General Information

Preparing your child for Starting School

St. Vincent de Paul R.C. Primary School.

Preparing your child for Starting School

Before Your Child Starts School

Before your child starts school you will receive:

  • A letter inviting you to an evening meeting in school, usually in June. 
  • An information sheet for you to complete and return to school 
  • A letter detailing your child’s group and the times of the sessions your child is to attend.

At the meeting in school you will receive a presentation by the Head Teacher, your child will have the opportunity to talk to the teachers and the teaching assistants and to play in the Reception area and to sample the school dinners.

Paper copies of the Prospectus are available from the school office. All our information is on our web site as we try to do our bit for the environment and cut down on our use of paper. 

Starting at School in September

Your child will start school at the beginning of September. For the first week your child will attend half day sessions, as part of a group to give them the chance to get to know all of the Foundation Stage staff and mix with all the other children.

The children will attend a mixture of morning (from 8.45 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.) and afternoon (from 1.00 to 3.15 p.m.) sessions, to help them to get used to the school routines before starting school full time.  You will be given a letter at the presentation evening detailing your child’s group and which sessions to attend.

Allocation of Classes – In the Foundation Stage the classes work very closely with each other, the children mix frequently and work with all the teachers and teaching assistants. 

Within the first few weeks of your child starting school they will be allocated to class;  this will be based on teacher assessments, observations and other relevant information.

The First Weeks - Your child’s teacher/s and teaching assistants are available each morning and evening to discuss how your child is settling in.

Make sure the teacher knows of any medical condition or allergies. Is your child meant to wear glasses or slightly deaf? Does the teacher know? If there are any problems please do tell the teacher.

We want to do everything we can to make sure that your child will be happy in school and make learning enjoyable.

The Foundation Stage Profile - During the first year in school your child will be assessed in literacy, numeracy, physical and social skills. The school will use these findings to help monitor your child’s progress throughout his/her first year. The results of your child’s progress will be recorded on forms sent by the DfE in June/July. Your child’s teacher will inform you throughout the year about your child’s progress.

Your First Meeting In School After Your Child has Started
You will be invited to attend a meeting in the school hall towards the end of September.  At this meeting the Head Teacher and the Reception teachers will talk to you about school life. The points covered will include, the school routine, how we teach the children to read and write, lunch time, homework and the Foundation Stage Profile. We will explain the use of flash cards and books that your child is starting to bring home.

Please, if there are any problems, do tell the teacher. We want to do everything we can to make sure that your child will be happy in school and this will make learning enjoyable. 


The Religious Life of our School

The Church’s liturgical calendar is followed and your child is instructed for Confirmation, Reconciliation (their confession) and first Holy Communion in Year 3. Your active support and full co-operation is of invaluable assistance to the parish and the school in the preparation of your child before s/he can receive these sacraments. This preparation is organised by the parish, and you and your child are invited to attend meetings to discuss the preparation of the sacraments and services for the family. Every effort should be made to attend these meetings and services.


A Partnership, School, Home and Parish 

All of us (parents, school and parish) involved in the education of your child must work together to achieve success for each individual child. You are asked to sign a Home-School Contract before your child commences school, which contains the following criteria: - 

We will: 

  1. Provide your child with the opportunity to learn about the faith of the Church, as part of a full education within a Catholic environment. 
  2. Implement the Sacramental Programme so that all children receive the sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. 
  3. Value each child as an individual in a well ordered, fair, just and caring environment. 
  4. Provide challenging programmes of teaching, guidance and a range of opportunities and support designed to enable pupils to achieve their full potential.
  5. Teach the National Curriculum and publish details of our children’s SAT results at Year 6.
  6. Set, mark and monitor homework which will consolidate, prepare for and/or practice work that is taking place in school.
  7. Provide you with regular information about your child’s progress and performance.
  8. Provide you with information about school activities through regular letters and our web site.
  9. Inform you as early as possible about any problems or concerns affecting your child in his/her work, relationships or behaviour.

You will:

  1. Make sure that your child attends school punctually, dressed in school uniform and properly equipped each day. School starts at 8.35 a.m.
  2. Take a full and active part in the Sacramental Programme, come to mass at the weekend and support the class masses. (If this is appropriate to you).
  3. Inform school, via phone, e-mail or letter on the first morning, when your child is absent and try not take any holidays during term time.
  4. Support the school’s policies and guidelines for behaviour, discipline and dress.
  5. Accept the school's ethos and positive support to all staff.
  6. Help your child to achieve his/her full potential.
  7. Attend parents’ day/evening and discussions about your child.
  8. Inform school of any concerns or problems that might affect your child’s work or behaviour. 

Together we will:

  1. Try to live by and promote the teachings of our faith.
  2. Support the children’s learning to help them achieve their best.
  3. Address any special needs.
  4. Nurture capable and competent young people, who will take responsibility for their own actions, future, respect and care for other people and property and celebrate the achievements of all. 

​​You have the right to contact the Chair of Governors, the LA or the Diocese, if you have a complaint about school.


Pre - School Skills

Starting school is one of the most important milestones in your child’s life. Some of the following hints will help your child during this important stage of education and go a long way towards making the settling in period and the following months satisfying and enjoyable. You will need patience, time and lots of love and please give your child plenty of praise.

Please encourage your child to do simple jobs for him/herself, such as;

  • Dress themselves, fastening their buttons, zips and shoe laces 
  • Use a knife and fork 
  • Recognise their name


Help your child so that s/he can: -

  • Hang up his/her coat
  • Put away all items
  • Use the toilet correctly


Social Skills

Adjusting to a new environment can be difficult. Your child has to learn to play and share things with others, to listen to others and not expect instant attention.

You can help by making your child:

  • Carry out instructions (e.g. helping around the house)
  • Ask for things
  • Share and take turns
  • Say please and thank you
  • Understand the need for good table manners


Writing our Letters

This is how we write our letters.  All the cursive letters start on the line from the dot.  The a, c, g, o and q come back around the curve (to the left) at the top and the i, j, t and x require two pencil movements (i.e. dot the i, cross the t):-



Over the years much has been written about how children learn to read. Different methods have claimed to have the answer. We feel that there is no one way, what is right for one child may not suit another, and we must view each child as an individual with individual needs.


At First

  • Spend a little time looking through the book discussing what some of the pictures show.
  • Make sure the child can see the print and pictures.
  • Point to the words as your read them (use the pictures as well).
  • Allow time for discussion before you turn over. A valuable question is “What do you think will happen next?”
  • Let the child ‘read’ the story to you afterwards - even if this means reciting by heart or making the story up from the pictures. This is a very important stage. Children learn to behave like readers by these activities, so praise all their attempts.
  • Do not force participation - if the child is tired, read to them or choose another time.
  • If your child likes a particular story s/he may want to hear it over and over again. This should be encouraged (if you can stand it!). It may be that a well-loved story is the first one your child learns to read independently.


Later on

As your child gains confidence, you should ask your child “Are you going to read this to me, or should we read it together?” If your child would like to try then let him or her do as much as possible, being ready to help if your child asks you to.

If your child doesn’t know a word, try the following: -

  • Re-read the phrase or sentence leading up to the word then stop and ask what it might be.
  • Read on after the unknown word and see if the child can guess.
  • Look at the illustration, which may give a clue.
  • Look at the first letter or sound of the word.
  • If they are still struggling - tell them!

It is important that your child becomes confident about his/her ability to read, so please do not apply pressure. Never make comparisons with the progress of other children. Children learn to read at different rates.

Reading Record - The teachers will record your child’s progress in his/her reading record book. This book is then passed onto the next years’ teacher and is kept throughout your child’s time in the Infant Classes. A new reading record book is given to your child when s/he enters Key Stage 2 in Year 3.


What is meant by phonics?


What do teachers mean when they talk about teaching phonics? They generally mean drawing children’s attention to the relationship between single, printed or written letters or groups of letters, and the spoken sounds which the letters usually represent. Thus children are taught that the letter “P” for example, is usually sounded as in ‘pig’ or ‘pen’. If you can play games with your child to emphasise the initial letter sounds e.g. 'I spy’; this is an enjoyable way for your child to learn.

The way that we teach Literacy (reading and writing) and Numeracy (maths) will be discussed at the meeting held in October.


St. Vincent’s PTA

We have a very active PTA at St. Vincent’s.  They have provided the reception classes with their outdoor play equipment. New members are always welcome. Keep an eye on the school website with details of the next meeting, so do please try to come along and join in the fun!

Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, during term time, at 6.30 p.m., in the School Staff Room.  Anyone interested in being a member should contact the School Office for further details.

Session Times

8.35 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. and 1.15 p.m. - 3.15 p.m.

Your child will be in Year R and in Key Stage 1.
Years R - 2 receive over 21 and half-hours teaching per week.
In Key Stage 2 years 3 - 6 receive over 23 and a half-hours teaching per week.


Class Organisation

At present children of the same age are taught most subjects together. The children are taught the curriculum by a variety of methods which involves teaching the children individually, in groups, in ability groups and as a whole class.

Don’t forget to visit our Letters section of the website for copies of recent letters sent home to parents.