News

Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 20 May 2022)

Posted on 20 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has two parts: one introduces this year’s annual survey, and the second comes from Mrs Allaway, our Maths Leader.

Annual survey

Every year, we invite you to complete a short survey. Your views matter. They help to shape what we do in the forthcoming year(s).

This year’s survey features a series of questions closely related to what Ofsted might ask parents during an inspection, plus a question about school uniform which we’re asking because of recent statutory guidance from the government.

Complete the St James’ CE Primary survey here. We’ll send a few reminders before the closing date, which is Friday 17 June.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you raise in the survey something very specific that needs to be addressed, we can’t easily act on this without your child’s name. In fact, the survey isn’t the best place to raise individual, specific concerns – hopefully, you’re comfortable to speak with Miss Beatson or a class teacher about these instead.

Maths matters

Mrs Allaway writes…

As a parent or carer, you give your child their first experiences with Maths. Even if you don’t feel confident with Maths, you can still make a huge difference to how your child’s confidence and ability develops.

Be positive about maths

One of the most important things you can do is to be positive about Maths. Don’t say things like I can’t do maths or I hated maths at school. Your child might start to think like that themselves. Praise your child for their effort – this shows them that by working hard they can always improve.

Lifelong skills

A good understanding of everyday maths will help your child with important tasks, such as making decisions and understanding information. It will also help them develop essential lifelong skills:

  • working out how much food is needed for a family meal and following recipes
  • converting currency rates when abroad
  • managing personal finances, budgeting and saving
  • working out which are the best buys in the supermarket, checking change and working out sale prices
  • getting to work on time, estimating how long a journey will take, knowing when to fill up on fuel
  • knowing if the answer on a calculator is reasonable or if a wrong button was pressed
  • keeping score in games and knowing what to aim for in order to win
  • splitting the bill after a meal out with friends and working out what tip to leave
  • DIY jobs such as painting and decorating or working out how many wall tiles are needed to cover an area
  • reading data presented in graphs and tables and interpreting statistics in the news

Maths in everyday life

Point out the maths in everyday life. Include your child in activities involving money, cooking and travelling.

Baking and cooking are great ways for your child to practise lots of maths skills: weighing and measuring in grams and kilograms; reading scales; and measuring out capacities in litres and millilitres. Make the most of shopping trips and other outings. Help your child to recognise coins and count out particular amounts. Talk about working out totals and calculating change. Does your child understand the offers they see on signs or adverts in shops?

There’s a huge amount of maths in sports. Does your child like cricket? You can ask lots of maths questions. If there are two overs left in a game, how many balls does the bowler have left to bowl? How many more runs does the team need to win?

Can they tell the time? Having both traditional and digital clocks around the house will give your child opportunities to practise reading the time. Use timetables and TV guides. Give your child time problems to solve: Tea will be 30 minutes. What time will it be ready?

Being positive about maths and using maths in everyday life will really make a difference.

And finally, don’t forget the importance of knowing simple number facts (like two numbers adding to make 10: 2+8 or 3+7 for example) and times tables.

As always, speak to your child’s teacher if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns about your child’s learning in Maths.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Brownlee Triathlon

Posted on 18 May 2022 by Miss Beatson

Children from Years 3, 4 and 5 took part in the Brownlee Triathlon this week. The event started with swimming, followed by cycling and finishing with running. The children represented St James’ exceptionally well and we were very proud of them all.

“I enjoyed the swimming and I could see all the teachers pulling a ‘wow’ face which made me feel proud.”  Harley

“It was great because everyone was cheering each other on. The swimming was my favourite part because I was the first person who made it all around the pool.” Leah

 

This week’s message (Thursday 12 May 2022)

Posted on 12 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week, we’ve seen the end of Key Stage 2 SATs for our Year 6 children. Because of the need for extra adults and rooms in school, it’s a week that affects everyone. We know our Year 6 pupils approached the tests admirably and are very deserving of their day off tomorrow! It’s a training day – staff in school will be developing their phonics knowledge and skills.

Happy and healthy and hydrated

We teach our children about the importance of drinking water. We actively encourage them to take drinks throughout the day. Please make sure your child brings in their water bottle each day, and then take it home and wash it regularly. Water is provided at lunchtime for all children, whether they’re having a school dinner or a packed lunch. Please note: at school, children are allowed only to drink water – the healthiest choice.

Happy and healthy and active

Did you know May is National Walking Month? The evenings are getting lighter, the weather is getting warmer – it’s the perfect time to get outside and get walking. It’s not too late to take up the challenge: walk for 20 minutes every day. And walking to and from school is the ideal opportunity to achieve this!

Health advice

Are you aware there’s a rise in cases of hepatitis amongst children? No one’s quite sure yet why we’re seeing this rise in hepatitis (liver inflammation).

Be alert to the signs of hepatitis:

  • yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • dark urine
  • pale, grey-coloured faeces (poo)
  • itchy skin
  • muscle and joint pain
  • a high temperature
  • feeling and being sick
  • feeling unusually tired all the time
  • loss of appetite
  • tummy pain

If you’re concerned, contact a health care professional.

Good hygiene, including supervising hand washing in young children, can help to prevent infections that can cause hepatitis.

Children experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection including vomiting and diarrhoea should stay at home and not return to school until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped. This is our regular advice to parents.

Leeds is outstanding

Have you heard the news? Ofsted has once again rated children’s services provided by Leeds City Council as ‘outstanding’.

The outstanding rating, previously received in 2018, comes following a rigorous inspection into services for the most vulnerable children and young people – those children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers.

Read the Ofsted report.

We started this week’s message with reference to the training day tomorrow. Whatever you get up to tomorrow, and throughout the weekend, enjoy!

This week’s message (Friday 06 May 2022)

Posted on 06 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree

The Summer Term is a busy one for schools, not least because of all the statutory assessments: we’ve had end of Key Stage 1 assessments this week, and end of Key Stage 2 assessments (the SATs) are coming up next week. Also coming up are Year 1 phonics screening checks and Year 4 multiplication checks. Dates for these are in the school calendar.

Help support your child by making sure they’re reading daily (and practising times tables from Year 2), making sure they’re getting enough sleep, and making sure they’re enjoying time outdoors for play, too.

This week, we’ve a mix of messages…

Social networking

It’s estimated that about a third of children aged 8-11 have profiles on TikTok. But do you know the minimum age to use TikTok? Or other social networking sites? Most require users to be at least 13 years of age.

We’ve warned you before about the risks involved in primary school age children accessing TikTok. We’re sadly still encountering problems that stem from it. Please do check out advice so your child is protected.

High temperature

It’s been a while since we had to speak about Covid. Thankfully, the number of cases is dropping – but we do still have cases of Covid around. To help, if your child has a temperature, they should stay at home. (Please don’t send them to school with a dose of Calpol – that might help the symptoms, but your child can still spread Covid.)

Reception to Year 1 transition

This message comes from Mrs Beesley, our Early Years Leader:

As the weather becomes brighter and we near the end of the academic year, you may be thinking about your child’s next steps as they journey into Year 1. Moving to Year 1 is perhaps a less significant change for children – that’s because we’re a happy and healthy place to learn where we all know each other.

A meeting for parents on Thursday 23 June starts our transition process. Here, you’ll meet the Key Stage 1 staff (where possible) and find out about the Year 1 curriculum. You’ll get to see where your child will be learning. The next step is for your child to spend some time in the Year 1 classrooms. They’ll meet the teacher and join in with the learning, getting a taste of what it’s like to be in Year 1. A whole-school transition session, on Thursday 14 July, completes the process. Children will spend an afternoon with their new teacher, making plans for the learning in the year ahead.

This is a really exciting time of year, moving on and taking those next steps whilst continuing to strengthen the effective learning behaviours they’ve established in Reception.

Our settling in survey

Talking of Reception, thank you to parents of Reception who responded to our recent survey about various aspects of the first year at school. We’ve reviewed the responses.

Overall, for example, you’ve told us that you’d like to have chances to get into the classroom – we definitely agree! Normally, there would be various opportunities across the year, but sadly the high incidents of Covid meant this didn’t happen. Next year (we know – too late for you, sadly), we’re planning a mix of visits to Reception plus some Zoom sessions – it seems most of you found these convenient.

Across Sphere Federation, there were just one or two small issues, all of which we hope we’ve addressed. Please do speak with Miss Beatson if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns – we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to act on everything, but we do guarantee we’ll listen and consider.

Other surveys

Sticking with surveys…

On a national level, the Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza writes:

Family is a core pillar of my work as Children’s Commissioner, following ‘The Big Ask’ survey, which demonstrated how important families are to children.

Children explained how having a supportive family has a positive impact on their lives, from receiving emotional support, to being able to talk with family members about their worries and aspirations for the future. I have been commissioned by government to undertake a review of family life across the country.

The family review will seek to understand the composition of the modern family. It will explore whether the needs of children are understood in the provision of services to families, and how we can improve children’s outcomes by developing the way public services understand the needs of families as a unit.

Capturing children’s voices is key to this review. That is why I am launching my call for action… Please encourage children to complete the questions on the Children’s Commissioner website, and to share their view on family life. The answers will help us understand what children think of family life and help inform our work.

Look out for our annual survey for all parents and carers later this term, too.

Have a happy and healthy weekend!

This week’s message (Friday 29 April 2022)

Posted on 29 April 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This half-term, your child is a geographer. This week’s message, from Mr Wilks, our Sphere Federation Topic Leader, helps you to support your child at home…

However, before we dive right in, here’s a reminder about topics and what they look like.

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg History, Art, Geography, DT). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.

Although the learning in each topic is provided by the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in a history driven subject may be enriched by observational drawing of an artefact. In this example, the enricher is art.

For more information about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics, click here.

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term, we’re geographers. The topic is called Explorers.

We’re comparing a place in the United Kingdom with a place in another country. Y1,2 children are heading to Kenya in Africa; Y3,4 children are having a mini-break in Venice; and Y5,6 children are trekking through the Amazon Rainforest in South America.

Across the year groups, children are developing their understanding of some key geographical concepts:

  • Space is a precise location, eg a country, city a latitude or longitude.
  • Place = location + meaning. This includes the physical and human geography that make a place unique. Importantly, place is not rigid. It is changing and can be perceived in different ways.
  • Scale is defined by the relative sizes of places. This could be differences in area, population, distances. Scale can also be defined by our view of the world. For example, we may consider an aspect of geography on a local, national and international scale.
  • Interdependence is the idea that the world is connected and that countries or individuals do not act in isolation. Our actions here affect people in different countries around the world. For example, food, energy, holidays, climate.

Click this link to the Curriculum Statement for more information about key concepts (page 19) and age-related expectations and vocabulary (page 22 and 23).

Years 1 and 2

Children begin the topic by learning about the different continents and oceans in the world.  They learn about the Equator and how it splits the Earth into two hemispheres. They then focus on a specific continent, Africa, and a specific country within that continent, Kenya. They compare Nairobi in Kenya to London, with a focus on the physical and human geography of these two places. Finally, they take a visit into the countryside and compare features of the Yorkshire Dales with a National Park just outside Nairobi.

Years 3 and 4

Children recap learning about the Equator and hemispheres. They then develop that by learning about the tropics and climate zones. A focus on European and world cities and countries follows; this links to climate zone learning. After that, they focus in on Venice in Italy and its physical and human geography which they compare with York. They’ll learn about the positives and benefits that tourism brings, putting themselves in the shoes of both tourists visiting the places and locals who live there. Finally, they’ll learn about the problems posed by flooding in both localities and the solutions they have introduced to limit the consequences of flooding.

Years 5 and 6

We begin the topic by learning about the different types of biomes found on Earth and how these are linked to climate. Children then focus on the biomes found in Brazil and the UK. They then focus on Brazil more generally, building their understanding of it as a place. Next, they learn about the Amazon Rainforest and its importance to Brazil in terms of the economy as well as its importance ecologically. They’ll learn about the threats to the rainforest and the impact that deforestation is having. Finally, children consider what Brazil – and we – need to do to slow down deforestation and what we can do to slow deforestation.

How can you help?

Regardless of the year group your child is in, Google Earth is a brilliant tool to help develop children’s understanding of space, place, scale and interdependence. Zoom right in on your home and then zoom out to reveal the area of Leeds that you live in. Zoom further out to see what city you live. Zoom further for the county. A little further and you might start to spot some national parks. Further still and you can see the country that we live in. Keep zooming and you’ll see the continent we live in (though this isn’t labelled). Before you know it, you’re floating in space and circling the Earth!

Google Maps is another great tool for comparing places. Try the street view option and you can walk along a street in Nairobi and a street in London. Take a drive through the lush Yorkshire Dales and compare this to the Kenyan countryside. You could wander down the Shambles in York and compare this to the streets in Venice. You can also compare images of the same street from different points in time.

Quizzing your children about some locational knowledge will help them to remember important information. I’ve listed some examples below. Use the age-related expectations (see the links to our Curriculum Statement, above) to find the right pitch for your child.

  • Which continent do we live in?
  • Which country do we live in?
  • In which hemisphere is our country located?
  • Which county do we live in?
  • Which city do we live in?
  • Which part of Leeds do we live in?
  • Which four countries make up the United Kingdom?

If you can, go to the library and get some geography-related books, especially an atlas. You could compare maps of the same place to see what type of information they show. For example, you find lots of maps of the United Kingdom. One might show the countries and capital cities. Another might show the mountains, rivers and national parks. Another might give information about the climate.

For older children, there are lots of different games and activities on the Ordnance Survey Mapzone website. I especially like the jigsaws in the Map Puzzles section of the Games!

Also for children in Key Stage 2, there are lots of information and some tasks and quizzes on the BBC Bitesize website.

This week’s message (Friday 22 April 2022)

Posted on 22 April 2022 by Mr Roundtree

With bright sunny days, what a great week to kick off the Summer term! We hope you all had a lovely break.

Attendance

Our whole school attendance is at 93.8% – that’s a drop from 04 March when we last reported.

  • Reception: 94.0% – that’s a rise since 04 March, so thank you!
  • Year 1: 95.2%
  • Year 2: 95.6%
  • Year 3: 90.4%
  • Year 4: 92.6%- that’s also a rise since 04 March, so well done!
  • Year 5: 95.2%
  • Year 6: 94.7%

It’s really clear from our assessments that children who attend school regularly are the most successful. Please make sure your child is coming to school as much as possible and getting to school on time.

Please remember that we’re not allowed to authorise term-time absence unless it’s in exceptional circumstances, and if you do need to request term-time absence it should be done in advance using a form you can collect at the office.

Updated NHS Covid symptoms lists

The NHS COVID-19 symptoms in adults and symptoms in children have been updated. Are you aware of all 12 possible symptoms?

The official advice is that adults and children who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including Covid, should follow the UKHSA guidance. Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare and resume normal activities when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

PTA bake sale

Posted on 20 April 2022 by Miss Beatson

Just before the Easter break, the PTA organised a bake sale. With your support, we raised £214.20 which will go towards raising funds for school. Thank you to all involved.

Look out for some more exciting events happening this term!

Our Christian value this half-term is…

Posted on 20 April 2022 by Nicky Russell

peace.

Peace is about positive harmony and healthy relationships between people. It involves spiritual as well as material security. Peace is a state of true wholeness, a state of wellbeing. This value promotes harmonystability and security within the school and local community.

 Why was this Christian value chosen?

‘When Jesus was sent down there was peace’

 Home challenge:

The dove carrying an olive branch is a symbol of peace in Christianity. Research why this is a symbol of peace. Is Christianity the only religion to have a symbol of peace?

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.’

(John 14:27)

This week’s message (Friday 01 April 2022)

Posted on 01 April 2022 by Mr Roundtree

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a busy week for us…

…because we’ve been recruiting new teachers across our three schools this week. We had an incredibly high number of applications: 184 in total. We want to recruit the very best teachers so our recruitment process involves inviting lots of people in so we can watch them teach – we observed 43 teachers across Monday (Moortown), Tuesday (Scholes) and Wednesday (St James’) mornings. Following this, we invited some people back in the afternoon – we interviewed 15 candidates across the three days. Somewhat exhausted, we’re also delighted by the high calibre of people we met. We’ll update you more about staffing next term.

(A funny aside to this: on one of the mornings, one Year 4 pupil approached the head of school unprompted, and without knowing the reason for the visitors in school, to offer her views and grades for the three teachers who had visited the class!)

It’s April Fool’s Day!

But this year, I promise there are no jokes in the weekly message. Last year, I announced the departure of Miss Beatson. Despite including the words ‘April’, ‘fools’ and ‘day’ in the news item, and then warning readers to be wary of April Fool jokes, it did seem to trick quite a few people! I’m on my best behaviour this year.

It’s Easter!

Well, not quite yet. Unlike other local authorities around us, Leeds has fixed Easter holidays – the first two weeks in April, even if Easter doesn’t fall in the holiday. This year, it does – just! We’ll be open again on Tuesday 19 April.

This Easter, schools from across the city are taking up the Love Exploring Leeds Inter-School Challenge. Help us join the challenge by using the free Love Exploring app to play augmented reality games with your child – like the new Mega Mini-Beast game, developed in consultation with bug experts at Leeds Museum.

The app uses the magic of augmented reality to bring to life magical sights on a smartphone – like the giant butterflies and ladybirds created for the Mega Mini-Beast game. There’s a Dinosaur Safari to play, too.

Love Exploring is available at 15 Leeds parks. By getting active as a family and answering questions on the interactive quiz, you’ll score points which link to our school. There are points for every question answered and for every 100m you walk. All participating schools win a prize. The family with the most points wins an iPad.

The challenge runs from today to 6 June. Look out for special activities in libraries and parks in May.

From all of us, have an egg-cellent Easter.

This week’s message (Friday 25 March 2022)

Posted on 25 March 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Miss Beatson, our Head of School…

We’re now coming to the end of the Spring term and, with the warmer weather and lighter evenings, it certainly feels like Spring’s in the air. The sunny, dry days have meant the children have been able to play on the school field and use the playground equipment more often – it’s certainly brought a lot of fun to our playtimes.

It’s clear from absences that Covid is still very much present in the community; thanks for your vigilance and support in trying to keep our staff and children safe.

Thank you to everyone who attended the parent-teacher meetings last half term. This half term, teachers will send home your child’s second Learning Update of the year – look out for them on Wednesday.

This week, it was fantastic to be able to hold our first PTA event in two years! The cake sale was a great success and I’d like to say a big thank you to the parents who have re-launched the PTA and to everyone who donated baked goods. We will let you know how much we’ve raised as soon as we’ve had a count up.

Thank you to all those families who are giving a little bit more time in the morning to park further away from school. This really helps with the parking and congestion on Hallfield Lane and it helps keep the roads safe for all our children. Even better, if you can, please leave your cars at home and walk to school as much as possible.

Finally, a reminder about our Easter celebrations next week. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of decorated eggs for the Easter egg competition on Monday. On Thursday, we are going to St James’ Church for our Easter Service – parents/carers are welcome to attend.

I hope you have a happy and healthy weekend – it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday (and don’t forget to put your clocks forward this weekend!).