Parents/ Contacting School- Guidelines
At St Mary’s we try very hard to make our school accessible to all who have a vested interest in the progress of our children. We recognise the crucial role parents play in the development of each of our pupils, and seek to allow parents as much opportunity to access school to both share in the education of their child and to be able to discuss concerns or ask questions. We want parents to feel confident that they can come in and discuss their child’s progress. We do not want parents to dwell on concerns they have, nor to talk about issues negatively with other parents on the playground, via computers or any form of social media. We will always make time to see any parents about any issue, no matter how trivial. In this spirit of openness we would ask parents to follow the procedures laid down below if they wish to contact school.
For reasons of security and to give staff every opportunity to nurture independence in every child we ask that parents do not routinely come into school to help their child get ready for the day. Instead, we would ask that parents follow the steps detailed below:
- Coming in person to the office- Parents are welcome at any time to come to the front entrance and to speak to either Mrs Peace or, our school administrators, or any other member of staff available. There may be brief occasions when there is no-one in the office because the office staff have been called away and no-one else is around. At these times please ring the bell and wait at the hatch and someone will attend you when available. If required, you will be then be let through the security door.(Please note: Mrs Peace and Mrs Pearson have a lunch break from 12.30 till 1.00, so are usually not available at this time.)
*The front door is the only access point for anyone except staff once school has started. Access
can only be gained with the consent of a staff member. Children who are late (i.e. arriving at
school after 9.00) should be brought through the front entrance.
- In writing-Parents may choose to write a letter and address it to the person they wish to contact. The letter will be read at the earliest possible convenience, and a response will be given if needed.
- Ringing the office- Parents/ guardians are welcome to ring the school on 01709 361 502 at any time. If no-one is available to take your call, please leave a message. Someone will get back to you if necessary.
- Emailing school. Parents may email parents if they wish. Emails are usually opened within 24 hours of arriving. Our address is email@example.com
- The head teacher will go onto the playground when he is able to from 8.45 every morning. This is an ideal time for any parents/ guardians to chat informally to him if they wish.
- If parents wish to see the class teacher concerning a minor issue, there are several ways of doing so:
- Ring the school and make an appointment.
- Come to the school entrance and ask if a class teacher is available for a quick chat. If the teacher is available, you may be able to have a word there and then. If not, you will be able to arrange a time when you can meet with the teacher.
- Speak to a teacher on the yard before school. Staff may be able to see you very briefly when they are bringing their class into school before school.
- Speak to a teacher after school. Staff may be able to see you briefly when the children are being released at the end of the day.
* We would ask that parents do not meet teachers or the head teacher with contentious issues
in view of other parents, children or staff.
- If parents have a more serious issue to discuss that may take longer than a couple of minutes to resolve or that may be contentious, we ask them to make an appointment to see the class teacher/ head teacher. We will try our best to fit parents in at the earliest possible convenience, and to ensure that the ensuing discussion is given appropriate time.
- At Mary’s we are very lucky to have almost unequivocal support from our parents in support of our mission to develop their children’s academic, spiritual, moral and social growth in the image of Christ. We thank each and every parent for this support.
We are aware that in the day to day hurly burly of school life there may, very occasionally, be a grievance that a parent may have. We sincerely hope but do not assume that all our parents will be happy with everything we do or with everything that happens at St Mary’s all of the time. However, we hope that, should such a grievance materialise school and parents work together openly and quickly so that minimum disruption is caused and so that the grievance can be resolved as quickly as possible for the benefit of the child.
If your child comes out of school telling you of something that has happened in school that has upset them in some way, please talk to them about what happened. School will have dealt with issues that they know about accordingly and in an unbiased way. In order to do this, we ask that;
- Children tell staff if they have been upset by another child in any way, whether physically, name calling, social exclusion etc.
- Children never take a matter into their own hands. We tell our children that retaliation in any way is not allowed at all. We would ask that parents echo this important message at home.
- Parents trust the school to deal with all issues sensitively and fairly, based on consideration of the view point of the child and other parties.
- Parents try not to discuss issues that have happened in school with other parents before or after school.
- Parents do not confront other parents or children about an incident that has happened in school.
If, after speaking to your child you still have questions about how the issue has been resolved, please do not hesitate to make an appointment to see a member of staff to discuss the issue.
In the vast majority of instances where a child has incurred an injury the incident will have been an accident, usually the result of enthusiastic play. However, we deal with ALL instances resulting in intentional physical injury, no matter how minor, with the utmost seriousness. If, after considering all sides, we conclude that the injury has been inflicted on purpose we will contact the parents of the child who has inflicted the injuries and execute an appropriate sanction.
Swearing or name calling is not allowed, whether in retaliation or not. If a child swears or calls another child a particularly offensive name, we will contact his or her parents at the earliest possible convenience. We ask that parents support us in such an instance by discussing the issue with their child, and telling them that such an offence, whether in response to something another other child has said or done or not is not tolerated by teachers or parents.
We are enormously proud of the standards of behaviour, good manners, care for others and courtesy shown by all of our children for the vast majority of time. We wish to help this to continue, and wish to do this in close partnership with our parents, who almost without exception support us in this.
Complaints-A summary of Guidelines for Parents
If your child has a problem at school you should be able to sort it out through an informal discussion with your child's teacher. If you can't resolve a problem informally, the school should have a formal complaints procedure that you can follow.
Contacting your child's school
If you're worried about your child's learning or welfare at school, your child's class teacher is the best person to approach first. Teachers will usually be in the classroom during the day, but you can leave messages with the school office asking the teacher to get back to you.
If the teacher can't help, or you are not satisfied with their response, you can talk to the headteacher. You should be able to arrange a meeting or a telephone conversation with the headteacher through the school office. If this isn’t practical, you may wish to make a written complaint.
Complaining to the governing body
If your complaint is not resolved, the next stage is to approach the governing body of the school. All state-funded schools are required to have a procedure to deal with any complaints relating to the school, or to any facilities or services that the school provides for the local community.
If you want to complain to the governing body, ask the school for a copy of its complaints procedure. All complaints to the governing body must be in writing.
Complaining to your local authority
Some procedures may allow for an additional stage if the local authority (LA), Diocesan Body or another external agency provides an independent appeal or review. LAs are also required to set up a procedure for dealing with certain types of complaints, for example complaints about the curriculum or collective worship in a school.
Complaining to the Secretary of State
Finally, if you believe that your school's governing body or your local authority is acting 'unreasonably' you can complain in writing to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Complaints to the Secretary of State are handled by the government’s Department for Children, Schools and Families.
This should be a last resort, and you should highlight in your letter the steps you have already taken to resolve the problem. You should be aware that the Department for Children, Schools and Families will not usually be able to investigate your complaint if your child no longer goes to the school where the incident took place.
Complaining to Ofsted
Ofsted has powers to investigate certain types of complaint from parents to help them to decide whether to inspect a school - though in most cases, you should raise any problems with the school first.
Types of complaint to which Ofsted can respond include:
- the school is not providing a good enough education
- the pupils are not achieving as much as they should, or their needs are not being met
- the school is not well led and managed, or is not using its resources efficiently
- the pupils’ personal development and well-being are being neglected
When considering a complaint, Ofsted can require the school or local authority to provide information, or require the school to arrange for a meeting of parents to seek their views.
Ofsted can also record parents’ concerns for consideration during the school’s next inspection.
Where a complaint is very serious, Ofsted can arrange an immediate inspection of the school.
For further information, call the Ofsted helpline on 08456 40 40 45.
Uniform- We have noticed that many of our children are leaving their jumpers and cardigans lying about in and around school and the lost property box is constantly full because of this. We are going to speak to our children about the importance of looking after their own property and this extends to the one item they have that is the same as everyone else’s. To this end, we would ask parents to:
- Make sure children’s names are clearly put on onto their jumpers and cardigans, preferably stitched. We simply cannot identify the owner of a jumper if there is no name.
- Speak to their child about the importance of looking after their jumpers and cardigans and how, every time they lose one, you as parents have to spend your hard earned money replacing it.
School App-As part of our new website we now have a school ‘app’ that can be downloaded and provides users with certain parts of the school website including term dates, notifications and newsletters and you will receive notifications when the website is updated. Once it has been downloaded the easiest way to find us is to search by our postcode-S65 2NU-and then select St Mary’s Herringthorpe.
Anti-Bullying Week 2018 - ‘Choose Respect’. Starting on Monday, we will be taking part in activities to mark National ‘Anti Bullying Week’ which took place this week. As well as lessons, discussions and assemblies on the subject we will be holding special days:
Monday- ‘Wear Odd Socks Day’. Children can come to school wearing socks that are colourful, weird but definitely ODD! All of us are unique and diverse and it is important to celebrate these differences!
Friday- ‘Wear Blue Day’. On Friday 23rd November all children can wear blue all day. (Blue is the colour associated with the anti-bullying campaign.) On Friday, therefore, children can come to school in jeans or any other blue clothes on their bottom half. (Normal top half please, as our uniform is already blue!)
In any school, from a school in the ‘leafiest’ of leafy suburbs to the most challenging of areas there will be instances where children fall out, where accidents take place in school or where ‘fall outs’ occur, and where the word ’bullying ‘is often used too quickly.
We at St Mary’s are very confident that we, as a school, have a very effective anti-bullying policy (see website) which helps us deal with any issues and incidents, as few and far between as they are. We are also so lucky to have such wonderful children who, despite fall outs from time to time, are caring, respectful and considerate.
Sometimes, however, children and parents use the word ‘bullying’ when it is clearly not a bullying case. This is always upsetting for all involved and it is a shame that the word is used, at times, far too quickly. For this reason, here are some definitions of bullying;
Common Features of Bullying
INTENT - it is deliberate!
REPEATED - it happens more than once!
HARMFUL - it causes physical or emotional damage!
POWER IMBALANCE - it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.
Types of Bullying
Hitting, kicking, spitting, throwing stones or pushing. Getting another person to hit someone.
Verbal insults, name calling, persuading another person to insult someone, spreading bad rumours, obvious whispering.
Threatening and bad gestures, intimidation by staring and 'dirty looks,' removing and hiding belongings, deliberate exclusion from a group or activity, ignoring.
Cyber bullying (Online Bullying or E-Bullying)
Internet - either by e-mail or 'site victimisation' (when someone sets up an Internet site for the purpose of victimising an individual/ group )
Text messages, picture/video clip messages.
We are proud of our wonderful children and the relationships they have with others, and we know that much of this is down to the excellent, positive influence and role modelling provided at home by their parents.
However, we still want to talk about bullying, what it is and what effects it can have.
October 2018- Well done to our wonderful footballers, who took part in the Rotherham Schools Football Finals this week. The boys did so well, finishing second of ten teams, all of whom were the champions of their own areas. Although we dominated all of our games, with only six minutes a match three of our games finished goalless. This meant that we missed out on first place by a mere point. Well done to all for your efforts, skill and for taking the disappointment of dominating throughout but missing out on top spot very narrowly so well. We are very proud of you all.
September- I am now at the end of my first week as head teacher at St. Mary’s Herringthorpe, and I feel very
privileged to have been given the opportunity to work in such a vibrant, happy, welcoming community
of people! I have been bowled over by how quickly your children have settled into school life after a
long Summer away. It is like they have never been away!
The staff have been working with me to discuss how we can build on the excellent foundations
established over many years here at St Mary’s. We are excited to introduce some new ideas and
ways of working, but we will do this in a manageable, ‘bite size’ way!
As you know we have introduced just a few new rules. Here is a quick reminder:
- School car park-For safety reasons, parents should not drive into the school car park at
any time. This includes dropping children off for Breakfast Club and collecting children at
the end of After School Club and any clubs that are put on.
- Before School- We would ask that parents do not routinely come into school to help their
child get ready for the day. Instead, parents should leave their child in the line on the
yard so the teacher can lead their class in. If you have a minor query or information to give
you can speak to the teacher as they collect their class. *Please note- Foundation parents
have their own arrangements about this point.
- Animals on school grounds-Apart from assistance dogs or as part of an organised and
agreed class / school activity, we would ask that parents do not bring dogs or any other
animals onto the school grounds at any time.
I am very thankful to staff, parents and children for taking these rules on so quickly!
I am a firm believer that a school must have an ‘Open Door’ policy for its parents. Parents are the
most important people in a child’s life and all schools must foster a positive, proactive working
relationship with you. Therefore, if, at any time, you have an issue, suggestion or problem, please do
not hesitate to come to the office and ask to see the relevant member of staff. They may be able to
see you right away or, if not, an appointment will be made.
We are currently working on a ‘Partnership with Parents’ policy. This policy will be published soon. It will detail clearly how we want to work together with you in an open, professional way.
Please look out for this policy!