This week’s message (Friday 04 February 2022)

Friday 04 February 2022

Last week’s message began with some news about the continuing challenges Covid is presenting. Since then, we’ve had some information about the situation across Leeds. This week’s message begins with this, and continues with some information about next week’s Staying Safe themed week, and a few reminders and requests, useful for everyone to read. At the end, just for parents of younger children, is an update about phonics.

Covid caution

Absence rates are higher in Leeds than they are nationally: attendance at Leeds schools (20.01.22) was 85.2% (87% primary and 83.7% secondary) compared to a national average figure of 87.4% (89.1% primary and 85.9% secondary). Some of the difference is down to a greater proportion of pupils being absent with Covid in Leeds (6.2%) than nationally (5.1%).

Staff absence rates are also higher in Leeds: 5.5% of teachers are absent for Covid-related reasons compared to 4.5% nationally. For teaching assistants and other staff, the disparity is even greater: 6.4% in Leeds compared to 4.7% nationally.

Thankfully, this week has been a bit more settled. We’re really hoping the curve is about to turn as it has in other areas of the country, but in the meantime, please do stay vigilant to symptoms.

Staying safe

Next week, we’ve another themed week: Staying Safe. Themed weeks are one of the ways we enrich our Living and Learning curriculum. Your child will be learning all about staying safe in lots of different situations, such as online safety and road safety. A variety of visitors will support this learning.

Online safety will be a particular focus on Safer Internet Day, Tuesday 08 February. Do take a look at these top tips for parents and children and more online safety advice. You may also want to look at these screen time guides.

Throughout the week, discuss this learning at home to encourage your child to stay safe.

A few reminders and requests

We’re all so busy at the moment and we know it’s easy to let some things slip. The next few points are reminders and requests to help us keep our school a happy and healthy place to learn…

It’s natural that you’ll have some questions, comments and concerns from time to time. Our teachers will be happy to speak with you, but it’s worth remembering that after 8.50am, they need to crack on with teaching the class. Instead, try to catch your child’s teacher at the very end of the school day.

Alternatively, you could contact the office who’ll pass on the message – your child’s teacher or someone else in school will be happy to call you back. This also means you don’t need to have the conversation in front of your child – sometimes it’s better to have the conversation separately.

Older children might bring a mobile phone into school. If your child does, please make sure they’re careful as they walk to school. It’s sometimes easy to be distracted – your child needs to still concentrate on staying safe when crossing the road, for example.

Finally, please do take a moment to remind yourself and your child of uniform expectations. This includes wearing only small, plain stud earrings; keeping long hair tied back; and wearing hair accessories (like hair bands) which don’t distract – keep them small and not too bright.


For parents of younger children only…

Thanks to everyone who attended Monday’s Zoom session about the changes to how we teach early reading. Parents who attended commented favourably:

If you missed the session, you can watch it here (with apologies for the weird animal noise I seem to be making at the very start!). As requested during the Zoom, look out for some resources which we’ll email to you next week, too.


As always, we hope you have a happy and healthy weekend.