be kept home for the recommended period. Where German measles (rubella) has been identified in the school, a warning will be given by letter. Information regarding the most common infectious diseases can be obtained from the School Office or our School Nurse Onika Fox on 01707 386886. 21
Health & Welfare
Helping Your Child At Home
Education is an ongoing partnership between home and school, and parents play a vital role. Please show an interest in everything your child does by just talking and listening. Encourage your child to ask questions, and if you do not know the answers try to find out together. Visiting museums, the countryside and places of interest can be an exciting way of stimulating your childâ€™s desire to learn; as well as using the internet together. Encourage your child to read with you, to go with you to the library; to choose books together; to talk about books and their content; to buy books and look after them; and to ask you about unfamiliar words. Check that your child understands what he or she is reading, as some children can read texts without understanding fully. Read to him or her, and not only at bedtime. Please do not forget to read yourself. If your child sees that you enjoy reading, they will probably follow your lead. Help with number and mathematics by playing card or dice games such as Monopoly and Ludo â€“ anything that involves counting or number bonds. Ask your child to help with shopping (paying and checking the change) cooking (weighing and measuring) and any jobs around the house where estimating or measuring are required. Encourage the writing of letters. Perhaps ask relatives to write to your child so that letters can be answered. Postcards are a good idea for younger children. Encourage the writing of stories, poems or articles related to any special hobby or interest and ask your child to bring them to school. Encourage your child to draw, paint and model at home. Do you have any special skills you can pass on? Please remember, always encourage, never force, and always give praise for what can be done and has been achieved, rather than criticise for what has not been accomplished. One of the ponds in our garden
Homework can be a useful aspect of children’s learning; it is planned and set each week. Details are passed to parents who can expect to see their child’s ‘home contact book’ each evening. Parents are asked to work with children to complete tasks and to sign contact books each day. Staff check ‘Contact Books’ at least once each week and pass comments back to parents. Staff collect homework and mark as soon as possible after it is handed in. Frequency
Reading (sharing books) Phonics (YR)
Preparation or consolidation activity
The tasks set for children receiving additional or alternative support within the school are usually different from activities set for other pupils in the class. Teachers ensure that children working on special programmes are not over-burdened with additional tasks. Whilst homework provides a focused opportunity for parents and children to work together, it is important that children have a variety of vibrant and stimulating activities as part of their daily lives beyond school. Homework should complement children’s social and emotional development outside school. The school strongly encourages children to participate in a variety of leisure activities including sports, music, dance, drama, as well as joining organisations such as Cubs, Brownies and Woodcraft Folk, for example.
Helping the School
We are always pleased to welcome parents and ‘Friends of the School’ who can help us in any way. Some parents are able to make a regular commitment to come into school at a certain time each week; others come as and when they can, or join us on educational visits. Many children benefit by being helped with their reading or cooking for example, by parents who come in to assist the teacher. Others help with crafts such as pottery and needlework. If you feel you can help us in any way please let us know; see your child’s class teacher, office staff or the Headteacher. All volunteers undergo an Independent Safeguarding Authority and Criminal Records Background Check (CRB). Volunteers are expected to adhere to the school’s confidentiality guidelines.
Bring Mum / Dad to School Days
Amongst the highlights of the school year are the special days when all parents are invited to spend time in class with their children. Bring your dad to school day, took place in June and bring your mum day was in March. We appreciate that not all children come from traditional households and we welcome any significant male or female who can take on the role of mum or dad for the day if they are over 16 years of age.
Each year we run a small number of workshops to help parents support their children at home. Recently these have focussed on early reading skills and the development in phonic teaching and learning. Parents of children in the Foundation Stage of education are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of these planned events. 23
‘The Friends of Commonswood School’
Each parent is automatically a member of ‘The Friends’, our Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Perhaps the way in which most parents are able to offer their help to the School is through supporting the activities of our Parent Teacher Association. The ‘Friends’ exist to foster good relationships between home and school; raise funds from which donations are made to the school for the purchase of equipment, or as grants towards school activities and to organise social functions. These are not all necessarily fund raising, but for the enjoyment and benefit of all those associated with the school and its community. Events include car boot sales, Summer Fayre, sports days, indulgence evenings and quiz nights. These activities are both interesting and enjoyable and require a great deal of help so please join in whenever you can. All parents are notified of forthcoming events via the ‘Friends’ regular newsletter. ‘Friends’ activities are arranged by a committee of teachers and parents. Our PTA helps staff, parents and children to get to know one another informally. Please join in its activities; only your involvement can ensure its success, thus assisting the success of the school and your children, and adding to the richness of the life of the community.
The Primary Curriculum The ‘National Curriculum’ aims to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in three ‘core’ subjects: English, Mathematics and Science and eight ‘foundation’ subjects: Design Technology, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) History, Geography, French, Physical Education, Art and Music. We also teach Religious Education, which is linked to personal, social and moral education, helping children to become responsible citizens, who can play an important role in society. We have a very strong commitment to creative and performing arts. Children showcase their work during class assemblies, festivals and a number of drama productions, music presentations and Christmas shows. Whilst space can be very limited, we offer seats to every family to see at first hand the high standards achieved by pupils throughout the school. A visit to Mountfitchet
Creative work is central to all aspects of the curriculum and an integral part of every school day. Through modelling, drawing, painting, printing, textiles and the exploration of different media we promote and develop each child’s imagination, originality and curiosity. The variety of creative arts is important in its own right as well as for the support it affords many other aspects of the curriculum. Techniques and skills are developed using the work of established artists, such as Monet, Klee, Van Gogh and Hockney, amongst many others. 24
Technology has strong links with other areas of the curriculum, in particular art, craft, ICTand science. Our work is practically based and is tailored to help children: • organise their work as independently as possible • design and select materials to make things which are useful in other contexts • communicate and develop their ideas • modify their work in the light of experience Technology work includes construction, mechanisms, textiles, graphics and cookery. We have our own dedicated food technology area located in the dining hall.
Geography and Environmental Studies
Our school site, and adjacent Nature Reserve, provide very valuable resources and habitats including ponds, conservation area, wild creatures, trees, shrubs and grasses. We are also able to study various aspects of our stimulating and beautiful local environment. Our emphasis is on practical, active enquiry through fieldwork, observation, experimentation, questioning, mapwork and research. We study local areas, such as The Commons and Essendon, as well as a number of locations in Britain and around the world such as Peru, St Lucia and India as well as rivers, weather, polar, desert and equatorial regions. Children learn: where places are located; how they came to be as they are today; how they are changing and, most important of all, the impact that the environment has on the lives of creatures and humans.
History and Social Studies
We study many periods of British history as well as looking at world events. Our starting point often builds on experiences which children have already, and we examine comparable events in the past. It is important that our children understand the consequences of events from the past, as they may provide lessons for the future. This area of the curriculum is a key element within the primary Year 4 Victorian Day school, and can provide a wealth of material for language, maths and science work. Topics covered include Ancient Civilisations such as Greece, Egypt, Benin, Mexico and Peru. British history topics include Romans, Celts, Saxons, Normans; the Tudors & Stuarts, the Victorian era and Britain since 1930.
Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
Computers are regularly used to support learning across the curriculum. Children use computers on a planned basis to further develop their ICT skills and connect to the internet as part of integrated topics. Children also use robots, listening/recording centres, photocopiers, fax and telephones which are used appropriately, depending on aspects of study. All classrooms are equipped with banks of computers and interactive whiteboards, so that children can develop and apply the skills taught in ICT lessons in the suite. Netbooks are used by pupils in Key Stage 2. 25
Listening, speaking, reading and writing are part of everything we do in our lives. All these aspects of language therefore have a key place in our work in school at various times. The National Literacy Strategy operates in all classes from Years 1-6.
Listening and Speaking
Speaking and listening are vital skills upon which all other literacy skills are based. We support all children’s development and understanding of spoken English to enable them to participate fully in all aspects of school life. Discussions take place each day, often during snack time, with children learning to respect and value the views of others but also having the opportunity of expressing their own ideas. There are ample opportunities for these skills to develop through a variety of play activities in our Early Years’ classrooms, as well as role play, drama and class presentations as children move through the school.
Children learn phonic skills which underpin all their reading skills using ‘Ruth Chair building Miskin Literacy’ resources. It is important that children acquire a full range of strategies to become effective readers. As they progress, shared or guided reading is used to develop children’s reading skills with a strong emphasis on comprehending text. Able readers encounter a variety of challenging texts and are guided through examples to draw out the range of messages and information present, which even in primary school children use to analyse and evaluate information. Books are organised into colour-coded sets to give children an idea of which reading resources are within their capabilities, thus extending choice and autonomy to even very young children. Assistance and guidance is on hand to help avoid inappropriate selections. Parents are asked to let teachers select graded reading books since children need to practise and rehearse reading without racing through a set of books. Children’s reading is taught and monitored each week during guided reading lessons. Skills are also taught in a variety of other contexts. Most of our children are very successful readers, which reflects the strength of our links with parents, and the support and encouragement that come from home. Regular practice at home is clearly to each child’s advantage. In time, virtually every child becomes a very effective reader at Commonswood.
Our youngest children learn to write using their phonic knowledge. ‘Shared’ and ‘guided’ writing is used to further develop a range of writing skills and strategies including structure, organisation, grammar, punctuation and spelling. Children are guided through a variety of different styles, and ‘framing’ techniques are used to help children plan and develop work, and to communicate different types of writing effectively. Writing takes a variety of forms and includes imaginative poetry and prose, factual research and writing, and the expression of feelings. Children are taught to take notes, draft and redraft their work, leading to the presentation of attractive pieces of finished writing which communicate ideas effectively. Grammar, handwriting, spelling and punctuation are taught within the context of these various forms of writing, as well as in specific skill-based lessons. Keyboard and word-processing skills are increasingly important in school and children have regular access to computers in our IC T suite and their own classrooms.
At Commonswood we have a dedicated maths lesson every day which follows the National Numeracy Strategy. We offer opportunities for children to develop their knowledge and understanding in maths by adopting a practical activity-based approach. Throughout the school there is a strong emphasis on mental calculation, problem-solving and investigations. It is essential that pupils learn to use and apply their skills in a range of contexts which include their application to length, weight, area, volume, capacity, time, money, shape and data handling.
Modern Foreign Languages - French
All children are taught French in Junior classes as part of our regular weekly pattern of teaching. Interactive technology is used to develop speaking and listening skills. French is taught informally to infant age children in Years 1 and 2.
Class teachers undertake music as part of a variety of themes. We have good resources of tuned and untuned percussion. Children are taught to sing, play, write compositions and appreciate the work of well known composers and musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds. In Spring 2012 we sang at the O2 Arena along with a number of other Hertfordshire schools.
In addition, our specialist music staff teach various instruments. Children in receipt of specialist tuition are expected to practise regularly at home and to take good care of school instruments. Instruments can be hired from school and we have a scheme to assist parents to purchase items as well. 27
Personal, Social & Health Education
Children’s personal and social skills underpin their ability to thrive in school. Skills and concepts are taught systematically using the Government’s SEAL programme. Key aspects include New Beginnings; Getting On and Falling Out; Say No to Bullying; Going for Goals; Good to be Me; Relationships; Changes. These are revisited each year at increasingly sophisticated levels. Most children develop strong personal and social skills which not only reflect the values promoted by the school but also those fostered at home.
We have excellent PE facilities and use them to develop a wide range of skills that apply to a variety of sports. Invasion games such as football, basketball and rugby are taught regularly as are net/wall games such as tennis and badminton, and striking games like cricket and rounders. Team skills are taught in small groups leading to their application in small sided games. Individual gymnastic skills are also taught at levels appropriate to each child’s development. Gymnastics and music are combined in dance where children have the opportunity to work co-operatively with peers. Outdoor team building activities such as orienteering are taught within our grounds as well as being the corner stone at our Year 6 school Adventure Week where children participate in climbing, abseiling, surfing and canoeing amongst other challenging activities. Throughout our PE lessons we aim to teach children to work in co-operation for the benefit of the team. Positive attitudes are emphasised, as well as skills. Our ‘adventurous activity’ programme was expanded from autumn 2011 to include Years 3, 4, and 5 pupils. The latter enjoyed an overnight stay at a water sport centre. Swimming has been a very successful feature of the school in recent years. Junior children swim at Hatfield Pool during Years 3, 4, 5.
Children study aspects of the six main world religions; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Children study specific elements of religions, including beliefs, customs, forms of worship, special people and the importance of sacred artifacts and books such as the Bible, Koran and Torah.
Corporate Act of Worship
Our assemblies provide children with opportunities to be together, experience stories with clear moral messages, to sing and share religious and spiritual experiences. Assemblies also have a strong social function within our school community and may include an act of worship or time for reflection. We use prayers and songs from a variety of faiths. In accordance with the law most Acts of Worship are Christian in nature. Parents have a right to withdraw their children from an Act of Worship and are welcome to discuss this matter with the Headteacher.
Primary Science is largely a practical subject, based on enquiry, observation and experimentation. At Commonswood we aim to offer opportunities for children to develop their knowledge and understanding of important scientific ideas, processes and skills, and relate these to every day experience. Science is a broad heading covering the following strands: Life Processes & Living Things / Materials & Their Properties / Physical Processes These strands are underpinned by the children planning their own investigations exploring their own questions. Science is linked to our health and well-being programme and includes sex and relationships education, physical development, Adventure week at Skern Lodge, North Devon reproduction, feelings and emotions. This aspect of education takes place during the latter part of Year 6. Parents are notified in advance of any sex education and have the opportunity to view resources which will be used.
Children have a wide range of talents and individual need. We monitor each child’s academic, personal, social, and educational development carefully to ensure that each individual’s needs are being met appropriately. Naturally, parents are advised of any concerns and, where necessary, Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are drawn up, with copies provided to parents. Most of the children’s special educational needs will be met by our staff from the resources made available to the school. Where children are in receipt of a Statement of Special Educational Needs we ensure that the broad objectives are simplified and set out in the Individual Education Plans.
Disability Discrimination Act
We are committed to supporting our community’s needs and strive to meet all the expectations of the Disability Discrimination Act. Improvements to the schools physical resources and our means of communication incorporate these expectations. If you or your child has a disability that requires special consideration, please inform us so that we can make any necessary adjustments to meet the needs of your individual circumstances.
Able, Gifted & Talented (AG&T) Children
Staff identify such pupils and ensure that their needs are effectively met. Their learning objectives in daily lessons are usually taken from a higher level. Special techniques such as Blooms Taxonomy and Thinkers Keys are commonly used to provide appropriate challenge for all pupils including Able, Gifted and Talented students. 29
Key Stage 1 Statutory Assessment Results 2012 Commonswood (2012) Teacher Assessments Reading
Level 2 or above
Level 3 or above
The number of eligible pupils in the final year of Key Stage 1 (ie pupils in Year 2) in Summer 2012 was 58 Science is no longer assessed at KS1
Key Stage 1 Test Trends (Level 2 or above) Reading Year Results
Commonswood National Teacher Assessments
Commonswood National Teacher Assessments
Key Stage 2 Statutory Assessment Results 2012 Commonswood (2012) Teacher Assessments English
Level 4 or above
Level 5 or above
Disapplied / Absent
Level 4 or above
n/a at time of printing
n/a at time of printing
The number of eligible pupils in the final year of Key Stage 2 (ie pupils in Year 6) in Summer 2012 was 46
Key Stage 2 Test Trends (Level 4 or above) English Year
n/a at time of printing
n/a at time of printing
Throughout your child’s time at school they are continuously assessed. Staff monitor pupils’ academic progress, as well as personal and social development. All of this information is used to track pupils’ progress as they move through the school. In addition, at the age of seven and eleven children will undertake the standard assessment tests and tasks (SAT’s). All of this information is passed to parents during parents evenings each summer. Teacher Assessment is usually a far more reliable measure than SATs. SATs take place early in May for Year 6 children.
Educational Visits & Visitors
Throughout the year, visits provide an important stimulus for class activities and a great opportunity for practical field work and enquiry-based learning, We welcome parental support and involvement. Visits provide an excellent opportunity for parents to see at first hand the type of work their children are doing. Such visits are an essential and integral part of children’s education at Commonswood. We always strive to keep the costs of school visits as low as possible and all requests for financial contributions are devoid of any profit element. School journeys are a longer extension of such visits and we aim to organise at least one school journey per year. Children often count such weeks as the most memorable of their school days. Early in Year 6 children visit Skern Lodge Adventure Centre. School journey costs continue to rise steadily and we hope that the cost of such visits will not preclude any child from participating. The Governors ‘Remission of Charges’ policy applies to school journeys for parents in receipt of Income Support, Family Credit, Income-Based Job Seekers allowance or Disability Working Allowance. Further details are available from the School Office. In the past, we have also been able to obtain charitable grants on behalf of parents to ensure that children can participate, and none are excluded owing to the cost of such educational visits.
School staff are very committed to the needs of our pupils and give freely and generously of their own time to organise a variety of lunchtime and after school clubs. Such clubs are very popular and priority is given to children of different ages for each activity. Children have been able to take part in football, cricket, art, rugby, ICT, netball, film, choir, and gardening clubs during the past year. Some of the clubs run throughout the year, and parents are kept informed of activities via our monthly newsletter. You will be asked to sign a permission slip that will note the club’s finishing time. If you have any special talents or enthusiasms that you would like to share with our children, please let us know. When children join a club they are expected to commit themselves to attend for at least six weeks.
After school activities normally finish by 4.15pm. In the event of a ‘club’ needing to be cancelled we always try to give as much warning as possible, but clearly, as in cases of staff illness, this may have to be at short notice. On such occasions the children will leave school at the normal time of 3.10pm. Your child will have access to the phone if there are particular concerns about returning home unaccompanied. It is recommended that you collect your children when the evenings are dark to ensure their safety. Parents will be notified of start and finishing times for matches and other special events. When children participate in optional activities run by teachers, parents may choose whether or not their children participate. In these cases it is assumed that parents are willing to meet any costs involved.
Representing the School
It is a great honour to be selected to represent the school, and when teams are chosen we adopt a competitive approach and seek to select our strongest ‘A’ team on each occasion from those children who regularly attend our sports clubs or training sessions. Occasionally, we are able to run a ‘B’ team, and in such instances we are able to give other keen and enthusiastic children an opportunity to represent the school. Parents are invited and encouraged to watch the matches and support our children. We expect all spectators to encourage good sportsmanship and fair play, and not become over partisan. In recent years children have represented the school at football, rugby, netball, lacrosse, athletics, rounders and swimming.
School facilities are available for letting at the discretion of the Governors. A commercial rate applies to organisations that use our premises for business purposes. Charges are revised annually, and kept as low as possible for local non-profit making groups, and merely cover our costs in opening our facilities. Full details of letting costs are available from the school Office. The school buildings and grounds may only be used if a booking form is completed and the letting authorised by the school Bursar or the Headteacher; this ensures that all users of our facilities are fully insured to undertake the activity on site.
Effective Behaviour Management is founded on clear and consistent boundaries as well as praise, encouragement and reward for effort and achievements. We expect high standards of behaviour from our pupils and encourage them to take responsibility for their actions. We expect children to behave in a kind, thoughtful, considerate, polite and safe manner at all times. If children have persistent or serious social or emotional difficulties, parents are contacted and we try to resolve the difficulties together. Repeated misconduct will not be tolerated at Commonswood school. It is vital that children report any concerns to an adult promptly so that issues can be dealt with effectively.
Occasionally, some children break the code and are given a chance to explain and to apologise for unreasonable conduct. Sometimes children are given additional tasks to complete in their ‘free time’. Bullying is defined in line with government criteria as ‘deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves’. Governors and staff regularly review our behaviour management strategy. This is augmented by a separate Anti-Bullying Policy. Copies are available upon request from the school Office.
The Role of Parents & Carers
Staff work exceedingly hard to manage behaviour effectively. It can be exceptionally time consuming to investigate and resolve issues of concern. We endeavour to work in genuine partnership and expect co-operation and support to ensure that the school is a safe place for children to achieve excellence and enjoyment. Where a genuine sense of partnership exists it is possible to resolve virtually any matter. All children are treated equally by all staff. It is not acceptable for any child to be discriminated against owing to their race, colour, reputation, background, beliefs or disability. Any conduct which is discriminatory or undermines equality of opportunity is dealt with promptly and firmly. Please inform the school immediately if you have any concerns in this regard.
Loss and Damage
Parents may be asked to contribute towards the cost of repairing or replacing items lost or damaged willfully or as a result of misbehaviour by their children. Accidental damage will be dealt with by our insurers.
Our Code of Conduct has been developed with our pupils and all of the staff, and set out as our Golden Rules: • We are kind & gentle • We are helpful and respect everybody • We listen and take notice of others • We are honest • We work hard and enjoy learning • We look after our school and grounds • We take care of ourselves • We believe in ourselves • We solve disagreements calmly • We walk around the school building and play safely outside • We ask adults or a friend for help if we need it • We are polite and well-mannered to everybody
Child Protection & Safeguarding
All schools have a clear responsibility placed on them by the Children Act 1989 and by guidance from the Department of Education to safeguard the welfare of all their pupils. In doing so schools are expected to inform Social Services if they believe there is a possibility that a child may be suffering from abuse or neglect. A referral to Social Services is not intended to be an accusation of any particular action or against any particular person. It is the reporting of concerns which have come to the school’s attention. This is accordance with Hertfordshire Child Protection Procedures.’ Commonswood School has a Safeguarding Policy which reflects Hertfordshire’s Child Protection Procedures, both of which are available for parents/carers to see. The designated teacher for Child Protection is Gill Seymour. She will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns that parents/carers may have about Child Protection. All new staff and regular school helpers undergo a mandatory Independent Criminal Records Bureau check. Some children and their families have had very distressing experiences and do not want their present location identified. In part, this is why parents are not permitted to take photographs on the school site.
We are strongly committed to giving children a voice and involving pupils in all aspects of school life. The council is made up of elected children from years one to six, who meet every few weeks with a senior member of staff to exchange ideas and views, generate projects, raise funds and spend money. Meetings are conducted by the children themselves and minuted. Children’s ideas are incorporated into our plans where appropriate. The Council has its own budget which is spent under the guidance of the school Leadership Team.
There is no charge for children’s education at this school. However, there are certain additional activities that may be undertaken from time to time, the costs of which cannot be met from school funds. Music tuition is organised through the Mid Herts Music Centre and a charge is made for tuition and instrument hire. This represents extremely good value – typical charges are £66 per term for a group of three per half hour lesson. Children may hire instruments from the school, with amounts varying depending on the cost of instrument to purchase. Typical termly hire charges are Guitar £5 and Violin £12. Charges are reviewed annually. Junior pupils’ swimming is undertaken at Hatfield Pool and it is necessary to ask for a contribution towards the cost. There is no ‘profit’ element associated with any charges levied.
The school takes all reasonable care whilst we are responsible for your child and teachers undertake risk assessments for any potentially hazardous activities. Accidental injuries are not covered by the school’s insurance policy, and parents may wish to consider taking out personal accident cover. Special insurance arrangements are made to cover school journeys and off-site school trips. Details of the insurance cover provided is available from the office. 34
In the event of dangerous weather conditions or an emergency within the school, such as loss of heating, water and toilet facilities, it may become necessary to close the school at short notice. The children’s safety is always our main concern and you may rest assured that if it were not possible to contact you, your child would remain under supervision until the end of the school day at 3.10 pm. In circumstances where it becomes necessary to close the school premises with little or no warning, the following procedure will be adopted: •
The Priority 1 contact for each family is notified through ‘Schoolcomms’, the school’s text messaging system
Information is posted by HCC on www.hertsdirect.org and automatically picked up by Jack fm and Three Counties radio stations
Information is posted on the school’s website www.commonswood.herts.sch.uk
If at start of day, all children will be admitted to class - as above, plus the following: •
A notice is posted outside the school to inform parents of the problem
Parents assemble in adjacent hall
Children with parents present are allowed home.
Other children’s parents are contacted and arrangements made for their collection
Teachers make a note of who has been collected
During the school day - as above, plus the following: •
Parents / carers are contacted
Teachers make a note of who has been collected
In all cases:
No child is sent home independently
Any uncollected children remain supervised until 3.10pm (the end of the school day)
Police are informed as required in respect of road crossing safety concerns
The Local Education Authority is informed
School Closure Procedure
We have an exceptionally large site with many entrances. All visitors, including parents are asked to call at the school Office before entering the school, other than to collect children at the start and end of the school day, or half day in Nursery. Closed circuit TV and anti-climb paint are in use to protect the premises and the school is extensively alarmed. Please close all doors and gates when entering or leaving the school to help us prevent children wandering into unsupervised areas. Children are supervised throughout each break time, and our gates leading on to The Commons are closely monitored. Security fencing encompasses the entire site. Please leave the site promptly when collecting pupils and bringing your child to school and avoid entering the grounds before 3 pm to collect them so that we can be sure that every adult on site has a genuine reason to be here. Always supervise your children closely when on the school site and please note the safety advice regarding fixed play apparatus. Never let your child use such equipment unless your are present and monitoring their useage.
We are keen to develop such links and to add to the work that has already taken place with companies such as John Lewis., Expedia and Barclays Bank. The school also performs at Douglas Tilbe House and the Howard Centre as well as having links with St Mary Magdalene Church and the local Baptist Church.
After School Club
Planning a new town!
The YMCA independently runs an After School Club on the school site. This has recently moved into our new premises located adjacent to the Nursery. It is open to children who attend our school and occasionally children are transported in from other settings. The After School Club staff collect children from their classes at the end of the school day and the Club is open until 6pm. Food and refreshments are served and prepared by staff in the newly built premises. The cost is included in the amounts quoted above. Leaflets detailing information about the clubs are available from the school office.
The Commons Pre-School opened in September 2011 in our new Community Room. The setting caters for children from age 2. Further details are available from Tina Covill or Claire Mason on 07910 361175 or 07766 407 317.
There are a number of groups that contribute to the management of the school. Overall responsibility for the school rests with Hertfordshire County Council. However, most responsibilities are delegated to the school governors. Ice Balloon Experiment They meet regularly several times per term and monitor the curriculum, pupil progress, behaviour management, staffing and personal issues, finance, premises, health & safety, liaison with parents and the community and advertising, amongst others. On a day to day basis the school is managed by the Headteacher supported by a Leadership Team who have specific organisational and management roles throughout the school. Staff are consulted about major issues before decisions are taken.
The Senior Leadership Team, senior staff and subject leaders regularly observe lessons and undertake work scrutinies each term. The Head and Deputy informally observe classes virtually every day.
The Local Authority & Ofsted
Our work is regularly moderated and reviewed by the Local Authority who visit every term to ensure that high standards are sustained. Ofsted carried out a full inspection at the school in February, 2012. A full copy of their report is on our website www.commonswood.herts.sch.uk and on the Ofsted site www.ofsted.gov.uk
In the September after their eleventh birthday, children normally transfer to secondary schools. Parents are advised by letter during the Autumn term of Year 6 of the authority’s current transfer procedure, and asked to express a preference as to which local secondary school they would like their child to enter. Parents and children are afforded opportunities to visit all secondary schools, and the year group are invited into local schools which helps to allay concerns or anxieties. The Year 7 tutors who will be caring for your children visit us to meet pupils, and talk to the class teacher. A few parents may wish their children to attend independent schools. In these cases, we will try to provide parents with details regarding applications and entrance examinations. The school is not able to provide any special coaching for parents opting for this form of secondary education. Full records of your child’s progress are forwarded at the time of transfer to whichever school your child enrols.
Local Secondary Schools
The local schools to which children from Commonswood would normally transfer to are as follows: Bishops Hatfield Girls School, Woods Avenue, Hatfield AL10 8NL. Tel: 01707 275331 Headteacher: T Nickson Monks Walk, Knightsfield, Welwyn Garden City AL8 7NL. Tel: 01707 322846 Headteacher: K Smith Sir Frederic Osborn, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL7 2AF. Tel: 0844 477 2515 Headteacher: S Lewis Stanborough, Lemsford Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6YR. Tel: 01707 321755 Headteacher: P Brown Onslow St Audrey’s, Old Rectory Drive, Hatfield AL10 8AB. Tel: 01707 264228 Headteacher: P Meredith
Our school in winter 38
Should you have any reason for concern or to complain, please speak initially to the Teacher concerned or Headteacher if directly involved. Should the response not resolve the issue that you raise, then do please write to the Chair of Governors, c/o the school, marking your letter ‘Confidential’. The issue will then be raised via governors’ committee meetings. The formal Complaint Procedure is outlined below. Further details are available from the School Office or Headteacher.
The full Complaint Procedure has five stages, but every effort should be made to resolve issues at the earliest stage: 1
Teacher (or Headteacher if immediately involved)
Most concerns are easily resolved informally by discussion with staff at the school; more difficult or complex concerns may take more than one discussion.
Investigation by Headteacher or Chair of Governors
The Headteacher will make an investigation and respond to the complaint. If the complaint is directed at the Headteacher, then the Chair of Governors (or other named Governor) will take charge at this stage.
Complaint to the Governing Body
In the event of the Headteacher being unable to resolve the complaint, the complainant will be supplied with appendices 2 and 3 of the procedure, ‘Information for Parents. How to Complain’. If the formal complaint is then received by the board, the Chair of Governors, after acknowledgement (within 5 working days), will pass the complaint to the Chair of the Complaints Panel. The Complaints Panel will consist of three Governors, one of whom will act as Chair, who will be appointed at the first full governors’ meeting of the school year. The panel will investigate the complaint and, if necessary, conduct a formal hearing as laid down at Stage 2 of the Procedure.
Complaint to the Local Education Authority (Hertfordshire County Council)
If, and only if, the complaint falls under the arrangements set up under Section 409, Education Act 1996, it can be referred to a local authority panel. In other cases, the Governing Body’s decision will stand.
The Secretary of State for Education and Employment
will give direction if the Governing Body or the County Council have acted unreasonably or have failed to make provision. If the complaint is against action taken, or not taken, by the County Council, it is also possible for that complaint to be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Concerns & Complaints Procedure
School Term Dates 2012 / 2013 This Brochure is designed to provide information and does not constitute a legally binding contract. Autumn Term Spring Term 4th September
29th October - 2nd November Half Term
18th - 22nd February
Term Ends 12.30pm
Term Ends 12.30pm
Summer Term th
27th - 31st May
Term Ends 12.30pm
2013 / 2014 Autumn Term rd
Spring Term 7th January
17 â€“ 21 February
28th October - 1st November Half Term 20th December
Term Ends 12.30pm
Term Commences Half Term Term Ends 12.30pm
Summer Term 23rd April 5th May
Term Commences Bank Holiday
26th â€“ 30th May
Term Ends 12.30pm