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Welcome back to school for all pupils - it is great to see you!

Welcome to St Mary's C.E. Middle School

Thank you for visiting the website for St. Mary's C.E. Middle School. We are a 9-13 middle school situated on the outskirts of Puddletown, a small village in the beautiful Dorset countryside. We are a church school with an ethos built on the core Christian values of respect, forgiveness, justice, uniqueness, equality, acceptance and kindness.

We look to inspire our school community and give them the tools to thrive in the modern world, summed up by our school aim of 'Inspire today to shape tomorrow'. We are proud to have been assessed as an outstanding church school in our last two Church of England inspections. We expect the highest standards in both academic work and behaviour and we place our children at the centre of everything we do.

The pupils, staff and governors are very proud of our school and we hope that this website will allow you to see why. We look forward to having the opportunity to meet you in person.

Information about attending school

Attendance at school (last updated Sunday 7th March 2021)


Schools reopen for all pupils from Monday 8th March 2021 onwards.  From this date, the normal rules regarding school attendance will apply (unless you have specific medical advice to shield due to an underlying health condition).  Schools are being asked to test all pupils upon return to school.  To facilitate this requirement, the school will be using a staggered start to give the school the opportunity to test all pupils before they mix with the wider school community.  Pupils will return to school on the following dates:


  • Year 5 Pupils will start back at school on Monday 8th Match 2021.
  • Year 6 Pupils will start back at school on Tuesday 9th March 2021.
  • Year 7 Pupils will start back at school on Wednesday 10th March 2021.
  • Year 8 Pupils will start back at school on Thursday 11th March 2021.


Pupils in the key worker and vulnerable groups will continue to attend school every day and will rejoin the rest of their year group once they return to school.  Pupils will follow their usual timetables once their year group has returned to school.


It is a legal requirement that pupils MUST stay at home if any of the following apply to them (even if they have meet the criteria for being in school):

  • are ill with virus symptoms (even if this is suspected and they have not been tested for coronavirus).

  • have tested positive for coronavirus, even if they are asyptomatic (are showing no outer signs of the virus).

  • have been advised by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.

  • are in a household with a person who has tested positive, even if this person is asymptomatic.

  • are required to self-isolate for travel-related reasons.


Failure to follow these guidelines will put all members the school community at risk and may result in further action being taken.  If you are in any doubt that your child or a member of your household may be infected with coronavirus, do not send them to school until it is confirmed that they are not infected.



Public health advice to minimise coronavirus (COVID-19) risks


Please note that information in blue italics has been taken directly from the published DfE guidance documents relating to the safe opening of schools.


The school will follow the advice from Public Health England and establish a set of actions that all staff and pupils must follow whilst on the school premises.  There are:

  • Cleaning of hands more often in the school day (at least when arriving at school, at break and lunchtimes).  We have installed a new set of outdoor sinks to increase the hand washing capacity within the school. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser. Schools must ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at school, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating. Regular and thorough hand cleaning is going to be needed for the foreseeable future.
  • Establish good respiratory hygiene by promoting the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach.  Every classroom will have a pedal bin provided specifically for any tissues or other contaminated waste.  The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important, so schools must ensure that they have enough tissues and bins available in the school to support pupils and staff to follow this routine.
  • Increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.  Each classroom will have a tray with standard cleaning materials in such as spray detergent and wipes.
  • Increase cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in between lessons.  Each classroom will have a tray containing standard cleaning detergent, wipes and tissues.  Toilets will need to be cleaned regularly and pupils must be encouraged to clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet.  Increased cleaning of toilets and communal areas part of the way through the day.
  • Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.  The school will limiting contact to pupils within their own year group wherever possible.  Schools must do everything possible to minimise contacts and mixing while delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.
  • Ensure good ventilation in classrooms.
  • All members of the school community to wear masks inside the school building, including in classrooms, unless medically exempt.
  • Have a clear action plan should a pupil either present with symptoms whilst at school and contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
  • Engage fully with the NHS track and trace process and enforce self-isolation periods in staff and pupils where required.
  • Engage fully in the rapid result testing system for all pupils in middle and secondary schools, all staff and those pupils and/or staff designated as close contacts of a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.


Specific Information on the Day to Day Organisation of the School

Please note that information in blue italics has been taken directly from the published DfE guidance documents relating to the safe opening of schools.


How will the school be organised?


  • Pupils will only be able to mix directly with pupils in their own year group.  The majority of their lessons will be with their tutor group.  In lessons where more than one tutor group is timetabled to have a lesson together (P.E. and technology), the same classes will be mixed together for consistency.  There will be no gatherings for collective worship or curriculum enhancement activities bigger than one tutor group.  Schools should assess their circumstances and if class-sized groups are not compatible with offering a full range of subjects or managing the practical logistics within and around school, they can look to implement year group sized ‘bubbles’. Whatever the size of the group, they should be kept apart from other groups where possible and older children should be encouraged to keep their distance within groups.  Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.
  • Pupils will be allocated a set area of the school grounds for their breaks and lunches.  Pupils will not be able to mix with pupils from different year groups during these times including siblings.  Pupils will be asked to maintain social distancing at break and lunchtimes.
  • Timings of the school day will be different for each key stage.  This to allow a split break and lunchtime sessions so that no more than two year groups are on the playground at any time.  To allow for double technology lessons, there will be different timings on certain days of the week.  These will be reflected on the pupils class timetable.  When timetabling, groups should be kept apart and movement around the school site kept to a minimum.  Schools should also consider staggered break times and lunch times (and time for cleaning surfaces in the dining hall between groups).
  • Pupils will be following a broad and balanced curriculum and will study all subjects on their timetable.  There has been some adjustments to the units of work taught in certain practical subjects due to restrictions on being able to share equipment.
  • Pupils, wherever possible, will have their lessons in their tutor rooms with staff moving to them (which is a change from previous years where pupils moved to a teachers designated teaching space).  Pupils will continue to use specialist teaching facilities where appropriate.
  • Within their tutor room, each pupil will have their own desk that should be used for all lessons.  All rooms in the school will have desks arranged in rows and facing forwards, in line with published government guidelines.  Rooms have also had unnecessary furniture and object removed.  Schools should make small adaptations to the classroom to support distancing where possible. That should include seating pupils side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, and might include moving unnecessary furniture out of classrooms to make more space.
  • Pupils will be supported to catch up on lost learning and will complete some activities to reinforce some of the tasks that have been studied at home.  These will be planned into the units of work they are studying in school.
  • There will be a strong emphasis on pupil wellbeing and mental-health type activities during registration and PSHCE lessons.  
  • Classes will not exceed 32 pupils at any time.  The maximum number of pupils who can be together in the school hall or gym is 64 (equivalent to two tutor groups).
  • Teaching and support staff will be moving between classes and key stages during the day as required by the timetable.  This has been kept to the minimum possible to allow us to run a full curriculum offer.  Staff will be employing social distancing measures in lessons as a result of this.  All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable. This will be particularly important for secondary schools. Where staff need to move between classes and year groups, they should try and keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults.
  • Pupils and staff will be asked to wear a face covering in all indoor areas of the school, including classrooms (unless medically exempt from doing so).

  • Toilet areas will be designated for use by pupils in a particular key stage.  Toilets will also be cleaned more regularly.

  • There will be a one way system in operation around parts of the school site to reduce the congestion in corridor areas and to limit the chances of pupils from different key stages mixing.  While passing briefly in the corridor or playground is low risk, schools should avoid creating busy corridors, entrances and exits.

  • There will be restrictions on pupils visiting their locker areas during the day to avoid congestion and crowding in these areas.


How will we be supporting SEND and vulnerable pupils?


  • Our SEND team will be working to support additional needs, primarily within the classroom environment, and the TLC will be available to access the provision.
  • Where possible, teaching assistants will be restarting small group intervention work outside of regular lessons.  This will be with social distancing guidelines of 1m+ in the smaller rooms where these lessons take place.
  • TLC will be available before school and during breaks and lunches although this may be limited by the size of the room and the available resources.
  • Where pupils have specific complex needs, staff may reduce the distance between themselves and the pupil.  Where this is necessary, staff may use PPE to reduce any risk of transmission.  It expected under government guidance that these pupils' educational care and support will continue to be provided as normal.


How will minimise the spread of virus through touching surfaces / sharing equipment?


  • Pupils will be asked to supply their own writing equipment when coming into school.  They should have a pencil, a writing pen, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a rubber and a pencil sharpener.  It would also be useful if pupils could have a set of colouring pencils and a glue stick of their own.  The library and school office is able to sell some the above items at cost price should pupils need to purchase them.   For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that staff and pupils have their own items that are not shared.  It is still recommended that pupils limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats, books, stationery and mobile phones.
  • Staff will be taking in books or work for marking although this may be less frequently than in previous years.  More feedback will be given on whole class level or through self marking of work.  Wherever possible, staff will leave sets of books for 72 hours after marking to allow any viruses to die.
  • Any specialist equipment, for example for use during science lessons or art lessons, will need to be cleaned immediately after use and should not be shared between pupils.  The school has dedicated technicians for P.E, Science and technology subjects to help with this area.  There will be restriction over the shared use of musical instruments during music lessons.  Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment should be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles.
  • Pupils will not be allowed to bring in any balls or items to play with on the playground.  A football and basketball will be provided and these will be cleaned in between each break and lunchtime.  All footballs must be of size 3 or lower.
  • Pupils will be asked to minimise any contact with surfaces and equipment around the room other than the desk they are sat at.  Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.
  • Where appropriate, doors across the site will be open to avoid the need to touch handles with the exception of those doors which are fire doors and need to be shut off for the purposes of safeguarding entrance to the school site.
  • The library will remain open for use by pupils and staff.  Returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being placed back onto the library shelves.  A rota system is in place to limit the use of the library to one key stage per day.
  • Tutors will not look after pupils belongings during the day, including mobile phones and other electronic devices.  All such materials should be stored in a locked locker.
  • The school office will not be able to look after any mobile phones during the school day and these should be placed in a locker for safe keeping.  Pupils without a locker who bring a mobile phone to school do so entirely at their own risk.


What additional cleaning measures will be put in place?


  • Each of the teaching rooms used by pupils will be cleaned thoroughly each evening or each morning before pupils arrive.  

  • Staff in each teaching room will have a supply of cleaning products for wiping down surfaces and equipment as needed during the school day, including door handles.

  • Pupils will be given opportunities to wash their hands regularly throughout the school day.

  • Toilets will be cleaned more regularly.

  • The entire school site will be cleaned with a fog based cleaner every two weeks to kill any bacteria or viruses on all surfaces.


What are the arrangements for school meals and lunchtime?


  • Local Food Links will be offering a hot meal service from 8th March.  Details of this service will be sent to you by email.  Hot meals will need to be eaten in the dining room (with the exception of staff hot meals and those pupils who have arranged to eat their lunch in the TLC area).
  • Pupils will be allowed to bring a packed lunch with them to school and these can be eaten either in the dining hall or outside in their designated picnic area.  We ask that pupils do not share food with each other.  Lunchboxes need to be cleaned each evening.
  • Each year group will have lunch together at a specified time during the school day.  Pupils should not eat their lunch other than in their specified lunch session.


How will pupils get to school and what are the arrangements for dropping them at school?



  • Following the change in the law, it is now a requirement for any person using public transport to wear a covering over their mouth and nose.  School transport is not classed as public transport although it is the law that all pupils in Years 7 and 8 MUST wear a face covering on school transport and Dorset Council rules have extended this requirement to pupils in Years 5 and 6 on buses serving middle schools.
  • The bus companies have confirmed that a normal service will be in operation from March 8th to transport children to and from school.  There will be social distancing and hygiene measures in place on the buses and we ask that all pupils follow the directions of their bus driver at all times.
  • Pupils will need to sit in their designated seat on the bus allocated for them by the school.  Pupils must sit in this seat at all times and for all journeys.  This is to allow effective close contact tracing should any pupil on the bus test positive for COVID-19.
  • On arrival at school, pupils on buses should exit the bus a year group at a time and use the side path to make their way directly to the playground.  Please do not stand around the front of school or wait for friends.
  • At the end of school, pupils will be dismissed from their tutor rooms via the speaker system and will exit school via the front office and make their way directly to their bus.  A bus monitor will tick off each pupil as they get onto the buses.
  • School buses will only transport children to one school.  Dorset council are no longer running a shared bus service between St. Mary's and some of our feeder first schools.
  • No pupil is allowed to travel on a different bus other than the one they have a designated seat on AT ANY TIME.  Pupils who are not entitled to school transport may not use the bus under any circumstances.
  • Pupils failing to comply with the rules set out by the school will be issued with a bus warning letter and, where necessary, removed from the bus for a period of time.


Arrival by Car

  • Please limit the number of people collecting or dropping off a child at school to the minimum number possible.  Any persons who are shielding or have symptoms must not travel to school even if they do not get out of the car.
  • Parents who want to drive their child to school will need to understand that the car park is likely to be busy at drop off and pick up times.  Please consider dropping pupils away from school and asking them to walk the remaining distance onto the school site.  Alternatively, try to stagger your arrival at school.  Parking is limited and, should the situation become dangerous, the car park will be closed.
  • The school site will be open to pupils from 8.20am (please do not drop your child at school before this time).  Upon arrival at school, pupils must go directly to the playground.  Pupils will be invited into school at 8.40am.
  • The top car park will be for staff use only.  The lower car park will be reserved for parental use as much as possible.
  • On arrival, pupils should access the playground via the gate in between the building and the bin area and use the path around the outside of the building (via the art room).  This is a different route from pupils arriving by bus.
  • At the end of school, pupils will be dismissed straight from their tutor rooms and will access the car park via the gate in between the building and bin area.  They should use the outside path via the art room and NOT travel through the building to exit via the door in between the hall and dining room.  Pupils MUST NOT come down the slope onto the car park area or come via the top staff car park.
  • Pupils need to use the grass behind cars to walk on to access their parents cars.  Pupils should not walk behind cars on the road as they may be reversing.
  • Parents must remain in their cars at the end of the day and pupils will come to you.  Please do not congregate on the front steps or on the slope UNLESS this is by prearrangement with a member of school staff.


Arrival by foot

  • Parents who wish to walk their child to school should say goodbye to them at the school gate unless they need to go to the school office.  We ask that parents do not congregate in large groups or stand talking by the school gates as this is a small area.
  • Parents who wish to collect their child in person should wait on the path out of school at a distance of 2m from each other (marked out on the path).  Please DO NOT come up to the school office or wait in the area by the new building so that the path is clear for pupils to travel to the school buses.
  • On arrival at school, pupils should use the side path via the Year 5 classrooms to make their way directly to the playground.  Please do not stand around the front of school or wait for friends.
  • At the end of school, pupils should leave school via the playground and travel down the side path via the Year 5 classrooms to access the front of school.  Please leave the school site as soon as possible and avoid congregating in large groups.


Should pupils be returning in school uniform?


  • Pupils should attend school in full school uniform from Monday 8th March 2021.  This includes pupils wearing shoes in line with the schools published uniform guidelines.  To view the uniform guidelines for the school, please click HERE.
  • Guidelines suggest that normal washing of school uniform is required.  If it is possible to wash clothes daily, please do so.  
  • Pupils will be asked to come to school in their PE kit on days when they have a formal PE lesson (this will be twice a week).  This will avoid the need for pupils to change for their PE lessons.  They will not need their PE kits on the days where PE is not on their timetable.  Please ensure that in cold weather they are suitably dressed.  Pupils can change back into school uniform at the end of their PE lesson if they would like to.
  • Pupils will need to bring a uniform to change into on days where they may get wet or muddy.  Please note that during the Spring term, pupils will have PE lessons outside more regularly as the school hall will be out of action (it will used as a base for the rapid testing of pupils).
  • School jumpers are the only tops to be worn around school, including on days where pupils come into school in PE Kit.  Pupils are not permitted to wear branded sports tops or school trip hoodies in place of their school jumper.


What will my child need to bring to school each day?


Your child needs to bring the minimum equipment to school each day.  This should only be the essential equipment for each day.  Pupils should not share any of their possessions with anyone else in school or borrow equipment from another child.

  • Pupils will need a packed lunch (unless they are planning on using the hot food service delivered by Local Food Links).  
  • Pupils should have a filled water bottle (they will be allowed to refill this during the day if needed).  
  • Pupils will need a single pencil case containing a pencil, a writing pen, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a rubber and a pencil sharpener.  It is also useful to have a glue stick and some colouring pencils.
  • Pupils will also need their homework diaries, general work book, homework book and reading book each day.
  • Pupils MAY wish to bring hand sanitiser to school for their own use.  This MUST NOT be shared with any other pupil.


Other important information


  • Please avoid coming into the school office area and use email or phone calls to contact members of the school staff wherever possible.  No parents must enter the rest of the school building, sports hall or playing fields at any time (unless invited to do so by a member of the school staff).
  • Mobile phones must be kept in lockers at all times once on the school site and must be off (not just on silent).  Normal school rules apply regarding mobile phones.  Any phone seen will be taken, cleaned and put in storage until a parent collects it from the school office.  Please note that no phones will be collected in by any teacher or by the school office.  Therefore, all phones are brought into school entirely at your own risk.
  • Pupils are required to wear a face mask to school under government guidelines.  Face masks must be worn in all communal areas of the school, including outside areas of the school site, where they will potentially come into contact with pupils from other year groups.  Face coverings are required in lessons at the current time (unless medically exempt).
  • The school will be revising the behaviour policy over the summer to include details of sanctions should pupils act in a way that puts the health and safety of others at risk.  The health and safety of all members of the school population remains the most important element of all considerations and it is not acceptable for the actions of any pupil to put any other at increased risk of infection.


Attendance Expectations


All pupils are expected to attend school as normal from 8th March 2021.  bPupils will only be authorised for not attending school if:


  • they are ill (including with COVID-19).
  • have been given a leave of absence by the headteacher following an application on the school form to request time off school.
  • have specific medical advice with written confirmation that they should not be at school.
  • are shielding as the result for an instruction to do so via the track and trace system.
  • are not attending for a reason of necessary religious observance.


There is no provision in law for pupils to not be in school unless it is for a reason listed above.  Pupils who are not at school due to parental preference will be recorded as unauthorised absence and may be subject to further action through established Dorset Council procedures.


The following passage is taken directly from the governments guidelines for the full reopening of school. 

In March 2020 when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school.  Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.  School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply.  These include:

  • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age.
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence.
  • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.


We understand that parents may be very anxious about their child returning to school.  Please contact your child's class teacher or the school office if you have concerns.  We strongly advise that pupils attend school from the beginning of term wherever possible.


We will look to work with any family who are struggling to get their child back to school or have concerns about them returning in January.  However, the school does have a legal obligation to ensure that every child attends school and so will have to follow Dorset Council's procedures if needed.


The full set of guidelines for school attendance can be found here.

Links to DfE / Government documents relating to school opening


To access the document 'Schools and Childcare Settings: Return to school in January 2021', please click here.

To access the document 'Guidance for full opening: schools', please click here.

To access all of the documents relating to the functioning of schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, please click here.


Links to the Dorset Council School Information Pages


The Dorset Council pages relating to schools returning in January can be found by clicking here.

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