Opossum Nursery Parent Handbook 2018-2019 - Newport School

Opossum Nursery Parent Handbook 2018-2019 - Newport School
Opossum Nursery Parent Handbook
Opossum Nursery Parent Handbook 2018-2019 - Newport School

Dear Parents/Carers

Welcome to our school. The purpose of this booklet is to inform you about the Opossum Federation,
our aims, our organisation and hopes for the future.

The early years are a significant time in the life of a child and his/her family. We understand how
important this experience is for your family and endeavour to make it a positive experience for all. We
appreciate the trust you place in the nursery to provide the best possible learning outcomes for your
child; our commitment is to do everything possible to ensure that is realised. We also depend on your
commitment to work in partnership with us to make this a reality.

We encourage you to regularly visit our website to keep track of events happening in our schools,
important dates and to read our e-newsletter. We welcome parent volunteers also; if you are interested
please take an application from the Newport School office.

Not everything can be written down and parents are always welcome in school. If you have any queries,
please do not hesitate to come and see us.

If you are reading this before registering your child on roll, you may wish to visit the school to see our
working environment. Please telephone the school to make an appointment.

We look forward to working in partnership with you.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Prue Barnes-Kemp                           Ms Lisa McIntyre
Senior Executive Headteacher                  Executive Head Teacher

Opossum Nursery Parent Handbook 2018-2019 - Newport School
About Our School
                        The Opossum Federation is a family of schools which includes Newport,
                        Dawlish, Thorpe Hall and Oakhill Primary Schools. The Opossum Nursery
                        is attended by children predominantly from the local Leyton area and feeds
                        both Dawlish and Newport Reception classes. Our federation is made up of
                        people from all over the world; we speak over 50 languages but work
together as one community. As community schools, we have no affiliation with any religious

We aim to provide a safe, happy and positive environment; one in which children can thrive, have fun
and learn together. We aim to develop learning for each child individually from their own starting
points. We work with parents as partners in learning and with other professionals to ensure that our
children have a good start in life. The community is comprised of a wide variety of cultural
backgrounds; we benefit greatly from the richness that comes from sharing culture, experiences and
language. We encourage children to respect themselves and each other and support the cultural
diversity in our community.

In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, we work closely with other schools, locally and nationally.
We are also developing links internationally and draw on these networks to bring new ideas and fresh
opportunities to Opossum.

Mission Statement

                                           Enriching Lives
                                        Unleashing Possibilities
                                           Building Futures

                We believe that all pupils deserve high quality education which engages, inspires and
               challenges; so that everyone meets their full potential. We strive to create a safe and
               happy learning environment which promotes independence and high expectations of all.

               We are committed to providing opportunities which promote open mindedness,
               empathy and celebration of the rich and diverse community which we serve; so that
               everyone is able to contribute positively to society.

We are dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyle choices so that our students can meet their physical and
emotional needs. We are determined that our students will be successful and will leave us as confident,
highly educated pupils.

Opossum Nursery Parent Handbook 2018-2019 - Newport School
Home School Agreement

Punctuality and Attendance
Although nursery is non statutory provision, regular attendance and punctuality are essential if children
are to gain the most from their time at nursery. Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring that
their children arrive on time every day.

                    A child should only be absent if they are not well enough to attend and
                    parents/carers must telephone the school to give a reason for the absence. In
                    circumstances of extended absence (usually more than 3 days) we may require
                    medical evidence to authorise the absence.

                    The school will not authorise parents to take children out of school for holiday in
                    term time. All parents are made aware of term time holiday dates and no additional
                    days will be considered. Therefore leave of absence during term time will not be
                    approved and will be marked as unauthorised.

Absence may be authorised in exceptional circumstances, although this is rare. Parents considering
requesting absence for exceptional reasons during term time must write a letter addressed to the Head
of Federation. It is important that we are always notified of the reason for any absence
with evidence attached wherever possible.

Nursery places may be revoked for children with significant absence. Irregular Nursery
attendance will also be challenged as we have a waiting list for Nursery spaces.

The school checks attendance and punctuality records weekly. Families will be
contacted if levels of punctuality or attendance are of concern or unacceptable.

                 Nursery Times                  Morning session: 8.45-11.45am
                                                Afternoon session: 12.45-3.45pm

All children in the nursery are eligible to attend 15 hour (morning) OR 15 hours (afternoon) free sessions
a week. This equates to 3 hours a day.

Collection Arrangements
Children attending Nursery sessions must be collected at 11.45am (morning) or 3.45pm (afternoon).
We are unable to send a child home with another adult without prior permission from parents/carers
and children will never be sent home with an unknown person. Please ensure that all adults you
authorise have been registered with our school office.

If you are unexpectedly unable to pick up your child, please notify the school by telephone, or tell the
teachers in the morning. The school will require the person collecting your child to provide
identification/a password. Children will not be handed over to people under the age of 16 unless a
written agreement is made with the school.

Fruit/snack vegetables are provided each day for children in the nursery. Additionally, children in EYFS
receive free milk each day. Please ensure that school is made aware if your child suffers from any

                           Clothes with elastic waistbands are easiest for Nursery sessions; it can be
                           difficult for children to use the toilet independently if they have belts or wear
                           denim with zips. Please note that children will be very busy in the Nursery
                           and should wear clothes that will enable them to join in every activity (even
                           messy ones). For Health and Safety reasons, no child may use the climbing
                           apparatus unless suitably dressed, particularly footwear; the nursery
                           encourages parents to ensure that children wear:

                           White t Shirt
                           Navy sweatshirt
                           Navy shorts or jogging bottoms
                           Black plimsolls or plain trainers with black or white laces



Lost Property
To prevent loss of expensive clothing and property, please name all items that are brought to nursery.
The lost property box is available each day; the lost property box is cleared at the end of each half term.

Neither the school nor the Local Authority can accept responsibility for the personal property of
children. Please make sure your child does not bring valuables to school.
The school will provide any pencils or books that your child will need to support their learning.

Throughout your child’s time in school, our approach to the curriculum seeks
to develop respect for others, confidence and independence and to encourage
children to recognise the contribution they can make to the life of the
nursery/school. We provide a broad and balanced curriculum which
emphasises achievement of the key foundation skills of personal and social
skills, reading, writing and maths as well as promoting development of the
arts, sport and humanities. Wherever possible we link learning across areas of the curriculum and make
it as relevant as possible to children’s lives.

Primary Schooling is organised into three key stages; Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery and
Reception) 3-5 years of age, Key Stage 1 (Years 1and 2) 5-7 years of age and Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) 7-
11 years of age.
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
See Appendix 1

Teachers assess learning progress regularly throughout each year. Progress is reported each term to
parents/carers and discussed further at Parent/Carer consultations.
The school uses the Development Matters document to assess stages of development and identify next
steps in learning. This document has been produced in a ‘family friendly’ format and can be found at
pdf or on our schools’ websites.

                         Home Learning
                         We firmly believe that when home and nursery work in partnership, children
                         are able to achieve the best possible outcomes. We ask that you spend a little
                         time EVERY DAY reading to your child and helping them with learning basic
                         language and social skills. We provide every child with a book bag so that they
can bring home favourite stories to share with you. Providing opportunities for children to develop
independence and self help skills as well as becoming confident with concepts such as colour, shape,
naming words etc is very beneficial for all children. If you would like advice or support regarding
learning at home, please speak to the teacher.

Sharing Learning with Parents/Carers
Each week a group is chosen as the ‘focus group’. During their week children in the focus group may
bring a toy or something special to them to share with the rest of the class. Parents
from the focus group are invited to join us to celebrate children’s work from the
week. The key worker will invite you when it is your child’s turn. Every child will
have a turn at being in the focus group throughout the year.

Photos and videos are used regularly throughout the school day as part of learning
and assessment activities. Photos may be used on the school website or other
school authorised publications e.g. local newspapers. Pupils’ full names will not be
published and images are vetted by the school before publication. Images will only
be taken using devices registered to the school. The school requires parental permission to take and use
these images, you will be asked for consent on admission. Due to data protection restrictions, parents
and visitors may not take photos or videos at school events, such as assemblies or performances.

Religious Education
Our R.E. curriculum, which is based on the locally agreed syllabus, aims to teach an understanding of
the major world faiths. The curriculum also reflects the Christian traditions of the United Kingdom.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from R.E. or collective worship (assemblies which
have a religious theme); this must be stated in writing to the Head of Newport School.

               Good behaviour is expected and recognised and the class works as a team to create
               a happy environment. All children are expected to behave safely and sensible within
               the nursery. Where children are showing challenging behaviour sanctions will be
               put in place to support the child.

                     Communication with Parents/Carers
                     Communication between home and school is very important. We aim to keep you
                     informed of school events through our newsletters, website, Parent Mail, e-mail
                     and outdoor notice boards.

Parent/Carer Consultations
Parents are invited to meet with staff twice each year. At these meetings parents/carers have the
opportunity to discuss your child’s learning progress with the teacher. We strongly encourage you to
attend each consultation and can arrange for an interpreter if necessary. Nursery will be closed to
children during consultations meetings. If, at other times, you wish to discuss learning with your child’s
teacher, please make an appointment directly with the key worker.

Supporting Learning
The home/nursery partnership is essential to support your child in his/her learning. We trust that you
will support the school by reading daily with your child, practising key maths and
literacy skills and completing home learning projects.

We appreciate parental support on educational visits to ensure that visits are safe
and enjoyable for all children. Please let the class teacher know if you are able to
accompany the class on outings.

Parent volunteers are welcomed to support learning in the classroom; usually in
classes which do not have their own children. Please submit an application form
available from the school office if you are interested in supporting in class. Disclosure
and Barring checks and references are required for all volunteers.

School Events
You are invited to join us to celebrate special events throughout the year. We hold a number of events
such as assemblies, Reading Breakfasts, cultural celebrations and sports’ day throughout the year.

                     Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
                     We know that every child learns differently and that some require additional
                     support within the learning setting. If staff or parents/carers identify a need or
                     have a specific concern about an aspect of the child’s learning or development, we
                     take steps to address the need and access external support where necessary. Please
                     do not hesitate to speak to staff if you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s
                     development or if you need support to help your child. We are able to refer to a
                     range of support networks and can help you to seek advice.

Equal Opportunities
To ensure that all children in the nursery develop their full potential we have a clear policy on Equal
Opportunities. We consciously promote equality in the classroom; learning programmes are developed
so that they are accessible to all learners. We celebrate and promote the cultural heritage of the pupils
within our school and join with communities in recognising special events and festivals. We oppose all
forms of racism, homophobia and other discriminatory or offensive behaviour. Firm and swift action is
always taken to deal with such behaviour.

Learners of English as an Additional Language
Our bi-lingual children enrich and enhance our school culture and community. At present over 50
languages are represented, including Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Arabic, Somali, Turkish, Chinese,
Lithuanian, Russian, Polish and Albanian. Support is provided for children who are beginning to learn
English. Translate tools are available on the school website. If you require an interpreter for
parent/carer consultations, please inform the school office.

Pastoral Care
We have sought to create a caring environment; all staff shares the pastoral care of the children as well
as a special responsibility for their own key group. The nursery is well-ordered and staff are concerned
with the well being and safety of all children. The boundaries and expectations of nursery are difficult
for some pupils to manage. When a child has difficulty in this area we will work with you to provide
support to your child. The nursery aims to motivate the children to want to learn by making the process
an enjoyable activity where the development of self-discipline is encouraged. It is hoped children will
develop a responsibility towards each other.

Any instances of bullying, including cyber bullying, are taken seriously and are dealt with promptly.

As part of our pastoral care, the Opossum Federation has centred its ethos on UNICEFs Rights
Respecting School Programme. Through this, we teach children about their rights, as outlined by ‘The
United Nations Children’s Fund’ (UNICEF). The Rights’ Respecting School Programme, helps children
     become active global citizens
     gain a powerful voice
     gain confidence and self-esteem
     learn and use the language of respect

For more information go to: www.unicef.org.uk

Child Protection
Lauren Claxton is the Designated Safeguarding Lead. All staff are required to report any disclosure or
suspicion of child abuse to Ms Claxton who will then take appropriate action. If you are concerned about
the well being of any child, please contact Ms Claxton.

E-safety has an increasingly high profile in society and is a focus for staff and children at Opossum. We
teach Internet safety and will contact parents/carers if we are made aware of any potentially unsafe
behaviour children are engaging in.

Safety and Security
It is essential that the zig-zag lines outside the school are kept clear at all times. Children need a clear
view of the road as they leave the nursery gates. It is illegal to park on these lines during school hours.

We are naturally concerned about the safety of your children while they are in
                       our care. All adults entering the nursery must come through the main entrance
                       and sign in with the office staff, even if accompanying a trip. Children attending
                       the Nursery should enter through the main entrance on Dawlish Road. Children
                       will be greeted at the gate and will be handed over to parents at the end of each
                       session individually.

                         Accidents and Illness
                         From time to time accidents will happen in the nature of everyday life. Happily,
                         these are usually minor and easily treated. We will manage minor cuts and
                         scrapes through our first aid provision in the nursery; it is unlikely that we will
make individual contact with you for small injuries. If however, your child has had a bump or other
injury to his/her head, you will be given a written notification which may be in your child’s book bag.
If your child is taken ill or has a more serious accident, we will endeavour to contact you by telephone.
Please make sure we have details of contact numbers. Please also make sure that you inform the
school when your contact details change. It is imperative that we have the up to date
details of at least 3 adults we can contact in an emergency.

If your child sustains a significant injury either at Nursery or at home e.g. broken arm, a risk assessment
will need to be completed before your child returns to Nursery. This is to ensure that staff are fully aware
of any adjustments needed to reduce the risk of further injury. Risk assessments usually need regular

Personal Possessions
Please do not send toys, electronic games, stickers or other personal possessions
with the children. They invariably get lost, broken or lead to arguments.
Sweets and fizzy drinks are not allowed in the nursery.

We join you in celebrating special events and milestones in your child’s life and will
recognise celebrations in the course of the nursery session. We are however not able
to allow sweets or other gifts to be handed out to classmates or staff as a birthday
treat. Families who choose to celebrate special events are encouraged to do so
outside of the school day and premises.

Screen Time
Children have increasing access to a range of electronic devices. These are now part of our everyday
lives and provide opportunities for learning and entertainment. It is recommended however that adults
monitor children’s use of devices such as laptops, ipads, phones and games – both for content and the
time spent on the devices.

By the age of seven the average child will have spent a full year of 24-hour days watching
recreational screen media, claims Sigman. Over the course of childhood, children spend more time
watching TV than they spend in school.

Recommendations about appropriate limits vary, however frequently sited limits are:
Under 2 years of age – no access to electronic devices

2-5 years of age – maximum 1 hour a day
5-18 years of age – maximum 2 hours a day.

Please set boundaries/family rules with your children and ensure that they do not have access to
electronic devices during the night when you expect them to be sleeping.

It is essential that you inform the nursery of any medical condition your child suffers from so that we
can make any necessary adjustments or provision.
Asthma inhalers must be clearly labelled and handed to the office so that they can be recorded and
stored in the nursery – your child will have supervised access as needed. Medicines prescribed by a
doctor may be kept in nursery and these must also be handed in to the office; medicines must not be
kept in a child’s possession. A medical consent form must be completed by parents for any inhalers or
medicines prescribed by a doctor which need to be kept and administered at nursery. We are not able
to administer medication which has not been prescribed by a doctor or has been bought over the
counter. Medicines are administered by a staff member who has been trained appropriately. Please
ensure that you are aware of expiry dates of all medicines and ensure that the ones held in nursery are

Toilet Training
All children have to be toilet trained before starting nursery. Where a child is not toilet trained, they will
not be able to attend their session at the nursery unless a special educational need or disability has
delayed this aspect of development. In this circumstance, the staff will work with you to put a support
plan in place to assure that your child is appropriately supported. If your child has an accident at
nursery, spare clothing is provided. Children will not need to bring bags of spare clothing. Parents are
asked to sign a log to record which items have been borrowed and we request that they are returned as
soon as possible. Parents are encouraged to teach the children to flush the toilet and wash their hands
after using it.

Concerns and Complaints about the School
If you have a concern or complaint, we would like you to inform us about it. We welcome suggestions
for improving our work.

Most concerns can be sorted out quickly by speaking to your child’s teacher. If this does not resolve your
concern, please follow the communication procedure (below).

Opossum Nursery Term Dates
Important school dates may be found on the school’s website. Please check
www.newport.waltham.sch.uk www.dawlishprimary.co.uk/ or
http://www.opossumed.org/federation-of-schools/ regularly for information and updates.

Contact Details
The school office can be contacted by telephone between 7.45am and 5.30pm on weekdays. If you would
prefer to contact us by post, the details are below:
 Postal Address           Telephone                Fax
 Opossum Nursery          020 8539 4552            020 8556 0301
 Newport Road
 E10 6PJ

Please note that all correspondence to school leaders should be submitted in writing, in
a named, sealed envelope, rather than by email so as to ensure it reaches the appropriate
person and confidentiality is not compromised.

  Messages, Queries,                Person to Contact
  If your child is absent from Please notify the school office each day of absence either via
  nursery…                          the website or in person. Please note that this notification does
                                    not guarantee that absences will be authorised..
  If you have a quick message for Talk to your child’s teacher when dropping your child off.
  your child’s teacher about Urgent messages may be left at the school office if you do not get
  collection arrangements, health a chance to speak to the teacher.
  concerns, home learning…
  If you would like to talk about Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher. If,
  your child’s learning progress…   following your discussion you would like more information,
                                    make an appointment to meet with the relevant School Leader.
  If you are concerned about social Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher. If,
  behaviours or bullying…           following your discussion you would like more information,
                                    make an appointment to meet with the relevant School Leader.
  If you would like to talk about Contact Nicola Forsyth or Michele Moir as soon as possible – no
  child    protection/safeguarding prior appointment required.
  If you would like to discuss Make an appointment to meet with the leader for EYFS – Ms
  something related to your child’s Lauren Claxton
  If you would like to discuss your Make an appointment to meet with the SENCO, Ms Nicola
  child’s    special    educational Forsyth
If having followed the above the steps above, your question or concern is not resolved, please make an
appointment with the school office to meet with the Head of Newport School – Ashley Perridge.
If you would like to contact the Governing Body directly, they may be contacted in writing via the school
office. All correspondence must be sealed and addressed to the Chair of the Governing Body, Maria

Points of Contact
                       Name                                               Role
 Maria Meehan                                        Chair of Governors
 Prue Barnes-Kemp                                    Senior Executive Head Teacher
 Lisa McIntyre                                       Executive Head Teacher
 Ashley Perridge                                     Head of Newport School
 Mariette Bester                                     Head of Dawlish Primary School
 Nicola Forsyth                                      Deputy Head Teacher – SENCO and Designated
                                                     Safeguarding Lead
 Lauren Claxton                                      EYFS Leader
 Nighat Aslam                                        Deputy Head Teacher –Deputy Safeguarding
 Michele Moir                                        Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Appendix 1

Early Years Foundation Stage Long Term Planner
Topics are planned according to children’s needs and interests so may vary from those listed here.

    Year      Autumn 1       Autumn 2         Spring 1       Spring 2       Summer 1      Summer
             Settling in/   Celebrations     Nursery       People who       Growing/      Waltham
              routines                       Rhymes          help us         Healthy       Forest

                                                                             Living       borough

                Settling      Festivals       Healthy        Animals        Life cycles   Waltham
             in/Ourselves       and           Living                                       Forest

                            celebrations                                                  borough

Appendix 2
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Information
Settling in and home visits
It is our policy at Opossum Federation to ensure that all children have the opportunity to settle into our
setting feeling happy, confident and able to separate from their parent/carer with ease. All children will
have the opportunity to take part in our settling in procedure which has been tried and tested over many
years and has been found to be an extremely effective system. We aim to work together with you to
ensure that your child has the best start possible. In order for this to take place we follow the procedures

      We will endeavour to visit your family in your home before your child starts Nursery.. An
       appointment will be made that is convenient for both staff and parent/carer. This will be
       an information sharing session where we have the opportunity to find out about your child
       and to get to know them before they start. You will also have the opportunity to ask and let
       us know of any support that you might need.

      After the home visit, you and your child will be given a date and time to come to the setting
       to become familiar with the area and meet the staff and children. Your child will be
       introduced (wherever possible) to their key worker – the person who will be helping them
       to settle in. Visiting dates and times vary with each child. Usually there are 2 or 3 on
       average, but some children will need to visit over a longer period if we feel they need more
       time to settle. Each visit is usually between 9:30 - 10:30am or 1:30 - 2:30pm, but other
       arrangements can be made.

      After these preliminary visits, we will arrange a starting date for your child. Each child has
       an individual appointment with a member of staff who will be free to meet and greet you
       on their first day. For most children this will be an exciting experience but we know that
       for some, it may be the first time they have left their parent/carer and may take some time
       to adjust. Even those who have previously been in childcare may respond differently to
       usual as it will be their first time in a new environment.

      On their first day of Nursery, NO child will be left for more than half an hour. If they are
       very upset, we may ask you to leave them for only a few minutes. After you collect them,
       we will give you the time to bring and collect them the following day. We will gradually
       build up the time to a whole session. Each child settles in at a different pace, so they will
       all have a different settling in programme. We would ask for your co-operation to work
       with us on these times to ensure that your child settles smoothly into the routines. Within
       a couple of weeks, the majority of our children are happily playing for the whole session.

      We know that children will sometimes have toileting ‘accidents’ and we are understanding
       on those rare occasions. It is however expected that children will be potty or toilet trained
       by the time they begin their time in Nursery.

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