St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School
St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School
Ward Avenue, Grays, Essex, RM17 5RW
SCHOOL CONTACT DETAILS:
Telephone: 01375 375826
Members of the school Governing Body are as follows:
Foundation Governors: (appointed by the Diocese)
Mrs H Taylor (Chair)
Fr Martin Hardy
Mrs L Doherty
Mrs D James
Mrs M Ikwudirim
Teacher Governor: Mrs N Smith
Parent Governor: Mr T Thompson
Headteacher: Mrs M Ward
Correspondence for members of the school Governing Body may be addressed to the school office.
The Governing Body has overall responsibility for the school, whereas the day-to-day management lies with the Headteacher. Governors, therefore, have a financial liability for the school and are dependent on support from the parish and voluntary contributions from parents.
At St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, we aim to create and sustain a stimulating Christ centred environment, where everybody involved, children, staff and parents, may grow in their faith and their love of God, developing respect for themselves and an awareness of the needs and gifts of others.
We aim to create an environment where children will be happy, independent and will be able to achieve their full potential, spiritually, academically, morally, emotionally, socially and physically.
We aim to provide children with the experiences, knowledge and skills necessary:
- To deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith.
- To read fluently and accurately.
- To write clearly, fluently and accurately for a variety of purposes.
- To communicate clearly and confidently in speech.
- To listen attentively to others.
- To develop mathematical concepts and skills and apply these to real life situations.
- To develop scientific knowledge and skills.
- To develop the ability to plan and organise their own learning using a range of resources and skills.
- To become observant and curious of the world around them and develop a respect for their environment.
- To develop the skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to express their thoughts and feelings creatively.
- To develop agility and physical co-ordination and to encourage team skills.
- To learn to recognise, respect and value the cultural, racial and sexual differences in our society.
- To learn to work and play harmoniously and tolerantly with others.
- To develop self-discipline, self-reliance and self-esteem.
- To develop an understanding of the need for personal safety.
- To stay safe, be healthy, achieve and enjoy, make a positive contribution to society and achieve economic well being
We aim to celebrate and share successes and achievements, both individually and collectively.
The school undertakes to work to complement the home and church environment by setting before the children the ideal of Christian life.
At St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School we strive to encourage the development of each individual. We accept that you as parents are the first and most important teachers of your children and wish to support you in continuing this process. With parents, teachers and children, working together, we can achieve a great deal. We hope to offer all children a broad and balanced curriculum which draws on each child’s own experience of the world and seeks to develop and extend their understanding of it.
Children are encouraged to see themselves as active participants in their own learning. They are encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards themselves and their work and towards others. We actively encourage the children to become independent and self-disciplined learners.
At St Thomas of Canterbury the curriculum offered includes;
- National Curriculum Core Subjects: English, Maths, and Science
- Foundation Subjects: Computing, History, Geography, Design and Technology, Art and Design, PE, Music, [KS 1 and 2] French [KS 2 only]
- Personal, Social, Health Education [ As we believe this is such an important area of learning, although not currently part of the 2014 version of the National Curriculum, we continue to teach it through all elements of our curriculum as well as a discrete subject].
Whilst trying to maintain a broad and balanced curriculum at St Thomas’ priority is given to the teaching of the National Curriculum core subjects and RE. The school has drawn up a plan, which indicates the National Curriculum programmes of study which must be covered by each year group. Where it is not possible to make links between subjects, then these are taught on an individual basis. Teachers plan their work, as a team, half-termly. From these plans more detailed weekly and daily plans are drawn up.
Records of children’s individual progress are kept. These are based on observations and teacher assessments, as well as on formal assessment processes in Year 2 and Year 6.
When your child is in our Reception class they are assessed using a Baseline Assessment. This enables us to assess your child’s knowledge, understanding and capabilities and then allows us to plan to support each child further in their personal and social development.
The staff at St Thomas’ are always prepared to meet the Government’s directives, and follow the Primary National Curriculum. Our planned curriculum ensures progression and acknowledges the different learning rates of pupils. Children are generally taught in mixed ability groups in line with National Curriculum expectations, but the teacher’s expectations for individual children will be different. All children receive support to enable them to achieve their potential. Classrooms are organised to accommodate whole class teaching, group teaching or individual work—the criteria used being ‘fit for purpose’.
In the Reception classes our children experience teaching and learning in the seven areas of learning contained in the curriculum guidance for the Foundation Stage.
In Key Stage 1 and 2 children are taught:
English: We follow the National Curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. The children are taught through at least one daily English lesson. In each lesson there could be; phonic work, shared reading/ shared writing, word/sentence work or guided reading/writing. In KS1 the children are taught phonics using the Read, Write Inc programme.
Through English lessons the children experience the National Curriculum requirements of speaking and listening, reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting. In addition to this we also encourage the children to read for pleasure (also supported by parents) and to read for information.
Maths: Maths is taught through a daily maths lesson following the requirements of the National Curriculum. In line with the requirements of the National Curriculum we focus on number, shape, space and measures and handling data. The Abacus and White Rose maths schemes are used to supplement our maths teaching and we provide the pupils with opportunities to tackle problems, solve mathematical investigations and demonstrate skills in reasoning. We adopt a ‘Mastery’ approach to the teaching of mathematics. We support pupils to develop their fluency, reasoning skills and develop their ability to use and apply mathematical knowledge and skills in a range of situations.
Science: Science, for all primary school children is about stimulating and exciting curiosities in the world around them. At St Thomas’ we focus on scientific enquiry, life processes and living things, materials and their properties and physical properties. Each half-term we focus on a particular topic in each year group, helping the children to observe closely, to ask questions, to put forward predictions and ideas, to test these fairly and to record and interpret the results of their enquiries.
Computing: ICT prepares children to participate in a rapidly changing world. They use ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information. At St Thomas’ computing skills are taught using the school’s bank of laptops in each Key stage and i-pads in KS1. The children then use these skills and resultant knowledge in the classroom to support work across the curriculum.
History and Geography: On many occasions these areas of learning may be taught as separate subjects. Our aim is to help our children make sense of the world in which they live by looking at the past and its influences on the present, and by using enquiry and fieldwork to answer questions about the natural and human world.
Design /Technology: In design technology children learn to think and intervene creatively to improve quality of life. Children examine how things work and learn about the nature of the materials used. They are provided with opportunities to solve problems using their design and making skills and the knowledge and understanding of products and their uses. Children are often required to work collaboratively in this area within mixed ability groups.
Art/Design: This subject enables the children to communicate through another medium. It encourages the children to work imaginatively using a range of tools and resources. They also explore the ideas and meanings of artists, craftspeople and designers. The children begin to explore and then develop their understanding of colour, shape, space pattern and texture.
PE: Physical Education at St Thomas’ includes gymnastics, dance, games, athletics, outdoor education and, in KS2, swimming. PE develops pupils’ physical competence and confidence and their ability to use these to perform in a range of activities. It provides opportunities for pupils to be creative and competitive as well as being reflective and work as part of a team.
Music: Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. Pupils are taught a variety of skills. A love of music is encouraged through listening, singing, playing and composing their own pieces. In KS2 the children are offered opportunities to learn to play a musical instrument during school time.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE): At St Thomas’ we believe that PSHE helps to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active, responsible citizens. The Church has always recognised that it is the privilege and responsibility of the family to inform and educate their children in all matters pertaining to human growth and development, particularly in the sensitive area of sexual development. However, it has also recognised the difficulties, which such education encounters, and calls on the school to collaborate with the family. Our Governors acknowledge this and have asked that the school should address issues relating to education in personal relationships; Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). SRE occurs throughout the school but in Years 5 and 6 it is more specifically focused. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from these lessons if they so wish.
French: French is taught to children in Key Stage 2. It gives the children an insight into the language and culture of another country.
Our worship and Religious Education programme demonstrates the foundation upon which our school is built. We pray together. There are daily acts of worship. The children participate in assemblies and liturgies each week. The school comes together to pray and celebrate Mass on a regular basis and this includes Holy Days of Obligation. Pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 have an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Children are taught the prayers of our church and are encouraged to think and reflect in order to nurture their individual relationships with God.
The children in Year 3 have the opportunity to join the parish based First Holy Communion programme. Preparation for the Sacrament is led by catechists in the Parish, some of whom are members of our school community.
We teach the children about the scriptures, stories about the Saints of our Church and beliefs and practices of Catholics. We also look closely at the practises and beliefs of other major world religions.
We encourage our children to recognise goodness in others, past and present, and their own potential as Christians.
We use the ‘Come and See’ Primary Education Programme for Schools, which was launched, after much preparation, by the Bishops of England and Wales.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons if they so wish. We ask that parents give their reasons in writing if they wish to do this. Should a parent decide to withdraw their child from RE lessons then we will discuss the steps to take.
Homework encourages parents to work with their children at home and to be specifically involved in their children’s learning. It provides children with opportunities to practise skills they are learning at school, like multiplication tables. It helps to reinforce facts learned in the classroom and encourages children to be independent learners outside the school environment. We hope that doing homework will set patterns of study that will benefit your children now and throughout their school lives. The amount of homework set for pupils does, of course, increase as children progress through the school.
Are expected to read to parents each evening and may have an exercise specific to their reading.
As a guide homework is expected to take 1 hour each week.
Year 1 and 2 pupils
Are expected to read to parents each evening and will be expected to learn weekly spellings or complete an activity related to work in class.
As a guide homework is expected to take 1 hour each week.
Year 3 and 4 pupils
Along with reading daily, these pupils will learn weekly spellings, as well as times tables for weekly tests. They may also be given an activity related to Grammar, punctuation or comprehension.
As a guide homework is expected to take 1 ½ hours each week.
Year 5 and 6 pupils
Along with reading daily, learning spellings and times tables for weekly tests, these pupils will often be given work related to areas studied in class or some more detailed reference/ research work to undertake.
As a guide homework is expected to take 2 ½ hours each week.
For further details please consult the school’s Homework Policy, available for viewing via the school website.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
St Thomas’ follows the requirements of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Within this framework we aim to treat each child as an individual and take account of their own specific needs. Where children are identified as having a learning difficulty a specific learning programme is created. Concerns can be raised by parents, teachers or the school SEN co-ordinator. Initially additional support will be provided by the school and subsequently, if required, a child might be seen by outside specialist staff or a member of the LA psychology team.
We try to work in partnership with parents to identify, address and support children with their needs. A copy of the school policy for SEN is available, for viewing, via the school website.
Monitoring the implementation of the curriculum is the responsibility of the Headteacher. This is done by classroom observation when the overall quality of teaching and learning is assessed; by sampling children’s work and by examining records of achievement. The Deputy Head, Assistant Heads, Year group leaders and subject leaders assist with this process of monitoring. Additional checks are made by school Governors and occasionally the LA.
National Curriculum documents, the ‘Come and See’ RE syllabus and school policy documents are located in the Headteacher’s office, and may be viewed by any parent provided sufficient notice is given. The National Curriculum is also available through the DFE Website.
Our mission statement embodies explicitly and implicitly the understanding that as Christians we are committed to achieving a positive caring ethos in our school. We aim to promote equal opportunities through affirmative action, recognising and celebrating richness in diversity. We aim to positively counter discrimination based on age, gender, race, class or disability. Through careful planning we would hope to foster equal opportunities for all pupils both within the curriculum and in the wider aspects of school life. Parents, children and staff should be active partners in this process of developing an ethos of mutual respect and understanding.
DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT
The school buildings are planned to accommodate members of the school community who have a disability. All new buildings are planned to meet the DDA requirements.
At St Thomas’ we are concerned with the development of the whole child, not just academic achievement. We emphasise that school is a special place for learning where children can work hard, be happy and feel safe. When children come to St Thomas’ they become a member of one of four houses. We believe that the house system, which encourages children to do their best, is a tremendous incentive to do well.
We think that good partnerships between parents and teachers are essential in enabling your child to fulfil his/her potential and enabling the school to run well. We foster these links through our weekly newsletter, regular parents’ evenings, termly reports and a written progress report and celebration evening at the end of each academic year.
Children’s individual achievements are also recognised during weekly assemblies when a variety of certificates are awarded.
If your child shows signs of being unsettled or unhappy at school, through either home or school circumstances, it is important that we work together to try and minimise the effects of any problems. Parents are always welcome to make an appointment through the school office to see their child’s teacher, Year group leader, Assistant Heads or Headteacher to discuss any matters of concern. Likewise the school will contact you if we have any concerns about your child which we think need addressing.
Discipline is essential to good order. It is important that every child is aware of, and follows, the rules that have been agreed upon for the efficient and smooth running of the school. We encourage children to show respect towards all members of the school community in order to foster self-respect as the child matures. Similarly, we foster self-discipline in our pupils, from the earliest age, by encouraging them to work independently and move around the school in an orderly fashion.
The school relies on its partnership with parents in disciplinary matters to ensure a common framework of values and expectations. See school policy on Behaviour and Discipline on our website for further details.
Classes are organised and taught in year groups as follows:
Key Stage 1
Lower Key Stage 2
Upper Key Stage 2
We have always been proud of our attendance record at St Thomas’. There are rarely any unauthorised absences. It is essential that parents telephone the school office to report their child absent and then send a brief note on their return, to explain the absence reason to the teacher. This note is then placed on record and is available for inspection by the Education Welfare Officer. The attendance for the Year 2018/19 was 96.99% with 0.51 % unauthorised absence.
School begins at 8.55am. Children are to arrive on the school premises between 8.40am and 8.55am. They are allowed to enter their classroom from 8.40am which is when we assume responsibility for them. At the end of the day, which is 3.15pm, children can be collected from their designated collection points on the playground.
There is a 15 minute break each morning. Lunch time is from 12.00pm - 1.15pm for Reception, 12.15pm - 1.30pm for Key Stage 1 pupils, 12.30pm - 1.30pm for Lower Key Stage 2 pupils and 12.45pm - 1.45pm for Upper Key Stage 2 pupils. The children are supervised at this time by Midday Assistants.
The number of teaching hours per week is:
22 hours and 5 minutes
23 hours and 30 minutes
There is very limited parking available on the school site for parents. Unfortunately, there is no parking available at the beginning and end of the school day unless you have a Parking Permit, details of these are available from the school office. We encourage all parents to walk their children to school, however, if you must drive we request that when you park in the areas around the school, you are considerate and courteous to our neighbours and other road users.
EDUCATIONAL VISITS AND VISITORS
Educational visits which enhance the teaching of various study units are part of the established norm at St Thomas’ and operate throughout the year. These visits broaden a child’s experience of the world and add an extra dimension to his/ her learning.
Along with educational visits we also ask individuals and companies to come into St Thomas’ to work with our children to enhance the curriculum. This may take the form of theatre groups, experts or entertainers.
The children in Year 6 usually have a five-day residential visit which provides an opportunity for a variety of supervised physical activities which encourage pupils to develop self reliance in an environment outside their home.
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
There are school clubs held before school, at lunch- time and after school.
Our football and netball teams are well established and continue to excel in matches played in local fixtures and at an area level.
The school has a KS 1 and KS 2 choir. Pupils are taught by a member of the teaching staff in school.
Schools are not permitted to make compulsory charges for activities or tuition (except music and art and craft materials) in school time. This will include swimming, school trips, educational visits, theatre visits etc. We hope that parents will be willing, as they have in the past, to regard such charges as a voluntary contribution. There is provision to help parents who are financially unable to contribute. However, unless the majority contribute to any trip the activity may have to be cancelled.
We are lucky to have a very active Parent Teacher Association here at St Thomas’. All parents are automatically members of the PTA. Through its fund raising activities our PTA continues to provide additional items of equipment, computers and library books besides enhancing the school environment.
The school PTA is a member of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations. There are regular termly meetings and an AGM at which officers are elected.
It is essential that parents leave a daytime means of contact in case of emergency or child’s illness.
Following DFE guidelines, medicines cannot be administered by school staff, except for exceptional circumstances where a plan has been established. Medicines should be taken at home. On no account must medicines be left in a child’s bag. Inhalers should be clearly marked. We keep inhalers in classrooms for easy access, in individual bags marked with the child’s name.
We have a well-equipped medical room where children can be looked after and made comfortable when either feeling unwell or recovering from cuts and grazes. This room may also be used by the Health Service nurses during the routine checks and examinations which children receive during their school life. It provides privacy for parents and pupils at these times.
School meals are cooked on the premises and are available at a standard charge. If you are in receipt of Income Support you will be entitled to free meals for your child. Applications should be made to the Local Authority. Currently all EYFS and KS1 pupils are entitled to a free school meal provided through a Government initiative. However if you children are in EYFS or KS1 it will benefit your child in terms of additional educational provision if you apply for this through the Local Authority if you are in receipt of Income Support as we currently receive additional funding per child.
Dinner money debts - Children who regularly owe dinner money will be asked to bring a packed lunch.
KS2 parents wishing their child to have a school lunch must pay via the school ‘parent pay’ system. Details available from the school office.
Children who wish to bring a packed lunch from home may do so. The lunch should be packed in a lunch box with the child’s name clearly marked. The same applies to drinks. We encourage children to eat healthily at break time and ask them to bring fruit for the mid-morning break.
There is a strict uniform code at St Thomas’. The children are to wear shoes rather than trainers to and from school. ‘Hi-Top’ style boots are not permitted. Earrings (including studs) are not permitted, extremes of fashion in terms of shoes and hair are not acceptable. All hair, which touches or falls below the shoulder, must be tied back. Highlighted, coloured hair and unusual ‘trendy’ hairstyles, including ‘hair art’ are considered to be an extreme of fashion and are not allowed. Hair should should not be cut or shaved below a number ‘3’. School uniform is available for purchase from Sue’s Schoolwear Shop in Grays or Uniformwise in Stanford-Le-Hope.
We ask all children to use the school reading bag; this is suitable for children to carry books and homework to and from school. Larger bags are not required except for additional specified sports activities eg swimming. PE kit is to be stored in the St Thomas’ PE bag.
Please ensure that all your child’s clothing is marked with his/her name. We are not responsible for items of clothing which go missing.
St Thomas’ blazer (optional)
Navy blue coats for both boys and girls
St Thomas’ school book bag
Children should not bring valuables into school. We cannot take responsibility for their safe keeping; this includes mobile telephones, electronic equipment, jewellery, watches etc. If a child is bringing money into school for trips etc this should be handed in during the morning registration period.
HEALTH & SAFETY
The school endeavours to make the environment as safe as possible. This includes access to the school by visitors. Dogs are not permitted on site and, in line with Government regulations, no smoking is allowed in any part of the school. Chewing gum is also not allowed on site.
The school follows the Thurrock procedure for child protection.
We believe that the welfare of your child is of paramount importance. Like other schools in Thurrock we are obliged to follow set procedures when we are concerned about the welfare of your child. Whenever possible we would want to discuss our concerns with you first. However, there may be times when our concerns are such that we will be obliged to follow the procedures laid down by the area protection committee and, in the unlikely event of this happening, you may be contacted by a Social Worker, or someone from another agency, whose job it is to ensure your child is protected at all times. If you have any worries about child protection issues please contact the Designated Lead for Safeguarding or the Headteacher.
WORRIES / PROBLEMS
If you are at all worried about your child’s education or have a problem at school, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher who will arrange an appointment to discuss these issues with you. If the problem cannot be resolved, or it needs to go further, the Year group leader, the Assistant Heads and then the Headteacher will be available to discuss the problem. In the unlikely event of not being satisfied with the outcome, the Chair of the Complaints and Exclusions Sub-Committee of the Governing Body would be the next point of contact. If the Governors cannot resolve the problem, then they will direct parents to the LA or Diocese, to investigate further, if appropriate.
On the very rare occasion when parents have a grievance they should take it up with the class teacher. Formal procedures have been established to deal with complaints associated with the National Curriculum which are not resolved by this direct approach. A copy of these procedures is available for inspection via the school website.
If the problem cannot be resolved by the class teacher then the Year group leader or Assistant Heads can be contacted. If parents wish to take the matter further then they can arrange to see the Headteacher. The complaints committee of the school’s Governing Body is the next stage if a parental complaint has not been addressed.
If any parent wishes to make a visit to St Thomas’, having read the prospectus, they should contact the Assistant Heads via the school office.