Latest news from around the school

Extreme reading

Posted on 20 September 2023 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to everyone who sent photographs in showing some extreme reading during the Summer holidays. Some of the pictures showed some funny and peculiar places to read which was the whole point of the competition! They certainly made us all smile when we showed the children the pictures and announced the winners in assembly last week. Well done to Ethan, Emily, Hattie and Jacob for taking a reading prize home.

Check out a few of the fabulous entries.

This week’s message (Friday 15 September 2023)

Posted on 15 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We ended our message last week by saying ‘Children settled into the new school year really well’. Two weeks in and we’re really pleased to see our children coming to school with great attitudes and behaviour, perfectly living up to our aim: happy and healthy learners.

Last week’s message had some important messages for the year ahead. We mentioned our expectations on home learning and uniform and behaviour, amongst other things – check back to last week’s message in case you missed it.

Governing board vacancy

We’ve a vacancy for parent governor on the governing board of Sphere Federation.

No special qualifications are needed other than dedication, commitment, enthusiasm – and time to commit to the role. Read more about the role.

If you’re interested in the role, please submit an expression of interest by  22 September 2023. Please use this form.

Reception children

We started this week’s message by saying how pleased we are to see our children coming to school with great attitudes and behaviour, perfectly living up to our aim: happy and healthy learners. This includes children who have started with us in Reception – we’ve got stuck straight into learning phonics.

Just so you’re aware, we’re currently carrying out a Reception Baseline Assessment, something we’re required to do by the Department for Education. Read their leaflet for more information.


Regularly, there are some horrible news stories, such as this one, about even young children ending up in hospital because of vaping.

It’s likely that the UK will follow other countries in banning disposable vapes.

At the moment, it’s illegal to sell vaping products to children and young people under 18. This is because of the risks involved:

  • The short-term side effects of vaping include throat and mouth irritation, headache, cough and feeling sick.  
  • The long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, they are still too new for there to have been proper research.  
  • Nicotine is highly addictive. There is also a risk when non-smokers try vaping, they might move on to try more harmful cigarettes and drugs.  
  • There are also illegal vapes being sold that contain dangerous levels of lead, nickel and chromium.

Check out this new guidance for parents and carers who might be worried about their child vaping.


This week’s message continues with three important messages about Living and Learning for the year ahead. As always, please speak with your child’s class teacher or with Miss Beatson if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns.

Cooking sessions and allergies

Across the year, your child will take part in sessions to prepare three snacks or meals:

  • Year 1 and 2: banana sandwich, fruit salad, wraps
  • Year 3 and 4: leek and potato soup, pitta pizza, salad and dressing
  • Year 5 and 6: lentil and vegetable soup, omelette, a tomato sauce base

Read a shortened version of our Cooking and Nutrition plan for more detail of the sessions across the year. (We’re in Year A of a two year cycle for the plans.)

If your child has an allergy, please make sure you tell us. Contact the school office.

8Rs for learning

Talking of food…

This week in Living and Learning sessions, your child’s been thinking about eight different ‘ingredients’ for being a great learner. Check them out. Have a chat with your child about the different Rs:

  • Does your child demonstrate some Rs really well?
  • Are there other Rs they might need to work on, and if so, how?

Relationships and sex education

In the Summer term, there are specific sessions where we teach about this, but aspects of our policy may come up at any time. When you’ve got time, have a read of our policy – Section 9 and the table on page 11 might be especially useful.


Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Staying safe and secure

Posted on 14 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Many of you are aware that there have been some safeguarding concerns in Leeds schools today. The concerns affected only some Leeds schools – we were not affected. Be assured that if we had become aware of anything that compromised safeguarding, we would make sure you were informed.

We have comprehensive site security and safeguarding arrangements in place at all times. The advice from the local authority remains the same as always: continue to adhere to these robustly.

Please be assured that we place your child’s safety as the highest priority.

A new vicar

Posted on 11 September 2023 by Miss Beatson

I’m pleased to inform you that a new vicar has been appointed at St James’ Church. Reverend Matthew Peat, currently serving as Vicar of Whitkirk in the Leeds Episcopal Area, has been appointed as the Incumbent of Wetherby with Linton in the Ripon Episcopal Area.He will be joining us later on in the year and we’re looking forward to meeting him and welcoming him into the school community.

This week’s message (Friday 08 September 2023)

Posted on 08 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Another school year – welcome back.

And, just as importantly, welcome to all our new parents, carers and children, whether in Early Years or to those who have join us in other classes in school.

Our first weekly message of the year has some important information for the year ahead at St James’ CE Primary School…

Dates for the year

Key dates for the school year are in our school calendar. We’re preparing a list for you to print out and have ready to check, too.


Last year’s attendance rate across England was 92.5% – a figure which is considerably lower than before Covid.

Last year’s attendance at St James’ CE Primary was 91.3%. We really need to improve this so we know your child is happy and healthy, safe and learning.

Read this help helpful guide from the NHS to decide if your child is ill enough to have to miss learning.


This Homework Guide sets out what we expect children to do and why. Reading, spellings, times tables and number facts are essential for all children to be confident with. The focus of your support at home should be ideally around these areas. Your comments in the Reading Record book (at least once a week) are really helpful for your child’s teacher.

Every child in Key Stage 1 and 2 has a Reading Record. Please sign the Reading Record so we know your child has been reading at home. You might also include a comment that relates to how they got on. In the Key Stage 2 Reading Record book, there are activities – one of these is set by the teacher each week. There are other activities for children to engage with in the Reading Record, too.

Your child’s first Talk Time task is published today.

Check out the weekly Living and Learning theme in our school calendar, too – there are more learning ideas here (usually showing on each Monday of the school year).

Each child in Key Stage 1 and 2 has a new homework book. The book is for your child to practise spellings, writing, times tables and number facts. It doesn’t need to be sent back to school.


A uniform develops a sense of belonging, prevents competition and saves money. Wearing school colours helps us to keep up our high standards of behaviour. Please make sure your child is following our Uniform Policy. If we notice any problems, we’ll send home a reminder. A few things come up most often:

Hair: Long hair should be tied back, and hair accessories should be small and simple (this is so that it does not distract from learning and for hygiene reasons)

Jewellery, watches and other accessories: Only plain stud earrings (no more than 4mm wide) and items that are absolutely required by a religion are allowed. Advisors recommend no earrings are worn for PE; therefore, we’ll ask your child to remove earrings before the lesson. This needs to be done by the child. If they’re unable to remove or put their earrings back in by themselves, they must not wear them on the day they have PE.

PE kit: Keep it simple and non-branded – check out page 2 of our policy for a handy guide.

Our school rules

We’ve three school rules:

  • We’re respectful.
  • We’re ready.
  • We’re safe.

Help at home. Talk with your child about the rules:

  • Make sure your child knows the three rules.
  • Is one more important than another?
  • Is there a rule that your child thinks is missing and should be included?
  • Make a link between our school rules and home: are there similar rules in your home?
  • Discuss these rules and other rules in a wider context, including the country’s laws.

Read our full Positive Relationships Policy.

Reading in Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2, once children have become independent readers, they’re involved in the process of choosing what book they read at home. To make sure children read a wide range of suitable texts, we rotate between ‘solo reading’ and ‘group reading’:

  • solo reading happens in the first half-term of each term: Autumn 1, Spring 1 and Summer 1
  • group reading happens in the second half-term: Autumn 2, Spring 2 and Summer 2

So, this half-term is solo reading – each child in class has taken home their own book.

  • Each child’s book is checked by the teacher to make sure it’s appropriate in both content and challenge – please check that your child’s reading a book at what seems like the right level, so they can read it fluently and enjoy it.
  • Your child should read the book at home on a daily basis – 10-15 minutes should be the minimum.
  • In ‘Book Club’ sessions, teachers may direct children to an activity to complete alongside their reading for that week.
  • A signed Reading Record allows parents to communicate with their child’s teacher that reading at home has happened regularly – please make sure your child is reading at home, and add comments in the Reading Record.
  • In the weekly ‘Book Club’ session, children discuss their book with their class mates and celebrate a love of reading.


As always, contact school if you’ve any questions or concerns about anything we’ve said here.

Children settled into the new school year really well this week. It’s likely they’ll feel tired after a busy (and hot!) week back. Have a restful, happy and healthy weekend.

Is your child starting in Year 6? You can now apply online for a Year 7 place.

Posted on 07 September 2023 by Mrs Quirk

2024 Secondary Frequently Asked Questions

Our Christian value this half-term is...

Posted on 06 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree


At St James’ CE Primary School, we learn about Christian values that help us to become well-rounded citizens in society. Each half-term, we have a new Christian value that will be embedded into our collective worship and our reflection areas.

This half term, our Christian Value is perseverance.

‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ (Galatians 6:9)

Endurance is needed when standing firm in the face of any difficulty. It is the special gift that we have when life is difficult or painful that helps us not to give up. Difficulties might include hardship, persecution or scorn, although we hope these difficulties do not arise in our school. We use it more in the context of ‘keeping going’ and ‘not giving up’.

Help at home by talking about and encouraging perseverance…

  • How can we show perseverance in school?
  • How can we show perseverance in home, or in other situations?
  • Who do you know that shows lots of perseverance?
  • What does perseverance look like to you?
  • Tell me about a time when you showed perseverance

This week’s message (Friday 21 July 2023)

Posted on 21 July 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This is our last message of the school year. We hope you and your child have had a good one. Thank you for all your support throughout the year – it’s always very much appreciated.

PTA Summer Fair

Thanks to everyone who attended the PTA Summer Fair last Friday – and, of course, a big thanks to the PTA for organising such a great event. £892.65 was raised – a tremendous achievement!

Talking of PTA, check out their updated website page and their 2022-23 annual report.

Extreme reading

We’re already getting some entries through for our Summer Competition this year. Here at St James’ CE Primary, we love reading and thought we’d celebrate our love of reading this year with the theme of extreme reading. Here’s a couple of pics – the first to come through from across Sphere Federation – we love them!

To enter, email your pics to by Friday 08 September. Enter ‘Summer competition’ as the subject. All entries will be displayed in school, and there are prizes for our favourites.

Talking of reading, check out the Leeds Libraries Summer Challenge.

Our school day

A reminder…

From September 2023, the school day starts at 8.45am and ends at 3.15pm every day. This is to meet the government’s expectation for a minimum school week of 32.5 hours.

In the schools white paper published in March 2022, the government announced that all mainstream, state-funded schools would be expected to deliver a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023. The white paper was subsequently abandoned. However, an email from the Department for Education this week reiterates this expectation.


The following comes from the Department for Education for all parents and carers to read.

Measles can be very serious and spreads easily. Children and adults who contract measles can end up in hospital or suffer long term health consequences. In rare cases, it can be fatal.

Measles is completely preventable with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The first dose is offered to children at 1 year of age and the second dose at 3 years and 4 months. Measles outbreaks happen when not enough children have been vaccinated and can be very disruptive in educational settings.

Schools are also encouraged to remind parents to check that their children’s vaccines are up to date. You can catch up on your MMR vaccine through your GP whatever your age.

Read more about the MMR vaccination.


Whatever you get up to, have a very happy and healthy summer. We’ll see you again on Tuesday 05 September – remember the 8.45am start!

Staff vacancy

Posted on 20 July 2023 by Mrs Quirk

We have a vacancy for a lunchtime assistant, starting September 2023, to supervise the children whilst eating and playing. Hours are 11.45am – 1.00pm, Monday to Friday.

An enhanced DBS check will be required.

Please email for an application form and further information.

From Friends of St James’ (Your PTA)...

Posted on 19 July 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week marks the end of the school year and the end of our second year running the PTA. Woo hoo!

It’s been a pleasure to arrange the fun activities and events for everyone. We hope you’ve all enjoyed them. Thank you for all your support again this year.

We’re very happy to say together this year we’ve raised £3,484.04 for school. Thank you so much for helping to make this happen.

Our aim is to raise money to fund resources and experiences that enrich the children’s education and we work closely with school to make sure we raise money for items required by school and specifically asked for by the children.

Our biggest achievement this year is the launch of St James’ Woods, our very own Forest School on school grounds. From speaking to parents and staff, we know how much the children are enjoying it and we’re delighted to be able to tell you we’ve raised enough money this year to support school to be able to run Forest School sessions all year round. So your child can expect to do a six-week block of 90-minute sessions each term. Altogether, that’s 27 hours of Forest School during one academic year. We’re so happy and proud that we can help to provide this invaluable way of learning to all at St James’.

We’ll move into next year with some new fundraising priorities – watch this space!

You can read our full annual report on the PTA page of the school website – this has recently been updated.

As always, we welcome any feedback, ideas or suggestions from you. We’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September, when we’ll discuss the year ahead and welcome any new members and volunteers. Everybody is welcome to attend, so even if you just fancy having a nosey to see what we’re all about, please come along. The more the merrier. More information to follow.

Finally, we hope you have a wonderful summer. And best of luck to all the Leavers – we hope high school is everything you want it to be.

We’ll see most of you again for more fun in September.

Many thanks