News

Latest news from around the school

A wonderful 'well done'!

Posted on 17 September 2018 by Mr Roundtree

It’s great to receive a letter from Leeds Learning Improvement Team congratulating us on how well we’re doing…

Initial analysis of attainment and progress at St James’ indicates that you have made significant improvements in your school’s reading, writing and mathematics combined results.

We are pleased that the work which your school has undertaken has had positive impact and trust that your engagement with the Leeds Learning
Improvement team has supported these improvements.

Congratulations to the whole team for their dedication and hard work which is positively affecting outcomes and will improve the life chances of all these children.

Scroll Free September? Scams? Gaming Addiction? TikTok?

Posted on 17 September 2018 by Mr Roundtree

The eSafety advisor, Alan Mackenzie, has published the latest edition of his excellent newsletter, #Ditto. The September 2018 edition includes information on all of the above!

Summer writing challenge

Posted on 14 September 2018 by Miss Beatson

Well done to all the children who sent in a postcard from their summer holiday. It was lovely to read about the fantastic places you visited. We had postcards from various places in the UK and a postcard as far away as Thailand! We have displayed all the postcards in the hall for everybody to read.

Well done to Lilly and Jack, who are the winners of our writing summer challenge. Their writing was clear and told us a lot about what they did on their holiday.

Friendship...

Posted on 10 September 2018 by Mr Roundtree

…is our Christian value this half-term.

At St James’ CE Primary School, we learn about Christian values that help us to become well-rounded citizens in society. These values have been chosen by our Church Council, a group of pupils who advise us on aspects of our provision. The values are woven into our everyday school life. Each half-term, we focus on a Christian value that is embedded into our collective worship and our reflection areas. This half-term, we consider friendship.

‘A friend loves at all times.’ – Proverbs 17:17

True friendship enables each person to grow and ensures that the unique individuality of each person is recognised. Friendship is the special relationship we have with certain people – a friend loves and cares for you at all times.

Christians believe that God’s friendship towards us will last forever. Friendship is a partnership of shared experiences, talents, interests and enthusiasms.

Why did the Church Council choose this Christian value? ‘Because Jesus is our friend and he is everyone’s friend even when we’re naughty.’ (Year 1 Church Council member)

Home challenge: We can learn a lot about friendships from the books we read. Find a book that models a good friendship. Write its title on a post-it note and stick it in the reflection area in your classroom.

Thank you

Posted on 09 September 2018 by Miss Beatson

In the holidays, Mr Suttle helped the school by lending us one of his vans from his company: Suttle Transport Services Limited. He helped us to transport some materials to Scholes. We want to say a big thank you, we really appreciate your support!

Living and Learning

Posted on 07 September 2018 by Mrs Rowley

As we return to school, we begin our Living and Learning theme with a focus on manners: I can greet someone politely.

We’ll then continue by thinking about the ‘8 Rs for learning’. This theme is about promoting good learning behaviour for your child.

Each week, we’ll focus on two different ‘Rs’. We use an animal to symbolise each ‘R’, which might help your child remember all eight – can your child remember which animal matches the correct ‘R’?

You can support your child at home – we’ve listed a few ideas to help you below. Ask us if you’ve any questions or comments.

Download top tips for promoting the 8Rs for good learning behaviour.

I can show I am ready to learn.

Make sure your child is at school for a prompt start of 08:50.
Make sure your child has had plenty of sleep so they are alert and ready to learn at all times.
Encourage your child to ask lots of questions – that shows they want to learn!

I respond to feedback.

Ask your child if they remember their ‘stars’ and ‘steps’ in English and Maths.

I take a safe risk.

Talk about the difference between a safe and unsafe risk.  At school, we want your child to take a safe risk by having a go at answering, even if unsure; trying something new and attempting harder learning.

I take responsibility for my own learning.

Provide time and space at home so your child is able to organise themselves: their PE kit, reading book, homework, spellings and tables… Don’t organise everything for them!
Make a link between rights and responsibilities: your child has the right to a great education, but needs to be responsible for their own learning.

I am resourceful.

Encourage your child to be organised so they can play with a range of different toys.
Encourage your child to try new ways to solve a tricky problem.

I am resilient.

Encourage your child to keep going! Set a tricky challenge or puzzle for your child to do.
Encourage your child to think of different ways of doing things.
Don’t let your child win when they play a game – they need to experience losing, too!
Celebrate mistakes as opportunities to learn – be happy that your child found some learning hard and encourage them to ‘bounce back’ and learn from the experience.

I remember.

Make sure they have time to learn spellings, number bonds and times tables – a little practice daily is best.
Play memory games:

Kim’s game: show them objects for 30 seconds… can they remember all the objects?
Can they build up the sequence, ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple’… ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple and a bike.’… ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple, a bike and a cucumber.’ etc … Take turns!

I reflect about my learning.

Talk with your child about what they’ve learnt, asking questions about:

how they learnt
why they learnt it
when they’ll use their learning
how they would teach this to someone else
what learning might link with what they’ve learnt today etc

As well as covering the 8Rs for learning, pupils will also learn about their rights and responsibilities.

Finally, we end the half term learning about democracy (one of the British Values).  All children have the opportunity to experience democracy in our annual School Council elections.  More details to follow.

Our full Living and Learning long term plan is available on the health pages and you can keep up to date with our weekly Living and Learning statements on the parent noticeboard in the playground and also on the school calendar.

High school application deadlines...

Posted on 05 September 2018 by Mrs Craggs

Leeds City Council writes:

Is your child currently in Year 6? If so, it’s time to apply for a secondary school place!

If your child is due to start secondary school in September 2019 you should apply for a place from 01 August 2018. The deadline for applying is 31 October 2018.

You need to make your application online at www.leeds.gov.uk/secondaryschool

If you need any more information please contact the admissions team on 0113 222 4414.

Frequently asked questions

When can I apply for a place at High School Year 7? 

The application process is available from 1 August 2018 to 31 October 2018.

How do I apply for a place?

You can apply online by going to www.leeds.gov.uk and searching for school admissions.  If you need assistance with the application you can call us on 0113 2224414 or email us at [email protected]. There is also a video on www.leeds.gov.uk which offers advice and guidance.

What are admissions policies?

Admissions policies set out how schools will offer places, and who will be offered a place first if there are more applications than places available at the school. The criteria set out in the admissions policy will be used to rank all applications and then places will be offered from the top of the list of applicants until the year group is full.

It is important that you look at the admissions policy for each of the schools you are including in your list of preferences as different schools have different admission policies. Admissions policies for all kinds of schools (Community, Foundation, Voluntary Aided and Academy schools) can be obtained from schools directly, found on the school website, on the Leeds City Council website at www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Admissions.aspx, or by contacting the Admissions Team on 0113 2224414.

How are places offered?

The local authority is required to co-ordinate all applications for year 7 places. This means the Local Authority receive all applications centrally, work with schools who determine their own admissions to gather information from them, and send out all the offer letters, making sure each child only receives one offer.

We consider all preferences at the same time and aim to offer your highest preference possible, but whether we can offer you the place you want for your child will depend on your circumstances, the schools you have asked for and their policies, the  number of applications they have received and the circumstances of all other applicants to that school.

I have good reasons why my child should attend my first preference school – so you have to offer them a place there don’t you?

Many parents have good reasons why they would prefer their child to attend a particular school, but while parents have the legal right to express their preference, this is not the same as free choice about where their child is admitted. School admissions policies provide very clear criteria about who can be prioritised over others for a place and you should review the policies to see whether your child meets any of these priority criteria. If they do, please tell us on your application so that the admissions policy can be applied to your application for each school correctly.

What is my priority school/catchment area?

One priority which many admission policies include is a priority for children requesting a place where they are living in the priority catchment area or where the school is their ‘nearest’ school. It’s important to look at the school policy as not all schools include this priority. You will receive a letter telling you which school is your catchment priority school.

Distance (measured in a straight line) is also often used as a tie break within each priority, so all children who meet the ‘catchment’ priority will also be ranked in order of distance from the school. There is no guarantee that you will be allocated a place at your priority catchment school if you request it – each year it depends on the number of children requesting the school who meet this priority.

It is important that you look at each school admission policy and all other available information before making a decision about your preferences as it is important to consider whether you have a realistic chance of being offered a place.

Does it matter what order I list my preferences?

Places are not offered on a ‘first preference first’ basis – it is against the School Admissions Code for this to happen. When schools are ranking their applications in line with their admissions policy, they don’t know which preference number you gave to that school.

Your preference order is only used by the Local Authority when they are making the offers on behalf of the school, and it only influences which offer is made where you could be offered more than one of your preferences.

The Local Authority is obliged to offer you the highest preference school which your child qualifies for so please put the schools in order of where you would like your child to attend.

If I only provide one preference, do you have to offer me that school?

No. Providing just one or two preferences does not in any way increase your chances of being offered a place at these schools as your application for each school is ranked in line with the admissions policy. If the Local Authority is unable to offer a preferred school, you will be offered a place at any school with a vacancy available after all other applications have been considered, so not using all five of the available preferences actually decreases the chances of you being offered a preferred place.

Can I find out which schools are closest to my home?

You can contact the Leeds City Council Admissions Team on 0113 2224414 or send an email to [email protected] to ask for this information. Please remember to include your address when contacting us. Our measurements are based on a straight-line distance from the school to your address. Previous allocation maps for secondary schools are on the Leeds City Council website www.leeds.gov.uk/admissions. These show the distances from home to school for the people who were successful in gaining places last year so give an indication of your chances of being offered a place. Most online mapping tools only use postcodes and not the full address. If you want to know your nearest priority school you must ask us for details; you should also receive a letter in July which will give details of your priority school and your five nearest schools by distance but you don’t need this letter to apply.

What is the ‘furthest allocation distance’?

In the information provided on the Leeds City Council website, ‘furthest allocation distances’ are stated where this information is available.

Furthest allocation distances are the distance the last pupil allocated a place at a school under one of the distance priorities (in the Leeds City Council policy this is Priority 3 – Priority Catchment and Priority 4 – non-catchment) lived from the school.

Further details of allocation data can be found at: www.datamillnorth.org/dataset/secondary-school-allocations

When will I find out which school my child has been offered?

1 March 2019 is National Offer day. You will be sent an email on this day with your offer letter attached or if you did not apply online a letter will be sent out by second class post and you will receive it a few days after the 1 March.

What should do when I receive my offer of a place?

You should accept the offer of the school place directly with the school. Accepting a lower preference offer will not affect your position on a waiting list or your right to appeal against the refusal at any other school.

What happens if I don’t get offered a place at the school I want?

If you don’t get offered a place at the school you would prefer, you can request to go on the waiting list. You can also appeal against the decision to refuse a place at a school, although appeals can only be granted in specific circumstances.  More information will be provided with your offer letter.

What happens if I move into the area or change address?

If you move into the area or change address between the closing date in October 2018 and the start of the new school year in September 2019, you must let us know as this could affect your application. We will try our best to offer your child a place at the school you prefer. If there are no places left at any of the schools you wanted, we will offer your child a place at the school closest to your home with available places. Remember that we will find your closest school by measuring in a straight line. If you move to a new address, we will ask you to provide written proof of your new address and written proof that you have left your previous address.

Useful numbers and contacts

Leeds City Council website:  http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Admissions.aspx

Admissions team: phone 0113 222 4414 email [email protected].

Transport:  Application forms, guidance notes, Leeds Children’s Transport policy, Under-16 Photocards and information about bus travel can be obtained at: www.metro.com/schools.  If you need information on your ‘Nearest Qualifying School’ or have other general school transport questions please contact the Leeds Education Transport Assessment Team on 0113 348 1122 or [email protected].

Elective Home Education: phone 0113 378 5028.

Attendance Team:  phone 0113 378 2480.

School meals: To apply for free school meals please contact 0113 222 4404.

School uniforms and other expenses parents should contact the school their child will be attending for information about help with school uniforms.

Special Educational Needs Information: For children with an existing Education Health and Care Plan (EHC) parents should contact their SEN casework officer phone 0113 378 5256.  For general information, support and advice about SEN and disabilities contact the Leeds Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Service phone 0113 378 5020.

Annual survey of parents / carers 2018 - results

Posted on 05 September 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to all of you who completed the Summer 2018 parents’ and carers’ survey. This news post is a repeat of one published at the start of the summer holidays, in case you missed it then.

This year, the number of responses more than doubled: 23 of you gave us your feedback, and these spread very evenly across all the classes. This means the information we gather from the survey is more reliable.

Below is a summary of what you’ve said. We’re delighted that for so many statements, 100% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed – this is even better than last year when 91% of respondents was a typical figure.

Lots of you added some comments after each question; we’ve included here just one or two that represent typical responses.

Please do remember that what you say is important to us. We can’t guarantee we can accommodate everyone’s wishes or opinions expressed in the survey, but we do guarantee we consider each one. And don’t forget: if you have any questions, comments or concerns, do speak with your child’s class teacher or to Miss Beatson, our Head of School. They’re often around at the start and end of the school day.

1. My child is happy at St James’ CE Primary School.
100% agreed or strongly agreed with this (up from 91% last year).
Typical feedback includes:
‘Both my children love getting up and heading to school. It’s not just excitement to see their friends but excitement of what the day will have in store for them.’
All of the comments for this statement were positive, although one respondent did comment on some incidents with other children which occasionally spoil this – please, everyone, make sure your child is aware that they should always alert an adult in school if there are problems in the playground.

2. My child feels safe at this school.
Again, 100% agreed or strongly agreed with this.
There were two positive comments relating to this statement, including one from the same respondent (above) who noted the incidents with other children, and goes on to say here: ‘There have been internal issues with other children however these were resolved’. That’s really good to hear – we’re glad that we were told so we could deal with these effectively.

3. My child makes good progress at this school.
It’s the same again: 100% agreed or strongly agreed with this.
Comments were typically positive, including:
‘My son has made excellent progress and I have enjoyed keeping up to date with all his work.’
Both my children have made excellent progress within the school since day one…I couldn’t have given them a better education if I tried.’
One comment did mention an occasional lack of challenge – we’ll keep aware of this to make sure all our children continue to make progress and reach their potential.

4. My child is well looked after.
We’re delighted that 100% of you also agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
‘The school does an excellent job of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children under their care.’
‘I feel both my children are 110% looked after within the school. The teachers have time for every pupil and this is reflected in the behaviour of all…’

5. My child is taught well at St James’ CE Primary School.
Here, we’ve another statement with 100% in agreement.
‘I think the teaching has become much better in the school over the last few months…’
‘My children could not be taught better, and thanks to the frequent parent class visits to see how they are taught I know how the day is structured and how the teachers teach… Teaching has changed a lot since I was at school so knowing how I can follow on at home with homework is a great help.’
Thanks for these and the other comments – all positive.
One parent / carer mentioned (s)he would like to come into school and see some teaching – next year’s sessions for you to do this are: Watch us while we work (13 November 2018 and 27 February 2019); homework review (22 November 2018); and topic review (25 March 2019).

6. Adults in school make sure pupils are well behaved.
91% of you were in agreement here.
‘Teachers and staff seem to be on the ball with behaviour and standards seem to be high. This is a bonus.’
‘The techniques that the teachers use for calming children down, ensuring they are all listening and ready to learn are amazing.’
The remaining two respondents indicated they didn’t know; this may be because they’ve not encountered any particular problems: ‘Unable to comment as I am not entirely familiar with the positive behaviour model at St James.’

7. St James’ CE Primary School deals effectively with bullying. (Bullying includes persistent name calling, cyber-bullying, racist and homophobic bullying.)
For this statement, 70% agreed, 9% disagreed and 22% were unsure*.
We’re really pleased that the proportion who agreed has gone up by 15 % points; likewise, we’re pleased the proportion who disagreed has dropped by 18 % points.
However, we’re not complacent. If your child feels that they are being bullied, please do alert us. At St James’ CE Primary, we use this definition of bullying:
when someone is hurt physically or emotionally Several Times On Purpose
and we promote this solution:
Start Telling Other People before it becomes a problem
Please help us reinforce this message at home, too. Check out our Positive Relationships Policy, too.
Despite the lower proportions agreeing to this statement, the comments we received were good overall:
‘…there is now much more awareness amongst staff of the issues.’
‘Any question or niggle about bullying is dealt with straight away. It is not tolerated. There are teachers children can talk to and even (child) peer mediators in the playground that children can approach if they have a concern or even if they don’t have anyone to play with.’
*Quite a large number of parents / carers said they didn’t know. It’s often the case with this question to see a high proportion saying they are unsure – comments indicate that this is because parents / carers are happy they’re child hasn’t encountered bullying, so they are unsure as to how well the school deals with it.

8. The school is well led and managed.
100% agreed or strong agreed to this statement – a big jump from last year’s 82%.
‘Since the new Head, Miss Beatson, has arrived I feel she has really picked up the school. I feel it is far better run and you can feel a much happier vibe around the school.’
‘Recent changes within the school have really upped the school’s whole performance. I never had a problem with the school in the past but even now I see it is growing from strength to strength for all the best reasons.’
Thanks for these – and other – encouraging comments (and well done, Miss Beatson!).

9. The school responds well to any concerns I raise.
83% agreed or strongly agreed here – that’s a rise of 10 % points from 73% last year. Two respondents disagreed and two were unsure (perhaps a result of not having raised concerns).
Nearly all comments were positive:
‘If I have any concerns regarding my child at school they are listened to and dealt with effectively…’
‘School staff and in particular Emma Coster have been excellent in assisting me…’
We’d love to be able to respond directly to the two people with concerns – contact us to talk things through, please!

10. I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress.
Whilst we’ve not changed much in terms of information about progress, this year 78% agreed or strongly agreed (a drop of 13 % points) and the remaining five disagreed.
Of the five comments, three raised specific issues: special education needs, reading and the timing of parents’ evenings. We’ll review the first two points more over time; regarding parents’ evenings, we’re going to tweak this so that parents’ evenings are still towards the end of Autumn 1 and Spring 1, but we’ll supplement this with the Learning Updates being sent home in Autumn 2 and Spring 2 rather than during the parent-teacher meetings. This means parents / carers will be updated on progress every half term in Autumn and Spring, and then the annual report in Summer (and you’re welcome to make an appointment to discuss the report, too).

11. The school promotes its Christian ethos effectively.
Here, 91% agreed and the remaining two respondents were unsure.
‘The school promotes Christian ethos perfectly in my mind. Children are taught in a way that’s fun but informative…’

12. Would you recommend us?
We asked if you would recommend the school. We’re so pleased that 100% indicated they would – that’s great news!

We asked you to tell us about things you like and the things we could improve on. With a lot of praise and some constructive suggestions, it’s great to read these.

Communication was mentioned as an area to improve, although another respondent commented that this had improved considerably. The closure of the Out of School Club was also mentioned as something that has disappointed you; we’re sad about this, too, but at the moment we simply can’t provide this expensive service without impacting on the provision for all children in school – we’ll keep considering whether we can re-introduce this at some point.

The things you like include the progress children are making, the warm relationships between teachers and children, and – similarly – the good relationships between teachers and parents / carers.

Comments also referred to the new leadership and the improvements we’re making:
‘I would recommend St James highly. It may not have the same Ofsted rating as the other Wetherby schools…my children are extremely happy (and so are we!) with all aspects of St James.’
‘Yes. Over the last few months there has been a great improvement in the school and I would definitely say to other parents to look around. I think the school has so much potential…’

Not long to go...

Posted on 27 August 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Has your child sent us a postcard? We’d love to hear from them!

When your child returns to school after the summer holidays, the first topic they’ll be learning will be Where in the World?

To help with this, we’d love it if your child sends us a postcard. There will be prizes for the best-written postcard, and, naturally, they’ll all go on display.

The postcard could be from Spain or Scarborough, a city-break or an outdoor adventure, a day-trip or a fortnight away. More importantly, it could be real or made-up… we might get postcards recounting your child’s adventures in space, even!

Your child doesn’t need to have gone anywhere this summer to write about what they got up to, so there’s no excuse for them not to join in.

All we ask is that your postcards arrive by Monday 10 September – that’s the start of the second week back (so they could even write a postcard from that weekend!).

The Where in the World? topic will develop the children’s geographical knowledge and skills. The world is a big place that is getting more and more accessible but how much do we know about it? We’ll be swotting up on names of capital cities, countries, continents and oceans (depending on the age of your child). Get out your maps and test each other at home. Who knows all the capital cities in the UK? Can anyone name the five continents? We’ll also develop map skills so get out there and give each other directions to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’!

Has your child sent us a postcard yet?

Posted on 13 August 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Over the summer, we’d love to hear from you!

When your child returns to school after the summer holidays, the first topic they’ll be learning will be Where in the World?

To help with this, we’d love it if your child sends us a postcard. There will be prizes for the best-written postcard, and, naturally, they’ll all go on display.

The postcard could be from Spain or Scarborough, a city-break or an outdoor adventure, a day-trip or a fortnight away. More importantly, it could be real or made-up… we might get postcards recounting your child’s adventures in space, even!

Your child doesn’t need to go anywhere this summer to write about what they’ve got up to, so there’s no excuse for them not to join in.

All we ask is that your postcards arrive by Monday 10 September – that’s the start of the second week back (so they could even write a postcard from that weekend!).

The Where in the World? topic will develop the children’s geographical knowledge and skills. The world is a big place that is getting more and more accessible but how much do we know about it? We’ll be swotting up on names of capital cities, countries, continents and oceans (depending on the age of your child). Get out your maps and test each other at home. Who knows all the capital cities in the UK? Can anyone name the five continents? We’ll also develop map skills so get out there and give each other directions to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’!