FAQs

                                                Memorial Window

 What do parents say about the school?

  • It is a friendly school with an approachable atmosphere.
  • Childen come first and family members are also valued.

What do the children say about the school?

  • This school is great! The lessons are fun because the teachers make them fun!   They help us when we are stuck.
  • The lessons get your brain going!
  • The classrooms are very colourful and nice to work in.
  • We have really nice children and teachers.
  • Everyone in the school is great because they are caring and kind.
  • The school meals are really tasty but healthy at the same time.
  • The playground is big and spacious and it has lots of fun activities, you can play quietly or run on the field.
  • If you get lonely you can sit on the buddy stop and someone will come and play with you.
  • The MDAs are kind and funny, they help us when we are hurt.
  • You get a good education!

                                                       Dedication window

How are the children's views heard?

We actively encourage and involve the pupils in the running of the school through a regular school council.  Representatives meet senior staff and governors to discuss issues of concern to pupils and staff alike.  In this way we are able to encourage children to take responsibility and pride in the school community.  We also believe that this is a a meaningful way in which to learn the skills of good citizenship.  If any parent would like to attend a school council meeting they would be most welcome.  Each class from Y2 to Y6 votes annually for two school council members.

There is a buddy group assembly every week at which children talk in buddy groups about the assembly's theme and have a chance to share their views.

Who will look after my child?

Our staff are our most valued resource.  They work together as a team to achieve the best for each child and to ensure that any problems are dealt with swiftly and effectively.  There are ten teachers in all; the headteacher, eight class teachers and a part time Inclusion Manager.  There are fifteen teaching assistants who work to support the class or take a small group or who may be assigned to help a child with special needs.  In addition there are six mid-day assistants, three office staff, three staff in the catering team and a caretaker.

How will I know if my child experiences problems?

If we are worried about your child we will ring you or send you a letter.  We keep close records of incidents and achievements so that we can look for patterns of success and areas causing concern.  These will also be shared with you at consultation evenings.  If we feel that your child needs any extra help the Inclusion Manager will discuss this with you.

What is a Healthy School?

A healthy school is a whole school community committed to creating an environment which promotes the health and wellbeing of pupils, staff and other members of the community.  We have been working on the Healthy Schools agenda for many years now, to raise awareness of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and to promote good physical and mental health.  We have a well esxtablished routine for playtimes, where healthy snacks are available to buy from the tuck shop, and where fruit is enjoyed thoughout the school.  Fruit is provided for Key Stage 1 in the afternoon by Essex County Council.

The Healthy Schools Steering Committee, which included staff and parents along with the children's School Council, have worked together for some years to create a healthy school.  After consultation they agreed that we should have no sweets, chocolate or crisps at lunch or break. Because there are children with severe nut allergies, we also request that no nut products are sent into school.

However, on Fun Friday, the kitchen serve chips and lunch box children may have a bag of crisps.

Snack times - we suggest: fruit, pure fruit smoothies, raisins, fruit flakes, fruit pieces, vegetable sticks.

Alternatively the tuck shop offers fruit smoothies/apple juice/milk/raisins etc.  Occasionally a healthy fruit bar is available.

We ask you not to send any other type of snack.

Lunch boxes - We suggest a selection of the following or similar: wraps, sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese sticks, fruit, crudites, plain/choc chip biscuits, cereals bars, crackers, rice cakes, yoghurts, mini sausages, quiche, fairy cakes.

           Mother's day lunches                     Father's Day Lunches

                    mother's day lunches                                                    father's day lunches

What is the school's behaviour policy?

We have a policy of positive behavioural management which outlines ways to encourage and praise children for their successes.  We have clear expectations for behaviour and a code of consequences and responses which is used by all staff.

We encourage pupils to take responsibililty for their actions and to learn to empathise with other people.  In order to support the development of social skills we have a comprehensive PSHCE - Personal, Social, Health & Citizenship Education Curriculum that includes opportunities such as circle time in whch feelings and actions are dicussed and solutions to problems explored.  The school uses the SEAL (Social & Emotional Aspects of Learning Curriculum) which is used in every year group and covers managing feelings, motivation, getting on with other people, coping with change and developing self awareness.  SEAL promotes empathy and positivie relationships.

The school encourages parents to share any concerns regarding their child's happiness and welfare so that problems can be indentified and addressed together.  In turn we will inform you whenever a child's behaviour causes us concern.  If a child persist in unacceptable behaviour or deliberately hurts another person a 'red spot' may be given.  This is an indication of concern and the parents are informed and possible solutions and strategies to support the child are discussed.  Other professionals may also be called on to give advice and guidance.

In exceptional cases, including repeated red spots, the headteacher may exclude a child from the school for a fixed period of permanent exclusion.  Parents have the right to make representation to the Governing Body and Local Authority at the meeting called to consider the exclusion.  In some circumstances an internal exclusion may be given as an alternative.

What is the schools Equality Policy?

The school works hard to teach respect for the diversity of human life and culture. This is done by providing positive role models of behaviour from the adults and by showing children how to respect and value different beliefs and life styles. We celebrate and share the different languages and cultures of our families with theme events such as Eastern European and Russia Day or by asking parents and visitors to assemblies.   We teach the children to empathise with each other through sharing feelings and ideas . Through this process they realise that it is unacceptable to say or do anything which undermines our mutual respect for each other by drawing attention to differences in race, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, socio-economic background, age  or sexual orientation.

A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or by any other person.  These are recorded and parents informed.  Incidents are treated according to our behaviour and bullying polices and according to the age and understanding of the children involved.

How will you help my child settle into school?

A programme of visits is arranged for children who will be entering the school for the first time, accompanied by their parents. Parents are invited to meet the headteacher and various people associated with the school. You will also have the opportunity to meet the classteacher, in private, to discuss the individual needs of your child. We hope that as a result of these meetings a partnership will be forged between you and the school, which will be of great benefit to your child.

If you have an older child transferring from another school we wil assign another child as a buddy to help them in their first days. We welcome visits before transferring and will work with the previous school to ensure we have all the necessary information to ensure a smooth transition.

How do you make sure everyone in the school is kept safe?

All visitors are asked to register at the office and will be required to wear an identification badge.  Health and safety information is printed on the reverse.  We try to ensure the health abnd safety of pupils at all times.  The Governors are responsible for making certain that the school complies with all statutory requirements and to establish monitoring procedure.  We also involve pupils in health and safety policies, by educating them about the way they can contribute to their own health and safety and to that of the community.

We have a responsibility to protect children from all types of harm and abuse.  The school has a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, which gives guidelines to the staff for dealing with such concerns.  This means that very occasionally we have to consult other agencies even before we contact you.

The Essex Child Protection Committee had laid down the procedures we follow.  If you want to know more about the procedure, please speak to the headteacher who is the nominated person and to whom all concerns are referred.

How do you support children with Special Educational Needs?

Our Inclusion Manager is a highly specialised and qualifed senior teacher who is responsible for Children with Special Educational Needs.  Her job entails working with children, teachers, parents, support staff and other professional to ensure that all childre are given the right support to help their progress.  Parents of children who are identifed as needing support are fully involved in setting targets and reviewing progress.  If we are concerned about your child's progress you may be asked to a meeting at which we will discuss targets and how we can support them  This support might mean working in a small group either within the class or in small withdrawal groups.  The progress of children is identified by the class teacher and assessed using the Essex Stages of Assessment.  Children are then given individual programmes of work designed to help with their particular learning needs.  The school can call upon the services of a Educational Psychologist or other professionals who can provide help and adviceas appropriate, when there is particular cause for concern with regard to a child's needs.  We also employ teaching assistants who support children with additional and special educational individual needs who are following personalised plans.

What happens at break and lunch times?

We encourage happy positive play times.  Our experience mid-day assistants lead a well-ordered lunchtime and organise games and activities.  We have invested in a wide range of indoor and outdoor play equipment.

During morning break the children can bring in a piece of fruit for tuck or 30p to spend in our Healthy Tuck Shop.

Children may either bring a packed lunch to school or they may stay for a hot school lunch, which is freshly prepared on the premises.  Our meals are made from high quality ingredients and meet all the current nutritional guidelines.  For the current price of school meals, please contact the school office manager.  Information regarding eligibility for free school meals is also available from the school office manager.  It is important that all eligible families register for free school meals even if they do not take up the provision as these numbers are used to set the school's budget and the number of free school meals that are claimed increases the size of the money apportioned to the school.

The menu for each week is included in our weekly newsletter.

All dinner monies must be paid in advance, on a Monday either by cash or cheque, payable to Parsons Heath School in a named envelope.  We sell school dinner money envelopes in the school office if you are interested.

                 playtime            Playtime

What happens if my child has an accident or is unwell whilst at school?

Children sometimes have accidents in the school or at playtimes.  The Office Manager is the schools first aider; other staff also have first aid qualifications.  Children are treated promptly and sensitively.  It is most important that you inform us if you child has any allergies or medical conditions.  If you child has an injury to the head, even if quite slight, it is our policy to inform parents in order to alert them to the signs of concussion.  This will take the form of an alert sticker and letter or a telephone call for more serious injuries.  All injuries are recorded and all serious injuries are investigated.  Children who become ill at school will be cared for in the office until a parent or named adult can collect them.

Children suffering from any infectious illness should be kept away from school until they are well.  We request that if you child has suffered sickness and/or diarrhoea that they be kept of for a minimum of 48 hours. This is both to accelerate their recovery and to prevent the spread of infection. If children are required to take medicine during the school day, parents can make arragements with the school in order to come and administer the medicine themselves. Unfortunately, school staff are not permitted to administer medicine on behalf of parents with the exception of inhalers and epipens.  If your child suffers from asthma, please ensure that a spare inhaler is kept in the school office at all times.

Sun Safety - We encourage children to wear sun hats and to also bring into school their own sun cream.

What is the school building like?

There are seven individual classrooms, a large assembly hall, a computer suite, nurture room, library, Special Educational Needs area, changing rooms,  technology room with fully equipped kitchen facilities, teachers study, toilets, large kitchen and well equipped grounds containing a large field, fenced off wildlife pond, newly planted orchard and meadow areas, class garden plots, outdoor swimming pool, theatre, sound garden and sculpture park.

How is the school organised?

We have seven classes in the school.  Each class, from the Foundation Stage to Year 6, contains a single year group and is principally the responsibility of one class teacher or a job share partnership. However, the teachers do not work in isolation,they are actively involved in joint planning and review of curriculm policies and practice.  Teaching assistants work closely with teachers to support groups and individuals.  Teaching assistants may also deliver lessons set by the teachers.

What do I do if my child is absent from school?

If a child is absent from school you should phone the school immediately.  It is very important that all absences are explained.  The Education Welfare Officer visits the school regularly and monitors absences.  Any concerns regarding repeated absences will be followed up and support offered where appropriate.

If a child does not arrive at school and we have not been contacted regarding their absence a member of the office staff will ring to ascertain their whereabouts.  An absence will be marked as unauthorised if it is taken with no explanation.

Can I take my child on holiday during term time?

In accordance with national guidelines we strongly discourage holidays taken during term time.  Every absence from school means that a child will be missing out on important stepping stones in their learning.

We are only able to authorise holidays in term time in exceptional circumstances and require a letter outlining these reasons.

How will I know if the school has to close because of bad weather?

Occasionally bad weather such as snow means that the school has to close.  This is usually when a significant number of staff cannot reach school or if the site is dangerous.  The decision has to be made early in the day and we will endeavour to advise you by text and email.  It is also advisable to listen to the local radio for information.

                                                   

What is the uniform?

Parents, pupils and teachers have agreed to support a strict school uniform.  We believe it promotes a sense of identity and belonging to the school community and from a parent's point of view helps to avoid competition regarding fashion and arguments concerning what to wear at school each day.

In addition to the agreed unifom please ensure your child avoids nail polish, heavy use of hair gel, hair colour, beaded braids and shaved head patterns on school days.

Our uniform is a follows:

  • Knee length dark grey or black tailored trousers or shorts, not leggings or short-shorts.
  • Knee length, not mini,  grey or black skirt, pinafore dress or blue checked summer dress.
  • White shirt - polo shirts are acceptable.
  • Royal blue jumper, sweatshirt or cardigan.
  • Plain white, black, navy or grey socks and hair accessories.
  • Shoes - Please ensure that childre have dark school shoes without sports logos.  For safety reasons we discourage heels and sling backs.  We also discourage children from wearing trainers in school.  If boots are worn in cold weather, pupils will need a pair of shoes or plimsolls for indoor wear.
  • Welington boots for Foundation Stage and for other pupils use on field during lunchtime play.
  • PE kit consists of navy blue shorts, white sports or T-shirt, socks and plimsolls.
  • Please avoid zips and buttons for children's safety when using apparatus.  A suitable bag is requested to store these items

Sweatshirts, jumpers, cardigans, PE kit, book bags and hats complete with school logo can be ordered from the school or online at www.stparent.co.uk.  If entering online you will need to enter PARSONS HEATH in the school name box, or enter Colchester in the town box (only one box needs to be completed).

PLEASE NOTE: All clothing should be labelled with the child's name.

Can my child wear jewellery?

Children with pierced ears are allowed to wear plain studs in their ears; all other earrings may present a danger to children when playing on the playground and are not allowed to be worn at school.

Earrings cannot be worn during PE as they can cause injury to both the wearer and other pupils.

However, if the ears have been newly pierced they may be covered in micro pore for the first few weeks until they can be removed.

We suggest that if ears are going to be pierced that this is done at the beginning of the summer break to maximise healing time.

Parents are encouraged to remove their children's earrings at home on the days PE is taught. This can minimise infections, as the earrings can be disinfected and kept clean. As staff are not permitted to assist children with removal or insertion of earrings, children need to be able to manage this for themselves if they are to be removed at school.  We are unable to take responsibility for any earrings lost at school.

Teachers will inform you of dates for PE to enable you to help us in this way.  All other types of jewellery should not be worn in school for reasons of safety and in case a valuable item is lost.  Watches are, however, permitted.  If you wish your child to wear jewellery for religious reasons we would appreciate a written request. 

What happens if my child loses something?

Clothing and other items lost at school are not the responsibility of the County Council or the School.  It is possible to extend a household insurance policy to cover 'all risks' on personal effects by children are advised not to bring valuable items to school.  Lost property is taken to the lost property box in the hall.  If any unmarked clothing is not claimed it is given to Bag2School which is a clothing charity and the school is given a donation for school funds. It is therefore essential that ALL articles of clothing be marked.

What will I have to pay for?

  1. Charging for instrumental tuition will be in accordance with school policy, a copy of which can be viewed at the office.
  2. School visits, or visits to the school by theatre groups, lectures etc., will depend upon the willingness of parents to make voluntary contributions.  We reserve the right to cancel any visit that is under funded.
  3. Teachers running school clubs do so voluntarily, but the cost of tests, certificates or special expenses of the club will be charged to parents with their prior knowledge.
  4. Parents will be asked to provide their children with appropriate footwear and clothing for games etc.
  5. Annual photographs of all children will be offered to parents with no obligation to purchase.
  6. The school has a swimming pool, which is used during the summer term.  A voluntary contribution is requested from parents to help cover the cost of running the pool and employing a swimming instructor.

Failure to contribute does not exclude pupils from taking part in any activity being offered to their class.  If there is a lack of support the activity may be cancelled.  In any particular cases of hardship, parents are advised that they can consult the headteacher.

                               

Is there a special provision if my child has a special talent or is academically gifted?

There is a register of gifted and talented pupils within the school which is revised each year and shared with all teaching staff.  These pupils are given support and encouragement on an individual or group basis.  Currently the school has four academic extension teams which work on challenging activities with the support of a teacher. The teams are: Philosophy (KS1 only) Maths, English and Science. Parents are informed by letter when their child is included in one of these groups. 

Do you have Extra Curricular Activites?

We have a variety of clubs and activities on offer. We activily encourage our pupils to become involved in this exciting opportunity for acknowledgement of their extended learning.  There is also a well supported and popular early morning Breakfast Club.

                                                        

How can I help my child learn at home?

We value all support of a child's learning and recognise that this can take many forms.  The school has a home-learning policy.  From the Foundation Stage we encourage parents to support learning by helping their child with mathszone, phonics and reading.  As children get older they will also be asked to research or extend activities from their school day.

How do I know what is happening at school and how will my views be heard?

Parents are encouraged to work in partnership with the school in order to achieve the best for their child.    We communicate regularly with parents in the form of a weekly newsletter and e-mails, a variety of special events and consultation meetings.  Teachers write to parents with information giving a broad outline of work to be covered and the particular arrangements and routines of each class.

You may also be asked to fill in a questionnaire or be part of a focus group for consultation.

Teachers are available most afternoons from 3:30pmto meet with parents.  Formal consultation evenings to discuss children's progress are arranged in the autumn and spring terms and an informal drop in is timetabled for shortly after the annual reports are sent home at the end of the summer term.  In addition to this, teachers are always happy to see parents at other times in the school year should the need arise.  Parents are asked to telephone the school to make a mutually convenient appointment.

How else can I support the school?

We welcome parental support in many ways. If you have any free time during the day we would very much appreciate your help in, for instance, hearing readers, sharing a skill such as needlework or gardening. We ask all volunteers to undertake security checks.

All parents are automatically members of "The Friends of Parsons Heath School" a fundraising body which works hard to raise money for the school whilst also organising enjoyable community events.

Some parents choose to stand for election to the governing body as Parent governors. This is an important role in which they are actively engaged in the strategic management of the school.