Q1. How can I find out more about what my child is doing during the school week?
A1. For many of us, the question ‘What did you do at school today?’ is met with a tired child replying, ‘Nothing’. We all know that their tiredness is because of how busy they have been, but how do we find out about what they have been doing? For general information on the Curriculum for Excellence, the curriculum for all Scottish schools, there are many excellent websites that give detailed explanations of what children should learn. In particular, the Links button on our own school website will take parents to the City Council’s guide to CfE, the Learning and Teaching Scotland website and Parentzone, a site designed specifically for parents. While this information is important and helpful in giving parents a broad understanding of the curriculum, it doesn’t really answer the questions about what a child experiences daily in the classroom. Parents can have a better understanding of the daily experience of their child by
- Making sure that you discuss your child’s homework for the week with them and help them as appropriate.
- Reading the termly class newsletter that gives detailed information about what will be covered in a particular term.
- Attending parent/teacher consultation appointments in October and March.
- Taking every opportunity to attend the various events for parents that occur throughout the year to explain the curriculum. These can be specific to certain years as in the case of Sex Education evenings. Our formal annual Open Evening which takes place in September allows us to share with you the progress we have made in the previous session and to share with you our curricular plans for the current session. There will also be pupil and parent presentations followed by the informal opportunity to meet your child’s new teacher. We run nursery/P1 transition workshops, Nursery Open weeks, early years workshops in P1, we launched our new Values and Aims as part of our Rights Respecting Evening and we will be holding a Literacy evening for P1 to P7 in May.
- Regularly checking the Class Pages for your child’s year group on our website. These give information about what is coming up, but also include photographs and reports about what has been happening recently. The website is updated regularly by Mr Morley and (slowly) the rest of our teachers are getting the hang of it too!
- Using all of the above as stimulation for discussion about what has been going on, it is more likely that a child will respond to open questions that show you have some knowledge of what they have been doing in class.
Q2. How do children out of the class catch up with work missed eg when attending music lessons or learning support?
A2. When a child is out of class for a music lesson, the maximum time is likely to be 30 minutes. There is an expectation that children will work extra hard to catch up with anything the teacher feels they may have missed. Children usually find that this is possible without having to take work home, though that would be considered if necessary.
If a child is working with one of the Additional Support for Learning staff, they will normally be being provided with their own work programme and this will be tailored round such lessons.
Q3. When do I meet the new teacher at the start of the school year? How regularly will I receive feedback on my child’s progress throughout the year? Will I be told if my child is not doing well in spelling/reading assessments etc?
A3. In the case of younger children, there are a range of opportunities to meet your child’s teacher at the beginning of term. P1 parents are initially introduced to the teacher at the induction meeting in June before the new school year even begins and there will be a further change in September to meet with the in a less formal part of the Open Evening. Informal meetings at drop off and pick up times is a common and important way to get to know your P1 or P2 teacher, though parents should remember that teachers don’t have much time to chat at 8:50 as they have up to 30 children waiting to be taught!
For other classes, there is a mix of formal and informal opportunities to meet staff, including the Open Evening in September, parent teacher consultations in October and March, school performances, Cirriculum Evenings and PTA fundraisers. Importantly, any parent who feels that they have a need to meet with a teacher can simply call to arrange a mutually convenient appointment.
Feedback on your child’s progress will be given in a variety of ways. In a system agreed with parents some years ago, the more formal feedback will be given at parent / teacher appointments in October and March and there will be a summative annual report issued in June. We also communicate progress using the How Am I Doing booklets but these will be replaced soon by a more meaningful target driven system. If a teacher feels that there is a particular concern that they would like to discuss with a parent then they will contact the parent directly to do so. This could occur at any time of the school year. Once again, any parent who has a concern of their own is invited to contact their child’s teacher.
Q4. When do children use the school library and how long can they keep a book for?
A4. In the Nursery, P1 and P2 children borrow from the early years library once a fortnight. The early years library is run by supported by parents. Children in P3 – P7 generally go to the library with their teacher on a weekly basis. They can select books to take home. Children often return books after having them for a week, though they are able to keep them longer if required. Equally, more avid readers can return books earlier and request from their teacher the opportunity to choose another before the next weekly visit to the library.
Q5. Is there any other opportunity apart from parent’s night when I can see inside my child’s classroom?
A5. Parents are invited to see their child’s classroom prior to the Open Evening in September. You can of course make an appointment to see your child’s classroom.
Q6. Do children learning a musical instrument at school get any feedback on their progress? Will they do any music exams?
A6. Music tuition is in very small groups and so the feedback given to children is detailed and continuous. Each child has a tuition record book that comments on progress and on practice to be done. Children will sometimes be invited by the tutor to participate in Grade exams when they are at the required standard. However, these are not part of the normal tuition and will attract an entry fee that will have to be paid by parents. Grade exams are arranged away from school. A summative report will also be written by the instrumental teacher and this will be provided along with the school report.
Q7. Show and tell: does my child’s class have this and if so when?
A7. Show and Tell is one way to develop talking and listening skills and while it is used in some classes, other activities may be used instead. As such, some classes may use Show and Tell regularly, especially among the younger age groups. However, it is a method fitted to a purpose rather than being a compulsory element of the curriculum. If you are in any doubt as to whether it is a commonly used method in your child’s class please ask their teacher.
Q8. Can parents come to assembly?
A8. Classes take responsibility for assemblies periodically, with each year group expected to do so once in a school year. The classes at a year stage will normally work together. There may be a religious or moral theme to the assembly or it may be that the children showcase some work that they have been doing in class. Parents and carers are always invited to their child’s class assembly. The class teacher will invite you in advance to enable you to book time off work if necessary. These assemblies are always very popular with a high turnout of parents. There are sometimes special assemblies, for example the Nativity, the Scots assembly, the P7 Leaving assembly and if your child is in the assembly you will be invited to attend.
Q9. What can children choose to do in golden time? Do all years have golden time?
A9. Golden time is essentially a positive behaviour management strategy where children are rewarded for positive behaviour by 30 minutes of activities usually on a Friday that are seen to be more fun and more free than normal class activities. Negative behaviour of any kind can see a child being docked Golden Time, though they also have the incentive to win it back by showing positive behaviour. The choices of activities tend to be worked out with individual classes and their teachers, though certain school facilities such as the trim trail or grounds can be timetabled into this on a wider school basis. Typical activities that the children choose are games, sports, small scale performances, watching films or listening to music. Golden Time is in place for all classes in the school.
Q10. Where can I find information on the terminology used in school for instance in Big Writing?
A10. By clicking on the ‘Our Curriculum’ section of the website, you will find links to different curricular areas. It is within these areas that you can find information about the different programmes we are using as well as some ‘Jargon Busters’.
Q11. The buddy system is a great idea. How does it work?
A11. The buddy system links P7s and new P1s so that the younger children feel supported, especially in the playground. The scheme begins in the months prior to the children moving into P1 or P7. The P7 and P1 children work together regularly throughout the year and this helps the P7 children develop a sense of responsibility and helps the P1 children develop a greater sense of belonging and security.