Early Years 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the school feel like?
There is a calm, purposeful atmosphere with plenty of talk and excitement. We believe in getting a balance between having quiet times for concentration alongside letting children be children and discussing their learning and lives. A silent school would be very worrying!
Children and staff are friendly and approachable and a parent who toured last year commented, ‘A massive positive thing when we looked around was how gently self-assured the children were and a real feel of how they clearly felt part of a community. The children who took us round were lovely, but also when we peeped into classrooms children made eye contact and smiled, etc which felt like they felt really comfortable at the school. The sense of community and confidence of the children were key attractions.’
What are the values of the Headteacher and Governing Body?
I have been the headteacher of the school since 2012 and have enjoyed the journey the school has been on since then. When I was appointed, the school had 155 children and average academic standards. I was tasked by the governing body to raise expectations and to create a school where local children, whatever their needs, wanted to attend. I believe in fulfilling statutory obligations but also the freedom of being able to tailor the curriculum to cohort needs and interests in an ever-changing world. Emsworth Primary School needed to be right for Emsworth's children.
We are now a sought-after two form entry school with a fantastic reputation. We have happy pupils, strong academic standards and a high quality teaching team which I have taken pleasure in building over the last 8 years. I am absolutely passionate about the school being part of the local community so that pupils recognise where they come from and feel part of it - identity being important on many levels. I also believe in giving back to the community and have worked alongside groups to provide key events such as Bonfire and Fireworks Night and the Emsworth Community Christmas.
Communication is key to school relationships and I actively encourage it at all levels and through as many means as possible. With that in mind I am disappointed not to be touring families this year but I hope to meet many of you soon.
How is the school arranged into classes?
We have two classes in every year group and an admission number of 30 in each class. This can only be breached by the local authority admissions panel in exceptional circumstances. Each class has a teacher and a learning support assistant – some classes have additional staff for pupils who have dedicated 1:1 assistants to help with their learning or health needs. In Early Years, children are taught in groups for phonics, English and maths so that learning can be tailored for their next steps. These groupings are fluid and alter as children make progress throughout the year.
What is the Early Years environment like?
There are two classroom bases – Badgers and Hedgehogs and they also have a shared outdoor and indoor area as shown in the photos below.
These areas are accessible throughout the day when children have their time to independently choose what they would like to do. The environment is carefully planned and monitored to build on children’s interests and areas which need developing. There are always activities to develop fine and gross motor skills. The classrooms are zoned – much like many pre-schools:
When do Early Years children start school and what are the timings?
At the start of the autumn term we would usually conduct home visits to each EY family. This is not possible with COVID restrictions so this year each family had a socially distanced appointment at the school to meet key staff and see the EY environment. The children then typically start school during the second week of term – this year (2020) the timings worked as follows:
Thursday 3rd Sept – Years 1 to 6 started school
Thursday 10th September – EY children started school 0845 – 1300hrs
Monday 14th September – EY children started fulltime 0845 – 1515hrs
Obviously the dates may be slightly different in 2021. We have found it helpful to move to fulltime quickly for working parents' routines and to help children settle. This can however be too fast for some children. We will work with individual families on a slower or part-time start if you feel that this would benefit your child – they do not legally need to be fulltime at school until their 5th birthday.
Who are the Early Years staff?
Meet our key staff by following this link:
How is a day structured in Early Years?
Watch our Adobe video showing a typical day in Early Years:
What transition procedures are in place?
We receive pupils from a wide range of pre-schools, childminders and other childcare and ensure that we have transitional conversations with key workers and those who know the children best. These discussions occur in the summer term before the children start school and before home visits (in usual years) so that we can gain as much information as possible about our new entrants. Pre-covid we would have visited all pre-schools but this year those discussions took place via phone call and emails. We would also usually invite families to visit the school for settling in sessions known as 'Stay and Play' but again, this will depend on what preventative measures are still in place. We will review and adapt our procedures as circumstances change and keep you updated.
What uniform and equipment will my child need?Winter Uniform
Girls - skirt or trousers in either black or grey, white shirt/polo top and navy sweatshirt or cardigan, sensible low heeled black shoes or trainers
Boys - shorts or trousers in either black or grey, white shirt/polo top and navy sweatshirt, sensible black shoes or trainers.
We are currently allowing trainers as we have reduced time outside due to rotas as part of our COVID preventative measures. Children wearing trainers allows for spontaneous outdoor PE and exercise to take place! This may revert back to school-style shoes only in time.Summer Uniform
Girls - as winter or blue and white gingham dress, option of sandals.
Boys - as winter, option of sandals.
PE kit: Blue shorts and a white t-shirt, plimsolls or trainers (for outdoor PE). In winter, tracksuit trousers and a sweatshirt are also recommended.
Sports bags with the school logo on are available to purchase from the school office.
It is helpful if children have a school bookbag to transport their reading book and diary, snack money and valuable artwork which they wish to share with you! We will provide your child with their first bookbag when they start school with us. They can choose from an array of colours:
What can my child eat and drink at school?
Early Years children have access to a snack station which is kept stocked with fruit, milk and other healthy snacks. They are provided with a water bottle and may access this whenever they need.
All pupils may purchase a warm bread roll for 30p from the school kitchen at breaktime. We have fantastic school kitchens and lunches are cooked daily for us and other local schools. Children in Early Years, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to free school meals which are ordered on a daily basis - sample menus are shown below:
Alternatively, children may bring snacks for morning break and a packed lunch from home.
What are the principles of the school’s curriculum?
We aim to achieve a balance between a knowledge and skills led curriculum as we recognize the importance of both. Our curriculum design ensures that individual subjects are separate disciplines but that meaningful links are also made and explored. We start with the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework and the National Curriculum and then make it relevant and pertinent for our pupils as we prepare them for the next step in their education experience. In Early Years, our topics are led by the interests of the children. Throughout the year we incorporate celebrations, seasons and specific books. Our planning is guided by the Early Years Curriculum for each of the 7 areas of learning - Literacy, Mathematics, Communication and Language, Physical, Personal and Social, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Have a look at our current Early Years page for more detail about our curriculum:
Cohort needs and our local context also play a huge part in our curriculum design. Whilst meeting our statutory expectations we also respond to current events and what is important or relevant to our pupils in global, national and local contexts. We utilise our local area as much as possible and encourage our pupils to feel part of the Emsworth community. We participate in many local events - Christmas light switch on, singing in local care homes, Remembrance Day Parade, Emsworth Community Christmas, local conservancy and tree warden groups, Havant debating chamber, local Police and PCSOs, The Final Straw, Chichester Harbour Conservancy and other local environmental groups.
We also offer online learning for pupils self-isolating due to COVID or in the event of a local or national lockdown. Again, you may visit the Online Learning tab on our website for more information.
What behaviour management principles does the school follow?
We believe in positive behaviour management which celebrates good choices rather than dwelling on times when things go wrong. Our children receive overt praise for positive behaviour in many ways, including stickers and stars, merits, certificates, special badges, verbal praise to parents, various forms of class awards and a special weekly celebration of selected children from each class. We value effort, kindness, empathy and perseverance as well as academic attainment. Our values are:
- We always try our best
- We show respect to everyone and everything
- We care about each other
- We listen to others
- We keep our hands and feet to ourselves
In Early Years children review how their day has gone and climb leaves up a tree until they reach the top and choose a prize from a special box. Children may hover on a leaf if they have had a tricky day!
Our other year groups use the ClassDojo behaviour system which is numerical with each child having a monster who is awarded points. Classes often work collaboratively to gain points and receive a class reward of their choice - in the past we have had movies and popcorn, sewing and rounders as chosen rewards.
What academic standards does the school achieve?
Statutory attainment and progress data was not captured in 2020 due to partial school closures.
We have had an ongoing upward trajectory in terms of our performance data and in 2019 we achieved higher than national and Local Authority expectations in all assessments, outperforming all other local schools. We do not believe in hot-housing children for tests but recognise they need to feel calm and prepared for them and their next steps in their education journey.
How are children with Special Education Needs (SEN) supported?
Class teachers are responsible for the planning and implementation of learning in their classroom, including the learning of pupils who have identified special educational needs. Our Inclusion Leader, Mr Boxall, has overall responsibility for the provision made for pupils with special educational needs. This includes determining what extra help might be made available; ensuring that teachers and Learning Support Assistants have the training that they need; referring pupils for external support or seeking advice from specialist agencies (including charities); meeting with parents and other agencies to discuss strategies and make joint decisions.
Children who have special educational needs may initially be identified in a number of ways. The most likely initial alert may be as a result of parent or teacher observations and teacher assessment. Sometimes this may include formal or statutory test results, but it is much more likely to be by informal classroom and playground observation of children’s approaches to learning and to socialising. If children are not making expected progress in their learning, this could be another alert. Teachers and Learning Support Assistants use their experience and professional expertise to identify learning needs and to suggest appropriate action.
The school's SEN Policy and SEN Information report are available to read or download on our website: https://www.emsworthprimaryschool.co.uk/Special-Educational-Needs/
We are an inclusive school and will adapt our provision in response to a child or cohort's needs.
What technology does the school use?
We are very proud of our ICT infrastructure. Each classroom is equipped with the latest technology - touchscreen, backlit, interactive whiteboards. We have banks of iPads and laptops which we use to support the curriculum. We have recently invested in Crumble controllers which allow us to program outputs such as motors, LEDs and switches. Children love putting their coding skills into action, controlling real life outputs such as remote-control cars and moveable fairground rides.
The implementation of our curriculum begins in Early Years where learning is very much focused on play and exploration. In Year 1 pupils are taught vital computing skills such as mouse control. Throughout their computing journey, pupils are taught new skills explicitly and these are practised implicitly through other curriculum areas. For example, an ‘Introduction to Excel’ unit in Year 3, provides the knowledge for Excel to be used to present learning in science and geography. Throughout Key Stage 2, the balance of computing shifts from digital literacy to computer science. Pupils are encouraged to use the array of technology available to them to choose what would be most appropriate to fit the purpose.
The impact of learning computing at Emsworth Primary School is that pupils leave our school as digital citizens who are equipped with the skills, resilience and computational thinking to be active participants in an ever-changing technological world.
We are committed to ensuring our pupils are safe and responsible internet users. Click here to find out about our ‘Online Safety Provision’.
How does the school communicate with parents?
We operate an online text and email system Parentmail and use this to communicate with individual and groups of parents. This system is always used by parents to report absences, book parent/teacher meetings and communicate messages to the admin team. Any families who do not have access to the internet may have paper copies of any information sent out.
The school website is fully compliant with statutory requirements - including academic results, policies, procedures and other useful information. We also have official school Facebook and Twitter accounts which give you regular insight into school life.
What happens if my child needs first aid at school?
We have several members of staff who are medically trained, including in paediatric first aid. The school has a medical room where children may receive minor treatment including plasters, temperature monitoring, prescribed medication and liquid paracetamol. Prescribed medication must be in its original container with visible dispensary information and parents should complete a signed permission slip. This also applies to liquid paracetamol and our protocol ensures parents are informed of dosage and timings.
What should I do if my child is absent from school?
If a child has a planned absence then it is helpful if we know in advance. For illness it is important that parents report their child's absence via Parentmail or calling/texting the school office. If a child is absent from school and we do not hear from parents by 10am we will make contact with them to check that all is okay. This forms part of our safeguarding and absence reporting procedure.
What are the school’s safeguarding procedures?
The Designated Safeguarding Lead for the school is the Headteacher, Kate Fripp.
We safeguard our pupils by:
- creating a safe environment for children through robust safeguarding practices;
- ensuring that adults who work in the school, including volunteers, are thoroughly checked and safe recruitment procedures are adhered to;
- making sure staff are trained, know how to respond to concerns and keep-up-to-date with policy and practice;
- teaching children how to stay safe;
- embedding safeguarding values in our culture and ethos through positive communication and relationships;
- maintaining an environment where children feel confident to approach any member of staff if they have a worry or problem.
The headteacher has lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection and we also have senior leaders who support this role. Our safeguarding policy gives full details and can be accessed here:
What extra facilities does the school have?
We have a dedicated IT suite which seats a class of pupils at desktop computers and has a teaching screen for whole class teaching.
We have a music and drama studio where classes go for their curriculum music lessons and any children having instrumental lessons. We currently offer guitar, drumming, piano, keyboard and violin lessons – children tend to start these when they are about 7 years old but we can be flexible. These lessons are taught by peripatetic music teachers who are sourced by the school and partly subsidised.
The school has a well-stocked library which children visit to choose a book to take home and share with their family.
What extra-curricular clubs does the school offer?
We offer a wide range of clubs in usual circumstances which include choir, cooking, football, rugby, gardening, art, Little Troopers (for Forces children), drumming, karate and yoga. We hope to resume some of these activities once we are able.
What do the school grounds look like?
We are incredibly fortunate to have attractive spacious grounds with a large field, playground, trim trail and pond area.
What trips do children usually go on?
Prior to COVID restrictions children enjoyed many trips to enhance their learning experience, including walks into Emsworth town and foreshore, Portsmouth historic dockyard, Chichester Observatory, Titanic Museum, Arundel Castle, The British Museum in London, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Aspex Art Gallery in Portsmouth, Brook Meadow, STEM enrichment at CEMAST to name but a few! We use minibuses and coaches for travel and for several trips we travel by train as it is more cost effective and the children love it!
Children in Year 3 usually go to Minstead Study Centre for a 3 day residential and Year 6 to Calshot Activities Centre for 4 days. We hope to resume some of these activities soon.
What wrap around care does the school offer?
We run a well attended and fun breakfast club which offers different start times and costs to meet the needs of our parents:
- 0730hrs until the start of school - £4.50 per child, including a healthy breakfast
- 0800hrs until the start of school - £3.00 per child
Childcare vouchers are accepted as payment for Breakfast Club.
We have an after-school club which is run by Growing Places and offers childcare until 1800hrs.
What can parents do to prepare children for school?
Our best advice is to talk to your child (we can tell if children are used to being listened to and asked their opinion), share stories and books with them (it's about enriching imagination and vocabulary) and above all, practise zipping up coats, finding stray socks and getting them back onto feet and being able to recognise their own clothing!
During the year we hold phonics and maths workshops designed to inform parents about how best to help their children at home.
How do parents pay for school events?
We set parents up with an account on SCOPAY which allows them to pay for any trips, contributions towards music lessons, theme days, breakfast club etc., all through an online app.
What pastoral support does the school offer?
The school has two qualified ELSAs who provide emotional support to pupils with parental consent. This support may be needed for a wide range of reasons including; parental break-up, family bereavement, anxiety or friendship worries. We also have a Welfare Officer who provides support to families who may need help with parenting issues, attendance, mental health and wellbeing and signposting to other agencies. With community support, we have created a nurture room which provides a calm, sensory environment.
The pastoral team at the school provide support and help for families if times become tricky and during lockdown food hampers were made and given to those families who needed them.
How can parents be involved in the school community?
We have a fantastic PTA called Emsworth Primary School Association (EPSA) who provide vital fundraising for the school through fun activities for the children. All families who join the school automatically become members of EPSA and may help as much or as little as they are able. In usual circumstances we also welcome help from parent volunteers to listen to readers, accompany school trips and bring their expertise to enrich our curriculum. This has not been possible with our COVID precautions but we hope to welcome them all back soon.
Which secondary schools do children move on to from Emsworth Primary?
Children in our Year 6 typically move on to one of the following schools:
Warblington School https://www.warblington.hants.sch.uk/
Bourne Community College https://www.bourne.org.uk/
The Petersfield School https://www.petersfieldschool.com/
Chichester High School https://www.chs-tkat.org/
If you have a question that I haven't covered then please email the school via email@example.com and I will be happy to help. Thank you to all our current parents who suggested the questions that they had found useful when they joined the school.
Kate Fripp, Headteacher