Translate website

View a list of frequently asked questions and answers for parents with children in years 1-6.

Behaviour and Rewards

What’s all the clapping about?

In classes, you will often see a teacher clapping a rhythm and then the pupils responding by clapping the same pattern. This is a positive and effective way of gaining the pupils’ attention and allowing the teacher to give the next instruction.

How does the (green, yellow, red) card system work?

At Ambler, we use the ‘Good to be Green’ system to encourage positive behaviour. This is based on a traffic light system, where each child has a set of cards displayed in the classroom – green, yellow and red. A green card represents positive behaviour choices. A yellow card shows that a pupil has made a negative behaviour choice and is being encouraged to change that behaviour to a more positive one.  The yellow card serves as a warning and at this point, they are encouraged and supported to make the right choices and get back to green – because it’s ‘Good to be Green’. A red card signifies that the negative behaviour has continued and that a consequence will be given (for example, speaking to the phase leader or attending a lunchtime reflection with a teacher).

What is a gold card and what would they get one for?

A gold card is an extra special type of card used in ‘Good to be Green’. This shows that a child has made an exceptional effort with their behaviour choices in a lesson and has displayed truly excellent behaviour for learning over and above that of the norm. Children who receive gold cards receive a recognition card which is sent home to families.

What sort of thing gets them a yellow or red card?

Yellow and red cards show that a pupil has made negative behaviour choices. Minor negative behaviour choices such as calling out, not following instructions, distracting themselves or others would receive a yellow card in the first instance. This is issued with the expectation that the pupil will make more positive choices and return to a green card as soon as possible, without any further consequences. A red card is issued if a yellow card has already been given, but the negative behaviour choices continue. In the rare instance of more serious negative behaviour – such as fighting, spitting or swearing – a red card may be issued instantly.

What do they get stickers for?

At Ambler DREAMS stickers are given to reward pupils who have displayed behaviours that epitomise the DREAMS ethos. Each child collects stickers for each of the six DREAMS qualities and when they reach 10 stickers for a particular quality, they are commended in assembly and are rewarded with a wrist band for that behaviour e.g. enthusiasm. Other stickers are also used from time-to-time as rewards for positive behaviour, good manners, and exceptional effort in lessons, good attendance, commendations from head teacher or other senior leaders.

How does the Dreams reward system work?

Each of the six DREAMS qualities – Determination, Resilience, Enthusiasm, Ambition, Motivation and Self-belief – are rewarded through a system of stickers and awards. When a child is spotted showing the DREAMS quality, they receive a sticker showing the logo which represents that value. When a child has received 10 or 20 of these stickers for one of the qualities, they receive a special reward!

How does ‘star of the day’ work? What’s the point of it?

Star of the day is a reward system that allows the teacher or the class to nominate someone for ‘being caught’ showing exceptional behaviour, kindness, thoughtfulness or empathy towards others in the classroom. The star of the day has a special chair to sit on and they are also given special and responsible jobs on that day and they stand at the front of the line to lead the class.

What are the green stars?

They are given out by phase leaders to the class that line up: the straightest, the quietest and show that they are ready to walk in, ready for learning.

How does the school tackle bullying?

In school, there are occasions where pupils are unkind to one another. It is the role of the school to help pupils develop an understanding of empathy, getting along with your peers and building effective relationships in order that pupils understand the difference between people being unkind on one off occasions and the rare situations where a child’s behaviour constitutes systematic bullying. In both instances, the school responds immediately and supportively to ensure that all parties involved are dealt with appropriately to ensure that the behaviour is understood and not repeated. We welcome feedback from parents and carers if they have any concerns about their child at school.

School day

What does a typical school day look like in each year?

All classes have a healthy start to the day with a few minutes of exercise outside. After this, all children take part in guided reading sessions, followed by a literacy lesson. Children have a daily assembly at 10.40am before their morning break. After break, pupils take part in a maths lesson and then it is lunchtime. Afternoons begin at 1.30pm and during the afternoon sessions, pupils take part in a variety of lessons on different days such as PE, music, Spanish, creative curriculum, library and sometimes swimming. Years 1-3 have an afternoon break at 2.30pm. Year 1 spend the beginning part of the year settling into the school and therefore their day may look a little different until the end of autumn.

What is ‘choosing’?

This is a range of self-initiated/independent activities planned carefully by the teacher to enable children to explore and interact with resources that will consolidate and extend their learning. We no longer call it choosing but instead it is described as ‘Learning through play’ which describes what they are doing in a clearer way.

What is enrichment?

Here at Ambler, we believe that all pupils deserve the right to experience an enriched curriculum. Therefore, each week years 3-6 participate in an enrichment session, where structured activities – which aren’t always offered during a normal school day such as photography, Bollywood dance, gardening, debating – are run by staff. These activities complement the curriculum and give us the opportunity to extend our pupils’ learning.

When are the play times? Do all years play at once? How supervised is it?

Morning play is 10.55 – 11.10, lunch play is 12.30 – 13.30 and afternoon play – only for years 1-3 is 14.30 – 14.45. Children play in mixed age groups in the different playgrounds on a rota. At playtimes all support and 1 teacher are on duty and at lunchtimes, there are an additional 3 lunchtime supervisors.

What are the houses? Who are the house leaders? What gets a house point? Is there a prize for the winning house?

We have four house teams – Bawden, Dickens, Greenaway and Myddelton. Throughout the year, pupils receive house points in class for good effort and behaviour. These are then totalled each week and the results – including which class had the most house that week, are announced in assembly.  At the end of the academic year, the house with the most house points overall is awarded the House Cup.

What sort of things do they do in PE?

PE is delivered by LSA (London Sports Academy) coaches and focuses on the development of games skills and practise. Additionally years 2, 3 and 4 go swimming for half the year.   For those year groups who do not swim – an additional PE lesson is delivered by the class teacher which covers the dance and gymnastics curriculum.

What do they need to wear?

Pupils need to wear plain black shorts, leggings or jogging bottoms with their house coloured t-shirts and trainers.

Do all the years eat together at lunchtime or is it staggered by age?

On 4 days a week pupils in Y2-6 eat in their year groups. However, on a Wednesday – pupils eat in the houses which are mixed ages. Y1 pupils eat downstairs in the bottom hall every day.

Does the school encourage good table manners at lunchtime?

We believe that good table manners are essential social skills for all pupils. We encourage the development of these manners through positive praise and modelling. Each day, a staff member eats with the children in order to encourage correct use of cutlery, appropriate lunchtime conversations and lunchtime manners.

How much free choice is there in what they eat and are they encouraged to eat healthily?

As an accredited Healthy School, we place great importance on the development of healthy eating habits. Each day, lunch includes a selection of hot and cold vegetarian and halal foods, as well as an extensive salad bar and freshly baked bread. All pupils make their own meal choices and are encouraged by staff to try a range of foods. Mealtime staff allow children to choose whichever combinations of meals they like albeit with a reminder to include protein and vegetables in their selection.

What sort of music teaching is provided?

We have a specialist music teacher at Ambler who delivers a music class to each class each week from nursery to Y6. In addition, she coordinates lunchtime choir and instrumental lessons (guitar, ukulele, recorder, and violin).

Teaching & Learning

Can you explain ‘mistakes are good’?

We recognise that the best learning happens through making and understanding your mistakes. ‘I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes.’ John Sculley.   We strive to develop the ethos that making mistakes in your work helps you and everyone to learn and encourages children to not be frightened to ‘have a go’ – unpicking common misconceptions and errors during lessons deepens pupils’ understanding of the work.

Are the children streamed by ability?

In some lessons, children sit in ability groups within their classroom; however, sometimes they sit in ‘mixed ability’ groups. In the upper phase (Y4-6) you may see other examples of streaming such as in Y6 when the children are preparing for their SATs exams in the spring term. They are grouped by their need and their ability and taught by their class teacher, the phase leader and the deputy head teacher in English and mathematics for a number of weeks. Occasionally pupils from Y5 will work in Y6 for English and maths and vice versa if the curriculum is better suited to their ability. There are also opportunities in the upper phase for the more able pupils to be selected to take part in a series of master classes in English and mathematics at local secondary schools.

When do they get given homework and when is it due in by?

Homework is given out on a Friday and taken in on Tuesday. This gives parents the opportunity to support their children over the weekend. Homework will always consist of a weekly spelling list, a maths task, and we would encourage and stress the importance of reading with your child every day.

How/when can I talk to the teacher about my child? Can you make appointments?

All staff are in the playground at the start and end of the school day. However, if you require a slightly longer chat you could ask to speak to the phase leader (Hazel Lambert – Lower phase Year 1- 3 and Emma Collins – Upper phase year 4- 6). In addition, you can always make an appointment through the office to speak with either a class teacher, phase leader, deputies or head teacher).

What are the focuses of each term’s parents’ consultation? How long are they?

Parent consultations take place three times a year and are approximately 10 minutes per child.

  1. The 1st one looks at how your child is settling, target setting for your child and how you can help at home.
  2. At the 2nd meeting we discuss your child’s progress so far and how you can help at home.
  3. At the 3rd meeting you will receive your child’s end of year report and you are invited to attend the end of year annual DREAMS awards ceremony. You will also be provided with valuable information regarding, supporting your child at home, activities over the summer holidays and key information for the following academic year.
What assessment will my child have to do in each year?

Assessment is used to see where children are in their learning currently and what they need to do next or what support they may need to progress further.

  • Reception – there will be a base-line test and as yet the finer details of this have not been decided by the government. We will inform you about this as soon as we know.
  • Year 1 – children will have a phonics screening test in June.
  • Year 2 – 6 have assessments which take place termly. These can be paper based or teacher assessment tasks.

These inform teacher planning and how we plan interventions to support learning and progress across the school.

Year 2 and 6 take statutory assessment tests (SATs) in the summer term which mark where they are at the end of each key stage.

Prior to any statutory testing in school we offer parent information sessions to clarify the process and help parents to know how to support their children.

Extended day /clubs

What’s the difference between Extended Day and the After-school Clubs?

After school clubs are available for everyone and cost £2 per session, paid in advance for the half term / term, they finish at 4.45pm. Extended day after school care runs until 5.45pm and costs £7 per day – this includes the cost of a club and snack.

How do you book after school clubs?

The office or after school care team take bookings for both after school clubs and after school care.

Do we have to rebook each half term?

Yes, the clubs need to be booked on a half-termly basis or a termly basis in advance to ensure you reserve a place.

What is a ‘late payment’?

If a child is booked in for a club but not collected on time – they will be charged an extra £5 as if they were in after school care.

If a child is not collected from school on time they will sent to extended day clubs at 3.45 pm which will also incur the cost of a late pick up – £5 or if they are not collected until after 4.45 they will be charged £7.

The school is locked up at 5.45pm.

How much does it cost?

It costs £2 for after school clubs and £7 for after school care (including the cost of a club and snack).

Can I use childcare vouchers or online payments?

Yes, childcare vouchers and bank payments can be used. The office can help with this.

Who’s in charge of Extended Day/Clubs?

Kym Julien is the extended day coordinator.

How do we contact Extended Day?

You can ring / speak to the school office during school hours.

When do you need to pay for the clubs by?

All after-school clubs need to be paid for in advance. Extended Day can be paid on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on your need and usage. If you have any issues you can make an appointment to speak to the head teacher (Juliet Benis)

Why don’t clubs run for the last week of some terms?

After school clubs may not be available on the last week of a full term depending on the school calendar and staff availability. Sometimes they may have to be cancelled due to a whole school event (e.g. parents evening, disco etc). However, when there are no clubs, extended day after school provision is still provided at a cost of £7.

Is there Extended Day on the last day of half and full terms?

Extended Day always runs on the last day of a half term but not on the last day of a full term.

Swimming

Where do they go and how do they get there?

Year 2, 3 and 4 go swimming for half a year, each class. They are collected and returned by the Islington transport mini buses and they swim at Caledonian Road Swimming pool.

What should they wear?

Boys are expected to wear close fitting trunks or swimming costumes (they are not allowed to wear the baggy cotton swimming shorts) and girls wear a swimming costumes.

Why can’t they wear goggles?

If they have a medical reason or a particular need to wear goggles, parents must fill in a form and attach a Doctor’s letter.   Please see the office for advice.

Transition from Reception to Year 1

Can I still take my child into the class like in reception?

At the beginning of the year you are welcome to come in with your child and settle them in class. By week 3, we expect the children to be able to say ‘goodbye’ to you in the playground and come in, in their class line.

Will they start doing the morning playground exercises with the rest of the school at 8.55?

Year 1 will start doing exercise each morning from Spring Term (January).

How quickly do they go from ‘learning through play’ to sit-down lessons?

The children go through a seamless transition where carpet session length is increased and independent learning is encouraged. By November, the children in year 1 are working on the national curriculum.

Will they start going to all the assemblies?

From the spring term (January) they will be attending the Show and Tell Assembly (Tuesday’s), Music assembly (Thursday’s) and DREAMS assembly on Friday. In the summer term (April); they will attend all assemblies.

Miscellaneous

When are assemblies and are parents invited to any?

Assemblies take place daily in the school at 10:40. Parents are invited to year group show and tell assemblies, times and dates are available on our school calendar. Parents are also invited to the attendance and DREAMS assembly which are on Friday’s. There are a limited number of seats available; please contact the school office to reserve your place to find out all about it!

What are Show & Tell Assemblies?

They showcase the work of children in individual year groups

Where would I find lost property?

Lost property boxes are located outside the School Office

Why is the school so strict about / focused on attendance?

Research shows that attendance has a huge impact on children’s attainment and at the same time, children who are persistently late will be missing out on a very invaluable guided reading session every morning. We want to help you support your children to get the very best from their education. We take every step to provide indoor play spaces and care for your children in the school day even in they are not feeling 100%. Children at Ambler understand the importance of attendance and are rewarded for excellent attendance, weekly, termly and annually.

If I have a compliment, question or a concern, who do I speak to?

We are always happy to receive compliments and pass positive feedback to our staff. However, if you have any concerns, please speak directly to the class teachers or phase leaders (Hazel Lambert, Lower and Emma Collins, Upper) – quick questions can be answered during the morning exercise. If you need a little more time, you can speak to the teachers or phase leaders after the children have been dismissed at 15:30. If you need further assistance and need to speak to the head teacher; please contact the office who can arrange to make a suitable appointment for her or one of our deputy head teachers.

What eSafety measures are in place?

The School takes eSafety very seriously and is always open to suggestions and improvement. We hold coffee morning for parents, each term, eSafety is prioritised and promoted. Children receive on-going support and advice as technology advances. Children work on a secure network in school which is filtered via our ICT providers.

How does the school discuss gender issues?

We promote equality through the Curriculum and specific events, assemblies and resources as well as challenging individual stereotypical views. We support our equalities and diversity policy and recognise families of difference. We provide a balance of resources reflecting gender and race equality.

What happens on Sports Day? What races will they do? Are parents invited?

Sports day takes place at Finsbury Park track, weather permitting for years 1-6. It’s held during the summer term and takes the form of a whole day event and parents are invited to join us. The morning consists of a whole range of fun and non-competitive physical/sporting activities. However, the afternoon is full of a variety of competitive races and events from the egg and spoon race to individual running races including a parent race.

Let's make something beautiful together...
brockman.eric@gmail.com