Frequently Asked Questions

Please see letter below from Lisa Dale (Headteacher) regarding opening in September.

Sept 2020 opening

At Howbridge, presentation is extremely important to us. We value how we present ourselves and our work to others.

Parents/carers are able to order the Howbridge uniform from SmartyPants.

If you have any queries regarding uniform orders, please contact the school office.

Adverse Weather Closures

If we do decide that we need to close the school as a result of bad snow or bad road conditions this is not a decision that we take lightly. Adverse weather really does mean ‘severe’ as opposed to a slight flurry. If circumstances are such that you think there is a possibility that we may be forced to close either first thing in the morning or during the day, we would please ask you to check the following:

Come to this school’s website to see if a message has been posted on the home page.

Radio Broadcasts

You can tune into the local radio stations listed below where closure information will be broadcast on a regular basis (note that BBC Essex’s website is updated before any broadcasts). However, it can take us up to 20-30 minutes to get connected, and then the message will only be broadcast in the next ’round’ of announcements.

BBC Essex: 103.5 FM / 729 AM

Dream 100: 100.2 FM

Early Closure

If weather conditions should deteriorate badly once the children are already in school please first check the school’s website to check for any new message that has been posted on the home page. Please try to avoid calling the school office for information. It is very difficult to function with such a high volume of incoming calls.

If we decide we must close early, we will inform the radio stations (again, BBC Essex will update their website before any broadcasts take place) and also text & email parents.

Revised Opening Times (COVID-19)

Drop-off

All year groups can come into school between 8.30am and 8.55am. They will all come onto the patio and the gates will be open from 8.30am to allow the children to leave you and walk to their classrooms.

Pick-up

  • Year 3 and 4 will come out of school at 3.05pm. Note that Year 3 have a different start and finish time for Monday 7th only:
  • On Monday 7th September Year 3 will be in school from 9.15am – 3pm. They will be brought out of their classrooms to be collected at 3pm.
  • Year 5 will come out of school at 3.15pm and Year 6 will follow from 3.20pm.

The Typical School Day –  (currently revised – see above)

  • Playground gate opens at 8.35am
  • All children should be in class for registration by 8.45 am
  • Morning session: 9.00 a.m. – 12.00pm
  • Lunch break: 12.00 p.m. – 12.55pm
  • Afternoon session: 12.55 p.m. – 3.15pm

Essex School Term and Holiday Dates 2019-2020

Lateness

Lateness is classed nationally as absence/truancy condoned by the parents. We, by law, have to mark as absent any child who is not in the classroom when the register is called. We would request that every effort is made for every child to be punctual in
order to make a smooth and efficient start to the day’s learning. All children who arrive late at school should be brought to the office so an explanation can be given. Children should not be left to come in on their own for safeguarding reasons.

If a child is required to attend a clinic, dentist or doctor, or make some other visit from school during normal school hours we require:

  • A note to this effect or, alternatively, to be shown the appointment card.
  • The parent, or named responsible adult, to collect him/her from the school building itself (we are unable to allow children to wait at the school gate

Attendance is tracked electronically nationally for every pupil throughout their school life — even up to the end of secondary school a poor terms attendance at Howbridge will show on your child’s records. If we have concerns about your child’s attendance, including late arrivals, letters and or meeting will be held.

If a child is away due to illness a message should be phoned to the office before 9.30am giving full details of the reason for your child’s absence. A 24-hour answer phone is in operation or you can use our free NHS Studybugs app Studybugs. The message will be conveyed to the class teacher concerned. We request that a written message also be sent with the child when he/she returns to school.

We are required to record all absences as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’. Any absence not supported by a note of explanation on the day of return to school is likely to be classified as unauthorised.

If a child is taken ill at school and the parents cannot be contacted, an alternative contact such as a neighbour or another family member needs to be known by the school. It is essential that you keep us informed of any changes of address or telephone numbers both at home and work for yourself and the named responsible adult.

Attendance is tracked electronically nationally for every pupil throughout their school life — even up to the end of secondary school a poor terms attendance at Howbridge will show on your child’s records. If we have concerns about your child’s attendance, including late arrivals, letters and or meeting will be held.

Holidays During School Time

Any absence during school time loses valuable learning time and parents must book holidays within recognised school holiday periods.
Recent amendments to the law have removed all references to family holidays. The revised law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time.

The amendments make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances and the Headteacher must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave.

Parents can, be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school.

The Education Welfare Service monitor all of our pupils’ attendance data and where pupils have persistent poor attendance, the regularly take parents to court where they can be fined up to a thousand pounds.

RAISING CONCERNS AND RESOLVING COMPLAINTS

From time to time parents, and others connected with the school, will become aware of matters which cause them concern. To encourage resolution for such situations we have a policy for Concerns and Complaints.

The procedure is devised with the intention that it will:

  • usually be possible to resolve problems by informal means;
  • be non-adversarial;
  • provide confidentiality;
  • allow problems to be handled swiftly;
  • address all the points at issue;
  • inform future practice so that the problem is unlikely to recur;

A copy of the policy is available on the school website and may be requested from the school office.

NHS Poster – Advice on Childhood Illness

Local NHS experts have joined forces with Essex County Council to produce an at-a-glance guide to 17 childhood illnesses including Chicken Pox, Glandular Fever, Ringworm and Tonsillitis.

The poster above highlights key symptoms of common illnesses which are traffic light colour coded to indicate whether children should go to school or stay at home.

Illnesses in the green category – for example colds and conjunctivitis – are those where children should continue to go to school.

The amber category is when an illness could be catching and there are some restrictions on school attendance.

Children should not go to school and should see a GP if the illness falls into the red category. Red category illnesses are German measles. Impetigo, Measles and Whooping Cough.

The poster also advises parents on where they should first seek treatment, either from their local pharmacist or their GP.

There is guidance on when to consult a GP if symptoms persist and advice on when it should be safe for a child to return to school if they have a particular illness.