St Mark's C.E. Primary School

“Achievement, respect and care in a happy, Christian community.”

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Starting Reception September 2019

Thank you for applying for a place at St Mark's CE Primary School.

We are delighted to be welcoming you and your child into our school community.



The information below should answer many common queries to help you prepare for your child's start to school. Thank you to parents of our current and previous Reception cohorts, who have helped provide some of the FAQs.


Important dates for your diary:

  • ‘Look and play’ sessions will run 12th – 24th June (2:15pm-2:45pm) – we will be in touch to let you know which dates you have been allocated. These sessions will be an opportunity for you and your child to come into school and explore the reception class areas, where staff will be available to chat to you and meet you informally. Some current Reception children will be on hand to play with your child.
  • Monday 1st July – Induction Evening 7pm (tour at 6:30pm, optional). This is an information session for parents, when we share information about starting school and the curriculum. There will be an opportunity at this session to sign up for your September home visit. Prior to the meeting, tours of the school will be available from 6:30pm. This meeting takes the form of a presentation and is not suitable for children. You will be able to collect your induction information pack at this session.
  • Wednesday 3rd July – Teddy Bears’ Picnic 1:30pm. Please bring a picnic and your teddy bear! This will be an informal occasion where you can meet other parents, governors and staff, After School Club and School & Parents’ Association members. There will be entertainment provided by other children in the school. You will also receive a free green PE polo shirt from the S&PA at this event (see ‘PE kit’ section for more details).
  • Home visits will take place 3rd – 6th September. These will last approximately 20mins and will give you an opportunity to meet one of the Reception teachers and teaching assistants in the familiarity of your own home.


Starting school:

Start dates – Our induction programme starts with home visits, then we stagger the children’s start date according to age, starting the younger children first (who usually need more support) from 9th September. This allows them a little extra time to settle into the classroom, initially in smaller numbers. All children will have started school by 13th September.

You will need to confirm whether your child will start school on a full-time or part-time basis by Friday 7th June (please see your initial letter, which you will receive during May). Your child does not need to be in compulsory full-time education until the term after their 5th birthday and the school encourages you to make the decision which is right for your child. If you decide to start your child part-time, then wish them to go full-time, we ask for a week’s notice in writing. Once your child has opted to go full-time, it is not then possible to change to part-time.

The part-time session is 8:30am – 12:05pm and the full-time session 8:30am – 2:55pm (including lunch).


Drop-off – During the first few days you are welcome to bring your child into class. As your child settles into routine, we would ask you to say goodbye to them in the courtyard.


Uniform – Please see the ‘Uniform’ page.

PE kit – Children just need black shorts and a green polo shirt for the first term (tracksuits and plimsoles are not needed). In the spring term, half the class will need a swimming kit as well as their P.E. kit (we will let you know in advance when your child is swimming). In the summer term, they will need trainers in addition to their P.E. kit. Current PE timetables can be found here – they will be updated for next year over the coming weeks.

The S&PA kindly provide all new Reception starters with their green polo PE shirt, so there is no need to buy one of these. You will receive your free, appropriately sized PE shirt at Teddy Bear’s Picnic.


Lunches – All Reception, Y1 and Y2 children are entitled to a free hot school meal. Once your child had started, you will be issued with a Wisepay account, which will allow you to select from different meal choices (link to Wisepay can be found under the ‘Parents’ tab in ‘Useful links’). Please advise us, during your home visit, of any dietary needs or if you require a vegetarian option during the first few weeks. Bookings for meals must be completed by midnight on the Tuesday, for the following week. Alternatively, you can provide a packed lunch.

Some of the buddies will be on hand to help your children with lunches during the first few weeks. Reception children will eat at around 12:05pm, before the main lunch service starts (at 12:20pm). They are supervised by their class teachers and teaching assistants until the lunchtime supervisors take over at 12:20pm. Children will be able to sit with their friends and children with packed lunches will sit together.

When you use Wisepay to order lunches, there are several confirmations you need to click as a first time user – including agreeing to their Terms & Conditions. If you have completed the order successfully, you will receive a confirmation email. If you haven’t had the confirmation email, your order has not been placed and you will need to log back into Wisepay and check your order.

Children will be supervised by a lunchtime supervisor who will remain the same all year. If you have any concerns or queries about lunches, please speak to your class teacher or the senior lunchtime supervisor (Mrs Harvard-Taylor). Adults in the hall will support your child with cutting up their own food and encouraging them to eat. The children have plenty of time to eat but we would usually expect them to be out to play by 12:40pm. Children are welcome to bring their own packed lunch - please no solid chocolate bars, chocolate spread or any food that may contain nuts.


Milk – is provided for children free of charge up until their 5th birthday – you need to register and order this through the Cool Milk website. After their 5th birthday, you can opt to purchase milk at a subsidised cost. Details are also in your induction pack.


Fruit/Snacks – Please provide a drink (non-fizzy, preferably water) and fruit snack. Please ensure that drink bottles and fruit pots are named. Children will be given an additional piece of fruit from school before they go home. 


Buddies – We operate a buddy system for new Reception children. A child from the upper school will be paired with your child so they get to know a friendly face when they start to use the main playground. You and your child will meet their buddy at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Look out for a welcome card from them, which will be posted to you during August.


Toys – pocket-sized playground toys may be brought. Please do not send toys of great monetary or sentimental value.


Pick-up – Please come into the courtyard outside the reception entrance and your child will be brought out to you.


Book bag – Your child needs a book bag to carry their reading and homework books. All other resources (pencils etc) are provided.


Extended care – Breakfast Club and After School Club provisions are available but book up very quickly – please see details on the website and in your induction pack.


E-praise - The School and Parent Association have funded the use of an app-based reward system called MarvellousMe, where badges and comments are sent by teachers straight to your smartphone. We have had super feedback and we currently have 96% of families signed up to receive alerts. You will receive a login code shortly after your child starts.


Additional needs (SEND) – if your child has any special or additional needs (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities), which you would like to discuss. Please contact Mrs Brewer, the Inclusion Coordinator (INCO).


Swimming – For Reception children there is always one adult poolside and two adults in the water, a ratio of 1:5 at all times (only 15 children swim at a time).  The ASA guidelines for beginners, non-swimmers and young children when swimming in school are a ratio of 1:12 for health and safety and 1:8 for quality of delivery, therefore our ratios at 1:5 are significantly better than this.

Parents do not need to come and help with changing but please encourage your child to be able to do as much as possible themselves.

The children have back floats and woggles, they can have arm rings too if they wish them, these are all provided in school.

Reception children only ever swim at the shallow end until they are ready to go deeper, the deep end is roped off.

If you wish your child to wear goggles, please equip them with a named pair.

It is optional for the children to put their head in the water.

The pool is 90cm at the shallow end and 95cm at the deep end.

The children need to wear a swimming hat, these can be purchased from the school office at £3.50.

For more information, please see our ‘Curriculum’ page.


Other information:

  • There will be a curriculum newsletter sent home each half term.

The Autumn Term

  • Your child will need wellies in school for outside walks and outdoor play.
  • You don’t need to provide swimming kit or outdoor PE kit or tracksuits for the Autumn term.
  • Reading books will start to come home in the first few weeks – please don’t be worried if these are initially picture books; this is to encourage children to create stories before beginning to tackle reading words.
  • There will be a parents’ evening this term to discuss how your child is settling in.
  • There will be a reading and phonics information meeting for parents this term.


The Spring Term

  • Children will start swimming (we will tell you when your child is swimming); they will need appropriate kit.
  • There will be a parents’ evening this term to discuss your child’s progress and development.


The Summer Term

  • There will be an educational trip.
  • Green PE top will be needed and trainers, as well as short black socks, their black shorts and white t-shirt.
  • There will be an annual report at the end of the year reviewing your child’s progress and achievement against the Early Learning Goals.
  • Sports Day will take place this term and will probably take the form of activities in the morning and races in the afternoon (subject to confirmation).


Reception new starters FAQ

What is the reading log book for?

Please write in here every time you hear your child read from their Oxford Reading Tree or phonics book. Comment on how your child did. The teacher writes in here once a week when they hear your child read too. We ask that you read with your child at least 4 times a week.


Do they need to bring a pencil case to school?

No, but a zipped wallet is useful to keep their books clean and dry.


Can they bring any toys into school?

They are allowed to bring a named playground toy that is pocket sized.


Can my child bring a comforter or cuddly toy?

If you feel this is necessary then they can initially but we will try and wean them off it as soon as possible (precious belongings should not be brought).


What if my child is ill?

Ring school as soon as possible in the morning (we have an answerphone) or email .


Can I send any medicines into school if my child is prescribed them?

Medicines may be administered on parents’ behalf if they have been prescribed by a doctor, dentist, nurse prescriber or pharmacist prescriber. Medicines should be handed in at the office in the original container as dispensed by a pharmacist with the prescriber’s instructions for administration and dosage. Parents must complete the form, ‘Parental Agreement to Administer Medicine’ (available from the school office). We can only administer prescribed medicine - if your child requires non-prescribed medicine you will need to attend school at lunch time to administer.


Can I give them something to supplement their fruit and drink?

Only if there are medical reasons that make it necessary. If children complain of being hungry there is always spare fruit.


Do we come and help them get changed for swimming?

No, there is the swimming teacher Mrs. Horne, a swimming assistant and their class teaching assistant to help. Only 15 children swim at any time.


Do they need to bring goggles or floats?

All flotation swimming aids are provided. If parents wish their children to use goggles, these must be provided by parents and named.


When does my child have to be in compulsory full-time education?

Compulsory school age is set out in section 8 of the Education Act 1996 and The Education (Start of Compulsory School Age) Order 1998. A child reaches compulsory school age on the prescribed day following his fifth birthday (or on his fifth birthday if it falls on a prescribed day). The prescribed days are 31 December, 31 March and 31 August.

Children becoming 5 years old between 1st January and 31st March are of compulsory school age at the beginning of the term after 1st April.

Children becoming 5 years old between 1st April and 31st August are of compulsory school age from the beginning of the term after 1st September.

Children becoming 5 years old between 1st September and 31st December are of compulsory school age from the beginning of the term after 1st January.

For tours relating to in-year transfers, please contact the school office and ask to speak to Miss Egan, the Admissions Officer.