Frequently Asked Questions
How do you plan for the future of the school?
We have an annual plan, drawn up after consultation with all parents, staff, children and governors that outlines the future targets and plans for the school and identifies areas to be developed. This covers all aspects of school life including the curriculum, premises, staff recruitment, training and development, pastoral care and equality issues. Staff and governors review the plan regularly and closely monitor our progress towards identified targets.
Copies of the annual plan are freely available from the head teacher or the school office on request.
How do you make sure the school’s high standards are maintained?
There are many ways in which the governing body and staff monitor the school’s performance, for example:
- We set targets for every child and for each year group as a whole. In particular we set targets for how many children will meet and exceed national levels of achievement.
- Our curriculum team leaders monitor and improve performance in their own particular areas. The head teacher reviews all plans of work for all classes and monitors and evaluates the performance of all staff and children.
- The DfE and Herefordshire Authority gather statistical information about each school and reports to the head teacher and governing body on how well the school is performing compared to local and national trends.
- And of course the school is subject to full inspection by OFSTED, the Government’s watchdog for education. Following a full inspection by OFSTED, the report is made available to all (www.ofsted.gov.uk).
- We work in partnership with parents and share information about how each child is doing as well as how to support them in school
The head teacher and governors are always pleased to discuss the school’s performance with parents or interested parties.
Why is the children’s behaviour so good?
In Whitchurch we place great emphasis on making good choices and praise. We encourage children to understand why certain kinds of behaviour are much more acceptable than others, and we encourage self-respect, respect for other people and our environment. We also encourage parents and carers to work with us to support children’s good behaviour so that home and school are consistent in what they expect of each child.
Naturally there are some kinds of behaviour which we consider unacceptable and will treat very seriously. Any form of racism, homophobia, discrimination or violence are examples of such behaviour. Serious incidents will involve discussion between the child’s parents and the head teacher in order to decide on an appropriate course of action.
So how would you deal with bullying?
Bullying is not tolerated at Whitchurch. We have a strong anti-bullying policy. We ask that all parents and children tell us about any bullying or bullying behaviour that they hear about in school. We have a number of ways of ensuring that children are able to report problems of bullying and of making sure children know we will take action. We always respond to complaints about bullying and we work in partnership with parents to make sure Whitchurch is a bully-free zone.
What happens at lunchtime?
All children in Reception, Year One and Year Two are entitled to a free school meals. Children in Key stage two can also buy a school meal. Our meals are provided by AiP who run a booking and ordering system online called Parentpay. If you think you may be entitled to free school meals you should talk to the office staff for advice.
Drinking water is served to all children at every lunchtime and is available throughout the day. Children are not allowed to bring drinks other than water into school, and they are encouraged to bring a plastic bottle of water to drink throughout the day. The bottle must be named and brought home for washing each night. We do not allow sweets or chocolate to be eaten in school and we ask for your co-operation in this when you are packing your child’s lunch.
All meals are eaten in the hall except in fine weather when children with packed lunches may eat outside in the school grounds.
What if my child is hurt at school?
Whitchurch has qualified first aiders and if your child has a slight accident in school they will be attended to by one of them. We do not apply ointments or lotions in case of allergy or reaction. Cuts and grazes are bathed and if necessary dressed.
All accidents are investigated and recorded. We always try to notify parents either personally or by letter, particularly if there has been a bump to the head or face.
If something more serious happens, we’ll contact you immediately so that the child may be taken to hospital, so please make sure our office staff have your most up to date contact details. Do let us know of any changes, however temporary.
If your child is ill at school we will contact you for them to be taken home. They will be made comfortable and warm while they are waiting.
My child needs medicine during the day – how will you deal with that?
If your child has a specific medical problem please let us know. We have a school policy on how we support children with medical needs. A copy is available from the school office. If you child has a long term medical need we can draw up a care plan with you so that all parties know what to expect of each other and that the child’s medical needs are addressed.
Asthmatic children may keep an inhaler in school. All inhalers must be clearly named and parents should note when their child’s inhaler is due to expire.
Our school nurse visits regularly and will always be able to offer help or advice.
How do you keep the school secure?
Once school has started each morning both gates are locked and entry to the school can only be obtained through a controlled entry system. The main door entrance to the school building is again entry controlled.
Visitors to the school must sign in at the school office and they will be issued with a visitor’s badge. We do not allow free access to the classrooms or other areas of the school building without prior arrangement and the permission of the head teacher.
Children are not allowed to leave the school grounds during the day, unless they are collected by an adult. Although some children in the Juniors walk to and from school by themselves, younger children are only collected by a known adult. Children cannot be collected by an adult other than their known and named parent or carer without the school being informed in advance.
All staff employed at the school, plus voluntary helpers, including parents, are subject to rigorous vetting procedures including Criminal Records Bureau checks. We retain close links with the police and our local community and any concerns relating to safety and security are always reported and promptly acted upon.
What happens if my child is sick?
If your child is absent from school, please hand in a note to their teacher or email the office with the reason as soon as possible. We cannot accept verbal messages from a child.
Current Government regulations require schools to record reasons for absence. The absences are recorded as authorised (for example when the child is ill or visiting another school) or unauthorised (for example going shopping or having a haircut). Your child’s attendance and punctuality record forms part of their yearly report, and attendance and punctuality figures are used to assess and monitor a school’s performance against local and national standards.
Children with poor attendance and poor punctuality do less well at school than their peers. Please make attendance and punctuality a priority for your child. If we have concerns about your child’s attendance or punctuality, you will be invited in to discuss ways that we can work together to make an improvement.
What else do I need to know?
We organise a wide variety of clubs after school for children. Details of after-school clubs are circulated every term
Before and After-school care
Children are able to come to breakfast club from 8 am and can stay at our after school club, PAWS, until 5.15.
Children are not allowed to carry or use mobile phones once inside the school grounds or building.
Please speak to Mrs Cheryl Jones in our school office. We hold branded items in school and 'plain' items can be purchased from any store.
Any school closures will be communicated via our Twitter feed on the home page of this website and on School closures – Herefordshire Council.