Grayrigg CE School - Start Small Think Big

Applying for a place at Grayrigg School

How do I make an application for a place for my child?

All of the information you need is on the Admissions page or contact the school direct.

Information for new starters

What time does school start and finish?

The official school day starts at 8.45am but children can be dropped off for quiet activities before school from 8.30am. Breakfast Club can be booked from 8 to 8.30am at a small charge if required. The school day finishes at 3.15pm with free after school clubs most days until 4.30pm and additional care after this available at a small charge until 5.30pm.

What is the school uniform and where can I buy it?

Our school uniform can be purchased via the school uniform shop link on the homepage of our website. We recently changed our logo and added orange as our second school colour - the children were involved in designing the logo.

Do you have school dinners?

We do! Dinners are our whole family time here at Grayrigg, staff and all pupils eat together in mixed age groups. Older children help younger children cut up their food. Staff here actually chose to eat with the children, not because they have to, but because we all enjoy eating together.

What if my child is struggling to settle in?

Lots of parents worry about this, but most children do settle. Every child, however, is different and we know that you know them best, so we’ll work with you in the interest of your child. This may involve setting up an area that links to their likes, a specific settling in activity each day, maybe your child needs a reduced timetable (e.g. mornings) to start with. Some children may be fine at school, but the initial moment saying “bye” to Mummy or Daddy can be upsetting - again we’ll work with you to find the best solution. We can’t promise every child will settle straight away, but we can promise that we will go the extra mile to work with you to make sure they do settle here at Grayrigg.

How will I be kept informed about what’s happening at school?

We pride ourselves on our close relationships with parents. Weekly dates and updates are sent home electronically (via e-mails) - paper copies can be requested. We e-mail out important notices and information linked to our website e.g. when a new blog or information is posted. Our twitter feed is growing in popularity as it is an easy and quick way to share day to day happenings at school. All staff are around at the end of the school day and happy to talk. If your child does something particularly fabulous you may even get a phone call!

Is there a social scene we can be part of?

One of the lovely things about Grayrigg is that the family goes beyond the children; you will also become part of the school. It is of course up to you how involved you get. The Friends of Grayrigg School (FOGS) organise fundraisers and social events for adults and for children. They are also keen for new ideas and new people to join. There really is a sense of team spirit here. For an example of this refer to the James and The Giant Peach Blog - it should give you a sense of the team spirits.

My child currently attends another school, how will you help them to settle in?

Children who have moved or have struggled in larger settings, settle quickly and often report that one thing they love is getting to have a go at everything….

Parents of child in Year 2
“We moved our son to Grayrigg School halfway through his reception year as he was unhappy in his previous school. Everyone welcomed him with open arms and he settled in straight away. His confidence is now sky high and he has lots of friends. We no longer have to worry about him because he is happy again. Moving him to Grayrigg was the best decision we could have made.”

Year 6 child
“I moved in year 3 from a bigger city, I was really scared but Mrs Cooper was really smiley. Everyone was nice - at my other school it was big and I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to, so I didn’t try anything new - I would never want a speaking part and I hated sport, but at Grayrigg I got a speaking part and we all take part in all the sporting things. I remember the hockey competition as I didn’t really want to do it, so Mrs Cooper said just play 5 minutes at the end of each match and Scarlett and Emma practised with me every playtime - I played 5 minutes in the first match and nobody minded when I missed the goal, they all cheered just because I got the ball - they made me feel really good, so I played the full match. I never scored but I did get the ball and we came third so it was brill. I think I liked it best that even though some of the people in my team were really good, they never got cross with me or made me feel like a loser.
Now after four years, I’m quite good at things I don’t think I would have ever tried at my old school. I’ve climbed to the top of the climbing wall at Kendal, I’ve had main parts in the play and I even got to show our MP round our outdoor area. Mrs Cooper still gets all emotional and teary when I do something because I was really shy when I came in year three and now I’m not!”

Year 5 child
“I love Grayrigg. I only started in September and I know my teachers all love me already. The nicest thing is how excited they get and that they are always there for us. I look forward to school. I’ve started climbing. Probably the best thing was going to London - I had only been at the school for two weeks but I felt safe and happy in a strange city for three days with my friends and teachers - I think that’s quite impressive.”

Other questions

How does a mixed age classroom work?

Brilliantly! We don’t view the children as 3 or 4 different year groups – to us they are a group of individuals. It doesn’t matter whether they are year 3 or year 6, Reception or Year 2 - what matters is that the teachers know every unique individual incredibly well and they know what the next steps are for each child, both academically and personally. The mixed age classes are a strength of the school: for a child who struggles, they will not always be the least able in the class; for a child who excels, they are not always the most able and they can aspire to be like the older children. The key thing to remember is that your child will have the same teacher for 3 or 4 years and they will know if they are not themselves, if they have something to celebrate or if they just need a bit of extra guidance or TLC.

Will my child have access to the outdoors every day?

We love to get outside. In the Tiny Acorns the children have a wonderful outdoor area, which is accessible all year, whatever the weather and the staff regularly take the learning outside. We have extensive outdoor grounds and we use them whenever possible. We also have the use of our forest classrooms and the whole school learning is taken into the forest every Friday afternoon. We also take the children climbing, canoeing, ghyll-scrambling and caving as part of the curriculum.

Aside from Maths and English, what other subjects are covered?

The whole curriculum is covered - see the curriculum page for more detail. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage ( nursery & reception) cover a different curriculum which focuses on areas of learning. Children are involved in planning some areas of the curriculum such as PE, Art, and DT.

What physical activities are on offer?

You can find details in our Curriculum PE policy and our After School Clubs page.

What is the best time to talk to a teacher if I have a question?

For a proper chat it is best to wait until the end of the school day if possible. It is always helpful if you could let us know you need to speak to us. Occasionally staff will be rushing off to a training session or meeting, if this is the case they will always see you the next day. If something has happened that might upset your child, do let us know in the morning though - a goldfish dying might not seem much to us grown-ups but it can be devastating to a child.

Is there before and after school provision and what does it cost?

We run free after school activities until 4.30pm on most days, with additional care available at a small cost (currently £4) from 4.30pm until 5.30pm. See our After School Clubs page for more details.

How can parents get involved?

Just like children, we recognise that adults are all different and we all have different limits. There are numerous ways you can get involved. FOGS are a great way to get involved and you would most definitely be welcomed at the meetings. You can get involved in specific events that come up over the year such as torchlight processions, afternoon tea, pamper evenings or treasure hunts. You may prefer to come into school and hear readers, or some parents prefer to come in and help with gardening or displays. We see parents as part of our school team and are always happy to use your skills. Basically, if you want to get involved come and have a chat with us.

Does the school close in bad weather?

The road is actually well gritted in cold weather. It is one of the things we love about the school - the road is clear but we still have stunning, snowy views of Whinfell (and of course, a playground full of snow with a great sloped field for sledging). We can’t predict the weather, so we can never promise that we would never close due to bad weather, but we can assure you that it is unlikely. We do, however, ask that you do not take unnecessary risks. Use the main road to travel to school as the back roads can get very icy and we would not want you to risk your own or your child’s safety getting them to school. If you are snowed in at home and want some guidance about what your child is missing, teachers will be happy to give you some guidance over the phone when possible. We also take full advantage of the snow in our learning as there is nothing worse than been stuck inside, when you can look out of the window and see a clean duvet of snow over the playground beckoning you to make footprints in it, sledge in it, build in it!

Where will my child go after Year 6 and how will that transition go?

Our children generally go on to Queen Katherine School or Settlebeck School. We have great links with both schools and our children do exceptionally well. One year both head boy and head girl at QKS were from Grayrigg. Although we only send a few pupils each year, they are always well represented in the awards ceremonies and parents report back that they are amazed by the number of Grayrigg children who receive awards.