We hope you find the following general information useful. If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, please do contact the School Office - please click here to be redirected to our contact details page, or here to send an email directly.
A Stimulating Environment
School life is centred around a small Victorian building, which is a key reminder of the heritage of the school. Traditional Victorian features coupled with modern equipment provide a dynamic and stimulating learning environment. The school has a two-storey extension to the original building which encompasses five classrooms, a Library, ICT Suite, Hall, Resources Room and a Special Educational Needs Room called The Hive.
There are many signs and emblems throughout the school illustrating our Christian character.
The Computing Suite is a point of focus within school with regular modernisation to accommodate evolving technologies. In addition every class has two computers, an interactive whiteboard and projector. Computing is taught through links with other curricular areas and also as Computing Skills lessons. We develop our pupils’ skills including email, using spreadsheets and making multi-media presentations. We also have a bank of iPads, which are used in classes to further develop Computing skills and ensure there are effective cross curricular links with Computing and other subjects.
A major project has seen the refurbishment and renovation of the playground, which was formally opened by the Town Mayor in July 2016. There is ample outdoor space for football or cricket, new features to spark the children's imagination and fixed equipment to ensure pupils can be fully active during playtime. The spiritual sensory garden can be a place of relaxation and reflection.
There is a separate playground for Infants (Key Stage 1).
We have a wonderful team of staff who work very hard to ensure that the school achieves success. Please see http://www.stnicholasce.org/whos-who/ for staffing information.
The Academic Year
Pupils attend for 190 days in the school year. Parents are notified of term dates at the beginning of each school year. Five days in the school year are set aside for the professional development and training activities for staff (INSET Days). One day, an Occasional Day, is taken during the school year. Please see http://www.stnicholasce.org/academic-year-dates/ for term dates.
The School Day
Morning 8:55am to 11:50am (Classes 4 & 5) or
8:55am to 12 noon (Classes 3, 2 & 1)
Afternoon 1:00pm – 3:15pm
Lunch and Snacks
School lunches are cooked and eaten in the Church Hall. Children can chose between the meat, vegetarian or packed lunch option daily. Currently, the infant children (Reception to Year 2) are entitled to free school meals as it is funded by the Government.
Children may bring a packed lunch if preferred (no nuts please). Lunch money is payable half termly in advance. Children whose parents are in receipt of income support are entitled to free school meals. Further details are available from the School Secretary if required and are always kept confidential.
A piece of fresh fruit or vegetable is offered free of charge at break-time to children in Classes 3, 4 and 5 in accordance with the Government’s Free Fruit and Vegetable for Schools Scheme. Children in Classes 1 and 2 have the option to have a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable at break-time for a small charge per term.
School milk is available for children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Details are available from the School Secretary.
The school has a thriving School Council with two representatives from each class, elected biannually. The Council is led by the Year 6 representatives and supported by the Leadership Team and meets regularly to discuss ways in which the school can be improved, taking suggestions from the other children as well as bringing their own ideas. Amongst numerous ventures the School Council has organised the purchase of a range of playground games, an annual talent show and a tea party for parent helpers. As part of their work, the School Council also consider environmental issues such as litter and waste, healthy eating and biodiversity. The Year 6 representatives have the opportunity to present a short report on their time in office to the full Governing Body.
This sense of pride and belonging is also reflected in our House system. Every child belongs to one of our four Houses, each named after one of the four saints of the British Isles. Good work, behaviour or effort is rewarded by house points. The House Captains are Year 6 representatives from St. Andrews, St. Davids, St. Georges and St. Patrick. The role of the House Captains is to organise a number of inter-House events throughout the year and special, fun activities sessions are held termly. The Year 6 children complete an application form that outlines their past contribution to the school. The applications are reviewed by the Senior Leadership Team and a Governor in order to select the eight House Captains.
We offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities, both at lunch time and after school. The majority of these clubs are available for children in Year 3 and older. A small charge is made for some clubs where they are run by outside professionals. Clubs vary each year and in the past have included but are not limited to netball, football, country dancing, chess, orchestra, choir, multi-sport and athletics.
Outings and Residential Trips
During the year each class will make at least one visit to a place of interest. This will be linked to the topic being studied and is designed to enhance the children’s learning. Local outings are also planned as appropriate. Children in Year 6 have the opportunity to go on a residential trip for a week and Year 5 pupils participate in an overnight trip.
We are very fortunate to host a very successful after school club on our premises. The Club has its own Ofsted registration and is run by a separate organisation. The school can provide contact information on request.
Walking to School
We actively support the ‘Walking to School’ initiative and all pupils are welcome to bring a scooter to school which may be left in the bike rack. Children who have passed their Cycling Proficiency Test may come by bicycle. Please note that no responsibility for loss or damage can be accepted by the school.
All children are expected to read regularly at home. Each child has a reading diary which acts as a record of the child’s reading and also helps with communication between the parents and teacher.
We have a graduated programme of weekly homework throughout the school which is related to the themes being studied in class.
Parental encouragement is vital to children’s progress and we do ask parents to fully support our Homework Policy. To see our school policies, please click to be redirected http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/.
We are very proud of the close partnership we have with parents. We encourage parental involvement in the classroom, with social and fundraising events and as an integral part of our Homework Policy. The high level of parental help during the school day is a real strength of the school.
There are regular opportunities for parents to meet formally with teachers throughout the year to discuss their child’s progress. In addition, parents are invited to view their child’s work each term and liaise with the class teacher if there are concerns. Parents always welcome to come in at other times to chat to their child’s teacher or Headteacher, although parents are requested to make an appointment as teachers are often busy with clubs or meetings after school.
A detailed written report on each child is sent home at the end of each school year and the Foundation Stage Profile Assessments are sent to parents of Reception children. Briefing notes, explaining the main curriculum topics for the term are sent out at the start of each term and posted on the school’s website http://www.stnicholasce.org/class-pages/.
A regular weekly newsletter is e-mailed to parents, or sent to those parents not on the internet. This helps keep parents informed about school activities and lists the dates of forthcoming events. Newsletters are also posted on the school's website http://www.stnicholasce.org/stream/newsletters/full/1/-/.
Parents are asked to let the school know if their child is absent and the reason for the absence by 9am on the day in question. This can be done via a phone message or a letter to school (please click for the school's Contact Details). If parents do not let the school know the reason for absence on the first day then the School Secretary will phone to ensure that there are no problems. A letter confirming the reason for absence is required on return. If no letter is received explaining the absence then a letter will be sent from the school. If parents fail to give a reason for absence it then becomes an unauthorised absence, that is an absence the school knows nothing about or perhaps, worryingly, an absence that the parents know nothing about.
Amendments have been made to the 2006 regulations in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. These amendments, as described here, came into force on 1st September 2013. Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Our strong Parent Teacher Association (PTA) provides a wide range of social events for children and parents, the highlight of which is the Christmas Fair, held in late November. All parents automatically become PTA members and are welcome to join the committee to help plan and organise events.
Our PTA also provides great support to the school in providing refreshments for events and helping in the induction process for new children. Money raised at school events is used to support the school in many ways. For further information on the PTA http://www.stnicholasce.org/pta/
We operate an open door policy and encourage parents to bring matters of concern to the class teacher in the first instance. If more appropriate, please do not hesitate to see the Headteacher. A copy of the school’s Complaints Procedure is available for parents in the Leaflets for Parents box file in the reception area and also on this website http://www.stnicholasce.org/comment-complain/
St Nicholas Primary School is committed to the protection and safety of its pupils and rigorously follows Hertfordshire's procedures on safeguarding. All staff and volunteers are required to have a Disclosure and Baring Services (DBS) check before commencing duties at the school. A copy of our Child Protection Policy is available on the website http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/ or from the School Office.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
St Nicholas Primary is an inclusive school. Some children experience greater difficulties than average for those in the same age group. These children are then offered extra support in their work and may sometimes be identified as having Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities. We strive to ensure that children with SEND have equality of opportunity to succeed, that their individual talents are recognised and that they reach their full potential.
The school follows the SEND criteria set by the Local Authority. The school implements the SEND Code of Practice and children with difficulties are placed on the school SEND register, which is confidential to their parents and staff. The children's progress is closely monitored and reviewed at regular intervals by the Inclusion Co-ordinator, the class teacher and parents. The school is also able to access many support agencies in order to support children with specific difficulties and we work closely with all outside professionals.
Children with SEND are supported in a variety of ways. Children may work in small groups with a Teaching Assistant. This usually occurs within the classroom, but on occasions it may be more appropriate to withdraw the group, or an individual child, to work outside the classroom.
The school policy for SEND and Inclusion is also available for parents to view either from the School Office or via the website http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/.
More Able, Gifted and Talented Pupils
At St Nicholas we create an atmosphere which promotes a love for learning and pride in achieving. Extension and enrichment activities for very able children are incorporated in the teachers’ planning.
Pupil Welfare and Pastoral Care
We promote the health and safety of all our children and provide a caring and supportive environment which seeks to take account of the needs of all the children. No form of bullying is tolerated at the school and we have a very clear Anti-Bullying Policy http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/.
Behaviour and Discipline
Behaviour at the school is of a very high standard. At the heart of our policy is the aim of encouraging all pupils to take and accept responsibility for themselves, to develop high standards of self-discipline, social awareness and consideration for others. Parents and children are asked to read, sign and adhere to our Home/School Agreement http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/.
The children are encouraged to look after each other. Each Reception child has a Buddy from Year 6 who cares for them at lunchtimes and playtimes. All classes have responsibilities around the school and children from the oldest classes sort out minor disputes in the playground through a Peer Mediation scheme. Our Playground Leaders organise games and activities throughout break times to ensure that all of our pupils are included and have fun.
The school encourages good behaviour through a number of reward systems. Children may receive a Headteacher’s Award, an Star of the Week Award or a Good Citizen Award.
Security issues are given a high priority, but we try to balance these with the need for the school to be Accessible to the community and conform to fire regulations.
The front door is protected by an electronic entry system. All visitors have to report to the School Office and are asked to sign the visitors’ book. The children’s gate is opened at the beginning and end of the school day. A member of staff is there both to greet the children and also to observe anyone entering the premises. During the day this gate and the gate to the Church Hall are locked.
The school premises are protected by a security alarm system, CCTV and security lights to minimise the risks of burglary and vandalism. We ask all parents and friends of the school to be vigilant and inform us of anything which seem suspicious or unusual.
Illness and Medication
If a child becomes unwell at school we will contact parents. We ask that parents keep home/work contact numbers up to date to minimise delays. In the unlikely event of an emergency we will call an ambulance and a member of staff will accompany the child to hospital, staying with them until a parent can arrive.
It is not always easy to decide if a child is well enough to come to school. We ask parents to use their common sense and to think of others. Germs travel quickly in a warm, busy environment. Any child who has suffered from diarrhoea or sickness should be kept at home for 48 hours from the last occurrence.
Medicines cannot be administered by a member of school staff, nor should children be sent to school with cough sweets, creams or lotions etc. If a child needs to take medicine during the school day arrangements should be made for a parent to visit during break or lunchtime to administer the medicine. For cases of long term illness please discuss your child’s medical needs with the school. Children requiring asthma inhalers or an epi-pen should have a named inhaler or epi-pen and the School Office must be made aware of this need.
Charging & Remissions Policy
Governors have agreed a Charging Policy which is available on the website http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/ or on request. In general terms, charges may be made for some extra curricular activities and for residential visits. The school may also ask for voluntary contributions for specific events e.g. day trips, theatre groups.
The Governors appreciate that for some parents the cost of residential or day trips may be difficult to find. An application form for a Governors’ grant towards these is available from the Headteacher. All enquiries relating to financial assistance are treated in the strictest confidence.
All school policies can be found on the school website http://www.stnicholasce.org/policies/
If hard copies are required please email the School Secretary (click here to email directly) or visit the School Office.
Please see our website page on school uniform http://www.stnicholasce.org/uniform/
Making an Application to the School
Please see our website page on Admissions, which contains guidance and links to the documents you will need http://www.stnicholasce.org/admissions/
We are very fortunate in Harpenden to have a number of excellent secondary schools. Most children transfer to one of three local schools: St George’s, Sir John Lawes or Roundwood Park. However some parents do choose to move their children onto private schools or schools in other areas.
The school maintains close ties to all the local secondary schools and benefits enormously from the wealth of expertise that they can offer.