New Year R - Starting in September 2020

We are delighted to welcome you and your child to Ropley C of E Primary School.  This year is a very different type of welcome to you and your family, due to the challenges that we are all facing with COVID-19 and social distancing.  As you can imagine, we have never been in these circumstances before.  Despite this, we want to extend our warmest of welcomes to you – even if this cannot be in person…yet!

We would like to thank you for choosing Ropley and we are excited to meet you and your child(ren) and welcome you to our community as soon as we are able. We will know more about when we are able to meet you face to face as the government releases more information.

The purpose of this letter is to formally welcome you to our community as well as provide you with some important dates and key information about your child’s starting school journey. Your new starter pack will have enclosed several documents. Some are just for your information and others are for you to sign and return. (We have a post box in our lobby.) Our ‘Starting School in Year R’ booklet includes all of the information that you will need to be prepared for your child to start school and a copy of this can be found as a download at the bottom of this page.

This is the first stage of a number of planned communications and events designed to start building a strong relationship with you and providing opportunities to share information between school and home.

Who is in the team?

At Ropley our Reception children are all in Bumblebee Class. This year we have 24 children in this class.  The Early Years Team is led by Miss Leoni Wodehouse who joins our teaching staff this year. Miss Wodehouse is an experienced teacher with several years in Year R. She is joined by Mrs Ellie Duddridge as our Early Years Assistant.

Miss Leoni Wodehouse, EYFS Class Teacher
Mrs Ellie Duddridge, EYFS Assistant

Getting to know you and your child:

As part of our welcome journey for your family, Miss Wodehouse will telephone you to introduce herself and talk to you about your child. We will also be telephoning your child’s pre-school to learn more about your child and to find out about their interests. We will find out about friendship groups within the preschool, including who your child might best learn and play with.  If your child hasn’t attended a preschool, please let us know if there is a childminder/Nanny for us to contact. Even though your child may not be currently attending nursery due to the current global situation, we recognise that your child may have been with that setting since birth/for a long time and therefore their insights are incredibly valuable to us.

‘Stay and Play’ 2020

Ordinarily, we ensure that children and parents/carers are given several opportunities to visit the classrooms before children officially start school. However, due to current restrictions we have had to ‘slim down’ these arrangements. Our current plans are to provide two opportunities for your child to ‘stay and play’. We plan to do this as two groups of 12 children. You will be invited into school after the school day has finished and we have cleaned the classroom, for an hour. On the first occasion the children will go into the classroom and parents will be invited to an information sharing meeting over a cup of tea. On the second occasion the children will go into the classroom and parents will be free to leave until the session has finished. The proposed dates for these ‘Stay and Plays’ are Wednesday 8th and 15th July for one group and Thursdays 9th and 16th July for the other group. These arrangements and dates are very much provisional and dependent upon developments issued by the government. We will update you nearer the time to let you know if these provisional plans can take place and what group you are in.

Home Visits by Staff

Early Years Foundation Staff offer to visit families at home at the start of the new school year in order to provide an opportunity for children and parents to meet staff and find out answers to any questions they have thought of over the summer break and before their child starts school. Home visits take place in the morning and then in the afternoon the children who have had home visits that morning come into school from 1:00pm until 3:00pm. Our intention is that these visits will take place on Thursday 3rd September, Friday 4th September, Monday 7th September, Tuesday 8th September and Wednesday 9th September. These visits will be arranged as soon as we know when current restrictions are lifted.  

The first day of school for children joining Reception classes at Ropley should then be Thursday 10th September. On this first day we ask that children attend for the morning only. This will extend to the morning and lunch time on Friday 11th September. From Monday 14th September the children can stay for full days.

Starting school in September 2020 – Early Years Foundation Stage.
Following government guidance and established patterns at Ropley, parents are allowed, in partnership with and through discussion with us, to decide whether their child will start school full time or on a part time basis from September (assuming the government allows). We are happy to liaise with you to help you to make this decision as appropriate. If children are ready for full time education, and it is your wish, then they may attend full time from the start of the term.  

In the first few weeks at Ropley, we have a flexible arrangement where, if requested, parents can organise with staff which days/ half days their child will be attending school. However, to comply with government guidelines, we will be expecting children to attend for a minimum of 15 hours a week at least. At Ropley, our experience suggests that the vast majority of children are ready and willing to be full time by the end of the first half term (late October). They enjoy being fully engaged with all the learning activities and opportunities to develop friendship groups and benefit from the establishment of clear routines that set the expectations for the rest of their journey through our school and beyond. If it becomes apparent to parents and school staff that a child may benefit from longer part time attendance, staff will be pleased to discuss the needs of the child with their carer and organise a programme of attendance based on individual need.

School Uniform, Book Bags
All pupils at Ropley wear the school uniform according to our uniform policy. You will have an opportunity to purchase or order school uniform online by visiting the Skoolkit website.  You will also need to purchase our school ‘book bag’ for your child which is used to transport books and other items such as letters, important information, fliers etc to and from school and home.

 

Communicating with Parents using ‘Scopay Mail’ and Tapestry
At Ropley we use an efficient and effective email system called ‘Scopay’ which enables the school to communicate quickly with you as well as helping reduce the amount of paper which it uses.  In Bumblebees we also use Tapestry which is an easy-to-use and secure online learning journal which enables staff and families to celebrate children’s learning and development. A permission form for Tapestry is included in your pack.

We look forward to meeting you and your child(ren) as soon as we can. We appreciate that at this time of significant change for your child, moving from pre-school to Ropley, there may be a number of questions and wobbles that we would usually be addressing in face to face meetings. We apologise that due to the current restrictions linked to the Corona virus this is not yet possible. We will let you know, as soon as we can, when we can meet you in person and start this exciting journey together. If you have any queries or concerns about your child starting school, please telephone our school office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and a member of our team will get back to you.  Our telephone number is 01962 772381.