Translate:

We hope that the following answers are helpful to you, but if not please ask us directly.

How we run Yerbury is not an accident, but the result of many hours of discussion about our new ideas, about improving our old ideas, about ideas from the government, parents and children, over many years.  It is, of course, constantly changing as we review the effectiveness of our current practice and learn about new approaches that work elsewhere.

This sharing of ideas with other schools is something we have always been keen on. As a member of The Future Zone group of local schools, for instance, we learn from others in meetings, on visits and through informal contact with other teachers. We are very keen to keep improving every aspect of our school.

We are aware that primary schools do all sorts of things in different ways and there are good reasons why this is the case. The variety of school buildings, playgrounds, locations, children, curriculum structure, finances, etc all mean that one solution definitely does not fit all schools or their children. And that’s before we add in particular educational approaches and aspirations that each member of school staff might believe works best for their children!

There are answers here in the following areas:
  1. LOOKING AFTER OUR CHILDREN
  2. GETTING INVOLVED WITH THE SCHOOL
  3. MEETING WITH SENIOR MANAGEMENT
  4. MEETING MY CHILD’S TEACHER
  5. MY CHILD’S LEARNING AND PROGRESS
  6. SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
  7. HOMEWORK
  8. PACT BAGS
  9. PERFORMANCES AT YERBURY
  10. HEADLICE
  11. UNIFORM AT YERBURY
  12. AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
  13. SWEETS IN SCHOOL
  14. WATER AT SCHOOL
  15. BRINGING THINGS TO SCHOOL

If you have a question that you would like answered here, or in another way, please let the school office know and we will try our best to answer them for you.

1     HOW DO WE LOOK AFTER OUR CHILDREN?

We all work very hard to ensure that children, and their parent/cares are happy and safe at Yerbury. We do this in so many ways.

As part of this approach we are very careful to ensure the safety of children at Yerbury. To this end we have a secure site: visitors sign in and wear name badges; all staff, students, volunteers have passed criminal record  checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service; and staff are recruited using LB Islington Safer Recruitment procedures.

All staff have regular training on child protection, domestic violence and other related issues covering the identification and reporting of vulnerable children. Designated members of staff have had further training and will be involved in any incidents along with outside agencies with whom we have close links.

Within school, staff have had training in many related areas including on child development, attachment theories and many other aspects of special educational needs. As a result they are skilled in supporting children in difficult circumstances, resolving conflicts and are clear about passing on information. We make sure that both the quality and number of supervisors in the playground and elsewhere is good.

All staff are trained in the use of epipens and many are trained in first aid techniques and children who feel ill or have accidents are looked after by these members of staff. Parents will be telephoned whenever we feel it is helpful to the child’s welfare.

We also run a number of groups to support those children who have friendship issues, behaviour issues, etc.  We have buddy classes in which older and younger classes are paired up for work and play sessions and have recently introduced a peer mentoring/conflict resolution scheme in which children work to support others.

2     HOW CAN PARENTS AND CARERS GET INVOLVED WITH THE SCHOOL?

We are very keen that parents and carers are as involved with school as is possible. There are a number of ways in which this takes place and we are constantly looking to add more.

  • Encourage your child’s learning using their termly project through play, visits, books and, very importantly, by being interested!
  • Attend the meetings arranged by your child’s teacher including those at the beginning of each year and parent/teacher conferences in the autumn and spring terms
  • Attend the Parent as Educator session for your child’s class
  • Offer to go on a class visit or to help in class generally, in a way related to their project, cooking, etc
  • Speak to your child’s teacher at their weekly parent times as often as you like
  • Come to the Open Classroom event each term
  • Attend coffee mornings and parent workshops (see website calendar and weekly updates)
  • Become a volunteer reader to help a child or two on a weekly basis
  • Everyone is a member of Yerbury Parent-Teacher Association (YHSA) so you could come along to events and meetings, help at events or become a committee member. It’s a great way to meet other parents and have a fulfilling and fun time.
  • Speak to governors at their coffee morning, in the playground or via the office
  • Become a parent governor by standing for election when vacancies occur

3     HOW CAN I SPEAK TO SENIOR MANAGEMENT?

We are keen to be as accessible as possible to parents and carers and recognise that, unavoidably, it can be tricky to catch us just when you want to speak to us.

You can always find one of us in the playground at the beginning and end of each school day for a quick chat or to arrange a longer meeting.

A meeting with any of us can be arranged via the office, usually very quickly when it’s necessary, or certainly within a day or two. Our senior management includes: Margaret O’Neill, Liam Frost – Assistant Headteachers, Liz Read – Deputy Headteacher , Cassie Moss – Headteacher

4     WHEN CAN I MEET MY CHILD’S TEACHER?

We recognise the importance of working very closely with parents and carers, and see the benefits of this every day.

There are three main ways of meeting your child’s teacher:

  • At their weekly ‘Parent Times’. This is after school on the same day every week when the teacher will be in their classroom and available to meet you without any advanced notice. So just turn up on the advertised day for a chat about any child related issues. You will be informed of your teacher’s day in the letter home at the beginning of each term, or ask the office or check the website.
  • By making an appointment with your child’s teacher to meet at a time convenient to both of you. You can do this directly, or via email or the office.
  • Come to your child’s Open Classroom event each term
  • At the formal meetings arranged by the school – the Year group meeting at the beginning of each year.
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences in the Autumn and Spring terms (Nursery meetings are soon after a child joins nursery in their last term in nursery)

However you do it, we are very keen that you communicate with us as often as you wish.

5            HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT WHAT MY CHILD IS LEARNING AND HOW THEY ARE GETTING ON?

You can find out how your child is getting on by talking to them, of course. We think that they are a brilliant source of information that lets you know about how things are going, their attitudes and enthusiasms. We do know that daily 20 question sessions very quickly get only one meaningless answer such as “Fine”!
At the beginning of each term you will receive a project plan outlining the areas that will be taught during the term.
You can speak to your child’s teacher at weekly parent time (or by appointment), come to your child’s open classroom events and, especially, come to the parent/teacher conferences (all outlined in answer 4).
At the end of each year you will receive your child’s annual report covering all aspects of their time at Yerbury and have an opportunity to discuss it with their teacher.

6     QUESTIONS ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS

If you have a question about special educational needs please look in the Special Educational Needs section of this website where you will find more answers.

7     WHAT HOMEWORK DO THE CHILDREN GET?

At Yerbury we are convinced that children here work very hard and have positive approaches to learning during the school day. These, together with our project approach and the activities their teachers plan for them, results in impressive progress and achievements throughout all year groups.

We do view parents as a crucial part of the education we provide in so many ways.
However, we are not great believers in children doing lots of traditional homework of the sort that many of us adults did all those years ago! We think that, too often, this can lead to stressful situations at home that do not help the development of positive attitudes to learning.

We believe that doing fun and interesting things with your child, whether related to the school project or not, is a more beneficial approach than traditional homework. Encouraging your children to explore their world with friends or family, outside or perhaps via the internet, can develop that all-important enthusiasm for learning.
So at Yerbury, most children will bring home their PACT bag every week with books for you to share and explore together. The importance of reading and sharing together cannot be overestimated. Children in Years 3, 4 and 5 will also be given one piece of homework each Friday, whilst children in Year 6 will be given two pieces each week.

The homework given will vary from sentence completions to investigations and will almost always be linked to their project.
Please support your child in getting their homework completed and back to school on the required day.

8     WHAT IS A PACT BAG?

The Parents and Children Together (PACT) reading initiative was set up by ILEA many years ago and is widely used in many London schools. The initiative is based on the obvious importance, in all aspects of a child’s education, of school and parents/carers working closely together. As a child learns to read this is particularly important to ensure that reading books are of appropriate level and that reading (and/or sharing books) is a daily and fun activity.

At Yerbury each child from Nursery upwards has a reading record booklet that they take home on a weekly basis along with one or two reading books in a cloth bag. In the record booklet teachers will let you know how your child’s reading is progressing at school as well as related things such as the sounds or words of the week and what book your child is reading in class. Teachers write all these comments mostly, but not exclusively, on the basis of your child’s reading with them within their small, PACT-day reading group.

Parents are asked to use the booklet to let us know about their child’s reading at home. This might be successes, difficulties, reports of reading habits, questions – just anything at all that might be helpful for your child’s teacher to know or that you want to communicate with them.

Up to Year 1 the books your child brings home will often consist of an early reading book chosen by their teacher and a picture book your child has chosen to share with you. From Year 2 onwards the children choose their own book/s, usually guided by their teacher.

Your child will be told of their ‘PACT day’ – that’s the day every week that they will read in a group with their teacher and will change their books, so it is important that they bring their PACT bag to school for that day. However, you can use your child’s PACT bag to communicate with their teacher on any issue you wish – maybe maths, behaviour issues or to arrange a meeting with their teacher – anything at all. Older children can change their books more frequently or keep a book for more than a week.

9     DO WE DO PERFORMANCES AT YERBURY?

Yes we do! We put on a whole range including:

Class assemblies every term by every class

  • Choir performances at assemblies and to–at the community lunch club
  • Special events such as the Year 2 Puppet Show and the Year 6 Leavers’ Performance
  • Orchestra performances
  • Brass band performances
  • Recorder performances

At Yerbury we believe that drama is a brilliant activity for children in many ways. It is a great way of learning almost anything from Greek myths to times tables! It also develops confidence, imagination, cooperation and the skills around speaking aloud and movement. For these reasons, and more, teachers use drama activities as one of their standard strategies for teaching in all subjects. As such, the children are used to drama and roleplay activities on a very frequent basis. It is this workshop approach to drama that we believe is the most productive and enjoyable for all children.

What we do not do is put on productions of plays (for instance a nativity play) because that would take up lots of teaching time, involve a lot of practising which few enjoy, tie up already well-used space and, most importantly, would not be an enjoyable or educational activity for all those children who don’t have one of the few starring roles. It’s lots of workshop drama at Yerbury.

10    WHAT DO I DO IF MY CHILD HAS HEADLICE (NITS)?

Firstly, don’t panic or be upset. Almost certainly every child at every school will get nits at sometime or another, and nits always go for clean hair!
There is plenty of advice on www.nhs.uk/Livewell/childhealth6-15/Pages/Nits.aspx.
To minimise the ability of the headlice to spread, we ask all parents to:

  • Be vigilant in checking your child’s hair on a regular basis
  • Let your child’s teacher know if you discover nits, so that they can inform all other parents that nits are about (without naming any names)
  • Treat your child’s hair thoroughly when you spot nits and when you get a nit note from school. For advice about Bug Busting see www.chc.org

11   WHY DON’T CHILDREN WEAR A UNIFORM AT YERBURY?

We love the way our children look wearing their own clothes and the way they gradually develop their personal styles and favourite colours. We do set a few limits on what they can wear (for example tops must not be off the shoulder styles) but mostly we stress that clothes must be appropriate for a busy day at school.

We are aware that children can become competitive about their clothes and that it can become a basis of unpleasant behaviour, but at Yerbury these are not issues that we see or that parents raise with us.

We don’t subscribe to the idea that children need a uniform to instil respect and discipline. Children at Yerbury certainly have both and this is constantly seen by ourselves and by visitors, including Ofsted.

12    WHY DON’T WE RUN AFTER-SCHOOL CLUBS FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN?

We do realise that there are younger children who would like to come to an after-school club at school, perhaps because they have heard older brothers or sisters enthusing about clubs. We also know of other schools that do run clubs for younger children. However, at Yerbury we have for a number of years only offered clubs to children in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 for two main reasons.

Firstly, it is a matter of coaches and spaces. We have found that clubs run by Yerbury staff are the most successful in ensuring that all the children have a productive and enjoyable time because of our knowledge about the individual children. We also have a finite number of spaces and rooms available for clubs. These factors obviously limit the number of clubs we can run successfully.

All our children are busy and energetic throughout the school day. We believe the older children can be busy for another hour (and more!) but for the younger ones that is not always appropriate. We are also keen that we do not effectively extend the school day for all children and perhaps limit the time they have to play informally with their friends, parents or neighbours in the local parks etc. We are convinced that this informal play is of enormous benefit, particularly to younger children.

13    WHY DON’T WE ALLOW SWEETS IN SCHOOL, EVEN ON BIRTHDAYS?

We have Healthy School status at Yerbury. This recognises the work we do in promoting healthy eating habits and in providing healthy meals for life, as well as our work in related areas including the children’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

These areas are covered across the year groups through our curriculum and via assemblies and special events. The message given focuses on being safe, having a balanced diet and on having an energetic lifestyle rather than total abstinence of sweets etc.

Of course we practise what we preach and have, for example, worked hard (together with a group of parents) to successfully improve our school meals. The small number of children who bring in packed lunches are encouraged to eat healthily and do not bring in drinks, as we provide water for everyone.

As part of our healthy living message we do not allow sweets into school at any time. Nuts are also prohibited because of some children’s serious nut allergies.

On children’s birthdays we do invite them to bring in fruit as a class treat.

14   CAN CHILDREN BRING WATER IN TO SCHOOL?

Yes they can. Although there are fountains providing drinking water in all the playgrounds and on every floor of the building we recognise that children may want to drink water frequently.

We permit children to bring water in a named bottle to their classroom and to drink from it at sensible times. We encourage them to refresh the water and to clean their bottles frequently. Only a few children currently do bring bottles into school, probably because they know that water is always available to them.

15   WHAT CAN CHILDREN BRING TO SCHOOL?

Children are encouraged to bring in to school things that are relevant to their project to show their teacher and class. Some classes might have ‘Show and Tell’ sessions – your child will know how these are organised in their class, or ask just their teacher.

Although most things brought in get home safely, children should also understand that there is a chance that such things may get broken, lost or end up over the wall.
Please ensure everything brought into school has a name label, including clothes.

However, children are not allowed to bring into school items such as cameras, computer consoles, toys, cards for swapping, so that they are not distracted by them, they are not lost and so they don’t cause disputes/or boasting amongst the children. Again we want the children to be thoughtful about what to bring to school.
Similarly, children are not allowed to bring into school sweets, nuts or fizzy drinks for health reasons.

If your child has come to school on a scooter, please leave it outside the school (if you do not take it home straight away), as we have no space for storage within school.

IF YOU HAVE NOT FOUND AN ANSWER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR PLEASE ASK A MEMBER OF STAFF. WE WILL TRY OUR BEST TO ANSWER FULLY OR WILL REFER YOU TO SOMEONE WHO CAN DO IT BETTER.