Starting School in Reception

Finding out more about St Peter’s Church of England Primary School

Those of you with children starting school in the next academic year will now be looking at local schools, in order to decide which one you would like your child to attend. However, the Covid crisis means that the process of deciding which school is right for your child will be far more challenging this year.

We would always strongly advise you to visit all of the schools in which you are interested. Whether you know a great deal about education or not, you only need to spend half an hour in a school to know whether the atmosphere and ethos is right for you and your child. We would always say that it is imperative that you actually visit each school, during the school day, in order to actually witness the relationships which exist between staff, between pupils, and between the staff and pupils.

But of course because of the restrictions, many schools are not offering even limited tours this year. This is entirely understandable. A great number have produced ‘virtual tours’ which they are publishing on their websites. However, we feel that it is extremely important that parents physically meet the Headteacher and have the opportunity to discuss at some length the way a particular school is run and the ethos which exists there. Hence, we will be offering carefully controlled school tours this year so that you can speak to the Headteacher and be taken around some of the school.

We would usually hold an extended open evening for prospective parents when you would have the chance to meet all of our teachers, other members of staff, governors,  some of our Year 6 children and parents from our current Year R. Obviously we have had to cancel the open evening this year. However, when you come on a tour, the Headteacher will take an hour to explain what we try to do at St Peter’s and how our approach differs from larger primary schools and academies. He will then take you around the school although you won’t be able to go into the classrooms unfortunately. This is a shame because one of the unique features of our school is the supportive, friendly atmosphere which exists between the children, and between the children and staff members. However, we hope that the tours will at least provide you with an insight into what type of school we have here at St Peter’s.

In order to adhere to government restrictions, the guided tours are now limited to just 5 adults and all those visiting will be required to wear either a mask or visor for the entirety of the visit. The Headteacher will wear a visor. We have set the following dates and times for our tours:

Tuesday 17 November 9:30am and 1:30pm

Thursday 19 November 9:30am and 1:30pm

Monday 23 November 9:30am and 1:30pm

Tuesday 24 November 9:30am and 1:30pm

Monday 30 November 9:30am and 1:30pm

Wednesday 2 December 9:30am and 1:30pm

Please contact the school office on 01622 717335 to book a place.

We would ask that just one parent takes a place on the tour – sorry, we are just trying to accommodate numbers. Many of the first scheduled tours are already full. However, we do have spaces available on the later ones. If you cannot make any of the scheduled dates, but wish to tour the school, please contact us and we will try to arrange an alternative day and time. Also, if one parent tours our school and you leave feeling that we would be the right setting for your child, but your partner is unsure, please contact us as we will try to accommodate a second parent on a later date if you both need to visit in order to make a fully informed decision.

We apologise for having to limit our provision for prospective parents in the way we have, but we hope that by still providing a face to face meeting with the Headteacher, you will at least have the opportunity to learn about our very special school. We are not the norm! This school is rather different to the majority. Some of you parents will visit us and take just a short time to decide that we are not for you. For others, we will be a perfect fit. Whilst many other schools are growing and expanding, St Peter’s remains a small, traditional school. We revel in the family atmosphere which exists here. Our class sizes are small, with 26 pupils being the norm. Further, as a church school, we instil a strong moral compass in our children, and we insist on high standards of behaviour and respect within our school community.

We place great value on providing a fully rounded education for our pupils. We promote art, music, sport, languages and a wide range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities in order to develop the character of our pupils. Children learn a foreign language from Year R. Every week we have Creative Thursday when we solely teach art, music, PE, and French/Spanish. Music is taught by professional musicians and we have professional sports coaches who teach some of our PE provision. We are one of the few primary schools in the UK which takes part in the EU’s Erasmus programme. Our children visit partner schools across Europe – funded by the EU.

Please be assured that we place very high importance on the academic success of our children. We have extensive systems for tracking our pupils’ progress in English and maths, and we go to great lengths to maximise their attainment in these important subjects. However, we feel that children will do better in English and mathematics if they have every chance to enjoy a wide curriculum and a wide range of learning experiences which build their character and self confidence. Hence, we will not sacrifice the wider curriculum, the arts, music and sport, or our children’s happiness, in order to push our pupils to achieve government targets in the SAT tests.

Legally, children must start full-time schooling by the beginning of the school term after their 5th birthday.  At St Peter’s, children start Reception class in the September following their 4th birthday. Applications for your child to start in Reception class are generally made online via the Kent County Council website. Local admission arrangements may also be found here.  

Joining St Peter’s from Another School

Moving house and school can be traumatic or at the very least a little daunting. We will manage your child’s move with care, professionalism and sensitivity. You are encouraged to bring your children with you when you visit, so that they can spend some time in the class they may join. All children are invited to spend one or two half days in school in the term before they start, if this is feasible.  We ease the transition by operating a buddy system, where a child will volunteer to look after their new classmate.

If you wish to know more please contact us and come and have a look round.

For in year admissions to any year group, parents must complete the In Year Casual Application Form available from St Peter’s School office or complete the downloadable form from the Kent County Council website. This form must be returned to us. We will advise you whether a place is available.  If we do not have a place available you may ask to join our waiting list.

Oversubscription Criteria

We can admit up to 26 pupils in each year group. The Local Authority applies the following admissions criteria in the event of oversubscription:

If the number of preferences for the school is more than the number of spaces available, places will be allocated in the following priority order:

Children in Local Authority Care or Previously in Local Authority Care – a ‘looked after child’ or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, child arrangements, or special guardianship order. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989).

Current Family Association – a brother or sister in the same school at the time of entry where the family continue to live at the same address as when the sibling was admitted –or –if they have moved –live within 2 miles of the school, or have moved to a property that is nearer to the school than the previous property as defined by the ‘Nearness’ criterion’ (below). In this context brother or sister means children who live as brother and sister in the same house, including natural brothers or sisters, adopted siblings, stepbrothers or sisters, foster brothers or sisters.

Health and Special Access Reasons – Medical, health, social and special access reasons will be applied in accordance with the school’s legal obligations, in particular those under the Equality Act 2010. Priority will be given to those children whose mental or physical impairment means they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Equally this priority will apply to children whose parents’/guardians’ physical or mental health or social needs mean that they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Such claims will need to be supported by written evidence from a suitably qualified medical or other practitioner who can demonstrate a special connection between these needs and the particular school.

Nearness of children’s homes to school – we use the distance between the child’s permanent home address and the school, measured in a straight line using the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) address point. Distances are measured from a point defined as within the child’s home to a point defined as within the school as specified by NLPG. The same address point on the school site is used for everybody. When we apply the distance criterion for an oversubscribed Community or Voluntary Controlled school, these straight line measurements are used to determine how close each applicant’s address is to the school.

In the event of any of the above criteria being oversubscribed, priority will be given based on distance as described above with those closest being given higher priority. In the unlikely event that two or more children in all other ways have equal eligibility for the last available place at the school, the names will be issued a number and drawn randomly to decide which child should be given the place.