Frequently Asked Questions
What is the deadline for applications and how do I apply?
The deadline for all Reception applications for entry this year in September 2021 is 15th January 2022. You must apply online via the Greenwich website at: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200286/apply_for_a_school_place/458/apply_for_a_primary_school_place
What are the staff ratios? How many teaching assistants are there within the school and how are they utilised?
Each class has one main teacher and one teaching assistant under our current structure. We have classes of 30 or less throughout the school. We also have some specialist Teaching Assistants who support children with additional needs. We have some extra teachers and TAs who do some intervention work with certain groups of children depending on need. In kS2, the TAs are in class in the mornings, and they are doing other interventions in the afternoons.
How do you settle children if they get lost or seem unhappy?
Our staff are trained to be very supportive and calm when dealing with children who do not settle easily. Sometimes we adapt what they do at the start of the day to help transition into the classroom. On occasions, a reduced timetable for a short time can be considered. We are pleased to say that overall children settle extremely well with us, often surprising their parents!
How do you support more (or less) able children?
This would all depend on the ability of the child. The best place to find out about our support for children who are less able or have additional needs is on our SEN information report on our website: https://www.plumcroftprimary.co.uk/page/?title=SEN&pid=10 All lessons are differentiated for differing abilities and learning styles. Children are also streamed for some subjects in some years, so that the more able children are able to progress at their own rate and the less able children can be taught at the pace that suits them.
What’s your take on bullying? How do you solve bullying?
Our take on bullying is that it occurs in all schools but the key to reducing it is how it is dealt with. We have a strong belief in a restorative approach to any conflicts that may happen within school. This is promoted through assemblies, circle time in class and our pastoral input within the curriculum. Being proactive in stemming any issues before they have a chance to develop is very important to us. We look for signs, we give opportunities for children to discuss little problems that are brewing and we encourage children to work in groups and take responsibility for looking after each other.
Every child is taught from the beginning of their time with us how important it is to share any concerns with the adults in the school. They all know who to tell and concerns are listened to – however small they may be. Our strong SLT team have clear procedures to deal with any issues that turn out to be more than just a small one off incident. We normally ask our Year5 children to show parents round at our open days, and parents often ask them about this. They always reply very positively and say that things are sorted out quickly. So this feels like a good testament to what we do here.
Is there an ‘open door’ policy for parent concerns/issues? If not, what is the procedure that parents must follow to set up a meeting? How quickly can a parent expect to get a meeting ?
This all depends on what the issue is. SLT are always available every day for urgent issues. We are also in the playgrounds in the morning and can answer some questions on the spot. Teachers are always available on email. So setting up a meeting or phone call is very easy.
How does the school typically communicate with parents?
We have a parent email and text system that we use to communicate general information. We have termly curriculum letters that sets out what will be covered by each year group so that parents can support at home. These are sent home for each year group and we also do a termly newsletter for the whole school which shows what has been happening in school. Teachers often call families or email them if they need to.
We encourage face to face communication immediately if a significant incident has occurred or if there is something urgent or a courtesy phone call home would take place if we felt parents should be aware of something.
If a parent wants to get involved in school life, how would we go about this? Is there active parent participation?
We have a home school association that is run by two members of staff. Some parents do support our events by helping out. Many year groups have what’s app groups now – where parents communicate about school issues. We actively encourage volunteering and that is a really positive way to support the school.
What is the usual daily routine? Is there an assembly? What is the start time, finish time and break time?
The school day is from 8.50 – 3.15/ KS 1 have an am and pm break. KS 2 just have an am break. Lunch is different for each year group but between 11.45 and 1.15. Assemblies are different for different age groups. the younger children have them less often, the older children may have them every day. these are generally 15 mins long, discussing morals/values/ sharing success/current affairs/ celebrations etc. Literacy and Maths are taught in the mornings where that is possible.
Are there Breakfast and After School Clubs? If so, are they run by the school and on site? What activities do they do during these sessions?
At the Plum Lane site, we have a Breakfast and After School Club that is run by our own staff. At Vincent Road, we use Energy Kidz - they provide an excellent service to our families. The children have a snack and then do low key fun activities – the emphasis is on enjoyment and choice. They do not watch TV until the sessions are nearly over as they are often tired then. It includes access to the outside areas.
What phonics programme does the school follow? How often do children read with members of staff within school?
We use Read Write Inc as our phonics programme. The children read every day in some form- sometimes in guided reading groups or during their set literacy activities. Staff do hear children read individually, but the frequency of this depends on the age of the child and the plans for that week. We follow a reading system set by Renaissance Learning , where children access real books, which are all graded.
How is homework approached within the school? What sort of homework do you set?
We do not set homework in the traditional sense (e.g. worksheets sent home in the book bag). However we have certain expectations about what children should be doing at home. We expect daily reading. We expect children to practise their times tables and number bonds at home. We have various online platforms (such as Mathletics and Spellodrome) that we expect children to engage with every week. We sometimes set whole school projects that involve families working together on a task or idea.
What is your behaviour management policy?
Please look on our website for all our policies https://www.plumcroftprimary.co.uk/page/?title=Policies+%26amp%3B+Documents&pid=18
How often are the PE/Games lessons? Where do these take place? Are there any offsite activities?
PE happens for approximately two hours a week but this does vary. They are in the halls or outside in the playground. Currently our Year 5 children all go swimming as one of their PE lessons. Children take part in the daily mile every day. We do occasionally do off-site activities such as our mile marathon in the local park, as well as sports day.
What are the lunchtime arrangements? Is there a packed lunch policy? Are all year groups together at lunchtime?
Children are encouraged to have school dinners. Some families prefer their children to have packed lunch. Children sit in their year groups to have lunch – although there is sometimes some crossover. We do have a packed lunch policy which is given to families when they join the school.
In Reception year, what proportion of the day is available for free-flow, independent learning?
At the beginning of the day there is a 45 minute phonics lesson where all children are engaged in their allocated groups. In addition to this there are 2 whole class, carpet teaching times of 15 minutes and a story time at the end of the day. The rest of the time the children engage in free flow independent learning. Some pupils (no more than 6 at a time) will be working on an adult focus activity during some of this time.
Does your Reception year have access to an outside learning area during free flow learning, or is this only at set times?
Yes Reception have access to a large and well equipped outside classroom. They can choose to free flow between the inside and outside for approximately 2 hours per day- this is not including lunchtime.
Are the children in reception taught join-up handwriting to begin with?
No- children are taught basic letter shape formation which is the requirement for the Early Learning goal and this sets them up to begin joining when they are in year 1.
Year 1 Transition – do the children in Year 1 still have access to provision?
Yes- the first 6 weeks in Year 1 is run like a reception class with play based activities. This gradually becomes more formal after the first half term.
Are there any other musical opportunities?
We have a school choir and a band who perform regularly at school and at external events. When possible, each year group will see performances by professional musicians, both in school and at high profile venues such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra Schools Concerts at the Southbank and the Barbican Centre. Royal Greenwich Music Hub runs a Saturday centre at Plumstead Manor
What enrichment activities do you provide?
Enrichment takes centre stage both within the curriculum and as additional activities.
The curriculum is enhanced by a wide range of established school trips, workshops and visitors in to school.
Some examples include our community archaeologist who leads our Year 3 classes in their study of the local area and in uncovering life throughout the centuries. In Year 4, children will take a two day Jazz workshop with a well-known Jazz musician. Year 2 will have a workshop with both Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole appearing ‘in person’. Reception take part in Forest School, with Year 1 continuing with outdoor education linked to their class topics.
There are often opportunities for children to participate in dance, drama and poetry after school clubs, as well as keyboard club, school band and a wealth of sports clubs. Our strong links with local arts and cultural organisations ensure that we take part in annual events such as the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, theatre performances at the Tramshed, as well as performances and workshops from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music.
Each summer we hold a whole school arts week, with expert musicians, dancers, writers, and artists giving the children rich opportunities to be creative. The week culminates in a whole school performance in our astro playground.
How does your curriculum reflect you community?
We are constantly reviewing and updating our curriculum with the aims of better reflecting our school community and preparing all of our children to confidently take their place in the world. Please see our curriculum map which outlines the anti-racism and equality themes which run throughout our learning and our school ethos.
How do you encourage Physical Activity?
At Plumcroft we are passionate about encouraging children to lead physically active lives. We do this through offering a broad and balanced PE curriculum and by ensuring our facilities and resources are of excellent quality. Every class from Reception through to Year 6 takes part in the Daily Mile initiative. More information can be found by clicking on this link.
Our whole school ethos around sport and physical activity is that moving makes us feel good. We understand that children will want to be active in different ways, so we try to offer as many different experiences as we can. For example, we offer familiar activities such as; football and cricket to those less well-known sports such as, sitting volleyball and orienteering. Please visit the Physical Education page for more information. https://www.plumcroftprimary.co.uk/page/?title=Physical+Education&pid=38
Do you offer sports after school clubs?
We offer a range of different sports-based after school clubs for Year 2 - 6 throughout the year. We always endeavour to offer Year 1 a sports club towards the end of the summer term. These clubs are run by either external coaches or school staff and places can be secured using our online App. Sessions typically cost £3 per child.
Some of our staff members have a particular interest in certain sports and may well invite children who have shown an aptitude or desire to learn to join their club free of charge.
What is your track record of getting children into grammar schools, e.g. the percentage of children per year that get in?
We are a maintained local authority school so we do not get involved in getting children into Grammar School. Our aim for our Year 6 children is for them to reach their full potential both educationally and socially.
Some families who live near the catchment area of the Bexley Grammar Schools, do choose to apply. On average we have between 3 and 8 children who go onto attend a Grammar School. But that is purely based on Parental preference rather than any input from Plumcroft.