News

Latest news from around the school

Our new parent governor is...

Posted on 31 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

…Mr Andy Sammons (Candidate 2), whose child attends Scholes (Elmet) Primary.

The election closed on Friday and 89 votes were cast overall.

Thank you to both candidates for standing in the parent governor elections.

Mr Sammons’ election note is below:

Fundamentally, the reason why I would dearly love to undertake this role is that I believe in the potential for education to change lives. For me, it is the thing that makes humans unique, and the thing that we must never lose sight of in terms of its ability to give everyone – especially young people – a chance to make the very best of their lives.

As a teacher myself (I am Director of English), I see this every day; as a result, I am ideally placed to understand key educational issues. I feel as though I would have a great deal to offer, as I have played a key role in building an engaging, enriching and ambitious curriculum for my own pupils.

I have one child at a federation primary school, and I hope that my younger child will be given a place too; as parents, we’ve been thrilled with the way that our little boy has settled in and has really started to thrive in terms of his academic progress, but also his social and emotional learning too. To be given the chance to shape and support the school in continuing to grow would mean a great deal to me.

This week’s message (Friday 28 May 2021)

Posted on 28 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

And we’ve made it to the end of another week! Each Friday, Miss Beatson and I sigh with relief because we’ve had no bubbles bursting…

…Thank you for helping us by respecting the national restrictions that have been in place, and the changes we’ve made in school. Since the start of the year, we’ve managed over 30 emails from Leeds Health and Safety team, each one typically involving about ten or so changes to our risk assessments. I’m grateful to Miss Beatson for managing these updates each week.

Staying with the Covid theme for a moment…

Testing positive…?

We’ve been asked once again to support the government’s Test and Trace system.

If your child has been attending school this week, we need you to tell us if they get a positive Covid test result in the period Saturday 29 May to Thursday 03 June 2021. We need you to do this because your child may have been infectious whilst in school.

So you can give us all the information we need, please use this form or scan this QR code (hover over it with the camera on – a link should appear):

This means we’ll have the information to take the necessary actions, laid down by the Department for Education.

We’d prefer you to use the online form, but if the technology fails you, please contact school: stjamesheadofschool@spherefederation.org

If your child receives a positive test result after Thursday 03 June, you can tell us on the first day of the new term (Monday 07 June).

CyberSprinters

CyberSprinters is a free interactive game developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds. It’s designed to make learning about cyber security fun and interactive at a time when children might begin to seek more independence online.

The online game sees players become a ‘CyberSprinter’ who’s racing against its own depleting battery power. Users can win battery power by correctly answering questions about cyber security but face losing it if they bump into ‘cybervillains’.

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Mrs Rowley, one of our two Y3,4 teachers, who’s expecting her second child – what lovely news! Mrs Rowley will be on maternity leave for most of the 2021-22 school year. We’ve already organised a replacement teacher and we’ll update you on this soon.

Uniform

It’s been easy to let some routines and expectations become a bit slack in the last year. Now that lockdown’s easing, we want to tighten up on a few things related to uniform:

  • long hair should be tied back – it really does affect learning (for example, when children have to keep moving hair away from their face as they lean forwards to write)
  • earrings should be small, plain studs
  • PE kit, worn on PE days, should be white t-shirt, black shorts / tracksuit bottoms and plain trainers

At St James’ CE Primary School, we are proud to be members of our school community and we want all our children to feel part of our community and to represent our school. Wearing the school uniform helps us to do this. Read our full policy. 

Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday… Let’s hope the sun shines a bit more than in recent weeks.

This week’s message (Friday 21 May 2021)

Posted on 21 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you and all around you have had a happy and healthy week.

Help your child at home

Before we talk about a few new items, we continue to make a plea for daily reading and regular number facts practice at home…

More and more research is coming through that tries to measure the amount of lockdown learning loss. One report on lost learning found that the average loss in Reading progress was about two months for Reading and three months for Maths (and that’s just for the first lockdown, from March to July last year). It’s thought that the loss is even greater in the north and for pupils from lower-income families.

On the whole, our children have come back as happy and healthy learners who might not all have experienced this loss in progress – thank you for your support during the lockdowns. Even so, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Reading and Maths skills are strong enough.

We’re providing a Talk Time homework because this is something that you should try to do as a family at home, perhaps when you’re having a meal together. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.

Thanks to the parents and carers who have commented they like this new homework system.

Staying safe online

Our current Computing topic has been a hit with children. It’s also been a really good opportunity for us to reinforce appropriate behaviour when using electronic devices.

Across Sphere Federation, we’ve a monitoring system that sends alerts to a member of staff if inappropriate or concerning language is typed into a device. This can pick up bad language but it can also pick up situations when the language being used seems aggressive or threatening.

During this topic, there have been several alerts across Sphere. This might be bad language being used, or things that children say using a keyboard that they wouldn’t say in person. These alerts are always investigated.

The monitoring we do helps to keep your child safe at school. Help to keep your child safe at home, too.

If your child has access to an electronic device, make sure you check it regularly to make sure it’s being used safely and respectfully. For example, set a weekly alarm to prompt you to check your child’s phone, if they’ve got one. Read the messages they’ve sent and received, for example, and talk with your child about what apps they’ve got.

Read more about online safety.

Could your child be a game show winner?

We’ve been contacted by a television production company, CPL Productions, who are looking for children aged between 10-12 to take part in a children’s immersive game show.

Covid permitting, they hope to film the series in July/August. Read more about the show and how to apply. The closing date for applications is 25 June 2021.

National Smile Month

Monday 17 May saw the start of National Smile Month. One of our Living and Learning expectations is ‘I know about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene, including regular check-ups at the dentist’ so it’s a good idea to check out the following links:

Let’s hope the weekend is filled with happy and healthy smiles – have a good one.

Skipping into summer with Skipping School

Posted on 14 May 2021 by Mrs Latham

We have launched a whole school skipping project with Skipping School. Each class has their own class set of ropes and we also have long ropes for every class too. The children are so enthusiastic about it already. There are some tutorial videos below so you can work on your skills at home too!

Paired skipping video

Super big rope skipping video

This week’s message (Thursday 13 May 2021)

Posted on 13 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Tomorrow is a training day so school will be closed. This week’s message comes to you today instead.

On a trial basis, we’ve tweaked what we’re doing for homework. Each week, we’re providing you with a Talk Time homework that centres around something your child will be learning in school. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect homework tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.

Reading matters

A couple of weeks ago in the weekly message (23 April), we stressed the importance of reading at home. All children will benefit from a daily reading routine. Even just 10-15 minutes every day would make a massive difference to some children who haven’t made as much progress over the lockdowns.

To promote reading at home, the National Book Token people are running a competition to design a book token. Your child can win a £10 National Book Token for themselves and each of their classmates – featuring their own amazing artwork. The challenge is to create a National Book Token design. They’ll choose a winning design every week for six weeks. Each winning designer will see their artwork brought to life as a gift card loaded with £10 – one for them, and one for each of the children in their class!

Maths matters

Across the country, lockdown appears to have had a negative impact on some pupils’ attainment in Maths. One simple way to support your child is to help them learn number facts:

  • For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts – knowing them without using their fingers to work it out. NumBots will helps with this.
  • For older children, number facts also includes times tables. By the end of Year 4, children should know their times tables without having to count through to reach the answer. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with this.

    Our data shows that the children who do well in our assessments are the children who are spending more time practising on NumBots and Rock Stars. Likewise, the children who need to learn these facts more aren’t using this resource at home. Ten minutes every day at home would really help.

    Living and Learning

Living and Learning is our name for everything that falls within the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education curriculum, the PE curriculum and other things relating to being happy and healthy learners.

In Living and Learning, as shown in our long term plan, we’ll be focusing on drug education for the next two weeks.

Our first statement for this learning is I know what a drug is.

Our definition of a drug refers to a substance that changes the way the body or mind works. The word ‘drug’ includes:

  • all legal drugs, including tobacco, alcohol, solvents and volatile substances, misused medicines and legal highs
  • all illegal drugs
  • prescribed and over-the-counter medicines

During the two week topic, we welcome d:side, a health education provider, to school to deliver drug education workshops to each class as part of this learning.

On a separate matter linked to Living and Learning, you might not know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021). Take a look at this list of children’s books that open conversations about mental health.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 07 May 2021)

Posted on 07 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Like this week, next week is a four day week – Friday 14 May is a training day so school will be closed. Before then, of course, we’ve this Friday’s Weekly Message…

Charities

Last week, we decided our school charity for the year ahead. This began woth some Talk Time homework where children discussed charities at home and then came to school with a particular charity to nominate. Then, in class, a second discussion was had to agree one charity to put forward to the newly-elected Junior Leadership Team. They then reviewed all the class suggestions and arrived at the final whole-school decision:

As part of the Captain Tom 100 initiative, we’ve already raised some money for the chosen charities – thanks for all your donations so far.

The importance of sleep

Our Living and Learning statement next week is I know the importance of sleep. You can help at home by making sure your child gets enough sleep, well away from tempting electronic devices. The NHS recommend that a primary school age child gets 9 – 12 hours.

Check out these sites for more information…

Pupil premium

Pupil premium is additional funding for schools that depends on the number of children who are registered for free school meals.

300,000 more pupils became eligible in first seven months of Covid.

Even if your child is in Reception or Key Stage 1, where school meals are free, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.

Even if your child has a packed lunch, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.

Speak to our office staff about how to do this.

Sports day

Finally this week, a few of you have asked about Sports Day, which is scheduled for the week beginning 12 July.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown sets out two dates for the further easing of restrictions if all goes well: 17 May and 21 June.

By 21 June, ‘the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact’. A key word here is ‘hopes’.

We can’t guarantee that Sports Day will go ahead, but we hope that it will happen as scheduled. There may need to be restrictions in place, such as asking families to stay socially distanced or inviting just one parent/carer to attend. We’ll have to wait and see…

Have a good weekend, even if it’s a bit of a wet one.

Captain Tom 100 Challenge

Posted on 04 May 2021 by Miss Beatson

Today, each class took part in the Captain Tom 100 Challenge to raise money for charity. The charity we are supporting this year is the RSPCA. Thank you to everyone who donated 100 pennies today- we’re still waiting for a few contributions but we will let you know the final amount raised shortly. This is how each class attempted the challenge:

Y5/6 planted 100 seeds

Y3/4 wrote 100 adjectives

Y1/2 skipped 100 times

Foundation did 100 star jumps

Watch the video here. 

 

 

Captain Tom 100 Challenge

Posted on 30 April 2021 by Miss Beatson

Today, the JLT voted for the school charity we will be supporting this year- RSPCA. 

As our first fundraising event, we’ll be taking part in the Captain Tom 100 Challenge. Each class will be doing something 100 times on Tuesday 04 May. All we ask is that each child brings in 100 pence (it can be a £1 coin!) and all the money raised will be donated to the RSPCA. There’ll be a bucket at the gate for you to leave your donation.
Here are the details of what each class is doing:
Foundation- 100 star jumps
Y1/2- 100 skips
Y3/4- writing 100 adjectives
Y5/6- planting 100 seeds
Thank you for your support- we will let you know how much money we raise!

This week’s message (Friday 30 April 2021)

Posted on 30 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

There’s a growing sense of optimism at the moment with numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 going down and the numbers of Leeds residents who have been vaccinated going up. On 19 April, the case rate was 48.4 per 100,000. This is the lowest rate seen in Leeds since September 2020. The highest case rate is amongst young people aged 11-18 (87.6 per 100,000), so we do all need to keep following Covid restrictions.

Homework

Our Homework Policy and the accompanying Homework Guide currently sets out daily expectations (read, practise spellings, and practise times tables) and weekly expectations (Creative, Talk Time or Practice Makes Perfect).

Our assessments show that lockdown may have had an impact on some children’s reading fluency, spellings and times tables. Nationally, there’s growing evidence that the lockdown has had an impact on young children’s language skills.

For these reasons, from next week, we’re tweaking our policy a little for the rest of the school year. We’re dropping the Creative and Practice Makes Perfect tasks.

We really want you to make sure your child is meeting the daily expectations set out the Homework Guide:

  • Please do make sure your child spends some time each day learning spellings and practising their times tables – going on Times Tables Rock Stars would be great for this. (Numbots for younger children would be good, too.)
  • Reading is so helpful in so many ways – from reading fluency to promoting positive mental health, a good book works wonders – so please make sure your child is reading (or you read aloud to them) each day.

Each week, we’ll set a Talk Time homework. Its purpose is to promote lots of conversation and debate at home, which in turn should promote oracy and vocabulary.

Check out these five tips to boost your child’s vocabulary.

This article might also interest you – it’s about the value of more play time for your child’s mental health and social skills.

As always, you’re welcome to let us know your views. Later this term, we’ll include a question about the tweaked homework in the annual survey, too.

Computing

Children in Years 1-6 have a Computing topic this half-term. Read more about the learning that’s going on in our Curriculum Statement. Our age-related expectations for Computing are on pages 13 and 14. These are followed by Staying Safe Online expectations on pages 15 and 16.

To help at home… have chats with your child about what they’re learning. Ask them what vocabulary they’re using in the topic – it could be words like ‘de-bug’, ‘algorithm’, ‘sequence’ and ‘decomposing’. (All these words feature in the age-related expectations.)

Talking of Computing and staying safe online, over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.

Does your child play Roblox? It’s one of the most popular video games of recent times. Read this guide for tips on a number of potential risks such as in-app purchases, online dating and chat functionality.

This weekend is a longer one – enjoy the extra day, whatever the weather!

LFD testing

Posted on 23 April 2021 by Mrs Craggs

Following on from Mr Roundtree’s weekly message, we have received some  more information this morning about the LFD testing. Further information can be found here.