We keep getting better and better!
Posted on 14 December 2018 by Mr Roundtree
We’re the most improved school in Leeds local authority. One of the reasons for this is that we’re an outward-looking school: we work closely with the local authority and with other schools, including as part of Noctua Teaching School.
As a school which has been previously judged to ‘require improvement’, the local authority offered us a full teaching and learning review, carried out by two advisors, one of whom is a trained Ofsted inspector. We’re always keen to hear from others so we can keep improving, and were therefore happy to take up the offer.
Here are some extracts from the report:
- ‘Evidence from the review paints a positive picture of a much improved and still improving school. The Executive Headteacher has been systematic and single minded in his determination to improve all aspects of school life.’
- ‘…the staff team […is…] working in harmony to provide the best for each pupil.’
- ‘It is clear to the review team that an ethos of continuous improvement pervades the school.’
- ‘Governance has improved considerably since the last inspection.’
- ‘Lesson observations supported by book-looks and data analysis evidence the impact of improved teaching over time.’
- ‘There is a warm but stimulating atmosphere in the classes and pupils are well motivated to learn.’
- ‘In Y5/6, the teacher’s expert knowledge of English was used to good effect to stimulate writing based on ‘The Highwayman’. Constant reference to modelling and sharing work using the visualiser ensured every individual child was clear about success or how to improve their work further.’
- ‘In Y3/4, the teacher and well informed teaching assistant didn’t miss any opportunity in providing incisive feedback to the class in order to improve outcomes…’
- ‘…in Y1/2, the teacher’s clever use of ‘The Lonely Beast’ was used to support the children’s diary writing. Here, it was good to note how pupils… were building stamina to write at length.’
- ‘Neat presentation in books accompanied by high productivity supports the improvements in pupil achievement and progress over time.’
- ‘In maths, teachers plan for pupils to develop their fluency whilst exercises in reasoning provide pupils with opportunity to explain their thinking and learning. In both KS1 and KS2, the teaching of maths was highly effective. The effective use of practical resources to support learning was another key feature of improved teaching practice in maths.’
- ‘In reading, the introduction of dedicated reading sessions is beginning to have an impact on pupil outcomes. Pupils spoke eloquently about how the school helps develop their love of reading, citing strategies… as all having a positive impact on their learning.’
- ‘Meanwhile, writing outcomes at expected are improving and are now virtually in line with national and above at the greater depth standard. The conscious decision by leaders to demand an application of reading, writing and maths across the wider curriculum has contributed to these successes and the team felt this was key to the ever-improving standards across the school.’
- ‘The school’s consistent approaches to discipline guarantee the children knowing exactly where they stand.’
- ‘In a meeting with School Council pupils, they evidenced how the school is supporting them to be reflective learners. The group reported how they enjoyed coming to school and the opportunities afforded to them…’
- ‘The Federation Early Years lead has provided expert guidance on what high quality provision actually looks like and how it impacts on children’s early development and attitude to learning. Leaders have ensured that the different areas in early years are inviting and attractive.’
- ‘In the 2-year old provision area… adults supporting children were adept at asking pertinent questions and encouraging co-operative play.’
Well done to all the staff and pupils; thank you to parents and carers for continued support.
How do you manage your child's screen time?
Posted on 12 December 2018 by Mr Roundtree
Many of you mention your concerns about your child being in front of a screen for too long. Also, children tell us they’re often on-line when at home.
Digital devices have become commonplace during family time in most homes. However, studies show that screen-free activities have a positive impact on children’s development and health in a wide range of areas, including social skills, physical exercise, sleep and academic performance.
Read the full article from Action for Children – it’s really helpful and interesting! It includes top tips on creating screen-free playtime that will aid your child’s development at all ages.
Children who use any screens for over seven hours a day are starting to show signs that their brain cortex is thinning prematurely… The researchers have also determined that kids who spend over two hours a day on screen time score lower on thinking and language tests.
Christmas coffee morning
Posted on 11 December 2018 by Miss Beatson
A reminder that we are having a Christmas coffee morning tomorrow at 9am. There will be tea/coffee, mince pies and Christmas crafts to do with your child. Mrs Small, our learning mentor, will also be around to have chat with.
Posted on 09 December 2018 by Miss Beatson
We feature in the Wetherby News this week, to celebrate the fact that we are the second most improved school in Leeds (by our KS2 outcomes) and to tell people about our recent visit from The Town Mayor, Cllr Galan Moss. We are very proud to show how fantastic and successful our children and the school are to everybody in the local community!
Our school charity
Posted on 04 December 2018 by Miss Beatson
On Friday, we all reviewed our whole-school homework on charity. We shared examples of charities we know and which charity we thought would be good to support this year.
Children brought some fantastic ideas to the table and could confidently speak about why they had chosen a certain charity. Some children liked the work the charity did, whereas some children had been directly affected by their chosen charity.
Through good discussion and then a democratic voting process to reinforce British values, we narrowed a large list of charities down to just a few which were taken to School Council for the final vote: Cancer Research UK, Starlight, The Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, St Gemma’s Hospice, the NSPCC and many more.
Last year, our whole-school charity was Unicef– an international children’s charity. The School Council felt that this year it might be a good idea to support a national or even a local charity. After three different votes, we finally settled on our whole-school charity to be Dogs Trust. The voting was extremely close.
The School Council were happy with the overall decision and are looking forward to organising fundraising events!
The Town Mayor's visit
Posted on 26 November 2018 by Miss Beatson
On Friday, it was a very foggy, grey day but we were brightened up by having a very special visitor at St James’. The Town Mayor, Cllr Galan Moss, came to our school to help us celebrate our recent successes.
This year, he is supporting school PTAs in order to create links between the local council and schools. He officially opened our new gym equipment, which is the result of the tremendous efforts of our PTA, who raised funds to buy it.
Afterwards, Cllr Moss spoke to the Year 5 and 6 children about his role as the Town Mayor and answered questions from the children, such as: How did you become Mayor? What changes have you made to Wetherby? What’s the best thing about being the Mayor of Wetherby?
It was wonderful to meet the Town Mayor and show him around our fantastic school.
Does your child have an app called TikTok?
Posted on 19 November 2018 by Mr Roundtree
Musical.ly has a new name – TikTok. This social network app has often given adults cause for concern because of the way that children use it to generate and share their own short videos and lip sync to popular audio clips. The app has a new name and new features, and now includes live streaming. Although the app has an age-limit of 13 years old, in practice there will be younger children using it, and the content may not be suitable. The UK Safer Internet Centre reports:
Because the app allows users to create videos using current and popular music, some of the songs contain explicit swearing, sexual content and references that may be inappropriate for younger users.
As users create their own content some videos posted in the app can contain inappropriate clothing or gestures. According to reviews on Common Sense Media, some parents have also reported seeing videos containing sexually suggestive or even explicit material.
Users also have the ability to interact and chat to other users of the app through the comment section under videos and the private messaging function. Private messages can only be sent between users who follow each other or are ‘friends’ and the messaging function can also be turned off entirely.
Profiles on TikTok are automatically set to public, so that any content you post can be seen by anyone within the app. There is also a Restricted Mode which can help to filter out inappropriate content and prevent the user from being able to start their own live streams.
Consultation on changes to the admissions policy for schools in Leeds
Posted on 16 November 2018 by Mr Roundtree
Leeds City Council is proposing changes to its admissions policy for schools in Leeds. The main change is to set catchment areas for community and voluntary controlled Leeds schools.
The authority welcomes all your views and encourages you to respond by the deadline of 07 December 2018.
(Please note the changes mainly relate to Moortown Primary, although parents/carers of all Sphere Federation schools may want to be part of the consultation.)
Online safety (e-safety) magazine
Posted on 12 November 2018 by Mr Roundtree
#DITTO is a free online safety (e-safety) magazine for schools, organisations and parents to keep you up to date with risks, issues, advice and guidance related to keeping children safe online, with a view to enjoying and learning about technology.
The latest edition has just been published. This edition includes:
- Banning pornography
- Talking to a trusted adult
- Fostering an ethos of online safety
- Beware the expert
- Impact of violent and graphic media
Posted on 11 November 2018 by Miss Beatson
Thank you to our Year 5 and 6 children, who attended the Remembrance Sunday parade in Wetherby this morning. It was lovely to see familiar faces walking with the Brownies too.