News

Latest news from around the school

A summer message (01 September 2020)

Posted on 01 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It seems strange to still be on holiday when most schools across the country have re-opened already. (And I always think the Scottish summer holidays, which are all of July and the first half of August, work better with the UK’s weather, too!) In any case, we all hope you’ve had a good holiday – no doubt it was affected in some way by Covid-19, but hopefully you still made the most of things.

Teachers have two training days this week – Thursday and Friday. This means we can all be fully prepared and confident for the Autumn term, and it means that when the Leeds Autumn term officially starts on Monday 07 September, your child can start straight away, with no delays for a training day. We know you’re keen to have your child back at school.

We’ve made a few small changes to our Autumn for all guide for school in September – nothing major, just updates to some website links and an update on the period of self-isolation from seven to ten days if you think you may have the virus.

Have you checked out the whole-school picture book we’ll all be reading in the first couple of week? After the fall: how Humpty Dumpty got back up again is a great read, and one that has a message for us all in recovering after a calamity. Reading this with your child might really help your child to start school with confidence and some familiarity about what’s happening. (There are a few different YouTube sites where the book is read, too.)

Enjoy the last few days.

A summer message (21 August 2020)

Posted on 21 August 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you’re all having a good summer.

By now, you’re probably starting to think a little about your child returning to school in September – we’re open for all children from Monday 07 September.

This advice might help – seven tips to support your child. (There’s advice for secondary-age students, too.)

One of the pieces of advice is ‘pack right, pack light’: ‘Your school will have been in touch to let you know what your child should and (more likely) shouldn’t bring in – such as stationary, bags, PE kits, bottles and lunch. Make sure you have checked what they need, in order to make your child’s day easier.’

Our Autumn for All guide for school in September should help you with that – check out the key facts section.

Enjoy the rest of the summer break as much as you can.

Summer food vouchers

Posted on 12 August 2020 by Mrs Quirk

The final instalment of summer food vouchers have been emailed out this afternoon to all parents/carers with children who are eligible for free school meals. Please check your junk box and contact suequirk@spherefederation.org if you haven’t received your voucher.

Annual surveys - what you told us

Posted on 07 August 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to all of you who responded to this year’s annual survey. It came at a difficult time for many of us (the height of lockdown), so we’re really grateful to the parents / carers who took the time to tell us their thoughts.

We made the survey a little shorter this year, and some of the statements we used are a bit different – this was to match new statements that Ofsted use.

We’re proud to say that the feedback continues to be really positive.

We had 22 responses – that might seem small, but it’s a good proportion (just under a third) of the total number of parents/carers we have in our small school. It does mean, however, that to talk about the results can be difficult.

95% to 100% (that’s basically all or all except one) parents/carers who expressed an opinion agreed with the following statements:

  • My child is happy at St James’ CE Primary School.
  • My child feels safe at St James’ CE Primary School.
  • My child does well at this school.
  • The school makes me aware of what my child will learn during the year.
  • There is a good range of subjects available to my child at this school.
  • The school supports my child’s wider personal development.
  • My child has SEND, and the school gives them the support they need to succeed. (This statement only applied to a small number, and of that number, 100% agreed.)
  • The school promotes its Christian ethos effectively.
  • I would recommend this school to another parent.

These figures are really high – thank you. There are areas were the results were a little lower. We’re happy that despite this, so many of you would still recommend the school.

85% of those who expressed an opinion agreed with the statement ‘The school has high expectations for my child.’ This is a high number but we’d like it to be higher. We do believe we have high expectations and the end of Key Stage 2 assessments show the proportions of children reaching ‘greater depth’ level is in-line with national expectations. Nevertheless, we’ll keep working on how to best provide opportunities for challenge.

Similarly, we’d like the figure of 78% who agreed ‘When I have raised concerns with the school they have been dealt with properly’ to be higher. We can only do this if we work together with realistic goals for what we as a school can achieve (we won’t authorise holidays, for example). Miss Beatson works hard to respond to parents / carers. Please do speak with her about any issue you may have.

Two statements related to behaviour and bullying. The vast majority agreed that we make sure behaviour is good – that’s great to hear. Even better to hear is that the majority of you reported that your child has not been bullied. Of those who raised a concern, most reported that it had been dealt with quickly and effectively. At St James’ CE Primary, we take bullying behaviour very seriously. We have two messages: the definition (Several Times On Purpose) and the solution (Start Telling Other People). If you feel there’s a problem with bullying in our school, please do talk with us about it.

At the end of the survey, we invited comments. We received comments from about a quarter of those who responded. All of the comments were entirely positive – thank you. Here’s a couple of representative comments:

  • ‘Fantastic school and amazing staff who go out of their way to make sure children are happy. My son moved to this school last year after moving house and we have seen a huge improvement not just in his learning but also his social skills. He is also so much happier and loves going to school.’
  • ‘The teachers treat each child equally and want the best for them to thrive in and out of school. My daughter loves attended school and regularly comes home telling me all about the lessons. I cannot praise the school enough or recommend it highly enough to new parents.’

St James’ CE Primary is a happy and healthy place to achieve and believe. Parents and carers are an important part of our close and supportive community. Thank you, again, if you responded to the survey.

Summer food vouchers

Posted on 29 July 2020 by Mrs Quirk

The second instalment of summer food vouchers have been emailed out this afternoon to all parents/carers with children who are eligible for free school meals. Please check your junk box and contact suequirk@spherefederation.org if you haven’t received your voucher.

A summer message (20 July 2020)

Posted on 20 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the first day of the summer holidays – we hope they’ve started well.

We’re not sending daily messages over summer, but do look out for the occasional one – they’ll usually be important updates about school in September.

Summer was for some pupils. Autumn is for all.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming back all the familiar faces on Monday 07 September (except for our Year 6 friends, of course, who move on to secondary school after the summer).

This message is a link to the latest Families magazine which is a summer holiday issue. It’s got lots of resources and ideas to help you keep your children entertained, busy and productive during the long break including fun learning ideas, sourcing books, learning to draw, safe socialising and screen free activities.

Read the magazine here.

 

Our daily message (17 July 2020)

Posted on 17 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the last day of the school year and this is our last daily message. At least, we hope it’s our last as we look forward to the Autumn term, when hopefully much has settled down…

We started sending out messages just before schools closed, in the week beginning 16 March. Sometimes there were three or four in a day, and there was never really any time when it didn’t feel there was something useful to share. For all your appreciation about the daily messages, thank you.

Schools closed on Friday 20 March for all but a few children. Since then, we know you’ve worked incredibly hard with home learning and all the other stuff that takes up your days. It’s been a tough ride. For all your great efforts, thank you.

During the period when schools have been closed, it’s true that some of you made suggestions, raised concerns and sometimes voiced your frustrations. In normal times, we’re always keen to hear your questions, comments and concerns, and in these challenging times, we were grateful you raised things in a positive, friendly way. We acted on as many as we could – and we’ll continuing to act on these. For all your constructive feedback, thank you.

It’s also fair to say that for every one comment like that, we received a good deal more which praised what we’ve been doing. They’ve really boosted us as we went through our own lockdown lows. For all your support, thank you.

Summer

Over the last few days, we’ve provided you with a list of summer camps and other activities and some more more holiday challenges. Check out the the Breeze website for activity ideas, too.

The long summer break can be quite challenging. This Self care Summer Primary resource has fun activities designed to help children look after their mental health and wellbeing. It also signposts them (and you) to additional support if needed. There’s a version for young adults, too.

Over the summer, if you experience difficulties and need advice or support, information is available from Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership. Alternatively, you can contact your local Early Help Hub: lauren.dunstan@leeds.gov.uk  or 0113 3785996.

September

Yesterday, we sent you our guide to school in September. We hope you find it useful. It might seem long, but there are only two pages we especially want you to know about before September – the key information on page 3 and 4.

Later on in the guide, we mention the whole-school picture book topic that children in Years 1 to 6 will do. We’ve chosen After the fall: how Humpty got back up again. Younger children will enjoy thinking about the Humpty Dumpty story and what happened next. Older children will see the analogy between Humpty’s fall and recovery and Covid-19 and how we can recover from this. If you anticipate your child feeling anxious about their return to school after such a long period, it might help if they’re familiar with the story they’re going to be thinking about in school, so they can feel confident and reassured as they settle back in to school life. You could buy the book or listen to it read online.

 

Ok, I’m off to sit in a darkened room for a while…

The teachers, support staff and school leaders all wish you a happy and healthy summer. Stay safe, stay sane and see you in September.

Our daily message: School in September (update 3, 16 July 2020)

Posted on 16 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message is an important one about school in September…

Autumn’s for all pupils – read our guide to school in September.

We’re really happy to finally be able to welcome back all our pupils to school – and to welcome some new faces, too! We’ll have lots of things in place to keep making sure our school is a happy and healthy and safe place to learn. We’ve closely considered lots of different aspects to make sure the new school year goes smoothly.

There are four sections to the guide. The first section (on page 3 and 4) contains the key information that you need to know – things like school start and finish times, for example. Please make sure you read this so you’re up-to-date with the things we’re doing a bit differently.

If you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, then as always, do get in touch.

Our daily message (15 July 2020)

Posted on 15 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our message last Wednesday (08 July) had a summer focus. One week on, and we re-visit this topic…

We’re reaching the end of the school year. For many, home learning has drifted off a bit. Don’t feel bad about this – the home learning situation has lasted far longer than we might have predicted way back in March. From our communications with you, we know you’ve done a good job.

Get out and about

During the summer break, if you’re looking for activities, then check out the range of useful information on the Breeze website.

Last week, we provided you with a list of summer camps and other activities. It might be an idea to sign up to something if you can afford it. Your child could benefit from the social aspects, and it’ll give you a much-needed break. (Like we said last week, though: seek assurance that the provider is following protective measures in line with the guidance which the government has produced.)

Set a summer challenge

Parents’ / carers’ feedback about our previous holiday activities was
really positive, so here are some more holiday challenges that you and your child might want to complete over the summer holidays. A few key points…

  • The list is the same across year groups, meaning if you’ve more than one
    child, they might work on it together in some way.
  • You can encourage your child to do some or all of the activities –
    they’re all optional.
  • We’re sorry – unlike at Easter and the summer half-term, teachers won’t be around so please don’t email them. Teachers will not be giving feedback about these tasks.

Keep up with reading

If your child starts back at school in September being an enthusiastic and fluent reader, then they’ll be in a great starting position to kick off the school year.

Many of you have told us you’ve appreciated the online copies of First News that we’ve emailed out. Children really enjoy reading First News in school. You can subscribe at home. It’s a great way to keep your child reading – the articles are quite short and presented in an attractive format. Right now, there’s a ten week summer subscription for £19.99 (and it comes with a free puzzle book).

To make things even better, for every subscription parents take out and select our school from the drop down box at the checkout, we’ll get money back to put towards our school. This is a great opportunity to get your kids reading at home while helping the school raise money. Remember to select our school when ordering so we can fundraise: you’ll need our postcode, which is LS22 6JS.

Just in case…

Over the summer, if you experience difficulties and need advice or support, information is available from Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership. Alternatively, you can contact your local Early Help Hub: lauren.dunstan@leeds.gov.uk  or 0113 3785996.

Our daily message: School in September (update 2, 14 July 2020)

Posted on 14 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message has important updates for school in September.

Summer was for some pupils, Autumn is for all. We’re looking forward to welcoming back all pupils on Monday 07 September. Here are a few updates that we think you’ll want to know about.

Three things going ahead…

PE is going ahead. On the days your child has PE, they should come to school in their PE kit. (Track-suit bottoms instead of shorts would be good on colder days.) Children should wear their usual school uniform on other days. Read more about our uniform policy.

Our Out-of-School Club is going ahead. The before and after school club will start on Monday 07 September. Before-school club starts at the new earlier time of 7.30am. After-school club finishes at the usual time of 6.00pm. If you’d like your child to attend, please inform the school office.

Homework is going ahead. We’ll set weekly homework as we normally do. The key difference is that Homework books should stay at home for the time being. Just as normal, the tasks will be posted on the website. Instead of the task pasted into books, children will take home a piece of paper with the task on, too. The tasks will be a variety of Talk Time, Practice Makes Perfect and Creative, but especially the first two.

Parents can email a picture or update about a completed task (just as many have been doing with the home learning tasks we set in Spring and Summer terms). The homework will be reviewed in school, so some pictures would be good!

And three things on hold for now…

For the first half-term, there are a few things not happening:

  • swimming lessons for Year 4 children,
  • after-school clubs for all children, and
  • peripatetic instrument lessons.

We really want to get these up-and-running soon, but want to make sure that everything happens as smoothly as possible in other aspects of school life for all our children and staff.