Starting School in Reception
Those of you with children due to start school in September 2024, will now be looking at primary schools to judge which ones might best suit your child and offer what you want for them. Our advice is to visit every school in which you may be interested. You may imagine that all schools are similar; but we aren’t! Every school has a different approach to education and places differing levels of importance on certain outcomes. You need to be assured that the school you select is one which will provide the type of education which you feel to be right for your child. Whether you know a great deal about education or not, you only need to spend half an hour in a school to know whether the atmosphere and ethos are what you want. To that end, it really is imperative that you actually visit each school, during the school day, in order to actually witness the relationships which exist between staff, between pupils, and between the staff and pupils.
You may not be aware that there was a low birth rate across the county for the academic intake just gone and for the next three years. This means that fewer children need school places for the coming years, and hence you can consider schools which you might have thought outside your catchment area. If you are attracted to our school, but thought it unlikely that you would secure a place at St Peter’s, we would advise you to visit so that I can discuss this with you.
We have completed our programme of tours for the Autumn. If you have missed them, but would still like to see round our school, please get in touch and we will try to arrange a time to show you round St Peter's.
When you visit St Peter's, you will quickly learn that we are not the norm! Some of you will take just a short time to decide that we are definitely not for you. For others, we will be a perfect fit. Whilst many other schools are growing and expanding, St Peter’s remains a small, traditional school. We revel in the family atmosphere which exists here. Further, as a church school, we instil a strong moral compass in our children and we insist on high standards of behaviour and respect within our school community.
We place great value on providing a fully rounded education for our pupils. We promote art, music, sport, languages and a wide range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities in order to develop the character of our pupils. Children learn a foreign language from Year R. Every week we have Creative Thursday when we teach solely art, music, PE, and French. Music is taught by professional musicians and we have qualified sports coaches who deliver our PE provision. We have links with schools in France, and offer day trips to our older pupils as well as week long residentials at the KCC centre in Hardelot.
Please be assured that we place very high importance on the academic success of our children. We have extensive systems for tracking our pupils’ progress in English and maths, and we go to great lengths to maximise their attainment in these important subjects. We want our children to achieve as highly as possible in these crucial subjects, and our results in all forms of testing, including the 11+, show that we are successful in achieving this goal. However, we feel that children will do better in English and mathematics if they have every chance to enjoy a wide curriculum and a wide range of learning experiences which build their character and self confidence. Hence, we will not sacrifice the wider curriculum, art, music and sport, or our children’s happiness, in order to push our pupils to achieve government targets in the SAT tests. We are here to educate and prepare children for their adult life, not to hothouse them for a government test.
Legally, children must start full-time schooling by the beginning of the school term after their 5th birthday. At St Peter’s, children start Reception class in the September following their 4th birthday. Applications for your child to start in Reception class are generally made online via the Kent County Council website and local admission arrangements may also be found here.
We can admit up to 26 pupils in each year group. The Local Authority applies the following admissions criteria in the event of oversubscription:
If the number of preferences for the school is more than the number of spaces available, places will be allocated in the following priority order:
Children in Local Authority Care or Previously in Local Authority Care – a ‘looked after child’ or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, child arrangements, or special guardianship order. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989).
Current Family Association – a brother or sister in the same school at the time of entry where the family continue to live at the same address as when the sibling was admitted –or –if they have moved –live within 2 miles of the school, or have moved to a property that is nearer to the school than the previous property as defined by the ‘Nearness’ criterion’ (below). In this context brother or sister means children who live as brother and sister in the same house, including natural brothers or sisters, adopted siblings, stepbrothers or sisters, foster brothers or sisters.
Health and Special Access Reasons – Medical, health, social and special access reasons will be applied in accordance with the school’s legal obligations, in particular those under the Equality Act 2010. Priority will be given to those children whose mental or physical impairment means they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Equally this priority will apply to children whose parents’/guardians’ physical or mental health or social needs mean that they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Such claims will need to be supported by written evidence from a suitably qualified medical or other practitioner who can demonstrate a special connection between these needs and the particular school.
Nearness of children’s homes to school – we use the distance between the child’s permanent home address and the school, measured in a straight line using the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) address point. Distances are measured from a point defined as within the child’s home to a point defined as within the school as specified by NLPG. The same address point on the school site is used for everybody. When we apply the distance criterion for an oversubscribed Community or Voluntary Controlled school, these straight line measurements are used to determine how close each applicant’s address is to the school.
In the event of any of the above criteria being oversubscribed, priority will be given based on distance as described above with those closest being given higher priority. In the unlikely event that two or more children in all other ways have equal eligibility for the last available place at the school, the names will be issued a number and drawn randomly to decide which child should be given the place.
In Year Transfers
For those of you who have moved into the area and have older children who need to join other year groups, please call the school and we can advise you as to whether we have spaces available. If so, we will arrange a visit for you. You are encouraged to bring your children with you when you visit, so that they can see the school and visit the class which they might join.
If you decide to have your child join us, we will manage your child’s move with sensitivity. New children are given a buddy or two, who volunteer to look after their new classmate. There is never a shortage of volunteers, as it is always exciting to welcome a new child into class!
For in year admissions to any year group, parents must complete the In Year Casual Application Form available from St Peter’s School office or complete the downloadable form from the Kent County Council website. This form must be returned to us. If you wish to know more please contact us and come and have a look round. If we do not have a place available you may ask to join our waiting list.