Halfway Houses Primary School
Headteacher: Mrs Lindsay Fordyce
Assistant Headteachers: Mrs Lisa Elderfield and Mrs Danielle Hall
SENDCo: Miss Felicity Walsh
Chair of Local Governors : Ms Davina Savage
Office staff : Mrs S McGee, Mrs Y Annand, Mrs D Rose
THE SCHOOL SITE
Halfway Houses is a mixed primary school for children between the ages of 4 and 11 years. The classes are all accommodated in one building. The school has twenty one classrooms. There is a well-established and stocked library.
The local education authority Kent County Council has re-organised the schools on the Isle of Sheppey and Halfway Houses Primary School is now a three form entry of 4-11 academy primary school.
A large flat area of grassed playing field enhances the site, and there are substantial tarmac-covered playground areas. There is a purpose built outdoor learning environment for our Reception Class children to fully support their learning and creative play.
THE SCHOOL DAY
07.30 Breakfast Club (small hall)
08.30 Gates open and children begin arriving at school
08.40 -15.20 The school day
10.35 - 10.50 Morning Break
12.20 - 1.20 Lunch Break
15.20 End of school day
Children are not allowed on to the school site before 08.30 am, unless attending the school's Breakfast Club or visiting the school's library from 8.00 am to do Accelerated Reader books/quizzes. All children are expected to go straight into their classrooms at the beginning of the day.
There is a wide range of organised extra-curricular activities after school for which parental permission is always required beforehand.
Almost all of our children stay at school during the lunchtime. The children may opt to have a school meal, bring a packed lunch or go home for lunch. They can change from school dinners to packed lunch (or visa versa) on a daily basis as long as meals are ordered in advance. Meals should be paid for online using the School Gateway - please see our School Gateway page for further details. The kitchen staff work hard to provide a varied, tempting and nutritious range of meals, which are enjoyed by the children and fully met the new expectations for healthy eating.
School meals cost £2.30 per day/£11.50 per week, Infant School Children (Years R, 1 and 2) will receive a free school meal due to the Governments initiative 'Universal Infant Free School Meals'
Children are supervised during the lunch break by a team of meals supervisors: the Headteacher and the Assistant Headteachers or another member of staff are always on duty at lunchtime. The school reserves the right to require children to take their meals at home each day if their behaviour at lunchtime continuously fails to meet the expected school standards.
Daily milk may be ordered through the office for under fives. Free milk is given to all those who wish to have it via the milk bar. Free fruit is given to the Early Years and KS1 classes and is eaten in the playground at break time.
THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
We recognise that every child has an entitlement as laid out in the National Curriculum (2014) requirements. We also feel that all of our learners need to be enabled to reach their full potential.
Our curriculum has evolved over time from 'big questions' and 'big ideas' to our current topic based approach to learning. Every term, the children in each year group will concentrate on a specific area of an over arching trust wide topic. These are centred around both modern and historical themes and include opportunities for our children to learn about a range of local and global places and events. We believe that our curriculum is more realistic and meaningful when appropriate cross-curricular links are made and learning is not only broad and balanced but also relevant.
Wherever possible, the knowledge, understanding and skill of subject areas are planned to support the research of the topic that will be covered, giving purpose, momentum and motivation to learning. Each term ends with a whole school open afternoon whereby classes display their responses to the topic ensuring that there is a defined end point and purpose to all learning that takes place.
Most of all we aim to enjoy our learning, have fun together and develop positive attitudes to what we hope will be life-long learning for all.
The why, what and how of learning
The ‘why’ of our learning policy states that all learners, most specifically pupils, need to be enabled to reach their full potential.
The ‘what’ of our learning policy is that every child has an entitlement as laid out within the National Curriculum requirements.
The ‘how’ of learning is embodied within our four agreed learning values of aspiration, collaboration, creativity and independence. These values are considered and planned for within all aspects of our curriculum. Two of the values are the subject of specific focus in each term.
The 'why', 'what' and 'how' of learning are firmly linked in our planning which focuses on a enquiry/research approach to an overarching topic which is set for the whole school.
Each term the children in years 1-6 complete a passport to learning project. These can either be based around our termly topics or on the children's interests and hobbies. Children therefore have a degree of freedom as to how they respond to the topic they have been given. It is expected that the children complete their projects as independently as possible and bring them in at the end of each term to display at the open afternoon. They can then be shared with our visitors and other children in the class.
Alongside this, children are also expected to practise their spellings and times tables regularly and ensure that they read their school accelerated reader book.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
It is recognised that 1 in 5 children can have a specific educational need at some stage in their learning. Our school policy aims to identify needs as early as possible in order to support children effectively before the need has too great an impact upon their learning. For many children the needs are supported by the class teacher and teaching assistant but all children are monitored on a regular basis and for some children more specialised intervention is required. The school is able to call upon external agencies for further support when required. It is our policy to involve parents as much as possible in their children’s needs.
SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS EDUCATION
Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is a key aspect of Personal, Social and Health Education at Halfway Houses Primary School. As such it is more than the biology of reproduction and is taught in the context of caring relationships. Please refer to the Policies in the school website's drop down menu.
Religious Education is included in the basic curriculum alongside the core and foundation subjects. The work undertaken is non-denominational; whilst reflecting the broad traditions of Christian belief, the work also draws on the beliefs of other faiths. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education if they so wish - we will make the necessary arrangements on receipt of a written request. Please refer to the RE Policy in the school website's drop down menu.
The school day includes an assembly when the school community comes together for brief reflection time. Whilst this is normally a whole school activity, there are regular occasions when assemblies are held on a year group or key stage basis. Assembly rotas and schedules are set to include opportunities to celebrate National awareness days, to explore mindfulness and further promote our school values. Weekly celebration assemblies allow for the opportunity to award individual certificates and celebrate whole class achievements. Children in KS2 are also given the opportunity to debate their ideas about our weekly school discussion topic. The school assemblies, whilst being of a broadly Christian nature are such that children from a wide variety of faith backgrounds are able to share in this important part of daily school life. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from assemblies if they so wish - we will make the necessary arrangements on receipt of a written request.
EDUCATIONAL VISITS - CHARGING POLICY
During the time the children are at the school they will have the opportunity to accompany their class on a variety of educational visits either linked with the current programme of study in the classroom or educationally worthwhile in their own right. These visits are an important part of the children's learning and are planned with that in mind. There are also regular visits to the school by a variety of providers.
These visits can only take place if they are funded by voluntary contributions from parents. Education Regulations require that schools can make no charge for such visits that fall wholly or mainly within school time or that are part of the school's curriculum delivery. The Governors of the school fully support the intention of the Act, namely that no child should be debarred from such a visit on the grounds that his/her family is unable to contribute to the costs. However, sufficient voluntary contributions towards the cost of a visit from the great majority of parents are necessary in order for these essential activities are to continue.
The classes are arranged in year groups with one teacher in each year designated as Year Leader. The Year Leader's role is to ensure that all children are offered a similar curriculum content, and to act as an initial focus for any children experiencing difficulties. The general policy is that classes will move on each September as a whole class so that friendships and peer group relationships are allowed to develop. There will be occasions when the school will feel that it is in the best interests of either one or two individuals or the whole year group for a readjustment to be made. Children are required to be taught in classes of no more than 30 children in Years 1 and 2 during Key Stage 1. There may well be times when, because of falling numbers, the school will organise classes comprising children from more than one year group.
Class teachers have the responsibility to deliver the school's curricular aims through the variety of approaches that they feel are most appropriate for the ages, interests and abilities of their classes.
PARENTS AND SCHOOL
Children's education does not start at the age of 5; it does not only happen between 8.30 a.m. and 3.20 p.m. and it does not always need a teacher to contribute towards it. As a school, we value - and require - the care and support that individual parents give to their own children; to derive the greatest benefit from school, the child must be at the centre of a partnership between home and school, where the aim is the full development of the child. As professionals, we can guide the children's learning, we can stimulate their imaginations, and we can equip them with the skills they need for a successful life. We can do it on our own - but we can do it so much more effectively and efficiently with the full support of the parents. We hope that you will feel able to be fully involved not only in your child's learning, but also in the life and work of the school. Progress and development are matters of great concern to both parents and teachers alike. We have formal Open Evenings in the Term 1 and midway through the Term 4. Reports of Achievement are sent out annually towards the end of the Term 6, and parents have the opportunity to come and discuss this Report with the class teacher. Whilst these are all important occasions, we place a lot of emphasis on the school's open door policy, whereby parents can visit the school whenever they feel there is a problem that they wish to discuss. Class teachers, Assistant Headteachers and the Headteacher are quite happy to talk with parents when the need arises, rather than wait for the next official Open Evening. Similarly, we would far rather invite parents to the school when we feel there is a problem than delay the discussions unnecessarily.
The Friends of Halfway School is an association of parents, teachers and others who are extremely active in arranging a variety of social and fund-raising events. All parents are automatically members of the Friends, and the organising committee is always looking for new faces to provide fresh ideas and inspirations.
SCHOOL DRESS CODE
We would appreciate parents dressing their children in clothes suitable for school, both in regard to the purpose of school as a place of work and also in regard to the manageability of the clothes by the children themselves. We hope that parents will provide clothing that matches the school colour scheme of royal blue with grey or white. Fleeces, sweatshirts and t-shirts with the school logo on are available. All clothing should be clearly labelled with the child's name. Our School Parliament members will be provided with a purple fleece to wear by the school and our Head and Deputy Head boys and girls will be provided with black fleeces. As children move in to Year 6 they will be provided with a pack of school shirts and a school tie.
All children are expected to have a full PE kit that they can change into and out of at the beginning and end of each lesson. The basic kit is a blue polo shirt and a pair of black or navy blue shorts; children work with bare feet for indoor gymnastics and dance sessions but will require a pair of plimsolls for outdoor sessions and indoor games. Children should also bring a tracksuit or similar to wear during the beginning of outdoor PE activities while they warm up. The kit should be available to use during every school day and should be kept at school in a suitable bag. As with all clothing, the bag should be clearly labelled with the child's name.
During the time your child is at school, planned checks on their health and development will be carried out by the School Nurse.
We expect to take good care of your children whilst they are at school, but we also expect children to come to school only if they are fit enough to work through the day. The school policy requires us to contact either a parent or a named emergency contact in the event of any illness or injury at school, should the nature of the problem be considered serious enough.
The school has a team of trained first-aiders and one of these will be consulted whenever a child is ill or injured enough to require attention.
Teachers are not expected to administer medicines or tablets to children and parents are requested not to send such items in with two exceptions. Firstly, where a doctor has prescribed a course of medicine that must be completed but the child seems to have fully recovered, the school secretary will administer the necessary dose at lunchtime as long as parents conform to the requirements of the school's Medicine Policy. Secondly, there are some medications that children need to have available to them at all times - asthmatics and diabetics, for example, - and teachers will assume responsibility for the safe keeping of such items in the classroom, following discussion with the parents concerned.
Head lice are a recurrent problem in all schools and Halfway Houses is no exception. We expect that all parents will check their children's hair regularly, and inform the school of any `visitations'. We notify all the parents within any class where a problem has occurred and expect that an even closer check be carried out at home.
Matters of a child protection nature are taken very seriously at our school, and we strive to make this school a safe and positive experience for all children. Where child protection concerns are raised, we will draw them to the attention of parents and other relevant agencies, as appropriate.
A copy of the schools Child Protection Policy is available from the school office along with Kent County Council leaflets outlining further details on this matter.
The Governors of the school have decided that, in the best interests of the children's safety, children may not wear jewellery to school. This includes rings, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, etc. However the jewellery policy has been reviewed by the Governing body and it has been agreed that children may, if the parents/carers wish, wear small stud ear-rings to school. Hoops and sleepers are prohibited. Studs may be kept in for PE.
ABSENCE FROM SCHOOL
We expect that all parents will contact the school on the morning of their child's first day of any absence. Registers are checked daily and the family liaison officer will attempt to contact any family who have not already notified the school. If the absence lasts for more than one day, a further contact, by note, is expected when the child returns to school. In this way we can ensure that all absentees are genuine, and that no child is absent without their parents knowledge. The school works closely with the Educational Welfare Office and will refer any child with poor attendance or punctuality to the EWO to improve the child's right to learn and progress through regular attendance.
We also require prior notice of any medical/optical/dental appointment that will affect your child's attendance. We hope that as far as is reasonably possible you will arrange such appointments outside school hours. Any children leaving school for any reason during the school day must be collected via the school office and all children returning to school (or arriving late) must be returned to the school office.
Parents are expected to arrange their family holidays during school holiday periods.
In exceptional circumstances, the Headteacher may authorise up to 10 days absence for family holidays but approval may only be granted following a written letter from the parent explaining the reasons why such a holiday needs to be taken during term time.
Children at the school are only allowed to bring fresh fruit or vegetables to eat during the mid-morning break. Children may also bring a drink to school for playtime but not in either glass bottles or tin cans. Children in Year R and Key Stage 1 are currently provided with a piece of fruit or vegetable every morning as part of the Government's healthy eating initiative. Children under the age of 5 are entitled to a free milk drink each morning, and the school enables other children in the school to receive this milk by a parental payment scheme. A milk bar operates at break times for all children to have access to free milk.
We recognise that children need to drink regularly to maintain concentration and the school provides cooled water for the children from a number of dispensers around the school.
We hope that your child will make steady progress throughout his/her time with us. We also hope that you, as parents, will feel able to support the school in its efforts to help your child. We do appreciate that there may well be times when you feel unsure or unhappy about some aspect of the school and how it affects your child. We hope that in any such instances you will contact the school - Class Teacher, Assistant Headteachers, or Headteacher - to discuss the problem. We will certainly listen, and then act in the way that we feel is most appropriate.
If as a result of such discussions you wish to pursue the matter further, you are welcome to contact the Chair of Governors. Please put your concerns in writing, addressed to the Chair of Governors, via the school office.
ADMISSION TO THE SCHOOL
Children are admitted to the school in accordance with the school's admission policy, a copy of which is available on the 'schools admission' link on this website.
Prospective parents are entitled to appeal against any decision of the school to refuse their child a place; the letter of appeal should be addressed to the Headteacher, who will then inform the Clerk to the Appeals Panel and an appeal hearing will then be arranged.
All prospective parents are very welcome to visit the school with their children; the Headteacher is more than happy to arrange appointments so that parents can assess the suitability of the school for their children.