Starting School in Reception

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

Those of you whose children are due to start school in September 2023 will now be looking at local schools to see which best suits your child. If that is the case, or if you have simply moved into the area recently and are considering which school you might wish an older child to attend, we would advise you to visit every school in which you may be interested. You may imagine that all schools are similar, but this isn’t the case. Every school has a different approach to education and place differing levels of importance on certain outcomes. 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. 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 what you want. To that end, it really 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.

We will be running school tours for those of you whose children are due to start school in September 2023. The dates for these are:

Wednesday 16th November – and 1.30pm

Thursday 17th November – 9am and 1.30pm

Wednesday 23rd November – 9am and 1.30pm

Thursday 24th November – 9am and 1.30pm

Monday 28th November – 9am and 1.30pm

Tuesday 29th November – 9am and 1.30pm

We like to limit the tours to just 6 people, as this allows us to go into the classrooms without causing chaos! The children love seeing visitors, but having an enormous group come into the room can rather disrupt the lesson. Hence our limiting numbers as we do.

Should you wish to attend any of these tours, please contact us and we will book you a place on the tour which you require. If these dates aren’t convenient, let us know and we will try to arrange a tour which suits you. Choosing the primary school for your child is an extremely important decision and we appreciate just how important it is for you to visit in person.

During the tours, Mr Holditch will talk to you about the school and explain how we differ from most in terms of our size and our ethos. He will answer any questions which you may have and will take you around the classrooms so that you can meet the teachers and children.

Please contact the school office on 01622 717335 if you wish to visit.

We also hold an open evening in the school hall for parents wishing to learn more about the school. This year, the open evening is on Monday 14th November, from 6-7.15pm. This is an informal evening – you don’t need to book – you can simply come along at any time that suits you. A majority of our teaching staff will be on hand to chat to you about how we teach the various curriculum subjects at St Peter’s. You will also be able to speak to parents of our current Year R pupils, as well as governors, the school SENCo and the Headteacher. Pupils from Year 6 will take you across to the Year R classrooms where you will be able to speak to the Year R staff about how we approach Early Years education. The SPSA, which is our PTFA group, will supply refreshments. You are welcome to stay for 10 minutes or for the full session.

The open evening complements the tours which we run in the school day. During the tours, you get a feel for the school as you see us in action, but you don’t get a chance to speak to the staff at any length as they are working. However, at the open evening, you can speak to any of them for as long as you wish. We hope that together, the tours and open evening provide you with a real picture of what life is like at St Peter’s.

Our School

When you visit our school, you will quickly learn that we are not the norm! Some of you 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. 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. Music is taught by professional musicians and we have qualified sports coaches who deliver our PE provision. We have links with schools in France, and offer day trips to our older pupils as well as week long residentials at the KCC centre in Hardelot. Prior to the UK leaving the EU, we were one of the few primary schools in the whole of the UK to take part in the EU’s Erasmus programme. Our children visited 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. We want our children to achieve as highly as possible in these crucial subjects, and our results in all forms of testing, including the 11+, show that we are successful in achieving this goal. 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.

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.