Birch C by Levone



     School Prospectus and
       Guide for Parents

   Academic Year 2006/2007
             PRIMARY SCHOOL

                        School Hill
                          CO2 0LZ
                 Telephone: 01206 330224
                    Fax: 01206 330175


                   Headteacher: Kate Moore
      Assistant Headteachers: Lyn Clarke, Rebekah May

                Chairman of Governors:
                       Mrs Sue Gee

                  Clerk to the Governors:
            Maggi Borthwick [contact via school]

                      Class Teachers
 Lyn Clarke, Rebekah May, Samantha Allen, Mark Millbourne

                   Additional Teaching Staff
                       Theresa Lowe

                 Learning Support Assistants
Lesley Batterham, Linda Foakes, Michelle Pryke, Gill Welham,
                   Wendy Christopherson

                  School Business Manager
                      Liz Finlayson

                   Lunchtime Supervisors
    Sandra Poulter, Ruth Little, Wendy Christopherson,

                        Mick Suttey

           Consortium Finance and Support Manager
                       Dave Critchley

Dear Parents and Friends

We hope that this booklet will give you a brief picture of our
school. We trust that you will find it useful. Of course, the best
way to find out about a school is to visit it. We are always
pleased to welcome visitors and enquiries, and look forward to
seeing you.

We are also very glad of any time that can be given to school
by adults. There are so many ways in which they can be of help
to the children and the teachers. No great skills or knowledge
are needed, but if you have a hobby or skill we can use we’d be
grateful. All that is required is a kind heart, willing hand and a
little patience.

I look forward to meeting you

Kate Moore M.Ed, B.Ed [Hons]
September 2006

The school was founded in 1847 by Charles Grey Round of Birch Hall to
provide education according to the principles and practices of the Church
of England. Since then there have been considerable changes! In 1985 the
school was refurbished to a very high standard and a new school hall was
built. There are four classrooms in the main building; in addition, there is
a central library, a computer room, computers with internet access in all
rooms and a spacious food technology area.

The school is set in very pleasant surroundings which include play areas
and a field. We are surrounded by gardens and hedges, and the grounds
contain mature trees, a pond, wet area and butterfly garden. The Parents
and Friends Association also generously donated an outdoor bark play
area with various log activities built in.

The day follows this pattern:

   9.00              Registration
   9.05 - 10.15      Working in Class Base
   10.15 - 10.30     Assembly & Act of Worship
   10.30 - 10.50     Morning Break
   10.50 - 12.10     Working in Class Base
   12.10 - 12.55     Lunch Break
   12.55 - 3.15      Working in Class Base

The Infants [Key Stage 1 children] have a 10 minute break in the

The total number of hours spent on teaching including RE but excluding
worship or breaks is 22 each week for Key Stage 1 and 23 ½ for Key
Stage 2 each week.

Children can arrive in school from 8.40am, to read with a parent or work
in class. Late comers need to report to the school office with their parent
or carer.

At the end of the day children are collected from the playground.

It is not the policy of the school to administer any medication to the
children. However, in exceptional circumstances, this will be considered
after consultation and with written permission from parents.

Equipment is provided for all essential tasks; rulers, pencils, paper etc.
Each child has their own tray in which to store books and their work.
Children may wish to bring their own pencils and rubbers etc., but the
school can take no responsibility for these.


For the well-being of your child, it is important that we are informed on
the first day of a child’s absence from school. If a child is not in school,
we shall contact parents if nothing is heard by 9.30am.

Wherever possible, parents should ensure that children take holidays out
of school time. Extra holidays may be granted in term time for up to two
weeks in total, once the school has been approached for this to be
authorised in advance. Holiday forms for this purpose are available from
the school office.

The rate of authorised absences for the academic year 2005/6 was 6.4%
The rate of unauthorised absences for the academic year 2005/6 was 0%


Most children bring a packed lunch which is eaten in the school hall.
Sweets, canned fizzy drinks and glass containers are not permitted. The
school has no facilities to refrigerate packed lunches and parents are
urged to use cooling packs in lunch boxes particularly in hot weather.

Families in receipt of Income Support, Income based Jobseekers
Allowance or Child Tax Credit may be eligible for free school meals and
should contact, in confidence, the school office for relevant forms.

At break times all the children have fresh fruit or vegetables as a healthy


School Fund is the private school account and is used to buy all sorts of
essential items. The school fund buys the consumable items, such as clay,
batteries and cookery ingredients. The PAFA also contributes to the fund
and we have received several personal donations.


The governors have agreed to adopt the County’s advice on charging for
school activities. The principle of the 1988 Education Reform Act is
activities that take place in the school session are free, with the exception
of individual tuition on instruments. The school will ask for voluntary
contributions when necessary. There is no obligation to pay but certain
activities may be cancelled if insufficient contributions are made. Activities
that this might include are things like theatre visits, or performing groups
in school and class outings. The full policy is available for inspection in the


There are four classes in the school, which means that there are children
in different year groups in each class. The teacher of each class is
responsible for the care and discipline of the children in the class. In
addition, the school has four learning support teaching assistants and they
support learning across the school.

The classes for 2006/2007 are:

                                   Reception/           Foundation/
  1SA   Miss Samantha Allen
                                     Year 1             Key Stage 1
  2RM Mrs Rebekah May                Year 1/2           Key Stage 1

  3MM Mr Mark Millbourne             Year 3/4           Key Stage 2

  4LC   Mrs Lyn Clarke               Year 5/6           Key Stage 2

We aim to keep our class sizes as small as possible to help ensure
teachers can spend quality time with all the children. Additional support is
provided in each class for children with learning difficulties and extension
classes are provided in small groups for higher achievers.


School discipline is based on the Christian ethos of love and care for
others. The staff and governors would wish to encourage this and seek the
support of the parents in fostering this approach to each other, and in
dealing with any problems that may occur. In this way the school and
parents can work together. A copy of the school’s behaviour policy is
available in school for inspection.

If a child shows persistent antisocial behaviour a consultation is arranged
between parents and teacher so that we can work together to correct the
matter. In exceptional cases the Headteacher may exclude a child from
school for a fixed or indefinite period, or as a last resort, permanent
exclusion. Parents have a right to make representation [written in the
case of a fixed term exclusion] to the Governing Body and Local Education
Authority at the meeting[s] called to consider the exclusion.

There is a school code of conduct which applies to all people in school and
each class has its own set of rules which are devised at the beginning of
each year and revised on a termly basis. The children are encouraged to
play an active part in decision- making and a School Council promotes
involvement of children and all staff in the school.


It is the policy of the school and governors to encourage the wearing of
school uniform, as it does help create a sense of community and pride in
the school. Lists of uniform items are given below.

  Autumn, Winter and Spring                          Summer
   Grey skirt, pinafore, shorts or
                                              Grey shorts or trousers
 Red school sweatshirt or cardigan         Red and white summer dress.
 White shirt or blouse or polo shirt               White polo shirt
                                           Sensible sandals or shoes, NOT
      Red, white or grey socks
     Black shoes, NOT trainers

No jeans, cycle shorts, high heeled shoes, jewellery or make-up.

Stud earrings only, not hoops for safety reasons - and the children must
be able to take them out for PE and games.

Uniform items can be purchased from the school office


Black shorts, red t-shirt and plimsolls or gym shoes [NOT trainers] and a
spare pair of socks. For outdoor winter games a tracksuit is
recommended. Some children have an extra set of kit for informal
lunchtime games. Please do not send huge sports bags, we do not have
the room to store them.

                Please label all clothing clearly!


As we are a church school our main aim is to create a Christian caring
community with a happy industrious atmosphere, where all children can
succeed. We provide equal opportunities for all children to achieve their
best through carefully planned and motivating activities. The curriculum is
allied to LEA guidelines and also follows the guidance of Chelmsford
Diocese in matters relating to Religious Education and personal and social
education. We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum.

The children are arranged in mixed ability classes according to age. A
variety of teaching methods are used as appropriate. These include whole
class teaching, group work and individual teaching.

The school teaches all the national Curriculum subjects of English, Maths,
Science, Information Technology, Design and Technology, Art, Music, P.E.,
History and Geography. The curriculum at Birch extends beyond the
National Curriculum and also involves Religious Education, Worship,
Health and Sex Education, Personal and Social Education and Citizenship

Below are brief details of each curriculum area. Please feel welcome to
contact the school if you require further details.


A literacy hour operates every day in each class.

      Reading has a high priority in the school and a wide variety of
       books is used to stimulate interest and enjoyment. A reading record
       diary is used for teachers, parents and children to make comments
       on all aspects of reading. This diary can also serve as a general
       communication book between home and school. The school teaches
       reading skills in small ability groups and children then bring books
       home to practise what they have learned. Children also have a 15
       minute group reading session each day.

      Speaking and Listening is central to learning. Children are given
       opportunities to talk for a range of purposes to different audiences
       and are encouraged to listen attentively and respond appropriately
       to a range of speakers.

      Writing Children at Birch are taught to write for a variety of
       purposes for various audiences using different forms of writing e.g.
       diaries, letters, stories, lists etc. They have individual writing targets
       set for improvement.

      In Handwriting children are taught to develop a fluent and legible
       style of printed and joined up handwriting.

      Spelling is taught by using the children’s own writing and by
       focusing on topic words and spelling patterns. A separate spelling
       lesson may take place in addition to the Literacy Hour as strong
       emphasis is placed on learning sounds.


Children are taught mathematics for up to an hour each day. We place a
high value on children achieving a good standard of numeracy. A big focus
is placed on the development of mental skills. In addition children are
taught areas of mathematics involving algebra, shape and space,
measures of various kinds and handling data.

Where appropriate, mathematical teaching is linked with other subject
areas to help make it relevant and meaningful to the children so that they
can use the knowledge and skills they acquire in everyday life. Ask your
child’s teacher if you would like ideas for helping children at home.

Many children in Years 1 to 6 have access to a mathematics computer for
around 15 minutes each session to help with mental calculation.


Children undertaking scientific investigation is a key element of science as
this enables them through observing, planning, predicting, recording,
comparing and explaining, to work and think in a scientific way.

There are three main areas of scientific study:-
   Life processes and living things - This includes the study of
     humans, plants and animals
   Materials - This includes the grouping and classifying of materials,
     exploring how materials can change and how materials can be
   Physical Processes - This includes the study of electricity, forces
     and motion, light and sound and the earth beyond


History in school ranges from discussing what happened a few minutes
ago to exploring the lives and achievements of civilisations thousands of
years ago. The children use a mixture of primary sources [objects, original
documents etc.] and secondary sources [books, posters, videos etc] to
help them make sense of the past.

Information, Communication and Technology

The Information Technology revolution will have far reaching affects on us
all. At Birch we aim to provide children with the ICT skills needed to help
them play a full part in this revolution. We have excellent resources with a
computer room, interactive whiteboards and internet access in each

classroom. Children have timetabled access to these resources each week
and often on a daily basis.

In school the children move from the stage of learning to use the ICT
equipment to using it to extend their knowledge and understanding in
other areas of the curriculum.


In Geography the children start by investigating the immediate locality in
which they live and then branch out to investigate other localities in this
country and abroad. The children investigate the many features of the
physical world and also consider the affect humans have had on the

Design Technology

Children design and make a variety of products each year and are
encouraged to reflect not only the end result but also the processes they
went through. They are taught to use hand tools safely and appropriately.
A major focus is food technology in our modern food technology area.


Children perform and compare music using voice and a variety of musical
instruments. This may range from working in a small group in a class
situation to performing in front of the whole school. Children are given
opportunities to listen to and discuss a wide range of music from various
times and cultures. The school participates in a number of music festivals
each year, which are very popular with the children.

Individual music lessons are provided by the peripatetic music service on
a variety of instruments. At present the rate £5.10 per ¼ hour.

Physical Education

Children will experience six areas of activity while at Birch. These are
games, gymnastic activities, dance, athletic activities, outdoor and
adventurous activities and swimming. Some of these activities take place
off-site with PE experts and voluntary contributions for these activities will
be sought. Swimming normally takes place in Year 3 and 4.

The children are taught to observe the conventions of fair play and are
made aware of the changes that occur to their bodies as they exercise.
They are taught to undertake all aspects of PE safely.

Religious Education

Religious Education in our church school extends across the whole
curriculum and is reflected in the way everyone in school relates to and
treats each other. At times it may be taught as a separate distinct subject
in its own right or may be included as part of a topic.

We follow the Religious Education Syllabus of the Diocese of Chelmsford
called ‘Seed Time’ and the Essex Scheme of Work for RE, the aims of
which are to:-
   1. Promote a child’s sense of worth and value as a child of God
   2. Help a child value, extend, mend and live within a variety of
   3. Help a child appreciate the rich variety of religious beliefs, practices
      and life styles found in the world.
   4. Awaken and develop a child’s sense of a personal God as a creator,
      friend and comforter.
   5. Help children to understand that God was uniquely revealed to
   6. Experience and understand what it means to live as and worship as
      a Christian.
   7. Encourage a sense of awe, wonder and enjoyment of the created
      world including our responsibility to care for it.

We very much value our links with the church and use member churches
on occasions to help with our RE lessons

Parents do have a legal right to withdraw children from RE lessons and
should contact the Headteacher if they are considering this.


As this is a Church school, acts of worship are of central importance,
helping in the spiritual and moral development of pupils, and contributing
to the Christian spirit of the school. Such acts of worship, though broadly
Anglican base, are not in any way exclusive and the personal beliefs of the
individual are always respected. It is therefore expected all children will
take part, though parents have a legal right to withdraw their children and
should contact the Headteacher if they wish to do so. Each Thursday we
hold an act of worship which introduces children to some liturgy of the
Church of England.

Health and Sexual Health Education

Issues concerning Health and Sex Education are taught sensitively taking
into account the maturity of the children and their level of understanding.
Specific Sexual Health Education is taught to Year 5/6 children and
parents do have a right to withdraw children from this. Parents are
informed in advance of the intended teaching programme.


Children who are identified as having special needs in specific areas are
given appropriate additional support. This may involve children working
with our learning support teachers. Parents are involved as soon as
possible in discussions with the head and class teacher so that home and
school can work together. The school uses Essex Stages of Assessment
procedures, and different professional advisers are used whenever the
parents or school think there is a need at a later stage.


Extra-curricular activities are an important part of school life. These
activities change from year to year.


We have a home school agreement which outlines the duties and
responsibilities of school and home in helping the children learn. We hope
that all parents will feel able to sign up to this partnership agreement.

We believe a sensible amount of homework according to the child’s
abilities and age is one way to develop a closer home school partnership.
The school hopes that children will read at home daily, sometimes with
linked activities to do. Spelling and number work is sent home to help
consolidate learning in school. As the children progress through the school
they are encouraged to undertake their own personal research out of
school and to follow up their own ideas. As they progress through school,
more work is expected of the children to tighter deadlines. Full details of
the homework schedule are found in the appendices of this brochure.


Our school serves a wide geographical area. The staff and governors are
always seeking ways in which our school can be even more fully involved
in the life of the community.


As a church school we feel that it is important to reach out to others, and
through the charity Action Aid we support a child in Africa. Donations are
collected at school events and children often bring in small amounts of
spare change. Sometimes they organise their own sponsored events, and
even unclaimed lost money finds its way there!

Each year we support a number of local, national and international


The PAFA is open to everyone and all parents are automatically members.
There is a committee who meet occasionally to co-ordinate and decide
upon events, and everyone is welcome to their meetings. The PAFA raises
a fantastic amount of money by all sorts of means, and have provided
major equipment items and extra opportunities for the children. They also
hold social events and these too are popular.

Notices of events and meetings are sent to all families through regular


For our safety and your security, all visitors are asked to enter by the
main entrance and sign in and out. A badge identification system is in


Parent Teacher consultations are held in the Autumn and Spring Terms to
discuss your child’s progress and in the Summer Term a written report will
be sent to you which you are welcome to discuss with your child’s teacher.
A fortnightly newsletter will be sent out to you informing you of school
activities. At the beginning of each term, a Term Ahead Sheet is sent out
detailing the activities that your child will be undertaking and ways in
which you can help and meetings are held for each class at the beginning
of each new term.


From time to time, parents may have a concern about their child’s
education. Many such concerns can, and should, be resolved at school
level, particularly if they arise out of misunderstandings about the aims of
the school and the methods employed to achieve them.

If you do have a concern you should approach, in the first instance, your
child’s teacher, then the Headteacher. The governing body is also there to
assist you and may be contacted through the school office.

If your concern relates to the curriculum, there is a statutory procedure
established by the Local Education Authority. for dealing with written
complaints. Details of this formal process are available from the school but
you are asked to discuss your concern with us first so that we can ensure
we have done all we can to resolve the situation.


The Governing Body of Birch Church of England [VA] Primary School
welcomes applications from parents who live in the parishes of Birch,
Great and Little Wigborough, Layer Marney, Layer Breton and Salcott-
cum-Virley, and others who wish their children to attend this School.

Parents wishing their child to attend Birch School as a Reception pupil
must complete an Essex Common Application Form which will have been
sent to most parents and is available from any Essex primary school. The
completed form must be returned to Essex County Council at the address
shown on the form. The closing date for the applications and the
allocation of places will be in line with the co-ordinated scheme
administered by Essex County Council. Applications received after the
closing date will be given a lower priority than all those received on time.
Late [mid-year] applications, once all places have been allocated, will be
placed on the waiting list where they will be ranked according to the same
criteria as apply to new applicants.

The Governing Body can admit 16 children each year, as agreed with the
Local Education Authority, giving precedence to ‘Looked After’ children. In
the event of there being more applicants than places then the Governors
will have regard to the following criteria in this priority order:

   1. Looked After Children
   2. Children living in the parishes of Birch, Great & Little Wigborough,
      Layer Marney, Layer Breton and Salcott-cum-Virley.
   3. Children with brothers or sisters who will continue to be at the
      school in the next academic year.
   4. Children whose parents are involved* in the life of the Christian
      Church, of any denomination, for whom this is the nearest Church
      School. (References may be made to their own priest or minister)
   5. Children whose parents, although worshipping in another faith, wish
      them to attend a Christian school because of its specifically religious
   6. Children who have medical, pastoral, or social reasons for attending
      this school, which can be supported by professional evidence.
   7. All other applications.
      *involved means attending worship on a minimum of 8 occasions annually
      for at least two years prior to the application

  In each individual oversubscription criterion, priority will be
   determined by straight line distance from home to school, those living
   closest being given the highest priority
  Children with a Statement of Special Educational Need which names
   Birch School are required to be admitted.
  Parents wishing their application to be considered under criteria 3, 4 or
   5 need to complete a Supplementary Information Form [SIF] which is
   available from the school and must be returned to the school.

Pupils are admitted in the September term if their fifth birthday falls
between September 1st and February 28th/29th inclusive, and in the
January term if their fifth birthday falls between March 1st and August 31st

The school will consider earlier admission for those children with Special
Educational Needs where this can be supported with professional

There is an induction programme to welcome and familiarise children with


In July 2006 children moved onto the following secondary schools:
Thurstable School Sports College and The Stanway School.


We believe co-operation, not competition between schools is the way
forward to promote a good quality education for all children in all areas.
The school is a member of The Tiptree and Stanway Primary Schools
Consortium which meets regularly to share ideas, in-service training and
financial and administrative support. We also belong to a small schools
cluster which shares resources, organises training and holds music and
sporting events.


The school is a Church Foundation and therefore a majority of the
governing body represents the Church. The Governors have a particular
responsibility for the upkeep of the buildings, in which they are grant
aided by the Department for Education and Skills. The school is
maintained by the Local Education Authority.

The governors are appointed from the different parts of the Community -
Church, Parents, Staff and Local Education Authority,

Head Teacher                     Miss Kate Moore
Staff Governors                  Miss Samantha Allen
                                 Mrs Lesley Batterham
Rector of Birch                  Revd Martin Clarke
Chelmsford Diocese               Revd Keith Lovell [Rector of Tollesbury]
Chelmsford Diocese               Mrs Ingrid Bentley
Chelmsford Diocese               Mrs Lorraine Godden
Birch & Layer Breton PCC         Mrs Joan Nicholson
Great Wigborough PCC             Mrs Loess Overbury-Tapper
Layer Marney PCC                 Miss Tessa Backhouse
Salcott-cum-Virley PCC           Mrs Ann Morgan
Local Education Authority        Mrs Sue Gee
Parent Governors                 Mr Robert Reeves


No school is perfect, but we do try to provide the best possible education
for your child, whatever their interests or abilities. If you have any
concerns regarding your child’s time in school please do not hesitate to
contact us.

I am always available to discuss any matters with you.

If you are satisfied with our school please tell others, if you are not,
please tell us.

Kate Moore

                                JULY 2006
                                          KEY STAGE 1
  These tables show the percentage of eligible children at the end of Year 2 achieving each level.
                           TEACHER ASSESSMENT - percentage at each level

                                                                            3 or      DISAPPLIED    ABSENT
                    W       1          2         2C        2B    2A
                                                                           above       CHILDREN    CHILDREN
Speaking &
                    0%      0%        61%                                  39%           0%          0%
Reading             0%      6%                  11%    22%       22%       39%           0%          0%

Writing             0%      6%                  17%    17%       44%       17%           0%          0%

Mathematics         0%      6%                  6%     17%       44%       28%           0%          0%

Science             0%      6%        44%                                  50%           0%          0%
                             Figures may not total 100% because of rounding.

                          READING                     94%        LEVEL 2+
                          WRITING                     95%        LEVEL 2+
                          MATHEMATICS                 95%        LEVEL 2+

                                          KEY STAGE 2
  These tables show the percentage of eligible children at the end of Year 6 achieving each level.

                         TEACHER ASSESSMENT - percentage at each level
                                                                                      DISAPPLIED    ABSENT
                    W       1          2         3         4         5       6
                                                                                       CHILDREN    CHILDREN
English             10%     0%        5%        19%    52%       14%        0%           0%          0%
Speaking &
                    0%      0%        5%        24%    48%       24%        0%           0%          0%
Reading             0%      0%        0%        10%    43%       48%        0%           0%          0%

Writing             0%      0%        10%       19%    43%       29%        0%           0%          0%

Mathematics         0%      0%        5%        19%    38%       38%        0%           0%          0%

Science             0%      0%        5%        5%     38%       52%        0%           0%          0%
                             Figures may not total 100% because of rounding.

                            TEST RESULTS - percentage at each level
                              Below                                       DISAPPLIED      ABSENT
                                            3          4         5
                             Level 3                                       CHILDREN      CHILDREN
          English               0%         19%        38%       43%          0%             0%

          Reading               0%         10%        43%       48%          0%             0%

          Writing               10%        24%        52%       14%          0%             0%

          Mathematics           5%         19%        48%       29%          0%             0%

          Science               0%         10%        48%       43%          0%             0%

                         ENGLISH                       81%               LEVEL   4+
                         READING                       91%               LEVEL   4+
                         WRITING                       66%               LEVEL   4+
                         MATHEMATICS                   77%               LEVEL   4+
                         SCIENCE                       91%               LEVEL   4+


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