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.
However, because of the latest national lockdown, many schools are not running physical tours for prospective parents. We quite understand this step. However, we are continuing to run tours for anyone wishing to visit the school.
We feel it is crucial that parents have the opportunity to actually visit a school and to meet the Headteacher. Selecting a school for your child is an incredibly important decision. You need to be assured that the school you select is one which will provide the type of education which you feel to be right for your child. You may imagine that all schools are similar. However, this isn’t the case. Every school has a different approach to education and places differing levels of importance on certain outcomes. By visiting us, you will have the opportunity to learn everything you need to know in order to decide whether you wish your child to come to our school.
We are restricting the tours to one adult member of each family and I am afraid that you can not bring young children with you. In addition, each adult will be required to wear a mask or visor whilst on the school site. The Headteacher, Mr Holditch will also wear a visor. He will talk to you about the school and explain how we differ from most other schools in terms of our size and our ethos. He will answer any questions which you may have and provide you with a limited tour of the school, although we won’t be able to visit any classrooms unfortunately.
We quite appreciate that some of you may be reluctant to visit in person. Hence, in addition to the scheduled tours, we are also offering zoom meetings with the Headteacher. Many parents have already signed up for one of our tours. If you haven’t yet done so but would like to visit, please contact the school office and they will organise this for you.
Please contact the school office on 01622 717335 to book a place on a tour.
We apologise for having to limit our provision for prospective parents in the way we have, but we hope that by still providing a 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 take just a short time to decide that we are definitely 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 teach solely 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 whole of 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, art, music and sport, or our children’s happiness, in order to push our pupils to achieve government targets in the SAT tests. We are here to educate and prepare children for their adult life, not to hothouse them for a government test.
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 and 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.
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.