Starting School - Starting School

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           ‘Starting School’
  How you can help your child when he/she
            first starts school

                Home and School - Partners in Education

February 2010                      1
                   Starting School in the Reception Class
                       at Highburton CE First School

We are delighted to welcome you and your child(ren) into our school. It is our
aim to ensure that your time with us is as enjoyable as possible and that we
achieve our declared aims for your child.

                             In the Home Corner

The purpose of this booklet is to give helpful tips on making your child’s
transition into school as easy as possible for all of you.

Learning Begins at Home

You, the child’s parents/carers are his/her most important teachers. The first
years spent at home, or in care of your choice, are the most significant.
More is learned in this period than at any other.

This is when speech and movement are developed and character is formed.

Later development builds on these initial foundations. What you give your child
at this stage in terms of time will have a great effect on determining the kind
of person he/she will grow up to be.

February 2010                          2
Help your child to play

Play is a tremendous learning experience for all children. Various types of play
can assist in the development of speech, numerical ability, muscular
development and spatial awareness. These are all areas vital to success in
school, being directly linked to learning to read, understanding numbers and to

                            Constructing with Lego

Help your child to enjoy school

Coming to school is a big change for your child. It means learning to work and
play in a group, waiting for attention and having his/her behaviour evaluated in
front of his peers. You can help his/her adjustment by presenting this as the
exciting next step in his/her life and by being as unemotional as possible.

The best thing you can do for him/her is to ensure he/she is as independent as
possible. This takes great patience on your part but is really worth it in the
long run.

Please give him/her time to learn to dress and undress him/herself.
Help him/her to have the confidence to make decisions about what he/she
likes, what he/she chooses to do.

February 2010                          3
Starting school – a time of change

Some hints and practical suggestions:
♦ when you have brought your child to his/her class try to leave quickly and
  without fuss
♦ make sure he/she knows who will be meeting them at the end of the day as
  the teacher dismisses the class from the door
♦ try not to be too worried if your child cries – this happens sometimes, but
  rarely lasts long after parents leave. If you are anxious, ring school to
  enquire if he/she is all right. Someone will check for you.
♦ make sure your child has had a healthy breakfast
♦ avoid a last minute rush in the morning
♦ don’t ever use the teacher or the school as a threat
♦ talk to the child in full sentences
♦ praise your child
♦ sing to and with your child
♦ talk TO the teacher NOT ABOUT the teacher.

                         Sharing learning in the water

At the end of a school day young children may well be tired. They often avoid
answering questions about their day except in general terms – ‘I played’.

This is normal. They may well choose to talk about their day later on.

February 2010                          4
                                  School clothes

                                  Our school uniform is
                                    ♦ grey trousers or skirt
                                    ♦ polo shirt – red or white
                                    ♦ red sweatshirt or cardigan

                                  Sweatshirts and cardigans embroidered with
the school logo may be purchased from our school office. In summer, girls may
wear red checked or striped summer dresses. We provide a red Book Bag when
your child starts school with us. These are used to hold your child’s reading
books and for us to send home any letters.

For PE the children must have:
   ♦ shorts and a T shirt for indoors
   ♦ a tracksuit or similar warm clothes for outside
   ♦ trainers or pumps for outside that are different from the ones they
      wear indoors
   ♦ a spare pair of socks

The children are encouraged to bring their kit home at the weekend for
washing, but should then bring it back to school on Monday morning and leave it
for the whole week. If they bring it home during the week then it should be
returned the next day. We do have designated PE times but sometimes
changes are made to take advantage of particularly good weather or avoid bad

Thinking ahead when buying clothes for school in the weeks leading up to the
big day, can make life easier for your child. Velcro fastenings on shoes and slip
on pumps can help take the panic out of getting changed. Joggers and polo
shirts are also easier than trousers and shirts.

Please make sure your child can put on and take off his/her own coat. A coat is
almost always needed at Highburton School as even on apparently mild days
there is often a chilly breeze. Hats and gloves are also useful in the winter

Please make sure that you name all your child’s clothes. Every year we have
large amounts of unclaimed lost property that cannot be identified. Just
writing on the label with indelible pen can be enough.
February 2010                          5
Communication with school

We operate an ‘open door’ policy and are always willing to meet with and talk to
parents about their children. Teachers are usually in the classrooms quite early
in a morning but this is their preparation time and we ask that if you need to
talk to a teacher you make it after school. If it is something that will take
more than a few minutes then please make an appointment.

The Headteacher, Mrs Lynne Rutter, operates a similar policy but has many
calls on her time so may not be available without appointment.

You will find our office staff very approachable and prepared to make
appointments for you. Mrs Clapham is the Senior Admin/Finance Officer and
Mrs Margaret Turnbull is our Clerical Officer.

                Learning outside with Mrs Rogers, the Nursery Nurse

Most important information will come to you via written letters usually sent
home with the children. Please check their book bags for these letters on a
daily basis. If you can respond as quickly as possible, when necessary, this
helps us to be efficient.

Each month the School Newsletter is published. This gives updates of what has
been going on in school, forthcoming events and dates, and reminders of
important information.

At the start of each term you will be sent a general overview of what your
child will be studying that term with suggestions for ways you can help him/her
at home. This can also be found on the school website, .

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Lunchtime and snacks

Our school dinners are freshly cooked on the premises each day. The children
are offered a choice of food – the menu is displayed in the school hall/dining
room. Dinner money can be paid weekly on Monday or half termly in advance.
Please send any money in a named purse or
envelope and ask your child to put it in the
class tin. Some children choose to bring
packed lunches.

After the first week or so when special
arrangements can be made for the ‘new
starters’, we would need two weeks’ notice to
change from one to the other.

                                                      ‘Friday Fine Diners’

Children eat their lunch in the school hall. We try to ensure that the occasion
is as pleasant and social as possible. Children choose who they sit with, coming
into the hall in small groups and leaving when they have finished.

We do insist on basic good manners and encourage the use of cutlery in the
conventional manner. It would help your child if he/she has been taught to eat
using a knife and fork.

Children in Key Stage 1 (KS1) are entitled to subsidised milk and you will be
sent an envelope to put the payment in and return to school if your child wants
to drink milk.

Children can also bring their own named drinks bottle with a sports top to
school, which they can fill with filtered water when they choose. Juice or
flavoured water is not allowed.

Children may bring a snack for morning playtime. This may be:
1. A piece of fruit, eg. apple, banana, grapes, etc.
2. A piece of vegetable, eg. carrot, mangetout peas, cucumber etc.
3. A box of dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas or apricots etc.
4. A piece of cheese such as a cheese string or Babybel.

KS1 children are given one piece of fruit or vegetable each day as part of the
national School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.
February 2010                          7
The Foundation Stage

The Foundation Stage is the first stage of the National Curriculum focusing on
the distinct needs of children from the age of 3 up to the end of Reception
year in primary school. Your child will start our school in the Reception year

Foundation Stage learning has six ‘areas of learning’. These are:
  • personal, social and emotional development
  • communication, language and literacy
  • mathematical development
  • knowledge and understanding of the world
  • physical development
  • creative development

Each learning area has ‘early learning goals’. These set out the skills,
understanding, knowledge and attitudes which it is hoped children will reach or
exceed by the end of the Foundation Stage. Children will be at different
stages of progress towards these goals depending on their age and stage of
development. ‘Stepping stones’ describe children’s typical progress towards
these goals from age three to the end of the Foundation Stage. Of course
children are individual and not all will fit into this typical pattern of progress.
Our staff understand this and take it into account when they plan activities
and experiences.

            Children learn alongside each other as well as independently

Well planned play is central to children’s learning in the Foundation Stage. That
way learning is both challenging and fun.
February 2010                            8
The indoor and outdoor ‘classrooms’ are organised to give children plenty of
space to move around; to work on the floor and on table tops; individually and in
smaller and larger groups.

           Threading beads is one of the first stages in learning to write

Resources are well organised and labelled so that children know where to find
what they need and can be independent.

The role of the adult is crucial in supporting your child’s learning through
planned play and extending and developing children’s spontaneous play.

                  Mrs Illingworth is the Reception Class teacher

Through this supported play, children can explore, develop and use their
curiosity and imagination to help them to make sense of the world in a secure

February 2010                             9
They practise skills, build up ideas and concepts, think creatively and
imaginatively and communicate with others as they investigate and solve

                            Using dough to form letters

Your child’s first year in our school is not just about learning to read and write!

                              Easter Bonnet Parade

February 2010                           10
Ready for Reading?

‘Reading Readiness’ or being ready for reading is a whole set of attitudes and
skills that your child will have to acquire before he/she can learn to read.

You can help him/her to be ready by doing some of the following things.

Please do:
♦ read often in front of him/her
♦ let him/her see that reading is useful and fun
♦ draw attention to words around you – in the street, on TV, in the shops
♦ encourage him/her to look at pictures in magazines and books and talk about
♦ talk to him/her in full sentences and listen to what he/she says – if he/she
   does not have the spoken words he/she cannot be expected to understand
   written ones
♦ encourage him/her to listen to you and others – listening is an acquired skill
   and is very important at school
♦ provide books at home and read to him/her – share the enjoyment together
♦ teach him/her nursery rhymes and talk about rhyming words
♦ play I-spy – using letter sounds rather than letter names, ie. ‘a’ for apple
   rather than ‘ay’ for apricot

Please don’t:
   ♦ be too serious about it. It’s supposed to be fun!

                  We use the Oxford Reading Scheme as our basic skill builder
                  for reading. It is an excellent well–structured scheme that
                  encourages children to learn to use a range of strategies for
                  It is not complete in itself however. We also teach children
                  to read by learning alphabet/phonic skills, sharing stories
                  and talking about pictures. You can also do this at home.

REMEMBER – learning to read is about a lot more than how many reading
scheme books your child brings home from school to share with you!!

Whilst children learn to ‘decode’ the words it cannot also develop
understanding at the depth children now need to have. It is therefore
important that children, with your help, explore other books alongside the
February 2010                          11
Sharing books

Sharing books with your child before and after he/she starts school will help
him/her enormously

Sharing books will help your child to:
  ♦ Listen and enjoy stories, nursery rhymes and poems
  ♦ Begin to understand how books work. That:
        •  they have a cover and a title
        •  you turn the pages
        •  in English you read print from left to right and from top to bottom
  ♦ Retell stories they know
  ♦ Use books to find things out
  ♦ Recognise familiar words and letters
  ♦ Learn some of the words connected with reading: page, cover, word,
       letter, front, back, author, etc.
   ♦ Make connections between sounds in speech and words on the page
   ♦ Learn that words and pictures carry a message
   ♦ Understand that print and pictures are different

What to read

Choose books that have:
  ♦ Stories, poems, jokes – anything that interests you and your child
  ♦ Exciting language that will teach your child new words
  ♦ Catchy rhymes, or words that are repeated, so that your child can join in
  ♦ A real story, not just boring everyday events where nothing much
  ♦ Pictures that help your child to understand the words
  ♦ Factual information – follow your child’s interests and extend this
     through books – your child will then see that there are a variety of
     reasons to read

Come and look at the books we have available in school. Use the local library
and encourage your child to borrow books.

February 2010                              12
Take every opportunity to read

Use the print in the environment, for example talk about print that you see in
the home or in the street. You can talk about the writing on the cereal box, the
child’s name on a birthday card, the name of your
street, the bus stop and writing in the shops.
Even traffic signs and road markings tell us

How to help with Reading at home

Make the reading fun for both of you:
♦ It is better to have regular, short, enjoyable sessions of about 10 minutes,
  rather than longer ones when concentration might go.
♦ There must be no pressure.
♦ Praise and encourage your child.
♦ Explain to older brothers and sisters how they can share a book with a
  young child. They can be a great help.
♦ Sit somewhere comfortable. Sharing books is a very special time, time for a
  cuddle, a time when your child has got you all to themselves
♦ Make sure your child can see the pages clearly.
♦ Talk about the cover – use words like back and front, beginning and end,
  so your child starts to see how books work.
♦ Ask questions about the illustrations.
♦ Talk about the pictures. Point out things that your child has seen and name
  them ‘Look at the baby. What is she doing? Is she asleep?’ This helps your
  child understand that pictures – and later, words, stand for real things.
♦ Ask questions that help your child to connect the story with their own
  feelings: ‘How would you feel if a monster came?
♦ Encourage your child to join in. Ask your child some questions as you go
  along so that they know they can join in (‘What do you think the wolf did
♦ Be ready to read the same story over and over again. Your child will correct
  you if you change it or try to leave bits out. They are starting to realise
  that the words in a book are the same every time you read it.
♦ If you read the same book again and again, it helps your child to remember
  the story and to learn some of it by heart. Soon they will begin to
  recognise words.
♦ It may be appropriate to point to each word as you are reading the text
♦ Sometimes ask your child, ‘What do you think is going to happen now?’

February 2010                          13
When you’ve finished the story you could point out an important word: ‘Look, it
says ‘Spot’ here. Can you find where it says Spot on this page?’
Or point out the letter that is at the beginning of your child’s name.
See if they can find this letter in other places.

Ready for writing

Please do:
   ♦ let him/her see you write
   ♦ write his/her name and let him/her see it
   ♦ model with plasticine, draw on chalkboard
      or with crayons,
   ♦ do ‘dot to dot’ puzzles
   ♦ help with jigsaw, copying simple shapes or matching pictures
   ♦ encourage your child to draw and paint

Please don’t:
   ♦ make him/her use his/her right hand if he/her chooses not to
   ♦ teach him/her upper case letters

                        Learning how to control a pencil

February 2010                          14

Please do:

   ♦ take every possible opportunity to count
   ♦ play sorting games – putting the same colour objects together, the same
     size objects.
   ♦ talk about criteria for sorting e.g. all the blue cars, all the four door
     cars, all the convertibles
   ♦ bake with your child and encourage him/her to read the scale when
     weighing ingredients
   ♦ look at liquid measures when playing in water
   ♦ ask questions such as – which do you think holds the most?
   ♦ Encourage your child to handle money – buying small things in shops
   ♦ talk about time and the sequence of the day e.g. get up, have breakfast,
     have lunch, then tea, watch TV, go to bed
   ♦ talk about the days of the week

                    Learning about numbers through ICT

February 2010                         15

Standards of behaviour in our school are extremely high. Children are taught
to respect each other, property and their environment. We expect them to be
polite, courteous and well mannered at all times.

Each class also has its own set of expectations for behaviour that are agreed
between the teacher and his/her class each September.

                Working alongside each other at the woodwork bench

Minor incidents of poor behaviour are dealt with by class teachers, or at
lunchtime by the Senior Lunchtime Supervisor, Mrs Sheila Chojnowski. These
are not usually reported to parents unless they are very serious.

                   Learning takes place outdoors as well as inside

If the behaviour persists or is very serious, senior staff or the Headteacher
may become involved. If a child has persistent behavioural problems then
parents are contacted so that school and home can work together on effecting
February 2010                            16
Health & Hygiene

Your child is sharing a room with a large number of other young children. Close
contact with them is unavoidable. Check your child’s hair regularly for head lice
– if you find them, please treat immediately and let us know. The School Nurse
no longer carries out routine hair inspections. The emphasis is now on parents
to be proactive to combat the spread of head lice.

The spread of head lice is significantly reduced if long hair is tied back. This is
also safer in PE and games and prevents the child being distracted by hair
falling over a face whilst working. We have a supply of ‘hair bobbles’ in case you
ever forget.

Children suffering from stomach upsets involving vomiting and diarrhoea must
be clear of them for 48 hours and eating again before they return to school.

The only medicine that may be administered to children by school are those
prescribed by a doctor and that are required to be taken four times a day
i.e. breakfast, lunch, after school and evening. This will be given at lunchtime
only. It will be administered only if there is a written letter from parents
giving consent. It MUST be in a named bottle clearly labelled with the child’s
name and the required dose. These should be taken to the office where it will
be entered into the medicine book. Please do not send children with throat
sweets, pastilles, lip-balm etc.

Sorry but WE are UNABLE to administer unprescribed medicines such as

                                      If your child is unwell and you decide to
                                      keep him/her at home, please let us know
                                      before 9.30am that day. We have a duty
                                      to ensure that your child is safe and would
                                      appreciate a phone call to let us know.
                                      Otherwise we will contact you. The
                                      Attendance Register is a statutory
                                      document and we are required to complete
                                      it at the beginning of the morning and
                                      afternoon sessions.

February 2010                           17
And Finally .........

Highburton First School is a happy school. We are a Church School and we see
what we believe to be Christian behaviour whenever we look at our children,
sharing, laughing, reading, thinking, swapping, talking, walking, giving and
forgiving arm in arm together.

But of course they have their off days too!

    This document was produced in April 2009 and revised in February 2010.

                         Highburton C E (C) First School
                                 Northfield Lane
                                    HD8 0QT
                               Tel: 01484 222730
                               Fax: 01484 222733
                 Website: www.

February 2010                          18
Excerpts from OFSTED Report: November 2008

Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage                                Grade: 1

Children enter Reception from a range of pre-school settings with skills that are overall
broadly as expected for their age. In recent years, however, aspects of their
communication, language and literacy skills and emotional skills have been below expectations
on entry. Staff visit children in their homes before they start school and this helps children
settle happily into the Reception. Activities are exciting and challenge children to
investigate and try things out. As a result, they are inquisitive, show very good levels of
concentration and thoroughly enjoy learning. For example, a group of children were totally
engrossed in an activity to find out about sea creatures, accessing information from the
Internet and using a digital camera to take photographs of the pictures they found in books.
Children make outstanding progress so that by the end of Reception their skills are above
those typically reached in all areas of learning, with almost all exceeding the expected levels
in linking sounds and letters. Children's achievement and attainment at the end of Reception
is an improving picture. The strong emphasis on teaching children the links between letters
and the sounds they represent gives children a flying start in early reading and writing.
Children speak confidently, willingly express their opinions and enter into purposeful role-
play situations with each other. The leadership and management of the EYFS are excellent.
Staff make regular assessments of children's achievements and use these very effectively
to plan next steps in learning and to provide additional support to those who need it. This
underpins the children's all-round academic and personal development. Outdoor learning
complements learning indoors effectively and there are plans in hand to improve the outdoor
provision further. Pastoral care and welfare arrangements are excellent.

February 2010                                 19
Appendix 2

Northfield Lane - Access and Parking

Parents need to be aware that Northfield Lane is a PRIVATE STREET and the following is a statement
issued by the Council regarding the use of Northfield Lane by vehicles.

                                Highburton C E (C) First School
                                  Use of Northfield Lane by Vehicles

   Northfield Lane, including that section between Moor Lane and the school gates, is a PRIVATE

   The rights of access enjoyed by the school extend only as far as the school gates and consist only
   of the right to gain vehicular access to the school car park. Northfield Lane is a single width road
   and therefore any parking whatsoever can cause problems to other users of the road and may
   also cause difficulties to residents who live in properties adjoining it.

   Parents delivering or collecting children at the start and finish of the school day do so as members
   of the public, not as representatives of the school, and must therefore take responsibility for
   observing the law and for the consequences of their own actions. Neither the school nor the
   Local Education Authority can accept any liability where legal action is brought by the residents or
   other lawful users against any individual using Northfield Lane. It should also be noted that the
   Local Education Authority does not have any responsibility for any accident arising from the
   presence of parents’ cars on Northfield Lane.

   Any parent driving along any part of Northfield Lane does so WITHOUT the authority of the
   school, unless for the specific purpose of attending the school in person in which case the official
   car park must always be used.

   R.W. Vincent                                                 R.P. Butterfield

   Chief Education Officer                             for Solicitor to the Council

February 2010                                           20

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