Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 17 June 2022)

Posted on 17 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

To kick off this week, do check out this exciting event happening in Leeds: Little Amal has travelled over 8,000km and is in Leeds on Monday evening.

This week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads on Science and foundation subjects across Sphere Federation…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg history, art, geography…). 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 will be provided by the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in an art topic may be enriched by geography – learning about where an artist was born and lived.

Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.

What is this half-term’s topic?

Design and Technology is the driving subject for this half-term and it’s a great topic to finish the year! The focus for all classes this year is textiles (next year, it’s construction), so your child will be busy designing and making products using fabric.

A key aspect of the Design and Technology curriculum is the understanding that products don’t just get made. Instead, they go through a design process that includes three key elements: evaluate, design and make. Think of this process as a cycle. For example, Sphere Motors want to create a new family car. Before the car is made, they need to evaluate existing products and talk to customers so that they’re clear about what the new car needs to have. They will then design the car and evaluate those designs. They may make a prototype of the car to help them evaluate the designs. Next, they’ll decide on a final design that will go into production and get made. This finished product will be evaluated and the whole process starts again.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. See page 17 and 18 of our Curriculum Statement.

Years 1 and 2

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a hand puppet. They’ll start by learning about the design process before looking at and evaluating existing hand puppet products. They’ll then learn to use an over stitch and practise threading needles and tying knots. Following this, they’ll be introduced to all the materials they can use to create their puppet. Once they’re familiar with the materials, they’ll design their puppet. Next, it’s on to the making stage. They’ve already honed their sewing skills so they should be confident making and then decorating their puppets according to their designs. Finally, it’s evaluation time: children will compare their designs to their finished products. They’ll reflect on successes and things they’d do differently next time.

Years 3 and 4

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a pouch. The function of this pouch is entirely up to them. It could be used to store some pens, trading cards, a shell collection. Children can be as creative as they like – as long as the pouch can be made using a 23cm² piece of felt!

Before they begin to design their pouch, they’ll learn about a famous designer and how they became a designer. They’ll also learn some important skills that a designer needs. Children will then evaluate existing pouches, with a focus on fastenings, and will then design their pouch. They’ll practise their sewing skills, becoming proficient using a running stitch. They’ll then begin to make their pouches. First, they’ll create a template which they’ll use to cut out the pieces. Next, they’ll join the pieces using their running stitch and create a fastening for their pouch. Finally, they’ll evaluate their designs by comparing them to their designs, testing whether they’re fit for purpose and reflecting on their successes and areas to improve.

Years 5 and 6

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a cushion. Before they get stuck into their cushion, they’ll learn about some designers who changed the world: Isambard Kingdom Brunel, George Stephenson, Lewis Latimer and Jony Ive. They’ll learn about their creations and their impact and look for things that link the designers. Following this, children will learn about the importance of design criteria when designing a product. After this, they’ll be practising their sewing skills and learn how to sew using a backstitch. Next, they’ll evaluate existing cushions. They’ll then decide on the specific design criteria for their cushions and create their designs using an annotated sketch, detailing the dimensions of their product. They’ll learn about the importance of using sustainable materials when researching the filling used for their cushion (the plan is to use old, unwanted pieces of fabric to stuff the cushions rather than Polyfill so please have a look through your wardrobe and keep hold of any old t-shirts or other clothes as we’ll need them later in the half-term).

Children will use a template to cut out the shapes, use a backstitch to add decoration to their cushion before finally sewing the pieces together and stuffing them. The final stage is to evaluate the designs against the design criteria.

Help at home

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning in class. The class news page of the school website is a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

The school library and local libraries will have some books about Design and Technology which your child will be able to borrow and develop both their reading skills and design knowledge.

Finally, there are a lot of programmes on CBBC and CBeebies with a Design and Technology focus:

  • Bitz and Bob
  • Grace’s Amazing Machines
  • Junk Rescue
  • Maddie’s Do You Know?
  • The Dengineers

A SIAMS inspection

Posted on 16 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Today in school, we were happy to welcome an inspector for SIAMS – this is the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools. We were last inspected in 2015 – read more about this inspection here.

This was an opportunity to demonstrate all the happy and healthy things we do here at St James’ – happy and healthy learning, happy and healthy playing, happy and healthy achieving and believing.

Thank you to the parents who spoke with the inspector first thing today.

And thank you to all of you for continuing to support our school.

We’ll be able to let you know the outcome of the inspection, and publish a copy of the report, by the end of the school year.

This week’s message (Friday 10 June 2022)

Posted on 10 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

And we’re into the last half-term of the year – we hope you and your family had a good half-term break. This week’s message has just two parts: a reminder to complete the annual survey and some important news about classes and teachers next year.

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).

Complete the St James’ CE Primary survey here.

(It’s worth bearing in mind that 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.)

Staffing in 2022-23

It’s all change at St James’! In September, there will be quite a few staffing changes…

In July, we’ll be saying goodbye to Mrs Wood in Reception who’ll be going to teach at Moortown Primary School (one of the schools in Sphere Federation). Mrs Wood has been at St James’ for three years and has done a magnificent job in Early Years; I know the children and parents who’ve had Mrs Wood will agree.

Mrs Flynn in Year 1/2 is also moving on, this time to Scholes (Elmet) Primary (another Sphere Federation school). Mrs Flynn has been at St James’ this year and also taught in Reception at St James’ a few years ago. Mrs Flynn has been fantastic in Year 1/2 and the class have made great progress with her as the class teacher.

Mrs Boulton, our Nursery teacher, will be moving to Moortown Primary School. Mrs Boulton has worked hard to create a space where the Nursery children have thrived – she will be missed, too.

Mr Mills is also moving on. He currently teaches the Y5,6 class on Fridays, but is leaving to continue to expand his successful sports coaching business.

We’re excited and proud to welcome new teachers, too…

  • Nursery: Miss Ward will be the new Nursery teacher; she currently teaches at Scholes.
  • Reception: Mrs Payne will be the new Reception teacher. Some children and parents will already know Mrs Payne: she currently teaches in Year 3 on Thursday and Friday.
  • Year 1: Mrs Rowley will returning from maternity leave and join Mrs Palmer in Year 1.
  • Year 2: We welcome a new teacher, Miss Kay, in Year 2.
  • Year 3: Miss Gledhill, currently teaching in Year 4, will be the class teacher.
  • Year 4: Mrs Freeman will move up with her current Year 3 class into Year 4 and Mrs Valentine will be the other Year 4 class teacher.
  • Year 5,6: After being the Y5/6 teacher for five years, Miss Beatson will be coming out of class. Mr Freeman (currently a teacher at Scholes and previously a football coach at St James’, too) will be the full-time Y5/6 teacher.

On Thursday 14 July, we’ll be having a transition afternoon where the children will meet their new teacher and visit their new classroom.

As always, if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, please do speak with us. Have a good weekend.

Y6 residential: day 2

Posted on 10 June 2022 by Miss Beatson

Yesterday was extremely busy with loads of fun adventures. This is our last morning, with three more activities to go!



Y6 residential

Posted on 09 June 2022 by Miss Beatson

Year 6 are having a brilliant time at Robinwood. Yesterday, we did lots of activities such as climbing, giant swing and the Dungeon of Doom!

They’ve all slept well and are looking forward to another full day of fun!

This half-term’s Christian value is…

Posted on 08 June 2022 by Nicky Russell


What is honesty? Honesty is being trustworthy and truthful in our friendships, our relationships, our school and our community. We understand that we need to be honest and truthful with others when working together as a team. The challenge for us is: How can we be honest in our daily lives? How can we encourage people to be honest? What can we do to fix it if we forget to be honest?

 Why was this Christian value chosen?

‘Everyone needs to be honest because Jesus’ disciple (Peter) wasn’t honest when he denied Jesus.’

Home challenge:

Talk with your family about the consequences of not being honest or write a story or draw a picture to show what happens when people are dishonest. Bring it in to add to your class reflection areas.

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

(1 John 13:18)

This week’s message (Friday 27 May 2022)

Posted on 27 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree

The last message for this half-term comes from Miss Beatson, our Head of School. There’s also a reminder about our annual survey of parents and carers.

We’ve come to the end of the penultimate half term and what a busy one it’s

Children in Year 2 and Year 6 have completed their SATs; they showed great
resilience throughout the testing process. Next half term, Year 1 will be doing their phonics screening and Year 4 will be completing the first ever statutory multiplication check.

On the point of multiplication, I would like to remind all parents of children in Key Stage 2 that your child has access to Times Table Rockstars so they can practise their times table fluency at home- please encourage your child to do this regularly.

Key Stage 1 children have access to Numbots which is a similar website
for your child to practise simple number facts.

Thank you to the parents who attended our first coffee morning since Covid.
We were overwhelmed with the turnout- we’ve never had as many parents
and carers join us! It was a great opportunity to meet up with other parents,
do some activities alongside the children, and talk to Mrs Small, our Learning Mentor.

We’ll plan in termly coffee mornings now we’re able to welcome parents back into school.

The PTA have been meeting regularly. Last week, the school disco was a huge success and I want to say a big thank you to all involved. The total raised from the event was £351.59! They’re now busy preparing for our summer fair.

This term, the whole school attendance has dropped below national figures – this is disappointing. As we’re all aware, the children have missed so much school over the past few years that it’s more important than ever that children are in school learning. If your child is going to be absent from school, please phone the school office and let us know the reason for your child’s absence, otherwise the absence is recorded as unauthorised.

Today, our children have enjoyed the Jubilee celebrations in school with
dancing, a picnic and lots of craft activities. Throughout the week, each class has worked together to create an amazing ‘craft cake’ for the Queen’s Jubilee Cake Festival which will be displayed in St James’ Church on Friday 03 June. Well done to all the children and staff for creating such a magnificent cake!

I hope everyone has a lovely half term break.

And here’s a reminder about the annual survey…

Your views matter. Every year, we invite you to complete a short survey. Complete the St James’ CE Primary survey here. It’ll only take a few minutes to complete – thanks!

Whatever you and your child get up to, have a happy and healthy half-term holiday.

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!