Communication

What should I do if I want to know how my child is doing?

We have two sets of parents’ evenings during the school year; these are normally in Autumn and Spring Terms. However, if you wish to see your child’s teacher at any other time they will be happy to meet with you at pick up time or by appointment. Please contact them via the school office.

Why can’t I see my child’s teacher before school even if it’s only very quick?

Teachers are busy preparing for the day ahead and the arrival of the children at this time. Any messages can be sent in writing or given to the office staff who will relay it to the class teacher. Although your message might only take two minutes, if you multiply that by every parent in the class you can see why it would be impractical.

I work full time and do not drop off or pick up from school. How can I have a dialogue with my child’s teacher?

You can contact the teacher via the office. Please be advised that teachers are encouraged to maintain a sensible work/life balance. If you wish, you can arrange a telephone appointment at lunchtime or after school.

Where can I find the class newsletters?

Newsletters will be added to the website under the Documents tab and Mrs Daniels' newsletters will also be available in the Documents section of the website. Mrs Daniels newsletter is normally published on a Friday however this is not always possible if unforeseen circumstances arise or she is attending conferences/meetings off site.  Her newsletter is also e-mailed out to parents. 

How do I know what my child is studying throughout the year?

The termly year group newsletters give information on what has been studied and what is coming up.  The website also contains curriculum overviews for each year group.

Why can we not take our children through the gate in the morning?

Our staff team are on durt in the playground every morning and supervise children who have come into school.  We do not allow parents into the playground during this time so that we can ensure good vision of all children without any obstruction from adults as well.  The vast majority of our parents wish to drop their child off to school then leave to go to work.  Thus we are able to ensure that the only adults in the playground are known to the staff and as such will have appropriate checks which have been carried out.  Reception parents are allowed to bring their children into class to help them settle at the beginning of the year.  After October half term, we ask all parents to drop off at the gate as we envisage they will be settled by then.  The reason for this is to encourage children to be independent and resilient.

 

School Structure

What is EYFS?

Early Years Foundation Stage refers to the children who are in Reception and Nursery. This key stage follows the EYFS framework which is a curriculum designed for that age group based largely on learning through play and child initiated learning. In Reception children are assessed through the EYFS profile which measures if children are “emerging”, “expected” or “exceeding” the expected standard for that age.

What is Key Stage 1?

KS1 is often referred to as “Infants” which is what it was known as formally many years ago. This encompasses Years 1 and 2 and is where more formal learning starts. 

What is Key stage 2?

KS2 encompasses Years 3 to 6 and is often referred to as “Juniors”. It is another age range grouped together as a section of a child’s education.

Assessment

What are SATs?

Statutory Assessment Tests are set at the end of each Key Stage in order to measure attainment and progress for that Key Stage in Maths, Reading, Writing and GPS. In Year 2 SATs are a little less formal and marked internally. Teacher assessment also plays a large part in KS1 SATs so that they are not completely test orientated. In Year 6 they are formal tests that are sent away to be marked except in the case of writing which is teacher assessed. There is now also a GPS (Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling) test. Currently there is no science test for KS2 unless the school is part of a government sample, however there are plans to reintroduce science testing in the next few years. The results are used to form school league tables and inform parents if their child is working below, at or exceeding age related expectation (ARE).

What is the Year 1 Phonics Check?

This was introduced in 2012. Children sit a “test” of 40 words which they read to a teacher. Some of the words are real and some are made up. The purpose of the check is to assess how well the children use phonics to read words and blend sounds.

What is teacher assessment?

Sometimes the level at which children are working is determined through testing, this is more the case with older children in KS2. Sometimes children are assessed using teacher assessment which means using the knowledge the teacher has of the child through what they produce as classwork and how they answer questions orally. Teacher assessment is considered to give a more accurate picture because it is based on more long term information and not a snap shot as in the case of a test.

How often are reading books changed?

Reading has a high focus in our school and therefore children are encouraged and supported to change their books regularly. We have recently, through the help of Friends, purchased new reading schemes and additional books.  Teachers and TAs monitor book changes.

How can I help my child learn their spellings?

There are many different ways to help your child practise their spellings. One way is to use the Look, Cover, Write, Say method. To do this get your child to look at the word, cover it, visualise it, write it and then check it matches the covered word. We recommend that you test your child at home orally and in writing but there are many other ways children can learn their spellings such as flash cards, breaking down words, highlighting the tricky part or even creating a mnemonic e.g. A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream = Arithmetic. You can also look for words within words e.g. there’s “hen” in “when”. Break up the word e.g. Wed + nes + day or th-a-nk. Say the word as it is written e.g. knife.  Spellings are best taught in context e.g. the children played in the garden.

In School, we follow the National Curriculum 2014 and deliver spellings lessons based on the spelling rules or sound. We provide spelling homework support through Spelling Shed. This can be completed online or, by request, a paper copy. 

Why has my child not moved up a reading level?

The classteacher will move children onto the next level as they see appropriate and based on how they assess the child from what they see in school. They will consider both the child’s ability to read out loud and their understanding of the text. If you have any concerns that your child is on the wrong level please contact the teacher in the first instance to discuss.

Why isn’t my child heard read every day?

If class teachers listened to every child read every day they would not be teaching the class during this time. In recent years there has been a shift in philosophy towards guided reading which is reading in groups. The teacher will rotate around groups and listen to them read and discuss what they have read. In school children will be heard read individually once per week. We are lucky to have parent helpers who provide an additional adult resource to help hear children read. If you can offer help on a regular basis, please let your child’s teacher know.

How do you teach phonics?

We use Big Cat Phonics ‘Song of Sounds’ to deliver a hands on synthetic approach to phonics. Through the use of a song and actions, together with a variety of fun and practical activities, this teaches the children all of the 44 phonemes necessary to read and write English successfully. It is divided into three stages. At the first stage the children learn to say, read and write all of the initial sounds) and some digraphs (ch, sh, th, ay, ee, ow). The first letters the children are taught are s,a,t,p,i,n. This enables them to start blending sounds to make letters. They are then taught the other initial sounds. Stage 2, which begins in year 1 teaches the children some of the alternative digraphs linked to one sound (e.g. ay, ai, a-e and ee, ea, e-e). Once these have been consolidated the children begin to learn that some graphemes can have more than one sound e.g. that ‘c’ can also be ‘s’ as in cycle and y can be ee like in ‘funny’ or ie like in ‘cry’.

How do we teach your children to read/how do phonics work?

Blending - Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words.

Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting)

Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.

Sight words - Sight words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately

How does the behaviour system work?

We high expectations for behaviour, both learning and social. However, if children were to make the wrong choice regarding their behaviour, we have a clear system in place. Each class operates a smiley face system. Children start on the yellow colour and after a first incident of inappropriate behaviour are moved to amber. If another incident of inappropriate behaviour occurs they are moved to red. It is an expectation that our behaviour policy is supported by Staff, Pupils and families.  Children are always given a first chance ( Warning). If negative behaviour continues, they will then be sent to a Key Stage Leader and/or eventually to the Asssistant Head or Headteacher. It is important to note that children are always supported to make the correct behaviour choices. 

Clubs

Why can my child only join two clubs at a time?

The teaching staff, who give up their time to run clubs, are a finite resource and we can only provide clubs for certain numbers of children at any given point in time. In each child’s time at Cranmere they will have an opportunity to participate in many clubs.

Administration

Where do I go to find lost property?

There is a large green dustbin in the area by the Nursery door.  We will give any unnamed clothing after 3 weeks to the Friends for their Good as New Sale.  We strive to reduce the amount of lost property coming to our office so please ensure your child’s clothing is clearly labelled with their name.

Why do staff not look for lost jumpers, P.E kits etc?

We encourage children to be independent and responsible for their belongings. For staff to look for children’s lost belongings would not be an efficient use of their time. If property is clearly named then chances are it will find its owner. However, in EYFS, when children are just beginninng to learn to look after their belongings, staff will support them in finding what they have lost. 

If I go on holiday during term time, will this be authorised?

No. As stipulated by Government and Surrey guidelines, only applications for leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances will be granted.

What constitutes good attendance?

100% constitutes good attendance. Attendance is crucial to a child’s education. Research and statistics clearly point to children with low attendance throughout primary school not performing as well in GCSEs. If a child has 80% attendance this effectively means they are missing a whole year of school every five years.  Attendance below 90% is deemed as a persistent absence and will flag up to the Local Authority Attendance Officers. The Surrey Educational Welfare Team monitor our attendance half termly and have remote access to all our registers. They are entitled to prosecute parents of children with attendance that is consistently below 90%. You receive your child’s attendance percentage on their end of Year report but if you are concerned the office staff will be able to calculate the figure for you.

When will my child have swimming lessons?

You child will begin swimming in KS2. Swimming taught in 6 week blocks for Year 4,5 and 6. We use the excellent facilities at Reed's School which is only a short coach journey from the new Cranmere site. You will be notified in advance. A contribution towards the cost of swimming is also requested in advance.