Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Parents

Belchamp St. Paul School has a warm and friendly atmosphere. We are a thriving Christian community that cares. Our friendly primary school prides itself on making school life a safe, encouraging and nurturing experience for all of our children. Our photo gallery shows a little of what life is like at our school.

The school day starts with drop off between 8.40am and 8.55am for all children. The day ends at 3.20pm, although currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are operating staggered collection times with Reception and class 1 children finishing at 3.15pm, class 2 at 3.20pm and class 3 at 3.25pm.

We provide wrap around care from 7.30am to 6.30pm each day. This is run by Little Oaks Wrap Around Care on our behalf and is available to book directly with them via their website. Breakfast is provided at breakfast club and there are a range of activities included in the after school sessions, from arts and crafts and Lego, to yoga and French club. Visit www.littleoakskids.com for more information.

We offer a range of after school and before school activities, although this is currently limited due to the pandemic. Please take a look at our school clubs page for more information of what is on offer currently and we hope to be able to resume clubs such as ballroom dancing and cross country in the future. We also traditionally run a number of school trips for all year groups, such as farm visits, theatre trips, Harry Potter World and even a residential trip to Wales for our Year 6 children. Learning beyond the classroom is a very important part of our school ethos! Whilst our options are currently a little limited, we hope to be able to resume many of these trips soon and in the meantime are being creative with other activities that we can do within our local community.

We pride ourselves on our warm and friendly atmosphere and are fortunate to be able to offer comparatively small class sizes at Belchamp St. Paul School. We have one Reception Class with up to 12 children who have a dedicated full time reception class teacher as well as support from our teaching assistants. Class 1 is made up of children from Years 1 and 2 and two class teachers as well as a teaching assistant work together to make a fun and engaging learning environment for all. Class 2 consists of Years 3 and 4 and two class teachers as well as teaching assistants support them and finally Class 3, which includes Years 5 and 6 have one full time class teacher as well teaching assistants working with them. You can find out more about each of our classes in the Classes and Curriculum area of our website.

We are a friendly school and our door is always open to discuss anything you may wish to concerning your child. For children in our reception class, we use the Tapestry online learning journal where we keep parents updated about progress and activities that take place each week with photos and observations. All children in the school have a planner where messages can be exchanged and staff are at the school gates morning and afternoon should you have any questions. We have a regular newsletter – The Belchamp Brief which includes stories and updates from the month and of course we are always happy to communicate via email or phone.

At Belchamp St Paul, presentation is extremely important to us. We value how we present ourselves and our work to others.

Parents/carers are able to order the Belchamp St Paul uniform from belchampstpaul.gooddies.

Please note that Belchamp St Paul logo items can also be ordered all year round through Tesco Uniform Service.

If you have any queries regarding uniform orders, please contact the school office.

Normally we would organise open days and taster sessions, however the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic has put some of these on hold for the time being. We are of course happy to organise visits for prospective parents. Currently we are running these visits in line with the Government guidance around Covid-19 safety and so are not able to run visits during the school day, however we can still show parents around at the end of the day and request that you contact us and we will make all the arrangements with you.

Existing 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. – 3.20pm

We provide wrap around care from 7.30am to 6.30pm each day. This is run by Little Oaks Wrap Around Care on our behalf and is available to book directly with them via their website. Breakfast is provided at breakfast club and there are a range of activities included in the after school sessions, from arts and crafts and Lego, to yoga and French club. Visit www.littleoakskids.com for more information.

We offer a range of after school and before school activities, although this is currently limited due to the pandemic. Please take a look at our school clubs page for more information of what is on offer currently and we hope to be able to resume clubs such as ballroom dancing and cross country in the future. We also traditionally run a number of school trips for all year groups, such as farm visits, theatre trips, Harry Potter World and even a residential trip to Wales for our Year 6 children. Learning beyond the classroom is a very important part of our school ethos! Whilst our options are currently a little limited, we hope to be able to resume many of these trips soon and in the meantime are being creative with other activities that we can do within our local community.

We are a friendly school and our door is always open to discuss anything you may wish to concerning your child. For children in our reception class, we use the Tapestry online learning journal where we keep parents updated about progress and activities that take place each week with photos and observations. All children in the school have a planner where messages can be exchanged and staff are at the school gates morning and afternoon should you have any questions. We have a regular newsletter – The Belchamp Brief which includes stories and updates from the month and of course we are always happy to communicate via email or phone.

At Belchamp St Paul, presentation is extremely important to us. We value how we present ourselves and our work to others.

Parents/carers are able to order the Belchamp St Paul uniform from belchampstpaul.gooddies.

Please note that Belchamp St Paul logo items can also be ordered all year round through Tesco Uniform Service.

If you have any queries regarding uniform orders, please contact the school office.

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:

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.

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 absence 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.

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 01787 277222.
  • 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
  • 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 or 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 EWO (Education Welfare Officer) 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 Education Welfare Service 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.