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Schoolsworks is a multi-academy trust in West Sussex. Our aim is to create small hubs of schools which work closely together to collaborate, share best practice and improve outcomes for children.

Schoolsworks

East Preston Junior School

Parent handbook

This handbook is designed to contain all of the key information you might need to know about life at East Preston Junior School. It has been compiled as an A-Z guide, in the hope that you can easily find the information you need; however, if you have any query to which you cannot find the answer, you can always contact Mrs Hind or Miss Rose in the school office.

Absence

If your child is unwell, or cannot attend school on any given day, please contact the school office, ideally before 9am, to advise us. You can do this by telephone or email. You should contact the school for each day of absence.

If you’re unsure whether or not your child should attend, we suggest bringing them in and speaking with the school office. We can always call home if they feel unwell later in the day.

In the event that your child has an unavoidable medical appointment, please inform the office staff and provide a copy of the appointment card or letter so that we can correctly enter this on our attendance system.

See also: Holidays

Behaviour

The school has a very clear approach to behaviour, which is rooted in our belief that every child has the right to feel safe, to be treated with respect, and to learn. In particular, we expect everyone in our school to strive to meet our key expectations:

  1. Listen
  2. Follow instructions
  3. Be polite
  4. Be kind
  5. Take care of property
  6. Try your best

In the event that children fall short of these expectations, they will be reminded and, if necessary, a sanction will be given. This may include being moved to another place in the class, being asked to go to another class for a period, missing a breaktime or being referred to the senior staff.

We expect children to make mistakes, and to be able to learn from them in school. We do not, therefore, routinely contact parents about minor incidents in school. However, in the case of repeated incidences, or more significant disruption or disobedience, parents will be contacted to discuss our concerns.

Bikes & Scooters

We encourage healthy modes of transport when travelling to and from school, and provide secure cycle and scooter storage on site for pupils. We do ask that all children travelling this way do so while wearing a suitable helmet for their protection.

Bikes and scooters should not be ridden whilst on the school site. This is particularly important as we share a busy site with the infant school, and a large junior child on a bike can be quite a hazard to a smaller infant child. Please ask your child to dismount at the main gates, and push their bike or scooter to the shelter.

An application form for a cycle permit is available from the school website.

Class groups

When children transfer from the infant school, we discuss the appropriate groupings with the infant school team and set classes accordingly for Year 3. Often this means that children transfer as a whole class into the junior school.

We routinely review classes again at the end of Year 4, and consider whether to rearrange groups before moving into upper school. In all cases, decisions about class groups are made by school staff based on their knowledge of all the relevant children. We would only consider class moves at other times in exceptional circumstances.

Clubs

The school is always pleased to host a range of before- and after-school clubs. Many of these are run by school staff who volunteer to give up their time to lead activities from arts to languages, lego to sports. In addition, we have a number of external providers who offer activities for a small weekly charge.

Full details of the club offer are sent to parents each term, with an opportunity for children to sign up to the clubs they want to attend. We do ask that children attend regularly if they have been signed up to a club, and that you keep us informed if children cannot attend.

Further details of the current club offer are available on the website at https://www.epjs.co.uk/Children/Clubs/

Communication & letters

The vast majority of our communications with parents are via email. This includes newsletters, routine information about trips and other activities, and other updates.

It is important that families update the school if any of their contact details, including address, email or phone number, change so that we can ensure you still receive all communications.

For individual matters, school staff will often make direct contact via telephone rather than email. Equally, parents are welcome to make contact with the class teacher via the school office using telephone or email. Teachers in Year 3 and 4 are also available on the playground at collection time at the end of the school day.

Urgent matters in the mornings can be conveyed via the school office, or to one of the senior staff on the gate between 8.30 and 8.50am.

News of school activities and events are also shared via our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter using the handle @epjuniorschool

Curriculum

Each week, the children will study a core curriculum of English, mathematics, science, Spanish and PE. In addition, the other subjects are included in rotation such that children regularly receive a broad curriculum that includes art, music, history, geography, computing and design technology.

For many subjects, children will bring home a knowledge organiser which shows the key learning that will be included in their topic. These can be used to support learning at home.

Drop-off/Pick-up arrangements

We operate a flexible drop-off time between 8.30 and 8.50am. The gates to the playground open at 8.30am, at which point children can begin making their way to their classrooms. This time is used for additional skills practice and catch-up sessions.

Children enter the building independently through their year group entrance and travel directly to their classrooms.

After the first few weeks of term in Year 3, we encourage parents to drop children off at the playground gate in the morning. Children in Years 5 and 6 may well walk independently from further afield.

At the end of the day, children are dismissed from the same entrance. Children in Years 3 and 4 are escorted by their class teacher to the exit, and we ask that an adult is available to meet them; older children are dismissed independently.

Emergency Closure

In the rare event that the school is forced to close unexpectedly, we will communicate this to parents via email, as well as posting information on the school website and social media pages. If this is at short notice, a text message will be sent to registered parents.

Equipment

All children are provided with a pencil case and all the necessary stationery for their schooling. All that needs to be brought from home is a PE kit, lunch and a water bottle.

Friends of EPJS

To allow us to offer a wider range of activities and opportunities for children, we raise funds through our Friends of East Preston Junior School group. All parents are automatically entitled to membership of the group, and we encourage voluntary help at events such as discos and summer fairs. The group is also led by a small committee of volunteers who can offer a little more time to help organise events. If you are interested in joining the group, they can be contacted via the school office or through their facebook page – just search for FEPJS.

First Aid

As with any primary school, we expect a number of trips, bumps and accidents over the course of the year, and ensure that first aid is always on hand. At break and lunchtimes, the supervising staff have access to first aid kits; for any more serious injuries or at other times, children will go to the main office for first aid.

We will notify parents of any injury to the head, or of any injury or accident which might require further attention. Other minor bumps and scratches will be recorded in school, but we do not contact parents for these.

Free School Meals

Unlike at infant schools, pupils of junior school age are not automatically entitled to a free school meal. However, if you are in receipt of benefits, your child may be eligible for a free school meal at junior school. If you believe your child may be eligible, please contact the school office to make an application.

Further details about free school meals are available from West Sussex County Council:
https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/education-children-and-families/schools-and-colleges/free-school-meals/

See also: Lunch/Hot meals

Holidays

Government legislation only permits headteachers to authorise absence where exceptional circumstances apply. The guidance for headteachers explains that ‘exceptional’ cases are likely to be rare, significant, unavoidable and short. When considering requests for absence, headteachers will apply these 4 ‘tests’ to determine whether an absence may be authorised.

If holidays are taken without authorisation, a fine may be issued by West Sussex County Council, or a court case pursued in some cases.

If parents wish to request absence from school for any reason, they are asked to complete an absence request form and return this to school as soon as possible. Forms are available on the website.

Homework

Pupils in all year groups receive weekly homework consisting of reading, maths and spelling tasks. In Year 6, pupils will also receive additional tasks in preparation for transition to secondary school.

At the start of the academic year, your child will be given a school planner into which they can record their daily reading and maths activities, and also their spelling tasks. Reading can be independent reading or reading with an adult – including being read to by an adult. For maths, we encourage daily practice of number facts using online games, or printable booklets if internet access is difficult at home.

The tasks set are designed to be “little and often” activities to encourage recall and retention of key knowledge. It isn’t necessary to let school know if the occasional practice is missed, but please do communicate with us if homework is becoming a challenge at home: we want it to support learning, not cause friction in the family!

Houses

Every child is placed in one of our four houses at the school:

Romans

Saxons

Vikings

Normans

These groups are used to organise activities within the class, as well as for sports day and other competitions. Children can also earn house points for their house through following the school expectations and striving for excellent behaviour and work. These are totalled weekly, with a house cup being awarded at the end of each half-term.

Lost Property

All uniform and other items of clothing coming into school should be labelled with your child’s name; this allows us to return items quickly if they become separated. On occasion, school staff may write a name into an item of clothing to ensure that it can be reunited with its owner.

In the event that unnamed property is found, it is taken to the school office where it is kept for a week. If after this time it has not been claimed, the items will be disposed of, either for use as pre-loved uniform or donation to charity.

Lunch / hot meals

All pupils eat their lunch in the school hall, with hot meals available to purchase from Chartwells and for those eligible for free school meals.

If you wish to order hot meals for your child, these should be ordered through the Chartwells website at https://westsussex.mealselector.co.uk/. Orders must be placed at least one clear week before the week of taking the meal.

Medical appointments

Wherever possible, families are asked to book routine medical appointments such as dental check-ups outside of school hours. However, where this is not possible, please bring an appointment card into the school office so that we can approve the absence. Whenever children are collected from or returned to school other than at the usual start/end times, please go directly to the office.

Mobile phones

We do not permit pupils to use mobile phones anywhere on the school site. Pupils in Years 5 and 6 who are making their own way to/from school are permitted to carry a mobile phone to school, if they have signed the school agreement in advance. Mobile phones must be switched off upon entering the school site, and must be handed in to the class teacher on arrival.

The school cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage caused to a mobile phone brought to school under this agreement. Forms to request a permit for bringing a mobile phone to school are available from the school website.

We also ask that parents monitor their children’s use of mobile phones and other devices outside of school. While there are many benefits to the use of the internet, we often see issues arise in school which stem from inappropriate use of technology outside of school.

Music tuition

We have a number of offers for peripatetic music tuition at the school, run through different partnerships. If you are interested in paying for private individual or group tuition for your child, please do ask at the school office about available options.

Parents evenings

See Reporting to Parents

Payments

We try to minimise the amount of cash used in the school office. Wherever possible, we encourage families to pay for trips, activities and uniform online using a debit or credit card. In the event that a cheque is needed, these should be made payable to East Preston Junior School.

PE Kit

All children should bring a PE kit to school each week. We advise that this is left in school all week to allow for timetable changes. The PE kit consists of shorts, a house-coloured t-shirt and trainers. You may also choose to include a track suit for outside activities in colder weather.

See also: Uniform

Photography

We use photographs to record episodes of learning, activities and major events happening at school. We also photograph Headteacher’s Award winners each week. On joining the school, parents can provide consent for these images to be shared on our website and social media pages.

We also receive two visits a year from our official school photographer. This allows families an opportunity to purchase a professional photograph of their child, and then also of their class.

Reading and Phonics

On joining the school, all pupils are assessed to ensure they are provided with the right support for their reading. Some pupils may receive additional support with phonics (i.e. being able to read words by combining letter sounds) or fluency to improve their reading capacity. We also incorporate reading opportunities throughout out curriculum.

In addition, pupils are able to select books from their class libraries for independent reading. Upon finishing a book, they are able to take a short quiz about what they have read through our Accelerated Reader programme. This allows the class teacher to monitor your child’s reading, and helps them to select appropriate books which offer the right level of challenge for them.

Parents are provided with access to their child’s reading record online via the AR Home Connect website. We also ask that parents support children with regular reading at home as part of their homework.

Reporting to Parents

We hold parents evenings in the autumn and spring terms of each year – usually around November and March. Parents also receive a written report at the end of the academic year in July reflecting your child’s progress in all curriculum areas.

At other times, parents are always welcome to contact their child’s class teacher, either by speaking to them on the playground at the end of the day, or requesting a telephone call or appointment through the school office.

Safeguarding

Our first priority as a school is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our pupils. We ask that parents and volunteers support us in this, by raising any concerns about the safety of any child, in or out of school.

If you have any concerns, you can talk at any time to one of our safeguarding leads: Mrs Howard, Mrs Highfield, Miss Minchin and Mr Smith. Anyone can also raise a concern about a child’s safety or welfare through the local authority’s safeguarding hub by telephoning 01403 229900.

School nurse

While schools no longer have access to an in-school service, families can make contact with the school nursing team for any support with issues that may affect school. Parents can text a school nurse for a confidential conversation at 07312 277011.

Snacks

Children are welcome to bring a healthy snack to school to eat during the morning playtime. This might be fruit, cheese-based or a low-sugar snack such as crackers. We do not allow chocolate bars or crisps at breaktimes.

Social Media

The school has a presence on both Facebook and Twitter. These channels are aimed solely at parents, and are not intended for children’s use, as we discourage children’s use of social media.

We use the social media channels for sharing news with families about events in school as well as other local news and activities which may be relevant to families. You can find out accounts by searching epjuniorschool on either Twitter or Facebook.

Sports clubs & teams

The school runs many clubs, and takes teams to a number of events both within the locality area and across the county. Teams are selected in different ways depending on the event. In some cases, an ‘elite squad’ will be selected to compete in events, while on other occasions there will be opportunities to try out new teams or take novice teams to new activities. In all cases, decisions will be made by the staff leading the events.

Swimming

Pupils in Years 4 and 5 make use of the Littlehampton Wave swimming centre for swimming lessons over a course of approximately 10 weeks each year. We ask for parental donations to help cover the costs of both the lessons and the transport to the leisure centre. At the centre, children are taught according to their ability by specialist coaches.

Term dates

The school’s term dates are published well in advance on the school website. These can be found at https://www.epjs.co.uk/Parents/Term-Dates/

A copy of the term dates calendar is also sent home each summer with the annual report so that you can keep this to hand.

Timings of the day

The statutory school day starts at 8.50am for all children, with the day ending at 3.20pm. Children will all have a 15-minute break in the morning, and 60 minutes for lunch at play at either 12 noon (lower school) or 12.30pm (upper school).

Uniform

All pupils at EPJS wear a smart uniform in the school colours of navy and pale blue. Full details of the uniform are available in the Parents menu of the school website. In brief, the uniform consists of a pale blue shirt/polo shirt, navy sweater/cardigan and navy trousers/skirt. Items featuring the school logo can be purchased through the school.

Visits & Residentials

From time to time, we organise visits or other activities which complement the learning happening in school. We ask that parents offer a contribution towards the costs of these visits and so try to keep costs to a minimum.

In Year 4 and Year 6 we also offer residential visits. Year 4 pupils attend a local campsite to undertake outdoor activities, with Year 6 travelling slightly further afield to participate in more adventurous activities. Information about these visits is shared with parents well in advance, and payment for the residentials can be made over a period through regular small payments.

Families eligible for free school meals, or who might otherwise struggle to meet the costs of such visits, are encouraged to contact the school in confidence to discuss the support that is available.

Volunteering

We welcome parents and other volunteers at the school to offer further breadth and depth to children’s learning, and to offer support on trips and other visits.

Volunteers are required to complete a safeguarding check with the school office in advance of working with children. We also offer training and guidance for volunteers taking on roles such as hearing readers or supporting with learning, so that volunteers are familiar with the approaches used in school.

If you are interested in volunteering at the school, please speak to your child’s class teacher or the school office in the first instance.

Woodland Area

As part of our outdoor space, we have a woodland area at the edge of the school field. This area is equipped with pallets, reels and building materials which the children are able to access at breaktimes for free play. We open this area in recognition that the equipment presents a low level of risk; this is to allow the children to take careful risks within a safe space. On occasion this will lead to bumps, scratches, splinters and the odd scab – but we believe that these are all part of the experience of growing up.

Wrap-Around Care

Families wishing to access childcare before or after school can do so by contacting Rascals Childcare, who operate from the building between the infant and junior schools. Rascals is run separately from the two schools, with information available from their website at https://www.rascalschildcare.org.uk/