FAQ For New Parents
We’re used to new parents having all kinds of questions. It is, after all, only natural that some have concerns as their child moves to a new environment. So we’ve prepared this list of frequent questions and answers which should offer you the guidance and assistance you require. Please contact us if you have additional questions or the answer you are looking for isn’t here:
Is there a House system?
There are four “houses” at Bootham and the students are allocated a house when they join the School. The houses are named after places significant in Quaker history: Brigflatts (after a meeting house in Sedbergh), Firbank (after Firbank Fell in Cumbria), Pendle (after Pendle Hill in Lancashire), and Swarthmoor (after Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria).
What are the Year Groups called?

Bootham School uses its own historical names to describe each of the year groups from aged 11 to 18. These idiosyncratic names are used in all school information and communications to parents and students. The year group names are explained below:

Lower Schoolroom Year 7 Ages 11-12
Middle Schoolroom Year 8   Ages 12-13
Upper Schoolroom Year 9 Ages 13-14


Lower Senior Year 10 Ages 14-15
Upper Senor Year 11 Ages 15-16


College (Sixth Form)    
College One Year 12 (Lower 6th) Ages 16-17
College Two    Year 13 (Upper 6th) Ages 17-18
After School Activities – how are they chosen?

Children are given a list of all activities to look through in advance. Sometimes they will sign up for their new terms activities at the end of the previous term.

How long does it take on choice night and when do they do it?

Activity booklets are sent home for parents to look at with their sons and daughters, the weekend before Activities are chosen.  The Activity choices can also be found on the website under ‘Life at Bootham/Extra Curricular Activities’.  Activity sign up day should be should be listed on the school calendar.

Can new ones be suggested?
In theory, yes, at any time. If there are enough children interested and they can get a teacher or College 1 or 2 to run it, it can go on the list for the next term. James Ratcliffe is in charge of the activity programme.
What happens if they don’t get the first choice?
It is inevitable that the younger pupils get the first choices but hopefully in the long run it is fair because most people have started in the younger years and progressed to being in the senior year groups at Bootham.
Can they change their mind once started?
Yes, within the first 2 weeks, they can apply for a change to an alternative and if there is a vacancy it will be OK.
Can they do an activity out of school if they are already in a club e.g. tennis?
Yes, they will have to have a letter from a parent to the form tutor and the person who runs activities to explain what it is and how they will be getting there. Students can leave at 4pm.
Sports Fixtures – how do our children find about whether they are playing?
They must check the PE notice boards where team lists are displayed – the website calendar contains details of the fixtures.  These fixtures take priority over home requests.
How do we find out about what time to pick them up?
PE staff will tell pupils when they should be picked up.
What can we do about short notice?
Often this has been a result of not checking the team list! But short notice can occur.
What can I do if my child is picked for a team but does not want to play?
Being part of the Bootham community means that expectations are placed on children. If there is a particular reason why a child cannot play in a team, that will always be given consideration – contact your form tutor if you have concerns.
Music Lessons – Can they try a new instrument or even do more than one?
The music department is keen to encourage wide participation – contact the Director of Music. A good number of children play more than one instrument.
How do they fit in with lessons?
Music lessons are rotated to avoid regular clashes – most take place outside the normal teaching timetable.
Is there a safe place to store musical instruments during the day until lesson time?
The music department is able to offer some storage particularly for large instruments, plus pupils have their own school lockers.
Girls’ Kilts – is there a rule about length?
No, fashion dictates the length as long as it is decent!
Parents’ Evenings – what do we do about younger siblings?
It is advisable to get a babysitter!
Are the children expected/allowed to attend?
Bootham encourage pupils to attend all parents’ evening right from Lower Schoolroom (Year 7). The approach is a joint venture between staff, parents and students, and it’s beneficial for you both to be involved in all discussions.
How do they work?
When you enter reception at school you will be given a full list of all teachers and their subjects and a name badge. Enter the fray! Look up who you need to speak to (don’t forget to check with your child what form they are in before you go so that you will know who to talk to!) and then queue up at the side of their table. It is best to check which side to queue as it is not the same at any table! And if there are parents standing in a cluster, it is best to ask them if any are in the queue for the teacher you want. Tea and coffee are available.
Saturday lunches – an explanation of the ‘two lines’, where to sit, clearing away etc, what time does it start and do we need to book in before hand?
One of the great things about Bootham is its welcoming nature and nothing sums this up better than Saturday lunch! But please remember, this is a school and the first priority is to feed the pupils! If you go with that understanding you won’t be disappointed. However, it is very, very busy – food does run out occasionally and you may have to wait for a table (so when you’ve eaten, please move on, so that the rest of us get a chance!). The expectations are as follows:- Don’t arrive before about 12.15.
You will not be allowed into the dining room until 12.45 (the unaccompanied children and staff eat first, from 12 noon).
From 12.45 there is a system of bells (your child will know all about it!) and you queue with your child, at their appointed time. There are two options – one is to go through the ‘servery’ queuing along the classroom corridor for hot food, soup, pasta and sandwiches. Alternatively join the queue in the dining room for salad, fruit and puddings. When you have finished your meal please clear it away – again your child will know the routine! The kitchen staff are run off their feet on Saturdays and so a friendly word from you is always appreciated! And finally – most Saturdays you don’t need to book – but there are particularly busy times when booking may be needed – you will be told in advance.
Evening meals for students – can they eat at school if necessary i.e., before discos etc?
Bootham is amazingly accommodating – if your child needs to stay in school for a School event. All they do is sign in for tea in the morning – (however, they must remember to do it as names will be checked!).
Can they board overnight and who do they speak to about it?
Day pupils may have two free boarding nights per term (further nights are chargeable!) on nights when there is space in the house. The boarding accommodation is already full with regular boarders – but house staff can take a few extra if these are booked in advance – but it is first come first served. You’ll need to contact the appropriate House Master/Mistress for your child’s age/gender. Remember your child can only board when there’s space and so popular nights (e.g. discos) may not be possible!
Tickets for events – do we need them and can extended family attend?
Many events like the regular buffet concerts, plays and musicals do not need a ticket and you are most welcome to bring the family. Where tickets are needed this will be stated in advance. The busy events like Parents’ Weekend and Carols by Candlelight are ones to restrict the number of extras!
Nearly New Shop – where is it and does it take cards or just cash/cheque?

In term time the Nearly New shop is open most Saturday mornings during ‘Coffee and Croissants’.   It is also open for the New Schoolroom Parents’ Coffee Morning which is held in June.  The shop takes cash or cheque donations

We are always pleased to receive good condition uniform items that your children have grown out off – please hand laundered items to Reception, clearly marked for Nearly New.

School productions – how do the children sign up for them?
Children need to put themselves forward to take part in productions. Often there will be a specific drama or music activity listed in the ‘Activities Programme’ and they need to sign up for them at the start of term. Announcements about auditions for productions are made in Morning Meeting (assembly) and children need to keep a look out for these – but if you have any concerns that your child is missing out, contact the Director of Music, or Drama or your child’s form tutor.
Lost Property – what happens?
Lost property is the bane of everyone’s life! There is no substitute for clearly naming the items and, more importantly, drilling it into your child to take care of their possessions! Theft is not the issue here. At Bootham you will see piles of books, clothes and other possessions left around without fear of loss – however, ‘borrowing’ is commonplace and it’s not unusual to find a variety of other children’s clothes in your wash! The PE department is a good source of ‘lost and found’ – but generally the problem is one of individual absent mindedness on the part of our offspring! Any serious concerns should be directed to your child’s form tutor.
Termly interviews – what are they and who does them?
Half term interviews take place between your child and their form tutor. It is a chance to review the first half term’s work and identify any problem areas. Parents will only be involved if there are serious issues. The end of term reports and parents’ evenings are where we get our feedback.
Are parents allowed in the common rooms?
Parents should not go into common rooms without the express permission of a member of staff. Usually accompanied by staff – there are ‘child protection’ issues here.
Parents should not go into common rooms without the express permission of a member of staff. Usually accompanied by staff – there are ‘child protection’ issues here.
Email is great – but not if you’re a busy classroom teacher! Please only email teaching staff with specific queries which only they should answer. Absences through sickness should be directed to the School Secretary either by phone or email schoolsecretary@boothamschool.com. Planned absence should be directed to the form Tutor (and Boarding House Master/Mistress) – here the convention for email is firstname.lastname followed by @boothamschool.com  e.g. john.smith@boothamschool.comor a note delivered to school.
What happens on the last morning of Christmas term?
The ‘Christmas Meeting’ is a popular event – there’s usually coffee before and a long queue! – and then for those requiring lunch you’ll need to book. All the information will be sent in the ‘End of Term Arrangements’ which usually arrive in the penultimate week of term.
What happens on Parents' Day?
Parents’ Day is a great event! It is in fact a weekend starting on Friday evening and running through to Saturday afternoon. You will be sent an invitation and programme in advance. Check the website too. Most parents aim to attend the Main Meeting on the Saturday morning to hear addresses from the Head Reeves (head girl and boy) and the Headmaster. There are concerts, drama events, art displays and House matches plus a big fundraising auction of promises after lunch.
I’ve heard that parents can use the swimming pool, is that correct? What other things are there that parents can do?
Membership of the BSA allows for use of the sports facilities at certain times.
When can I park and what are the pick up and drop off arrangements?
Please try to drop off and pick up outside the grounds wherever possible. The one-way system (in via Portland Street and out via Bootham Row) will operate between 8.00 am and 9.00 am, dropping off at the back of chemistry. At other times, cars may also exit via Portland Street, as Bootham Row exit will only be open between 8.00 am and 9.00 am and between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm. After school (between 5.00 pm and 6.00 pm) you may drive into the playground whilst waiting for your child/children (engine off please). You may also park in the playground on Saturdays between 11.30 am and 3.30pm in order to collect your child/children or stay for lunch. Playground parking may occasionally be permitted at other times for various school ‘events’, and for visitors attending Open Mornings. Such occasions will be advertised in advance on our website and in the weekly newsletter.
Do you operate school transport?
We currently run a mini bus service to and from the Junior and Senior Schools.  This covers the following areas: Appleton Roebuck, Bolton Percy, Acaster Malbis, Copmanthorpe, Bishopthorpe and Tadcaster Road.  Other bus routes may be considered if there was sufficient demand.

Comments below are from the Independent Schools Inspectorate report on Bootham School, January 2014

“At all stages, the school has established excellent links with parents. The overwhelming majority of parent responses to the pre-inspection questionnaire, including in the EYFS and in boarding, said they were highly satisfied with the education and support provided for their children, and with the quality of communication they have with the school. All parts of the school show a genuine desire to involve parents in their work and in their children’s education. The school ensures that parents are kept well informed about school activities, via emails, text messages, journals, homework planners, weekly newsletters, parents’ noticeboards and the school website.”


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