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«Parent Handbook 2015-2016 ATTENDANCE Parents will appreciate that attendance at school is mandatory. However, if a girl needs to be absent for an ...»

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Falkner House

Parent Handbook



Parents will appreciate that attendance at school is mandatory. However, if a girl needs to be absent for

an unavoidable reason, parents should seek permission well in advance from Mrs Griggs.


The earlier the better! Experience shows that the girls who have the most sleep are the most ready to

learn and are the most cheerful.


The school website is the main means of communication with parents. The Fixtures Calendar, Notices and accounts of Recent Events are updated onto the website on at least a weekly basis. Every attempt is made to notify parents, generally by email, of important additions or changes.


The school needs always to have a comprehensive list of contact numbers (at least one of which is always answered by a real human being!). When parents are away the school must have details of whom to contact in London in an emergency. The school should be kept informed of any change in address, telephone numbers or email addresses.


Teachers are encouraged to arrange visits to sites which support the curriculum. Form staff prepare a schedule of annual visits in co-operation with subject teachers. Girls in Years 5 and 6 may have short residential visits to Mrs Griggs’ house in Itchenor, West Sussex or to an activity centre and, in Year 6, girls generally go to France or Italy in the Summer Term. Plans are made well in advance and discussed with the Headteacher to ensure appropriate numbers of accompanying adults to ensure safety, and good organisation. Epipens, etc. are taken if they are used by any pupil who is going off site.


Reception to Year 3 the school supplies all stationery.

Year 4 and Year 5  good quality royal blue, roller ball or fountain pen with cartridges  rigid A4 folder for carrying loose sheets of paper (not ring file) Year 6 – a very basic set of stationery in a pencil case  good quality royal blue, roller ball or fountain pen with cartridges  rigid A4 folder for carrying loose sheets of paper (not ring file)  ruler marked to 30cm / 12inch  pencils, sharpener and a rubber  small set coloured pencils and felt tip pens  precision maths set


 ruler marked to 30cm/ pencils/ rubbers/ pencil sharpener/ glue sticks coloured pencils / felt tip pens  from Year 4 spare royal blue roller ball / fountain pen  suitable dictionary and thesaurus


The following websites are used at school and also for homework:

 Years 1-6 www.linguascope.com (password: falkner, username changes annually)  Years 4-6 www.languagesonline.org.uk (French section)  Years 5-6 www.thisislanguage.com FOOD Reception girls have lunch in their classroom with food delivered from the kitchen. Years 1 – 6 eat in the dining room on a rota system with a selection of hot, cold and vegetarian food available. Staff monitor discreetly to ensure that girls choose a balanced diet of a sensible quantity and that good manners prevail. Water is always available throughout the school and throughout the day. Girls have a mid-morning snack of fruit or a biscuit with water. These are also available post school with sandwiches as well for those staying to do clubs or Late Birds.

GIFTS Parents may at times be kind enough to give presents to the staff. Sometimes one parent may collect on behalf of the whole class. Giving – or not – is a totally personal choice and it goes without saying that a homemade gift will give great pleasure to the recipient as will a thoughtful letter or a donation to charity.


Falkner House has a school handwriting method with a common approved formation of letters. Joined up script is started in Year 2. Ink (roller ball / fountain pen) is appropriate in school for Years 4 – 6.


If your child is unwell, please telephone the school by 9.00 am. Girls should only be at school if they are well enough to participate in all usual activities including PE, swimming and outside breaks in the playground. Medicines (including cough sweets, etc.) should not be brought into school, instead parents may come in to administer a prescribed medicine that needs to be taken during the school day. At the school’s discretion and upon receipt of a signed indemnity form, Mrs Griggs may be able to administer a prescribed medicine and/or to accommodate children who, whilst well, for reasons such as a broken limb, are unable to do all normal school activities.

If your child becomes unwell during the school day and needs to return home we will make every endeavour to get in contact with parents. In the case of a minor injury being sustained whilst at school, first aid will be applied and the parent notified at collection time. In the case of a major injury we would call 999 immediately. Please also note the school Health and Safety Policy on the website.

Sun screen should be applied before school in hot weather and the uniform baseball hat should be kept in school for break times.


Homework is set from Reception both as a reinforcement of school work and as a link between school and home. Homework is also seen as part of an important routine of remembering to complete set tasks and to bring in books, etc. as required. It is essential that girls learn how to organise themselves for the day ahead and how to complete a task on their own. Learning of poems has an important role throughout the school: girls recite poems on an individual basis which boosts self-confidence.

Homework increases in importance and in volume as the girls move up the school.

From Year 2, each girl has a homework book, which parents are asked to sign daily and in which any comments for the parent / form teacher regarding homework may be written. Homework schedules are given out at the start of the autumn term.

–  –  –


Girls are placed into one of four houses: Owls (red), Finches (blue), Larks (green) and Swifts (yellow) each with its own House Captain. Siblings are generally in the same house. There are a number of inter-house competitions e.g. Sports Day and Swimming Gala as well as the General Knowledge Quiz. Girls are awarded house points for particularly good work, effort or behaviour and an annual House Cup is awarded in July.


Girls may enjoy writing holiday diaries but in general these are purely optional. They should only be done if they give pleasure to the family as a whole or if the class teacher indicates that a diary would be particularly useful. Less can very often be more, not every day needs to be covered and using postcards, photographs and one line captions is fine too!

IT All girls follow an IT syllabus using MacBooks. In Years 5 and 6 parents are asked to purchase through the school an iPad for use in the classroom and at home. The curriculum for these years is embedded in the iPads. They are purely for academic use and girls are not allowed to email, etc. Use of the internet is strictly controlled and monitored.

KIT If kit is forgotten, younger pupils (Reception – Year 4) may sometimes be allowed to telephone home to ask for it to be brought in. Depending on circumstances, in the absence of kit, the pupil may be withdrawn from that activity and provided with a substitute task. At all ages we are trying to encourage the girls to take personal responsibility for having the right kit in school on the right day and we ask parents to support us in this. Finding strategies to allow the girls themselves to remember what they need for a given day (such as checking off a list before leaving the house) can be extremely helpful.


All staff mark work as quickly as possible. Marking is developmental and appropriate to age and subject material. Numerical grades are kept to a minimum and are used mainly for tests. Marks for the December and June exams with the class median and range are included on the twice yearly written reports from Year

2. The rank order for examinations is included in reports from Year 3 onwards. The Headteacher awards Falkner House ‘Well Done’ stickers to pupils on staff recommendations.

MATHS The rapid recall of key mathematical facts such as counting, number bonds, times tables and place value is a critical first step to becoming a competent mathematician. This involves gaining a secure knowledge of mental maths. Regular exposure to, and manipulation of, numbers in all contexts both in school and at home for example when walking to school or in the car is essential to strengthen and consolidate knowledge as well as to boost confidence in mathematics. These facts and skills are the building blocks for mathematical development; daily practice will ensure that your daughter has the strongest possible foundations. We strongly feel that the most beneficial way for girls to consolidate the maths learnt at school is by regular and repeated mental maths practice at home. There are ideas for mental maths at home for girls in Years 1 and 2 on the web site. By Year 4, girls need to be completely at ease with telling the time in all formats. All girls in Years 2 – 6 have a personal log-in to the MyMaths website – which can be used either for homework or ad hoc enjoyment.

MUSIC All girls have class music lessons and from Year 1 girls may also take individual music lessons. Please see the appendix “Music Notes for Parents”.


The secretary Miss Boyd and bursar Mr Larvin staff the school’s office on the ground floor of 19 Brechin Place. They play a vital part in the smooth running of the school and take messages for staff and pupils.

Any email contact with staff is via the school office. Parents visiting the school are asked to sign in and out.


The broad and balanced PHSE (Personal, Health, Social and Emotional) and science curriculum includes sex education. It is delivered in an unbiased and sensible way in specific lessons in Years 5 and 6 (with an additional adult in the room) and is intended to complement and support what parents teach in the home.

If children ask explicit or difficult questions then teachers will use their skill and discretion in deciding how to respond and who should answer them (teachers / Headteacher / parents).


Year 6 girls (the grandes) all have the care of a Reception girl (a petite). The grandes look after their petites in the playground and around the school. They first meet each other at the open afternoon for the new Reception class in June/ July.

–  –  –


The school holds an assembly daily with a Christian hymn from the school’s hymn book and prayers (the Lord’s Prayer said by all and a further prayer read by a Year 6 girl). A moral matter may be discussed, news is exchanged, a child may play an instrument and announcements are made. At 9.00 am all pupils return to their classes. At times, the hymn, prayers and religious message are geared to the younger children and during this time the older children have PHSE in their classrooms. Hymn practice is on Tuesdays. Remembrance Day and Carol services are held annually for girls, their families and friends. All faiths (and none) are accepted and indeed welcomed and there is much emphasis on the similarities of the main faiths. RE lessons are informative rather than doctrinal; no religious instruction is given in the school.

–  –  –

Arrival at school 8.30-8.45 am Girls enter through the playground on Old Brompton Road. The Headteacher is always at the gate and girls are encouraged to come in on their own.

Arrival at Early Birds Girls may be dropped off at the school between 7.45 am and 8.20 am at the front door of number 19 (please buzz the Early/Late Birds buzzer).

Arrival at Morning Music Groups Parents drop their girls off at the school by 8.00 am (punctuality is important) at the front door of number 19 where they buzz the main buzzer. Girls make their way to the Big Room (or other music room) to be registered.

Supervision and activities in Early/Late Birds  At all times girls remain in view of the Early/Late Birds Co-ordinator and must ask permission to go to the lavatory or get a drink. At any time, the Co-ordinator must know the whereabouts of each child. If there are excessive numbers of girls in Early or Late Birds the Co-ordinator is given additional support.

 Breakfast is available if required.

 At the end of Early Birds (8.30 am) girls collect their possessions and line up where they are dismissed by the Early Birds Co-ordinator to go to the relevant classroom.

 At the end of school at 3.30 pm all girls attending a club or Late Birds go to the dining room to have tea (3.30 – 3.45 pm) under the supervision of a member of staff.

 After their tea children are collected from the dining room by their Club Leader and taken to the relevant location. A register is taken at the start of the club. If a club has to be cancelled, parents will be notified as soon as possible by the office by email, phone or text message. After school care will always be available (free of charge) if children cannot be collected due to late cancellation.

 When the pupils attending clubs have been collected all Late Birds collect their belongings and move, with the member of staff supervising Late Birds, to the Aviary.

 Girls may complete homework following which a variety of suitable activities are available including board games, Lego and crafts.

Clubs / squads/ ensembles These are voluntary with swimming and games squads and strings and wind groups by invitation (from PE / Music staff). Clubs aim to provide opportunities to develop skills and to promote and find individual strengths and to develop hobbies and interests. The club programme is administered by the school secretary.

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