Information for Parents
We have tried to pull together all the important information on this page to help you with the day to day life of the school. We hope you find everything you need here and around the website. Please let Mr Lewin have any ideas for how to improve the information available and if there is anything else you think is missing! Thank you.
AN A-Z OF GENERAL USEFUL INFORMATION
St Thomas of Canterbury is part of the Xavier Catholic Education Trust, an academy chain comprising 12 primary schools and 3 secondaries, including of course, St Peter’s.
We work very closely as a family of schools and feel stronger and better for being together. More information about Xavier can be found on their website: www.xaviercet.org.uk
ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY
Good attendance and punctuality is really important for children attending school – it has a direct impact on achievement and the child’s sense of wellbeing. It is our philosophy to ensure that all children have full and equal access to the curriculum and achieve their full potential across all areas of learning.
Parents have a vital role in ensuring that the children arrive at school promptly, to start the day at 8.50am. Children who continuously arrive late do not have the opportunity to establish good working patterns, they may miss essential information at the start of lessons and are immediately at a disadvantage. If your child arrives any time after 8:50am, please take them to the School Office where they need to be signed in.
If your child is absent through illness please let the School Office know (by phone on 01483 888388 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org), no later than 9:30am every day that they are absent. As the school has to keep stringent records of authorised and unauthorised absences, it is essential that you let the school know the reason for your child’s absence. Sickness involving vomiting or diarrhoea requires that the child remain at home for 48 hours after the last bout.
Please see the Weekly News or contact Mrs Simpson in the school Office (email@example.com) for the latest advice around COVID.
We know that in certain situations medical and dental appointments need to be made in school time but we would ask that you try to make routine appointments in holiday time or after school. In the event that a child has to miss school for an appointment please inform the School Office and the class teacher prior to the appointment. Also, please try to bring them in before and return them to school after the appointment so that they miss as little school time as possible.
Requests of absence for non-medical reasons need to be put in writing and sent or e-mailed to Mr Lewin as far in advance as possible but can only be approved in exceptional circumstances. Holidays in term time cannot be approved.
Under current Government guidelines a child whose attendance is 90% or less is a “Persistent Absentee” and the Local Authority’s Inclusion Office will take action to follow up on continued absences. A child who is absent from school for a total of 19 days a year would fall within this category. We will follow up on all absences.
We are proud to be partnered with the Busenya Catholic Primary School in Mukono, Uganda. St Thomas’ partnership with Busenya School started in 2007 as part of the Guildford Mukono Link set up by Councillor Tamsey Baker, amongst others, which was an organisation committed to the development of partnerships with the Mukono region of Uganda. Mukono is 100km east of Kampala.
The partnership was designed to foster links at all levels – Council to Council, School to School, Hospital to Hospital. Our partnership is very much a two-way learning experience so that children in Guildford can learn about the lives and challenges of children in Mukono and Mukono children can learn about the lives and challenges of children in the UK.
For St. Thomas’ the project is a tremendous learning experience and the children are developing their knowledge of the culture of a region that is so different from their own. The children are excellent advocates for the partnership and want to see the partnership go from strength to strength. There have been a number of reciprocal visits by staff from our two schools. The children are extremely keen that children in Busenya have the same facilities that they do and we have helped the school to construct three new classrooms and install a fresh water well. We have provided books and pencils for every child every year and helped pay for all the equipment and supplies the school needed to reopen when possible though the COVID pandemic.
The Headteacher last visited us in September 2018 and we hope to send a group of staff to Uganda as and when we can.
All our classes are named after saints:
EYFS: St Salvatore and St William
Year 1: St David and St Stephen
Year 2: St Cloud and St Elizabeth
Year 3: St Dorothy and St Susanna
Year 4: St Gabriel and St Peter
Year 5: St Kea and St Teresa
Year 6: St Dominic and St George
CLASS TEACHING TEAMS for 2021-22
|Class name||Teacher(s)||Additional teaching support staff|
|Mrs Sumsion||Mrs Lyon
|Mrs Morgan (Mon- Weds)
Mrs Wichmann (Weds – Fri)
|Miss Davis||Mrs Frizell
|Mrs Clarke||Mrs Elliot
|Mrs Hills (Mon – Weds)
Mrs Royce (Weds -Fri)
|Mrs Della Maestra||Mrs Castelino
|Mr Gillan||Miss Cooper
|Mr Jones (Mon-Thurs)
Miss Petley (Fri)
|Mrs Terry (Mon – Weds)
Mrs Gordon (Weds-Fri)
|Miss Davies||Mrs Desanges
|Mrs Grove (Mon – Thurs)
Mrs Hull (Thurs – Fri)
Mrs Geaves (Trainee)
We send all important information by email using Scopay emails and our newsletter, the St Thomas Weekly News. This comes to you each Friday via email (from Mailchimp) and is then available to read at your leisure on the school website. Please do take the time to read this each week!
The Class Reps across the school are a vital part of the PTA and for Reception parents it is a fantastic way to get to know the parents of the children in your new class. It is typically a role for one year and we have two reps per class so you can help each other out.
For the Reception year it is useful if one of the Class Reps already has another child/children in the school, as they will be more familiar with what to do, however, this is not an absolute pre-requisite. There are no hard and fast rules about being a Class Rep, it is how you would like to do it. It is a fun and sociable role and a good way to get to know other parents.
The Class Rep
- Is a friendly face to new parents
- Compiles a list of parent contact details and emails it to the rest of the class.
- Acts as a communication link between the parents.
- Organises social events, for example coffee mornings, drinks at the pub, meal in a restaurant, ‘Bring a dish’ night at someone’s house or whatever activities you think people might like to do.
- Organises parental support for PTA school events, for example organising a cake sale and running a stall at the Christmas Fayre.
If you are interested in becoming a class rep, please get in touch with the PTA direct (see below).
CLOTHING AND BELONGINGS
We don’t have very much “Lost” property but far too much “Left” Property! Please label all clothes and personal belongings clearly, i.e. PE kit and uniform plus water bottles and lunch boxes, pencil cases etc, as many get left behind around the school and we can easily return named ones but struggle if there is no name! Also, certainly for our youngest children, please make sure your child’s coat and school jumper has a loop that your child can use to hang it easily over the coat pegs. We only keep un-named left property for a couple of days before disposing of it!
We are very proud of the wide range of clubs and activities that are available to your children at lunchtime, and, more usually, after school. A full list and booking information is available from the School Office and will be sent to all parents by email before the start of each term. Bookings are all on a first come, first served basis through scopay and details are sent out in plenty of time so can you plan. Details are also available on the school website. We would encourage you to allow your children to be a part of one or more of our clubs as it is an important way of making new friends across the school and learning new skills in a happy and relaxed atmosphere. Please do, however, be prepared for disappointment if the club you are after is full – places are obviously limited.
Breakfast and After School Club
Wrap around care is available through our breakfast and after school club provision. Breakfast club starts from 7.40 every day and after school club runs every day from the end of school until 5.30 (except on the last day of each term). Details of booking and costs are available from Mrs. Foster in the School Office – firstname.lastname@example.org (01483 888388)
COMING IN TO SCHOOL AT THE START OF THE DAY AND COLLECTING CHILDREN AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL DAY
The gates open at 8.30 – children MUST NOT be left on site any earlier than this unless they are booked in to the Breakfast Club – and the children should go straight into class.
Registration starts at 8.50 and so all children should be in class by then. Any child arriving in school after that time must be signed in at the office and they will be taken to their class from there.
The One way system
A one way system onto and off the school site to help avoid congestion on site and at the gates. Mr McAllister, our caretaker, is at the drop off lane entrance each morning to help children and families cross the entrance safely but a reminder to all car drivers to take GREAT care when driving into or leaving the drop off lane in the mornings.
Pedestrian entry to the school site will only be possible from the pedestrian gate by the staff carpark and a one way pedestrian route will operate around the school site to ensure everyone’s safety which we ask that you follow and respect at all times, even if it is inconvenient! The route (shown on the map below) takes you around the school and out via the pedestrian gate by the field.
Access to classrooms
On arrival from 8.30, the children should go straight to their classrooms – following the one way system around the school site to their classroom’s external door. There will be an adult in the room to supervise the children who should wash their hands on arrival, sort their belongings out and then there will be an independent task or challenge for the children to be getting on with – it will be fun based and very informal.
Year 5 will continue to enter the school via the Savio side door to reach their classes and Year 1 by the old main entrance doors by the Infant Hall. Parents who have accompanied their children on site should drop them and keep going along the one way system to exit the school site from the field gate. See the map below. Please do keep to the one way system.
Please do consider whether or not you need to enter the School site with your child or whether they can be independent enough to get to their classes without you. Certainly Year 5 and 6 children (and no doubt many in the years below that) can safely find their way in to class and save you the time and effort of walking around the site to drop them off.
Currently, it is entirely up to you whether you wear a mask on site or not. If areas seem congested at any point it would be sensible.
Using the drop off lane
To ease congestion along Horseshoe Lane West, we operate a drop off lane in the mornings. If you wish to use this facility, you can drive into the school through the top gate (the gate nearest the Epsom Road), observing the speed limit of 5mph maximum and let your children out onto the pathway at the side. There will be staff on hand to ensure the children reach class safely.
When exiting the school by car, you should only use the bottom gate. This is an automatic gate. Please drive slowly towards it and its sensors will detect your vehicle and open.
You should always turn LEFT when exiting. Your co-operation is needed to try and alleviate the congestion on Horseshoe Lane West. It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that our children are safe coming to, and from, school.
What if we’re late?
If you are late for school start then please bring your child to Reception and the office staff will take your child to their class – we will sign them in for you.
One way route for dropping off each morning
Pick up arrangements
EYFS and Year 1 and Year 2 will all finish at 3.10pm
Years 3-6 at 3.20pm
At the end of the day, the children should be collected from the designated collection points shown on the map below. The same one way system around the site will operate. Again, if your child is older and able to walk home on their own or walk to an agreed meeting point off site that means that you do not have to come on to the school site then please do make that arrangement. If you do make such an arrangement please ensure that written permission for your child to leave the school unaccompanied is given to your child’s class teacher.
If you are coming on to the site to collect your child please then follow the same route out of the school.
What if I have children in different year groups?
Please collect your children in the following order which works with the one way system!
- Year 1
- Year 2
- Year 5
- Year 4
- Year 3
- Year 6
Please don’t worry, staff will be around to help. The important thing is to keep walking in one direction only and to keep smiling!
If you are going to be late for any reason, please notify the School Office by 3:00pm. Your child will then be taken to the office at 3:20pm. (Please ring on 01483 888388)
If your child is being collected by someone other than yourself you must inform the teacher or the School Office with the name of the person collecting them. Otherwise, the teacher will not release your child to that person.
We are always looking to improve the learning opportunities that we can offer to our children. Our curriculum is intended to be engaging, varied, fun and as hands-on as possible! Full details of the curriculum can be seen on the website (www.st-thomas.surrey.sch.uk) Each term you are sent Curriculum information booklets which explain the topics and how they are connected across the various subject areas for the coming term. Each week the website is updated with “Learning at a glance” for each year group so you can keep in touch with what your child will be learning that week.
Each topic is taught as a Learning Journey and culminates in a S=P+A+C+E day at the end of each term – a day of challenge and celebration based around the topic. Our curriculum covers the content requirements of the National Curriculum with additional opportunities for cooking and gardening, music and many other areas besides. French is taught from Year 1 onwards.
CYCLING and SCOOTING
Our cycle and scooter racks are open for those of you wishing to cycle or scoot to school – we suggest accompanying your child(ren) until they have had recognised training. Please remember to ensure your child(ren) wear a helmet and ensure the bike has a padlock and key!
Cycling proficiency classes (Bikeability) in school are offered in years 5 and 6.
REMEMBER – no cycling or scooting on the school grounds, please dismount at the gate.
Meals are currently free for all EYFS Reception class children and KS1 children. Other children may be entitled to free school meals – to help us help you, please ensure you complete the Free School Meals form supplied to you on joining the school and return to the School Office as soon as possible.
The School is very fortunate to have the convenience of school lunches prepared and cooked on the premises. There is always a choice and the cooks follow the Healthy School Guidelines. The catering service is owned and run by Surrey County Council. You can see menus and dietary information on their website: https://itstwelve15.co.uk/
(For KS2 pupils, dinner money is paid on a half termly basis in advance. Payments can be made online or by cheque (made payable to Surrey County Council (SCC)).
The cost for the half term is included in the newsletter and on the school website.
If you believe that your child would qualify for the Pupil Premium (‘free’ school meals), please contact Mrs Simpson in the School Office and she will be able to confirm your eligibility very quickly and in confidence.
Please give us two weeks’ notice if your child wishes to change from hot dinners to packed lunches, or vice-versa, because the kitchen always has to order the food supplies in advance. You can find the request forms at the School Office.
We look to provide as extensive a range of learning opportunities for our children as we can. This includes offering a range of Educational visits each year and residential trips in Years 4, 5 and 6. The trips and visitors are organised through every year group with our EYFS children walking to the Post Office and having various visitors including a Police Officer, Doctor, the Fire Engine, Palaeontologists and the Minibeast Man!
A charge is made for School trips and, whilst your contribution is voluntary, without sufficient money these opportunities may be affected, resulting in cancelled trips or lessons. The teachers visit the venue prior to the trip day, to undertake a risk assessment. All payments are made through Scopay and we pull all the costs together for each term to allow you certainty over the costs and also the opportunity to pay by instalments if that helps.
EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS
It is essential for the School Office to have one or more emergency numbers where you can be contacted, should the need arise. Please ensure you update the school of any changes.
GOLDEN RULE and THE GOLDEN THREADS
We only have one rule in school which is that we treat others as we would like to be treated.
To help our children understand better what it means to treat others as we would like to be treated and what that looks like we have developed our Golden threads. All of these require the same S=P+A+C+E skills to develop and nurture and to become embedded and so we need to ensure that we teach them through worship and in class:
These concepts are explored each week in worship and are reinforced at every opportunity by all staff. There is a whole school celebration when we reach 1000 “Golden Threads” in our Celebration jar: all staff are invited to award these Golden threads whenever they witness a child showing any of the 10 attributes during the school day – especially at play and lunch, the awards are collected centrally and the whole school will celebrate our success collectively.
For 2021-22 the focus for the award of the Golden Thread tokens is around respect – respect for adults, for each other, for the school, for the wider communities in which we live, for the environment and self respect.
The Golden Threads encourage the children to have a sense of identity: to work and play safely and to behave in a courteous, responsible and friendly manner. The children are very aware of what they are through positive reinforcement across the school.
The Governors Fund is a fund created by entirely voluntary contributions from parents. Prior to St Thomas’ becoming an Academy in 2019, the Governors’ Fund was required to cover the 10% shortfall in state funding for capital projects which was imposed by the Government because we were a Catholic school. As an academy that funding “penalty” no longer applies but, in common with all schools our budgets remain excessively tight each year which makes our drive for constant school improvement more of a struggle.
We continue to ask parents to contribute to the Governors Fund with a suggested (but in no way binding) contribution of £54 per year per child – the equivalent of £4.50 a month. If you can afford to give more that would be fantastic but, equally, if you can’t afford to give that much then any donation would be very gratefully received and every penny counts. The request to donate sits on Scopay and annoyingly doesn’t disappear unless you pay the full suggested amount (or more) but obviously you can ignore it!
Please do contribute to the Governors Fund if you can. We don’t look to save and accumulate large balances for a distant future but, rather, we spend the money raised by today’s parents for today’s children. Today we use the Fund to help cover capital costs for maintenance and improvement works to the school and any curriculum costs not otherwise met in our ongoing budget.
What have we used the Governors’ Fund for recently?
- In 2016 the Fund was used to meet the gap in funding available for the building works that transformed the front of the school and created the new Year 5 classrooms and library.
- In 2017 we had to use the Fund to top up the cost of replacing the heating system – boilers and pipework in the older part of the school. The total cost was £141,000 and the Governors’ Fund had to meet 10% of that cost. The security fencing was also an expense of the Governors’ Fund (£7,600) to help keep the children safe.
- In 2018 we had a grant to replace and update all the toilets and washrooms in the school and the Governors Fund paid 10% of the cost (just over £7,000). We also updated all of our fire detection and alarm systems using a further grant and the Fund met the 10% balance of the cost (around £3,000).
- In 2019 and 2020 the Fund was used to top up another grant of almost £200,000 to repair and update the Early Years and Key Stage 1 areas of the school – the oldest parts of our building and in much need of some TLC! These improvements to our school are essential.
- In 2021 the Fund was used to help pay for the installation of the two large canopies that we have to enable more outdoor learning opportunities whatever the weather!
- In 2022 we are looking to redevelop the EYFS Outdoor learning area.
We aim to offer holiday clubs in every school holiday (for at least part of the break). These run in the school grounds and will be advertised through the Weekly News. We also aim to offer a club on each INSET day. More details can be obtained from the School Office.
HOME SCHOOL LINK WORKER
Our Home School Link worker, Claire Daniels, works with our families when the need arises. At any point if you feel you would benefit from her help, please contact Mrs Daniels direct, Mrs Carter or Mr Lewin in total confidence. More information on how Mrs Daniels could help you can be found on the school website.
The website also has lots of useful links and information on how we can all look after our mental Health and wellbeing https://www.st-thomas.surrey.sch.uk/learning/looking-after-our-mental-health-and-wellbeing/ and Mrs Daniels is also our Mental Health Lead.
These are in-service teacher training days for staff and the children do not come to school on these days. The dates are shown on the term dates information and are on the Annual Calendar for parents and in the newsletters.
Jewellery must not be worn in school, with the exception of small ear studs, sensible watch and a crucifix worn inside shirt. Items are worn at your responsibility and must be removed for PE/Swimming lessons.
If children wish to have their ears pierced, this should be done at the beginning of the Summer Holidays please, to allow time to heal and for the child to have the confidence to remove their ear studs when necessary.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
There will be circumstances when you may need to let the School know of changes in family circumstances, or concerns regarding your child’s time at school. Please feel free to make an appointment to see the Class Teacher in the first instance to discuss any of these matters. This can be organised directly with the class teacher on the playground after school or via email – all of the teachers emails can be found on the year group pages of the school website. If you need to take the matter further you can always make an appointment via the School Office to meet with Mr Lewin or email him direct using email@example.com
The School is made up of the Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception or EYFS), Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2). KS1 covers Year 1 and Year 2; KS2 covers years 3 to 6.
LAST DAY OF TERM
Our curriculum continues to be delivered each and every day right up until the last day of term. There is always a whole school celebration on the last day (it may be Mass) and the day finishes after lunch at 2pm.
Please see Clothes and Belongings above.
We are bound by Health and Safety Regulations to limit the number of medicines kept on site. Whilst we recognise the need to hold medicines for life threatening illnesses, such as anaphylactic shock etc., the school cannot be responsible for administering any un-prescribed medicine (like Nurofen or cough medicine), apart from Paracetamol (Calpol). If your child requires medication during the school day please fill in the relevant form and speak to Mrs Simpson or Mrs Read in the School Office.
For children with a medical condition requiring on-going medication, arrangements will be made for these to be given in school upon completion of a Healthcare Plan, a copy of which is issued to all new starters. Please complete and return to the School Office if appropriate.
At various times in the year we have MUFTI days when the children can come to school in their own clothes or themed costume. These are usually to celebrate a special national event, part of a curriculum theme or as part of a whole school fundraising effort.
MUSIC and instrumental Lessons
We are very proud of our music. Dr Mather is a specialist music teacher and works right across the school. Year 3 currently learn the recorder, Year 4 the violin or cello (thanks to the Strings Scheme promoted by Southern Pro Musica and the RGS) and Years 5 and 6 learn to play the ukulele. There is a lot of singing too with two school choirs and a Concert Band to boot!
If you would like your child to learn an instrument whilst at school, please contact Surrey Arts Council directly (http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/recreation-heritage-and-culture/surrey-arts/music). It is advisable to book early as there are often waiting lists.
We use our weekly newsletter to keep parents informed about what is going on in school. Please make sure you read these as they always contain important information.
NUT AND OTHER ALLERGIES
Please note that our school is a Nut Free school, which means no nuts are allowed. Please also remember this on the cake sale days (see the PTA section below), as there are children and staff who have a nut allergy in the school and are in danger of going into anaphylactic shock after being in the presence of these foods.
We take online safety very seriously and all the children have lessons in this important area of personal safety every half term. We also run parent classes and expect all new parents to attend these sessions. We have an authorised use policy which has to be signed by all adults working or volunteering in the school and all visitors are also required to follow its terms.
Open afternoons are usually held on a Friday each month, and the Annual Calendar and newsletter will confirm the dates. From 3.20-3.45pm, your child’s class will be open for you to view their work with them. This is not a formal event, simply a chance to see your child’s work, with your child, if you can. The children love to be able to show you what they have been doing; and it provides a great chance for you to come into the classroom and look around. You can also take the opportunity to visit The Canvas, our school Art Gallery.
At the end of the year we hold a Celebration Evening when you have the chance to walk through the school to see each class room and samples of our learning from across the year.
The Outside Classroom for our EYFS children is an integral part of every day school life. It is the area directly outside the Reception and Year 1 classrooms. It is used as a classroom area to support and extend the curriculum. The Reception classes will use the area at playtimes and lunch-time activities when they first start school. It gives them a chance to ‘bond’ and get used to school playtimes until they are ready to move into the large play areas.
The resources that are left outside are for learning and we would ask that you do not allow your children to use them for playing, before or after school.
Similarly both Year 1 classes have their own outdoor learning areas.
As a school we seek to learn outside as much as we can and have dedicated teaching areas around the grounds.
PARENT PRAYER GROUP
The parents’ Prayer Group meets once a month and all parents/carers are always welcome. We meet to pray for the whole school community, remembering any events and trips, and Prayer requests from the children’s classrooms.
Currently our regular meetings are held via Zoom but we hope to meeting in person again very soon!
PARENT TEACHER MEETINGS
In the Autumn and Spring terms you are invited to meet your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress and learning. This is also a chance to view your child’s work. All the classrooms are open and your child’s work will be left out for you to look through before or after speaking to the teacher.
Apart from the children in Year 6 who are invited to attend the meetings with their parents, this is an evening for parents only.
In the current circumstances we also offer online consultations via Zoom.
Unfortunately, there are no facilities for parents to park on the school site, unless you are a disabled-blue badgeholder.
When parking in the surrounding area, especially Horseshoe Lane West and Greencroft, please remember:
- Keep the yellow zig-zag lines clear at all times
- Do not park on the yellow lines or in the restricted areas
- Do not cause an obstruction or double park
- ALWAYS park with consideration for our neighbours
Some of the above are enforceable traffic offences and you may be fined or lose points on your licence!
REMEMBER – DRIVE and PARK SAFELY – with the safety of ALL children in mind.
We take great pride in our School, in our uniform and in our appearance – it says a lot about our attitude to learning and to school life – look smart, feel smart. Accordingly we have some ground rules which we ask everyone to respect:
- If a child’s hair is long enough to be tied back, it MUST be tied back using sensible hair accessories in navy blue or white can be worn – NO decorative clips or hairbands please.
- No highlights or coloured hair please and no hair gel. Any ‘holiday’ hair, i.e., braids, or henna tattoos should be removed for the start of the new term.
- Children should not wear nail varnish in school and the only jewellery permitted is small ear studs. Children can wear sensible watches and a crucifix or cross is fine (but worn inside the shirt). Please note that all these items are worn at owner’s risk and must be removed for PE/Swimming lessons. If children do have their ears pierced, this should be done at the beginning of the Summer Holidays, to allow time to heal and for the child to have the confidence to remove their ear studs when necessary.
As a parent of St Thomas of Canterbury School, you are automatically a member of the PTA. As a member of the PTA, you do not need to make any commitments; all we ask is that you support the events that the School runs by taking part and having fun! Our PTA is AMAZING!
St Thomas of Canterbury has a friendly, active PTA group who organise events throughout the school year. Our primary aim is to raise money for school projects, equipment and for the school’s nominated charity project, a partnership with Busenya School in Uganda. Typically the PTA raise between £20,000 to £25,000 a year, all of which is invested back into the school. This money is raised through events ranging from cake sales and children’s discos to a summer ball, adult social events and the Christmas Fayre and also schemes such as Shop with the School and Easy Fundraising. However we are not solely about fundraising. We hold a number of events for parents, children and families which are more focused on inclusivity and contributing to memorable childhood experiences for our children. The Christmas shopping day and Easter Egg hunt always prove very popular.
The PTA committee comprises of a small number of volunteer parents who are then strongly supported by a much wider network of active parents and teachers from throughout the school. Each year, we have a variety of volunteer parents/groups of friends who decide to get together to organise a particular event such as a summer ball or the Summer Fayre. We aim to limit the holding of certain committee posts to two years. This helps to keep our PTA vibrant with new ideas and means parental involvement is shared among a wider network of parents.
All of our parents are members of the PTA but we need your active support!
Daily reading is such an important part of learning right through primary school. At St Thomas we ask for your support with this and all parents and children are asked to sign a reading promise which highlights the importance of reading.
The School Office is open from 8.30am to 4.00 pm for information and support.
Letters, consent forms etc should be put into an envelope, and clearly marked with the child’s name, amount and description of the contents, and handed to your child’s class teacher. Please encourage your child to remember to hand these in. It is an exercise in responsibility. Alternatively, hand them straight into the School Office.
When you come to the office you will meet Mrs Foster, Mrs Simpson, Mrs Read, Mrs Clay or Mrs Tahouri.
In an attempt to remove all cash and cheques from school we are asking parents to use our e-payment method to pay for dinner money, trips, extended school etc. This can be done online using a very secure website called Scopay. You can also pay the Governors’ Fund contribution through Scopay.
The week after your child starts school, you will be given a secure online account, activated using a unique activation username and password; you will be prompted to change these and to keep them safe and secure as your Username and Password for future logins. You can then make payments for school items using your debit or credit card, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – safe in the knowledge that the technology used is of the highest internet security available.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM (SLT)
The School is lead by a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) comprising the following staff members:
Neil Lewin Headteacher
Kate Carter Deputy Headteacher and Inclusion Leader
Amy Grove Teaching and Learning Leader
Esther Sharpe Data and Assessment Leader
Mark Jones Extended Schools and Educational Visits Leader
Sam Sumsion EYFS Leader
Nikki Davis RE Leader
Jacqui Clay Business Manager and Clerk to Governors
Making S=P+A+C+E at st Thomas
Our focus is on bringing out the best in everyone. To do that, we look to the children’s emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing and the major impact that that has on every aspect of life including of course, our learning! This is all part of our promise to make S=P+A+C+E, where
Success comes from
a positive can-do Attitude,
Confidence in ourselves and, of course,
At St Thomas, we look to:
Make S=P+A+C+E for learning…
… applying these habits of mind to everything we do in class and beyond – not giving up when we find something tricky, learning from our mistakes, keeping positive with a growth mindset, being confident that we can do it and putting in the effort.
Make S=P+A+C+E for ME…
… as a school we are very much focused on the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in the school family. We have developed our own programme centred around five key elements of Resilience that make up our S=P+A+C+E for ME initiative: Belonging, Responsibility, Learning, Communication and Coping. You can read more about this on the Looking after our Mental Health and Wellbeing page of the website and view the material from our various Parent workshops around this tremendously important area of our children’s lives.
Make S=P+A+C+E for EVERYONE …
… being absolutely inclusive, respectful of everyone’s unique self and celebrating what makes us special in the eyes of God.
S=P+A+C+E for ME TIME
On a given day each week whilst in Early Years (and often in KS1 classes too), your child will have a chance to bring in an interesting item or toy to show to the class and to talk about it. It is preferably something that relates to the children’s topic and that the other children can learn about, it could be anything. This is very popular with the children, as they love to bring in something from home. It is to encourage children to speak clearly and to listen to others – part of the “Speaking and Listening” criteria for Early Years.
Don’t forget to bring a small piece of fruit (no nuts) in to school each day. In EYFS these are put together in the snack bar to which the children have access at certain points during the day. All children also need a water bottle full of water (only please). The children will be shown where to put their snack/drink and their lunch boxes in the classroom and should be encouraged to do this independently as soon as possible! Additional fruit/vegetables are provided for free for snacks for Early Years and KS1.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
We are focused on providing the best for every child in our school and look to provide a fully inclusive curriculum for every child whatever their special educational needs or disability. Our Inclusion team is led by our Deputy Headteacher, Kate Carter.
Kate Carter Inclusion Leader
Caroline McNiff SEN Coordinator
Annalise Baldock SEN Assistant, Speech and Language
Claire Daniels Home School Link Worker
Heather Mitchinson ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)
Alison Skobelski ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)
In association with the Southern Pro-Musica and the Royal Grammar School in Guildford we provide a strings scheme for our Year 4 children. Every child learns to play a violin and cello and the result is amazing!
SUNCREAM AND SUNHATS
Please make sure your child is wearing suncream and a sunhat on sunny summer days.
We are proud of our uniform and believe that it has a good influence both in and out of school. It fosters a good collective and community spirit and a sense of responsibility. All children attending the school must wear the correct school uniform. Please encourage your child to wear their uniform with pride. Every item of uniform should be clearly marked with the child’s name.
The PTA second hand uniform shop is available to buy second hand items of uniform. It is always worth checking before buying new.
The Uniform list can be found on the Year group pages of the school website.
The school enjoys a great wealth of support from parents and grandparents in the classroom, helping with hearing the children read or with activity mornings – we benefit greatly from this generous support. Please think about whether this is something that you would like to do, even one hour a week is a great help to the teachers and to your children.
Please note, however, you cannot help at the school or on school trips until:
- You have an Enhanced Disclosure from the DBS (Disclosure Barring Service). Ask at the School Office for the DBS information.
- You have met with Mr Lewin to learn about our safeguarding procedures and what to do in an emergency as well as our expectations of each other. You will then be asked to sign our Partnership Code before starting to help in class.
In the current situation that we are living through we are keeping the number of visitors and volunteers in school to a minimum but hope to be able to relax back to where we were pre COVID as soon as we can!
We encourage all the children to have water bottles and to use them regularly through the day to ensure they keep themselves hydrated. Drinking water is available from the various drinking fountains around the School. Children are encouraged to re-fill their bottles at the fountain, once they are empty.
Our weekly newsletter which comes out each week on a Friday with news about the week that has passed and dates and information for the week ahead – required reading!
There is an act of worship every day in school.
Monday it is the whole school together (in Key Stages this year) following the weekend Gospel and making links with our daily lives.
Tuesday there is Praise worship through singing with the sharing of hymns and songs in Phase celebrations.
Wednesday the Phases have separate worships picking on a theme related to current events or school life and linking it to our faith.
Thursday there is either class based worship lead by the class teachers and the children themselves or it may be a class’s turn to lead worship for parents or perhaps a Year group Prayer service or a visit to Mass at St Pius. Keep an eye on the school calendar and weekly News!
Friday there are separate Phase Celebration worships focussed on recognising special awards made each week to children from across every class – they appear in the Roll of Honour in our Weekly News. At the start and end of each term and on other special occasions there are whole school Masses celebrated in the school by the Parish Priest.
We run our very one Young Carers group, STOC and Chill, and have been awarded Surrey’s Young Carer’s Angel Award for our work in this area. If you feel that your child has additional responsibilities as a young carer in your family please contact Claire Daniel or Annalise Baldock, our Young Carers’ coordinators.
Who to ask?
We really do want everything to be the very best that it can be for your children. Inevitably there will be times when we won’t get it right or haven’t told you everything you needed to know. In that event please don’t be afraid to ask
- If it is a safeguarding matter, please raise it immediately with either Mrs Carter (our Designated Safeguarding Lead) or Mr Lewin
- If it relates to your child’s progress, behaviour of friendships, speak with their class teacher
- If it is an SEN matter, speak to Caroline McNiff, our SEN coordinator
- If it is about clubs or trips please speak to the Office or Mr Jones who is the senior leader with responsibility for both
- If it is about admissions to the school, speak to Mrs Tahouri
- If it is an administrative question, ask at the Office
- You can always speak to Mr Lewin about anything!
If you have any ideas for additional information that we should have included in this Guide, please email Mr Lewin on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Making S=P+A+C+E for learning