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Welcome to

Totnes St John's C of E Primary School

Starting in Reception

We know that starting school can feel like a huge leap for you, as well as for your little one.

Here at St John’s, school we pride ourselves on our attention to individual needs - we know this makes a real difference to every child who joins us.

We currently have one dedicated Foundation class and the class teacher will follow each cohort into Year 1. This enables the children to form a close relationship with  their teacher over the first two years at school. We have found that this really benefits the children's learning as they move from the Foundation Stage into the National Curriculum and Key Stage One.

Currently, the team of adults supporting learning in Foundation are: Mrs Cate, the Foundation Stage Leader, Mrs Wright the Class Teacher and  Mrs White  the learning support assistant.

We do all we can to support you, so starting school becomes the next exciting step in a child’s journey of discovery...

Here are some answers to the questions many new parents ask:

Q:  Can I come into the classroom when I drop my child off? 

Yes, certainly. In fact, we encourage you to come in as we all get to know each other. We organise the start of the day with an emphasis on meeting the children’s emotional needs.

Q:  What happens if my child doesn’t settle?

Each child experiences the transition to school in their own way. We try to find out about children’s individual interests, so that we can offer a range of play opportunities to match their personalities. If your child is finding it hard to settle we will work closely with you to find out just what your child needs to feel safe and secure.  

Q:  How long is the school day for the youngest children? 

We offer a staggered start to school during the early weeks of the September term. For the first week children come to school from 9 am to 12 noon. The second week includes lunchtime so children leave just after 1pm. It is not until the third week that most children are ready to stay until 3pm.  A special feature of St John’s is that children across the whole school finish at 1.30pm every Friday.  Click here to see the school's term dates and times of the school day.

Q:  How closely do you work with parents and families?

Very closely...  On the very first day of term, members of the St John’s Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA) invite new parents and carers to stay after they have dropped their child off.  Refreshments and the chance to chat are on offer for as long as needed, in a room right next door to the Reception classroom. We call this “Tea and Tissues”!

From then on we offer an open door every morning and at the end of the school day, when parents and carers can pop in to keep up to date. For more detailed or private matters, we  make specific appointments. If there is a problem please talk to us early on; we want to act together to find solutions.

Q:  Will my child be taught the National Curriculum?

Children are not taught the National Curriculum until Year 1.  We follow the Department for Education’s Early Years curriculum, which has seven areas of learning. You can read more about this on the DfE’s website: DfE Foundation Years

Q:  How do you help children to get ready for starting school at St John’s?

Ah, now that’s where Teddy comes in…

As soon as your child’s place at St John’s is confirmed, you will receive a Starting School pack. We also add an invitation for you and your child to come along to three school visits in July. During one of these visits, each child is given their very own St John’s teddy. We invite you to talk to teddy and your child about starting school as they make friends with each other over the following weeks. You could also keep a picture diary of some of your activities out of school for your child to share with us.

When September comes, teddy starts school too and your child will already feel a sense of belonging. Educationalists call this a ‘transition object’ and we find it really does help children to settle. 

Q:  We’re not Anglican. Will my child fit in? 

We feel that our core values of caring and respect run through the major world religions and humanist philosophies too. There are children at St John’s from families with a range of Christian and non-Christian faiths, and also with no religious belief. All children are welcome. If this remains a question mark for you please come and talk to us, and we hope you will be reassured.