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Gatcombe ParkPrimary School

Teamwork / Respect / Aim High

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Welcome to

Gatcombe Park Primary School

Teamwork - Respect - Aim High

New Year R Parents

Information for potential Year R families 


Welcome on behalf  to all of you who are considering Gatcombe Park Primary as a potential school for your child for next September.


We are able to offer a brief tour of the school for parents and children on the following dates:


Wednesday 10th November 2021, 9.20 -10.00am

Thursday 11th November 2021, 3.30 - 4.10pm

Wednesday 8th December 2021, 9.20 -10.00 am

Wednesday 8th December 2021, 3.30 - 4.10 pm


Places are limited and must be booked in advance by telephoning the school on 02392 694412.


This page contains a virtual tour of the school and has a compilation of FAQ's which we hope will be useful for you when deciding where to apply for a place for your child.


Already on this page is an introduction to our current reception class team who will give you a flavour of Gatcombe Park Primary.


I hope that this helps with your important decision on application for a place in Year R and of course if you have a question not answered here then please email the school on


Ian Baker


Welcome to Gatcombe Park School

A Tour Around The School

Year R Summer Challenge Booklet - helpful to complete before your child starts school.

Welcome from Mrs Szypa

Welcome from Mrs Tabner



When does my school application have to be completed by?

Applications are open from 1st November 2021 and must be submitted by 15th January 2022.

Apply online at Portsmouth City Council here


What are the school values?

Our school values are:

Teamwork - families, children and school working together.

Respect - politeness, fairness, tolerance.

Aim High - trying our very best to learn from our mistakes and be the best we can be.


We promote these values in everything that we do and value our families support in promoting them with the pupils.


Who are the key staff in our first year at Gatcombe Park School?

Mr Baker - Headteacher

Mrs Ogles - Deputy Headteacher

Reception class teacher - currently Mrs Szypa

Reception class teaching assistant - currently Mrs Tabner

Special needs Coordinator (SENDCo) - Mrs Sweenie

Pastoral Leader - Mrs Laurence


What should I do if I think my child may have a special educational need?

Please talk to us to make us aware at the earliest opportunity, initially speaking to the class teacher or making an appointment via the school office if you wish to discuss this before accepting a place for your child.

If you have a diagnosis or notes from your child's preschool, the school SENDCo (Mrs Sweenie) will be happy to discuss your child's needs and what the school will be able to do to support these.


What if I have worries about my child and starting school, for example their behaviour or their anxiety?

Please do not worry that this is unique to you - it is more common than you think!

Our Pastoral Leader (Mrs Laurence) is here to support you, whatever your worry, big or small. She works with families, either face to face or by telephone and with children, either one to one or in the classroom.

Most of our families find that this support really helps with any concerns but we can refer you to external support services if we think these are required. See our pastoral page on the website for more information. 


Is there anything I can do to help prepare my child for school before they start?

If your child has been attending a nursery or pre-school setting then much of the 'school ready' preparation will already have begun.


We know that the following are really helpful for children before they start school:


Talking (and listening) - children who hear lots of varied and extended vocabulary on a daily basis will be school ready. Talking in complete sentences helps them prepare for early writing and communicating with others so the more talk the better!


Reading - lots and lots! Adults who read and share books with their children are giving them a flying start into language development and imaginative thinking.


Counting - use simple opportunities for counting when using money at the shops, counting games or just talking about numbers.


Socialising - children at school clearly are part of a bigger group so supporting them with the skills of sharing, communicating, helping and encouraging will help the development of key personal skills.


Physical development - being fit and healthy by having a simple understanding of healthy foods and the importance of exercise promote a positive start to school life. Practising balancing and finger gripping (for early writing) really help too!


What will my child learn at school?

Schools follow the Early Years Curriculum in the first year of primary school. This covers three prime areas; communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. Through this we  teach the specific areas of literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.


We use a phonics approach to the teaching of reading, more detail of which can be found here and your child will read daily at school.


We provide lots of outdoor and practical learning experiences for children to practise their reading, writing and maths skills and to develop their personal and social skills too. In short, our Year R children spend a lot of time in our outdoor area as well as the classroom, whatever the weather!


How can I support from home?

We have a detailed home learning policy here which details our home learning expectations. In Year R their is a focus on regular reading, phonics support, maths and speaking and listening practice.

Upon starting you will also be issued with a password to our online learning app Seesaw which will support the sharing of work between the family and the school.