Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome to the new school year! I hope you had a wonderful summer.

We are really looking forward to welcoming the children back on Monday.

Building work update

The new build is progressing well and the roof is due to be going on soon. There have been some delays with grounds work which means that some of the outdoor space outside Hunter Block will not be available until after half term. Contingency plans have been made and outdoor space will be provided in a different location by the end of next week.

The car park to the left of school (as you look at it) is still not available which means parking is limited around school.  Accordingly, there is no parking in school unless you have a parking permit.  These are issued to our families with the most complex needs (medical or behavioural).  Parking permits issued for the last school year have all been revoked due to the very limited space.  The issuing of permits for this year will be reassessed according to priority needs because we have new children joining us.  If you believe you need a parking permit this year, please contact our Family Liaison Officer, Kaarina Dougherty at

On Palatine Road immediately outside of school are road works. This will make the road very congested at school drop off and pick up times until it is complete. Please do take care and consider parking a little further away and walking up if it is safe for you to do so. When parking on local roads please be mindful of parking laws and treat our neighbours with respect and kindness.

Arrival and departure plans

Our school community is very diverse; pupils with differing needs often require different arrangements to support them. All of them need as calm and well managed transitions as possible and to support them all in having this at the start and end of the day we slightly stagger our exit and entrance to meet the particular needs of pupil groups and their stage of development / physical requirements.

This time is learning time and for the many of you who drop off and pick up I am sure you will have noticed the increased independence children have been able to show as the year progresses; in walking rather than running in and out of school and in exiting buses or walking from their parents with less adult support, for example.

At the start of any year when bus groups and class groups have changed the children need to relearn these skills in the new context and our new pupils need to have a chance to learn them too.  This can take some time and therefore it is important that the whole community work together to support this.

Whilst the building works continue we have three arrival points:

  • The Pool Door (Parents’ door) for all pupils who come with parents except Koala’s and Crocodiles.
  • The Field Gate: for Koala’s and Crocodiles
  • The main entrance: for those on transport

This does mean that the pool door entrance (Parents’ door) will be busier so please do come for your allotted time as this will reduce waiting time and is more supportive of the children. Our children can find waiting very tricky so your help with this enables them all to have a calmer start and end to the day.

Please note staff cannot have long conversations at the door because they need to be in class with the children so if you have any issues please phone or email later in the day.


Arrival – Pool Door:

8:45 –  Sloths, Owls, Pandas, Gorillas, Geckos, Badgers

8:55 – Zebras, Hippos, Pelicans, Peacocks, Sealions, Ladybirds, Leopards, Llamas, Huskies, Polar bears

Some children have their own arrival and departure plans and these will continue for the start of term.  Please see your child’s teacher if you are unsure.

Departure – Pool Door:

2:45 – Zebras, Hippos, Pelicans, Ladybirds, Leopards, Llamas, Huskies, Badgers, Polar bears

2:55 – Sloths, Owls, Peacocks, Sealions, Pandas, Gorillas, Geckos

Some children have their own arrival and departure plans and these will continue for the start of term.  Please see your child’s teacher if you are unsure.


Arrival – Field Gate:

8:45 – Koalas, Crocodiles

Departure – Field Gate:

2:55 – Koalas, Crocodiles



For those children on West Sussex transport, we are aware that there have been some delays due to the postal strike with parents/carers receiving confirmation about pick-up times and drop-off times.  We are assured that West Sussex are working tirelessly to ensure that parents receive this information by the end of today.  If you have any queries about the timings or have not heard anything from West Sussex transport, please email them directly at

My Child at School (MCAS)

Please see attached the parent guide for logging into MCAS.  You should have received your individual login details last term via email.  If you have not received your login details please email Ella Hayes on


Please see the attached reminders about school attendance.  If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to attendance, please contact our Family Liaison Officer, Kaarina Dougherty at

Safeguarding Spotlight

Safeguarding is a high priority in our community because of the vulnerability of the children that we teach.  We believe every pupil, member of staff and visitor deserves to be safe and to feel safe within our school.  Within Palatine, our safeguarding includes child protection, online safety, preventing radicalisation, safer recruitment of staff, general security and safety of the school buildings, medical policies and procedures and health and safety.

Within school, our safeguarding team have undertaken all the necessary training and are committed to your children’s safety.  They are on hand to respond to any safeguarding concerns.  ( Our designated safeguarding leads are;

Frances Hodges       Charlotte Howting      Catriona Goldsmith          Kaarina Dougherty

Assistant Head &      Assistant Head &         Headteacher &                 Family Liaison Officer

DSL                              DSL                                deputy DSL                         & deputy DSL

SAPS is our safeguarding friend.  His name stands for ‘Safer At Palatine School.’  SAPS is used throughout the school to highlight when children are learning about something that will help to keep them safe.  SAPS aims to increase children’s voice within the safeguarding team and to support our children to make a link between what they are learning and safety.

Have a lovely weekend!

Very best wishes



Attendance Factsheet

Following successive lockdowns and the closure of school in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that our children attend school and attend as much as possible.

We recognise that all children have days when they are not able to attend school due to illness, family emergencies and medical appointments.  The latter being especially true for many of our children who have complex medical needs.

However, missing too much school can be seriously detrimental to children especially when we consider how much school children have missed due to Covid-19.  From 2021/22 school year, children have been expected to attend school as normal.  Although missing a few days of school may not seem like a big deal, there is plenty of research that shows it can have a significant impact on children’s learning and progress.  Children who miss a substantial amount of school can struggle to catch up. For children who miss a lot of school, it can be harder to form relationships with classmates which impacts on their wellbeing and wider development. Routine is so important for our children and breaking the chain of attendance, breaks the chain of learning.

As a school, we want school attendance to be as high as possible and 95% would be considered good.  We do of course recognise that for some of our children, this will just not be possible due to complex medical needs which result in a high number of days off including medical appointments, assessments, procedures, hospitalisation and illness.  For these children, we work with you to support the best attendance they can manage.

Absences that can be authorised:

Illness – you must notify school on the morning if the first day of absence and then each subsequent day thereafter. A useful NHS link for deciding on whether your child is well enough to come to school or not can be found at

Medical – please notify school at least 5 days in advance of medical/hospital appointment.  For routine appointments such as dental check-ups, these should be arranged outside of school hours where possible.

If your child has a local medical appointment, please endeavour to send them to school before/after their appointment.

Remember, each day that your child is absent due to a routine check-up is one less day in school and absences add up. Children are only in school for 190 days each year which leaves 175 other days for holidays and other activities.

Religious observance – observance of recognised religious festivals

Holidays – these can only be authorised by the headteacher and only in exceptional circumstances. The government have directed headteachers not to authorise any absence from school unless there is an exceptional circumstance. An Absence Request form must be completed well in advance and at least 5 days before the first day of absence.  In making a decision on whether the absence will be authorised, your child’s past and present attendance will be considered.

Certain absences will be marked unauthorised.  These include holidays that have not been authorised by the headteacher and absences where we have not been provided with a valid reason for absence.  Please note, school will try and make contact with you if you have not provided a reason for absence. We will work down your list of emergency contacts if we cannot get hold of you.

  • A child with attendance of 90% or below is classed as a persistent absentee.
  • If a child has 90% attendance at the end of the school year, this means that they have been absent one day a fortnight and have missed 19 days of school, almost 4 weeks. If this level of absence were maintained for a five-year period, it would mean half a school year would have been missed.
  • If a child has 80% attendance at the end of the school year, this means that have missed one day every week, 6 days every half term, 12 days every term, 36 days every year.
  • If a child has 75% attendance at the end of the school year, this means that they have missed 46 days of school which is just over 9 weeks.

*If your child is persistently absent, our Family Liaison Officer will discuss this with you and support you in improving your child’s attendance.  In some cases this may involve us requesting proof of illness or medical appointments before we authorise an absence.  In very extreme cases, persistent and unauthorised absences could result in us referring to the Local Authority for enforcement action, such a fixed penalty notice.

*does not directly apply to children with complex medical needs




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