News

Latest news from around the school

Parent-teacher meetings

Posted on 19 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to all of you who attended the parent-teacher meetings last week – it’s always good to see so many supporting their child’s learning.

In the last year or so, one or two governors attend the evenings in order to gather the views of parents and carers. This can provide some useful, independent feedback on how well we’re doing and how we can keep getting better and better. Governors write up a report; here are some of the comments from the report from the evening of Thursday 14 February:

  • All the parents felt that their children were very safe at school.
  • Most parents were unable to tell me anything that they thought the school could improve upon.
  • It seems as if the school is slowly becoming the school of choice in the area… A number of parents told me that they were recommending St James to other parents.
  • Most parents liked the atmosphere in the small school and felt it was good that everybody knew everybody else.
  • Parents continue to mention how much things had improved under the new leadership.
  • Communications are good. Parents like getting the newsletters in both electronic and hard form.
  • Parents of EYFS children felt especially ‘in the know’ about exactly what was being taught.

Fab feedback

Posted on 12 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary, we regularly seek the views of others. Last month, we let you know about feedback from a Leeds Health and Safety Advisor (news article on 31 January 2019, deriving from a Health and Safety inspection) and a Leeds Early Years Advisor (news article on 15 January 2019, deriving from a visit to the Early Years class).

In January, we also collected the views of staff for the second time in recent years. We asked staff to complete a survey with questions that Ofsted use during inspections (very much like the survey we ask parents and carers to complete in the Summer term). The survey was completed by ten staff (in any role – premises staff, lunchtime supervisors, teachers, teaching assistants…). Here are some key findings:

100% of staff agree that our school has improved since it was last inspected, with 86% believing the school has improved a lot. (These percentages exclude three staff members who are new to school and can’t comment on improvements since the inspection). Comments include: ‘Massive improvement. Staff morale is so much better.’ and ‘Much better – more consistency and support, much better atmosphere around school, and a team ethos.’

We’re really proud that in other statements, 100% of the staff who responded agreed with the following statements:

  • Pupils are safe in our school, with 80% strongly agreeing.
  • Leaders support staff well in managing behaviour.
  • Leaders do all they can to ensure the school has a motivated, respected and effective staff.
  • St James’ Primary is well-led and managed.
  • I feel well supported working in this school.
  • Leaders and managers are considerate of my well-being: ‘Leaders are supportive and understanding when there are problems in a teacher’s personal life and make sure to check in on teachers.’
  • Being in a federation benefits me/my role in school.

Of the four remaining statements (such as ‘Being in a federation benefits this school.’), no staff member disagreed but one or two expressed no views as to whether they agreed or not.

Finally, we asked for any strengths and areas for further improvement…

Strengths

We asked staff to comment in an open-ended question about the strengths of our school. Some of the many strengths they mentioned are:

  • ‘Great staff and caring ethos.’
  • ‘Staff work well together as a team.’
  • ‘Pastoral care and senior leadership.’
  • ‘Dedicated teachers and parent partnership.’
  • ‘Absolutely amazing head of school. She is so supportive. I feel that my role at school is greatly appreciated.’
  • ‘Promoting positive behaviour and Christian values.’
  • ‘The effort and team playing of staff which is resulting in better results for children.’
  • ‘The federation which we’re part of.’

Next steps

We’re always wanting to keep getting better and better. There were far fewer suggestions for areas to develop, but, based on the survey, our next steps are to keep improving behaviour management for all staff and to keep developing positive partnerships with parents / carers that help to support the pupils in our school.

Thank you to all staff who support our school, with special thanks to those who completed the survey.

Amazing attendance competition

Posted on 06 February 2019 by Mrs Craggs

Amazing attendance competition

Good attendance remains high on the agenda at our school.

  • A child with 90% attendance has missed four whole weeks of school in a year.
  • Over six years of primary school, a child with 90% attendance will have missed 24 weeks of learning – that’s almost two thirds of a year.
  • Good attendance enables your child to develop strong friendships at school, leading to a happy and healthy person.

Next half-term, we’re running an Amazing attendance competition !

If your child has 98% attendance or above over the course of Spring 2 half-term and up to the Easter weekend (from 25 February to 18 April inclusive), they will be entered in to a prize draw to win a £20 ASK voucher.

There will be two vouchers: one voucher for Early Years/Key Stage 1 and one voucher for Key Stage 2.

Help your child to be the best that they can be and do everything you can to make sure they attend school on time every day!

Staying Safe week

Posted on 05 February 2019 by Miss Beatson

We’ve had a great start to our ‘Staying Safe’ week at St James’!

Yesterday, we had a visitor from the road safety team who told us how to stay safe when crossing roads and how to ride our bikes and scooters safely.

Today, we had some visitors from the NSPCC, who told us how we can keep ourselves safe and what we can do if we don’t feel safe. The children were very good at making the Childline phone number with their hands! The children have been given some parent leaflets to take home about online safety, which have been created by the NSPCC.

We’ve also had a fluffy visitor in school- a cuddly, ‘pretend’ dog from the Dogs Trust. The visitors told us how the charity helps dogs to be re-homed. Their key message was how we can stay safe around dogs and the body language a dog might show if it was unhappy.

We are looking forward to many more workshops and visitors throughout the week to help us stay safe. Look on the class news pages for more information about what each class are getting up to.

 

A happy and healthy - and safe - place to learn

Posted on 31 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

We hear so many scare stories and myths about health and safety that it’s easy to pour scorn on anything remotely related to the topic. However, as a school, we need to know that our buildings and our practices are safe and secure for your child and his/her teachers.

Just like we’re happy to invite a fresh pair of eyes into school to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning, we do the same – invite an expert from Leeds City Council – to check on health and safety aspects of our school.

We’re delighted that our school was judged to be outstanding in terms of health and safety.

St James’ CE Primary is a happy, healthy and safe place to learn!

Training days 2019-20

Posted on 28 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

For those already planning their trips away and days out, we’ve now agreed our 2019-2020 training days:

  • Monday 02 September 2019
  • Tuesday 03 September 2019 (this means children are back on Wednesday 04 September, although there’s a transition period for those starting in Reception)
  • Friday 25 October 2019 (this is the day before the October holidays)
  • Friday 15 May 2020 (this is the last day of the Key Stage 2 SATS week – a welcome day off for our Year 6 pupils)
  • Monday 20 July 2020 (the last day of the school term, meaning children break up on Friday 17 July 2020)

The dates are all published on our school calendar.

(We tell you our training days well in advance, and we’ve tried to schedule many close to existing school holidays. This means you’ve got more chance to plan and book any holidays abroad. We don’t authorise term-time absences for holidays.)

Real Friends

Posted on 24 January 2019 by Miss Beatson

Last week, years 5 and 6 watched a thought-provoking and powerful performance called Real Friends. The drama explored two very serious issues: hate crime and mate crime. It was performed by an organisation called Leeds People First. People First is about putting the individual first rather than the condition, “people with disabilities” rather than disabled people. The class had to think about how they would change a situation through role-play to help stop such crimes.

“My favourite part was at the beginning when the actors were all wearing masks and holding up signs. It caught my attention.”

“I really liked listening to Olivia’s story about the hard times she experienced throughout school because of her autism. It was based on a real-life situation.”

 

Supporting parents with anxious children

Posted on 16 January 2019 by Mrs Craggs

EPOSS Cluster are running a group to support parents with anxious children. The group will give advice and strategies to support your child, provide psycho-education on anxiety and give the opportunity for you to meet parents with similar problems and share ideas.

The first session will be held MONDAY 21 JANUARY

Venue: The House
Wetherby High School
Hallfield Lane
Wetherby
LS22 6JS

Time: 8am-9am.

No need to book, just turn up on the day.

If there is sufficient uptake the group will then run every Monday until the February half-term holiday.

If you would like any further information please call:

Rachel Midgley, Cluster Therapist –   0752 617 2934

Liz Giles, Targeted Services Officer – 0791 278 4637

Fantastic Foundation Stage!

Posted on 15 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

We’re always wanting to get better and better. One of the ways we’ve managed to become the most improved school in Leeds (based on progress made by 2018 Year 6 children) is that we work closely with LA advisors so we benefit from ‘an extra pair of eyes’ and their specific skills and expertise.

Just before Christmas, an Early Years expert visited our Foundation Stage classes. Here’s an extract from her report:

Reception children were… all engaged and focussed… Equipment was provided so that all children could be practically involved… Many mathematical opportunities were seen in different areas of provision to promote mathematical learning.

Our Christian value for this half-term is...

Posted on 13 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

…love.

In Mark Chapter 12, Jesus was asked which of the ten commandments was the most important, to which he replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these.”

The challenge for us is how can we show love to each other on a daily basis? How can we encourage each other? How can we make someone smile? How can we show love for our school and our world?

Why did the Church Council choose this Christian value?

‘Love is why Jesus came into the world – to send out love.’ (Year 2 Church Council member)

Home Challenge:

Which is your favourite film or book? Think about the main characters in it – how do they show love? For example, Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – how does he show love? Or how does Harry Potter show love for those around him, or no longer with him, such as his parents?