FAQs

FAQs

  • 1. Attendance & Punctuality

    What should I do if my child is going to be absent from school?
    If your child can not attend school for any reason, you must let us know by calling the main office by 9.15 am so that a note can be made on the register. This will ensure that a Learning Mentor does not make enquiries as to the whereabouts of your child during their daily attendance checks.

    What happens if my child is absent for a long period of time?
    If your child is absent from school for more than 10 sessions which equates to one school week, a referral will be made to the Education Welfare officer at Hackney Learning Trust who may issue a fine.
    If your child is absent from school for two weeks they may be taken off role and their place could then be offered to another child.

    Can I take my child on holiday during term time?
    PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST HOLIDAY LEAVE DURING TERM TIME. The Government does not allow us to grant holidays during the school term under any circumstances. The school has the right to administer a fine to both parents of a child for a family holiday. This could far exceed term time holiday savings.
    If your child is absent from school for more than two weeks they may be taken off role; a referral will be made to the Educational Welfare Officer. The place could then be offered to another child.

    My child is going to be late for school. What should I do?
    Parents and carers should make every effort to ensure that their child arrive at school promptly before 9.00 am. Any child that arrives to school after 9.00 am will be given a late mark against their name. Being late for school and missing school through absence can have a detrimental effect on a child’s education.

    My child is unwell, what should I do?
    Unfortunately the school is unable to authorise pupil absences due to temperatures, coughs and colds, sore throats or other general seasonal illnesses.
    If your child has had sickness or diarrhoea, you should keep them at home for 24 hours after the last bout of either symptom.

    My child has a medical appointment to attend, what do I need to do?
    Where possible, medical appointments should be arranged for outside of school hours as absence can have a negative impact on the child’s education.
    We understand that this is not always possible; in these circumstances, proof of the appointment should be presented to the office so that a copy can be kept on the pupils’ individual record.

  • 2. School Meals

    What meals are available to my child who is in Nursery?
    Full-time Nursery children must be provided with a packed lunch as we do not have the facilities in the Nursery to provide a hot meal.

    What is Universal Free School Meals?
    Since September 2014, ALL children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to Universal Free School Meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals Initiative.

    Can my child have a packed lunch?
    Pupils are able to have a packed lunch but we do ask that children remain on these for a full half term. Switching between school meals and packed lunches mid-term can cause a large amount of confusion for the kitchen team who would need to constantly change the numbers that they are catering for.

    How do I apply for Free School Meals?
    We ask that all parents who are in receipt of state benefits complete a Free School Meals Application as the school may be able to claim additional funds from the Government which can be used to support their academic attainment. For more information, please visit https://www.learningtrust.co.uk/schools/Pages/PupilBenefits.aspx. 

    How much do school meals cost?
    School meals cost £1.80 per pupil per day. This totals to £9.00 per week. Payments should be made to the main school office on a weekly basis to avoid the build up of unnecessary debts.

  • 3. Home School Communication

    Which contacts should the school have?
    Please ensure that we have your correct telephone number, plus an additional number for a friend or relative who can be contacted in an emergency.
    These numbers should be kept current and up to date at all times to ensure that you are contactable in the event of an emergency. You can update contact details by visiting the main office where a member of the team will be happy to assist.

    What is a class newsletter?
    Class newsletters are sent home at the beginning of each half term. The newsletters outline writing, maths, topic, science, music, PE, ICT, RE and trip focuses for the half term ahead while also containing reminders of PE days, clubs that are available, homework days, information on and requests for support on trips and whole school themes. Copies are available from class teachers.

    Why do you have a whole school newsletter?
    Whole school newsletters are sent home every Friday. These are a way of informing parents of news within the school community, updating you on our gold award winners, letting you know about upcoming events and giving specific information about key dates and events. These are also used as a way of communicating outcomes of school trips and celebrating children’s achievements.

    Why are letters sent home?
    Class teachers inform parents in writing of changes to routines, trips and class events and requests for support or resources from home. Additional copies of these letters will be available from the school office.

    When can I see my child’s class teacher?
    Class teachers and support staff will be available on the playground at 3.30 pm each day. This is a valuable opportunity for communication between parents and teachers. Members of the senior leadership team and non-class based teachers will also be in playgrounds and available to talk to parents at the start and end of the day.
    If you would like to talk to a member of staff about more sensitive issues, you can make an appointment to meet them through the main office.

    What is a home school agreement?
    Gainsborough Primary School is organised on the basis of a partnership between parents and teachers. You will receive a home school agreement to complete and sign at the beginning of each academic year which will outline some common understandings between parents, children and the school.
    This co-operation really helps to provide for the best in terms of your child’s education and well-being. Regular contact between home and school will ensure that any problems will usually be sorted out easily and quickly.

    How does the school deal with aggressive or abusive behaviour?
    At Gainsborough we work hard to promote the Gainsborough Values and Goals, which include treating others with respect, in doing so we will not tolerate abusive or aggressive behaviour from anyone.  Anyone who fails to understand this will be asked to leave the premises and could be at risk of being banned for a fixed period of time.
    We define abusive or aggressive behaviour as any behaviour which produces damaging or hurtful effects, physically or emotionally on other people. This definition is not exhaustive but would include:

    • verbal abuse including name calling
    • bullying, shouting or swearing
    • threat of any of the above
    • assault – resulting in injury or not
    • threat of harm to property or family
    • racial or sexual abuse

    I am unhappy about something at the school and I wish to make a complaint, what should I do?
    If anything is troubling you, we suggest that you talk to your child’s teacher. Most problems or misunderstandings can be sorted out this way. If your problem has not been solved, you can make an appointment to discuss the matter further with the Assistant Headteacher for your child’s phase.

    EYFS and KS1 – Miss Sian White
    Year 3 and 4 – Miss Anna McConnell
    Year 5 and 6 – Mrs Nergiz Bilal

    If further action is needed, the matter will be referred to the Deputy Headteacher, Miss Rachael Alexander-Gordon or our Executive Headteacher, Ms Jenna Clark.

    If your problem still remains unresolved you may wish to make a complaint, in writing, to the Chair of Governors whose contact details are as follows:

    Louis Coiffait
    Chair of the Federated Governing Body
    Primary Advantage
    c/o Holy Trinity CE Primary School
    Beechwood Road,
    London E8 3DY

    governors@primaryadvantage.hackney.sch.uk 

  • 4. The School Day

    What is Soft Start?
    Gainsborough operates a ‘soft start’ system. When the children go directly to their classes from 8.45am each morning. Support staff are on the stairwells, rewarding children for excellent behaviour. In classrooms, activities are completed quietly at tables in accordance with the whole school timetable.

    How are the children dismissed at the end of the day?
    At the end of the day, children are escorted to the playground by their class teacher, and are collected by a nominated adult from their class line.
    Parents can use this time to speak to teachers and arrange an appointment if they need a more detailed discussion.

    Can my child walk home alone at the end of the day?
    Only children in year 6 are allowed to walk home unaccompanied. Permission to walk home is sought at the beginning of the year and a record of this is kept by the office, class teacher and year group leaders.

    Who can collect my child from school?
    All nominated adults are allowed to collect children at the end of the day. This information is collected by the school at the beginning of each school year using our Data Collection form. It is essential that you inform the school of a change of circumstances to ensure that we are able to protect all of our children.
    If you make alternative collection arrangements for your child on the day, you must inform the school office, and where possible the class teacher or Learning Mentor, as no child will be released to another adult unless the school have received this information by a parent.

    How many trips should my child attend each year?
    As part of each topic at least one educational visit will take place each half term to support the curriculum content. The trips may be to a museum or gallery, a field trip or a trip to simply give them an experience linked to their topic.
    Class teachers may also arrange trips to support key celebrations throughout the year; these often include a whole school Pantomime performance or a visit to the cinema to celebrate the end of term.

    Why do I need to pay the £10.00 annual trip contribution?
    At the beginning of each school year, we ask that all parents make a payment of £10.00 towards the cost of trips throughout the upcoming year. These donations are used to cover the cost of trips including workshops, travel and entry fees.

    Does my child have permission to attend a trip?
    At the start of the school year parents are asked to complete an ‘M25 Trip Letter’. This gives each child permission to travel on trips within the M25. The class teacher will then send out a notification letter one week before the trip to remind parents of the date that it is happening and what the children are required to bring; these will not necessarily ask for parental permission to attend the trip unless the venue is outside of the M25 area.

    How do I find out when my child will be attending a school trip or visit?
    Trip dates for the half term will be listed in class newsletters at the start of each half term and will also be posted on the school newsletter the week before the trip as a reminder.
    The dates or trips and visits are also posted on our school website in the ‘Events’ section of the website.

    Do I need to provide a packed lunch for my child on the day of a trip?
    If you are in receipt of free school meals, your child will be provided with a school packed lunch for the day of the trip. If you would like to provide your own, please let the class teacher know with as much notice as possible.
    Those who are not in receipt of free school meals will need to provide a healthy packed lunch on the day of the trip. Please remember these must not include glass bottles, fizzy or energy drinks or sweets. It is also easier if packed lunches are in disposable bags which can be thrown away and are not at risk of being left anywhere.
    If you have paid for your school meals up front and would like the school to also provide a packed lunch on the day of a trip then please inform the office at your earliest convenience to avoid any confusion on the day.

    Can my child wear their own clothes on their school trip?
    If your child is due to be on a trip, they need to be in full school uniform (unless otherwise stated), and have suitable attire for the weather expected that day. This may include a waterproof jacket, sun hat and comfortable shoes for walking.

  • 5. Medical and First Aid Procedures

    What happens if my child has an accident at school?
    Any child in need of First Aid will either be taken to the medical room, or will be dealt with in the playground as all nominated first aiders carry a first aid kit with them during both play and lunch times.
    The children are told to use adults in the playground as a first port of call. However, in the event of a more serious incident, children will be brought to the office/medical room where they will receive further treatment by the lead first aider.
    All incidents are recorded in our First Aid book and a copy of this will be sent home with the child. In the event of a head injury, staff will make phone calls to parents to inform them of the incident.
    In the event of more serious accidents, parents may be asked to collect the child from school.

    My child is asthmatic, what should I do?
    If your child suffers with asthma, you must inform the main office so that our records can be updated. Children’s inhalers will usually be stored in the office, unless requested by the child’s GP.
    If children are able to, they will administer their own inhalers under the supervision of a first aider who will also record the number of puffs taken for each administration. This record is kept in the child’s individual inhaler pouch inside of the medical cupboard.

    My child has been prescribed medication, what should I do?
    If your child is required to take medication while they are at school, you must inform the main office. You will be given a medical consent form which you must complete before any member of staff is permitted to administer medication. Only prescribed medication will be administered by a first aider.
    All medication will be stored in the medical room clearly marked with the child’s name, date and how to administer. The lead first aider will carry out half termly checks of the medical cupboards to determine whether medicines are still required and are within date.

  • 6. Safeguarding Procedures

    What is safeguarding?
    At Gainsborough Primary School, Safeguarding runs through everything we do. Our policies all reference the government’s document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2014).
    Safeguarding is not only about protecting children from abuse and neglect. It is also about doing what is best for children to ensure that they are provided with opportunities to become successful adults.
    Safeguarding children is everybody’s responsibility and children have a right to be safe in all environments, for example, at home, school, on the street and even on the internet. It is therefore the role of teachers, learning mentors, doctors, nurses, social workers, police officers, faith leaders, sports coaches and all other adults to ensure that children are safe from harm.

    Who should I speak to if I have a child protection concern?
    Child protection involves taking steps to safeguard vulnerable children and young people who have suffered or are at risk of suffering from physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.
    At Gainsborough our designated child protection officers are:

    Jenna Clark, Executive Headteacher
    Rachael Alexander-Gordon, Assistant Headteacher
    Carol Lewis, Family Support Officer
    Juliet Forsyth, SENCo

    If you have any concerns about a child, please contact our designated Officers. Please always be mindful of confidentiality.

    What does the school do to ensure that suitable adults are employed to work in our school?
    Our school follows strict guidance, such as adhering to strict checking and vetting procedures. At least one member of staff and governor on each interview panel will have received specific ‘Safer Recruitment Training’. In this way, we ensure that all adults we recruit are safe. 
    All adults working with our children will be subject to a satisfactory enhanced DBS. Visitors must also show photo ID. If a visitor has photo ID, but cannot show valid DBS clearance, they will be supervised at all times.

  • 7. Homework

    What homework should my child be receiving?
    Writing
    A weekly writing task is set for all children from years 1 to 6 by a senior leader. This task supports a weekly whole school focus, this may be linked to a religious event, a value the school is learning about or a current point of interest.

    Maths
    Weekly Maths homework tasks are set by the class teacher using the My Pals homework books. Maths homework will always link back to the learning that has taken place during that week’s maths lessons.

    Reading
    Home readers are changed twice weekly for all children and more regularly for children in need of reading support. Parents are encouraged to read for 20 minutes with their child every day.

    All homework is checked by a member of the class team and praise comments and stickers are given for effort and attainment. If homework is not completed regularly the class teacher will usually request a meeting with parents.

    Does the school offer any homework support to the children?
    In general, it is expected that children will complete their homework at home under the support and guidance of a suitable adult; this includes a parent/carer, an older sibling or other family member that lives in the home.
    However, we do offer a homework club on Friday afternoon for selected children who may require additional support to complete their homework. If you feel that your child would benefit from attending this club, please speak to the main office.

    What can I do to get more involved with the school?
    At Gainsborough, we welcome parents to our school and encourage them to be involved in as many ways as possible. Some of these are as follows:

    • Reading at home and supporting your child with their homework
    • Marvellous me! This is a school app that sends positive push notifications about your child direct to your Smart phone. These may be for gold, silver and bronze learning awards, photos of children’s work, videos of learning or school activities etc. When you receive these you can then respond by ‘hi fiving’. When you have sent a ‘hi five’ back to us, the class teacher can see this. Watch this space, as we will be looking out for and rewarding the classes who have sent the most notifications and received the most ‘hi fives’ back…
    • Whole School Community events: 
      • Black History month celebration
      • Summer fete
      • Class assemblies on a Friday at 3.15pm.

    You can get involved in the following ways:

    • Trip volunteers for class outings – speak to the class teacher
    • FROGs (Friends of Gainsborough School) – for more information please email: FPTA@gainsborough.hackney.sch.uk
    • Coffee mornings – come along to meet the year group teams

    Remember to keep an eye on the newsletters and the website for upcoming dates and ways to help!