Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my child is going to be ill/off school?
- Call the school and select ‘Option 1’ to record a student absence.
- For primary 01296 674263 and for secondary 01296 428551.
- The school does not allow students to take holidays during term time.
Who do I talk to to discuss my child's progress in a particular subject?
- For primary pupils, parents should contact their class teacher in the first instance.
- For secondary, parents should contact their child’s teacher for the specific subject concerned. If you don’t know the name of his/her teacher, ask to speak to the Curriculum Leader.
Who do I talk to to discuss my child's progress in more than one subject?
- In this case, parents of secondary students should contact their child’s form tutor. Your child’s form tutor will be able to speak to your child’s teachers for an update on their progress.
What are the term dates for this year?
For all term dates click on the Term Dates section click here.
What is the uniform code?
- The primary uniform is:
- Black trousers, skirt or pinafore (available from high street shops and supermarkets)
- White polo-shirt (available from our uniform supplier with the Berryfields tick or available, unbranded, from high street shops and supermarkets)
- Kingfisher (blue-green) sweater or cardigan, branded with the Berryfields tick and from our uniform supplier
- Black school shoes (no sandals please) with grey, black or white socks
- Navy blue gingham Summer dress (not light blue)
- Optional Navy blue Winter coat (available from our uniform supplier with the Berryfields tick or available, unbranded in navy blue from high street shops and supermarkets)
- Navy blue book bags, PE bags and Summer hats (available from our uniform supplier with the Berryfields tick)
- PE kit consisting of house colour t-shirt, navy blue shorts or tracksuit bottoms and a navy blue sweatshirt or fleece (all available from our uniform supplier with the Berryfields tick)
- The secondary uniform is:
- Navy blazer with college coloured logo and college coloured lining for Y8 - Y11. For Y7 it is a standard Navy Blazer
- Grey sleeveless v-neck sweater with college coloured logo and neck trim for Y8 - Y11. For Y7 it is the standard AVA grey sleeveless v-neck sweater
- College coloured tie
- Plain white shirt*
- Black skirt – knee length*
- Black smart trousers*
- Black shoes*
* Purchase separately
Secondary PE Uniform
- Navy sports polo with college coloured panels
- Navy tracksuit bottoms
- Navy shorts all with college embroidery
Further details on the Academy uniform can be found here.
Where can I get new school uniform?
- School uniform can be purchased from the school directly by completing the online order form, click here for a copy. Shirts, black trousers and shoes can be purchased from high street retailers. If you have any problems, contact the primary school office or (for secondary students) the Medical Support Officer. using the main school numbers.
What do I do if my child is missing an item of uniform?
- Speak to your child's class teacher (primary) or (secondary) write a note in your child’s planner giving the reason. Replace the item as soon as possible. If you need to purchase items of uniform, contact the uniform supplier here.
What is the school's behaviour policy?
- Please follow the link here to access the school’s behaviour policy.
Mobile Phones, Earphones and other Electronic Devices
Mobile phones and other electronic devices are not permitted to be used while students are on Academy grounds. We appreciate some parents may require their child to carry a phone for safety reasons, for example if they walk to and from school, but these must be switched off and placed in their bag. Mobile phones and electronic devices seen or heard (whether in use or not) will confiscated. Earphones are not permitted to be used at any time on Academy grounds, all earphones seen on Academy grounds (whether in use or not) will be confiscated. Parents/carers will be required to collect confiscated items from the Academy’s main reception.
We ask that students who bring mobile phones to school and wish to contact parents during the school day due to illness, first seek attention from the Medical Officer so we can ensure they receive appropriate care.
Who do I talk to if I'm worried about bullying?
- In the first instance, you should contact your child’s class teacher or form tutor.
What time does school start and end?
- In the primary, nursery sessions run from 8:40 to 11:40am and 12:20 to 3:20pm. Pupils in Reception attend from 8:50am to 3:00pm. Pupils in Key Stage 1 begin school at 8:50am and those in Key Stage 2 at 8:40am. All pupils in Key Stage 1 finish at 3:10pm.
- The secondary day starts at 8:30 am and finishes at 3:00pm.
- In the Secondary phase, break time is from 11:00 to 11:20am and lunchtime is from 13:25 to 13:55.
How long are lessons?
- There are five lessons in the secondary day:
- Lessons 1, 2, 3 and 5 are 65 minutes long.
- Lessons 4 is 60 minutes long.
What time can students arrive at school?
- Primary pupils arrive at school via the black gates into the main playground which is opened at 8:30am. Children must be supervised by their parents until the bell rings at the beginning of the day.
- The doors to the student entrance open from 7:30 am. Students can gather in the Atrium from this time onwards.
How do students pay for food?/How does the cashless payment system work?
- The Academy uses a cashless payment system for parents to pay for primary school meals and food in the Academy Dining Hall at break and lunch times. When a student first starts at the Academy, their parents are given an account on the ParentPay system which enables them to pay for meals and other items such as school trips or uniform on the internet using a credit or debit card. When a student purchases food in the dining hall they use a biometric till system to record their purchase which is then deducted from the balance of money placed on the ParentPay account. Any queries regarding the cashless system or ParentPay accounts can be directed by calling the Academy on 01296 428551 and leaving details of the query with Reception. Alternatively you can email a query to firstname.lastname@example.org . To log on to ParentPay, go to www.parentpay.com.
What food is provided?
- School meals are provided by the Academy’s catering supplier, Herts Catering who are a widely-used catering provider particularly successful in schools in providing food which is healthy but appealing to students and which is prepared on site by the catering team.
- School meals are provided free to all pupils in Reception to Year 2, as part of the government's universal free school meals initiative. Those who are eligible for Free School Meals are also provided with a meal free of charge from Year 3 upwards. Other pupils in Year 3 upwards can order a meal for £1.30 per day when they arrive at school in the morning, if there are sufficient funds in their ParentPay account.
- Secondary students have a choice of a wide-range of savoury snacks at break-time and lunch as well as a main meal and dessert. For those students on Free School Meals, pricing is set such that they are able to spend their allowance of £2.50 on a main meal and dessert or drink.
How can I apply for free school meals?
- Application forms for Free School Meals can be obtained from the main Academy Reception, download an electronic copy here.
What trips are there?
- The school runs a range of trips throughout the year. Further details on planned trips can be found by clicking on the link to the school’s calendar here.
What after school clubs are there?
- The school runs a variety of after school clubs and activities. To access the weekly enrichment timetable, please click here.
What library facilities do you have?
- In the primary school, pupils have access to a reading scheme and class library areas in each classroom. There is also a school library containing a range of fiction titles and information books alongside a suite of desktop computers.
- The secondary library is located within the Academy’s Learning Resource Centre and is staffed by a qualified librarian.
- We currently have in the region of 15,000 books on our shelves of which approximately two thirds are fiction and the remaining third non-fiction.
- The fiction titles are colour coded to enable students to easily find their preferred genres and we have a dedicated section for students with special educational needs. Similarly the non-fiction titles are grouped by subject with a shelf index to direct students to their required topic.
- In addition to the books the LRC contains teaching space for up to 60 students and 15 networked computers which offer electronic resources such as My Maths, BBC Bitesize and other educational software and this is constantly being developed. Students have instant access to the academy intranet, Virtual Learning Environment and restricted internet for research purposes and we will shortly be rolling out our online library catalogue – Eclipse.net which will enable students to request, reserve and review resources including physical and e-books, recommended websites, periodicals and other materials. Related to this students, staff and parents will be able to remotely access our resources through a free app – iMLS available for download at www.microlib.co.uk.
What is the school's homework policy?
- In the primary school, pupils take reading books home and are expected to read to an adult or (later in Key Stage 2) to themselves daily. In addition, pupils in Reception take home phonics sheets when they learn new sounds and are given additional writing tasks in the Summer term; pupils in Key Stage 1 have weekly spellings an open-ended, topic-related, half-termly learning log task and occasional RE, topic or writing tasks; and pupils in Key Stage 2 have weekly spellings to learn, a weekly maths tasks and a more open-ended, weekly topic-related writing task.
- The secondary phase has introduced Show My Homework which is an online system designed to make homework easier for students, staff and parents. Homework can be a daunting issue for us all. Teachers need to be aware of homework set by other teachers, so students don't get overloaded. Students need to be clear of their homework requirements and deadlines and parents should be involved in the homework process so they have some idea about what their children are expected to do. Show My Homework helps with this by storing homework in a simple calendar which can be viewed from the Aylesbury Vale Academy Show My Homework page linked to here. Please click here to access SMWH.
- If you are unable to access Show My Homework online, please contact Ms McManus, Assistant Principal.
- Years 7 and 8 - 45 minutes to 1hour 30 minutes per day. Students will have set weekly homework for English, Maths, Science and Design & Technology. Other subjects will set homework weekly or fortnightly on different days so as not clash with the above subjects.
- Year 9 - 1 to 2 hours per day. Students will have set weekly homework for English, Maths, Science and Design & Technology. Other subjects will set homework weekly or fortnightly on different days so as not clash with the above subjects.
- Years 10 and 11 - 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes per day. Students normally are set two pieces of homework every evening, each lasting approximately 45 minutes. Please note that homework will increase in frequency and duration when GCSE coursework is due and exams approach. Students will have two pieces of homework per week from English, Science and Mathematics and one from each option. Please see the timetable here for more details.
What subjects do you offer?
- The Aylesbury Vale Academy offers its students a broad and balanced curriculum.
Early Years Foundation Stage
- In BerryBeebies, Nursery and Reception, pupils follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework; experiencing the 7 areas of learning through largely play-based, child-initiated provision. Activities are carefully planned to challenge and develop pupils skills, knowledge and understanding, often following their own interests and based on termly or half-termly topics.
Key Stages 1 and 2
- In Years 1 to 6 pupils have daily English and mathematics lessons. PE/Games takes place twice each week and Religious Education and science once a week. Geography, history, art and design, design technology and music are often drawn together through an over-arching topic.
Key Stage 3
- During the Academic Years 7 – 9, all students access courses in English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages, Music, Physical Education and Religious Studies. Personal Health and Social Education, Information and Communication Technology and Citizenship are taught across the curriculum.
Key Stage 4
- In years 10 and 11 students have an element of choice which allows them to personalise their Key Stage 4 Curriculum.
- English, Maths and Science along with core PE and RS are compulsory subjects for all students. The remainder of each timetable is composed of three Option Subjects *1 and two choices from the English Baccalaureate groups *2.
- Most students will achieve a minimum of eight GCSE or equivalent qualifications.
- *1 - Art and Design, ICT, Music, Electronics, Graphics, Sport, Media, Textiles, Business, PE, Religious Studies.
- *2 - Additional Sciences, Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages, Computer Science.
Key Stage 5 - Post 16
- Students can choose from a range of AS/A level and/or BTEC level 3 Courses. A levels are offered in English, Maths, Religious Studies, Media, Design and Technology Product Design, PE and Communication and Culture. BTEC Level 3 courses (equivalent to 3 A levels) are offered in Performing Arts, IT and Business.
Who do I speak to if my contact details change?
- Parents can use the SIMS Parent website or App to update their contact details and other preference.
- Alternatively, they should contact the primary school office or the relevant secondary Pastoral Support team member:
- Year 7 & 8 students: Tracy Toohey
- Year 9 & 10 students: Barbara Steedman
- Year 11 & Post-16 students: Linda Freshwater
When are parents’ evenings?
- For all other key dates click on the Academy Calendar section click here.
Is there someone to help my child with their homework?
- Yes. In the primary school, pupils can obtain help and support from their class teacher or learning support assistant.
- A supervised homework club runs every day in the secondary school from 3:00 – 4:00 in room B-02-26 and all students are welcome and can receive support with homework tasks.
What career guidance is there for my child?
- All students are supported with advice relevant to their age group.
- Year 8s start with exploring the variety of careers available and the world of work through PSHCE. Year 9 build on this with Careers programs and advice from Connexions, form tutors and subject teachers amongst others to help them choose the most appropriate subjects and pathways for KS4.
- Throughout KS4 there are opportunities to explore the world of work and continuing education through a Careers day, along with visits from local universities and support and guidance from staff in school and further Connexions advice to ensure students are well equipped to choose their next destination.
- Careers advice is built in to the fortnightly tutorial programme throughout Year 12 and 13, with regular input from local universities, businesses and along with several tailored support programmes targeted at those looking for apprenticeships and work, or university placements.
Who do I speak to if I want to arrange a meeting with the principal or primary headteacher?
- Please contact the principal’s PA, Mrs E Perrin or the primary school office.
How can I book one of the school's facilities?
- Contact the Estates and Facilities Manager. Call reception for either the primary or secondary to be connected.
How can my child purchase a Locker?
IN the secondary school, students are now able to have a locker for the duration of their time at the Aylesbury Vale Academy. There will be a one-off payment in return for which students will be provided with a padlock and allocated a locker. Should a padlock or locker be damaged by the student, there will be an additional charge to cover the cost.