Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on the headings below to see our frequently asked questions
EHCPs (Educational Health Care Plans)
Q: My child has an EHCP, how do they get a school place?
A: The local authority manages admission to special schools. There is more information on our Admissions Information page and the Local Offer
If your child has an EHCP and already attends a school you will need to discuss any concerns about whether the provision is right for them with the school your child currently attends. If through the annual review process it is decided that a special school may be more appropriate then this will be managed with SENAT.
If your child has an EHCP and is at nursery please talk to your caseworker at SENAT.
Q: When will my child’s EHCP be reviewed?
A: EHCPs are reviewed each year at an annual review. Parents and carers will be sent an invite to this meeting well in advance, it is important that you let us know when you receive this invite if you will be able to attend on the given date. It is not possible to re-arrange annual reviews which are cancelled or missed.
Children who are new to the school will have their annual review in the second half of the autumn term.
Children in years 5 and 6 will have their annual review in the spring term
Children in year 1 – year 4 will have their annual review in the summer term.
Teaching and Learning
Q: What should I do if I am worried about my child’s progress?
A: Your child’s class teacher will be able to talk to you about their progress. Please contact your child’s class teacher through the home/school book or by phoning the school office to make an appointment.
Q: What phonics programme do you use?
A: We follow the Song of Sounds phonics programme. More information about reading and phonics can be found here
Q: What if my child can’t speak English?
A: At Palatine we use a total communication approach. This means that pupils are supported to understand our communication, are supporting to express themselves and supported to be able to regulate with a variety of communication methods. These include signing, use of symbols and visual support (with tools such as aided language boards and picture symbols). This helps children understand their daily routines and what is happening in sessions. In school we have multi lingual resources which also support pupils such as dual language stories, dual language symbols for individual pupils and signs and symbols in classes in dual languages where there are more than one language represented in the class. If parents require support with filling out forms or attending meetings our family liaison team will support and can book translation services if this is needed. Please do talk to us if you would like translation services for any meetings you attend. If you speak other languages at home, please do let us know what languages you speak. This helps us to make sure that we have the right resources to support you and your child at school.
Q: How is my child prepared for moving on to high school?
A: Our lead teacher with responsibility for transition works hard to ensure there are personalised arrangements for children transitioning to their secondary settings. This includes regular visits where pupils can access a broad range of provision such as core learning lessons, swimming, lunchtimes, PE and Drama sessions. Teachers and Learning Mentors from the child’s new school are invited to come and visit children as well as the current teachers of children who are moving on. This helps children begin to build relationships with their new teachers and support staff as well as the new teachers and adults get to find out as much information about the children as possible.
Pupils are supported to learn the skills they need to be able to transition effectively. This is formalised through the learning that children do following the preparation for adulthood pathways which are interwoven into our Palatine Curriculum.
Q: How can I get involved in my child’s learning?
A: Our topic communication grids share ideas that you can do at home to support your child with learning in their topic. The communication grids for each topic can be found on our teaching and learning hubs page
Q: How can I protect my child using technology?
A: Information about how to support your child using technology safely can be found on our Safeguarding page
Q: How can I help my child with reading?
- At the earliest stages of reading, children benefit from books that have simple but bold or bright images with lots of contrast. Talk with your child about what they can see, ask “what’s that”, or label what you can see “that’s a banana!”
- Nursery rhymes support children to hear the rhyme and familiar patterns of language. Share nursery rhymes in song and in printed books and support children to join in with language and actions.
- Children enjoy books with familiar characters and they like books that have repetition in them. Look for books that allow you to rhyme, sing, or repeat the text in some way. When you share these stories, you can take some time to pause as you read the books with repetition to see if your child fills in the blanks.
- Re-read your child’s favourite stories as many times as your child wants to hear them. Choose books and authors that your child enjoys.
- Sit close together and get comfy! You could encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages. Use funny voices, puppets or props to bring the story alive
- Ask questions when you are reading together such as “what can you see on this page?” How do you think the characters felt when…?”
- Look at the pictures and talk about them. For example, “can you find a bird or a cat?” “What else can you see?”
Use the following tips for supporting your child who is reading for themselves at home
- Ask, what is happening? What can you see? Talk about what is happening in the pictures before you read the text.
- Discuss the meaning of words. Use a dictionary to get your child use to exploring words for themselves.
- Discuss alternative words. For example “big”, ask your child to think of another word that means the same. E.g. huge (use a thesaurus)
- Make predictions. What do you think will happen next? What makes you think that?
- Discuss feelings. How do you think the characters are feeling? What has made them feel this way?
- Fact or Fiction? Is this book a story book or a non-fiction book? How do you know?
- Discuss the punctuation on the page. For example, exclamation marks. Ask “what are these for?” What should you do when you see an exclamation mark?
Q: What do I do if I need to see a teacher?
A: You can contact your child’s class teacher through the home school book or by contacting the school office, your child’s teacher will then arrange an appointment with you.
Q: How do you communicate with parents and carers?
- All children have a home school book. Important messages from school will be written in here and parents and carers are encouraged to share information in the book.
- Catriona sends weekly letters to parents and carers on Fridays with information about what has happened in school this week, reminders and any updates to procedures. These letters are sent via My Child At School app.
- We send messages and reminders via My Child at School app.
- We have a school Facebook and Instagram page where we share pictures and content about what is happening in school. We love it when parents and carers share what their child has been doing at home.
- We run a monthly coffee morning at 9:30 on the first Wednesday of each month, all parents and carers are invited!
Q: When is parents evening?
A: We have parents evening in the autumn term. All children will have an annual review meeting with their child’s class teacher in the spring or summer term depending on which year they are in.
Q: Do you have a school council?
A: Yes, our school council is made up of representatives from each class. You can find out more information on Our Pupils as Leaders page
Q: How will my child be able to contribute their views?
A: Children, or their advocates, are able to make choices as part of the student council and voting about what they want to learn in our whole school summer topic.
Q: Who can I speak to if I need support at home?
A: Contact Kaarina Dougherty (Family Liaison Officer) at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01903 242835 who can discuss what the most appropriate support might be and either sign post you in the right direction or help you in accessing support.
Q: Who can I speak to about my child’s behaviour?
A: Please talk to your child’s class teacher about behaviour concerns. Your child’s class teacher will be able to share strategies which are used in school and can speak to the behaviour team for further advice.
Attendance and Timekeeping
Q: What time do I need to bring my child to school or collect them?
A: Transition into and out of school is very important learning for pupils at Palatine. To support this, we stagger our arrival and departure times. In the morning our first arrivals are at 8.45 and in the afternoon the last bus to leave is at 3pm.
For information about your child’s arrival and departure time please contact your child’s class teacher or the school office.
We can arrange personalised arrival and departure times for children who need this, please contact your child’s class teacher or the school office to discuss this.
Q: Where do I bring my child in the morning?
A: Children who come to school with their parents and carers will be met by class staff at the pool door or field gate and will be collected from the same place.
Q: What do I do if my child is late to school?
A: Bring your child to reception, they will be signed in and can then go to class.
Q: What do I do if I am going to be late collecting my child?
A: Please phone the school to let us know that you are going to be late and give an expected time that you be able to collect
Q: Can someone else collect my child?
A: We ask that you let your child’s teacher know who is permitted to pick your child up and on what days e.g. grandparent or PA. If you need to send someone new to collect your child such as in an emergency, you must let the school know via your child’s class teacher or reception and give full details of the person picking up. The person picking up will need to bring along photo ID so we are satisfied that the person is who they say they are. We may also suggest a password that you have shared with them and us that they need to give us when they collect.
Q: How do I report my child’s absence from school?
A: On each day that your child is absent please phone the school on 01903 242835 and follow option 1 to leave a message. In your message, please let us know the name of your child, your child’s class and why they won’t be in school.
Q: When are the school holidays?
A: Full details of this year’s term dates can be found here
Q: Can I take my child on holiday during term time?
A: Wherever possible parents and carers should avoid taking their child out of school during term time. However, if you have a special case you will need to complete a request for leave of absence form from the school office.
Q: How will I be informed if there is an enforced school closure?
A: On the very rare occasion that the school needs to close we will inform all parents and carers via Bromcom.
Q: How much is a school dinner?
A: Children are entitled to a free school dinner until the end of year 2. Some children are eligible for free school meals as their parents and carers receive certain benefits. If you think your child may be eligible, please contact the school office.
School dinners cost £2.35 for children in year 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Q: Do I need to send in a snack?
A: Yes please, we ask that all children bring in a healthy snack to have at snack time. The NHS have ideas for healthy snacks which can be found here
We ask that children do not bring nuts to school or anything containing nuts as we are a nut free school.
Q: Can I choose the days my child has school dinner?
A: Yes, please let your child’s class team or the school office know which days you would like your child to have dinners.
Q: What should I put in my child’s packed lunch?
A: We encourage children to bring in a healthy lunch which could include items such as fruit, vegetables, pasta salads and yoghurts.
For more information about what you could put in your child’s lunchbox, please click here
We ask that children do not bring nuts to school or anything containing nuts as we are a nut free school.
Q: Is drinking water available?
A: Yes, drinking water is available. We ask that each child comes to school with a named water bottle, this will be refilled throughout the day.
Q: Can my child drink squash?
A: If your child does not drink water and prefers squash we can fill up their bottle with squash that you have sent in. Please label the bottle of squash with your child’s name.
Q: How much is milk?
A: Children under 5 get a free carton of milk each day. For children over 5, milk costs £14 per term and children get a carton each day. Click here for more information
Q: What is the school uniform?
Plain white or pale blue shirt or polo-shirt
Black or grey skirt or trousers
Navy blue jumper, cardigan or sweatshirt
Strong black shoes
Blue and white check summer dress
Short sleeved white or pale blue shirt or polo-shirt
Black or grey shorts, skirt or trousers
Strong black shoes
Plain baseball cap or sun hat.
Q: Where can I buy branded school uniform?
A: Items of embroidered school uniform are available to order online through My Clothing.
Q: What do I do if my child doesn’t want to wear school uniform?
A: We encourage all children at Palatine to wear school uniform. However we are flexible and encourage children to come to school in clothes that are comfortable to enable them to learn well.
Q: What does my child need for PE?
A: Children are welcome to wear their PE kit to school on the day they have PE. For PE your child will need:
- A plain dark shorts or jogging bottoms
- A white or blue t-shirt, PE t-shirts with the school logo can be brought through My Clothing.
- A pair of plimsols or trainers
Please ensure all PE kit is labelled with your child’s name.
Q: What does my child need for swimming?
A: For swimming your child will need a swimming costume, swimming shorts or all in one swim wear. Children who are not toilet trained will need a swimming nappy. Your child will also need a towel.
Please ensure all swimming kit is labelled with your child’s name.
Q: What does my child need for forest school?
A: Children are welcome to wear their forest school clothes to school on the day they have forest school. At forest school your child will need:
- Long trousers
- A long sleeved top
- Spare socks
- Wellingtons/old trainers
- If the weather is cold hat/gloves and an extra jumper
- If the weather is hot please apply sun cream and provide a sunhat
These items of clothing are important to keep the children safe, warm, dry and happy outside.
Please also send in a spare set of clothing in case of a wet session.
Please ensure all forest school kit is labelled with your child’s name.
Q: What happens if my child has a medical/dental appointment?
A: Please let the school office know of any appointments during the school day
Q: How long is it before my child can return to school after an illness?
A: We ask that children remain at home until they are well enough to return to school.
For sickness and stomach bugs –children need to stay at home for 48 hours after their last bout of illness to ensure that infections do not spread.
Q: What happens if my child has head lice?
A: If your child has headlice we ask that you treat them quickly to ensure that they do not spread.
Transport and Parking
Q: Can I park at school?
A: We have very limited parking at school and therefore, we ask that parents and carers park in the roads near to school, avoiding the yellow zigzags. In exceptional cases, we may issue a car parking permit which must be displayed in your car windscreen. To apply for a car park permit, contact Kaarina Dougherty at email@example.com
Q: Who can I talk to about school transport?
A: To find out if your child is eligible for free school transport please click here
If your child is eligible for transport, you will need to complete a Transport Care Plan (TCP) and a Health & Safety Questionnaire before they can start using transport, these should be sent out directly from West Sussex and returned to West Sussex. If you have any queries relating to travel, contact Hayley Hill who is the SEN Transport Planner, 0330 222 5260 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Where do I go to locate lost property?
A: Please contact the school office or a member of staff from your child’s class, through the home school book, or at the end of the day.
To prevent items from getting lost please ensure your child’s belongings are labelled with their name.
Q: What clubs are there?
A: At Palatine we currently offer dance club, girls’ club, boys’ club and choir.
Q: What therapies and services are available to my child?
A: We work closely with a team of external professionals, including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physio therapists, play therapists, the community nursing team, dieticians, paediatricians and educational psychologists. These professionals will support children as needed. We also offer a range of therapeutic interventions including Drawing and Talking Therapy, Lego Therapy, nurture provision and Jump Ahead. You can find out more information about the therapies we offer in school here
Q: What do you charge for?
- You may be asked for a contribution towards a school trip or towards a visitor coming in to school to cover the cost of this activity.
- We ask for a contribution of 50p per week towards design technology. This money is used to buy ingredients for cooking and sensory exploration. It can be paid weekly, termly or half termly.
- School meals are funded by the government for children in reception, year 1 and year 2. When children are in year 3, 4, 5 and 6 you will need to pay for their school meals unless they are eligible for Free School Meals
- Children under 5 are eligible for free school milk. For children over 5 who want a daily carton of milk, the cost is £14 per term
Q: What do I do if I can’t access My Child at School?
A: Please contact the school office who will be able to advise you.