Frequently Asked Questions

Myself and the staff have been working hard to ensure the return to school in September is as safe as possible for all children and staff.

Full guidance can be found below.  This outlines the measures the school are taking as well as what can be expected.  This was sent out in July via email.

Further letters were sent out on Friday 28th August and will be added here in due course.

September Reopening letter

Breakfast Club Arrangements September Reopening letter

Year 6          Year 5          Year 4          Year 3           Year 2             Year 1

We will be having a staggered drop off and pick up time in order to reduce the amount of people on site in September.

Children MUST be dropped off and picked up on time.

Our staggered starts will be based on the FIRST LETTER of your child’s surname as below:

Children’s whose surname BEGIN with A-F should be dropped to school at 8.30am and picked up at 3pm
Children’s whose surname BEGIN with G-M should be dropped to school at 8.40am and picked up at 3.10pm
Children’s whose surname BEGIN with N-Z should be dropped to school at 8.50am and picked up at 3.20pm

Nursery should all arrive at 9am please

Our Full Guidance for September is detailed below:
September Reopening Full Guidance
Breakfast Club Arrangements – September

The wearing of school uniform promotes a feeling of pride and a positive attitude to school and is compulsory. Our school colours, red and grey, are very distinctive and allow your child to be easily identified and help to create a good public image.  St Margaret’s children always look very smart.

Summer uniform can be worn between 1st May and the end of the Summer Term. Winter uniform is to be worn between the first full week in October and Easter.

Between Easter and the 1st May and during September parents may choose either summer or winter uniform depending on weather conditions.

School uniform is available from www.mandsyourschooluniform.com, where you can buy your child’s school uniform with our school logo. School ties are available from the school office and should be paid for through School Money.

Our new PE T-shirt and sports jacket are available from www.pennuk.com

We have made the decision that children can wear their FULL PE kits all day in September on their PE day.
PE days will be sent out prior to school opening.

FULL PE kit consists of our new logo top, black shorts or a skort for girls and trainers.

All PE will be outside for the foreseeable future so KS1 children should wear trainers to school.  These can be black or white.

Children will do PE in most weathers so black jogging bottoms or sports leggings can be worn if preferred.  All children should have a black zip up hoodie in school with them also or the school sports jacket available from Penn.

All PE kit is available from Penn Sports – please see our Uniform page for more details.

From September 2020 school meals are priced at £2.20 and should be paid for via School Money.  A menu is published each week.

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are all entitled to a free school meal under the Universal Free School Meal Incentive.

Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you are receiving any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit), with an annual income below £16,190
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance, income related
  • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999
  • Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit, with a household income of £7,400 or less (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

More information including how to apply can be found online or ask at the school office.

The school has a breakfast Club that runs from 7.30am each day.

Places cost £3 a day and are bookable a week in advance via our online paying system:  school money.
Please speak to the office for further details or look at our dedicated page for Breakfast Club.

September 2020
Breakfast Club will only be open to certain children until Government guidelines are relaxed.  A letter outlining those who are eligible is below.  Please contact the school office if you believe you are entitled to a space.

Breakfast Club Arrangements

Adverse Weather Closures

If we do decide that we need to close the school as a result of bad snow or bad road conditions this is not a decision that we take lightly. Adverse weather really does mean ‘severe’ as opposed to a slight flurry. If circumstances are such that you think there is a possibility that we may be forced to close either first thing in the morning or during the day, we would please ask you to check the following:

Check emails, text messages and our Twitter page – we will always text parents however when many schools use email systems they can be slow to be received.

Come to this school’s website to see if a message has been posted on the home page.

Radio Broadcasts

You can tune into the local radio stations listed below where closure information will be broadcast on a regular basis (note that BBC Essex’s website is updated before any broadcasts). However, it can take us up to 20-30 minutes to get connected, and then the message will only be broadcast in the next ’round’ of announcements.

BBC Essex: 103.5 FM / 729 AM

Dream 100: 100.2 FM

Early Closure

If weather conditions should deteriorate badly once the children are already in school please first check the school’s website to check for any new message that has been posted on the home page. Please try to avoid calling the school office for information. It is very difficult to function with such a high volume of incoming calls.

If we decide we must close early, we will inform the radio stations (again, BBC Essex will update their website before any broadcasts take place) and also text & email parents.

The school day

  • Playground gate opens at 8.35am
  • School doors open at 8.40 am.
  • All children should be in class for registration by 8.55 am.
  • Morning session: 9.00 a.m. – 12.15 p.m.
  • Lunch break: 12.15 p.m. – 1.00pm
  • Afternoon session: 1.15 p.m. – 3.00pm

Essex School Term and Holiday Dates 2019-2020

Punctuality

  • School doors open at 8.40 am. Morning registration is at 8.55 am. This is the time your child must be in the classroom, so you need to ensure your child is coming through the school gate by 8.50 am.
  • It is important to be on time as the first few minutes of the school day are often used to give out instructions or organise schoolwork for the rest of the day.
  • After the close of registration (9.15 am) your child will be marked as unauthorised in line with the Department for Education guidance.
  • We will let you know if we have concerns about your child’s punctuality.
  • Children who remain uncollected at the end of school time will be referred to a place of safety if not collected or the school contacted by school closing time.
  • The school will keep a record of lateness at the end of the day and contact you if we have concerns regarding this.

As a school we aim to:

  • Maintain an attendance rate of a minimum of 96%
  • Maintain parents’ and pupils’ awareness of the importance of regular attendance.

Good attendance is important because:

  • There is a direct link between under-achievement and poor attendance
  • Children with high attendance make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Children with high attendance find school routines and school work easier to cope with
  • Children with high attendance find learning more satisfying
  • Children with high attendance have an easier transfer to secondary school

As a parent you can help us by:

  • You should call on the first morning of all absences with the reason and tell us when the child will return. The telephone number is 01268 552176.
  • Dental and doctor’s appointments should be booked out of school hours or during school breaks
  • Provide a note explaining the reason for absence on your child’s return to school after an illness
  • Keep us updated by telephone or letter if your child has an extended period of absence due to illness

We shall:

  • Follow up unexplained absences by phone calls and letters as soon as possible
  • Inform parents of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality in newsletters, the school brochure and the Home-School agreement
  • Publish our attendance rate in the school prospectus
  • Reward good attendance
  • Publish your child’s attendance rate on her/his annual school report and let you know termly your child’s attendance rate
  • We will let you know if we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance
  • If we continue to have concerns we will make a referral to the Education Welfare Officer

Each year we publish our school attendance figures on our website.

Authorised Absence

Some absences are allowed by law and are known as “authorised absences”. For example: if a child is ill, family bereavement, religious observance.

We realise that there are rare occasions when there might be a particular problem that causes your child to be absent. Please let us know and we shall try to deal with it sympathetically.

Unauthorised Absence

There are times when children are absent for reasons, which are not permitted by law. These are known as “unauthorised absences”. Examples of unauthorised absence are:

  • “I’m waiting on a delivery.”
  • “I’m shopping/going for a hair cut.”
  • “We are going for a family day out.”
  • “It is my child’s birthday.”
  • “We are sleeping in after a late night.”
  • Holidays during term
  • If there is no explanation for the absence or where the reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory

Unauthorised Absences have to be reported to the Local Authority. The Attendance Compliance Team at the Local Authority may contact you and consider taking legal action against you if your child has unauthorised absences.

Term Time Leave of Absence

As from 1st September, 2013 the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 have been amended. All references to family holidays and extended leave have been removed, together with the right for parents to apply for up to 10 days.

Therefore, the school will no longer be permitted to grant leave of absence during term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Taking your child out of school during term time could be detrimental to your child’s educational progress. A pupil who takes 10 days absence will only attain 94.7% attendance in the year. 10 days absence also means the pupil will miss 50 hours of education.

If the absence is not authorised and the holiday is taken the case will be referred to the Attendance Compliance Team at the Local Authority which could result in a fine.

Please remember that the more time your child misses from school, the more difficult it is for them to catch up with their work. Valuable learning time is lost.

NHS Poster – Advice on Childhood Illness

Local NHS experts have joined forces with Essex County Council to produce an at-a-glance guide to 17 childhood illnesses including Chicken Pox, Glandular Fever, Ringworm and Tonsillitis.

The poster above highlights key symptoms of common illnesses which are traffic light colour coded to indicate whether children should go to school or stay at home.

Illnesses in the green category – for example colds and conjunctivitis – are those where children should continue to go to school.

The amber category is when an illness could be catching and there are some restrictions on school attendance.

Children should not go to school and should see a GP if the illness falls into the red category. Red category illnesses are German measles. Impetigo, Measles and Whooping Cough.

The poster also advises parents on where they should first seek treatment, either from their local pharmacist or their GP.

There is guidance on when to consult a GP if symptoms persist and advice on when it should be safe for a child to return to school if they have a particular illness.