Q/. How does communication between the school and parents work?
A/. In a primary school most communication will be face to face but this is not always possible.
We publish a range of information about our curriculum and learning on the class pages and there’s an online school calendar. There’s a termly class newsletter (on the class pages) and weekly whole school newsletter which is uploaded to the newsletter page of the website. To receive the newsletter via email please register using this link. On the class pages you will also find the homework diary for each week.
We will send messages to parents via the Parent Hub app. To download the app please visit this link.
From Summer 2021 the Parent Ambassador Group will provide a platform:
• for parents to pose questions and get answers about the running of the school
• for parents to give their views and influence the direction of the school
• for the school and Governors to share relevant information on school policy / developments
• for the school and Governors to get feedback and views from parents
For a full explanation please read our communication guidelines.
Q/. What are the school day timings and how to we drop off and pick up?
A/. Children go straight into class from 8.45am. School ends at 3.15pm for Reception to Year Six children. It's 8.45am-11.45am for Nursery children or (if taking up or paying for the the 30 hours offer) 8:45am to 3:15pm.
Parents bringing their children to school or collecting from school safely must not obstruct the school gates or parking on the yellow lines, or in the school car park.
Parents of younger children are reminded to keep hold of their child’s hand when arriving at and leaving the site – this includes nursery children leaving at 11:45am.
No parent should drive into school.
Arrival at school
• Aim to arrive at school for 8:45am (and no earlier) so that children can go straight into their classrooms. Remember the front of the school is the school carpark and not a playground. The gates open at 8:45am as to the classrooms.
• No child must be left unattended on the playground. The children are your responsibility until they are handed over (EYFS, Y1-3) enter their classrooms (Y4-6). If children are dropped off without supervision the school will contact you to ask that this does not happen again.
• Parents should note that the school does not provide a member of staff to supervise children before the doors open at 8:45am (unless the children are part of SunnySmiles at St Mary’s or a pre-school club)
• All children must be in school by 8.55 am – Gates and doors will be closed at this time and as parents, it is your responsibility to be on time. The impact of lateness is not just on your children but also on all the others in the class when lessons have to be stopped and the teacher has to go and explain to late children what they need to do.
• Once a child arrives on school premises (no earlier than 8:45 and no later than 8:55) they must not leave without permission. We operate a ‘softstart’ to help provide a calm start to the day and to ease congestion on site and on local roads. The school day for KS1 and KS2 pupils begins at 8.45am and ends at 3.15pm.
• Doors open at 8:45am for Nursery children. The school day finishes at 11:45am for Nursery pupils.
Handover in the mornings
• Children in the Nursery, Reception Class and from Years 1, 2 and 3 must be handed into the care of a member of staff at the classroom as soon as they arrive in school. Children in Y4-6 can make their own way into school from the playground.
• The school office is open from 8.30am for parents wishing to speak to the office staff.
• Class teachers will be available from 8.45am in class but may be unable to talk for any length due to supervising the children. Parents should consider making an appointment for another time.
• Messages from parents (such as change in adult picking up) are written on the small whiteboards in each class.
The School actively discourages late arrival. The register is open at 8.45am and closes at 9.30am. Any child arriving after 9.30am is marked as an Unauthorised absence for the whole of the morning session. Children arriving after 8:55am have to come through the main office doors and use the onscreen entry/exit programme to record their entry into the school.
If you arrive on site after 8:55am you should take your child straight to the office and not attempt to get them in through the gates or the classroom door. All late arrivals need to be logged on the entry system.
The school monitors closely those pupils who frequently arrive after 8.55am but not late enough to be marked as Unauthorized Absence – ie not after 9.30am. Reasons why pupils who are not consistently on time are investigated by the school.
Illness, Open days/Evenings, External Exams, Medical and Dental Appointments
Parents are encouraged to make appointments out of school hours. Children leaving school premises during school hours must be signed out (and back in if returning that day) using the online attendance programme in the foyer.
Parents are asked to report absences on the first day of absence either by: using the form on the school website or by phoning the school office and leaving a message on the answer phone. Parents need to use one of these 2 options – there is no need to use both. If you don’t inform us the office will contact you.
Collection from school
• Children from the Nursery, Reception Class and from Years 1, 2 and 3 will be handed into the care of a responsible adult at the end of the school day.
• Y4& Y5 children are dismissed into the playground. Only Y6 children may walk home on their own this is to help prepare them for secondary school.
• No primary aged child will be allowed to be in charge of another child.
• Parents and carers should inform the class teacher or the school office if someone different is going to collect their child.
• Sometimes parents have to arrange for someone to collect children at short notice. If we are unsure about a change in collection arrangements we may check with parents by telephone.
Pupils who are not collected after 15 minutes are escorted to the main entrance to wait inside of the security doors. The teacher/LSA informs the office. The Office contacts parents/carers. If a child is not collected by 4:15pm, the School will contact Social Care. When these children are collected they must also be logged out on the school entry/exit system.
If, as the result of a family split or a court order, one parent or partner is no longer allowed access to a child, parents are asked to inform the school in writing immediately. Equally as important, parents are asked to inform us as or when the situation is resolved.
Any person who appears unfit to take full responsibility for the child he/she has arrived to collect, will not be allowed to take the child from the premises. If the said person is parent or carer of the child in our care, we will try to contact other contact names on the school database. If that is not possible and the situation cannot be resolved and we feel that the child is at risk, we will contact the duty officer at the Social Care Department.
Children under the age of 16 will not be allowed to pick children up and should not drop them off either.
The school acknowledges that those with Parental Responsibility have a legal right to collect their children from school which will be respected by the school. In the event of any dispute, it is the responsibility of the parents to notify the school of the arrangements that have been made. The school will of course comply with any court orders that may be in place.
Q/. What do I do if my child is late to school?
A/. If your child is late for school, even by a few minutes, it is vital that you go to the School Office. This is not just so that we can monitor punctuality, but is essential for fire safety and security. You must take your child to the school office if you arrive at school after 8:55am. Do not take them to class office if the gates are still open.
Q/. What are the arrangements for Friday?
A/. These arrangements cover Y1-6 as EYFS are not involved in the Friday provision. Children in Y1-6 should come into school in their PE kits, they will remain in their kit for the whole day. On Fridays every Y1-6 class will have one session of PE taken by an external provider - Kick. The other session will be covered by the school staff. Children will be dismissed at the end of the day in the normal way. Children without PE kit will still take part in the activities.
Q/. Who needs PE kit?
A/. All children in Y1-6 need PE kit. Children in EYFS will not need PE kit as they will not be changing for activities. Children in Y1-6 have 2 PE sessions a week. Y4 children swim and this counts for one of these sessions.
Q/. How do I report my child's absence from school?
A/. You only need to inform us using one of these methods. Please either telephone the school on 020 8560 7166 as soon as possible and on each day of your child’s absence from school; we have a dedicated answering service where you can leave a message. Or use the dedicated absence form on the 'Contact Us' tab. It is very important that you let us know your child’s symptoms so that we can monitor any possible epidemics. If your child has an appointment you will need to use the form and then email the full details to firstname.lastname@example.org. We need these details for reporting purposes. Please send a letter of explanation to school on your child's return.
Q/. How do I go about arranging school dinners for my child?
A/. School meals are free and compulsory for Infant children. All meals choices need to be booked via ParentPay. For Junior children you will need to be pay for the meals via ParentPay when you book them. If you’ve forgotten your log on details please call into the school office. If you don’t have internet access at home you can use one of the office computers to charge your account. Sometimes we have a special menu (for instance Patron Saints, Ash Wednesday and the Christmas Meal) on these days the choices on ParentPay don’t change and you will need to use the colours of the replacement meal options and make your choice in the usual way.
Q/. How can I buy school uniform?
A/. Our main uniform supplier is School Days in Whitton High Street. You can order online here. Details of other providers are available from the school office. You do not need to buy uniform with the logo on.
Q/. Can I take my child out of school for a holiday during term time?
A/. No. Holiday during term time will not be authorised. Ordinarily any absences (other than through illness) will be recorded as unauthorised and you may incur a fixed penalty fine and risk your child losing their place at our school.
Q/. How do I apply for a place in your school for my child?
A/. As we are a Voluntary Aided school Governors oversee admissions to the school. Please look here and then contact the school office if you are interested in a place for your child.
Q/. How will I be informed if there is an enforced school closure?
A/. We will send a message out to parents via the Parent Hub app as well as putting a message on the home page of the website. You can also check the Hounslow website.
Q/. What do I do if my child is prescribed medication?
A/. Parents can arrange to come into school to administer medication to their own children if necessary. Antibiotic doses that are administered 3 times a day should be given before and after school and at bedtime. If the medicine is required 4 times a day please ask in the office to arrange a time for you or another relative to give any additional required dose. For long term or ongoing medication, parents are asked to complete and sign a School Health Care Plan, a copy can also be requested at the office. Children with asthma, severe allergies, etc keep their medication in the Medical Room; these are given by a First Aid trained member of staff.
Q/. How long before my child can return to school after an illness?
A/. In the case of vomiting and diarrhoea your child should remain absent from school for 48 hours following their last episode. If you are unsure please call us.
Q/. What do I do if I need to see a teacher?
A/. Teachers are normally available for brief enquiries before and after school. If you need a longer appointment, please contact your child's teacher or the office staff who will be happy to arrange this for you. Parent teacher meetings are held once a term. The summer session is a drop-in with no need to sign up. Details of how to sign up will be sent to you closer to the time.
Q/. Why does the school ask for contributions a Maintenance fund?
A/. As a Voluntary Aided school St Mary’s receives 90% of these funds from the Government with the remaining 10% coming from contributions (in the form of standing orders) from parents. These standing orders can be set to pay monthly (£8.50) or £102 yearly. If you are a UK tax payer then the Diocese can reclaim the tax as Gift Aid. For this reason UK tax payers are asked to pay their contributions into the Diocesan controlled account.
Q/. How are parents’ evening slots booked?
A/. We use SchoolCloud to enable parents to book appointment slots.
Q/. How quickly do you respond to letters or emails?
If you email regarding an arrangement for your child, we will respond as quickly as possible. However, if you are reporting a change to arrangements for the same day, we would advise you to telephone, if possible. If you don't get an acknowledgement of an email, please contact again, in case it has gone astray. We aim to acknowledge letters/emails within five working days, however, depending on the nature of the enquiry, a full response may take a little longer.
Q/. How do I make a complaint?
A/. Every effort will be made to meet with parents, to listen to their concerns, offer explanation or an apology and agree a way forward. Occasionally a concern will be too serious to be handled in this way, perhaps needing greater investigation; or the person concerned may not feel that the answers given so far have been acceptable or adequate. In such circumstances, the concern will become a complaint and the formal procedure should be rigorously followed. You can see our complaint’s policy here.