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Communication & Travel

The School Office

The school office is open from 8am – 4.30pm, although it can be very busy between 8.45 – 9.15am.  The office is an important hub of the school and is a particularly busy place.  Staff have a constant stream of deliveries, visitors, phone calls, letters, money, first aid requirements, emails, lost property, request forms, children and parents.  They also have the 99% of their other jobs to do.  Staff are always willing and happy to help but please play your part in helping them to be efficient! 

We would really appreciate it if parents could help us in the following ways:

  • Read the newsletter and other letters.  Check your email inbox and your child’s bag for letters daily. 
  • Return permission slips and/or reply to letters promptly. 
  • Inform the school by 9.30 am if your child is absent.
  • Send money to the school office in a sealed envelope with your child’s name, amount and purpose via your child’s book bag, hand it to a member of staff or put it in the “quick drop” box in the foyer.   The school cannot be held responsible for missing monies if the above procedure is not followed.
  • Check the website first for information about events, dates, clubs, letters sent home.

Access to the school office

Pedestrians should use the designated path to reach the office.  There are many vehicle movements throughout the day with frequent deliveries and visitors.  Please take particular care of vehicles reversing.  Parents should not park in the staff car park. The school office can be accessed via the Cherry Tree Playground and the high level door release button on the left hand side.

Weekly Bulletin, Newsletters and Dates

  • Weekly bulletin: this is usually produced every Friday (you will receive a text with a link) and contains a lot of important information, dates and news for parents and carers so please do read it carefully. 
  • Newsletters: generally issued at the end of each half-term.  These give a round-up of what has been happening within the school during the last half-term as well as other general information. 
  • Dates list: the dates list on the website is kept up-to-date.  A hard copy is available from the office although please remember to check the online list for any changes.

All the above are available online at www.stnicolasmary.w-sussex.sch.uk  If you do not have access to a computer, we have a touch screen in the foyer for parents/carers to access the internet.

Email and letters

Messages can be emailed to the office: office@stnm.org.uk This is an effective way to get an important message through quickly.   All letters will be on the website.  We will send home hard copies of letters requiring a written response or consent (you will need to print out a copy if this is misplaced).  General information letters will be emailed to you or you will be sent a link.

Texting 

The school uses a texting service for messages to parents/carers eg. to inform about school closures or cancellation of clubs. Please make sure the school has your correct mobile phone number.  On some days more than one message is sent so do scroll back to make sure you don’t miss any important information.  Texts will state who the message is for and will use key words followed by the main text, for example, “KS2 Sports Day” or “DD Assembly”.  The following abbreviations will be used:

All Children                   ALL                                                                R – Blue or Gray Whale                 BW or GW

Early Years                    EY (includes Nursery and Reception)   1 – Dusky or Spinner Dolphin      DD or SD

Key Stage 1                    KS1 (includes Years 1 and 2)                 2 – Penguin or Puffin                     PEN or PUF

Key Stage 2                    KS2 (includes Years 3 – 6)                      3 – Sea Lion or Seal                       SEA or SL

Little Fishes Nursery    LFN                                                               4 – Sea Otter or Seahorse            SO or SH

Year 1, 2 etc                  Y1, Y2 etc                                                    5 – Terrapin or Turtle                  TER or TUR

6 – Oyster or Coral      OYS or COR

Emergency Contacts

Please ensure that the school office always has up to date emergency contact names and numbers.  This is particularly important if you, or other emergency contacts, change mobile phones! 

Seeing staff before or after school

Once your child has settled into school, parents should not come into classrooms at the start of the school day.  This is a very busy time of day as teachers need to spend time with the children.  Messages should be passed on via a note, the Home School Link Workers at the gate or the school office.  Parents may speak briefly to a member of staff when children are collected or you can make a longer appointment through the school office.  All parents who need to go into school must sign in at reception and wear a Parent helper badge or Visitor sticker – we have a huge number of people working in school and it is really important that everyone knows who is who and that security remains tight.  Your help in this matter would be much appreciated. 

School Website                                                                                          www.stnicolasmary.w-sussex.sch.uk

The website contains lots of useful information for parents about the school in relation to term dates, calendar dates and teacher-led clubs, as well as information about the school’s Christian and British values, staff and governors, performance reports, policies, class newsletters, information from parent workshops, school meals and latest news eg snow closure.

Coming to School/Nursery

Parents/carers are responsible for ensuring their children get to school/nursery safely.  The school gate is opened at 8.35am. You can come onto the Cherry Tree playground and wait with your child(ren) until a member of the Senior Leadership rings the bell at 8.45am.  Parents/Carers are responsible for their child(ren) until 8.45 am – they must not be left unsupervised before this time.  We encourage as many parents/carers as possible to walk to school/nursery.  It is better for your child’s health, reduces pollution and eases congestion.  Please make use of the “lollipop” man at the top of Eastern Avenue and the crossing. 

On Time!

Please make sure your child arrives on time by 8.55am so as not to disrupt the registration process and the start of the  school day.  For every child who arrives late we have to check he/she is signed in by a parent/carer and mark them “late” both in the register and on our electronic records.  All classes have Early Morning Work set up for them to take part in on arrival so childcare often benefit considerably if they arrive at 8.45 am.

Parking

If you do need to use a car PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON THE YELLOW ZIG-ZAGS, DOUBLE YELLOW LINES or block the driveways of neighbours.  We ask you to consider parking at Buckingham Park and walking down to the school.  This will help reduce congestion around the school, directly improving safety for pupils as well as reducing parking issues for local residents.  Please note that you shoud not park in the Tesco car park at drop-off/pick-up.

Scooter & Cycle shed

Children are welcome to park their scooters and cycles in the cycle shed but must remember that:

  • Scooters and cycles are left at owners’ risk – the school cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged scooters or cycles.
  • All scooters and cycles should be clearly named, preferably engraved.
  • Parents are responsible for supervising children using scooters and cycles on the way to and from school.
  • Scooters and cycles must not be ridden on the school premises.
  • The gate on the front of the shelter is locked at 8.55 am and opened at the end of the school day.  Children arriving late or leaving early (including nursery children) can leave their scooters/cycles in the rack outside the shelter.

Cycling to and from school

  • Cycling is a healthy, eco-friendly way of travelling to school.  Parents are responsible for ensuring their child travels to school safely, especially younger children who have not done a cycle safety course.  The school’s expectations are:

  • All cyclists should wear helmets.

  • All cycles should be roadworthy.

  • The Highway Code should be adhered to.
  • Children should be supervised.

Bad weather

When the weather is bad, please also allow extra time if coming by car as there is always more congestion during wet weather.

Home time

Parents/carers are welcome to wait on the Cherry Tree Playground from 3pm to collect children at the end of the school day.  Children are not allowed to leave the care of their teacher until their parent/carer has arrived.  Some older children may go home independently and may leave the premises on their own with parental permission.  Reception children are amongst the first to come out so that you can see them easily.  Children will only be handed over to adults for whom we have permission.

Home time supervision

Parents are responsible for their own children at home time and must supervise them once their child has been handed over. Pre-school age children may use the play equipment whilst you wait for older siblings, providing they are closely supervised. 

Running late?

Occasionally parents are delayed when picking up their child.  If this happens, and if possible, please ring the school so we can explain to your child why you are late, it helps stop them worrying.  Your child will then wait on the chairs by the school office.

Uncollected children policy – extracts (Full policy available on request)

If a child is not collected at “home time” our staff will follow the following procedures:

  1. Staff check whether the child should be attending a club or not.
  2. The child will be taken to the school office.
  3. Children will initially be asked to wait on the chairs by the school office (depending on age etc) but may be looked after elsewhere in the school if appropriate. 
  4. All reasonable attempts are made to contact the parents or nominated carers via telephone or text.
  5. The child does not leave the premises with anyone other than those known to the child/school.  The office must be informed when an uncollected child leaves the premises.
  6. If no-one collects the child after one hour and there is no-one who can be contacted to collect the child, we will apply the procedures for uncollected children.

a) Children’s (Social) Services are contacted and given relevant information including parent/carer contact details and child’s medical details.

b) A full written report of the incident is recorded in the child's file.

c) Under no circumstances are staff to go to look for the parent, nor do they take the child home with them.

d) Children’s Services will aim to find the parent or relative. If they are unable to do so, the child will be admitted into the care of the local authority.

e) The child stays at the school with two members of staff until the child is safely collected either by the parents/carers or by a social worker.

Depending on circumstances, the school reserves the right to charge parents for the additional hours        worked by staff. (Charges will be in line with late pick up charges for Starfish After School Club – details available upon request).

Dogs

Dogs are not permitted on the school premises unless agreed in advance (e.g. as part of a project) – this includes the car park and footpath to the office.  Please tie your dog up at the rings on the fence in the designated area (left of the gate) and, even if you are just dropping off by the gate, please stand with your dog by the designated area.  Please also ensure you control your dog outside the school gates so children can come to and leave school without feeling scared – some children are not confident with dogs so they must be kept clear of the school gates.

Financial Contributions

There are occasions when the school asks parents/carers to make a financial contribution.  This may include:

  • School trips – usually 2 or 3 per year (between £6 – £20 per trip)
  • Swimming lessons – years 3, 4 and 5 only (approximately £4.50 per session)
  • Uniform (see website for suppliers)
  • School meals – free for YR – Y2, £2.35 per meal for years 3 – 6 (subject to government funding review)
  • Breakfast Club (£3.50 per session) and After school Club (£6.00 per session)
  • Y6 residential trip in the summer term – approximately £240
  • Visits from theatre companies to complement curriculum topics – up to £10 per visit
  • School Photos: between £9 – £28
  • Play tickets and DVD of performance: tickets £2.50, DVD £3
  • PTA events eg film nights (approximately £3.50 per ticket), parties (up to £5 per ticket) and fayres
  • Ad hoc events, for example, non-uniform/dress-up days for charity (usually £1 each time), cooking and other projects
  • Clubs and other tuition eg Cricket, Art, French, Music lessons
  • Additional items to support your child’s needs eg sensory items, personal care items.
  • PTA standing order (optional)

Please do get in touch if you wish to discuss any of the above in confidence (also refer to our charging policy).

Online payment

The school has a system for paying online for nursery fees, breakfast and after school clubs, school trips etc.  You will receive a letter with further details.  As an eco-school we aim to reduce the amount of paper that the school distributes and we are increasingly using the website and email to communicate with parents.

Voluntary Contributions for the year

To help parents and carers plan for the academic year please see the budget planner on your child's class page. 

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