Latest news from around the school

Thanks for coming to parents' evening

Posted on 31 October 2019 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to all the parents and carers who came to the parent-teacher meetings in the last week of the half-term. It was great to see you all there, keen to find out how your child is doing in school and how you can continue to support at home.

Thanks also to the governors who were around, collecting your views. Here are some of the views they noted:

  • Parents who have been linked with the school for a long time are delighted to see a continuing upward trend in everything that is happening. The recent Ofsted report has been a huge bonus.

  • Parents new to the school are very happy with the education their child is receiving.

  • Every parent expressed their appreciation for the work of the relevant class teacher.

  • Children new to the school, whether at Reception or joining higher up, have settled quickly and feel at home.

  • The school works hard to meet the needs of individual children. Sensitive children and those lacking self-confidence are supported extremely well.

  • The church school aspect is appreciated by parents. For some it is very important and a reason for choosing the school. For others they appreciate the children being given the knowledge and skills to be able to make up their own minds in the future about religion.

Governors noticed a higher proportion of dads attending the parent-teacher meetings, and suggested some sort of workshop for dads in particular who want to support their child. We’ll see what we can do about this – and if you’ve any ideas, do let us know!

Thanks again.

Our website

Posted on 23 October 2019 by Mr Roundtree

In the past few months, our website has been experiencing a few problems, the main one being that the whole-school news posts haven’t been published on our Facebook page. We hope this is now sorted.

In the next week or so, there will be more tweaks made behind-the-scenes on our website. This hopefully won’t cause any problems, but do let us know if you notice something.

Sorry for any problems you’ve encountered.

Spread the word!

Posted on 07 October 2019 by Mr Roundtree

You’ll know by know that just before the summer holidays, St James’ CE Primary was inspected by Ofsted and received a judgement of good across the board. The report is very positive about our school. Highlights include:

  • ‘Teachers have high expectations of what pupils can achieve.’
  • ‘There are good relationships between staff and pupils.’
  • ‘Pupils work hard, concentrate well and enjoy learning.’
  • ‘Pupils are well prepared for the transfer to secondary school.’
  • ‘Teachers are skilled in encouraging pupils to cooperate and share ideas to develop learning.’
  • ‘Pupils are well behaved and aware of their responsibilities in society.’
  • ‘Pupils are looked after well and are safe in the school.’

Spread the word about what a good school we are!

Homework review

Posted on 03 October 2019 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who came to our homework review today. The children were very proud of their creative maths homework. Here are some lovely comments made by our visitors:

“Impressed with the imagination of children……… activity grounded maths in real world and not as a mysterious subject…”

“Great opportunity to see the way homework is reviewed and shared with the class.”

“Great to see children showing their homework. It was good that I could visit two classrooms.”

Look out for the next opportunity to visit classrooms when you can  ‘watch us while we work’ on Tuesday 12th November, 9am-10am.

Homework policy update

Posted on 12 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree

Each year in the annual survey of parents and carers, we ask what you like most about our school and what you think we might be able to improve. We always get lots more people telling us things they like – thank you for this! We do also welcome your suggestions for improvements – whilst we can’t always act on all the suggestions, we do always read and consider them.

One area that comes up every year is homework. Some of you want more, some of you want less. Some of you like the Creative homework, some of you thinks it takes too much time.

This year, we’ve listened to what you tell us and thought about ways we think we can improve:

  • We’ve reminded teachers to make sure homework is purposeful.
  • We’ve reviewed the guidelines as to how long we recommend your child spends on their homework – the new guide is no more than 30-40 minutes, which includes for Creative homework.
  • We’ve reflected on the amount of the three different types of homework (Talk Time, Creative and Practice makes Perfect) so there’s hopefully a better balance to suit more pupils (and parents).

We hope the new changes will mean continued happy and healthy learning at home as well as at school. Read the policy and download a Homework Guide.

Living and learning

Posted on 06 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree

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.


Our first Christian value theme is...

Posted on 03 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree


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 your reflection area.

‘A friend loves at all times.’

(Proverbs 17:17)

It's official: St James' is a good school!

Posted on 02 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree

In July 2019, Ofsted inspected our school. We’ve had to wait a long while for the report to be released because of the summer holidays, but what a wonderful way to start the new school year: Ofsted recognise that St James’ is a good school! The rating of good applies to all areas: effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for pupils; and early years provision.

The report is very positive about our school. Highlights include:

The executive headteacher has ensured that the quality of teaching is good across all year groups, including the early years.

Teachers have high expectations of what pupils can achieve.

There are good relationships between staff and pupils.

Pupils work hard, concentrate well and enjoy learning.

The very large majority of pupils attain expected standards in reading and writing…Together with their strong progress in personal development, this means pupils are well prepared for the transfer to secondary school.

Teachers engage pupils in interesting and current topics, such as climate change.

Teachers use good quality texts to stimulate pupils’ discussion and deepen pupils’ thinking.

Leaders have designed a curriculum that enhances pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as well as practical life skills.

The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good.

Opportunities for pupils to reflect, consider and reason are threaded through all aspects of their learning.

Teachers are skilled in encouraging pupils to cooperate and share ideas to develop learning.

Pupils know how to keep themselves safe and say they feel safe.’

The work of staff to promote respect and tolerance can be seen throughout the school.

Pupils are well behaved and aware of their responsibilities in society.

Pupils are looked after well and are safe in the school.

Leaders have designed a safeguarding aspect in the school’s curriculum to ensure that pupils are prepared for life in modern Britain.

Parents and carers are extremely pleased with the early years provision and how it has developed over recent years. One parent said that her child has had a ‘tremendous amount of support’.

Thank you to all pupils, parents / carers and staff for their support during the inspection and over the last couple of years. Miss Beatson and I are very proud of our school and we’re determined to keep getting better and better.

Annual survey results summary, 2019

Posted on 31 August 2019 by Mr Roundtree

Every year, we invite you to complete the annual survey of parents and carers. Only a quite small number responded to the 2019 survey, but thank you to the ten who did.

The agree/disagree statements were closely based on those that Ofsted use for their Parent View. This gives you the chance to tell Ofsted what you think about your child’s school, from the quality of teaching to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour.

We also asked whether you’d recommend the school and invited comments about what you like and what we could improve on.

We’re delighted that the statements prompted very positive responses – most statements prompted an agree/strongly agree rating from all but one respondent. (It’s not clear if the same person disgreed with all the statements. If this is the case, we strongly encourage that person to speak with us so we can try to make things better.)

The statements, with a typical comment, are:

  1. My child is happy at St James’ CE Primary School. (‘Both my children are happy at school. They look forward to going every day!)
  2. My child feels safe at this school. (‘[My daughter] feels very safe and understands the rules.’)
  3. My child makes good progress at this school. (‘Parents evening are a big eye opener. Looking at her work on how she has progressed from one term to another.)
  4. My child is well looked after. (‘I feel my daughter is 100% well looked after at St James, every teacher/helper or even dinner staff keep check on the children and if a problem does arise it’s dealt with straight away.’)
  5. My child is taught well at St James’ CE Primary School. (‘I feel the teachers at St James go above and beyond teaching the children in their care. Every aspect of the curriculum is taught in a fun way that can be remembered by my daughter.’)
  6. Adults in school make sure pupils are well behaved. (‘The school has a wonderful 3,2,1 check system which every child is aware of and responds straight away be it a single child, class or the whole school.‘)
  7. St James’ CE Primary School deals effectively with bullying. (‘Children have fallings out and they are dealt with if needed and if a case of bullying was seen or reported, I’ve heard from other parents that the situation has been dealt with straight away as bullying is a NO! NO! in this school.’)
  8. The school is well led and managed. (‘Miss Beatson the head has a wonderful outlook on the school as a whole… Miss Beatson’s enthusiasm as a whole is everything the school needs. She wants the best from every child and staff aiming high and achieving the best!)
  9. The school responds well to any concerns I raise. (‘Any concerns I’ve raised within the school have been sorted straight away. Teachers are approachable and informative and the school secretary Mrs Walshaw is always available for queries or questions.‘)
  10. I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress. (‘The school website is excellent I see pictures of what my daughters class have been learning about and the school as a whole.’)
  11. The school promotes its Christian ethos effectively. (‘I would say it promotes Christian values through the school and home without making it pushy, and keeps the children wanting to learn more about Christianity.’

Tell us something you like about the school. Tell us something the school could improve on.

We received eight comments overall, a mixture of praise and points to consider for improvements – thank you for all the comments.

The survey results and the comments will be passed to Miss Beatson, as Head of School, who will review the feedback alongside me, as Head of Federation, in order to identify up to three key actions that we will do. Miss Beatson will also feed back to staff any particular concerns that were raised as well as – far more common – make sure staff are aware of the praise they’ve earned.

There's still time to enter...

Posted on 22 August 2019 by Mr Roundtree

…our 2019 Summer Competition!

St James’ CE Primary is a happy and healthy place to believe and achieve – and we want your child to celebrate this by creating the words ‘happy’ (for children up to Year 2) or ‘healthy’ (for children in Year 3 to Year 6) from letters that your child spots in the environment.

Here’s an example of a letter ‘h’ which we’ve found on the internet – somewhere in their surroundings, can your child find the five letters that spell ‘happy’ or the seven letters that spell ‘healthy’?

We found the example above on the internet, but it would be even better if your child were to take pics from real life – perhaps they could find all the images on one day out, or perhaps they set themselves a target of finding one letter every week of the holidays. Your child could spot ‘letters’ near their home or on holiday. They could make the letter shapes from their own body, stretched into different positions, or they could even ask different family members to create the shapes!

There will be four prizes of £15 book tokens – one for the best ‘happy’ word and one for the best ‘healthy’ word.

Please paste the words into a Word document – one side of A4 – and email to school ([email protected]) by Friday 06 September 2019.

Good luck!