About Bishop Chavasse School
Q: What is special about Bishop Chavasse School?
A: We are a Church of England School, and already have good links with the community and our local parish of St Stephen’s. The founding children and their families at Bishop Chavasse will be part of a close community, where the Headteacher is known, and where family is key. We have already held several welcome events, and have further stay and play activities planned, including events at Tonbridge Castle and Bennett Memorial School. These events provide an opportunity to meet other families, and start to build our new school community. The Headteacher Mrs Weeks will also be offering home visits to all of our prospective families over the next few weeks.
Q: What are the settling in arrangements for children starting in September?
Parents can decide whether their child will have a full school day straight away, wrap-around care, or attend part-time for the first four weeks. These options can be discussed with the Headteacher doing home visits in May and June. Parents can then amend attendance patterns during September, dependent on how children cope with their first few days. From October, we will adopt the following normal school day routine:
8.30am – welcome period, parents can stay with children, or drop off
8.50am – registration time, parents leave
3.10pm – end of the school day
Q: What wraparound care will be available and what is the cost?
Wraparound care will be available from 7:30 AM to 6 PM, with flexibility on drop-off and collection times, and number of days used. Our Breakfast Club and Enrichment questionnaire has been sent to parents in order for us to plan our provision and we encourage all parents to complete and return the questionnaire, which will be put on the Bishop Chavasse website. The cost will depend on the take-up rate and the questionnaire also asks parents how much they would be prepared to pay. Full details will be available from end May. We will honour commitments made on the provision of wraparound care.
Q: What opportunities will there be for working parents to visit the school particularly if they are unable to stay with their child in the morning?
Parents will always be welcome to visit the school by prior arrangement with the Headteacher.
Q: How will safety of the children be assured in this new school?
The Headteacher Mrs Weeks was rated outstanding for safety in an OFSTED inspection at her previous school last year. There is already a Tenax Schools Trust safeguarding policy in place, which will be applied to the new school and this will be available to view on the website soon. Safeguarding forms an important part of the school’s pre-opening Ofsted inspection.
Q: What outdoor space will be available?
A: The temporary building will have a standard reception class outdoor area, which will have high quality learning and play resources and equipment, which will transfer into the permanent building. The permanent school building will have considerable outdoor space, including a fenced off junior play area, forest school, and football pitch. During the first year, we will have use of two minibuses which can take the children to other local schools by arrangement for further access to outdoor areas.
Q: The children who start at Bishop Chavasse this September will always be the oldest children in the school – what arrangements are you putting in place for them to interact with older children?
A: We will have a structured programme of visits and joint activities to ensure that Bishop Chavasse children engage with older pupils throughout their primary education. The children who start in September 2017 will be the founding pupils of this new school and will as such have a special status in the school’s history.
Q: What is the school uniform?
We have considered other local uniforms, and settled on blue as our main colour. Samples of the new reception uniform will soon be available for parents to see and purchase.
Q: What arrangements will be made for school meals?
The permanent school will have an in-house kitchen. All key stage one children are entitled to free school meals. During the first year in the temporary building, hot lunches will be provided and eaten together in the classrooms. This will be a special time when all staff and children can sit and eat together, and will provide a good environment for young children who can find a large dining hall rather daunting.
Q: What is the focus of the reception curriculum?
The focus is on mastery of reading, writing and maths in the early phase. Children then quickly move into a wider curriculum including music, modern foreign languages (for example French and German) and sports. This is in line with Ofsted recommendations. The school will have its pre-opening Ofsted inspection by the end of June 2017 and will then be inspected after two years.
Q: Will parents be shown how to support their children with school work?
Yes, parents will be invited to see how phonics and maths is taught in order to help them support children using the same methods as school. Workshop dates will be provided before the start of the school term.
Q: How are younger children in the year group supported?
Lessons are prepared so that they stretch all children, whether the youngest or oldest in the year group. The early years programme includes regular assessment of both social and academic skills, with baseline assessments conducted during the first two weeks of school. In addition to offering home visits, Mrs Weeks will contact existing nursery providers and childminders to help with this assessment. The reception class staff will also take account of tiredness in young children, and provide emotional support to them as needed.
Q: Why would you send your child to Bishop Chavasse School?
You and your child will feel part of the school family. You will be founding parents of the school, with a unique opportunity to influence how the school grows and is shaped. We encourage involvement of parents and there will be many opportunities, for example parent governors, Parent Teacher Association, and sharing specific skills of parents.
Q: When will you start offering places from the reserve list?
A: We have already started to offer places from the reserve list, and will continue to do this as school places become available.
Q: Were you oversubscribed?
A: We are pleased to say that the school received more than 60 applications (the number of places available) by the closing date of 3rd March. The applications have been ordered by the criteria in our admissions policy, and 60 firm offers of places were made on the 18th April.
Q: Is it too late to apply for a place at Bishop Chavasse?
A: No, we encourage parents still considering Bishop Chavasse School to submit an application, which will be added to our reserve list.
Q: Can I apply to be added to the Bishop Chavasse reserve list even if it wasn’t one of my initial choices?
Yes! This year the Bishop Chavasse admissions process is separate to the Council’s process. You can still submit an application, which will be added to our reserve list.
Q: How and when will I know if I have a place?
A: Offers were sent by email on the morning of 18th April, followed up by letter posted to your home address. This is the same day as parents received an offer of a school place following applications made to Kent County Council, so you may have received two separate offers, one for Bishop Chavasse School, and one from the Kent process.
Q: If I have got a place when do I have to accept it?
A: If you are offered a place, we will ask you to complete a declaration form, selecting one of the following three options:
- Firm acceptance of a place
- Defer decision on whether to accept a place until later in the term
- Decline the place, allowing it to be offered to another child
We will ask parents to try to confirm their acceptance by the 29th May, in order to be able to re-allocate places to children on the reserve list. However, there is no firm cut-off point before the first day of term in September.
Q: If I don’t get a place will I be in the waiting list?
A: If you were unsuccessful in this first round of offers, you will have also received an email and letter from us on 18th April, informing you that your child has been placed on our reserve list. We fully expect to offer some places from the reserve list later in the term, as parents make their final decisions on a school place for their child. Our admissions policy sets out how we re-allocate places as they become available. We will also advise you of our appeals process.
Q: How will the school be staffed?
We have already appointed one reception class teacher, and the second is now being recruited. This will be followed by the recruitment of teaching assistants and administration staff. The Headteacher Mrs Weeks will provide cover for the teacher preparation time.
Q: Have you appointed a Headteacher yet?
A: We are very pleased to have appointed Mrs Donna Weeks to be our founding Headteacher. Mrs Weeks, who lives locally, has many years’ primary school teaching experience. Most recently she has been working for Oasis Community Learning – a Christian academy trust – as Deputy Headteacher and then Head of School. Mrs Weeks has now taken up her new post and will be instrumental in preparing the school to welcome its first intake of Reception pupils in September.
Q: Have you appointed any other staff for Bishop Chavasse School?
A: We are very pleased to have appointed our first reception class teacher, Mrs Krisztene Turner. Additional staff will join the team throughout the spring and early summer.
Q: Will the General Election delay the school building?
A: No, as the funding agreement has been signed, and planning permission received, it will not impact the school timescales.
Q: As you plan to open in a temporary building on the same site, will it be safe with all the building work happening?
A: Yes. The safety of children, staff, parents and other visitors to the school will be of paramount importance. The temporary buildings will be in a safe, fenced-off area. Safety is a top priority for us at all times, and discussions regarding health and safety and the overall management of the site while the school is in temporary accommodation and the permanent site is being built, are on-going between ourselves and the construction partners. In addition, there is a unique opportunity for children to watch and learn from the construction of their future school building.
Q: How will you deal with noise and disruption from the building works?
There will be physical barriers separating the temporary building from the permanent school construction, which is further into the site. Deliveries will be made outside of the normal school day where possible. We will be in regular communication with contractors about any issues raised, and the temporary building will be appropriately soundproofed.
Q: Where is the school?
A: Bishop Chavasse Primary School is being built on Baker Lane, adjacent to the new housing development at Somerhill Green, in South Tonbridge.
Q: Have you got planning permission to allow the school to open?
A: The Tenax Schools Trust is pleased to inform parents that Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has agreed planning permission for the new school to open in temporary accommodation in September, and given outline planning permission for the new state of the art building, which will open in September 2018. Designs for the new permanent building will be shared with the local community for comment in the near future.
Q: How do I know that the school will open in September? I know the site and there isn’t any building work going on?
A: The school will be ready to open to our very first reception classes in September 2017. As planning permission has now been received, we expect to see progress on site by late May / early June. Given the site is already relatively clear we expect progress to be quick once we have builders in place. The school will open initially in state of the art temporary accommodation.
Q: Have you got the funding agreement to enable the school to open?
A: Yes, the Tenax Schools Trust has signed a funding agreement with the Government for the school to open in September.
Q: When will the permanent school building be ready?
A: If all goes to plan we expect the permanent building to be ready in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year. We will keep parents and children updated on progress during the building process.