Here at Greswold, we take great pride in providing opportunities for all our pupils to share their feelings and thoughts about school. 'Pupil Voice' helps us to ensure that decision making continually meets the needs of an ever evolving school community and modern day society. With this in mind, School Councillors have recently fed back pupils' views of certain school routines, in particular, the end of day routine that we sometimes call 'pick up' or 'collection time'.
The responses from the children were both mature and thought-provoking as well as enlightening and have in turn prompted school to organise a summer campaign called 'Hometime Harmony'. Below are several aspects of hometimes that we, as a school, would like to promote amongst our school community in order to positively impact the experiences of all our children.
(1) Please help with the flow, year six to Nursery then you're good to go!
We would like to reinforce our expectation for parents to collect their oldest sibling first. This helps to alleviate congestion at some 'pinch-points' around the school site, e.g. end of KS1 buildings by Y1 Owls. When families are passing each other in fairly narrow areas, there is the possibility that some children might be separated from their parents causing distress and anxiety for both pupils and adults. During the pandemic, we organised a system whereby parents who only pick up children from reception or nursery should enter school using the EYFS entrance/exit. We would like to continue this system as it helps to encourage a one way system which in turn reduces the chance of families being separated when passing other families. If parents are collecting an older sibling from Y1-6 first, before collecting from Early Years', please use the KS2 entrance/exit to access school and then make your way round to reception or nursery.
Reception and Nursery (only) collection gate
Years' 1 - 6 collection gate (to the left of the main school office)
(2) Please put away your phone, you're entering a chat and smile zone!
One of the most common responses from children was the tendency for some parents to take a call when collecting their children.
One child claimed they hate it when their mum was on the phone – she feels likes saying ‘I am here - pay attention to me’. Another said it makes them feel like their parents are not interested in them and their day, when they don’t acknowledge them because they are on their phone instead of greeting them.
School acknowledges that emergency situations, times when older siblings need to check in or times when you need to check the actual time, are examples of instances which may arise when parents and carers need to briefly use their phone on school site.
However, being able to physically collect your child is also a fabulous opportunity to communicate and socialise with other members of the whole school community and a key moment to gain a perspective of your child's day at school. Maybe ask them how their day went or see if they can tell you about something new they learned that day. What did they have for lunch or what game did they play at lunchtime are just a few suggestions for an engaging and purposeful end of day chat.
(3) Please leave plenty of space, it helps us feel safe!
This slogan refers to giving doorways to classrooms plenty of room and space so the children can easily see where their parents are at the end of the school day.
One comment made by a child was that they didn’t like parents crowding round at the door, that it felt very intimidating when they left and there are adults right there. They also commented that it ‘annoyed’ them.
As an inclusive school, it makes complete sense that for some children this very straight forward routine can still have a challenging effect on them so please, please give classroom doors and teachers at least 3m space. Also, please ensure you wait until every child has been dismissed first if you need to speak with the class teacher.
The blue posts are about 3m away and can be used as an appropriate marker
(4) Scooters and bikes are great but wait until you're out of the gate!
All Greswold pupils have been reminded to walk their scooters and bikes out of the school gates before riding them, due to a few near misses in the past. However School Councillors have suggested that waiting until you are leaving to pick up your bike and scooter would completely eradicate any possible accidents.
Collecting scooters and bikes on the way out can help avoid
any accidents due to crowds and congestion
(5) Sticking to the paths is cool as we love our beautiful school
We are so lucky to have such a wonderful school environment with amazing outside spaces and lush, green school grounds. However, during the autumn and winter months, some of the grass verges can get trodden on, especially during hometimes, meaning these areas won't have the opportunity to regrow properly during the spring and summer months. Our school site gives an enormous sense of wellbeing to all who visit and learn at Greswold. Therefore, please refrain from taking short cuts over grassy areas that aren't used for PE or lunchtime activities please.
Help us to allow our grass to grow
Please stick to the paths and please don't weave between cars
Help us to allow our grass to grow
(6) Ensure your children are near as the playground begins to clear!
This refers again to the pupils' worries about school being crowded and congested. They felt that very young children should hold their parents' hands just in case they get separated. This potential scenario was something which caused some worry for the children giving feedback and was a really good example of how young people may have a different viewpoint about things that adults might take for granted. However, there are obvious safeguarding benefits in ensuring all siblings stay close to their parents whilst on school site. On numerous days, there are after school clubs which start during collection times so it's very important small children don't wander into these activities by accident.
(7) Everything's fine when you're on time
Although the children surveyed didn't mention this important reminder, school would like to reiterate its expectation of pupils being picked up on time. Not being picked up on time can cause worry and anxiety for some children. However, school acknowledges there are unique circumstances that can cause parents to be occasionally late and through no fault of their own.
Also, with regards to Y6 pupils with permission to walk home by themselves, if they choose to stay on school site to wait for younger siblings then parents should arrive at 3:10pm to supervise them as well, similar to any other child who remains on school site who is not attending a club or Greyhounds.
KS2 finishes at 3:10pm
KS1 and Reception finishes at 3:20pm
Nursery finishes at 3:30pm
As always, thank you for your co-operation and understanding. Meeting the unique needs of all our children has always been school's aim and ambition. Inevitably though, there are times when we need support from our whole school community to engineer change and ensure our children have the best possible experiences here at Greswold.