Frequently Asked Questions
Parent Engagement and Communication
We value an open and positive relationship with parents and whanau. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher to discuss progress or concerns at any time. Discussion with a senior staff member or the principal is also welcome.
Learning Team newsletters are sent home electronically once a term. These newsletters aim to keep families informed of school events and happenings.
We also have a Calendar App which can be downloaded for your smartphone. This app displays our school events calendar.
There are several formal opportunities for parent/teacher discussion and reporting:
February - ‘Meet the Teacher’ event - an informal opportunity to meet your child’s class teacher. This is normally after our School Family Picnic.
March/April - Goal setting, 3-Way Conferences. These provide an opportunity for parents to talk to teachers about their child’s learning and specific goals for the year ahead.
June/July - First written report. Timetabled ‘3-Way Conferences’ (involving parents, teacher and child) are also held to discuss progress and achievement.
December - Second written report. Follow-up interviews are available upon request.
All students receive a national standards report for reading, writing and maths twice a year. Children in years 1-3 receive these on their birthday, and six months after, children in years 4-6 receive theirs with the mid-year report and the end of year report.
New Entrants also receive a written summary of each child’s school-entry skills and initial development after approximately five weeks of school.
Contacting the School
The school makes use of an answer phone to help manage high volume call periods. You can be assured messages are checked regularly and calls are returned promptly.
Absences can be reported 24 hours a day by calling (03) 455 8199 and following the automated prompts. Alternatively, absences can be emailed to the office, or through the Parent Calendar App.
Email is used extensively by school staff. The addresses use a common format – based on the teacher’s name (e.g. email@example.com).
Teachers endeavour to answer email within 24 hours.
Urgent matters should be communicated by telephone - (03) 455 8199
Many activities require parent involvement both inside and outside the classroom. These include: New Entrant visits, visiting as an expert or resource person, helping with student supervision on class trips, assisting with swimming, beach education or sports programme, active involvement as a camp parent, working in the library, making classroom resources, providing support for the Perceptual Motor Programme (PMP), or helping with fund-raising activities.
Please speak to your child’s teacher to find out more.
Our PTA is an active group and welcomes new members. Help with projects like the fair, BBQs and disco is always welcome. See the section on this website for PTA contact details.
Your child’s health, safety and whereabouts are of critical significance to the school. All absences or lateness should be explained by a telephone call (455 8199) to the school office before 9.00am. An automated phone service is available outside of school hours to enable absences to be recorded at any time. If you are planning to take your child out of school for any reason other than illness (for example family holiday), you are required to write to the principal for permission (section 29 of the Education Act 1989). St Clair School actively monitors attendance, and makes contact with families each term who have lower than 80% attendance, or significant late starts.
Bikes / scooters
Children may ride bicycles or scooters to school. Parents/caregivers should ensure their child is able to ride safely and observe road rules. Safety helmets must be worn when riding a bike. Police road safety research indicates that children under the age of 10 require close supervision when biking on public roads. All bikes and scooters must be placed in the racks provided. Bikes must be walked to-and-from the school gates.
Bullying and Inappropriate Social Behaviour
St Clair School has a very proactive approach to bullying. If you believe your child is the victim of any kind of bullying, it is essential that you call the school and talk to a teacher, the Deputy Principal or the Principal as soon as possible. Prompt contact with the school is your best course of action.
Calendar App and Following Key Events
We have a downloadable calendar App called the Parent Teacher Calendar App. The website for the app proves useful information for users. The app can also be downloaded from the Android and Apple App stores.
Our school also runs its own events calendar on our website.
Please use the app and our website to stay up to date with key events at our school.
Cellular / Mobile Phones
Generally primary aged children do not require a mobile phone. Communication in an emergency is fast and efficient via the office. If there is a significant reason why your child requires a mobile phone at school, please contact the principal to discuss school expectations and protocols.
Classes are encouraged to move out of the traditional classroom environment whenever an appropriate opportunity arises. Visits are made to places of interest in our immediate locality. Parents are often asked to assist with student supervision. Assisting with trips is an excellent way for parents to get to know classmates, other parents and teachers.
When children are undertaking a physical activity, such as physical education and the junior school’s Perceptual Motor Programme (PMP), they should wear clothing that allows freedom of movement.
Please ensure your child’s clothing is clearly named.
The school has a formal complaints policy and procedure. This is available on our schooldocs website or by contacting the school office.
The school employs a registered child psychologist to work with children experiencing emotional or social difficulties, or who simply need some additional support or a ‘listening ear’. Further information about this service is available from the Principal or Deputy Principal.
Pedestrian Crossing and Safe Parking
Parents/caregivers crossing Richardson St are asked to use the pedestrian crossing at all times. Drivers must NOT double-park or park cars on the yellow lines near the school entrances on either Albert St or Richardson St. This creates a safety hazard for young children.
Policy and Procedures
The school has a number of key policies that ensure Board governance is effective and complies with education regulation. These policies are available on our schooldocs website.
Student Enrolment and Enrolment Scheme
Enrolment at St Clair School is governed by a Ministry of Education enrolment scheme. A map of the school’s enrolment zone is available from the school office and on this website.
If you live inside the home zone of St Clair School, your child has automatic right of entry.
If you live outside the enrolment boundary, enrolment is subject to a place being available. Police supervised ballots are used if demand for places exceeds the number of places available.
We endeavour to enrol all children seeking admission and regret that places are limited.
Each year the Board of Trustees decides upon an ideal level of school donation necessary to provide visiting performances, transport for school trips, and attendance at off-site cultural events.
The suggested school donation is currently $75 per child or $150 per family. This donation is voluntary and tax deductible.
An additional nominal donation has been established to help subsidise the cost associated with bus travel to and from swimming lessons. The cost of professional instructors and the balance of the bus cost is met by the school. EFTPOS is available at the school office.
Our school has regular visits from a Public Health Nurse who, in addition to her input into regular education programmes, is available to advise or assist with family health concerns. If you would like to see the Health Nurse, please contact the school office to make an appointment. Alternatively, the Health Nurse can be contacted at 474 1700.
The school recognises that many children have after school activities. We also acknowledge that there is little research in New Zealand to show that home learning has much positive impact on student achievement with the exception of regular reading and learning ‘rote recall’ information (eg basic math facts). Our home-learning expectations take this into account and we ask that all children spend some time reading at home every day to continue their learning and develop a love of reading. You may wish to support your child with other learning, including basic facts for maths, but there is no requirement to do so from school. Please make contact with your child’s teacher if you would like ideas on ways to support their learning at home.
School officially commences at 8.55am, although children are able to come into school from 8.30am. Morning break is from 10.40am to 11am, and lunch from 12.30 to 1.30pm. School finishes at 3pm, with school supervision finishing at 3.15pm.
Being on time, and attending school every day, have a clear correlation with student achievement and success at school. The Board’s attendance policy is available on our schooldocs website.
It is important that the school has accurate emergency contact telephone numbers for your child. An additional contact (such as a grandparent or friend) is also valued in case parents cannot be contacted. If you change your address, phone number(s) or workplace, please notify the school office (455 8199).
In the event of a serious accident, every effort will be made to contact families as soon as possible. In the case of a serious injury, an ambulance will be called. All costs associated with accident treatment are covered by ACC. Parents are notified of any head injury as a standard precaution.
Illness While At School
Should a child’s health be of concern during the school day, parents/caregivers will be contacted and asked to pick up their child from school. The medical room is only equipped to provide temporary accommodation. Sick children are happiest and safest when cared for by their own family.
For safety and security reasons, jewellery should not be worn to school. All precious personal possessions should be kept at home.
All children’s clothing and property must be named. Lost property is kept in a lost property box outside the technology room. Parents are encouraged to check the clothing box regularly to collect lost items. All unclaimed property is disposed of at the end of each term.
Most children bring their lunch to school. Typically, homemade lunches include sandwiches, one or two pieces of fruit, and perhaps a yoghurt. A snack for morning tea is also a good idea.
Lunches can be purchased using the online school-lunch ordering system. Pies are available on a Friday for $2 - this is to be dropped into the school office before 9.00am on a Friday morning.
We prefer that drink bottles contain water rather than sugar-based cordial or juice. Children may not bring carbonated drinks (Coke etc) to school. Sweets/lollies are also not encouraged at school.
Money at School
Children should only bring money to school when required (e.g. lunch orders, book orders, fees etc). All money sent to school should be in a sealed envelope clearly stating: child’s name, room number, and what the money is for. If possible, please send the correct change. Cheques should be made out to St Clair School and crossed “Not Transferable”.
EFTPOS is available at the office. We do not accept Visa or credit cards for payment.
As a school we are very proactive about keeping our children safe. At the same time we acknowledge and welcome parent support for many activities. We ask that all parents who would like to help with swimming (especially changing junior children) or who wish to attend a school camp or other off-site activity complete a police vet. Please see the school office for details around what is required with this vetting process.
Scholastic Book Club
Order forms for Scholastic Book Club products are generally issued to children twice a term. Money and order forms should be handed into the office.
St Clair School has a long tradition of memorable Year 6 camps. During the camp, children enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities and a week of communal living. Camps are held at Camp Iona near Herbert in North Otago during the first term each year. The camp fee is collected early in the year. Progress payments can be arranged through the office. EFTPOS is also available.
Children experiencing specific learning difficulties are supported by a multitude of acceleration programmes designed by the school. If you are concerned about your child’s progress, achievement or well being please talk to your child’s teacher or one of the senior staff.
Our school has access to limited Speech Therapist services through ‘Special Education’. Any concerns about your child’s speech patterns should be shared initially with your child’s teacher or one of the senior staff.
The school supports more than 10 after-school sporting codes. Most codes charge a registration fee that must be paid prior to the commencement of the season. In addition, facilities such as the Edgar Centre and Moana Pool charge admission to participants. Detailed information about sports options is available on our website. Parent support with team coaching / management is essential. Please contact Sally Marret for further information firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Hats and Sun Safety
In terms 1 and 4, children are required to wear a sunhat when outside. A standard blue sunhat is available from the school office (approx $12.00).
Children are also encouraged to wear sun protective clothing e.g. shirts with collars and longer sleeves as clothing is recognised as one of the best forms of protection from the sun. We ask parents to model sunhat use outside of school hours. Staff wear sunhats during breaks to model sun-safe behaviour.
All pupils receive 10 professional swimming lessons during the year. This professional instruction is undertaken at a significant cost to the school and parents are asked to pay a nominal donation to assist with bus expenses [$15 per child]. Parent help is required with student supervision, and all volunteers must complete a police vet for approval.
Each class in our school has its own timetable. Your child’s teacher is able to tell you about your child’s general weekly timetable.
Te Manawanui - Our collaborative learning space
Our school is very fortunate to have a very innovative building design that promotes engagement, cooperation and ‘student agency’. Children use this space for independent learning, collaborative learning and group problem solving.
Parents are asked to respect children’s learning and not enter Te Manawanui until after the 3pm bell.
Toys and Precious Possessions
Because the school cannot guarantee the safety of toys and precious possessions, children are asked to bring to school only those items they need to complete their school work – books, pencils, bag, lunch box, drink bottle etc. Toys and other valuables should be kept safely at home.
Junior classes currently have one day a week when toys are brought to school as part of their oral language programme. Teachers will inform parents about this element of their programme.