Choosing a School: A guide for first-time school parents
Choosing your child’s first school can be a daunting time, and even more so during the current climate when it’s not possible to visit and see the school in action. To help, our Head of Early Years, Mrs Louise Laurie, suggests five things to look for.
Safety, happiness and wellbeing
At St. Margaret’s we understand that starting ‘big school’ can be an anxious time for you and your child and that’s why we’re here to hold their hand – and yours! Before they start in September, we will have arranged settling in sessions, tours of the classroom and opportunities to meet their teacher ( either virtually or onsite depending on COVID restrictions) with transition sessions planned onsite at the end of the summer holiday should restrictions still apply.
Our small class sizes of up to 16 mean that every child is cared for as an individual by our dedicated, well qualified teachers and teaching assistants. Our open-door policy means that on their first day, and every day after that in Reception, our staff meet you at the gate in the morning and again at pick-up.
Our dedicated Early Years outdoor playground is designed to allow the children to play together in a safe environment, forming friendships through role play, messy play, building and exploring. Throughout the whole school we have a buddy system and Year 6 Play Leaders at break and lunchtimes to help new or shy children to settle or simply to teach new games to all our children. Our spacious grounds also provide the perfect setting for lots of outdoor learning.
Communication is key
We understand that the amount of information and things to remember can be overwhelming for a new school parent. Our Early Years teachers help make it as easy as possible by liaising with you via a home communication book to record notes and reminders. We use an online learning journal called Tapestry each day to post pictures and updates about what your child has learned and about their journey towards meeting the Early Learning Goals.
Our dedicated Cognita Connect app is used to distribute school information and newsletters, as well as having a newsfeed featuring photos and news from across the whole school community.
Currently, we are unable to invite parents in to watch assemblies and nativity plays, but we are sharing secure links to a recording of their performances so that parents can still enjoy these magical occasions from the comfort of home.
The St Margaret’s Parents Association is always welcoming to new families and arranges lots of fun events throughout the year.
An engaging and effective timetable
Our children have access to a broad, enriched and stimulating learning environment. We are keen to help your child become an early reader and a young mathematician so lessons build these skills each day. There is plenty of opportunity for learning outside the classroom, including Forest School and outdoor play. Topic work is supported with Science, computer science, creative play and art, adding extra ‘fizz’ to the week.
French, Music and PE are all taught by specialist teachers who take advantage of our wonderful music and sports facilities. Extracurricular activities include sports, drama, art and music clubs, exciting school trips and visitors all instil a lifelong love of learning.
Highly qualified and empathetic staff
Naturally, parents want capable, highly qualified teachers. But it is also important that they are empathetic. Our high staff to child ratios mean that teachers and teaching assistants really understand each child – knowing how best they learn and how to support them with their feelings. We genuinely love what we do and look forward each morning to working with the children to help them progress.
Support for working parents
Our wraparound care, available from 7.30am until 6pm, with a light breakfast and tea provided, is an arrangement that our working parents find invaluable. We also offer a variety of after school clubs including ballet and Little Blitzers boxing.
Offering the perfect blend of educational expertise and passion, we know that we can give your child the very best start to their educational journey.
Contact us to arrange a meeting with Mrs Laurie and our Headteacher, Mrs Moss. Just as soon as we’re able to, we’d love to invite you in for a personal tour.