News

Latest news from around the school

Non-Uniform Day

Posted on 21 March 2022 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to everyone who donated some money on Friday to wear non-uniform. We raised £121.70! Half of the money raised will be donated to Comic Relief and half will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

This week’s message (Friday 11 March 2022)

Posted on 11 March 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads on Science and Foundation subjects. Each half-term, Mr Wilks talks about the current whole-school topic – this time, it’s about Computing…

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 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?

This half-term, it’s Computing. Your child will develop their knowledge of computers and computer programming.

Computer programming is super. Creating games, animations and solving real world problems is fun, encourages creativity and is challenging! Importantly, the skills children will use and develop are transferable to other subjects and areas of life. For example, the concept of decomposition in programming is concerned with breaking down a large task into smaller chunks. This concept could be used when writing a story, solving a maths problem or tidying a particularly messy bedroom! Debugging is the skill of identifying and fixing an error in a program. It requires systematic, objective thinking and plenty of resilience.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. See pages 15-18 of the curriculum statement document.

Years 1 and 2

Children are learning about how technology is used beyond school in our homes and all around us. They’re considering what a computer is and isn’t.

In programming lessons, they’re being introduced to algorithms and will learn about how they need to be written in the correct sequence.

They’re creating their own algorithms in ‘unplugged computing’ lessons and will debug errors in their own and others’ algorithms. Next, they’ll plan and create their own unplugged game where they have to create an algorithm to move a character from one place to another using positional language.

They’ll then use the same concepts using Beebots – simple robots which can be programmed to move and turn. Finally, it’ll be time to create their own game using Beebots.

Years 3 and 4

Children will reason about what exactly makes a computer a computer. Is a games console a computer? Is a TV a computer? Is a bedside lamp a computer? Next, they’ll learn about inputs and outputs and identify different examples of them in everyday technology.

It’s then time for programming. Like Key Stage 1, they begin with some ‘unplugged computing’. They’ll create and debug unplugged programs which use sequence and repetition before they then create their own unplugged game which will require some decomposition. Next, it’s time to program on a platform called Scratch Jr. It’s a free app available on most devices and will allow children to develop and refine their understanding and use of concepts like repetition and sequence. Finally, they’ll create their own game on Scratch Jr using all of the skills they’ve learned over the topic. They’ll to be creative to plan and design their own game, whether it’s a maze game or a simple platform game.

Years 5 and 6

As in Year 3 and 4, children begin the topic by reasoning about what makes a computer a computer. They’ll then learn about what a computer network is and that the Internet is an enormous computer network. In programming lessons, they’ll use Scratch to gain a deeper understanding of concepts like sequence and repetition before learning about selection and variables. Some of this vocabulary may sound alien to you. However, before the end of the topic, your child will be able to tell you what they mean and give examples of how they’ve used them in their projects. Some of the projects your child might make are:

  • a Spirograph style drawing animation with some potentially psychedelic visual effects!
  • a chatbot program which will ask you questions and decide if your responses are correct or not.
  • a times table quiz program that will test you on randomly selected times table questions within a set time limit.

How can you help?

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 children are doing.

The school library and local libraries have lots of books about coding and computer games – your child will be able to borrow the books to develop both their reading skills and computing knowledge.

Finally, try programming with your child. There are loads of programming apps and software available to download, often for free…

Key Stage 1

  • Daisy the Dinosaur (Apple only)
  • Beebot
  • Tynker Junior

Key Stage 2

  • Lightbot
  • Tynker
  • Scratch Jr
  • Scratch

This week’s message (Friday 04 March 2022)

Posted on 04 March 2022 by Mr Roundtree

We’re now over half-way through the school year. If you managed one, we hope you had a good break over the half-term period. This week’s message contains an attendance update and a reminder about two things that were communicated earlier in the week.

Attendance matters

The overall whole-school attendance figure up to the end of Spring 1 is 94.2%. That’s the same as we were at the end of the Autumn term, despite Covid – great news!

  • Reception: 93.8% – a slight increase since December – well done!
  • Year 1: 95.3% – another increase – brilliant!
  • Year 2: 95.9%
  • Year 3: 91.6%
  • Year 4: 92.2% – this attendance has increased a little, too – thank you!
  • Year 5: 95.5%
  • Year 6: 96.1% – and another year group where attendance has risen – fantastic!

Russia-Ukraine war

On Monday evening, we sent an email to let you know we’d be speaking with children about the current crisis. Children in Key Stage 2 had an assembly about this. Children in Key Stage 1 had a shorter discussion in class. We had no plans to speak with children in Foundation Stage unless a child raised it, in which case we’d respond in a very ‘light’ way.

Children coped well. They seemed to appreciate being told some basic facts and being provided with some reassurance. In case you missed it, we provided some website links so that you can support your child more:

Covid caution continues

You’ll know that the government issued new advice about self-isolation and testing. This letter from Leeds Children and Families Team sets out what the new guidance is. If you’ve not already done so, do take a minute or so to read it.

Next week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads on Science and Topic subjects – it’s about our current Computing topic.

Sponsored maths challenge

Posted on 04 March 2022 by Miss Beatson

Just before the half-term break, we had a sponsored maths challenge in school.  Mrs Walshaw has now counted the money and we’ve raised a fantastic total of £1290.92! All the money raised will be donated to our school charity- RSPCA. This is an incredible amount so a huge thank you for all your efforts in supporting your child find sponsors and practise their number facts.

Covid caution continues

Posted on 02 March 2022 by Mrs Quirk

Youll know that the government issued new advice sound self-isolation and testing. This letter from Leeds Children and Families Team sets out what the new guidance is. The main message is included here, too:

Government advice is still that your child should stay at home and avoid contact with other people if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms. If your child is symptomatic, they should get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Your child can return to school after 10 full days isolation. They may be able to return earlier if they test negative for two days in a row from day 5 of self-isolation and do not have a temperature. If they continue to test positive during the 10-day isolation they can return after completing 10 full days isolation.

Your child will still receive work to do at home if they need to self-isolate, as well as free school meal support if they are eligible for this.

As always, thank you for your support.

This half-term’s Christian value is…

Posted on 02 March 2022 by Nicky Russell

forgiveness.

Sometimes, we accidentally break things that belong to ourselves or others. Sometimes, we use something so much it wears out. Some things that are broken cannot be mended, but it’s often possible to mend things that we’ve broken. When you fall out with one of your friends, you can’t mend that friendship with a needle and thread, or some Sellotape, or glue or a puncture kit or a sticking plaster. This half-term, we’ll learn all about forgiveness and hear stories from the Bible to help us.

 Why was this Christian value chosen?

‘Because Jesus forgives his disciples.’

 Home challenge:

Discuss as a family: Why is it important to forgive?

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

(1 John 13:18)

This week's message (Friday 18 February 2022)

Posted on 18 February 2022 by Nicky Russell

Wow! With three half-terms done, we’re now half-way through the school year. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the parent-teacher meetings this week. This week’s message has lots of links to check out…

Is your child in Year 4? If so, they’ll be one of the first to do the new statutory Multiplication Tables Check. Read more about this.

We know what etiquette is – a sort of code for polite behaviour. What about netiquette? Have a chat with your child about this, and the other tips for online respect – especially important if your child has a mobile phone or other online device.

Talking of things online, have you heard about Roblox? If your child plays it online, you really should be aware of recent concerns, in the news this week.

Community Youth Summits (first held in 2015) help to influence how councillors have spent over £500,000 of Youth Activity Fund money. Local councillors have asked us to pass on an open invitation: to participate in their next Community Youth Summit for Harewood and Wetherby wards.

If you’ve a child with special educational needs or disabilities, these SEND workshops might be of interest.

Are you planning a day-trip next week? What about a visit to Temple Newsam – there’s a lot going on.

Whatever you get up to, have a happy and healthy half-term holiday!

Sponsored number challenge

Posted on 14 February 2022 by Miss Beatson

Tomorrow, all children will be taking part in our first sponsored number challenge for our school charity- RSPCA. Be sure to practise your child’s number facts so they’re ready to take on the challenge! Please can we have all sponsorship money handed in by Friday 18 February. Thank you for your support.

This week’s message (Friday 11 February 2022)

Posted on 11 February 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is about Reading – find out more about supporting your child learn to read so they can read to learn. The first part comes from Mrs Latham, Sphere Federation’s Early Reading Leader. The second part is from Miss Wilson, our other Reading Leader.

Early Reading and Phonics

We’ve made some improvements to our phonics and early reading approach over the last few months. We’re using the government validated phonics scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. We’ve always believed that phonics and reading is a priority. The changes we’ve made in school ensure that this continues to be the case.

Our phonics lessons happen every day – they’re now just a bit longer (half an hour). In these lessons, children are taught how a letter or letters (graphemes) match to sounds (phonemes).

Alongside phonics lessons, we’ve introduced Reading Practice sessions. These happen 3 or 4 times each week with children in Reception, Year 1 and some children in Year 2. These are small group sessions, led by an adult, where children read a book that is matched to the phonics phase for the children in that group. The time to do this has been made available by moving to allocating ebooks for children to share their phonics reading success at home. Year 1 or 2 children who are secure at Phase 5 will read a fluency text each day and take home a wider variety of books.

Children also take a sharing book home to develop a love of reading. These books are to enjoy together and read for pleasure. Enjoy stories, predict what might happen and use different voices for the characters. Information books (non-fiction) can also be so much fun to share – finding out facts and discussing new information. Above all – make it fun!

recent workshop explained the changes and accompanying materials were emailed out.

Reading in Key Stage 2

If your child is in Key Stage 2, thank you for completing their Reading Record every week – it’s been great to see how children (and you!) have been engaging with their reading at home.

Have a discussion with them about the things we get up to in Book Club or what their library book choice is this week. Another great conversation to have is about different authors. Use this website and have a watch of some of the videos that are age-appropriate for your child. Keep an eye out for World Book Day we’ll let you know how we’re celebrating all things reading at school!

Remember that your child should be reading daily. This could be in a cosy, quiet spot by themselves, alongside an audio book or with an adult. When reading together, some simple questions can have a big impact on memory and understanding. Ask a variety of questions:

  • ‘Where did the character go first?’
  • ‘How do you think they’re feeling at this point?’
  • ‘What does that particular word mean and what does it tell you about the character?’

We want children to progress from learning to read to be able to read to learn which includes understanding the world around them. Check this website out for more useful questions.

This week’s message (Friday 04 February 2022)

Posted on 04 February 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Last week’s message began with some news about the continuing challenges Covid is presenting. Since then, we’ve had some information about the situation across Leeds. This week’s message begins with this, and continues with some information about next week’s Staying Safe themed week, and a few reminders and requests, useful for everyone to read. At the end, just for parents of younger children, is an update about phonics.

Covid caution

Absence rates are higher in Leeds than they are nationally: attendance at Leeds schools (20.01.22) was 85.2% (87% primary and 83.7% secondary) compared to a national average figure of 87.4% (89.1% primary and 85.9% secondary). Some of the difference is down to a greater proportion of pupils being absent with Covid in Leeds (6.2%) than nationally (5.1%).

Staff absence rates are also higher in Leeds: 5.5% of teachers are absent for Covid-related reasons compared to 4.5% nationally. For teaching assistants and other staff, the disparity is even greater: 6.4% in Leeds compared to 4.7% nationally.

Thankfully, this week has been a bit more settled. We’re really hoping the curve is about to turn as it has in other areas of the country, but in the meantime, please do stay vigilant to symptoms.

Staying safe

Next week, we’ve another themed week: Staying Safe. Themed weeks are one of the ways we enrich our Living and Learning curriculum. Your child will be learning all about staying safe in lots of different situations, such as online safety and road safety. A variety of visitors will support this learning.

Online safety will be a particular focus on Safer Internet Day, Tuesday 08 February. Do take a look at these top tips for parents and children and more online safety advice. You may also want to look at these screen time guides.

Throughout the week, discuss this learning at home to encourage your child to stay safe.

A few reminders and requests

We’re all so busy at the moment and we know it’s easy to let some things slip. The next few points are reminders and requests to help us keep our school a happy and healthy place to learn…

It’s natural that you’ll have some questions, comments and concerns from time to time. Our teachers will be happy to speak with you, but it’s worth remembering that after 8.50am, they need to crack on with teaching the class. Instead, try to catch your child’s teacher at the very end of the school day.

Alternatively, you could contact the office who’ll pass on the message – your child’s teacher or someone else in school will be happy to call you back. This also means you don’t need to have the conversation in front of your child – sometimes it’s better to have the conversation separately.

Older children might bring a mobile phone into school. If your child does, please make sure they’re careful as they walk to school. It’s sometimes easy to be distracted – your child needs to still concentrate on staying safe when crossing the road, for example.

Finally, please do take a moment to remind yourself and your child of uniform expectations. This includes wearing only small, plain stud earrings; keeping long hair tied back; and wearing hair accessories (like hair bands) which don’t distract – keep them small and not too bright.

Phonics

For parents of younger children only…

Thanks to everyone who attended Monday’s Zoom session about the changes to how we teach early reading. Parents who attended commented favourably:

  • ‘The clarity of still reading a physical book in the classroom has reassured us on the ebook reading at home.’
  • ‘Thank you for an informative Zoom. My son is loving the ebooks and his improved fluency has really impressed me!’
  • ‘Really helpful as always and thank you for giving up your evening.’

If you missed the session, you can watch it here (with apologies for the weird animal noise I seem to be making at the very start!). As requested during the Zoom, look out for some resources which we’ll email to you next week, too.

 

As always, we hope you have a happy and healthy weekend.