Latest news from around the school

Summer support - reminder

Posted on 05 August 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Don’t forget that the extended services team (EPOSS) have organised two drop-ins for parents / carers:

  • Friday 10 August, 10.00am – 12 noon, Wetherby Children’s Centre
  • Friday 17 August, 10.00am – 12pm noon, Boston Spa Children’s Centre

The long holidays can be a tricky time for families. These drop-in sessions are an opportunity to come in and chat with the team about any difficulties, ask advice or look at problem solving together, to try and help the holidays be an enjoyable time for all the family. Or, just a chance to have some adult
conversation and a cuppa!

There’s no need to make an appointment. Just drop in at any time during the session.

We won gold!

Posted on 28 July 2018 by Mr Roundtree

The School Games Mark is a government-led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community.

This year, we’ve won gold!

Each School Games Mark application is divided into four sets of questions. They cover the following basic topics…

  • Participation – how many young people at your school are being engaged in sporting activity?
  • Competition – how many different sports are being played and how many competitions are being entered?
  • Workforce – how many pupils are involved in leadership activities alongside taking part in competitions?
  • Clubs – how many local links does your school have with clubs or establishments from the area?

Annual survey of parents / carers 2018 - results

Posted on 23 July 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to all of you who completed the Summer 2018 parents’ and carers’ survey. This year, the number of responses more than doubled: 23 of you gave us your feedback, and these spread very evenly across all the classes. This means the information we gather from the survey is more reliable.

Below is a summary of what you’ve said. We’re delighted that for so many statements, 100% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed – this is even better than last year when 91% of respondents was a typical figure.

Lots of you added some comments after each question; we’ve included here just one or two that represent typical responses.

Please do remember that what you say is important to us. We can’t guarantee we can accommodate everyone’s wishes or opinions expressed in the survey, but we do guarantee we consider each one. And don’t forget: if you have any questions, comments or concerns, do speak with your child’s class teacher or to Miss Beatson, our Head of School. They’re often around at the start and end of the school day.

1. My child is happy at St James’ CE Primary School.
100% agreed or strongly agreed with this (up from 91% last year).
Typical feedback includes:
‘Both my children love getting up and heading to school. It’s not just excitement to see their friends but excitement of what the day will have in store for them.’
All of the comments for this statement were positive, although one respondent did comment on some incidents with other children which occasionally spoil this – please, everyone, make sure your child is aware that they should always alert an adult in school if there are problems in the playground.

2. My child feels safe at this school.
Again, 100% agreed or strongly agreed with this.
There were two positive comments relating to this statement, including one from the same respondent (above) who noted the incidents with other children, and goes on to say here: ‘There have been internal issues with other children however these were resolved’. That’s really good to hear – we’re glad that we were told so we could deal with these effectively.

3. My child makes good progress at this school.
It’s the same again: 100% agreed or strongly agreed with this.
Comments were typically positive, including:
‘My son has made excellent progress and I have enjoyed keeping up to date with all his work.’
Both my children have made excellent progress within the school since day one…I couldn’t have given them a better education if I tried.’
One comment did mention an occasional lack of challenge – we’ll keep aware of this to make sure all our children continue to make progress and reach their potential.

4. My child is well looked after.
We’re delighted that 100% of you also agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
‘The school does an excellent job of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children under their care.’
‘I feel both my children are 110% looked after within the school. The teachers have time for every pupil and this is reflected in the behaviour of all…’

5. My child is taught well at St James’ CE Primary School.
Here, we’ve another statement with 100% in agreement.
‘I think the teaching has become much better in the school over the last few months…’
‘My children could not be taught better, and thanks to the frequent parent class visits to see how they are taught I know how the day is structured and how the teachers teach… Teaching has changed a lot since I was at school so knowing how I can follow on at home with homework is a great help.’
Thanks for these and the other comments – all positive.
One parent / carer mentioned (s)he would like to come into school and see some teaching – next year’s sessions for you to do this are: Watch us while we work (13 November 2018 and 27 February 2019); homework review (22 November 2018); and topic review (25 March 2019).

6. Adults in school make sure pupils are well behaved.
91% of you were in agreement here.
‘Teachers and staff seem to be on the ball with behaviour and standards seem to be high. This is a bonus.’
‘The techniques that the teachers use for calming children down, ensuring they are all listening and ready to learn are amazing.’
The remaining two respondents indicated they didn’t know; this may be because they’ve not encountered any particular problems: ‘Unable to comment as I am not entirely familiar with the positive behaviour model at St James.’

7. St James’ CE Primary School deals effectively with bullying. (Bullying includes persistent name calling, cyber-bullying, racist and homophobic bullying.)
For this statement, 70% agreed, 9% disagreed and 22% were unsure*.
We’re really pleased that the proportion who agreed has gone up by 15 % points; likewise, we’re pleased the proportion who disagreed has dropped by 18 % points.
However, we’re not complacent. If your child feels that they are being bullied, please do alert us. At St James’ CE Primary, we use this definition of bullying:
when someone is hurt physically or emotionally Several Times On Purpose
and we promote this solution:
Start Telling Other People before it becomes a problem
Please help us reinforce this message at home, too. Check out our Positive Relationships Policy, too.
Despite the lower proportions agreeing to this statement, the comments we received were good overall:
‘…there is now much more awareness amongst staff of the issues.’
‘Any question or niggle about bullying is dealt with straight away. It is not tolerated. There are teachers children can talk to and even (child) peer mediators in the playground that children can approach if they have a concern or even if they don’t have anyone to play with.’
*Quite a large number of parents / carers said they didn’t know. It’s often the case with this question to see a high proportion saying they are unsure – comments indicate that this is because parents / carers are happy they’re child hasn’t encountered bullying, so they are unsure as to how well the school deals with it.

8. The school is well led and managed.
100% agreed or strong agreed to this statement – a big jump from last year’s 82%.
‘Since the new Head, Miss Beatson, has arrived I feel she has really picked up the school. I feel it is far better run and you can feel a much happier vibe around the school.’
‘Recent changes within the school have really upped the school’s whole performance. I never had a problem with the school in the past but even now I see it is growing from strength to strength for all the best reasons.’
Thanks for these – and other – encouraging comments (and well done, Miss Beatson!).

9. The school responds well to any concerns I raise.
83% agreed or strongly agreed here – that’s a rise of 10 % points from 73% last year. Two respondents disagreed and two were unsure (perhaps a result of not having raised concerns).
Nearly all comments were positive:
‘If I have any concerns regarding my child at school they are listened to and dealt with effectively…’
‘School staff and in particular Emma Coster have been excellent in assisting me…’
We’d love to be able to respond directly to the two people with concerns – contact us to talk things through, please!

10. I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress.
Whilst we’ve not changed much in terms of information about progress, this year 78% agreed or strongly agreed (a drop of 13 % points) and the remaining five disagreed.
Of the five comments, three raised specific issues: special education needs, reading and the timing of parents’ evenings. We’ll review the first two points more over time; regarding parents’ evenings, we’re going to tweak this so that parents’ evenings are still towards the end of Autumn 1 and Spring 1, but we’ll supplement this with the Learning Updates being sent home in Autumn 2 and Spring 2 rather than during the parent-teacher meetings. This means parents / carers will be updated on progress every half term in Autumn and Spring, and then the annual report in Summer (and you’re welcome to make an appointment to discuss the report, too).

11. The school promotes its Christian ethos effectively.
Here, 91% agreed and the remaining two respondents were unsure.
‘The school promotes Christian ethos perfectly in my mind. Children are taught in a way that’s fun but informative…’

12. Would you recommend us?
We asked if you would recommend the school. We’re so pleased that 100% indicated they would – that’s great news!

We asked you to tell us about things you like and the things we could improve on. With a lot of praise and some constructive suggestions, it’s great to read these.

Communication was mentioned as an area to improve, although another respondent commented that this had improved considerably. The closure of the Out of School Club was also mentioned as something that has disappointed you; we’re sad about this, too, but at the moment we simply can’t provide this expensive service without impacting on the provision for all children in school – we’ll keep considering whether we can re-introduce this at some point.

The things you like include the progress children are making, the warm relationships between teachers and children, and – similarly – the good relationships between teachers and parents / carers.

Comments also referred to the new leadership and the improvements we’re making:
‘I would recommend St James highly. It may not have the same Ofsted rating as the other Wetherby schools…my children are extremely happy (and so are we!) with all aspects of St James.’
‘Yes. Over the last few months there has been a great improvement in the school and I would definitely say to other parents to look around. I think the school has so much potential…’

End of term picnic

Posted on 19 July 2018 by Miss Beatson

We had a lovely time at Sandringham Park, celebrating the end of a great year.

Summer Reading Challenge 2018

Posted on 17 July 2018 by Miss Beatson

This year’s summer reading challenge is ‘Mischief Makers’, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the much loved comic, Beano. To complete the challenge, you need to read 6 books over the summer holidays. It’s free to join and you’ll receive stickers and prizes along the way. Visit the local library to sign up for the challenge!

Leavers' Service

Posted on 12 July 2018 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to Reverend Stroma and St James’ Church for hosting our year 6 leavers’ service last week.  It was a special afternoon where the children reflected on their primary school years together. We are incredibly proud of our year 6 pupils.


Congratulations Mr Mills!

Posted on 11 July 2018 by Miss Beatson

Congratulations to Mr Mills, who has been ranked 13th in the world, after competing in the Duathlon Championships in Denmark at the weekend. We are all very proud of his achievements. Well done Mr Mills!


Sports Day 2018

Posted on 05 July 2018 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to everybody who came and supported the children at our Sports Day. It was a very hot afternoon, but all the children tried their best and showed great resilience, determination and team-work.

Fab feedback

Posted on 04 July 2018 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary, we’re always keen to welcome professionals beyond our own school to provide an additional ‘pair of eyes’, to provide an external view on how we’re improving. This is obviously even more important following the Ofsted judgement of ‘requires improvement’ (March 2017).

One of the people who has visited throughout the year is our School Improvement Advisor (SIA). At the end of June, he visited again and we’ve received his report – it makes for really encouraging reading. Here are some extracts:

It is the view of the SIA that the school has made significant strides from the March 2017 Ofsted RI [‘requires improvement’] outcome…St James’ C of E Primary is now a good school. The Executive Headteacher communicates a clear vision for the school. He quickly and effectively [improved the quality of teaching] and the result is a more harmonious, effective and dynamic workforce. The appointment of an effective Head of School has been instrumental in improving relationships within the school, with parents and the school’s profile in the wider community.

The federation has benefited each of the three schools involved – allowing the sharing of good practices, CPD [continuing professional development], leadership development and moderation.

Since inspection in 2017, the SIA has noted dramatic improvements in the quality of teaching… Subsequently, productivity, higher levels of presentation and standards in pupil’s books have improved significantly.

As the learning walk evidenced, teachers have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour. The simple yet effective approach of teachers counting down from 3 to gain pupil’s attention is consistent across the school; subsequently, there is very little learning time lost. On this visit, even on a hot sunny day near to the end of a busy school year, pupils responded well to teacher instruction and were keen to engage in the learning activities set. Good teacher modelling of learning allied to systems of drafting and editing and peer-to-peer review and feedback all contribute to improvements in teaching and learning over time. Further to this, as evidenced at an earlier visit, pupils are able to verbalise how their school has improved over time. They are confident to talk about their learning and on how the feedback from teachers enables them to improve their work and understanding further.

Thank you to everyone who have supported and encouraged us this year as we continue to improve.

Health Week Launch

Posted on 02 July 2018 by Miss Beatson

Our health week has got off to a fantastic start. Today, we had a football themed play presented by the Tutti Frutti company, followed by a skip-a-thon and a tennis session.