FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

University Relationship
In what ways and to what extent does the University support the school in improving the quality of education for children?

The University of Cambridge decided to open up a primary school on the new Eddington development.  It is a Free School, funded solely by the Department for Education.

The University of Cambridge Primary School strives to build meaningful partnerships with the different faculties, departments and colleges at Cambridge University.  It also works closely with the Faculty of Education in exploring research possibilities (e.g. raising standards in writing through playful approaches using Lego (PEDAL Centre)).

The University does not fund the school and it was required to set up an independent subsidiary which is called the University Training School Trust (UTS Cambridge Trust).  The Trustees of the UTS Cambridge Trust are also the Governing Body of the school.

Applications to attend the University of Cambridge Primary School
How do I make an application for a school place?

In the first instance, please contact the Local Authority before contacting the school. Cambridge Admissions coordinate places on our behalf and the UTS Cambridge is the authorising body for admission, although the school buys into the service of the Local Authority.

By law children must receive full-time education from the beginning of the school term following their fifth birthday.  We have a policy to offer a school place earlier as a ‘rising five’ and there is a single point of entry to reception class in September.

Parents can write to the governing body to defer entry, but not beyond the beginning of the term after their child becomes 5, or beyond the reception year. Decisions are made on a case by case basis taking the needs of the child in question. Our view, however, is to keep children in their chronological year group unless circumstances are evidenced.

Travel
Can I park at the school?

From September 2017 our onsite parking will be very limited. The car park is dedicated to staff working at the school and school visitors, it will also be shared with the community centre. As our school grows we will have more staff parking and the community centre will also require use of the spaces.

If you do need to drive, the school is situated on and near residential roads and we ask parents to park legally and with due consideration for our neighbours.

How will you manage the parking spaces, will there be staggered opening hours for children in different years?

When the school first opened we were able to offer car parking spaces to people who needed to drive to school.  Due to the growth of the school and opening of the community centre this will now be very limited and parents are encouraged to find sustainable ways to travel to and from school.

The school car park will eventually be reserved for staff and for those staff working in the community centre.  There is very limited street parking as the catchment of our school is predominantly the Eddington district and the furthest home will be between 10-15 minutes walk.

We encourage children and parents to follow the high way code and find parking spaces further away from the school site and walk to school.  The school will not have the capacity to manage street traffic.

Travel Guide

Can my child cycle to school?

Yes, your child can cycle if they are accompanied by an adult (unless they are in Years 5 and 6 and with permission from their parent/carer). If you wish your child to cycle on their own we would need a permission letter from the person with parental responsibility. There are plenty of cycle hoops to lock bikes. The school strongly advises that you purchase a substantial lock because the school cannot be responsible for any loss or damage to property.

Can my child walk to school alone?

No, children must be accompanied by an adult. If you wish an older child to walk to school alone we must receive a permission letter from the parent with parental responsibility, except in Year 5 and 6 where verbal parental permission is acceptable.

Communication
How does the school communicate with parents?

The school will strive to communicate in ways that are commensurate with our vision and ethos.  We have a Communication Strategy and Complaints policy to support our dialogue and we will communicate with you in a variety of ways:

  • Wisepay – you will be given login details so you can sign up to receive emails and notifications directly from the school. This is our main form of communication.
  • Our website
  • Parent calendar
  • Weekly Blogs written by class teachers are a great way to find out what has happened that week and share learning activities for the following week
  • Twitter @UniCamPrimSch where the Headteacher shares useful educational links and also snapshots of life at our school. We have plenty of parents who don’t like/use social media and are signing up to Twitter just to follow us – you don’t have to be active on Twitter yourself, so please do sign up and see what is going on. Parents have said they love seeing what their children are up to as it gives them something to talk about when children come home.
  • Class list and other social media, like year group Facebook accounts, are unofficial and unendorsed social platforms that some parents sign up to. The school does not share any information via this portal. We also recommend that parents are cautious about raising concerns on this public forum as it can compromise the formal complaints procedures and comments about individual children and members of staff could damage relationships and compromise safeguarding and child protection.
Policies
Where can we find out about your policies?

There is a dedicated tab on our website with all relevant policies.

Behaviour
What is the colour code system for behaviour and how does it work? (i.e.what are gold, silver, bronze, yellow and red all about and why use this policy?)

The system allows children to be recognised for meeting our golden agreements.  The golden agreements are our word for school rules. They are related to our values (Empathy, Respect, Trust, Courage and Gratitude).  The system is flexible to recognise that every child will have their own learning journey.  We talk to children about how to work towards their personal best. When they achieve small steps they are celebrated as achieving bronze, silver or gold. If children are not following the golden agreements, they can move to Blue (kind reminder), Yellow (reflection in another class) or red (seeing a senior member of staff). We do not give stickers and try and reduce all external material rewards.

For detailed information, please see our Positive Behaviour policy.

How do I raise a concern with my child's teacher?

If you would like to raise a concern with your child’s teacher please click here to download the form to request a meeting. All concerns should be raised with your child’s teacher in the first instance, your child’s teacher will then decide if the matter needs to be escalated further.

Practical Matters
What time does school start?

School starts at 8.30am. If you are late, you must take your child to be signed in at the main office.

The school gates are open from 8.20am and they are locked again at 8.45am. Please do not knock on classroom doors after 8.30am as this will disturb children’s morning meditation. Children in reception also need to be in their classrooms by 8.30am and parents are encouraged to stay and read the learning journey’s as well as participate in playful learning activities.

The school day ends at 3.15pm and school gates are opened from 3pm until 3.30pm.

We kindly ask that you leave the site by 3.30pm so that staff can continue with their duties.

Is uniform compulsory?

Yes it is. We believe that our Uniform policy will help build a sense of identity and community as well as setting the tone that learning is important.  Please ensure your child is dressed following the guidance on our website.

Please note that children do not wear outdoor shoes when inside. They should wear simple plain slippers or plimsols.

Where can I buy uniform?

Online via Brigade. You will be given opportunities to try on items before buying them. See the tab and link on our website.

Is there a possibility to buy second hand uniform?

As the school grows we imagine that there will be second hand uniform available.  We have started collecting unnamed uniform that is left in the lost property and will sell this in due course.

Do I need to send PE kit in on the first day?

Yes and we ask that you leave it at school. It will be given back to you at the end of each school term to wash. The PE kit is also explained on the website.

What do I do if my child has lost a piece of clothing?

Parents must either sew a name label into all clothing or write the child’s name in indelible ink. If an item goes missing your child must inform the class teacher and class teaching assistant and look in the lost property. We will do our utmost to find lost items but we are unable to provide a replacement.  Children must take responsibility for their own clothing.

Where on the web site can I find old news items that I may have missed?

Please see the archive on class Blogs, the newsletter page and scroll down on pages to locate the information you need.

Legally my child can start school part time until their 5th birthday. Why do Reception children do full days so quickly?

In our experience, children who have a staggered start take longer to catch up with their peers. We do not want to disadvantage children. We adapt our planning and learning activities to suit the needs of children and those who are younger will continue to have a playful learning experience.

What is the difference between Sherpa provision and after-school clubs run by the teachers?

Sherpa Kids UK have been commissioned to run our child care provision for before and after school care, our website has more information.

The after-school clubs run by teachers are done on a voluntary basis. Some of the themes change each term depending on staff availability and the skills available to share.  A small fee is required to attend these clubs and children are selected on a fair basis.

What is the difference between County-wide school calendar and UCPS calendar?

We currently follow the County-wide school calendar. We decide our own In Service Training days and these are on the calendar.

What kind of clubs for reception children are there at the school?

The first term for a reception child can be very tiring so we do not offer clubs to reception children until after Christmas.  Previously we have run maths, aerobics and science clubs to name a few.

Where is my child's classroom? Can I see it before the first day of school so that they will be acquainted with it before then?

You will be guided to your child’s class on the first day of term.  If you are joining us mid-year we will show you on your initial visit.  You cannot see the class before the first day because children are learning in class.
A map of the classroom arrangements for the 2017-18 academic year can be seen here.

Do I need to send a snack in for break time?

Children can bring in a piece of fruit for a snack and there will also be some provided in the classroom. They cannot bring in anything else. We are strictly a nut-free zone. Grapes and small fruit can be a choking hazard, please do make sure grapes especially are cut in halves.

What a typical school day looks like for my child?

Each year group will will be quite different.  Have a look at the blogs and year group pages to see what our children have been doing this year.

If my child is sick and can still attend school, will staff administer medicine?

First aid trained staff agree to administer medication if the Headteacher has approved the written request. The forms can be collected from the school office. We require these to be completed and handed into the school office or class teacher.

If children have vomited or suffered from diarrhoea please remain off school for 48 hours following the last bout.

If a child has a serious injury (like a broken leg) you must arrange to meet with the senior teaching assistants in the school to complete a risk assessment BEFORE your child returns to school. This gives us time and opportunity to put mitigation strategies into place so that your child is safe and happy and continues to learn.

I am not from the UK and am confused about the system. What can I do?

We host a number of workshops, coffee mornings and Headteacher forums which provide lots of information about the school and how the children learn.  Please check the school calendar and schedule of events on the parent workshop tab.

If you are unsure about anything please speak with your child’s class teacher and please feel very welcome to attend these events. We are proud of our commitment to diversities and in celebrating our intercultural community.

Will I be able to volunteer to help in my child's class?

No, but you can volunteer in another class.  We believe that children need the space to be independent of their families

Lunches and Playtime
How much is Dinner Money?

Presently, children in Reception to Year 2 receive Free School Meals. For KS2 (Years 3+) children, the daily cost is £2.25 and you can pay this via Wisepay.

Can my child have a packed lunch?

We do not have an option for packed lunches at school.  There are two options: your child can have a school lunch or go home for lunch.  If you take your child home for lunch please collect them at 12pm and return them to school at 12.55pm. Please do not bring your child to school earlier than this because they will not be signed back in or accounted for on site during this period. This would pose a health and safety concern.

What are the typical types of food and meals the children have at lunchtime?

Our lunches are provided by Lunchtime UK and you can see the Autumn-Winter and Spring-Summer menus online. The meals are all freshly cooked on site and cater for a range of allergies and diets.  Food is locally sourced, and the team do a great job and create a happy and social eating environment.

How does the school cope at lunchtimes with children who are fussy eaters?

We know that some children find new foods difficult to manage.  Our first principle is to encourage children to try new experiences, including new food.  We do not force children to finish their lunch, but we do help children trial new foods, in small, step-by-step ways.  We have a number of adults on duty who support even those who struggle with new foods.

My child says they did not eat anything at lunch.

This is not an uncommon concern raised by parents here and in other schools.  Please be assured that we do not leave children hungry. We also monitor wastage and as far as possible make sure that children do not rush their lunch to go and play. Children are expected to be in the dining hall for at least 20 minutes. If you have an ongoing concern please speak with the class teacher.

Attendance Matters and Support
How do you provide support for families? (Including academic families - delete?)

The school is a state funded school and is not solely for University staff.  We welcome children from our local community.  We host a number of events for families to feel part of the school and workshops to help share our approach to learning, the school’s vision and values. Please check the website calendar for up to date information.

Do you allow leave of absence for holidays?

No. Please see our Attendance policy.

Do you allow leave of absence for children whose parents who are on a sabbatical?

No. We are a state funded school and as such follow the rules and guidelines from the Department for Education.  If a child is absent because they are travelling with their parents, the Education Welfare Officer will be involved and a decision to remove the child from the school will be made.  On their return, parents should apply for a place at the school following mid-year applications (via the Local Authority).

Bullying
What should I do if my child is bullied?

There is a difference between occasional incidents between children (possibly involving name calling or physical behaviour) and bullying.  Please see our anti bullying policy for information about how we deal with bullying.  If your child is feeling upset please advise him/her to speak to an adult in the school. This can be any member of staff that they feel comfortable with. You may also wish to support your child by talking to the teacher with your child.  We would encourage that they report any incident to the class teacher as they can observe behaviour during lessons and advise lunchtime staff as necessary. We take accusations of bullying very seriously and any incidents are dealt with appropriately and with speed. If you are concerned about your child please speak to a senior leader and never approach a child or their parent.

Where will my child go when they finish UCPS in Year 6?

We will offer varied support in the transition from primary to secondary school. This process includes a parents’ meeting, workshops, Cambridge booklets and events with secondary schools. The school will keep you well informed regarding the CAF (common application form) process. Currently our closest school is Chesterton Community school.  There are no plans for the University to open a secondary school.  There is due to be a new school on the other side of Huntingdon Road, on the Darwin Green building site although this is unconfirmed and an open date has not been set.  

What is the best time to talk to the teacher if I have a question?

Teachers are available from 8.35am to 8.45am in the playground.  If you need to have a longer conversation please arrange a mutually convenient time. We would advise you to speak to the teacher at the end of the school day after all the children have been dismissed. If you are unable to do this, we can also make appointments in the school office for parents to see the class teacher or another member of staff. The first point of contact is always the class teacher.

Is there before and after school provision?

We use the services of Sherpa Kids UK for before and after school provision.  They are Ofsted registered and take part in the school’s safeguarding training each year. Please contact Kirstie Barrett on 07780118886

Parental Involvement
How can parents get involved?

We welcome parents to be involved through our parent and teacher association (called FOCUS) as well as volunteering in school. There is a process by which we select parents, depending on their successful completion of our safeguarding training, receipt of references and DBS check (police check) and the skill set offered in relation to our needs in school.  Parents will not volunteer in their child’s class. We also seek support when we go on trips.

Safeguarding and Child Protection
How do you keep children safe? What are the safeguarding expectations?

We follow rigorous guidelines and procedures to ensure the safety of our children.

 

  • We have a robust safer recruitment process to ensure that all police checks have been made on all staff.
  • We have Local Authority approved safeguarding policies in place. All staff are aware of their duty to safeguard children.  Where a child protection concern is raised we will speak with parents (unless we consider a child to be in danger) and will seek advice as necessary. These conversations are never comfortable but we hope parents/carers understand that we are duty bound to raise concerns and follow these with our child protection processes.
  • The school is a secure site. We ask that visitors do not use their mobile phones unless with permission from the Headteacher.

Some families may consider our processes strict, but our intention is to balance our desire to be open to families whilst maintaining the highest standards to keep every child safe. We thank you for your full cooperation.

Ofsted and Examinations
Do you do SATS exams? And what about Ofsted?

Yes, we are a state funded school. Currently there are two SAT’s assessments: one at the end of Year 2 and one at the end of Year 6.  There is also a Phonics Check at the end of Year 1. Results are published Nationally.

Does the school have an Ofsted inspection grade?

No not yet. We are expecting our first inspection from September 2017.

Helping our teachers and staff be the best they can be
How are you supporting your teachers' professional development?

We have a varied and engaging programme of professional development for all our staff.  This includes opportunities to team teach, attend courses, work with colleagues at the Faculty of Education and visit other schools.  There is an ongoing process of challenge and support.

We value your trust in the professionalism of our staff and ask that you treat them as professionals who work very hard to support your children. Please always communicate in ways that are commensurate with our values and vision.  We welcome challenge but this needs to be balanced with awareness that our staff are well educated and understand how to develop children to their potential.  If you have concerns please address these with the class teacher and not via Class List or other social media platforms.  If your concerns are not addressed please follow our Complaints’ Policy.