Parent Handbook

Download the Parent Handbook as a PDF.

  1. Welcome
  2. A Brief History of Brighton Steiner School
  3. The School Day
  4. Brighton Steiner School Classes and their State School Equivalents
  5. School Hours
  6. Services we provide outside of normal school hours
  7. Absence from school for illness or other reasons
  8. Infectious Diseases
  9. Collecting your child
  10. Communication
  11. Your financial contribution
  12. PTA
  13. Lost property
  14. Use of Mobile Phones in School by Adults and Pupils
  15. Television, Video, Cinema, Computer
  16. Pupil Equality
  17. School Food
  18. Clothing
  19. Festivals
  20. Books

Welcome

A very warm welcome to Brighton Steiner School
We hope that your time as a parent at our school will be happy, fruitful and fulfilling. This handbook is intended to be a point of reference to provide answers to any questions you may have as a parent.

Ethos

The work of the teachers is inspired by the wisdom and contemporary relevance of Rudolph Steiner’s educational philosophy and how it prepares your child for the changing modern world.

We aim to give your child:

  • Eternal values
  • Self confidence
  • A love of learning
  • The ability to work with others
  • Enduring and practical skills
  • Open and tolerant attitudes
  • Spiritual freedom
  • Creativity

The task of the education at Brighton Steiner School can be summarised as:

  • Fostering a healthy development in your child
  • Enabling your child to reach their full potential
  • Helping your child to develop the skills they need to contribute to society

Steiner Waldorf Schools

Steiner Waldorf Schools are self-governing, independent educational institutions involving close co-operative working by parents, teachers and administration that manage the schools’ resources and set priorities in the best interests of your child.

Integral to Steiner Waldorf education is its view of each child as a unique spiritual individual developing through evolving phases of childhood. In adulthood the individual spirit can find fill freedom of expression. Every step in your child’s education may be seem as geared to this end.

A Brief History of Brighton Steiner School

The School was initiated from a small group of parents who wanted a Steiner education for their children in Brighton. In 1981 the first kindergarten class was started and run by a qualified Steiner teacher. Two years later an experienced Steiner class teacher started a pilot Class 1 in a parent’s house. By 1984, with more teachers and classes, the confidence of the parents was enough to justify buying the first real home and the school officially opened its gates as Brighton Steiner School.

The Steiner School continued to grow at an extraordinary rate through the strength of teachers, parents and friends. In 1986 a second house was bought, next door to the first and these two adjoining buildings housed the school for the next 10 years. In May 1996 the school sold these two houses and bought the current premises in Roedean Road. Since this move the school has been able to expand to include an Upper School Department and our first students successfully sat GCSEs in the summer of 2003.

The School Day

Kindergartens:
3 kindergartens, each 5 mornings per week 8.40am – 1.10pm
Singing Tree:
9am – 1pm with a Forest Day each Friday at (an additional satellite setting Stanmer Park in Falmer)
Kindergarten Long Day:
Wednesday afternoon, 1.10pm – 3pm
Playgroup:
Monday to Friday, 8.40am – 1.10pm
Parent & Child Groups:
Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 12.30pm
Parent & Baby Group:
Tuesday and Thursday, 10am – 12pm
Afternoon Sessions (for Early Years Children):
Monday to Friday, 1.10pm – 5.40pm
After School Club (for Classes 1 – 4):
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 1pm – 5.40pm
Breakfast Club:
Monday – Thursday, 8am – 8.30am Breakfast is provided.

For more details please contact Reception.

Class 1 (age 7 years) starts the year with one full day (currently Wednesday) plus four half days and adds another full day (Tuesday or Thursday afternoon) at some point in the school year.

Class 2 (age 8 years) has full days attendance on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Class 3 (age 9 years) has full days attendance on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Class 4 (age 10 years) and classes upward have five full days attendance at school.

For Classes 1 – 3 on half days school finishes at 1:10pm; for Classes 1 – 6 a long day ends at 3:15pm. Some older pupils (Classes 7 – 10) may be required to stay till 4pm for some lessons – parents will be advised accordingly.

Brighton Steiner School Classes and their State School Equivalents

Age
Brighton Steiner Class
State School Year
0 – 18mths
Parent & Baby
18mths – 3 yrs
Parent & Child
3-4
Playgroup
4-5
Kindergarten Year 1
Reception
5-6
Kindergarten Year 2
Year 1
6+
Class 1
Year 2
7+
Class 2
Year 3
8+
Class 3
Year 4
9+
Class 4
Year 5
10+
Class 5
Year 6
11+
Class 6
Year 7
12+
Class 7
Year 8
13+
Class 8
Year 9
14+
Class 9
Year 10
15+
Class 10
Year 11

 

 

 

School Hours

Arrival at school and going home

The school opens its doors at 8.30am. Punctuality is essential for the rhythm of the school day. Your child should be in their classroom by 8.40am in order for registration to take place and lessons to start promptly.

In playgroup and kindergarten registration takes place at 8.45am as their daily walks begin at 8.50am.

Punctuality is important for your child as it expresses respect for the community of the kindergarten or class. The importance of punctuality cannot be overemphasised. All classes begin with a daily verse and in the younger classes there is an emphasis on rhythmic speech, music and movement at the beginning of the day. This regular early morning pattern is a very important part of the classes’ daily rhythm and late arrivals can be very disruptive.

Lateness after 9am is classed by the DFE as an unauthorised absence and is recorded as such in your child’s record.

Services we provide outside of normal school hours

Breakfast Club

If you need to drop your child off earlier than 8.30am the breakfast club is open from 8am to care for your child in the early years and classes 1 – 3.

Afternoon Sessions for your child in Early Years

These are available daily from 1.10pm – 5.40pm. You can book sessions in advance or a one-off on the day. Forms are available at reception.

After School Club for your child in classes 1 – 4

This is available 4 times a week from 1pm – 5.40pm. You can book sessions in advance or a one-off on the day. Forms are available at reception.

There are extra charges for these services.

Absence from school for illness or other reasons

When your child is absent from school for any reason, you should inform reception by telephoning the absence line on 01273 386300 by 9am of the morning of absence.

The class teacher should be informed in writing of the reason for your child’s absence either on your child’s return to class after an illness or in advance in the cases of essential appointments. According to the DFE rules an absence is either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’. In order to ‘authorise’ an absence in compliance with DFE rules, teachers request an absence note to be sent with your child when he or
she has been absent, even when a phone call has been made.

Illness at School

Should your child become ill whilst at school we will assess their condition and care for them until a parent, carer or guardian collects the child to take home to recover. No pupil will be allowed to go home on their own.

Family Holidays

These should coincide with the school holidays. Parents wishing to do otherwise MUST request permission in writing to the College of Teachers at least 4 weeks prior to the holiday taking place. Otherwise the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Authorising an absence is at the discretion of the College of teachers; requesting permission does not guarantee authorisation. Please refer to our Attendance Policy.

Medical and Dental

Appointments should be made out of school hours. When this is not possible teachers should be notified in writing at least 24 hours in advance.

If your child leaves the school before the end of their normal day they will need to report to reception to be signed out.

Should your child have or develop a medical condition please ask for a medical update form at reception and give to your class teacher. The school is required to keep a log of all medicines brought in, therefore please fill in a consent form at reception should medicines need to be administered during the school day.

Please refer to our Administering Medicines and Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions Policies.

Infectious Diseases

Your child suffering from infectious diseases should not be sent to school. Reception should be informed immediately. As a school we recognise that illnesses influence the development of the child, both in themselves and in the process of recovery. It may sometimes be the case that a child is considered too unwell to be in school. In such a situation, after discussion with the parent, we reserve the right to ask that the child stay at home.

Guidelines on childhood illnesses

Illness
Infectious Period
After Care
Measles
9 days before rash 4 days after rash
2 weeks rest Incubation period 8-15 days
Chickenpox
2 days before rash 7 days after rash until last blister has scabbed
2-3 weeks rest Incubation period 7-21 days
Mumps
9 days from onset of swelling. Bland food is recommended
2 weeks Incubation period 12-26 days
Whooping Cough
2-4 weeks
2-4 weeks Incubation period 7-15 days
Scarlet Fever
1-3 days incubation 21 days infectious
At least 3 weeks convalescence
German Measles (Rubella)
14-21 days incubation Infectious 4 days from onset of rash
1 week rest NB Keep away from expectant mothers
Sickness and diarrhoea
48 hours

Please also keep your child away if they are suffering from flu or a serious cold or cough.

Contact your doctor or homoeopath for guidance on quarantine times.

A child at school should be fit to participate in all activities. The school is not equipped to nurse your sick child.

Collecting your child

Your child should be collected promptly at the end of the school day. Early years – 1.10pm, Main School – 3.10pm. If you are late your child will be placed in either afternoon sessions or after school club and the appropriate charge will be made. If you think you might be late, i.e. stuck in traffic, please do phone reception.

If your child is going to be collected by someone other than yourself we must have written authorisation in advance or on the morning of the day in question, identifying the person who will be collecting your child.

Please note that it is a legal requirement that we can only allow a child to leave the premises with an authorised person.

Communication

In the sections which follow we outline some key parts of the communication network which play their essential part in maintaining a healthy community.

Contact details of Brighton Steiner School:

Address: Roedean Road, Brighton, BN2 5RA
Tel: 01273 386300
Reception Email: enquiries@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk
Website: www.brightonsteinerschool.org.uk

Our website carries general sections on the school and its curriculum and the admissions procedure. There is also a section which gives term dates and a diary of important events. You can also find all our policies and our last SIS Inspection Report. Copies of all policies are also available at reception.

Brighton Steiner School, like all Steiner schools, has no Head Teacher. Therefore it is important that you know who to go to if you have any queries or concerns.

Reception

Please contact reception for:

  • Important messages to be passed on to your child and/or teachers
  • Hard copies of school policies
  • Our school prospectus and general leaflets on Steiner Waldorf education
  • Forms for leave of absence for your child
  • Forms for sessions outside school hours
  • Change of contact details, i.e. addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses
  • Payments can be made for any class trips or financial contributions
  • Medical information/administering medicines update forms

You may receive correspondence from the school via either emails or text messages. These will be important – please do read them.

Newsletter

The newsletter is an essential means of communication within the school community. It provides details of forthcoming school events and festivals as well as fundraising and other social events. Please subscribe via our website. You should receive it fortnightly by email if you have an email address. If you want to advertise in the newsletter please ensure you hand your advert into reception the Friday before the next edition.

Notice Boards

These are located in the corridor leading to the hall to the left of the entrance foyer. Please hand notices for display into reception and not put them up yourself.

Security Access

  • Please remember to shut the school gate behind you.
  • Parking is strictly offsite.
  • Sign in at reception for parents’ evenings and meetings.

Class Teacher

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s education or wellbeing, please make an appointment via email with your child’s teacher, whose email address will be in the following format – name.surname@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk

Please do not attempt to engage the teacher in conversation before the beginning of lessons in the mornings. If there is an important piece of information which needs communicating, please write a note and hand it to the teacher.

Individual meetings regarding your child

There will always be an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher if you request one. You may like to discuss your child’s progress or any issues that may arise for your child. Either you or the teacher may request a meeting.

Parents’ Evenings

Each class holds a termly parents’ evening, which all parents of the class are expected to attend. The purpose of the evening is to share with parents what goes on in the classroom, aspects of the curriculum and to give you a picture of your child’s development, as well as the possibility to discuss questions about your child. It is also a chance for parents to meet and get to know all the parents in your child’s class.

Your child will really benefit from your participation in these termly evenings. It is one of the best ways of building the bridge of mutual caring between home and school and as such are mandatory.

Home Visits

In early years and the lower classes each teacher may wish to visit their pupils at home at some time. This helps to give a ‘whole’ picture of the child and fosters a mutually supportive connection between parents, teachers and child. It is also helpful for new your children coming into the older classes or when something significant has occurred either at home or school.

Reports

At the end of the school year you will receive a report on the progress of your child; this consists of a full report by the class teacher followed by shorter reports from each subject teacher who teaches your child.

Class Contact

Every class has a parent, known as the Class Contact, who is a bridge of communication between teacher and parents of that particular class. The Class Contact will keep you informed of any festivals, outings, social events, parents’ evenings, cleaning rotas, etc., and will also arrange Christmas/Birthday gifts for the teacher, e.g. a contribution towards a hamper. Class contacts meet regularly to share fundraising ideas, experiences and to aid smooth communication through our school community.
If you have any questions regarding your child or their class, please do speak to your class contact in the first instance as they may be able to answer your questions. If not they will refer you to the class teacher.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding is of paramount importance to the School – we strive to keep everybody in the school safe, all of the time.
If you believe that you have a safeguarding issue please contact the safeguarding leads directly.
Early years: carrie.rawle@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk
Main School: jacqui.firth@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk

College of Teachers

The College of Teachers has the responsibility for pedagogical governance and the development of the education. It is the central task of the College to maintain the integrity of Brighton Steiner School as a Steiner Waldorf School. College members are teachers who are committed to Rudolph Steiner’s philosophy of education.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s education please speak to your teacher in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the response, please contact College at college@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk

Administration

Our administrator works to ensure a smooth running of our school. If you have any questions regarding PR, Fundraising and Recruitment or any issues regarding the management of the school please email admin@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk

Your Financial Contribution

Brighton Steiner School is entirely funded by parental contributions and donations from friends and supporters. We ask families to commit to the financial arrangements mutually agreed to and that they strictly honour those commitments as the yearly budget (i.e. running costs and salaries) is based on them.

Payment of Accounts

Please arrange to pay your parental contributions on either the 4th or 18th of each month by standing order. Or you can pay by BACS or cheque at the beginning of every month. The school’s bank details are on the invoice and we also accept cash payments. If you default on payment we reserve the right to charge for each email or letter we send to you regarding your debt.

If a child is to be withdrawn from the school, a full term’s notice must be sent in writing to the Administrator and College, or a term’s fees will be payable in lieu of notice.

Please see our Financial Policy.

If you have any questions regarding your parental contribution please contact Jo Saker, our Finance Co-ordinator, at finance@brightonsteinerschool.org.uk or alternatively you can make an appointment to see her. The finance office is on the top floor.

PTA

We have an active PTA who meet half termly in the evening. Parents and staff enjoy tea and biscuits and discuss mostly fundraising. Everyone is welcome to come along with fresh ideas or to support the trusted old fundraising events. This may help you to feel part of our school community, especially if you don’t come to school with your child regularly.
The PTA can be contacted at thebrightonsteinerschoolpta@outlook.com

Your Practical Contribution

There are many ways that parents can get involved in the school community. There are whole school workdays, times when you will be asked to bake cakes and to put your name on a rota to help at our whole school fundraising events, for example at the Christmas Bazaar. Your teacher may also ask for help cleaning the classroom. There is no better feeling than knowing that your time has made a contribution to the wellbeing of the school and the children!

If you have a skill that you think may benefit the school we would welcome contributions. The more you put in to the school the more you get out.

Lost property

All items of clothing should be clearly marked as the amount of unclaimed clothing can mount up very quickly and unnamed items cannot be returned to the owner. Any clothing found will be put in the lost property baskets in the foyer. Unclaimed items will be recycled to charity shops at least 3 times a year.

Use of Mobile Phones in School by Adults and Pupils

Although parents and pupils will bring mobile phones onto the premises, it must be understood that these should not be used and be switched off when entering the school grounds. Mobile phones should never be used for the purpose of taking photographs.
Members of staff will only use a school mobile phone for school trips. Any pupil’s or family’s phone numbers will be erased from the school phone at the end of the trip.
Please refer to Mobile Phone and Image Use Policies for more clarity.

Television, Video, Cinema, Computer

In order to meet child protection/safeguarding legislation the school follows a strict camera protocol; please refer to our Image Use Policy.
In early years we ask that children do not encounter any screen time. In the Main School this may be limited according to the child’s age. Please speak to your class or kindergarten teacher if you have any queries regarding this.

Pupil Equality

Brighton Steiner School recognises that the richness and diversity of culture and experience that we now enjoy is our heritage. It is the school’s policy to accept and celebrate diversity. Please refer to our Pupil Equality Policy.

School Food

We have a clear policy on the food that your child should be eating: SIMPLE AND GOOD. We ask that children do not bring crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks or sweets to school.

We also ask that any food containing nuts not be brought into school. Please refer to our Food Policy.

You can order a school lunch from the kitchen window in the morning. The menu changes termly and delicious, organic, vegetarian meals along with salads are available daily. The food is priced on the board outside the window along with the weekly menu.

For Health & Safety reasons we expect all eating to take place in the classroom and not in the corridors, communal areas or playground. This is especially important to ensure the wellbeing of children with food allergies.

We do ask that no food containing nuts is brought into school.

Clothing

There is no uniform at Brighton Steiner School but it is essential that your child is dressed in sensible and practical clothing which is appropriate to the season. It is your responsibility to ensure that your child is dressed appropriately. Please refer to our Dress Code Guidelines.
As a general rule pupils should not wear:

  • Clothes or shoes with gimmicks, e.g. flashing lights
  • Clothes or shoes with designer labels
  • Clothes or shoes with cartoons, logos or writing
  • Flip flops or high heeled shoes
  • “Onesies”
  • Short skirts
  • Black clothes in Early Years settings

Festivals

Celebrating the festivals of the year is an important part of the life of the school from the Early Years through to the Upper School. By celebrating these special days our child experiences the cycle and rhythm of the year and a feeling for the distinctive beauty of each season.

Festivals provide a welcome opportunity for the whole school community to get together and parents are actively encouraged to join in. They are social events as well as giving space for inner reflection, bringing warmth to the relationship between school and home. We celebrate with music, stories and songs and often with shared food. Each festival is associated with a particular colour, which your child will wear to reflect their shared experience and each contains a deeper meaning, relevant to our journey through the year.

For festivals it is appreciated if you could send your child to school specially dressed, if possible, with an item of clothing reflecting the season. There is usually a request for a particular colour for each festival celebration:

  • Michaelmas Deep red
  • Martinmas Dark purple
  • Advent Dark blue
  • Candlemas No particular colour
  • Easter Yellow/green
  • May Day White and bright colours
  • Whitsun White
  • St John’s Fiery red/orange

Michaelmas is a festival of new strength and inner resolve and with this season of harvest and reaping the school year begins. The children work in the gardens and the school building, cleaning, planting and tidying.

Martinmas, celebrated in November, combines the Lantern Festival for the younger classes, often a Festival of Light (Diwali) as part of the Class 5 India Main Lesson and an opportunity for service in the Upper School by students helping out at a local hostel for the homeless.

Advent brings a mood of patient anticipation; short festivals are held each week and at the end of term the teachers perform a traditional nativity play for the children and parents.

Candlemas is the time of the year when we see new shoots, see the sun higher in the sky and know that the darkness of winter has passed – Spring is on the way.

Easter is celebrated with an assembly combining the re-awakening of the earth and nature and the triumph of life over death.

Whitsun offers a quiet moment of spiritual reflection. St John’s coming at the height of summer is celebrated with fire, drama and music and an outdoor gathering to which parents are welcome.

Books

If you are new to the ideas of Waldorf education, you may find it very useful to read a little about the background. Below is a list of books that might interest you.

Books on Steiner Waldorf Education

  • Waldorf Education, Christopher Clouder and Martyn Rawson, Floris Books

Early Years

  • Beyond the Rainbow Bridge, Barbara J Patterson and Pamela Bradley, AWSNA Publications
  • You are your Child’s First Teacher, Rahima Baldwin, Celestial Arts, California
  • Well I wonder, Sally Schweizer, Sophia Press
  • Kindergarten Education, Betty Peck, Hawthorn Press
  • Free to Learn, Lynne Oldfield, Hawthorn Press

Class Teaching Years

  • School as a journey, Torin M Finser, Anthroposophic Press
  • Encountering the Self, Herman Koepke, Anthroposophic Press

Practical Activities and Festivals

  • All Year Round, A. Druitt, C. Fynes-Clinton and M. Rowling, Hawthorn Press
  • Families, Festivals and Food, D. Carey and J. Large, Hawthorn Press
  • The Children’s Year, S. Cooper, C. Fynes-Clinton and M. Rowling, Hawthorn Press

Lifestyle and Child Development

  • Lifeways, B. Voors, Hawthorn Press
  • Phases of Child Development, Lievegoed, Floris Books
  • Who’s bringing them up? M. Large, Hawthorn Press

We hope that you and your family enjoy your time here with us at Brighton Steiner School.

Download the Parent Handbook as a PDF.