At St Mark’s C of E Junior School we have a small number of children from service families (approx. 16 in 2019) due to our proximity to Salisbury Plain and nearby military bases. We had expected these numbers to grow with the significant relocation changes that the military faces but our numbers have remained stable four five or six years.
We welcome admissions applications from service families living within our catchment area. Please follow the Local Authority timelines for normal admissions into Y3 and contact the school for more information about whether we have spaces for transferring in-year.
St Mark’s C of E Junior School (Y3 to Y6) – 01722 333497 or www.st-marks.wilts.sch.uk
To apply for a school place: https://admissions.wiltshire.gov.uk/prefs.php
If you have younger children please contact:
Wyndham Park Infants School on 01722 334594 or http://www.wyndhampark.wilts.sch.uk/ or
St Mark’s Pre-School – (aged from 2) 01722 330382
At St Mark’s our Service Families Champion is Mrs Linda Corfield who is a teacher at the school and part of a service family herself. She is there to support and advise our children and families.
As a first point of contact families arriving in the area often encounter our PSA** (Mrs Norma Hallett) via the shop – a unique social enterprise that is run on site for the benefit and enjoyment of all. Norma works across St Mark’s and Wyndham Park and has a wealth of knowledge of other service families – and can help parents meet other families, settle quickly, find employment e.g. weekly Tea and Chat sessions, working in the shop, signposting to other agencies etc
We have several systems in place to support families during deployment or prolonged separation:
- SENCO (Mrs Lauren Lambert) – Inclusion team Lead
- ELSA (Mrs Catherine Jenkins) provision
- PSA (Mrs Norma Hallett) support for parents
In 2014, extra funding was gained through a bid to the Ministry of Defence Support Fund. This was used to train staff in support techniques and counselling, and we are now better placed to give appropriate and timely support to our service families and children as and when the need arises.
Many schools are already going that extra mile to help support our children but with this funding we are able to ensure that new schemes and initiatives can be introduced to both develop and further your children’s education and wellbeing. The first step is to make contact. We know ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ so we are here to listen and help where needed. To summarise, our aim is to ensure all military families have consistent and continuous provision for their children’s learning, pastoral care and special educational needs, to ensure that they progress and achieve their undoubted potential.
Gareth Flemington (Headteacher – St Mark’s C of E Junior School)
You may find some of the following links useful:
- Child Education Advisory Service (CEAS) – Information and support to Service families and eligible MOD civilians on all aspects of the education of their children in the UK and overseas
- Military Kids Connect (MKC) is an online community for military children (ages 6-17) that provides access to age-appropriate resources to support children dealing with the unique psychological challenges of military life.
- ELSA – Emotional Literacy Support website with online resources for teachers and support staff
- Network of state schools in England providing support and advice regarding Service Children and produced a handbook for schools:
- HMS Heroes – A peer mentoring initiative for Service children based in Plymouth
At previous parent ‘tea and chat’ sessions we have discussed:
- settling children into their new school
- resources available to help meet their needs
- picking a secondary school
- clubs, opportunities, sports etc
- who to contact should the need arise
- deployment and how we can help support your children through this sometimes unsettling time
We are always open to discussing new topics and inviting others with experience/who can advise – just let us know.
Service Premium Spending
The Service Premium helps schools in England to provide additional support to service children. Service parents with children in state-funded schools in England should ensure the school is made aware of their Service status so that the School Census can be completed accurately.
At St Mark’s we fully accept that not all Service children can be ‘lumped together’ and therefore have single approaches. This ‘blunt tool’ approach is too crude and unhelpful to all concerned – especially the children. Some of our provision is deliberately reactive (as the need arises) and some is proactive (often depending on intel at the time).
‘Labels are for filing…labels are for clothing…labels are not for people’ Martina Navratilova
Ideas and initiatives we have explored for spending money to support children:
- Learning Mentor Programme
- Homework Support Groups
- Pastoral Support e.g. ELSA time
- Additional Needs support for newly arrived
- Access to PSA
- Access to extended services e.g. play therapy
- Access to nurture group/social skills/mental health/mentoring
At present funding is being used to support
- enhanced transition (small group work, additional visits, photo books, family liaison etc)
- emotional support (1:1 or small group support to target play, social and emotional issues with nominated TAs)
- confidence-building (i.e. group projects with nominated teachers/TAs)
- training for key staff (teaching and TA) to be able to support particular learning needs (i.e. Makaton training)
- swift and easy referral (where gaps in pupil progress are identified and actioned immediately following admission).
ELSA – Emotional Literacy Support Adviser
Highly trained specialist who works full-time to support children with a range of needs e.g. social, behavioural, emotional or sometimes a combination of all of them. Our ELSA takes a ‘minister without portfolio’ approach – not tied to a class or year group but works across the school with children, staff and parents. The ELSA usually works out of the Garden Room.
PSA – Parent Support Adviser
Highly trained specialist who works full-time with parents primarily with advice, specific support e.g. parenting, budgeting etc and to listen. The PSA also works closely with individual children to provide additional help and guidance as required. The PSA usually works out of the Shop (The Street – between St Mark’s and Wyndham Park).
DHT – Deputy Headteacher
Highly trained teacher and senior leader who works full-time in a variety of roles e.g. Teaching, Learning and Assessment etc.
SENCO – Special Education Needs and Disability Coordinator
A senior leader who leads the Inclusion Team (ELSA, PSA etc)