Connect Schools Academy Trust
Our consultation brochure is published on the website, and we hope that this will help you to have a good understanding of River Mill Primary School. If you have any questions, take a look through this section. If you still have anything which you are unsure about, then please do not hesitate to contact us. (Please see "Contact Us" under the "More" tab).
We have been holding consultations meetings, drop-in sessions and delivering our early education programme, and all of these events have given us the opportunity to meet with people who have an interest in River Mill from different perspectives.
Having this opportunity to speak to people has made us more aware of the questions which are most important to you, so we have put together the following points which we feel will help you to understand more about our plans for River Mill. Please also see our FAQ at the bottom of the page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do you want another primary school in Dartford?
There is a large amount of new housing being built in Dartford and as a result Kent County Council have outlined the need for a new school.
What 'freedoms' do free schools have? Can they do whatever they want?
Free schools are free of local authority control; this means they answer directly to the Department for Education and have some beneficial freedoms not found in other state schools – such as managing their own school day and term dates, offering a balanced and innovative curriculum alongside core subjects (English, mathematics and science), and being able to manage their own recruitment process to hire the best staff. All free schools must adhere to the Admissions Code, be not-for-profit and be subject to full inspections by Ofsted.
Who decides whether free schools can open or not?
Setting up a free school is not easy – but it is achievable. Any group that wants to propose a free school must show they have the expertise and ability and have their application approved by the Department for Education (DfE). The application process is rigorous; alongside a clear vision and coherence education plan, groups must also prove there is a need for their school and show that they have support from the local area. Once open, free schools are closely regulated by the DfE both nationally and regionally and are inspected by Ofsted in the same way as any other school.
When will the River Mill Primary School be opened?
River Mill is scheduled to open in September 2019. It will open with space for 30 Reception pupils, 15 Year 1 pupils and 15 Year 2 pupils.
Details of the school day, e.g. start time and finishing time?
We aim for the school to be open from 7.30 am until 6.30 pm, to allow for breakfast and after-school clubs. The session times will be as follows:
Will there be breakfast and after school clubs available?
In the extended opening times of the school outlined above, our breakfast club will open from 7.30 am each morning offering your children a wide and varied breakfast menu which includes toast, cereals, fruit and yoghurt, as well as extras such as pancakes or bacon on a rota basis. They will also have the opportunity to play with toys, games, craft and physical activities.
Our after school club will run from the end of school until 6.30 pm and will include a light evening meal.
We will be sourcing our uniform soon. We are aiming to find something that will be comfortable, smart and unified. We are aiming to consult prospective parents and once this is complete we will share the results.
How can I gauge how good the school will be with no track record?
The DfE have rigorously grilled the sponsor of River Mill, Connect Schools Academy Trust (CSAT), from the outset of the project and continue to monitor and advise as to what our plans are and whether they meet DfE expectations. CSAT currently operate four other primary schools and two pre-schools. Further details are available at www.connectschoolsacademytrust.com
Our Head of School designate, Ms Suzanne Leader has an excellent track record in her previous schools.
How big will the classes be?
There will be a maximum of 30 pupils per class.
What happens if there is a change in government/education policy?
The Free School and Academy programme has been supported by all parties over the years. If there is a change of government policy we would adapt in the same way all other schools would have to.
What will you be looking for in your staff?
Excellent teachers and support staff who all work together to ensure our pupils thrive.
My child has special needs. How will you cater for them?
At River Mill we understand that every child has the right to an excellent education. With this is mind, we will cater for our pupils’ special needs, supporting their progress as appropriate. The school will have a SENCO and this will be a key early appointment.
Will you encourage sport/music/art etc. in addition to the traditional curriculum?
River Mill will provide a broad and balanced curriculum with high expectations across all subjects. This will also include a strong focus on foundation subjects such as sport, music and art.
Are there any opportunities for parents to be involved in the school?
We very much hope to have a Friends of River Mill run by parents and carers and will be looking for volunteers.
Who will I contact if I have any concerns about my child?
The first port of call will be the member of staff responsible for your child’s pastoral care. They will liaise with other members of staff as appropriate.
What type of food will be served at the school?
We will have healthy meals provided on site for all pupils. There will be regular tasting sessions to help the pupils familiarise themselves with the options on offer.
Will homework be given to the pupils?
Homework will be given weekly as appropriate to the age of the child.
How and when will you recruit for teachers?
Teacher and other staff recruitment for River Mill will begin shortly, with our first adverts for senior leadership positions being advertised in December/January. We will then be looking to recruit excellent teachers and support staff ready for September 2019.
Can I visit the school before it’s opened?
As we will be building it as a brand new school, there will not be any opportunities to visit the school in advance. However, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01689 821716 and we can share with you the designs for the school, and answer any other question you may have.
Will the school be ready in time for September 2019?
The plan is for the whole new school and its external playing facilities to be completed by January 2020. However, the school will still open in September 2019 in modern and robust modular classrooms. This will only be for one term and we will ensure our pupils do not have less of an experience whilst in this temporary arrangement.
How do I find out about the school’s admissions policy?
Please click here for details.
How can I find out more information about the school?
You can view further details and a brochure will be available shortly to download from our website.