HOW TO FIND OUR SCHOOL
Seaton Sluice First School
Tel 0191 2371839
Fax 0191 2980413
Head teacher: Mrs Amanda Bennett
Northumberland County Council
Seaton Sluice First School was officially opened on 28th October 1964. The need for a new primary school came about with the development of housing in Seaton Sluice. Phase 1 provided 3 infant classrooms and a temporary hall and Phase 2 provided a new hall, kitchen and four junior classrooms. The school is now a First School and educates children aged 3 – 9 and remains at the heart of its community. The building is constantly being modernized and renovated. It now has solar panels to reduce energy costs. The school is resourced with a well resourced ICT suite and all classrooms have interactive whiteboards keeping children and staff up to date with the constant changes and progress in technology. We deliver a rich curriculum that is creative, interesting, fun and designed to meet the needs of all pupils. We like to think of ourselves as a ‘family school’ where there is always an intention to nurture our children and encourage a caring environment wherever and whenever possible.
We aim to ensure that this new experience in your child’s life is enjoyable and managed sensitively. To ensure that this transition period runs smoothly, we will endeavor to provide, within school, a secure and exciting environment in which your child will quickly learn to co-operate and respond positively to others. To help your child prepare by getting to know his/her teacher, classmates and school layout, we organise pre-school visits in the preceding term. There is also a New Parents Information Evening to allow parents to ask questions and meet the staff.
ORGANISATION OF THE SCHOOL
All classes are of mixed ability, composed of both boys and girls. At times it is necessary to have mixed classes of mixed year groups in order to obtain the smallest class size possible with the numbers of teachers we are permitted. Every attempt is made to ensure that classes are balanced according to age, ability, sex and friendship groups.
CLOTHING AT SCHOOL
It is hoped that all children will be able to dress and undress themselves when they start school. It is helpful to bear in mind easier fastenings, velcro shoes etc when buying school uniform. Help is always available for a child who gets into difficulties with zips, laces or other problems.
Jewellery should not be worn by children in school. This is for health and safety reasons so that all children are not exposed to a risk of serious injury, during practical lessons, lessons using apparatus and PE/Games lessons.
Pierced ears for girls are permitted. A small pair of studs may be worn. These must be removed on the days that pupils do PE/Games or swimming either at home or by the child themselves at school. School staff are not permitted to remove earrings. PLEASE NOTE: a child who cannot remove their own earrings will not be allowed to take part in P.E. lessons for Health and Safety reasons. Please help us by ensuring that ear piercing takes place at the beginning of the summer holidays to allow for earrings being removed on their return to school after the break.
The school has a homework policy available to parents. This gives guidance to parents on what is expected and how parents can help their child. Individual class arrangements will be indicated through the half termly 'topic webs' and the home/school link letter. Children are asked to read every night. There is no doubt this encouragement greatly enhances progress.
HELPING IN SCHOOL
We very much view the education of our children as a partnership and hope that parents will take part in the life of the school.
Parents are welcome and encouraged to meet with their child’s class teacher if there is a problem. Parents are asked to arrange a mutually convenient time for a discussion. The class teacher cannot hold long discussions first thing in the morning as the children need their undivided attention.
Parents are always welcome to help with activities in the classrooms. Parents must complete a DBS form and receive an induction before helping on a regular basis in school. Forms are available from the school office. Regular help is greatly appreciated.
Parental consultations are held twice yearly in the autumn and spring terms. An annual report is sent out to parents towards the end of the summer term.
Teachers will speak to parents at any time during the year if there is a concern over how settled they are in school.
School tries to keep parents informed of new initiatives, forthcoming events and the progress of their children via Parent Mail or through Class Dojo. It is important that parents too, keep the school informed of anything that may affect the academic, social or personal progress of their children. If a parent has a concern or complaint it is important to inform a member of staff so that it can be dealt with immediately.
The school newsletter is sent via Parent Mail every fortnight (on a Friday) and can also be found on the school website home page. Please contact the school office if you would like to receive the newsletter as a paper copy.
THE EARLY YEARS – FOUNDATION STAGE
We believe that effective education rests upon a partnership between home and school; one supporting the other for the benefit of the child. This is particularly true during a child's early education. We recognise that at home and during pre-school educational provision, valuable learning takes place through a wide variety of experiences. We provide a broad and balanced curriculum, designed to meet the needs and characteristics of the young child, building on these previous learning experiences.
At Seaton Sluice we set out to provide:
1. An atmosphere where the child feels secure, happy and valued.
2. A learning environment which has been carefully organised to encourage independence and decision making; present challenges and to increase opportunities for co-operative play.
3. Purposeful activities which are appropriate to the needs of each child and which are exciting and stimulating.
4. Teaching approaches which are flexible, imaginative and sensitive in responding to the changing needs of the children.
We recognise the value of play as the principle and most effective method of learning. Good structured play allows for discovery and problem solving. It is purposeful, absorbing, open-ended and enables children to communicate with each other. It is the vehicle by which we gain access to the curriculum. Work tasks are also planned to suit your child’s unique needs, in order to develop appropriate skills, concepts, attitudes, knowledge and understanding across seven areas of learning. These are:-
Communication and language
Personal, social and emotional development
Understanding of the world
Expressive arts and design
Through a balanced combination of work tasks and structured play the children become confident and competent learners, helping them to make a smooth transition from the Early Years curriculum to the National Curriculum during their time in Year 1.
Throughout your child's time at Seaton Sluice First School the teachers will be assessing all the children in order to build up a picture of pupils' achievements. Assessment of children is vitally important as it allows teachers to gauge children’s performance and to inform their planning and teaching. The teachers’ assessments can indicate the next steps for the children’s learning. These are then made into targets for each child.These assessments are part of everyday teaching and learning. It is a continuous process, not a separate activity, which necessarily requires the use of extra tasks or tests. The children are assessed with a Baseline Assessment as they enter school.
At the end of Key Stage One (end of Year 2) teachers are required to summarise their own assessments. In addition, teachers are required, at the end of Key Stage One, to set their pupils nationally prescribed tasks or tests (SATs - Standard Assessment Tasks) in Mathematics and English.
We are very proud in this school of the high standard of achievement of our children compared to the National Average. We have maintained this over several years and hope to do so through the continued hard work of staff, parents and particularly children.
A TEACHING AND LEARNING SCHOOL
Classroom trainees are part of our community and allow our pupils to have a continually changing access to a range of staff and their talents and specialisms. We feel it is extremely important to help shape the future by training our future generation of teachers and teaching assistants.
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
A variety of after school clubs run usually from October half term through to the summer term. Information about clubs on offer is shared regularly with parents/carers and children.
The LA provides us with funding to run the school, based upon the number of pupils on roll. The school has full responsibility for managing this money. This is known as LMS (Local Management of Schools). A School Improvement Partner can be made available for consultation purposes. Decisions concerning the spending of this money, however, rest with the school and the Governing Body. Matters of school finance are not kept from parents and the ongoing budget position of the school is usually an agenda item at Governing Body Meetings.
For emergencies, such as sudden hospitilisation of a relative, involvement in an accident or a serious safeguarding issue, the office phone is manned for most of the day. There is an answer machine facility on the phone which we urge you to leave a message on, as it is regularly checked and staff will get straight back to you.
There can be times when we need to contact you quite quickly. Children who become ill during the day might need to go home. There is also the chance that there could be some sort of accident. This is what we will do:
•We will try to contact you by telephone.
• If there is no answer, then we will use the emergency contact number that you have given us on the admission form or the indexed card system
• If there is a serious accident (e.g. a break or deep wound) then we will act as quickly as possible. If it is necessary to send for an ambulance, then we will do this whilst trying to reach you. Please remember that the hospital will need your consent to treat your child. The telephone numbers kept in school are vitally important for making links with you. Please keep us up to date if there are any changes.
If your child has a serious or recurring problem it would be most helpful if you would tell us about it. School will also keep parents/carers informed of any contagious diseases of particular illnesses which may be apparent in school.
RECEPTION EYE SCREENING
A visit is made by the public health team annually to check all Reception children's eye sight. Should any concerns be identified, parents and carers will be notified and referred further follow up testing.
ILLNESS OR ACCIDENT IN SCHOOL
In the event of a child becoming ill or having an accident at school, parents need to be contacted quickly. Please give the school a telephone number of an emergency contact in case you cannot be reached. Children who have been sick or had diarrhea are asked to remain at home for 48 hours following their last bout of illness. This advice comes from the Communicable Diseases Unit.
Seaton Sluice First School has a number of staff members who are qualified First Aiders. Their training is updated every 3 years.
MEDICINES IN SCHOOL
If children are in need of regular medication it may be that they are not well enough to be in school. It is preferable for medication to be given at home wherever possible and if medicines are prescribed to be taken 3 or more times per day, parents should ask the prescribing doctor if the administration of the medication can occur outside normal school hours.
Parents should note that only medicines prescribed by the GP can be administered by staff in school. A medical consent form MUST be completed before the medication is brought into school. Parents seeking clarity over the administration of medication in school should make an appointment to discuss it with the Mrs Bennett (Headteacher) who is the Medication Coordinator.
In some cases parents may make arrangements with the school to administer their child’s medicine themselves throughout the school day.
Children with asthma are encouraged to learn about their own medication and become responsible for its use. They are encouraged to administer their inhaler themselves.
KEEPING THE CHILDREN SAFE
Once the children have arrived at school all external doors are secured. They are fitted with a lock which can easily be opened from the inside in case of an emergency. Visitors are directed to the front door to gain admittance. The school site is kept secure by fencing and locked gates. The school has a responsibility to monitor the welfare of children and will work with parents and other agencies to address any child protection concerns.
The safety of your child whilst in our care is our primary concern. With this in mind we ask you:
- To walk to school if at all possible
- To park away from the yellow markings on the road at the school entrances so that children can safely leave the premises
- Not to park on the pavements
- Not to use the car park as a short cut in case of accidents with cars parking or leaving
- To remember that all outside entrances are locked during the school day. Access is via the main front entrance where there is a buzzer to alert the school office of your arrival
- Not to allow any dogs on the school site and to report to the police anyone seen walking their dog on the school site
- Not to allow children to press the door release switch at the main entrance
- To supervise your children fully on the school premises before and after school
Toys and expensive personal property should not be brought into school. The school cannot guarantee the safety of such items and the Authority cannot accept any responsibility for the loss or theft of such items.
Schools have a duty to safeguard the children in their care and we place their protection from harm or neglect above all other priorities.
If we have any concerns about the welfare of a child as a result of the things we have seen, heard or observed we will almost always try to discuss these concerns with the parent or carer in the first instance.
There may however be rare occasions when the nature of the things observed or disclosed by the child mean that our first course of action has to be to contact the social care services and / or the police without first informing the parent or carer. Although to some this may appear to be against our policy of working in partnership with parents and carers, in this exceptional case the safety and care of children has to take priority. We are rightly required by law to ensure this priority is followed.
While all adults in the school receive regular training in child protection matters, all schools are required to have a designated person for child protection. Mrs Bennett (Headteacher) and Mrs Walsh are the Designated Lead Teachers for child protection at Seaton Sluice. Mrs Walsh is also the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children. We also have two Deputy Designated Teachers: Mrs Saleh (Early Years and key Stage 1) and Miss Chivers (Key Stage 2). Miss Chivers is the school's Senior Mental Health Lead Teacher.
Your child’s time at school is very valuable – they only get the chance once! It’s therefore very important that they miss as little school as possible. We do realise that absences due to illness or medical matters can be unavoidable and school is not the place for a child to be if they are unwell.
If your child is not going to be coming into school we ask you to phone the school as soon as possible on the first day of absence to let us know they won’t be in.
Seaton Sluice aims to achieve better than 96% attendance each year. If a pupil's attendance falls below 90% then a discussion with the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) will take place. Authorised absence from school will only be given for exceptional circumstances and is the decision of the Headteacher. Parents are requested to plan family holidays during school holiday times wherever possible.
A child who takes 2 weeks (10 days) holiday in term time will have less than 95% attendance for that year before taking into account any further days lost due to illness.
Where a child’s level or pattern of absences becomes a concern we will discuss this with the parent or carer and may involve the services of the EWO to help improve the situation.
If you do want to request holiday absence you will need to complete a 'Leave of Absence' form, giving a minimum of two weeks notice.
Attendance is celebrated each week as part of Celebration Assembly and reported on within the school newsletter.
The school has clear guidelines and school rules included within our behaviour policy. The staff are considerate and do their utmost to ensure fairness at all times. Good discipline is essential for the school to be a place where effective teaching and learning can take place. Children are encouraged to develop independence.
We expect children to be well mannered and courteous. Developing acceptable, socialised behaviour will already be well established long before the children start school. It is hoped that you as parents, and we as teachers may continue this process of learning together, helping the children to develop an awareness of the needs of others, tolerance, self-discipline, independence, trustworthiness and a pride in the school. In the event of persistent undesirable behaviour, either individually or corporately, the matter will be discussed with parents on an individual basis. The school has clear anti-bullying and e-safety policies.
This is kept in a box in the corridor. Periodically, lost items are displayed and those not claimed are disposed of. We do advise that all clothing is named- this is helpful to us for sorting and does reduce the quantity of lost clothes.
The school relies on voluntary contributions from parents for many of its activities. In order for trips, visits or special events to take place, we rely on parents making a voluntary contribution towards the cost. All requests are based on the actual cost of the provision of the activity divided by the number of children taking part. Where this cost is high, the school will often subsidise the cost of the trip.
Any activity that takes place outside school hours is viewed as an optional extra and will be charged for. Parents may decide whether or not their child takes part in this activity.
This is provided at a cost of approximately £15 per term. However, children under 5 years of age receive milk for free together with those families who receive free school meals in relation to their government benefits. No refunds are permitted unless a child leaves the school or is absent for a period of three consecutive weeks or more.
COLLECTION OF MONIES
All payments should be made via Parentmail or can be sent into school in an envelope clearly marked with your child's name, class and details of the contents. It can be collected by the class teacher at registration and sent along to the school office.
Misunderstandings can sometimes arise in the busy everyday life of a school. Usually these can be easily resolved by speaking to your child's teacher. However, if there is still a cause for concern then the matter needs to be discussed with the Head teacher. Unresolved complaints are referred to the Governors who have adopted the Local Authority complaints policy. A copy of this is available in the Policies section of the website.
Whilst every attempt has been made to keep this information up to date, changes may have taken place in the school since the information was published. We pride ourselves on being a school who listens and cares. If you have any concerns, anxieties or worries about anything to do with your child and school please do approach us and talk to us about it. If we can help we will...