News

Latest news from around the school

Annual surveys - what you told us

Posted on 07 August 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to all of you who responded to this year’s annual survey. It came at a difficult time for many of us (the height of lockdown), so we’re really grateful to the parents / carers who took the time to tell us their thoughts.

We made the survey a little shorter this year, and some of the statements we used are a bit different – this was to match new statements that Ofsted use.

We’re proud to say that the feedback continues to be really positive.

We had 22 responses – that might seem small, but it’s a good proportion (just under a third) of the total number of parents/carers we have in our small school. It does mean, however, that to talk about the results can be difficult.

95% to 100% (that’s basically all or all except one) parents/carers who expressed an opinion agreed with the following statements:

  • My child is happy at St James’ CE Primary School.
  • My child feels safe at St James’ CE Primary School.
  • My child does well at this school.
  • The school makes me aware of what my child will learn during the year.
  • There is a good range of subjects available to my child at this school.
  • The school supports my child’s wider personal development.
  • My child has SEND, and the school gives them the support they need to succeed. (This statement only applied to a small number, and of that number, 100% agreed.)
  • The school promotes its Christian ethos effectively.
  • I would recommend this school to another parent.

These figures are really high – thank you. There are areas were the results were a little lower. We’re happy that despite this, so many of you would still recommend the school.

85% of those who expressed an opinion agreed with the statement ‘The school has high expectations for my child.’ This is a high number but we’d like it to be higher. We do believe we have high expectations and the end of Key Stage 2 assessments show the proportions of children reaching ‘greater depth’ level is in-line with national expectations. Nevertheless, we’ll keep working on how to best provide opportunities for challenge.

Similarly, we’d like the figure of 78% who agreed ‘When I have raised concerns with the school they have been dealt with properly’ to be higher. We can only do this if we work together with realistic goals for what we as a school can achieve (we won’t authorise holidays, for example). Miss Beatson works hard to respond to parents / carers. Please do speak with her about any issue you may have.

Two statements related to behaviour and bullying. The vast majority agreed that we make sure behaviour is good – that’s great to hear. Even better to hear is that the majority of you reported that your child has not been bullied. Of those who raised a concern, most reported that it had been dealt with quickly and effectively. At St James’ CE Primary, we take bullying behaviour very seriously. We have two messages: the definition (Several Times On Purpose) and the solution (Start Telling Other People). If you feel there’s a problem with bullying in our school, please do talk with us about it.

At the end of the survey, we invited comments. We received comments from about a quarter of those who responded. All of the comments were entirely positive – thank you. Here’s a couple of representative comments:

  • ‘Fantastic school and amazing staff who go out of their way to make sure children are happy. My son moved to this school last year after moving house and we have seen a huge improvement not just in his learning but also his social skills. He is also so much happier and loves going to school.’
  • ‘The teachers treat each child equally and want the best for them to thrive in and out of school. My daughter loves attended school and regularly comes home telling me all about the lessons. I cannot praise the school enough or recommend it highly enough to new parents.’

St James’ CE Primary is a happy and healthy place to achieve and believe. Parents and carers are an important part of our close and supportive community. Thank you, again, if you responded to the survey.

Summer food vouchers

Posted on 29 July 2020 by Mrs Craggs

The second instalment of summer food vouchers have been emailed out this afternoon to all parents/carers with children who are eligible for free school meals. Please check your junk box and contact [email protected] if you haven’t received your voucher.

A summer message (20 July 2020)

Posted on 20 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the first day of the summer holidays – we hope they’ve started well.

We’re not sending daily messages over summer, but do look out for the occasional one – they’ll usually be important updates about school in September.

Summer was for some pupils. Autumn is for all.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming back all the familiar faces on Monday 07 September (except for our Year 6 friends, of course, who move on to secondary school after the summer).

This message is a link to the latest Families magazine which is a summer holiday issue. It’s got lots of resources and ideas to help you keep your children entertained, busy and productive during the long break including fun learning ideas, sourcing books, learning to draw, safe socialising and screen free activities.

Read the magazine here.

 

Our daily message (17 July 2020)

Posted on 17 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the last day of the school year and this is our last daily message. At least, we hope it’s our last as we look forward to the Autumn term, when hopefully much has settled down…

We started sending out messages just before schools closed, in the week beginning 16 March. Sometimes there were three or four in a day, and there was never really any time when it didn’t feel there was something useful to share. For all your appreciation about the daily messages, thank you.

Schools closed on Friday 20 March for all but a few children. Since then, we know you’ve worked incredibly hard with home learning and all the other stuff that takes up your days. It’s been a tough ride. For all your great efforts, thank you.

During the period when schools have been closed, it’s true that some of you made suggestions, raised concerns and sometimes voiced your frustrations. In normal times, we’re always keen to hear your questions, comments and concerns, and in these challenging times, we were grateful you raised things in a positive, friendly way. We acted on as many as we could – and we’ll continuing to act on these. For all your constructive feedback, thank you.

It’s also fair to say that for every one comment like that, we received a good deal more which praised what we’ve been doing. They’ve really boosted us as we went through our own lockdown lows. For all your support, thank you.

Summer

Over the last few days, we’ve provided you with a list of summer camps and other activities and some more more holiday challenges. Check out the the Breeze website for activity ideas, too.

The long summer break can be quite challenging. This Self care Summer Primary resource has fun activities designed to help children look after their mental health and wellbeing. It also signposts them (and you) to additional support if needed. There’s a version for young adults, too.

Over the summer, if you experience difficulties and need advice or support, information is available from Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership. Alternatively, you can contact your local Early Help Hub: [email protected]  or 0113 3785996.

September

Yesterday, we sent you our guide to school in September. We hope you find it useful. It might seem long, but there are only two pages we especially want you to know about before September – the key information on page 3 and 4.

Later on in the guide, we mention the whole-school picture book topic that children in Years 1 to 6 will do. We’ve chosen After the fall: how Humpty got back up again. Younger children will enjoy thinking about the Humpty Dumpty story and what happened next. Older children will see the analogy between Humpty’s fall and recovery and Covid-19 and how we can recover from this. If you anticipate your child feeling anxious about their return to school after such a long period, it might help if they’re familiar with the story they’re going to be thinking about in school, so they can feel confident and reassured as they settle back in to school life. You could buy the book or listen to it read online.

 

Ok, I’m off to sit in a darkened room for a while…

The teachers, support staff and school leaders all wish you a happy and healthy summer. Stay safe, stay sane and see you in September.

Our daily message: School in September (update 3, 16 July 2020)

Posted on 16 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message is an important one about school in September…

Autumn’s for all pupils – read our guide to school in September.

We’re really happy to finally be able to welcome back all our pupils to school – and to welcome some new faces, too! We’ll have lots of things in place to keep making sure our school is a happy and healthy and safe place to learn. We’ve closely considered lots of different aspects to make sure the new school year goes smoothly.

There are four sections to the guide. The first section (on page 3 and 4) contains the key information that you need to know – things like school start and finish times, for example. Please make sure you read this so you’re up-to-date with the things we’re doing a bit differently.

If you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, then as always, do get in touch.

Our daily message (15 July 2020)

Posted on 15 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our message last Wednesday (08 July) had a summer focus. One week on, and we re-visit this topic…

We’re reaching the end of the school year. For many, home learning has drifted off a bit. Don’t feel bad about this – the home learning situation has lasted far longer than we might have predicted way back in March. From our communications with you, we know you’ve done a good job.

Get out and about

During the summer break, if you’re looking for activities, then check out the range of useful information on the Breeze website.

Last week, we provided you with a list of summer camps and other activities. It might be an idea to sign up to something if you can afford it. Your child could benefit from the social aspects, and it’ll give you a much-needed break. (Like we said last week, though: seek assurance that the provider is following protective measures in line with the guidance which the government has produced.)

Set a summer challenge

Parents’ / carers’ feedback about our previous holiday activities was
really positive, so here are some more holiday challenges that you and your child might want to complete over the summer holidays. A few key points…

  • The list is the same across year groups, meaning if you’ve more than one
    child, they might work on it together in some way.
  • You can encourage your child to do some or all of the activities –
    they’re all optional.
  • We’re sorry – unlike at Easter and the summer half-term, teachers won’t be around so please don’t email them. Teachers will not be giving feedback about these tasks.

Keep up with reading

If your child starts back at school in September being an enthusiastic and fluent reader, then they’ll be in a great starting position to kick off the school year.

Many of you have told us you’ve appreciated the online copies of First News that we’ve emailed out. Children really enjoy reading First News in school. You can subscribe at home. It’s a great way to keep your child reading – the articles are quite short and presented in an attractive format. Right now, there’s a ten week summer subscription for £19.99 (and it comes with a free puzzle book).

To make things even better, for every subscription parents take out and select our school from the drop down box at the checkout, we’ll get money back to put towards our school. This is a great opportunity to get your kids reading at home while helping the school raise money. Remember to select our school when ordering so we can fundraise: you’ll need our postcode, which is LS22 6JS.

Just in case…

Over the summer, if you experience difficulties and need advice or support, information is available from Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership. Alternatively, you can contact your local Early Help Hub: [email protected]  or 0113 3785996.

Our daily message: School in September (update 2, 14 July 2020)

Posted on 14 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message has important updates for school in September.

Summer was for some pupils, Autumn is for all. We’re looking forward to welcoming back all pupils on Monday 07 September. Here are a few updates that we think you’ll want to know about.

Three things going ahead…

PE is going ahead. On the days your child has PE, they should come to school in their PE kit. (Track-suit bottoms instead of shorts would be good on colder days.) Children should wear their usual school uniform on other days. Read more about our uniform policy.

Our Out-of-School Club is going ahead. The before and after school club will start on Monday 07 September. Before-school club starts at the new earlier time of 7.30am. After-school club finishes at the usual time of 6.00pm. If you’d like your child to attend, please inform the school office.

Homework is going ahead. We’ll set weekly homework as we normally do. The key difference is that Homework books should stay at home for the time being. Just as normal, the tasks will be posted on the website. Instead of the task pasted into books, children will take home a piece of paper with the task on, too. The tasks will be a variety of Talk Time, Practice Makes Perfect and Creative, but especially the first two.

Parents can email a picture or update about a completed task (just as many have been doing with the home learning tasks we set in Spring and Summer terms). The homework will be reviewed in school, so some pictures would be good!

And three things on hold for now…

For the first half-term, there are a few things not happening:

  • swimming lessons for Year 4 children,
  • after-school clubs for all children, and
  • peripatetic instrument lessons.

We really want to get these up-and-running soon, but want to make sure that everything happens as smoothly as possible in other aspects of school life for all our children and staff.

Our daily message (13 July 2020)

Posted on 13 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you had a good weekend. Hopefully, lockdown easing a little has meant you can catch up with more people. Like most Mondays, we’ve our Living and Learning ideas. Before that…

It’s the 14th week of home learning (that’s not counting Easter and the summer half-term holiday), and it’s the last week. Well done for getting this far – it’s been tough for so many people.

On Friday, we updated you with our plans for a staggered start and end to the school day. Tomorrow, we’ll update you with more plans for September in school.

Leeds City Council has produced a new checklist of things for us to consider as we prepare for Autumn for all children. The checklist has 36 sections and 282 items for us to consider, so you can be confident that by the time we’ve worked our way through it, our plans will be sensible and comprehensive.

Living and learning

Each week in school, we have a Living and Learning statement. I can reflect and look ahead is our statement this week. One of the Sphere Federation Health Leaders writes:

We’re nearing the end of the school year. Being able to reflect is one of our eight Rs for learning – we looked at these way back in the first half-term of the school year. Reflecting means to think carefully about something and in this statement refers to looking back and thinking about what has happened this year.

Whether you’re at home or at school, in this, the last week of the school year, we can reflect on the year’s successes, changes and challenges. Reflect together: use these prompts to discuss with your child.

  • I feel I improved the most in…
  • Something important that I learned this year was…
  • My favourite subject this year has been…
  • What I enjoyed learning the most this year was…
  • Something I’m proud of accomplishing is…
  • Something I’ve learned about myself is…
  • Something I will miss is…
  • I will never forget this year because…

Encourage your child to include a reason: My favourite subject this year has been… because

We thought about changes and transition last week. The following prompts can be used to support your child to look ahead to their next school year.

  • I’m excited about…
  • I want to learn about…
  • I’m nervous about…
  • I think the hardest thing will be…
  • I can’t wait for…
  • I think I’ll be surprised about…

This activity allows children to reflect and look ahead by writing a letter to their future self.

Our daily message: School in September (update 1)

Posted on 10 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our final daily message this week comes from Miss Beatson…

We’re really excited to be preparing to finally be able to welcome back all our pupils to school – and to welcome some new faces, too!

Autumn’s for all children – we’re welcoming back all children on Monday 07 September 2020.

The new school year will have lots of things in place to keep making sure school is a happy and healthy and safe place to learn.

We’re closely considering lots of different aspects to make sure the new school year goes smoothly. Of course, lots of things are subject to change – the government might update guidance and we’ll be evaluating how things go, ready to iron out any glitches as we go along.

Right now, we can bring you news about the start and end of the school day.

We need a way to make sure all our children can get in and out of school safely. As we ease out of lockdown, it’s still important to reduce ‘people traffic’ around school at these busy times.

We’re introducing staggered start and end times

Doing this allows us to maximise learning time – something which the guidance from the Department for Education prioritises.

Morning Afternoon
Foundation 1 (F1) 9.00am 3.00pm
Foundation 2 (F2) 8.45am 3.00pm
The timings for Foundation 2 will be in place once your child has attended for a few sessions and have built up to attending full-time.
Year 1/2 8.50am 3.00pm
Year 3/4 9.00am 3.15pm
Year 5/6 9.00am 3.15pm

Please be punctual. This will help us to keep our community safe by reducing congestion.

Where you have children in different classes, please bring all children at the earliest time and pick up at the earliest time. For example, a family with a child in Y1 and Y4 would bring all children at 08.50 and pick all children up at 15.00.  Siblings will be in the playground with an adult ready to be collected.

Lunchtimes will be shortened by 10 minutes, so learning time isn’t affected.

Other things you’ll be able do to help

  • If you’re waiting in the playground, please ensure your child stands with you and doesn’t mix with other children who may be in a different bubble. Children mixing across bubbles undermines our risk assessment.
  • Where possible, just one adult should drop-off and pick-up. This reduces the number of adults on site.
  • Whilst our playground has always had a community feel about it with people enjoying chatting in groups and catching up with others, during this time, we ask that adults swiftly enter and leave the school grounds.

We’ll keep updating you about school in September – Autumn is for all children back again!

Our daily message (09 July 2020)

Posted on 09 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our daily message today includes a word from the Chair of Governors for Sphere Federation. Before that…

Sadly, during lockdown, incidents of domestic violence and other domestic abuse have increased quite significantly. Get support if this is happening to you or to someone you know.

We’re a few days into July, but it’s not too late to benefit from this Jump Back July calendar from Action for Happiness. This month, their focus is on how we can be more resilient in challenging times. Even taking just one thing on board each week might make a difference. Today’s suggestion is ‘Help someone in need and notice how that gives you a boost, too’. (My favourite so far this month has been the tip for Sunday 05 July – and, for me, that related to mowing the lawn!)

Finally, some words from Rachel Greenhalgh, our Chair of Governors…

As the academic year draws to a close, the governing body reflects on its work throughout 2019/20 and looks ahead to the coming year. This annual governance statement will shortly be published on our Governance page (in the Join In section).

Without exception, this past year has been the most challenging the education sector has experienced. As a governing body, we have responded by adapting our governance to cover essential business only and to ensure our school leaders have been supported.

At the end of last week, the Government published guidance for full opening of schools from September. School leaders are working hard to digest this new information, discussing numerous options in detail, creating plans, and managing risks for the safest possible return for all pupils and staff next term. Mr Roundtree has also initiated a working party with other school leaders and people from the Local Authority to develop well thought through plans for September. The governing body will ensure these plans and risk assessments are robust, and communicated to you as soon as possible.

Next year, the governing body will continue to ensure that all our statutory duties are met and focus on essential areas of governance whilst supporting school leaders as the Covid-19 situation evolves in the new academic year. Our immediate areas of priority remain the safety and wellbeing of all pupils and school staff, and we will continue to challenge school leaders on our vision that all the schools are a happy and healthy place to learn, and that all our children feel safe.

These past few months have been a very difficult time for most people and we are extremely proud of how all our school community has pulled together throughout the pandemic, and we thank you for all your support over the year. The Government has confirmed they are not asking schools to open over the summer holiday. We fully support this and agree ‘teachers, support staff and school leaders deserve a break, to recharge and rest’ (Department for Education daily email, 30.06.20).

We hope that you and your children have a happy and healthy school summer holiday and we look forward to seeing you all in September.

Tomorrow’s message is from the Head of School and provides the first key information about school in Autumn for all children.