Latest news from around the school


Posted on 14 May 2018 by Mr Roundtree

It’s important that young people understand the issue of sexual consent, and yet this topic can be difficult to tackle.

A video commissioned by Thames Valley Police, called ‘Consent as Tea‘, makes a useful analogy between having sex and having a cup of tea. (Be aware that there are some spoofs.)

The same studio that produced the Consent as Tea video has created another video aimed at younger children. Have a look and see what you think. It may suit your children, or it might not.

This article from the New York Times has many stories and examples of real-life consent situations that will serve as great discussion starters.

Your views matter!

Posted on 08 May 2018 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary, we’re always keen to hear your views. Most parents and carers are happy to let us know at any point if something’s gone wrong – and even sometimes when things have gone well! However, it’s always useful to collect your views on some standard questions – the same questions that Ofsted use during inspections.

We ask that you visit the survey site and respond to a series of statements – either agree / agree strongly or disagree / disagree strongly (or say that you don’t know). The statements include:

  • My child is happy at school.
  • My child feels safe at this school.
  • My child makes good progress at this school.
  • My child is well looked after.
  • My child is taught well.

There’s also the opportunity to add any comments you may have. The survey should take you about five minutes – maybe a bit longer if you add lots of comments. The survey is open until 11 June.

The results of the survey are used by school leaders, including the governing body, to shape what we do in the future – your views do matter.

As always, if you’ve any questions, comments of concerns, do let us know.


Posted on 08 May 2018 by Mr Roundtree

A Co-op Funeral Service survey has concluded that ‘most Britons will suffer their first loss of a loved one by the time they are 21-years-old’. The Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN) estimate that around one in 29 school-age children have been bereaved of a parent or sibling – that’s roughly one per class.

Stories are a really effective way to help support a child – we recommend you read them at any time, not just following a bereavement. The links below are to YouTube clips.

Check out The Guardians’s Top 10 children’s books on death and bereavement.

Discover more books for teenagers about death and grief (courtesy of Marie Curie).

These three links might help:

Talking about death with your little one (CBeebies)

How to support a bereaved child (Video, Child Bereavement UK)

What helps grieving children and young people (pdf)

These charities can support, too:

Child Bereavement UK:
Child Bereavement Network:
Marie Curie:
Winston’s Wish:

Testing times...?

Posted on 03 May 2018 by Mr Roundtree

The Standards and Testing Agency recently published an information leaflet and video for parents of pupils in Year 6 about key stage 2 (KS2) national curriculum assessments (the ‘SATs’). They provide information about the purpose of the tests, how parents can best support their children and how results will be reported.

The dates of the tests are:

  • Monday 14 May: English grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Tuesday 15 May: English reading
  • Wednesday 16 May: Mathematics papers 1 (arithmetic) and 2 (reasoning)
  • Thursday 17 May: Mathematics paper 3 (reasoning)


Skipping Festival

Posted on 02 May 2018 by Miss Beatson

Well done to all our Year 3 and 4 children who took part in a skipping festival at Boston Spa School today. The whole class came 3rd place- a fantastic achievement!

Phone Brain

Posted on 30 April 2018 by Mr Roundtree

A little-known organisation is the Phone-paid Services Authority, the regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill. They’ve a specific website, called Phone Brain, for young people to help them understand the costs and risks of paying for things by phone.

Phone-paid services are the goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bill or pre-pay account. They include directory enquiries, voting on TV talent shows, donating to charity by text or downloading apps on your mobile phone. They’re often referred to as premium rate services. One aspect of the authority’s role is to educate consumers about these services, and protect them from harm.

Phone-paid service numbers are:

  • 070 numbers
  • 0870/0871/0872 and 0873 numbers
  • 09 numbers
  • 118 numbers; and
  • they are sometimes used by apps as a way to pay for things

Phone Brain includes resources for young people, parents, teachers and youth workers. There’s even a page for under-7s.

Staying safe around dogs

Posted on 28 April 2018 by Mr Roundtree

With summer approaching, your child is likely to be playing out and about much more. It’s a good idea to remind them about being careful around dogs, especially if they don’t know the dog, or don’t have a pet. Dogs’ Trust have a really useful booklet about safety around dogs, written with Ambitious about Autism.

Download the booklet here.

Staff feedback

Posted on 27 April 2018 by Mr Roundtree

We want our school to be a happy and healthy place to learn.

To help, we regularly gather the views of pupils. This could be via the School Council, who represent each class in school, or it could be in Feedback Forms, which pupils complete twice every year (sometimes, teachers include quotes from these in the end-of-year reports).

We also gather your views, as parents and carers – every year. This year’s survey launches on Friday 04 May.

We also want our school to be a happy and healthy place to work.

To help, we seek the views of staff in school. Staff are comfortable to come and see the Head of School or the Head of Federation if they have any questions, comments or concerns. Occasionally, we invite staff to complete on online, anonymous survey. We’ve done this recently because we wanted to gather the views of staff about lots of things, including the federation of three schools.

Various teachers, teaching assistants and support staff completed the survey in this school and across Sphere Federation (Moortown Primary, Scholes (Elmet) Primary and St James’ CE Primary). Here’s some of the feedback we’ve gathered:

In your opinion, do you think the federation of schools is a positive initiative?

Over 80% of staff said yes to this. All the others were unsure, and it seems likely that the majority of these people are new to the federation and can’t comment easily about this. A couple of comments here are:

  • ‘Collaborative working, more support and access to more expertise in all areas. Joint savings, and improvements across the board.’
  • ‘Shared resources, shared ideas/good practice/training, enhanced career opportunities.’

Are you clear and confident about who to ask if you’re unsure about something?

All but one staff member answered yes to this question. Comments include:

  • ‘Everyone works together as a team and is very happy to support each other. It makes it feel like a very supportive environment to work in.’
  • ‘There is a clear management structure.’

Are you clear and confident about what to do if you’re worried about a child’s wellbeing?

All the staff members who responded in the survey said yes here – that’s great news, backing up our core goal to be a happy and healthy place to learn.

  • ‘Lots of good safeguarding meetings and great communication from the senior leadership team has ensured this.’

Additional comments from staff across the three schools is almost entirely positive, too:

  • ‘Having someone as brilliant as Sue [Craggs, the School Resources Manager at Scholes (Elmet)] to work with has made a massive difference. Joining with another two schools has widened my role, given me more challenges, more support and more confidence in what I do.’
  • ‘I feel really valued and well supported by senior leaders. I’m confident to ask for support when needed and feel able to say when pressure becomes too much.’
  • ‘Scholes staff have always been a loyal, hard working and friendly team. It has been such a relief to witness strong leadership streamlining our efforts to directly impact the teaching and learning for the children. Leadership is strong, aspirational and yet supportive… It is wonderful to have constructive feedback for teaching. Everything is well organised and transparent. Scholes feels like the school that it should be!’
  • ‘Mrs Weekes is doing a good job and is very approachable… Moortown is a happy place to work and my role is well supported and regularly praised. This inspires me to want to continue.’
  • ‘Scholes is a brilliant place to work. The phase I work in is fantastic and everyone works so well together supporting each other. The teachers as a whole are a good team who help each other. You never feel silly going to ask for support or advice. The head (Karen) is brilliant. She is really approachable and supportive. As a teacher it is good having someone who you can go to who understands the role and its demands. The executive head (David) sets high expectations but supports you in achieving your full potential.’

#DITTO - don't neglect online safety at home

Posted on 27 April 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Alan Mackenzie, an esafety advisor, writes a free downloadable magazine for teachers and parents called #DITTO. The April 2018 edition of #DITTO is out now and covers:

Term-time absences

Posted on 26 April 2018 by Mr Roundtree

In the summer term, the number of parents / carers requesting term-time absence increases a little. We do not authorise term-time absence for holidays or other reasons that are avoidable. This follows our Attendance Policy which the Governing Body agree, and follows the recommendations from the Department for Education.

If a child has unauthorised absences, there is the likelihood that parents will be issued with a penalty notice from Leeds City Council.

The National Association of Headteachers has produced some guidance recently, extracts of which are shown here:

The Education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) Regulations 2013, which came into force on 1 September 2013, made it clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ prevail.

The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional circumstances’ are that they are ‘rare, significant, unavoidable and short’.

Term times are for education. This is the priority. Children and families have 175 days off school to spend time together, including weekends and school holidays. Head teachers will rightly prioritise attendance. The default school policy should be that absences will not be granted during term time and will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.

If an event can be reasonably scheduled outside of term time then it would not be normal to authorise absence for such an event – holidays are therefore not considered ‘exceptional circumstances’.