A message from Mr Freeman: Sport for Champions
Posted on 19 January 2023 by Miss Beatson
This week’s message (Friday 13 January 2023)
Posted on 13 January 2023 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message is from Mr Wilks, our leader for Science and Foundation Subjects…
We’ve just started a Geography topic in school.Before we dive right in, here’s a reminder about topics and what they look like.
What do we mean by topics?
Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg History, Art, Geography). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.
Although the learning in each topic is provided by the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in a history-driven subject may be enriched by observational drawing of an artefact. In this example, the enricher is art.
For more information about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics, click here.
What is this half-term’s topic?
This half-term, your child is a geographer. The topic focusses on either environmental issues or natural disasters. Children in Years 1 and 2 will investigate their locality; Years 3 and 4 children will learn about volcanoes; and Y5,6 children are investigating climate change.
Across the year groups, children will develop their understanding of some key geographical concepts:
- location is a position (eg a country, a city), often described in a clear, precise way (ie using a latitude and longitude).
- place = location + meaning. It is constantly changing. A sense of place is also defined by how an individual perceives it (eg one person’s perception of Leeds or Wetherby as a place will be very different to another’s).
- scale is the relative sizes of different places. This could be differences in area, population, distance or the amount of natural resources. Scale is also defined by our view of the world. We may consider an aspect of geography on a local, national or international scale eg climate change.
- interdependence is the idea that the world is connected. No country or individual acts in isolation. Our actions here affect people in different countries around the world. This can be related to where we get our food and energy, where we go on holiday, or the effects of climate change across the world.
Check out our Curriculum Statement for more information about key concepts (page 17) and age-related expectations and vocabulary (page 22 and 23).
Years 1 and 2
Children begin the topic by learning about the four countries and capital cities that make up the United Kingdom. They then go on to learn about the difference between human and physical geography features. They’ll then investigate human and physical features in their locality. The key part of this topic is to investigate their locality and identify what they like about it and why. They will also investigate something that could be improved and how it could be improved. For example, they may notice that litter is an issue and raise awareness of this issue with their peers in school, local residents and even a local councillor.
Years 3 and 4
Children will be learning about volcanoes. They’ll begin by learning about what lies beneath the Earth’s surface. They’ll investigate plate tectonics and how these move and the different types of volcanoes formed by this movement. They’ll learn about how mountains are formed and name and locate the tallest peaks in the UK – did you know that these peaks are the remains of ancient volcanoes? Next, they’ll move onto some specific case studies: Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and Mount Vesuvius in Italy. They’ll investigate how volcanoes can be dangerous but also bring benefits to the people who live in their shadows.
Years 5 and 6
Children are learning about climate change. They’ll begin by learning about latitude and the link to world climate. They’ll then learn about what climate change is and what is causing it. They’ll then look at three case studies to learn more about the consequences of climate change across the world: melting sea ice in Greenland, rising sea levels in the Solomon Islands and coastal erosion in East Yorkshire. Finally, they’ll consider how climate change can be slowed and whose responsibility it is.
How can you help?
Regardless of the year group your child is in, Google Earth is a brilliant tool to help develop children’s understanding of space, place, scale and interdependence. Zoom right in on your home and then zoom out to reveal the area of Wetherby that you live in. Zoom further out to see what city you live. Zoom further for the county. A little further and you might start to spot some national parks. Further still and you can see the country that we live in. Keep zooming and you’ll see the continent we live in (though this isn’t labelled). Before you know it, you’re floating in space and circling the Earth!
Google Maps is another great tool for comparing places.
- Year 1,2: Can you find your school? Your classroom? Your house? Your local park?
- Year 3,4: Can you locate the two volcanoes you’ll be studying? Can you zoom into the craters? What similarities and differences can you see?
- Year 5,6: Use this mapping tool to investigate how a place has changed over time. We’ll be focusing on coastal erosion but you could find where you live and compare today’s map with one from fifty or a hundred years ago. What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Quizzing your children about some locational knowledge will help them to remember important information. I’ve listed some examples below. Use the age-related expectations to find the right pitch for your child.
- Which continent do we live in?
- Which country do we live in?
- In which hemisphere is our country located?
- Which county do we live in?
- Which city do we live in?
- Which part of Leeds do we live in?
- Which four countries make up the United Kingdom?
Go to the library and get some geography-related books, especially an atlas. You could compare maps of the same place to see what type of information they show. For example, you find lots of maps of the United Kingdom. One might show the countries and capital cities. Another might show the mountains, rivers and National Parks. Another might give information about the climate.
For KS2 children, there are lots of different games and activities on the Ordnance Survey Mapzone website. I especially like the jigsaws in the Map Puzzles section of the Games. Click here for the website.
Also for KS2 children, there is lots of information and some tasks and quizzes on the BBC Bitesize website.
This week’s message (Friday 06 January 2023)
Posted on 06 January 2023 by Mr Roundtree
Happy new year to you all – I hope the Christmas break was a happy and healthy one for you. Now that we’ve had one full term in school, this week’s message is a look at attendance for the full Autumn term and information about a parent governor vacancy…
Up to 09 December across England, the attendance rate was 92.7% for all schools and 94.0% for primary schools (this is based on data for schools reporting their attendance figures to the Department for Education).
Up to 16 December, our whole school attendance figure is 91.7% – this is quite a lot below the national figures.
Here’s the attendance figure for each year group…
- Reception class: 91.5%
- Year 1: 93.3% – well done!
- Year 2: 92.4%
- Year 3: 92.6%
- Year 4: 87.9%
- Year 5: 91.0%
- Year 6: 92.7%
The more your child is at school, the more they learn and play – please make sure your child is attending school as much as possible. Check out this NHS advice about when your child should and should not attend school.
We recently wrote to all parents and carers regarding a parent governor vacancy, and to seek nominations. As the number of nominations received exceeded the number of parent governor vacancies, it’s now necessary to hold a ballot.
We sent an email out this morning giving details about the voting process. Every parent of a registered pupil at school is eligible to vote.
To vote, use the following link: https://forms.gle/
The ballot closes at 12 noon on 13 January 2023. The result of the election will be confirmed on the school websites.
Have a good weekend.
Our Christian value this half-term is...
Posted on 03 January 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.
What is honesty? Honesty is being trustworthy and truthful in our friendships, our relationships, our school and our community. We understand that we need to be honest and truthful with others when working together as a team. There are challenges for us:
- How can we be honest in our daily lives?
- How can we encourage people to be honest?
- What can we do to fix it if we forget to be honest?
‘Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.’ (1 John 13:18)
In the Bible, we hear about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), the tax collector, who was dishonest and stole money from others. Jesus went to visit him and he realised he had made a mistake. He saw the error of his ways. He had a total change of heart and got rid of his dishonest ways to follow Jesus.
Help at home!
Talk with your family about the consequences of not being honest or write a story or draw a picture to show what happens when people are dishonest. Bring it in to add to your class reflection areas.
This year’s last message (Friday 16 December 2022)
Posted on 16 December 2022 by Mr Roundtree
Our last weekly message of the year comes from Miss Beatson.
It’s been a busy few weeks leading up to the end of term. It’s been lovely to see so many parents and carers attend our Christingle service at church and our Early Years and Key Stage 1 performances – thank you for your support.
This week, we’ve enjoyed a Christmas lunch together and celebrated the end of term with a Christmas party – we’ve had lots of fun.
This half term, we’ve seen lots of illness and our overall attendance has fallen. I hope everyone can shake off the coughs and colds over the holiday period and start next term happy and healthy.
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everybody that our gates open at 8.45am ready for an 8.50am start. Any child who arrives after this time is recorded as late or absent in the register. Children miss the start of the day which does impact on them settling in and being ready to learn. Please try and get your child to school on time.
This term has seen a massive effort from our Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to recruit new members, involve more people and to get things back on track after Covid. This week, they’ve given every child in school a present for Christmas – it was lovely to see lots of smiley faces as the children received their gift. Thank you to everyone who bought raffle tickets for the Christmas hampers- this raised over £300 for school. A letter was sent out this week informing you of how much money has been raised this year and the plan for how the PTA intend to spend some of the funds. Thank you to everyone in the PTA.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to all the staff who have worked extremely hard this term to ensure that our school community is happy and healthy.
I hope everyone enjoys the festive break and I look forward to seeing everyone back on Tuesday 03 January 2023!
I’d like to thank you for your continued support throughout 2022, and wish you happy times over the Christmas holiday period. All the best, David Roundtree.
This week’s message (Friday 09 December 2022)
Posted on 09 December 2022 by Mr Roundtree
Our message this week is has just three points, all of which are important…
Bank holidays and training days
On Friday 25 November, we told you about the additional bank holiday marking King Charles III’s coronation. This will be on Monday 8 May 2023.
This has had a knock-on effect:
- It means all the Key Stage 2 tests (the Year 6 SATs) will take place one day later than originally planned
- …and this means the training day on Friday 12 May is now on Monday 15 May instead.
We know this may cause some inconvenience – as you can see, the situation is beyond our control. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
The dates of the Key Stage 2 tests are now:
- Tuesday 9 May: Grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Wednesday 10 May: Reading paper
- Thursday 11 May: Maths
- Friday 12 May: Maths
Next Friday is a non-uniform day. We love a non-uniform day as a welcome change of routine, but (just like dress-down days at work) we do still have expectations, as set out in our Uniform Policy:
Pupils should dress appropriately and respectfully for school, even on non-uniform days. Clothes are inappropriate if they, for example, glorify violence, feature bad language, are very short (eg crop tops), or relate to age-inappropriate topics (eg computer games). When consulted (18.03.21), junior leaders described this as ‘setting appropriate’ clothing and clothing that is ‘well-judged’. Make-up (other than face paints as part of a specific costume) is not allowed. Flip-flops or high-heeled shoes are not allowed, even on non-uniform days, because they’re dangerous when running.
Yesterday, we emailed you with a letter and some information about scarlet fever and invasive Group A Strep (iGAS). It’s important that you read the information so that you’re:
- aware of the signs and symptoms of these infections
- aware of how you can help to stop the spread of the infections
- reassured that scarlet fever is a common illness and it is usually very mild
- reassured that invasive Group A Strep (iGAS) remains very rare, despite recent headlines
And finally a recommendation… If you’ve time, over the holiday, you might want to see a panto or a show. As well as ones at a theatre, The Storymaker’s Apprentice at Leeds Central Library looks a good one.
It’s a freezing Friday – stay as warm as you can over the weekend. Have a happy and healthy one.
Posted on 05 December 2022 by Miss Beatson
Thank you to the adults who were able to attend our topic review on Friday. It was an opportunity to see the classes recapping on knowledge they’ve learned in our recent history and art topics. Here are some of the comments made by those who visited:
“What a lovely classroom and teacher. The children all seemed so happy and engaged which was so lovely to see.”
“The children listened well and it was interesting to watch.”
“I enjoyed watching all the children working in teams and sharing their knowledge. It gave a good insight into what happens in class.”
The next opportunity to see learning in action will be on Thursday 26 January at 9am.
This week’s message (Friday 02 December 2022)
Posted on 02 December 2022 by Mr Roundtree
On Monday, there was an online safety parent workshop – thank you to those who were able to attend. This week’s message reinforces the guidance that was shared. It comes from Mrs Weekes, the Safeguarding Leader across our three Sphere Federation schools…
You may think that we talk too much about Online Safety but the issues and challenges that our children may face change every day. It’s really important to keep online safety high on your radar so that, together, we can keep our young people safe.
Research shows that 44% of six year olds go online in their bedroom. If your child is accessing the internet on their own devices, it’s really hard to know what they’re seeing or what they’re doing. While it’s important that children have time to themselves and have some independence, it’s also crucial that we make sure they’re keeping safe. There are many ways you can do this but here are some top tips:
- Make sure that parental controls are enabled on devices and the household internet; there are many parent guides to help you do this if you’re not sure.
- If your child is using a device, make sure they’re in the same room as you or other responsible members of the family – they shouldn’t be alone in their bedroom.
- Show an interest in what they’re doing online – every now and again, ask them what they’re watching or doing.
- Don’t assume that sites you use are ok – many children are seeing inappropriate content on YouTube so make sure you know what they’re watching.
- Check their devices on a daily basis to see which websites they’ve accessed.
Here’s some further guidance for some particular issues…
Despite the controls you put in place, your child might still view something that’s inappropriate. It’s important that you’re able to deal with this situation if it arises.
- Have an age appropriate conversation and explain that there are some things online that are for adults only and if they see something that upsets them online, they should always come and tell you.
- It may be a good time to help your child think critically about the images they see online and offline.
- Try to give them coping strategies to help them deal with any online content that they’re uncomfortable with.
- Reassure them that they can always come to you and that they aren’t at fault.
- Be prepared that they may have questions about sex and relationships or other issues.
- Discuss the problem with other parents to share experiences and solutions.
- Block any inappropriate content.
Many of our children are accessing social media platforms on a daily basis. If your child has social media accounts, it’s important that you know some facts about these apps.
- Check age limits – the majority of social media have a minimum age of 13 years (WhatsApp has a minimum age of 16 years and TikTok has just introduced a minimum age of 18 years for any live posts).
- Make sure privacy settings are on and that location services are turned off
- Help your child to be a good role model online – think before they post.
- Make sure they know no to share personal information – maybe even create an alias so they’re not using their real name.
- Use a strong password and different passwords for different accounts.
- Don’t accept or send friend requests to anyone they don’t know.
There are benefits and challenges with screen time. Make sure the rules in your house are clear, balanced and work for your family. Here are some suggestions:
- Create screen time rules together.
- Take an active role in their digital life.
- Use tools to manage their screen time and access to media – even as simple as setting a time limit and an alarm.
- Encourage them to be selective in how they spend their time online and offline.
- What’s your child seeing or doing online?
- Who might your child be chatting to online?
- How might their online experiences affect them?
- Check out this guide to social media and how it links with mental health – it links nicely with our current Living and Learning theme (mental health), too.
If you’ve any specific concerns, do ask us. Let’s work together to keep our children happy and healthy in every way.
Posted on 02 December 2022 by Miss Beatson
It’s a busy time of year with so many things happening. Here is a reminder of the Christmas events taking place over the next two weeks:
Wednesday 7th December, 2pm: Christingle Service at St James’ Church
Thursday 8th December, 2.15pm: Early Years and KS1 Christmas play
Friday 9th December, 9.30am: Early Years and KS1 Christmas play
Tuesday 13th December: Christmas dinner
Wednesday 14th December: Early Years and KS1 parties (non-uniform)
Thursday 15th December: Ks2 parties (non-uniform)
During our productions, we will be raising money for our new school charity voted for by the Junior Leadership Team. This year we will be supporting Cancer Research UK.
This week’s message (Friday 25 November 2022)
Posted on 25 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message is in five parts: an important announcement, a celebration, a reminder, a question and an article to support your child at home.
May’s extra bank holiday and training day
This morning, we’ve received an important email that affects the training day we had planned for Friday 12 May and the Key Stage 2 SAT tests:
An additional bank holiday in honour of the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Monday 8 May 2023. As this date had previously been announced as the first day of the 2023 key stage 2 (KS2) test week in England, a change to the KS2 test schedule next year will be necessary.
Ministers have considered the situation carefully and have decided that KS2 tests will take place in the same week with tests following the usual order but each taking place one day later than originally planned.
This means that the tests will now run from Tuesday to Friday, and this has a knock-on effect on Friday’s training day which needs to be re-arranged. We know this may cause some inconvenience – as you can see, the situation is beyond our control.
We’re exploring ways to overcome this problem (such as to move the training day one day later, too, so it would be on Monday 15 May). We’ll confirm details as soon as we can.
In last week’s message, we talked about the Year 4 multiplication tables check.
Yesterday, the government released data about the 2022 check – the one that our current Year 5 pupils took in June.
Nationally, 27% of pupils scored 25 out of 25. At St James’ CE Primary, the figure was 31%.
Better still was the average score in the check. Nationally, the average score was 19.8 out of 25. The average at St James’ was 21.1.
Well done to the Year 5 pupils for such a great achievement, and thank you to adults at home for helping your child to practise their times tables. (Next step is to continue to practise – a little and often – to maintain that rapid recall!)
Next Friday from 2.30pm, teachers and children will welcome you to the class to share the great learning they’ve been doing during Topic Time.
This is a drop-in session – come and have a look at your child’s topic learning from 2.30pm.
(Parents of children in Reception should look out for other ways they can join in with their child’s learning journey.)
A question of behaviour…
All schools in England are required to have a Behaviour Policy. We’re currently reviewing our Positive Relationships Policy (that’s the name we use for our Behaviour Policy).
We usually ask about behaviour in our annual survey of parents – this year, 100% of of you who expressed an opinion said you were happy with how we make sure our pupils are well-behaved.
During our review, it’d be great to hear from you. If you’ve any particular views or suggestions, please let us know: email@example.com
Finally this week, a message from Mr Catherall, one of our English leaders, about effective speaking and listening…
Support your child’s oracy
In Sphere Federation schools, we place a high emphasis on oracy: the ability to communicate and express yourself effectively. It’s about having the vocabulary to be able to say what you want to say and the grammatical awareness to structure your thoughts in a logical way.
Oracy is a crucial life skill:
- it increases engagement in learning
- it improves academic outcomes
- it fosters wellbeing and confidence
- it supports transitions and enhances employability
- it equips students to thrive in later life
- if all children develop good oracy skills, it promotes equality in society
How can you help at home?
- Be an oracy role model: model good speaking and listening skills to your
child, and when they’re in ear-shot.
- Don’t ‘dumb down’ your language: try not to avoid using more complex
vocabulary. Instead, use complicated language but then succinctly explain
what it means.
- Complete the Talk Time homework we provide each week: these are a great opportunity to have a conversation and model good oracy skills.
Have a go this weekend!