St. Francis School


The Maltese islands, consisting of Malta, Gozo, Comino and two other very small uninhabited islets, are strategically situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, at latitude 35o N and longitude 14o E. The strategic position has made the Maltese Islands a bridge between the continents bordering the Mediterranean Sea since very early times.

St. Francis School – Cospicua is situated in the southern part of Malta. Being a Church School it is heavily subsidized by the State, following a formal agreement with the Catholic Church which provides its own buildings and facilities. It is run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus. It is the largest one of the three Primary Schools run by the same congregation in the Maltese Islands. While satisfying the requirements of the National Minimum Curriculum, it caters for 458 boys and girls between the age of five and eleven. These children would have been drawn by ballot at the Curia forming part of the Directorate of Services in Education Secretarial for Catholic Education, and attended Kindergarten and Pre-Grade classes at various St. Francis Kindergartens situated around the island.

At Year 6 Level, they sit for the Benchmark Examination run by the Education Department. If the boys opt to carry on their secondary education in a church school they are extracted by ballot. On the other hand, if girls opt to carry on their secondary education in a church school and are attending the Cospicua Primary School, can finish their secondary education at St. Francis Secondary School in Sliema.

School Staff


The school is run by the Head of School, two Assistant Heads, twenty-two teachers including Drama, Singing, Computer and Physical Education teachers, and twenty-one LSA’s We have a complimentary teacher, a Secretary, a Spiritual Director, a school councillor, a librarian, four domestic cleaners who help to keep the school premises clean and one person in charge for the school maintenance. A medical doctor and a nurse are provided by the Primary Health Care Department.

Our students on-roll, are grouped in mixed ability classes. The placing of children in any class is based mainly on the age of the child. It is not decided on grounds of ability. Our school policy is based on a quiet, yet firm insistence on high standards of behaviour at all times. We have a well-planned curriculum, based on the National Minimum Curriculum, and there is a high quality of teaching and learning. Students have opportunities for taking initiatives and accepting responsibility for their progress. Our school relationships are characterised by mutual respect, by transmitting a clear message to students that they are of worth, and by a willingness to listen and understand. We try to instil in our students respect for oneself, respect for others, respect for the school and the community and respect for the environment.

Students are given regular tests throughout the school year. We have half-yearly and annual examinations. Examination reports are sent to parents. During examinations, students are expected to work out their paper on their own.

Cheating will not be tolerated and disciplinary measures will be taken. Portfolios have been recently introduced hoping to introduce continuous assessment in the future years.

We want the students to acquire skills, values and habits of heart and mind required for effective service to others. We hope that at our school, children are well motivated and attain highly in all areas of life while on the other hand our aim is to enable our pupils to reach their full potential through creative thought.

School Sessions


Winter & Summer 7:40a.m. – 1:15a.m.

Punctuality and regular attendance are extremely important and students are expected to have at hand all the necessary materials and equipment.

Our Philosophy


We believe very strongly that happy children learn well.  We try to maintain classes where children work hard, behaviour is very good and where children experience a wide range of complimentary activities such as visits and interesting topic work.  We believe that success in our school depends on children, teachers and parents working together.  Parents are important  stakeholders in the children’s education. Within a safe, caring and secure environment and through the promotion of personal qualities such as confidence, esteem and respect, our school aims, in partnership with parents while:

Delivering a broad and balanced primary curriculum that, through careful planning and high expectations, maximizes children’s learning, enabling them to achieve their full potential in line with the National Minimum Curriculum.  Providing quality learning experiences that promote high standards of achievement. Enabling children to achieve success and gain independence in learning by meeting their individual needs appropriately and sensitively.   Encouraging children to learn to take responsibility for themselves and to develop an awareness of and respect for each other's rights and needs.  Developing qualities such as personal initiative, teamwork and a love of learning in preparation for further stages in their lives. Seeing that honesty, trust and enjoyment are common elements of school life.  Encouraging an understanding of the value of moral and ethical codes in our society.

Providing equality of opportunity for everyone within the school community and following a positive discipline policy which rewards success at all times whilst providing a common framework  within  which  everyone  knows  what  is expected  of  them  and  what the consequences of their actions will be.

Core Areas


The primary curriculum will include the core areas of learning and experience which are essential to the child’s development.  These are:-  Art and Design, Drama, English, ICT, Maltese, Mathematics, Music, Personal and Social Development, Physical Education, Primary Science, Religion and  Social Studies.

Children are taught in a variety of ways:  individually, in small groups, or as a class, whichever is most appropriate.  All work is carefully planned so that each child may make progress.

A complete range of language skills is taught throughout the school – talking and listening, writing in a variety of forms and reading with understanding.  Children learn grammar and spellings appropriate to their needs and to help them to write with fluency and efficiency. The school places a high degree of importance on independent work, as we believe that by following this philosophy we are able to bring out the best in each child no matter what their age or ability.

We have weekly library periods and a literacy hour once a week.

Religious Education


Assemblies are held daily and are based on Christian principles. Students have the opportunity to attend Mass.  On the Second Friday of the month, and on special occasions, the entire student body celebrates the Liturgy together.

Our spiritual director visits all classes at alternate times to teach and to have contact with all pupils, and to assure the proper knowledge, appreciation, attitudes and values needed for genuine encounters with Christ.  During the scholastic year we have various celebrations, such as:- the crowning of Our Lady in May, Eucharistic Day in June,  Commemoration of First Holy Communion in June, A Family Feast Day in May, Blessing of the Advent Wreaths before Christmas and a Crib Competition in December.

Other School Activities


Some other  school activities are the educational excursions held once per term for each  class,  a  Carnival  Party,  a  Sports  Day  in  which  every  child  takes  part,  and  2  concerts, one held for Years 1 and 2 in the Second Term, and another one for Years 3 to 6 which is held in the First Term.   

An Open Day is also being held annually towards the end of May.

Homework


It  is  our  policy  to  give  homework  to  children  every  day.   Parents  should  follow the  children’s  work  and  are  asked  to  see  that  the  child  has  a  proper  atmosphere conducive  to  study.   Homework  may  take  different  forms  such  as:-  written assignments,  work  not  completed  in  classes,  reading  assignments,  study assignments and long term projects.

Reading


Reading has a very high status within the school and we seek to create fluent readers who value books.  We actively involve parents in the process of reading.  We encourage parents, and children to enjoy reading and sharing books together.  Where this is regular practice children make regular progress.We place great importance on having a wide range and variety of quality books available around the school and in the library.  Time is set aside for regular reading and children are given the experience of reading alone and together and they are encouraged to discuss these and make choices about their reading.  Story telling sessions in classes are being carried out by parents.

Behaviour and Discipline


We believe it is our responsibility, as educators, to correct a student for violation of regulations.  When a parent does not understand the action taken in correcting a child, he should contact the Head of School or the teacher concerned.

While travelling on buses, students must behave in an orderly and respectful manner.  Rude and foul language in school or on the school buses is not allowed.  If this happens, disciplinary action will be taken.  Parents are asked to forewarn their children in this regard.

A school will only function effectively if it is orderly and if the atmosphere is relaxed.  Young children are able to be themselves and to use their minds to the best of their ability only when they feel secure.  For these reasons, unruly and disruptive behaviour is neither condoned nor ignored.

All forms of verbal and physical behaviour that is meant to harm, intimidate or jeopardise the integrity and dignity of a person, such as name-calling, ridiculing, taunting, threatening and use of violence are forms of bullying.  Bullying is strictly forbidden, and the necessary measures to protect and stop such acts shall be taken by the school immediately. Every student has the duty to report all forms of bullying, vandalism, and other abusive acts.

Pupils are taken out on educational trips, periodically.  Such trips are made only with the permission of the parents.  All trips are supervised by the class teacher and other adults.  These educational visits and field trips are authorised and are an extension of the classroom to contribute to the achievement of the educational goals of the school.  While on such excursions, students are to consider themselves as guests and ambassadors of their school.

Students are expected to respect school property such as furniture, buildings, books, material and equipment.  Students have an important role to play in ensuring that the physical environment of the school is kept clean and attractive.  Intentional damages to school or personal property of other students will result in contacting parents with a view to seeking a contribution towards the cost of repairing the damage.  Incidents of pilfering will be dealt with in a similar manner.

Parents should show respect for teaching staff, administration and other staff working in the school, and refrain from speaking to teachers before or after school hours, in school or outside school, without permission.  Threatening behaviour by parents will be considered unacceptable.  Police protection can be sought in extreme circumstances requiring such interventions.

Parents should discuss specific complaints with the Head of School strictly not in the presence of students, use a respectable tone when addressing teaching staff, administrative or other personnel, refrain from smoking on the school premises, and be decently dressed when visiting the school.  Parents should speak with respect about school, otherwise the children won’t have any respect for school.  They should also cooperate with the school in policies regarding:- nutritious food, school bags, dress code, regular attendance, punctuality,    money or jewellery and respect for school and other students’ property.  The school entrance has to be left clear, both during admission and dismissal times. Students are to enter school unaccompanied. 

The school should be informed about who has a right to pick the child.

School Uniform


All school apparel should be marked with the name of the child as this assures that all lost property is restored to its rightful owner.  In particular, sweatshirts should be clearly named so that children are able to identify their own.  The school summer and winter uniform must be worn from the first day of school until school ends in June.

Absence

It is compulsory to attend school regularly.  All absences of students require notification and justification. Parents must call or write a note for their children to be released before the official time.  Persistent absenteeism, even if covered by a medical certificate, will be reported to the Education Division.  Absences for the purpose of going abroad require a temporary  exemption that may be authorised by the school if the absence does not exceed 3 weeks.  This has to be done by writing a letter signed by both parents asking permission for the child to go abroad. 

Vacations during the school year are strongly discouraged.  Neither the school, nor the individual teacher, will assume the responsibility for work missed or for a drop in grades in this case. If a student must leave school during the day for medical appointments, the parents are to notify the Head.  Whenever students fall ill or an accident occurs in school, class teachers must inform Administration straight away.  The Head will immediately see to the needs of the student.  First Aid will be given to any child who needs it.  The parents of students who are taken ill at school, or for whom hospital treatment is indicated, will be informed and the necessary arrangements made.  Children who need inhalers (or similar) for asthma, should have them available in class.

Medicines and Illnesses


When children need to receive prescribed medication in school, medicines need to be clearly labelled with the name of the medication, the dosage and the timing of the dosage.  Children who need inhalers, (or similar) for asthma, should have them available in class. 

It is not fair for other children, if a child comes to school when he is ill.  It is important to parents to help their child practise good health habits which we attempt to enforce at school.  If a child contacts a communicable disease, he or she is not allowed to come to school until the physician gives him/her permission to do so.  A certificate from the child’s physician must be presented when the student returns to school.

Parental Involvement


We believe that success of our school depends on children, teachers and parents working together.  We offer an open door policy where all members of the school community are approachable and accessible.  If a parent has any questions, anxieties about his/her child or any queries about the curriculum or information one would have, they are free to talk to any one of the staff.  The more we come to know the parents, the easier it is, to do the best for the child.

Parents and teachers together form the Parents Teachers Association, where the welfare of the children is promoted.  The P.T.A. works very hard.  It helps the administration to organize educational and fund-raising activities for both parents and the children.

We expect the participation of all parents during both Parents Days, one held in mid November and the other in February, where parents can obtain insights into the progress of their children.  As early as possible in the beginning of the scholastic year, parents will be having a meeting with the teacher who will explain how things will work out during the year.  All parents are urged to attend the meetings held for them.

We highly appreciate the substantial donations parents make towards the needs of the school which is under heavy expenses.

The school expects active participation in social, educational and curricular planning activities that support, promote and nurture school ethos, such as membership in the P.T.A., committee work in connection with bazaars, etc.

Child Protection


Because of their day-to-day contact with individual children during term-time, school staff have an important role to play in recognising and taking the appropriate action in cases of suspected child abuse.  All school staff, both teaching and non-teaching, are instructed to report any suspicions to the Head of School, who is required to alert the Social Services Department.  When the school refers a concern to the Social Services Department, it is not accusing the parents of abuse but requesting that further investigation takes place to establish whether a child is at risk.

We also have the services of a school councillor, who contacts the parents themselves when problems occur, and who can be contacted by any parents who feels the need.

Needed Information


Detailed  information  of  parent’s  home  and  office  addresses  and  contact telephonenumbers  are  expected  by  the  school.   It  is  important  to  provide  the  school  with contact  details  for  emergencies.   The  school  should  have  information  about  the child’s medical  history to  enable  it to  safeguard the  health  and  safety  of the  child.  

Such  information  should  include  what  should  be  done  in  case  of  accidents. Parents are to notify the school concerning any changes in telephone numbers and addresses  immediately.   This  is  important  for  keeping  our  records  up  to  date,  and more so in case of an emergency.

Health and Welfare Education in the National Curriculum


As the NMC says    Objective 10   
     
Make good use of one’s free time, namely that one:
 Knows

  • how to make good use of one’s free time, by being involved in social organisations or by engaging in sporting activities, cultural work and artistic pursuits; the effects of different choices; the value of education and its social contribution, besides the economic possibilities that arise as a result of one’s engagement in educational pursuits in one’s free time.

Is capable of:

    • choosing carefully from among the different existing possibilities, planning and making good use of one’s time; organising activities in small and large groups.

Is ready to:

    • appreciate the importance of free time, that it is the right of every person; and of using it constructively.

Objective 11 

Care for one’s health, namely that one:

knows:

    • the basics of anatomy and human physiology, including physical development; the nutritional value of different food and how one can cultivate, select, prepare and preserve such food; the damage to one’s health resulting from smoking and from alcohol and drug abuse; about cleanliness and the connection between health and the environment; about  health services and the use one can make of them; about the rights and duties of the sick; how to care about other people’s health; about the basic social, political and historical aspects of health in Malta and throughout the world.

Is capable of:

    • making good and wise choices about one’s health; adopting lifestyles that safeguard one’s health; committing oneself to the generation of a healthy environment within one’s own community, one’s workplace and the natural surroundings.

Is ready to:

  • appreciate the quality of one’s life and that of others, besides the need for continuous improvement in the area of health.

Translating it into the syllabi, which are produced at national level to bind all schools, these objectives lead us to instil into our young students a sense of health and safety.  This is achieved through a special focus on children’s everyday life experiences and environment.  Particular importance is given to issues related to safe people and safe places, together with the importance of personal hygiene and healthy eating.  Moreover, a situation where safety is at times taken for granted, together with the possibility for personal harm, is also considered.  Consequently, significant emphasis is placed on considering safety at home, the street and play.

At our Primary Level, the Physical Education programme encourages participation in sport and leisure activities, providing opportunities for enjoyment, recreation and the pursuit of a health life-style.