How can I get more involved in the school?
There are several very useful ways to help out at school:
- Supporting our PTA. This is a great way to help the school. Every parent and carer is automatically a member of the PTA, and is invited to all events. We do rely on volunteers to help plan, organise and/or run these events, and many hands make light work. We have PTA meetings each term, and when more people attend, we have more ideas for fun events, and everyone has less work to do! One of the benefits of getting involved in the PTA is the social opportunities it presents, as it has allowed for some very good friendships to be built between parents. Find out more about the PTA here.
- Helping out in class: We are very pleased when parents ask to help out in class. Mrs Thomas, our Families’ Co-ordinator, organises this. Experience has taught us that it is not a good idea for parents to help out in their own child’s class, as it can be very distracting for that child, and so we ask you to help elsewhere in the school. All parent helpers do have to be CRB checked.
- Volunteering to help out with trips and visits
Can the children bring sweets in to share with their classmates when celebrating their birthdays?
In many schools this has often been common practice. Times, however, are changing, and there are compelling reasons for us to reconsider this. Whilst we recognise that birthdays are times of celebration, we would prefer it that sweets are not brought into school, partly because of increasing numbers of childhood allergies to a number of ingredients, but also because we aim to be a healthy school. If you would like to mark your child’s birthday in some way, then a gift of a book, or indeed books, for the classroom library would be very much appreciated.
Can we call the staff by their first names, or should we be more formal?
At Holly Park, we are keen to foster a friendly but professional relationship with our families. To this end, we would prefer to be addressed in the more formal way, e.g. Mrs Pelham, Miss Elia.
What jewellery can my child wear at school?
We encourage the children to wear as little jewellery as possible. We do not want to run the risk of items being lost during the day, as this will cause extra work, and possible upset. Some, items are, however, allowed, as long as the following conditions are met:
- Earrings must be plain studs.
- Items of a religious nature, such as a Star of David or the 5 Ks, must be hidden under the child’s clothing, and must be removed for P.E. lessons.
- Watches are allowed in school, although they should be cheap, and of no sentimental value as they may get lost or broken.
Can we bring our dog into the playground?
Although we are great fans of dogs, and think it is a good idea for children to care for and learn about pets, it is not practical to allow them in the playground, as if each family had a dog, and decided to walk them into school, we could have well over 200 dogs crowding the playground!
Also, although the vast majority of dogs are placid and loving, a small number can be aggressive and occasionally dangerous, and it is for this reason that we must ask you not to bring them into the school grounds, as it would be unfair to have a rule that discriminated against certain families simply because of the breed of dog they own.
Can we use the school’s car park?
The car park at the front of the school is for the sole use of staff and visitors to the school, unless agreed with the head teacher. Parent parking would not be fair, as we cannot offer it to all families.
Can I go straight to my child’s classroom once I am buzzed through the gate?
We expect all visitors to the site to report immediately to the office area to sign in to the visitor book. A member of staff will take children to, or fetch them from, their classroom if they are being brought into school late, or picked up early. The only exception to this is when Nursery parents are dropping their children off at the beginning of a Nursery session (8.45am; 11.45am; or 12.45pm) or picking them up at the end of one (11.30am; 1.00pm; or 3.30pm) when they may go directly to the Nursery.
Should I speak to another child if there has been a problem that has affected my child?
We are keen that any problems between pupils are dealt with quickly and effectively by the school. We do not think it is appropriate for parents to approach another child to tell them off, or question them, for something that has happened in school. From any child’s point of view, this can be distressing and intimidating and it can also often make matters worse.
If there is a problem, your first point of contact should always be the class teacher. They will most often be able to reassure you that the problem was dealt with appropriately. If you wish to discuss the matter further, you can also come to the office to speak to one of the office staff. Mrs Thomas would also be someone you could approach through Family Drop-in. If there are still questions or concerns following this, you could make an appointment to see Mrs Pelham.
Can my child play on the playground equipment before and after school?
We ask that you do not allow your child to play on the equipment before the start of school or at the end of the day. We have strict rules and expectations for the use of the equipment during playtimes and lunchtimes and it would not be possible to enforce these rules outside of these times.
The school takes no responsibility for unauthorised use of the equipment.
What bags and equipment should the children bring into school?
We are very strict about what bags and other items can come into school. We only want the children to bring the bags listed below to school:
- Reading Folders: Every child should have one of our school reading folders. These will be used to transport reading books, homework and letters to and from school. Even though your child only reads to their teacher once every week, they will need to bring these folders to school every day, as they will still read at other times.
- Swimming Bags: These are green, triangular drawstring bags. Year 4 swim from September until the February half term holiday. After that, the Year 3 children swim for the rest of the year. Every Wednesday, the children will need to make sure they have in their swimming bag their swimming costume or trunks, towel, swimming hat and goggles (if needed). All these items should be named as they are frequently misplaced.
- In addition, the children will need a coat appropriate to the time of year, and if they have packed lunches they will need to bring their named lunch box every day.
There are, however, several items we do not want brought into school:
- Pencil cases: We already supply the children with all the writing and drawing equipment they need in school. Pencil cases are unnecessary, and just add to the amount of clutter. Also, some children bring in expensive gel pens etc, which often go missing and cause a lot of fuss, but which are not needed for school work.
- Rucksacks and other sports bags: Although they may be more fashionable, rucksacks and sports bags are too bulky to fit on our coat pegs. As a result, they often fall off, and make a mess on the floor. Everything the children need can be carried in their reading folder.