News

Latest news from around the school

Junior Leadership Elections 2022-23

Posted on 21 October 2022 by Mrs Valentine

This week, we held an election for the new Junior Leadership Team – the JLT. Children had the chance to give a speech in their class and to say why they’d be a great ambassador for our school.

There are two representatives from each class and they will attend regular meetings to help senior leaders to make decisions.

It was incredible to see that the majority of the school had given a speech to their classmates in the hopes of becoming the next junior leaders!

Today, the new JLT was revealed with an exciting balloon pop… The outgoing JLT each had a balloon popped to reveal the name of the new JLT inside. Check out who was voted in…

Year 6 – Harley & Daisy

Year 5 – Emilija & Eliza

Year 4 – Umar & Kamile

Year 3 – Polina & Christian

Year 2 – Emily & Shae

Year 1 – Freddie & Max

A huge well done to everyone who put themselves in the running! We hope those children who weren’t elected this time will have a another go next year!

Good luck to the JLT of 2022-23! Be sure to check back soon to see them decide our new school charity! 

This week’s message (Friday 21 October 2022)

Posted on 21 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

As I write this at 7.30 on Friday morning, I can hear the sound of pouring rain – let’s hope the half-term is drier so we can get out and about! This week’s message has a last minute reminder, a safety message, and some information about our Autumn term topics.

School day

There’s only a few hours left to complete this short survey about changes to the school day. We’ll close the survey at 5.00pm today – just a couple of hours. At the time of writing, 43 of you had submitted your views – thank you for taking the time to pass on your comments.

Firework safety

With many organised events cancelled due to tight budgets, West Yorkshire Fire Service is fearful that this may mean more families try to replicate a display, and that this may pose a greater risk to the safety of our children. Please speak with your child about the dangers of fireworks.

At the same time, it’s worth discussing the important role firefighters play in our community – in recent years, there’s been an increase in attacks on firefighters.

We’re all historians

This half-term, we’ve been historians. It would be great if you encourage your child to continue their History topic at home.

Children in Years 1 and 2 learnt about a significant British historical event: the Great Fire of London. Your child learnt about life at the time of the Great Fire of London. They discovered where the fire started and how it spread so quickly and the innovative ways that it was extinguished. Importantly, they thought about the different sources of evidence that helped us answer these questions, including Samuel Pepys’ diary. Finally, they learnt about the significant changes that occurred as a result of the fire, such as legal changes about the way houses were built and the beginning of a fire service in London. Link your discussions about firework safety with the history behind this event. Check out the Fire of London website – a great way to support and deepen children’s learning.

Ancient Greece was the topic for our Year 3 and 4 children. Your child began by sequencing periods of British history and seeing where the ‘golden-age’ of the Ancient Greek civilisation sits alongside British history. They then learnt about two contrasting city states: Athens and Sparta. Your child learnt about the type of government these states had and what the lives of the people living there were like. Ask your child about the influence that Athens has had on the world (they might mention democracy, mathematics, philosophy, literature, culture…) and how the civilisation ended. For a rainy half-term diversion, a visit to Leeds City Museum (next to Millennium Square) would be great because it has some Ancient Greek exhibits.

Children in Years 5 and 6 learnt about Stone Age to Iron Age Britain and contrasted it with Ancient Egypt. Your child began by looking at and creating timelines to gain an understanding of chronology. They learnt about the advances and innovations that occurred during the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. They then learnt about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and contrasted this with what was happening in Britain at the same time. Speak with your child about the differences– it’s a stark contrast! As before, a trip to Leeds City Museum would be a great half-term day out – it has some Ancient Egyptian exhibits, including Nesyamum, the 3,000 year old Leeds mummy!

We’re all artists

Next half-term, we’re all artists. As well as creating some masterpieces, we’ll look at the work of various artists, architects and designers. To gain a head start, encourage your child to check out the work of our featured artists and designers:

Have a happy and healthy half-term break. Remember, the first day of next term is a training day: see you all on Tuesday 01 November.

This week’s message (Friday 14 October 2022)

Posted on 14 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message includes some ways to support your child at home with Maths, written by Mrs Allaway, the Sphere Federation Maths Leader. Sandwiched in between, a couple of useful reminders…

School day

Have you let us know your thoughts on changes to the school day? Our very short survey is open for one more week.

Maths

What are we learning in Maths?

In Key stages 1 and 2, our Maths curriculum is divided into blocks of learning. These include different aspects of maths such as place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, geometry, fractions, measures and statistics. Each block is broken down into a sequence of small manageable steps in learning, with each step building on the previous one.

Years 1 and 2

In the autumn term, our blocks of learning are place value, addition and subtraction, and shape.

A significant amount of time is spent on developing a deep understanding of the composition of numbers so that children become confident and fluent in both counting and recalling number facts. The crucial number facts are simple addition and subtraction facts. Regular short bursts of practice on NumBots will help with this. In school, we use a wide range of practical resources to support understanding of these key concepts.

When learning about shape, children are supported to recognise, draw, compare and sort different shapes alongside using the related mathematical vocabulary.

Years 3 and 4

In the autumn term, we cover three blocks of learning: place value; addition and subtraction; and multiplication and division.

It’s essential that children become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts. These facts need to be really secure so that children can develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large numbers. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with learning times tables up to 12 x 12.

We continue to use a range of practical resources. We use these to support children’s understanding of concepts and procedures – so they can see the maths. Ultimately, the expectation is that children can do the maths without the resources.

Years 5 and 6

In the autumn term, our blocks of learning are place value, the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and fractions.

Children extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include much larger numbers – up to 10 million.

Children are supported to become fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division. Children develop their skills to solve a wider range of increasingly complex problems that draw on these arithmetic skills.

When learning about fractions, children develop their understanding of equivalent fractions and use these to add and subtract fractions with different denominators. In order to be successful with this, children need to be fluent with times tables. Short bursts of regular practice on Times Tables Rock Stars will help to keep these skills sharp.

As always, speak to your child’s teacher if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns about your child’s learning in Maths.

JLT elections

We’ve recently launched this year’s Junior Leadership Team election process. Our Junior Leadership Team is one of the ways that children are encouraged to take an active part in pupil voice.

The election process allows children to develop an understanding of one of the British Valuesdemocracy, with two representatives from each class chosen democratically by their peers.

Here are some of the qualities our junior leaders think are needed to be an effective JLT member.

  • use the 8Rs for learning
  • be respectful and polite
  • help others
  • be a good speaker and listener (to members of your class and in the meetings)
  • share and be confident with your ideas
  • let others speak
  • accept the views of others even if you don’t agree
  • be friendly and approachable
  • follow our school rules and make good choices in class and around school

This weeks’ whole school homework is all about the election and democracy, ready for the elections next Thursday 20 October.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Harvest Festival

Posted on 07 October 2022 by Miss Beatson

I felt so happy and proud yesterday during our Harvest Festival at church. The children read some lovely poems and prayers aloud and sang with enthusiasm. It was wonderful to see the church full of parents and carers to celebrate with us, too. Thank you to everybody who donated food which will go to St George’s Crypt in Leeds to help the homeless and vulnerable.

 

This week’s message (Friday 07 October 2022)

Posted on 07 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

It certainly feels like Autumn these days – as well as shorter days and autumn colours, another sign of Autumn is the excited children showing us their conkers collected on the way to school! This week’s message includes two important messages (about medical conditions and attendance), and two more parts (about communications and this week’s Watch Us While We Work).

Attendance update

In the last school year (2021-22), the national average was 95.4% attendance. Our school attendance was 93.1% – quite a bit below the national figure.

We all know that attendance matters – the more your child is in school, the more they learn and the more they develop social skills.

Attendance is even more important following the disruption in learning caused by Covid – we’re now starting to identify gaps in learning and working hard to address this, but we need your child at school.

Please remember we won’t authorise holidays in term-time absence. For some, we also expect to see evidence of illness before we authorise an absence.

Thank you to everyone who makes sure their child is in school as much as possible.

Medical conditions

When your child joins school, we always ask about any medical conditions so we can support your child in school. This includes letting us know about allergies. This is a reminder only: please do make sure you tell us about medical conditions, especially nut allergies and other food allergies. Based on what you tell us, we’ll make reasonable adaptations to meet your child’s needs.

A word about how we communicate

A small number of you told us in the Summer 2022 annual parent/carer survey that we send home too many communications. We’ve thought hard about the comments, but also considered other feedback that tells us you welcome how we communicate. In the end, we’ve decided that we’re getting it about right for most of you. However, we thought it might be useful to let you know the different ways that we communicate things with you.

Firstly, anything urgent (such as the cancellation of an after-school club) or a quick reminder about something (like the photographer being in school) is sent by text. If you have the School Gateway app, it may be useful to set it so you receive notifications of messages. Texts are automatically sent to your app, if you have it installed (it’s free for us to communicate with you this way).

The weekly Friday message contains important information (eg nuts, attendance and about things coming up, such as parent-teacher meetings) as well as other information that we think you might find useful (eg like this one). We usually use sub-headings to help you navigate the message so you can find the information you need.

Most letters are emailed out to you, too. We’re moving away from sending out hard copies of letters (it’s better for the environment to send things electronically and things sometimes don’t always get to you if they’re sent home in book bags). Please try to check your emails daily, so you don’t miss anything important.

For anything relevant to your child’s class, check out the Class News pages of our website (we recommend doing this at least once a week). Nursery and Reception tend to put reminders on their Class News page, as they don’t have a homework page.

Your child should bring home a hard copy of their weekly homework, but you’ll also find it on the Homework page of the website.

Finally, we do have Facebook and Twitter. These just provide additional little snippets, if you want them, but nothing urgent or important will be posted on social media as we realise that not everyone accesses these things.

Finally, a thank you…

…to everyone who attended this week’s Watch Us While We Work session. It was great to see so many of you in school, keen to get a flavour of school life  (eg ‘Really nice to see class routines and how engaged the children were’) and to pick up some tips to help you continue to support your child at home (eg ‘Putting things in a bag and taking a few out to help counting’).

Look out for the next session: Thursday 26 January 2023.

Have a happy and healthy, awesome and autumnal weekend!

Watch us while we work

Posted on 04 October 2022 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who joined us this morning to watch us while we work. It was an opportunity to watch some learning in  maths and reading and hopefully pick up a few strategies that can be used at home.  Here are a few feedback comments from parents this morning:

“The children sat, listened and interacted well. It was lovely to see what they are like in class.”

“Great to see what happens in class. Really enjoyed it.”

“It was nice to see the classroom and teaching strategies.”

“Lovely being in class. Teacher had them engaged at all times. Good to see English and maths.”

“Great to see different ways we can help at home……different ways to practise times tables and retrieval in reading.”

Summer smile competition

Posted on 30 September 2022 by Miss Beatson

Before the Summer holiday, we asked you to look out for smiles in your surroundings  or even create a smile. Thank you to everyone who sent in photographs of their smiles. Today, we looked at the photos in collective worship and the pictures certainly made everyone smile and laugh. The prize for the overall winners went to Cameron in Year 1 and Emily in Year 2 for their variety of smiling examples- congratulations!

Take a look at some of the fabulous entries!

This week’s message (Friday 30 September 2022)

Posted on 30 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Our message this week is an important one because it’s all about reading. The message comes from Mrs Latham (our Phonics and Early Reading Leader) and Mr Catherall (our acting Reading Leader, covering a maternity).

Early Reading and Phonics

We’ve started the year as we mean to go on – reading! Our Reception children have started Phonics lessons already – they’re rapidly acquiring the skills to become readers. We use the government validated systematic synthetic phonics scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

Children in Year 1 and Year 2 have also got back into Phonics lessons quickly. The lessons happen every day and last half an hour (Reception children build up to this over time). In these lessons, children are taught how a letter or letters (graphemes) match to sounds (phonemes).

We also have reading practice groups for children to use and apply their phonics skills. These are small group sessions, led by an adult, where children read a book that’s matched to the phonics phase for the children in that group. The time to do this has been made available by moving to allocating e-books for children. The e-books are essential for children to share their phonics reading success at home. Please make sure you hear your child read the e-book every week.

Year 1 or 2 children who have secure phonic knowledge will begin to access a wider variety of books in school and to take home.

Children will 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!

Our recent reading workshop explains phonics and early reading in more detail.

Key Stage 2

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

Should my child be reading at home?

In Sphere Federation schools, we insist that children read at home. Failure to do so would mean that children are missing out on the numerous benefits of reading. Research tells us that children with reading difficulties are more likely to experience mental health problems later in life. To give our children the best chance of becoming readers at home, we ensure that reading at home is celebrated.

What should my child be reading?

Occasionally, we get feedback that adults at home aren’t sure what book their child is reading and when it should be in school. As children progress from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, we want them to have more choice and ownership of what they read.  For some families, this can feel less structured than it might have done when children were lower down school. Because of this, we’ve made some changes to how we read in Key Stage 2. Starting after the October half-term, we’ll be moving to a more structured system for reading at home.

What will this look like?

Our children are provided with the opportunity to read a variety of rich texts in school and at home. Children are always involved in the process of choosing what book they read at home and we place a high emphasis on choice of text. To ensure our children read a suitable range of suitable texts, we rotate between ‘solo reading’ and ‘group reading’ on a half-termly basis:

  • Autumn 1: solo reading
  • Autumn 2: group reading
  • Spring 1: solo reading
  • Spring 2: group reading
  • Summer 1: solo reading
  • Summer 2: group reading

Next half-term, your child will be ‘group reading’. This means, they’ll choose a book that they’ll read alongside some of their class mates. They’ll be set a target page to read to and will discuss what they’ve read with their group and an adult.

What if my child wants to read other books, too?

We love this! We’d really encourage you, if you can, to have lots of books at home. A trip to a book shop can be a wonderful and inspiring shared experience as a family – especially as the days are getting shorter and wetter! If you prefer to shop online, great! We’ve recently signed up with Love Reading 4Kids. This is a great website with a huge range of books at good prices. And, if you buy through this site you can support us here school – we’ll receive 25% of the value to spend on books!

This week’s message (Friday 23 September 2022)

Posted on 23 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to all of you who managed to come along to our coffee morning this week – it was lovely to see the hall buzzing!

This week’s message has some information about an event coming up for Key Stage 1 and 2 parents and carers. The rest of the message is about the annual survey we do with children.

Watch us while we work

Coming up at school is a short open session for current KS1 and KS2 parents/carers to join us in class to watch the teaching and learning of some essential Maths and Reading skills. The session is a great way to find out how you can support your child at home.

The session is at 9am on Tuesday 04 October. You’re welcome to visit us – there’s no need to reserve a place. We invite you to spend time in just one class. (For those of you with more than one child, you might want to come again for a second session on 26 January to visit a second classroom.)

Parents and carers of children in Reception have the opportunity to attend separate Stay and Learn sessions.

Pupil survey

At around the same as the parent/carer survey is released, we ask children in KS2 to complete a quick survey, too. This helps us identify strengths and possible areas to develop.

Children rated provision in Science, Art, DT, Geography, History and Music higher than nationally – four of these were rated significantly higher and one very significantly higher.

Importantly, responses from children around safeguarding were all strong: all but one were above national figures (the other one matched the national figure). This includes one statement which had responses significantly above (‘I feel safe at this school’) and one very significantly better (‘There is no racist abuse at this school).

Similarly, responses about learning behaviour were better than national (‘I am always keen to do well in school was significantly better).

This all goes to prove that our school is a happy and healthy place to achieve and believe.

Talking of which, have a happy and healthy weekend!

This week’s message (Friday 16 September 2022)

Posted on 16 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who’s our Science and Foundation Subjects Leader. In this message, Mr Wilks introduces your child’s current topic…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg Art, History, Geography). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils knowledge and skills.

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, we’re historians. We’ll develop our understanding of the past, both in Britain and the wider world.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary: see pages 27 and 28 of our Curriculum Statement.

Each phase also has key historical concepts which will feature within most lessons. These historical concepts are themes that are revisited, strengthened and deepened during your child’s journey through the history curriculum. See page 24 of the Curriculum Statement.

Years 1 and 2

In this topic, children learn about a significant British historical event: The Great Fire of London.

Children will learn about life at the time of the Great Fire of London. They’ll learn where the fire started and how it spread so quickly and the innovative ways that it was extinguished. Importantly, they’ll learn about the different sources of evidence that have helped us answer these questions, including Samuel Pepys’ diary. Finally, they’ll learn about the significant changes that occurred as a result of the fire, such as legal changes about the way houses were built and the beginning of a fire service in London.

The key concept that children will learn about in this history topic is innovation.

Years 3 and 4

In this topic, children learn about Ancient Greece.

Children begin by sequencing periods of British history and seeing where the ‘golden-age’ of the Ancient Greek civilisation sits alongside. They’ll then learn about two contrasting city states: Athens and Sparta. Children will learn about the type of government these states had and what the lives of the people living there were like. They’ll then debate which city state was the best. Next, they’ll focus in on the influence that Athens has had on the world: democracy, mathematics, philosophy, literature, culture… Finally, they’ll learn about how the civilisation ended.

The key concepts for this topic are civilisation, government and innovation.

Years 5 and 6

In this topic, children learn about Stone Age to Iron Age Britain and contrast it with Ancient Egypt.

They begin by looking at and creating timelines which sequence the periods of British history and also placing Ancient Egypt on this timeline. They’ll learn about the advances and innovations that occurred during the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. They’ll learn about and understand that the sources of evidence we have are limited to archaeological evidence. They’ll then learn about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and contrast this with what was happening in Britain at the same time – it’s a stark contrast!

The key concepts for this topic are innovation and civilisation.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they have been learning in class. The class news pages are a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

Find some books from the library which match what your child is learning. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of books about the history your child will be learning about.

Watch television shows about history. Horrible Histories is great (regardless of your age!).

The BBC Bitesize history webpages have been revamped this summer and have lots of information about the history being covered this half-term.

If it’s a rainy weekend and you’re looking for something to do, why not spend a morning or afternoon in a museum? A visit to Leeds City Museum (next to Millennium Square) would be great for all children but especially for Y3,4 and Y5,6 children as it has some Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian exhibits, including Nesyamum, the 3,000 year old Leeds mummy!

London’s a bit far for a rainy weekend but the Fire of London website is great and will support and deepen children’s learning.