Parent Handbook

WELCOME TO WHITEHALL SCHOOL
Introduction
Philosophy
Current Objectives
Management
Staff
School Structure
Secondary Transfer
Associations

 

ADMISSION PROCEDURE & FEES
Admissions
Fees
Entry to Foundation
Nursery Education Funding Vouchers

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF WHITEHALL SCHOOL
Timetable
Arrival of Children & Early Morning Club
Late Arrivals
Breaks
Lunchtimes
Assemblies
Reading Room
After School Clubs
Departure of Children
Late Stay Club
Homework

 

EDUCATION AT WHITEHALL
Foundation & Reception Curriculum
Year 1 to Year 6 Curriculum
Core Subjects
Other Subjects
Verbal Reasoning
Special Educational Needs
Gifted & Talented
Performing Arts & Music
Educational Visits

 

ASSESSMENT & REPORTING
Whitehall School’s Individual Performance Programme
Reporting

 

CARING ENVIRONMENT
Class Teacher
Child Protection
Behaviour & Discipline
Anti-bullying
The House System
Attendance
Emergency Contact Form & Medical Information Form
Accident & Illnesses at School
Returning after Illness
Medicines
Temporary Withdrawal from PE lessons
Head Lice
Family Holidays during Term Time
Security of Children
Equal Opportunities

 

SCHOOL UNIFORM
Policy on Uniform
Footwear
PE & Swimming Kit
Jewellery
Personal Property in School
Money in School
Lost Property

 

COMMUNICATION & INVOLVEMENT
‘Open Door’ Policy
Newsletters
Important Dates
Whitehall School Blog
Half-term outline
‘Meet the Team’ evening
Parent Helpers
Whitehall School PTA
Transfer to Secondary School
School Events
Productions & Concerts
Prize Giving & Speech Day

 

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION
School Office
Photos & Videos
Complaints
School Policies & Documents
Disclaimer

 

Welcome to Whitehall School

Introduction

Whitehall School, founded in 1983, is a small independent day school catering for girls and boys from 6 months to 11 years of age.  We are a member of the Independent Schools Association (ISA) and are situated in a converted Edwardian house and 18th century coach house set in large established grounds in the Cambridgeshire village of Somersham.  Our excellent facilities include a heated covered swimming pool, stimulating play areas and gardens, a games field, a separate library and an Ipad suite.

The school provides a high quality, inspirational education where personal attention and an enriched, forward-thinking programme enables each individual child to fulfil their potential.  The school offers a stimulating curriculum where learning is fun and each child feels valued and confident within a caring environment. Through constant re-evaluation we aim to be a progressive school in all areas. We recognise the need for children to be prepared for the modern world and aim to combine traditional methods of teaching with the use of innovative technology. Our school offers small class sizes and an individual approach to education.

Philosophy

Whitehall School is based upon committed teamwork involving children, staff, parents and the community. This teamwork is based upon mutual respect, support and understanding.  Through positive and consistent assessment, we challenge and promote personal development. We encourage children to have sound moral, social and ethical values so that they can contribute fully as members of society and the wider world.

We want our children to be happy, to have high self-esteem and to develop confidence in themselves and their abilities so that they can handle new situations and accept the challenges that life, both within school and in the outside world, has to offer. We want our children to enjoy school and to develop enthusiasm, perseverance and a questioning approach to life that will prepare them for the future stages in their education.

At Whitehall School we work hard to create caring attitudes, to consider and appreciate others whilst also spending time developing self-discipline and independence. We see children as individuals with differing needs and strengths who may need extension or support in order to help them achieve their best. We have high but realistic expectations, wanting children to give their best, appreciating the things they can do well and identifying the areas in which they could improve.

Our children are given a thorough grounding in basic skills and are encouraged to develop a lively interest and curiosity in the world in which they live. We are committed to ensuring that pupils are able to use, and benefit from, new technologies. Through the provision of a varied curriculum that includes the creative arts, languages and physical activities, we aim to promote a healthy outlook, encourage team spirit and mutual co-operation and to develop a love of learning that will stay with the children throughout their life.

Current Objectives

Working in partnership with parents, the wider community and each other, staff will endeavour to inspire all children to reach their full potential irrespective of race, gender, age or ability.  All staff will aim to aspire to the following characteristics of Whitehall School:

  • Real
    • providing a broad, balanced, relevant and dynamic curriculum which challenges and enriches our children’s learning whilst ensuring secure basic skills
    • fostering an environment which values respect, honesty, politeness, fairness, kindness, co-operation and tolerance
    • nurturing the skills and talents of each individual
    • developing the qualities and skills necessary to become confident, self-motivated, responsible and socially-aware individuals with a life-long passion for learning and an ability to make informed judgements and decisions
  • Engaging
    • engaging children through active learning
    • offering encouragement through praise and reward
    • targeting potential by challenging expectations of achievement and aiming for success and excellence
    • encouraging continuous professional development of all staff, ensuring they are well trained and skilled and that they strive to improve the quality of teaching in order to attain high academic standards in the children
    • supporting children to develop enquiring minds with a willingness to ask questions and to think and act creatively
  • Inspirational
    • creating a stimulating, vibrant and well-resourced environment
    • recognise and encourage success and celebrate achievement
    • having high academic standards and continually striving to improve the quality of teaching
    • ensuring that each child’s education has continuity and progression
  • Considerate
    • Providing a happy, welcoming, safe and secure setting where children can meet new challenges positively
    • valuing, celebrating and being tolerant of cultural and other differences
    • working towards a greener school and having pride in the immediate and wider environment

Management

Whitehall School is owned by ‘Whitehall School Ltd’ and is managed by a Board of Directors.  The Administrative Representative of the Board & Principal, Ms R Hutley can be contacted throughout the year at: rh@whitehallschool.com and at: 117 High Street, Somersham, Cambs. PE28 3EH. Tel: 01487 840966.   Ms Hutley  is supported by the Head of Juniors, Head of Infants, Head of Early Years, Nursery Manager and the School Secretary and Site Manager.

Staff

For information on all staff, including their qualifications, please see the school website.

School Structure

The three stages, through which pupils move, are:

  • The Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery, Foundation and Reception) for 6 months – 5 year olds
  • Key Stage One (Year 1 and Year 2) for 5-7 year olds
  • Key Stage Two (Year 3 to Year 6) for 7-11 year olds

At Whitehall School, 3-7 and 7-11 year old pupils are referred to as ‘Infants’ and ‘Juniors’ respectively.  Pupils are taught in mixed ability year groups with up to 16 children. Parents should note that year groups may be joined if pupil numbers drop significantly below this number. Each class has a teacher for core subjects (English, Mathematics and Computing) and children will be taught by subject specialist teachers for subjects such as Music, Modern Foreign Languages and Swimming.

Secondary Transfer

Children are prepared for entry and scholarships to independent and maintained secondary schools in the region.  Kimbolton School, Peterborough School, and St. Mary’s (Cambridge) have been the most popular independent secondary schools in recent years. For many parents, St. Bede’s Inter-Church School (Cambridge) has been their first choice when selecting a secondary school in the maintained sector.

Associations

The School is a member of the following organisations:

  • Independent Schools’ Council (ISC)
  • Independent Schools’ Association (ISA)

Admission Procedure & Fees

Admissions

Whitehall School educates children from 6 months to 11 years of age (Nursery to Year 6). Admission from Foundation is based on parent interview and a trial day during which a number of short, informal assessments may take place, the findings of which are shared with parents. There are no formal entrance tests or examinations and we admit children with a range of abilities. A place will be offered subject to a place being available in the appropriate year group. Parents are required, however, to inform the Principal of any known specific educational needs so that Whitehall School is able to provide appropriate support for their child. We are able to offer a differentiated curriculum with a maximum of 1-2 hours per week of one to one or small group work. Following the trial day, children will be invited to spend a second day with their new teacher and class, prior to starting, in order to familiarise themselves with their new environment.

Children can start at Whitehall at any time of the year. They enter a class according to their age and progress through the school in that class. Occasionally a child may be placed in (or moved on to) an older or younger class. This only happens for educational reasons and after full discussion between the Principal and parents. Should the school be oversubscribed in any year group, a waiting list will be started and the parents kept informed of their child’s situation.

Admissions are irrespective of sex, religion, ethnicity or country of origin, or disability. A full Admissions Policy is available, on request, from the School Office.

Fees

Fees are payable in advance and are due on the first day of each term. A list of fees are available from the School Administrator.

Entry to Foundation

Children can join Whitehall School from the age of 6 months in the Nursery.  They can attend Foundation in the term after their 3rd birthday, providing they are able to use the toilet independently without the need for nappies or trainer pants. Children in Foundation can attend part-time or full-time. Parents request the sessions that they would like their child to attend and receive confirmation from the school before the start of term. A session is defined as one morning or one afternoon. From Reception onwards, children attend on a full-time basis in line with our terms and conditions.

Nursery Education Funding Vouchers

All three and four year olds are entitled to subsidised Early Years education regardless of their ability, race, culture, religion or financial means. If requested, parents are asked to complete a form which is sent to the Cambridgeshire Local Education Authority.

 A Day in the Life of Whitehall School

Timetable

Foundation to Year 2:

8.00 am          Early Morning Club begins

8.30 am          Classrooms open

8.45 am          Registration for children in Year 1-2

8.55 am          Registration for children in Foundation 1-2

10.10 am       Break

10.25 am       2nd half of morning session begins

12.00 pm       Lunch

1.00 pm         1st half of afternoon session begins

2.10 pm         Break

2.25 pm         2nd half of afternoon session begins

3.20 pm         School ends

4.00 pm         Clubs and Reading Room end

5.30 pm         Late Stay ends

Year 3 to Year 6:

8.00 am          Early Morning Club begins

8.30 am          Classrooms open

8.45 am          Registration

10.30 am       Break

10.45 am       2nd half of morning session begins

12.35 pm       Lunch

1.35 pm         Afternoon session begins

3.20 pm         School ends

4.00 pm        Clubs and Reading Room end

5.30 pm        Late Stay ends

 

Arrival of Children and Early Morning Club

Children and parents may enter the school site from 8.00am onwards. For cars, Whitehall School employs a one-way system where cars enter the site through the gate on King Street, park temporarily in the playground and depart through the gate on the High Street. Drivers are reminded to maintain a maximum speed of 4 mph and not park across the zebra crossing on the school playground. A member of staff, usually the Site Manager, supervises the movement of vehicles to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians. Pedestrians should arrive and leave through the front gate. Parents are reminded to drive with extreme care whilst on the school site. When parking outside school, we request that drivers do not block neighbours’ driveways and always park legally to maintain positive relations with the school’s neighbours.

If arriving between 8.00 – 8.30am, parents must accompany their children to Early Morning Club where they will be registered by the member of staff on duty. Children must keep their personal belongings with them and not enter cloakrooms or classrooms until 8.30am when their teacher will be present. There is no requirement to pre-book Early Morning Club, however a charge per child is made and the total charge for attendance is added to the fee invoice at the end of term.

If arriving between 8.30am and Registration, children should go straight to their classroom. At the start of each term, teachers remind the children to use the perimeter of the playground to walk from one part of the site to another. Juniors must use the pedestrian crossing when putting their PE kit away in the bag store (between the two changing rooms), checking for moving vehicles on the playground at all times. We request that younger children are accompanied to Early Morning Club or their classroom.

Nursery children arrive at the entrance on King Street and have their own separate doorbell to be met by Nursery staff.

If a parent would like to make an appointment to meet (or needs to speak urgently to) a member of staff, they will be allocated a parking space by the member of staff on parking duty. Parents are welcome to accompany their son/daughter when entering the school buildings to ensure a settled start to the school day, particularly at the start of the school year.

The member of staff on parking duty will be firm (but courteous) to all parents who park for too long on the playground. Newsletters will frequently remind parents that a steady flow of traffic needs to be maintained for the one-way system to work efficiently.

Late Arrivals

School begins at 8.45am for children from Year 1 onwards and 8.55am for children in Foundation and Reception. All pupils are expected to be in school by these times. Any child arriving later must report to the School Office to be added to the register, before proceeding to their classroom. Consistent lateness is embarrassing for the children concerned and disruptive for themselves and others.

Breaks

Children in Foundation to Year 2 have two breaks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and children in Year 3-6 have a morning break only.  Breaks last for 15 minutes and there are always two members of staff on duty. A variety of playground resources (e.g. skipping ropes) are available for the children to use at break-time. Each class has several turns throughout the week to use the apparatus at the discretion of the members of staff on duty. Foundation children use the trim trail during lesson time, as part of their programme of physical development.

Parents are encouraged to provide their children with a healthy snack for break-time and water or squash in a plastic bottle. Please do not provide fizzy drinks. Children are reminded not to share their snacks with other children or members of staff. Occasionally, however, children will bring treats into school to celebrate a special occasion (e.g. birthday) and these are often shared with classmates and staff at break-time. Parents should be aware that there are some children who cannot share a treat for medical or dietary reasons and are advised to seek guidance from their class teacher. At the beginning of the year, the School Secretary provides all staff with a list of children who have medical or dietary needs and the list is updated whenever a child arrives.

Children remain in classrooms during wet breaks. All classrooms have a range of board games or construction equipment. Children may eat their break-time snack and are expected to chat quietly or engage in quiet activities such as reading and drawing. In colder weather, the teachers on duty ensure that all children are wearing their blazer or coat. Children who have permission from parents to remain indoors due to poor health may read a book, with a friend, on the bench at the bottom of the stairs in the house.

Lunchtime

Much of the content in the paragraphs relating to breaks apply to lunchtimes at Whitehall School.

Whitehall School offers a healthy hot meal at lunchtime to all children from Nursery up to Year 6 at an additional cost.  Children who do not choose this option bring a packed lunch to school.  Lunchtime supervisors are employed and are assisted by teaching staff in the supervision of children.

Teaching staff ensure that all packed lunches are stored in a hygienic place (away from sources of heat). Children are reminded not to share their packed lunch with other children or members of staff.  Uneaten food must be taken home, rather than placed in the bin, so that parents are fully aware of what their child is/is not eating. Children are encouraged but not forced to eat either their hot lunch or the items in their packed lunch box. Enough time is given for the children to eat their lunch.

Assemblies

There is one whole school assembly per week and all children are expected to attend. Assemblies often deal with wellbeing issues as well as recognising children’s achievements. Significant events and festivals, both religious and secular, are also celebrated and remembered.

At Monday’s assembly, children are given the opportunity to share personal success outside of school (e.g. a tennis medal or swimming certificate).

The Rector of St John’s Church and the Minister of Somersham Baptist Church visit the school throughout the year to lead assemblies. Other visitors are often invited.

Reading Room

Reading Room for the Juniors or Story Garden for the Infants is the ‘club’ for the siblings of children engaged in a club or after-school activity and/or where children wait when parents have not been able to collect them promptly.  Reading Room children are supervised by members of staff and encouraged to do their Homework.  At 4.00pm, when clubs finish, supervision in Reading Room ends and Late Stay supervision begins.

After School Clubs

Whitehall School offers an extensive, exciting range of after school clubs.  A list of these activities is compiled each term by the School Secretary, with the help of colleagues.  Clubs are offered to children from Reception upwards and, following the children’s completion and return of the Clubs Request Form, a clubs timetable is produced and confirmation sent to parents of the clubs that have been allocated to their child. The school endeavours to allocate a minimum of two clubs per child, depending on the choices that have been made and popularity of the club. Clubs always start on the Tuesday of the second full week and run from Tuesday to Friday (except for the first and final week of each term).

Departure of Children

At 3.00pm, the gates on the High Street and King Street are opened. Cars queue behind traffic cones placed in line with the doors of the School Hall. The cones are removed by a member of staff at 3.20pm.

At the end of the afternoon, children in Foundation – Year 4 are handed over to their parents by their teachers. Children in Year 5-6 leave from classrooms and are expected to go straight to their parents, to their after-school club or to Reading Room. Once the cones have been removed to allow vehicles to park on the playground, teachers of children on the first floor of the Barn will ensure that the traffic has stopped before allowing the children to come down the stairs.

Once a child has been handed over to a parent, the parent becomes responsible for their child’s safety. Any children not picked up by the time cars are ready to leave, enter Reading Room from where they are collected by their parents. Teachers ensure that children are supervised en route to an after-school club.

Members of staff who supervise children at Reading Room or an after-school club ensure the safe handover of children to a parent or the safe arrival of children at Late Stay. On their departure, all children should move smartly around the site and are reminded to say ‘Good afternoon’ to the adults that they meet.

Late Stay Club

Late Stay Club runs from 4.00pm until 5.30pm. Children are registered and supervised.  Parents may decide to provide an extra drink and snack if they stay for this session. You are asked to sign for your child when picking them up.  There is no requirement to pre-book Late Stay Club, however a charge per child per half-hour period is made and the total charge for attendance is added to the fee invoice at the end of term. Parents should note that, in the event of late collection of children after 5.30pm, a further charge of £10 may be added to the termly fee invoice.

Homework

All children receive homework that is appropriate to their age and ability. Teachers ensure that it builds upon the learning objectives for the day or week and is explained to the children in advance. Reading and the learning of spellings and high frequency words form the backbone of homework at Whitehall School.  From Year 2 onwards, children also complete an English or Maths task each night (lasting between 15 and 35 minutes depending on the age of the child). Times tables homework is set from Year 3 onwards and Year 5-6 children are also given Verbal Reasoning homework. Occasionally, a teacher will set homework that consolidates and extends learning in another area of the curriculum e.g. Science. Homework is introduced to Year 1 from the Summer Term.

Holiday homework in the form of a reading list and a short project may be set and is optional.  Additionally, in consultation with parents, children who have been identified as benefiting from extra support through the Individual Performance Programme may be given a holiday pack. Parents and children are also reminded that holidays can be used to revise the lists of spellings that were set in the previous half-term and to revise times tables.  Parents may wish to encourage children to write a diary of holiday experiences to share on their return to school.

For further information about the Homework Policy at Whitehall School, please see appendix C.

Education at Whitehall

The school’s curriculum follows National Curriculum guidelines, but is further enhanced to provide varied and exciting lessons and also to cater for the needs of entry test requirements to Independent schools. To ensure constant development and progression, the Principal and Directors regularly review curriculum content and delivery.

Our unique Individual Performance Programme at Whitehall means that a child’s progress and targets are carefully monitored and at any given time an informed discussion about each and every pupil can be had between parents and staff.  This helps parents to make informed decisions at every stage of their child’s development.

Curriculum information, including outlines of these forecasts, is provided for parents at the start of each term.

All children are given equal access to the curriculum, irrespective of level of ability, race, gender, creed or nationality. Mutual respect and tolerance for all cultures are promoted.

Foundation & Reception Curriculum

The Foundation and Reception curriculum is based on the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

Many goals are reached by way of structured play involving a range of practical indoor and outdoor activities such as sand and water, painting, construction, dressing-up and role-play. Others may be worked towards within timetabled lessons such as Literacy, Numeracy & PE. Technology in the form of Ipads, computers, remote controlled toys and CD players are an essential aspect of the children’s learning.  Children begin their exploration into modern languages with French from Foundation.

Any questions or issues relating to the Foundation Stage Curriculum should be brought to the attention of the Early Years Coordinator.

Year 1 to Year 6 Curriculum

The following subjects are taught: Mathematics, English, Science, ICT, History, Geography, Music, Physical Education, Art, Design Technology, RE (Religious Education) and PSHE (Personal, Social & Health Education).

In Key Stage 1 (Year 1 to Year 2), core subjects are taught by a class teacher with input from specialist teachers for other subjects. The development of reading, writing, phonic knowledge and mathematical understanding are given a high priority.  The individual reading programme is monitored closely and parental involvement is strongly encouraged.

In Years 3 and 4, core subjects are also taught by a class teacher with input from specialist teachers for other subjects.  In Years 5 & 6, Maths and English are also taught by specialist teachers.

Core Subjects

English

Children are given the opportunity to write every day, either in English lessons or in other lessons such as History. Every teacher strives to make relevant and coherent links between subjects.

In Year 3-6, a minimum of two handwriting sessions are allocated per week during which the teacher follows the policy adopted at Whitehall School. In Year 1-2, teachers determine when and how to incorporate the teaching of handwriting as part of their English programme for the week ahead.

For reading, several opportunities are provided throughout the week for the hearing of reading including a ‘group reading’ or ‘class reading’ session. One or more English lessons (from Year 2 upwards) will be set aside for the completion of written comprehension tasks. All children have their own reading book.

Maths

Every teacher ensures that a balance is struck across the areas of Number, Measures, Shape & Space and Data Handling. Children are given the opportunity to practise mental strategies regularly (and have their mental ability tested formally). Formal multiplication tables are introduced from Year 2. All teachers provide an opportunity for children to apply their mathematical knowledge and understanding through investigations, puzzles, games and practical activities at least once a week. Support and extension activities are also provided.

Foundation Subjects: Science, History, Geography, Art & DT

Whitehall uses the International Primary Curriculum which is topic-based to ensure coverage of all the Foundation subject areas of the National Curriculum.  These areas are presented through engaging themes or topics and children are assessed within the year as ongoing assessment through the IPC scheme.

ICT

Specific ICT skills based on the use of both Ipads and PCs are taught contextually within the curriculum. Teachers seek opportunities throughout the week for children to apply ICT skills in a variety of lessons. The school has 18 laptops and 8 Ipads with access to the internet and children have access to the Internet under very careful supervision.  Interactive whiteboards are installed in two classrooms and Widescreen TVs in 4 classrooms for use with iPads.

Other Subjects

In addition to the teaching of core and Foundation subjects, one or more periods per week are set aside for the teaching of RE, Music, PSHE, French and PE/Sports. As a non-denominational school, Whitehall staff teach about (rather than provide instruction in) the world’s major religions. Greater emphasis, however, is placed on events and festivals in the Christian calendar, including Christmas and Easter. PSHE is taught both formally and informally through lessons and assemblies. Wherever possible, PSHE is linked to the Science curriculum (e.g. ‘Healthy Eating’ and ‘Teeth’) and time in the week is set aside for ‘Circle Time’ when children are given opportunities to discuss and/or resolve matters relating to themselves, their peers, life in school and the wider world. Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is formally taught before the children leave for secondary schools, using the ‘Living & Growing’ scheme and information is provided for parents before the SRE programme is delivered.

Music

Music is an integral part of the school’s curriculum with lessons being held in the School Hall. Two year groups are brought together for a joint lesson (Foundation and Reception, Year 1-2, Year 3-4 and Year 5-6). Instruments are located in the School Hall. In 2012, Whitehall School became the proud owner of the ‘Sing Up!’ Gold Award and  In 2013, the juniors sang at the O2 arena in London as part of the ‘Young Voices’ concert.

French

French lessons are introduced from Foundation. A variety of resources and schemes including ‘Tricolore’ and ‘La Jolie Ronde’ are used by the Modern Foreign Languages teacher.

Physical Education

Sport plays an important part of the daily life of Whitehall School. All the pupils have at least three periods of P.E. lessons per week including activities such as outdoor games, athletics, cross-country, dance and gymnastics.  Swimming lessons take place in our own heated swimming pool throughout the Summer Term. Other opportunities are available during after-school activities including a football and a rugby club with a Specialist Coach. The children are encouraged to develop skills, interest and enjoyment in sport, whilst keeping fit and active. Sports fixtures are organised throughout the year against local independent and state schools. Some of these take place during the afternoon, whilst others are held after school or on Saturdays. In this way we aim to foster a healthy, competitive spirit, which is also evident in annual sports days and swimming galas.

Children should wear appropriate kit for all PE lessons and must remove (or place tape over) ear-rings. Tracksuits and trainers may be worn for outdoor sessions. Children work in bare feet in the Hall. When walking to the recreation ground in Somersham, staff ensure that, en route, the group stays safe and together, with all children behaving appropriately at all times.

Verbal Reasoning

Bond Assessment Papers in Verbal Reasoning are used.  By teaching Verbal Reasoning at Whitehall School, children are encouraged to be independent thinkers and are prepared for entrance tests to secondary schools in the independent sector.

Special Educational Needs

Most children’s needs are catered for through differentiated work within the classroom. When appropriate, after discussion with the school’s SENco (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), staff may withdraw children with significant needs for one-to-one or small group sessions. A clearly defined procedure is followed when extra support is deemed necessary and parents are kept informed through regular meetings at which the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and specific targets are reviewed. The school will advise parents if external support or assessment is required.

It is then the parent’s responsibility to contact any outside agencies to arrange services, from these agencies (e.g. speech therapy), for their child.

Gifted & Talented

For children who are deemed ‘Gifted & Talented’, most needs are catered for by differentiation within the classroom. Where considered appropriate, children may be grouped by ability for some lessons or receive an additional session of teaching, as part of a small group, on a weekly basis.

Performing Arts & Music

Each child is involved in a production during the school year. Other concerts and performances take place throughout the year including the Carol Concert at St John’s Church and at Prize-giving & Speech Day on the final day of the academic year.  Currently, Piano, Clarinet, Violin & Saxophone are arranged by the school in private music lessons on-site by specialist music teachers.

Every year, many pupils participate in the Peterborough Poetry & Drama Festival and we have an outstanding record of success.

Educational visits

Educational trips and visitors are linked to the curriculum and planned to enhance the children’s learning.  Each year group in the Juniors has the opportunity to participate in a residential experience. Year 3-4 enjoy an overnight camp within the school grounds and Year 5-6 spend two nights and three days at the Grafham Water Residential Centre.

 

Assessment & Reporting

Whitehall School’s Individual Performance Programme (IPP)

The Individual Performance Programme has been specifically designed to support and monitor the academic achievements of all students at every stage of their education at the school.  It aims to support and guide all those involved in this process, inspiring children to achieve excellence within their own abilities.

The IPP Cycle

The Individual Performance Programme is cyclical in nature and incorporates the following elements:

  1.  Assess
    Assessment is carried out by the class teacher at defined periods.  Ongoing assessment is carried out through daily observation, marking and student self-evaluation.
  2. Targets set and Shared
    Individual targets are set, shared with children and parents so that they may support these areas for development in the home environment.
  3. Record
    Tests and class assessment scores are compared to national standardised scoring to produce a data profile sheet.
  4. Analyse
    Teachers analyse the data for their year group together with current SEN, Gifted & Talented and Wellbeing information relating to every child.  The implications for specific children and the year group as a whole are summarised and teachers meet with their Head of Department and the Principal to discuss children’s progress.
  5. Create
    From the analysis of each child’s performance, an Individual Profile is created setting out specific targets in the core areas of Maths and English.  The profile also contains a summary of the individual’s data collected over a period of 3 terms.
    From the Individual Profile, Pupil Target Cards are made for each child, stating their current goals and targets to focus on whilst working and these are placed either on desks or within easy reach in the classroom.
  6. Consult
    The child’s progress is shared in Parent Consultations.
    Following the Sharing of information with parents, the IPP cycle then continues throughout the year.

Reporting

In Foundation, there is close communication between teachers and parents, both on an informal and formal basis. Settling-in reports are written early in the academic year and parents receive a full report, on all areas, at the end of the year. In Key Stages 1 and 2, parents receive two reports per year; one that reports on core subjects only and one end-of-year report that summarises progress in all areas.

Caring Environment

Class Teacher

In school, the class teacher is the first point of contact for matters relating to your child’s wellbeing.  Staff are always approachable and parents should encourage their children to discuss worries with their class teacher.  If parents feel they would like more information they can ask to see their Head of Department.

Child Protection

Whitehall School has two designated child protection officers. All staff are aware of the Child Protection Policy and fully understand the procedures and responsibilities involved. It is the duty of staff to record and report suspected cases of abuse and involve external agencies, as necessary, in line with the school’s policy.

Behaviour and Discipline

Whitehall School prides itself on the politeness and courtesy of pupils. This is achieved and maintained by the setting and upholding of high standards by all staff, students and parents. Children are expected to hold doors open for adults, address people by name and always remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated and staff will deal with incidents according to the School’s Behaviour Policy.

For minor transgressions, the teacher will initially issue a warning to the child explaining why the behaviour is unacceptable. A second warning may require the involvement of the Principal.  Parents will be informed after the second warning and formally contacted if the poor behaviour persists so that the situation can be discussed and resolved as soon as possible. Serious incidents will be dealt with by the Principal immediately.

Anti-Bullying

Bullying is neither acceptable nor tolerated at Whitehall School. Children are always encouraged to care for each other and to be aware of each other’s concerns, worries and needs.  Bullying can take many forms including physical, verbal, and emotional. Any instance of bullying, in whatever form it manifests itself, is investigated promptly and thoroughly according to the school’s Anti-bullying Policy and the Principal is informed immediately. Any concerns that parents may have regarding bullying should be referred directly to the Principal.

The House System

All children and staff are allocated a house when they begin at Whitehall School. The houses are named Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire. Year 6 children are elected as House Captains by their peers.

Children are awarded house points, recorded as stars on a chart in the classroom. House points are given for many reasons including high quality work, effort, improvement, politeness and helpfulness. It is rare for more than one or two house points to be awarded at any given time. In exceptional circumstances, three or more house points can be awarded. House points are used as a positive, motivational reward. Each week house points are collected and points awarded in assembly. Twenty points are given to the team that has gained the most house points in the week; fifteen points are given for second place and ten points for third place.

At the end of the year, the team with the most house points wins the House Trophy. A red, blue or green ribbon is tied to the handle and the trophy is displayed in the entrance hall to the main house.

Attendance

Unless there is a good reason for absence, children are expected to attend school for the full three terms of the academic year. There are two types of absence:

  • Authorised (where the school approves pupil absence)
  • Unauthorised (where the school will not approve absence)

If a child is absent for any reason, parents should:

  • Inform the school on each day of the absence stating the reason(s)
  • Send a note on the day the child returns to school explaining the absence. A note is essential for authorisation of absence.

The School Secretary will follow up any absences where the correct procedures have not been followed. In cases where absences are long and the child is capable of work, (e.g. broken leg etc.) arrangements can be made for work to be sent home.

Emergency Contact Form & Medical Information Form

Emergency Contact and Medical Information forms are completed by all parents and are kept in the School Office. Please ensure that the information on these forms is kept up to date and that the School Secretary is notified of any changes (including temporary arrangements) as soon as possible.

Accidents and Illnesses at School

Accidents can happen. Small cuts and bruises will be dealt with directly at school by staff, at least one of who will hold a current ‘first aid at work’ certificate.  In the event of a more serious accident that is likely to require advanced medical care, we shall endeavour to contact parents at work or home. If a parent or family friend (named contact) cannot be contacted, we shall arrange to have your child taken to a local doctor or hospital.  In such cases, the child will be accompanied by a member of staff.  Records of accidents are kept by the School Secretary and, when medical treatment (however minor) has been administered, parents are always informed. In the event of a child becoming ill at school, parents are contacted.

Returning after Illness

We wish to be reassured that, when children return to school after illness, they are properly well. Therefore, it is school policy that, if a member of staff requests a parent to collect their ill child, the child must not return to school until 24 hours (minimum) have passed – particularly in cases of vomiting or diarrhoea.  For the sake of the child and the health of others, it is better to let them have the extra day at home just to make sure. The amount of school work that they may have missed can be made up.

Medicines

Parents requesting the school to administer medicine on their behalf must complete the relevant form, available from the Office. All medicines should be handed to the School Secretary (i.e. from one adult to another) and must not be kept in the teacher’s cupboard or children’s bags or desks. Medicines are kept in a locked cupboard and are usually accessed by the School Secretary.

Temporary Withdrawal from PE lessons

If a child is to miss a PE activity for any reason, parents must provide a covering note or speak to the relevant member of staff.

Head Lice

Please inform the School Secretary if you find head lice on your child’s head. We will then send a letter out to all children in their class. Should cases be reported in other classes, a letter will be sent to all parents. The most effective way of detecting head lice or nits is by regularly checking your child’s scalp using a head lice comb.

Family Holidays during Term Time

Parents are strongly advised to avoid booking a family holiday during term time but the school may choose to grant leave of absence of up to 10 days in any school year. All cases should be discussed with the Principal and a Holiday Request Form (available from the School Office) completed.

Parents are particularly advised not to take holidays in May, as this is when SATs at Key Stages 1 and 2 take place.

A pupil’s absence during term time can seriously disrupt their continuity of learning. Not only do they miss the teaching provided on the days they are away, but they are also less prepared for the lessons building on those that take place upon their return. There is a consequent risk of underachievement which children, parents and staff seek to avoid.

Security of Children

Between 9.00am and 3.00pm the school gates are locked, making Whitehall School a secure site. All visitors must therefore ring the door bell, by the small High Street gate, to be let in and must then sign in (and out). The Nursery has its own door bell at the gate on King Street.

Equal Opportunities

The school welcomes children from all backgrounds and faith communities. If there are significant reasons why parents would like their child to be exempt from certain activities and school expectations (e.g. uniform), the Principal will consider such requests sympathetically.

School Uniform

Policy on Uniform

It is our policy that all children wear school uniform when attending school or whilst participating in a school-organised event outside normal school hours, if appropriate.

A complete list of the items needed for school uniform together with codes for John Lewis and information about second hand uniform held by the PTA can be obtained from the School Secretary. Children are expected to be dressed according to this list. Summer uniform should be worn from Easter until the end of term.  Summer or winter uniform can be worn from September until October half-term from which point winter uniform should be worn.

Ribbons and plain hair bands should be in line with Whitehall School colours of blue, yellow and white. Hair should be neat and tidy and children should avoid excessive use of gel. Long hair must be tied back for safety reasons. Make-up, including nail varnish, should not normally be worn. Only badges presented at school may be worn.

Footwear

Children should wear sensible and comfortable shoes. Platform soles and high heels are unsuitable. Children should not wear trainers to school, as they are not in keeping with the smart appearance of a school uniform. We require all children to wear shoes as described in the uniform list.

PE and Swimming Kit

The school’s PE kit also appears on the uniform list that may be obtained from the School Secretary. As children work in bare feet when in the hall for gym and dance, trainers are only required for the playground or field. Tracksuits are also only required for outdoor lessons.

When swimming, children must provide their own swimming cap as they will not be allowed to borrow one from another child. Boys should ensure trunks or short swimming shorts are worn; knee-length ‘Bermuda’ style shorts are not appropriate. Girls should wear a one-piece costume.

As for all items of school uniform, PE and swimming kit should be named and kept in an appropriate bag.

Jewellery

Discrete ear-rings may be worn but should be removed or covered by a tape/plaster during physical exercise. On health and safety grounds we do not allow children to wear necklaces, chains, bracelets, rings – or similar items such as sporting or charity wristbands. The exceptions to this are watches and small objects of religious significance (if a parent submits a written request). All items are worn at the owner’s risk and we insist that children remove them during PE and swimming lessons to prevent them from causing injury to the wearer or others.

Medical alert tags may be worn but will be removed into the care of the teacher during PE and swimming.

Personal Property in School

Ideally, children must not bring valuables and personal property, including toys, to school. In special circumstances, when children find themselves bringing a precious or expensive item to school relating to a special event or school topic, they are encouraged to take care of their belongings and seek the support of the teacher as necessary.

Whilst we do all in our power to safeguard children’s possessions, personal belongings can be damaged or go astray if mistreated, resulting in disruption to the school day. Whitehall School does not accept any responsibility for property lost or damaged at school. Electronic games and mobile phones should not be brought to school unless specifically requested and permission gained.

Money in School

On days when children bring money to school (e.g. for a trip or fund-raising event), they must be reminded to ensure that it is brought in a named envelope and handed to the teacher or another member of staff at the start of the day for safe-keeping. Children are not allowed to look after their own money. Time spent dealing with lost money can be unnecessarily frustrating.

Lost Property

All items of lost property are placed in a basket in the school’s Medical Room where it will be kept for a term. Children and parents should check the basket if they have lost anything. The basket is regularly checked and named items are returned to children.

Communication & Involvement

‘Open door’ policy

It is the policy at Whitehall School to enable parents to speak to their child’s teacher, the Head of Department or the Principal as and when the need arises. Should parents wish to discuss progress at a time other than parent consultations, a mutually convenient meeting time should be arranged. Parents are asked to telephone the School Office to arrange an appointment and the School Secretary will consult with the member of staff before confirming the appointment.

Newsletters

Newsletters from the Principal and School Secretary are sent via email with updates on school information and news.  Throughout the year, staff will also send letters home with specific details about events such as class trips and whole-school fund-raising activities.

Important Dates

At the start of each half-term, parents are made aware of the dates of important events for the whole school and specific year groups.  Current term and holiday dates can be found on the School website.

Whitehall School Blog

Whitehall School has a blog that can be accessed via the school website – www.whitehallschool.com – in which school events are summarised.  The blog posts include accounts of Awards won, class assemblies, fundraising days, trips, PTA events and any exciting news and views.

Termly Outline

A termly outline, showing topics that will be covered over the term is sent to parents at the beginning of every term.

‘Meet the Team’ Evening

Parents are invited to attend the ‘Meet the Team’ evening in September at which the Principal gives a short presentation.  All teaching staff and the School Secretary are present. The ‘Meet the Team’ evening is an opportunity for parents to meet their child’s new teacher, in their child’s classroom, and for the teacher to share their plans and expectations for the year ahead. It is not necessarily an evening for parents to discuss the individual progress of their child although issues may be raised that will need to be addressed at a future meeting. Teachers prepare a handout which forms the basis of a short presentation to parents and a selection of textbooks are set out for parents to view. Parents may take the handout home and the teacher will ensure that any parent, who was not able to attend the meeting, receives a copy the following day.

Parent Helpers

Whitehall School encourages parents to support activities and play a valuable role in providing transport and supervision for class trips and sports fixtures. A number of parent volunteers undertake a DBS check so that they can help by transporting children to events.  Parents must provide a copy of their MOT and insurance certificate before transporting children.

Whitehall School PTA

The PTA is primarily a fund-raising body for the children and families of Whitehall School. Throughout the year, members of the committee arrange activities and social events for children and parents and look forward to the major fund-raising event of the school year – the Summer Fete. They provide refreshments at functions and also support curriculum activities.

Following the Annual General Meeting (and appointment of a new committee) in September, regular meetings are held. Each class has a representative assigned to it who provides a welcoming contact for new parents.  Regular newsletters are sent by the PTA and minutes of meetings are displayed on the notice board in the school playground.

Transfer to Secondary Schools

Children move to secondary schools at the end of Year 6. Whitehall School caters both for children who continue in the independent sector and those who move to a maintained school.

During the Autumn Term of Year 5, the class teacher holds meetings with individual parents to discuss options and explain entrance requirements and timescales.  At the start of Year 6, parents are invited to come and discuss specific requirements in preparation for entrance tests.

Parents should visit any schools in which they may be interested. Whilst all secondary schools hold Open Days, a better view of the school ‘in action’ can be obtained by arranging a visit.

Parents intending to send children to independent secondary schools should register with them and inform their child’s teacher of their choices.

Children generally sit entrance tests for independent schools in January having been well prepared for them in the Autumn Term. Tests are generally on Saturdays and it is possible that different schools will hold them on the same day. If this occurs, parents should contact one of the schools to arrange an alternative day.

Most schools also interview prospective pupils and their parents; they may also request a report from the Principal.

In the Autumn Term, parents must contact state schools directly and complete the appropriate form before the deadline that is specified by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Once a child has obtained a place, they will have the opportunity to spend at least one induction day at their next school towards the end of the Summer Term. Some schools also send their liaison teacher to Whitehall School to talk with the child and the class teacher.

School Events

A variety of events take place throughout the school year. The list that follows is typical of a year at Whitehall School:

September

  • ‘Meet the Team’ evening
  • PTA Macmillan Coffee Morning

October

  • Harvest Assembly
  • IPP/Parent Consultations

December

  • Infant production of Nativity
  • Infant and Junior Christmas parties and discos
  • Christmas Cooking Day
  • Carol Concert in St John’s Church
  • Reports to parents

February

  • Peterborough Poetry & Drama Festival
  • IPP/Parent Consultations

March

  • Junior Production
  • Book Fair
  • Easter Cooking Day
  • PTA Easter Egg Hunt
  • Reports to parents

May

  • Y3-4 Overnight Camp
  • Parent Consultations

June

  • Y5-6 Residential Trip to Grafham Water
  • Junior Swimming Gala
  • Sports Day
  • Y6 Production
  • ‘Class Swap’
  • Reports to parents

July

  • Y6 Leavers’ BBQ & Disco
  • Fun & Games Day
  • Prize-giving & Speech Day in St John’s Church
  • Productions and Concerts
  • Every child is involved in a production during the school year. Performances may take place in the morning, afternoon or evening (see newsletters for details). Family/friends are invited and tickets are free (two tickets per family per night).
  • The Christmas Concert takes place in St John’s Church on the final day of the Autumn term. Children, mainly from Year 3 upwards, have opportunities to share their dramatic and musical talents at other events including Prize-giving & Speech Day in July.
  • Prize Giving & Speech Day
  • At the annual Prize Giving and Speech Day, cups and trophies are awarded to children from Year 2 upwards.  Each teacher selects one child per class to receive the class prize for that year.  This may be awarded for academic achievement, progress and endeavour or for being a great class “ambassador”.
  • A representative of a local independent school or local community is invited to attend as guest speaker and provide ‘words of encouragement’ for our departing children as well as presenting the prizes. Year 6 leavers also receive a leaving gift.
  • The Head Boy and Head Girl, elected by teaching and non-teaching staff, are announced on Speech Day and the current House Captains present badges to the House Captains for the following academic year who were elected, by their peers, in the penultimate week of the Summer Term.

Administrative information

School Office

The School Office is the point of contact for general enquiries.  The School Secretary is in school from 8.30am and will make an appointment for you to meet a member of staff, the Principal, if necessary. The school telephone will usually be answered by the School Secretary.  However, there is also an answer phone and other members of staff will endeavour to address any queries and matters arising as soon as possible. Please leave a clear message with your contact details. E-mail is checked by the School Secretary on a daily basis and, ideally, should be used for non-urgent matters.  During holiday times, the school emails continue to be read by the Principal.

Photographs and Videos

All parents are asked to complete a permission form indicating how photographs and videos of their children can be used to promote the school and its activities.

Complaints

Whitehall School has long prided itself on the quality of the teaching and wellbeing care provided to its pupils, and all staff are committed to working in partnership with parents so that our school continues to go from strength to strength. We recognise, however, that there may be an occasion where you are not satisfied with an aspect of the school or the service it provides. If you have reason to make a complaint it will be seriously and efficiently dealt with in accordance with the Complaints Policy on the school website.

Fair Processing

Whitehall School, together with other educational organisations, holds information on pupils in order to run the education system, and in doing so have to follow the Data Protection Act 1998. One requirement is to have a Fair Processing Notice outlining types and uses of data held.

School Policies and Documents

Copies of school policies and curriculum documents are available for inspection by parents on request.

Disclaimer

Please note that this handbook is a guide for the information of parents. It is not intended to create any contractual relationship and future content may vary in the light of changing circumstances and new developments.