Notes for parents
First of all, thank you for considering Melville-Knox Christian School for your child’s/children’s education!
We hope we will be able to work closely with you in order to bring the best out of your children, for the sake of their future and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
Prior to your interview with members of the school management committee, you should read this document thoroughly and write down any questions you might have in order to discuss them in the interview.
The interview is designed to clarify whether Melville-Knox Christian School is the right choice for your child/children. If the interview is satisfactory, and you are sure of your choice, and in the event of a place being available, you will be required to sign the Contract of Commitment with the school and your child will be enrolled.
Partnership with Parents
Although parents retain their God-given responsibility for educating their children, the school works on the principle that this responsibility is delegated by the parents to the staff of the school during school hours.
Accordingly, the school approaches schooling as a partnership between teachers and parents. For this partnership to be effective, the school considers two issues to be of critical importance:
- Effective and regular communication between the school and the parents.
- A thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each party.
Contract of Commitment
In order to clearly define the roles and responsibilities involved in the partnership, the school has drawn up a Contract of Commitment which you will be required to sign (see Appendix B)
Parents who enrol their child/children for one of the part-time options will have to fulfil certain terms and conditions for a successful partnership to work.
- Parents must ensure the regular attendance of their child at school. Unexplained or excessive absences, which by their nature prevent the child keeping up with their peers and with class work, will be treated by the school as a breach of contract. It should also be noted that the school will not normally permit absence for holiday purposes within school term times.
- Parents must ensure that their children arrive at least 5 minutes prior to the class starting.
- Teachers must inform parents if their child has difficulty adjusting to a classroom situation and, working together, devise a plan to secure adjustment.
- Parents must ensure that all home-work given to their child is done in due time.
- Parents and Teachers, working together, will review the child’s progress at parent-teacher meetings in October and then in June in the light of the obligations of the Contract of Commitment. Depending upon the results of the review, the way forward will be discussed and agreed.
As a Christian school, Melville-Knox Christian School teaches many subjects in a way that differs from that of the mainstream education system. Parents – and students – unfamiliar with the concept of Christian education might find initial difficulty in adjusting to the differences.
Although, at times, the school uses good secular materials and resources to teach several subjects, it will always supplement this material and, if necessary, amend it in order to secure faithfulness to Biblical facts and principles.
Additionally, as a Reformed Christian school, it may be the case that children and parents of various denominations might find some teaching different from that of their own churches. In the initial interview, School Management Committee members will have information detailing the school’s curriculum in greater detail as well as specimen textbooks.
For a preview, below is a brief summary on the school’s curriculum and resources.
Literacy Skills (English)
The school uses standard British materials such as Jolly Phonics, Jolly Grammar and Big Writing for our literacy program. We also use a variety of levelled reading books and novels which are appropriate to each child’s reading age. Pupil’s reading age is assessed regularly using Rising Stars PiRA assessments and writing is assessed using the Oxford Big Writing success criteria.
Mathematics and Numeracy
The school uses Scottish Heinemann Mathematics program for P1-P7. This program is well constructed, well tested and is used by many schools in Scotland. In addition to this resource, we use Schofield and Sims Mental Arithmetic to teach and practise mental maths skills. Pupil’s levels in mathematics skills is regularly tested against national UK averages using Rising Stars PUMA assessments.
The school teaches all the Sciences, including the scientific aspects of Geography and Environmental Studies, from the basis of the Biblical account of origins and history following a four-year cycle in which all six days of Creation are covered. In the P4-7 class, other points of view, such as evolution, are looked at and critically examined.
The school also teaches Social Studies from the basis of the Biblical account of origins and history.
Accordingly, the school will teach that history and geography is to be seen as the outworking of God’s eternal plan and providence and, as such, as a series of events that have meaning and purpose. The Biblical accounts of the Creation, the Fall and the Global Flood – foundational events in Biblical history – will be taught and will be presented as an interpretive backdrop against which the rest of history is to be understood.
Melville-Knox Christian School teaches Christianity from the perspective of Reformed Theology. Parents are asked to familiarise themselves with one or all of the school’s approved confessions of faith if they are not yet familiar with the teachings of the Reformed Theology.
In the interests of inclusiveness and unity, the school will use either the Authorised King James Version or the New King James version of the Bible and will sing Psalms from the Scottish Psalter for worship.
As children come from various denominations, with different theological emphases and church practices, the school will aim to steer away from controversial issues – for example, it will refrain from teaching on whether certain forms of worship are correct or not. In the event of a child referring to a teaching they are receiving in the church or from their parents as being different from that which appears to be taught or allowed in the school, the teacher will refer the child back to their parents and their churches for an appropriate answer on the issue. This policy is put in place in order to avoid situations in which teachers undermine parents or churches’ teaching where possible. However, in order to stay true to Reformed Theology, this might not always be feasible.
Regarding festivals celebrated in the school, please see section on Cultural Education for more details.
Parents who have concerns with the school’s teaching on the Bible or Theology are encouraged to talk the issue through in the initial interview. If other issues arise later, parents may speak to the teacher who is to examine if the teaching that was given is consistent with the Reformed Theology. If the teaching is found to be in agreement with the Reformed Theology, teachers are to inform parents on what the teaching is based on and may continue to teach as they have. If the concern of the parent remains, the parent remains free to speak to the head teacher or a member of the School Management Committee for further advice.
Should it be discovered that a teacher has taught in a manner inconsistent with the Reformed Theology, that teacher will be expected to apologise and adjust their teaching accordingly.
Health, Safety and Character Development
The school follows a three-year health, safety and character development cycle, in which all the main aspects of health and safety are covered and in which character development is taught from a biblical perspective. Resources include the A Beka Health Safety and Manners series, the Miller Family series, the ACSI Character Foundation curriculum and resources from characterjournal.com. The memory verses are also linked to the character development topics.
The school believes that sex education is the responsibility of parents and this will be clarified at the interview.
The school believes that early exposure to different languages is beneficial to a child’s development in literacy skills. Gaelic is currently taught to all pupils and French is introduced in the P5-7 class, although both languages are integrated throughout the daily school routine.
The school will provide PE for the P1-3 and P4-7 classes separately.PE introduces children to various ball games and forms of sports and ball games, including athletics, basic gymnastics as well as muscle and stamina building exercises. In addition to physical exercise, PE teaches children theory regarding how to look after their bodies, treating illnesses and applying first aid.
The school teaches Expressive Arts that include: Art, Craft and Design and Music, Movement and Drama. If parents have a concern on these areas, e.g. what kind of art and music their children will be exposed to during the lessons, they are to voice their concerns prior to the interview and the school will send detailed descriptions for these subjects. These concerns can then be further discussed during the interview.
IT and Technologies
A considerable amount of technology is taught in the Art, Craft and Design class, and teachers will use IT throughout the rest of the curriculum. As this process involves the use of the internet for searching, the school will have child protective filters on the children’s computers to ensure their safety.
Every school morning will begin with a school assembly. During the assemblies, pupils will learn to sing Psalms from the Scottish Psalter and will learn from the Shorter Catechism as well as commit passages of scripture to memory. Pupils will also learn Bible stories from the Old and New Testament. Sometimes visitors will be invited to speak at school’s assemblies. Assemblies will close with singing and prayer in which all school staff will be present.
As clearly explained in the Guiding Principles document, the aim of the school is to educate the children not only in academic and spiritual matters, but also on cultural matters. In some cases children are brought up fairly secluded from the mainstream culture and spend most of their time among people from their own sub-culture. Being culturally literate in the 21st century Britain is part of the teaching objectives.
Most of cultural teaching happens naturally and unintentionally but some might be more intentional (for example teaching on national festivals, such as Guy Fawkes Day or Burns Supper) or on national dress or dance.
However, the school’s Biblical foundation means that it will be opposed to much that is considered normal in the mainstream culture. This includes the myth of Santa Claus, Fairies, Easter Bunnies and the like. Also, the school does not celebrate certain national festivals. For example, instead of Halloween, the school will hold a Reformation Day. And while opportunities will be used, at Christmas and Easter, to highlight the importance of the incarnation, the passion and the resurrection, there is no provision made in the school for Christmas or Easter services or nativity plays.
As to the use of media, so influential in today’s culture, teachers may introduce well-known characters from TV and other media (as long as they are child friendly) in order to make children aware of this part of their culture if they aren’t already. Parents might take objection to some choices on cultural education which teachers have made. Teachers in the school are advised to listen to parents’ concerns and will accommodate them when possible.
Also, on occasion, the school will use TV programs, documentaries or films in teaching. Teachers are instructed to be sensitive when using any of these media, always ensuring that they fill a learning objective and that they are well integrated into the lessons.
Programs that portray values, behaviour or teaching in opposition to the school’s values, behaviour and teaching are generally avoided.
As the school is comprised of families from a number of denominations there are some beliefs and practices held by families at the school which may be unfamiliar to some parents and which may therefore unknowingly cause offence. For instance, there are families who do not celebrate Christmas or Easter, who only read from the Authorised (King James) version of the Bible, only sing unaccompanied psalms in worship and who do not read Bible story books (or draw images) that contain images of God or Jesus. While we are not asking families that join the school to refrain from these practices, we feel it would be good that new families are aware of such issues and where possible, make an effort not to send in books or other materials to school with their children that may cause offence to others.
An undisciplined environment is not only an unbiblical environment but one which hinders effective teaching and learning as well as imparting wrong standards of behaviour to the children.
The Classroom teacher is responsible for keeping a high standard of discipline in the classroom and, in order to help him/her to achieve this, will usually be assisted by a volunteer Classroom Assistant. The discipline of the school will be of a high standard and, as is Biblical, will always be in the context of love.
The Discipline Policy depicts acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and provides norms for rewarding and punishing. You should have received a copy of the school’s Discipline Policy, either in electronic or paper format, along with this document.
Below is a brief overview of behavioural standards expected of pupils.
• Language: all unclean language is unacceptable but particularly profane or blasphemous expressions – including taking the name of God in a light or flippant manner, or using alternatives to taking the Lord’s name in vain.
• Body Language: body language that depicts rebellion (for example, not looking at teacher when spoken to) is unacceptable.
• Respect: Students are to address each other and their teacher with respect. A tone, or words, that portray disrespect or a rebellious attitude are unacceptable.
• Bullying: any signs of bullying, whether verbal or physical, will be dealt with seriously. The bully is to be confronted, rebuked and biblically counselled for his/her action and attitude and will be required to apologise.
Procedure for enforcing good behaviour:
• When a teacher (or a pupil) discovers unacceptable behaviour, the teacher will intervene and explain to the child in question that such a behaviour is unacceptable
• Should the unacceptable behaviour be repeated, the teacher will give a warning to the child which will detail a specific set of consequences if the behaviour is further continued.
• If the child errs a third time, teacher will enact the consequence.
• After that, if the behaviour is persistent, further measures need to be taken, e.g. talking to the child after class and possibly to the parents and setting further boundaries and consequences for that child.
• If required, the school might require the parent to come and sit in the classroom in order to bring parental authority to the school in a visible way and show a united front in the area of discipline to the child.
Parents are asked to express their acceptance of the school’s Discipline Policy and ideally enforce the same standard of behaviour at home in order for the child to receive unified and strengthened guidance on correct behaviour.
Should parents expect difficulties in their child’s submission to school’s discipline measures and standards, this should be mentioned at the initial interview and an action plan put in place, where applicable. In the Appendix, section A, there are some general guidelines for parenting which might help to highlight any issues affecting child’s behaviour and learning capacity.
Suspected Abuse and Neglect
Children who are enrolled in Melville-Knox Christian School come under the care and responsibility of the school.
This means, the school will act on any suspected abuse or neglect and liaise with the police and social services as required (for more details, refer to the Child Protection Policy of the school).
Legitimate grounds for suspicion include hearing from the child of abusive behaviour towards them, signs of neglect or physical or mental abuse – such as constant, unexplained bruising; a general lack of cleanliness; ignorance of basic standards of hygiene; signs of malnutrition and excessive weight gain or loss.
A teacher who suspects a child is abused or neglected will consult the head teacher or depute head for further advice.
However, where clear and solid evidence is present and the child is in danger of further immediate harm, police and social services are to be involved immediately.
The schools Admin Assistant will have details regarding the school’s uniform and how to order it. The uniform consists of a jumper with a logo, under which either a formal white shirt with a school tie or a white polo shirt without a tie can be worn. The trousers will be black (with the option of shorts in the summer) and black skirts for girls or an optional blue gingham summer dress with light coloured tights/socks and a cardigan with the school logo. Black or dark coloured smart shoes are to be worn with the uniform.
For sportswear, a white polo shirt with the school logo and dark coloured jogging bottoms or shorts (girls who prefer wearing skirts at all times, are allowed to wear a stretchy knee length skirt on top of jogging bottoms or leggings, but leggings on their own are not allowed) and plain coloured trainers form the PE uniform.
Parents’ Evenings are normally held in October and June. At these evenings, parents will have an opportunity to discuss their child’s performance individually with the child’s main teacher where open and clear communication is welcomed and encouraged.
Progress Portfolios will be sent home twice and year. Once, at the end of September / beginning of October and a second time in March. These portfolios will contain a sample of work in each subject with targets for development set by pupils with help from teachers if necessary. Parents will have the opportunity to look over these portfolios and sign them. The portfolios will also contain a record of pupils’ attendance, including late arrivals. At the end of the school year, in June, a final progress report will be issued for each pupil, giving detail of the progress made throughout the school year and levels achieved.
Parents are to inform the school Admin Assistant by 8.30am the latest if their child is unable to attend the classes. If the child has an infectious illness, the school should be notified as soon as possible, so staff can be on the look-out for other cases. When a child returns to school after any absence, a note should be given to the teacher on the first day back, detailing the reason for absence. Prior notice should of course be given for doctor’s and dentist’s appointments.
Pupils are expected to come prepared for lessons with the correct stationery. For P1-P4 this includes a pencil case containing pencils, coloured pencils, rubber, ruler and sharpener. P5-P7 pupils should also bring pens, 30cm ruler, calculator and protractor. All school books and worksheets are included in the school fees.
*Please note that in this document, where we write ‘parents’ we also mean to include any other individuals who might be lawfully entrusted with the child’s wellbeing.
APPENDIX: Section A
Good Parenting Practices
The school approaches schooling as a partnership with parents. What is taught and learned at home will have an effect on children’s behaviour, concentration and quality of work at school. Following are some basic parenting practices you will be aware of that will support effective learning in the school.
• Love: The biggest need next to basic physical needs children have is for love. Just like adults, children have different references how they prefer love to be shown to them. In order to cover all bases, parents are advised to use all love languages in order to express their love to their child, including giving them undivided attention and time, having fun together, giving gifts and positive physical contact, using words to praise and compliment the child.
• Discipline: The Bible teaches that discipline belongs to true love and that parents are to be in control of their offspring. This means children are expected to show basic respect and obedience towards their superiors. Where this is lacking in the family, it is more likely to lack in other circumstances too e.g. in the school. Each child reacts differently to various kinds of discipline measures, so to cover all bases, parents are advised to use various methods of discipline, e.g. reward charts, rewards in goods/money, withholding and granting privileges, naughty step/isolation from company, verbal rebuke, reasoning etc Raising voice should only be used in extreme circumstances e.g. when child is in danger.
• Safety: Children need to feel safe in their home, physically and mentally. Parents who argue constantly with each other provoke a feeling of anxiety, also people coming into family home at any given hour will disturb the child’s need for privacy. Constant unpredictable behaviour from adults can cause confusion and anxiety in children, whatever the causes are for such behaviour. Needless to mention, physical violence disturbs child’s basic safety, in any form or degree, as does verbal bullying and manipulation.
• Nutrition and Exercise: Children need healthy nutrition for their growth and exercise according to their need to move (which varies from child to child). Children who are physically very active will need exercise additionally to school’s PE lessons in order to be happy and healthy in mind and body. The school promotes healthy lifestyle and diet. If a child is either underweight or overweight or constantly ill looking, perhaps because of lack of nutrients and vitamins, the school will contact the parents (and not the child) in order to rectify any issues on nutrition.
• Independence: Children have a growing need for demonstrating independence which the parents should encourage. E.g. to dress oneself and to brush own teeth should be common place in P1-P2, to be able to get own breakfast, to tidy up own bedroom and perform simple tasks in the household, in years P3-P5. To do homework independently, to look after a pet, to be able to go to a local shop should be aimed at P6-P7.
• Concentration: Recent studies have shown evidence of change in children’s brain development caused by excessive early exposure to modern media. This affects the children’s ability to concentrate as well as their mental wellbeing later in life. The general recommendation is not to allow children to watch TV/play video games more than 2 hours a day. Also, TV and modern media portray a picture of reality that is skewed. Over exposure to this distorted world will influence the child’s perception of reality and of themselves, often with serious consequences.
Appendix: Section B
Contract of Commitment
We, _________________ and _________________, parents/carers of _______________________________, wish to enrol our child(ren) to Melville-Knox Christian School on from _________ (date DD/MM/YY) in full time/ part time capacity (circle/delete appropriate).
I/We understand and accept that the school is run on the basis of the Statement of Faith (in the school’s constitution available on the school website) and in line with the stated objectives. I/We agree:
• to accept the authority of the Board and abide by its decisions
• to uphold the disciplinary decisions of the school
• to send my child/ren appropriately prepared and properly dressed in uniform
• to make sure my child/ren arrive at the school at least 5 minutes prior to the lesson start, as much as it is possible
• to give of my time and help as and when the need arises and as I/we am/are able.
I/We have read the Guiding Principles of the school and have had the initial interview to our satisfaction.
I/We have read and understood the Notes for Parents document and agree that the school will use either the Authorised King James Version or the New King James version of the Bible and will sing Psalms from the Scottish Psalter for worship.
I/We recognize difficulties in the following areas highlighted in the document (circle appropriate):
o Basic discipline (with _____________ child’s name if more than one child)
o Attention span (with _____________ child’s name if more than one child)
o Basic hygiene and nutrition (with _____________ child’s name if more than one child)
o Independence (with _____________ child’s name if more than one child)
o Use of swear words/other unacceptable expressions (with _____________ child’s name if more than one child)
o ___________________ (other, please specify)
I/We invite the school to partnership with us on these aspects of my/our child/children’s behaviour and learning, and other similar aspects that come up during their education at Sunrise Christian School.
We agree to pay all school fees and agree to provide at least one-term’s notice in writing to the Treasurer before withdrawing our child(ren) from the school or to pay one term’s school fees in lieu.
Name: _____________ Name: __________________
Date: ______________ Date: ___________________