Thinking of a holiday in term time?
Posted on 22 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree
If so, please: think again.
Amongst the continued talk about Brexit (or not to Brexit!), you might have missed this news story from yesterday: The number of fines issued to parents in England for taking children on term time holidays has almost doubled in a year, statistics show.
Penalty notices rose by 93% to almost 223,000 in 2017-18. In Leeds, there were 2620 fines for term-time absence caused by holidays – that’s 25 pupils in every 1,000, which averages out to about two or three pupils at St James’ CE Primary.
“Unauthorised family holiday absence” was the most common reason for attendance fines, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
In our school, governors have agreed an attendance policy that’s clear: we can’t authorise a holiday in term time – we value learning too much to authorise a disruption in children’s education. If you do anticipate your child may have to have a day or more off school (to attend a funeral or a parent’s graduation, for example), please do speak with the Head of School and also ask at the office for a form to complete.
Posted on 18 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Our governors play an active role in our school – find out more about the governing body and what they do. One of our governors is responsible for collecting the views of pupils – an important role because we value the views of pupils so much. As well as staff in school, it’s useful for a governor to do this because children sometimes prefer to talk to an ‘outsider’.
Here’s what our governor found following a recent visit where she spoke with a group of pupils:
All of the children said they enjoyed school.
- Y1: ‘I like school because it is fun.’
- Y3: ‘I enjoy school because we get to do fun learning.’
- Y6: ‘I enjoy school because we get to spend time with our friends and do loads of different things.’
All children were sure that their teachers helps them.
- Y5: ‘My teacher sits next to me and explains it a little more so that I feel more confident.’
- Y4: ‘My teacher sometimes gives me a step in my book and that helps me understand things a bit better.’
All children said that their learning is challenging.
- Y6: ‘Sometimes, my teacher gives me learning that means I have to think about lots of things at once. Like in maths. I have to think about division, money and times tables. It’s hard!’
All children enjoy learning.
- Y2: ‘School is lots of fun.’
- Y4: ‘I enjoy doing RIC in reading sessions.’
- Y5: ‘I enjoy doing art learning with Mrs Bald.’
All children thought that their teacher listened to what they have to say.
- Y6: ‘My teacher listens to what I have to say in all lessons. When we read our class novel and she asks our opinion, she listens to what I have to say.’
- Y4: ‘My teacher listens to me in all the lessons. She always makes sure everyone else listens too so that we follow the school rules.’
All children knew to speak to an adult if something was worrying them.
- Y5: ‘We can find an adult even at lunchtime if we have a worry.’
Linked to this, all the children could tell the governor that they could write a worry down and the teacher ‘would know it was in there’. One comment relating to bullying was interesting: ‘Sometimes people fall out but I don’t think it is bullying.’
Posted on 13 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Look at this lovely poem written by Olivia in Year 6. Olivia wrote this at home (it wasn’t a homework task). Well done, Olivia!
I sit there looking ashore With the cute little waves I adore The sails on the boats blow Thinking nobody ever comes or goes The howling wind's in my ear So lonely no one is here The rain is pouring, wetting me so The gulls waiting row on row The sea almost calling for me As I see a seashell, I cry out with glee The beach is my home and that's where I'll be.
World Book Day
Posted on 09 March 2019 by Miss Beatson
We had a fantastic World Book Day. Well done to all the children who dressed up as a book character. Thank you to Miss Wood from Wetherby Library who came to judge our classroom doors. Each class transformed their door into a book cover.
First Steps: The Gruffalo’s Child
Y3/4 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Y1/2 Man on the Moon
Y5/6 Alex Rider: Crocodile Tears
The winners were foundation with the book Whatever Next?
Our older children spent some of the afternoon reading to our foundation children and sharing some of their favourite stories.
Posted on 08 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Well done to Y3,4 class who have the highest attendance in school so far this year! Up to the beginning of March, the average attendance for each class is:
- Foundation 2: 95.1%
- Y1,2: 94.8%
- Y3,4: 96.4%
- Y5,6: 96.0%
The whole school attendance figure is 95.7%, so both Y3,4 and Y5,6 classes are above the school average – great stuff!
Don’t forget that for this half-term and up to the Easter weekend (25 February – 18 April), we’re running our Amazing Attendance competition. All the pupils with attendance during this period that’s 98% or more will be entered into a prize draw. There’ll be a lucky winner from the younger classes (Foundation and Y1,2) and another winner from the older classes (Y3,4 and Y5,6), winning a £20 voucher for Ask restaurant.
Our Christian value this half-term is...
Posted on 25 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Why did the Church Council choose this Christian value? ‘Because Jesus forgives his disciples. Jesus died on the cross.’ (Year 4 Church Council member)
Sometimes, we accidentally break things that belong to ourselves or others. Sometimes, we use something so much it wears out. Some things that are broken can’t be mended, but it’s often possible to mend things that we’ve broken. When you fall out with one of your friends, you can’t mend that friendship with a needle and thread, or some Sellotape, or Superglue, or a puncture kit, or a sticking plaster.
This half term, we’ll learn all about forgiveness and hear stories from the Bible to help us.
Discuss as a family: Why is it important to forgive? The quotes here may be a good starting point for your discussion; do you agree?
- ‘The first to apologise is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.’
- ‘Forgiveness is an act of inner kindness and expression of love.’
‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:32)
Posted on 19 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Thanks to all of you who attended the parent-teacher meetings last week – it’s always good to see so many supporting their child’s learning.
In the last year or so, one or two governors attend the evenings in order to gather the views of parents and carers. This can provide some useful, independent feedback on how well we’re doing and how we can keep getting better and better. Governors write up a report; here are some of the comments from the report from the evening of Thursday 14 February:
- All the parents felt that their children were very safe at school.
- Most parents were unable to tell me anything that they thought the school could improve upon.
- It seems as if the school is slowly becoming the school of choice in the area… A number of parents told me that they were recommending St James to other parents.
- Most parents liked the atmosphere in the small school and felt it was good that everybody knew everybody else.
- Parents continue to mention how much things had improved under the new leadership.
- Communications are good. Parents like getting the newsletters in both electronic and hard form.
- Parents of EYFS children felt especially ‘in the know’ about exactly what was being taught.
Posted on 12 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree
At St James’ CE Primary, we regularly seek the views of others. Last month, we let you know about feedback from a Leeds Health and Safety Advisor (news article on 31 January 2019, deriving from a Health and Safety inspection) and a Leeds Early Years Advisor (news article on 15 January 2019, deriving from a visit to the Early Years class).
In January, we also collected the views of staff for the second time in recent years. We asked staff to complete a survey with questions that Ofsted use during inspections (very much like the survey we ask parents and carers to complete in the Summer term). The survey was completed by ten staff (in any role – premises staff, lunchtime supervisors, teachers, teaching assistants…). Here are some key findings:
100% of staff agree that our school has improved since it was last inspected, with 86% believing the school has improved a lot. (These percentages exclude three staff members who are new to school and can’t comment on improvements since the inspection). Comments include: ‘Massive improvement. Staff morale is so much better.’ and ‘Much better – more consistency and support, much better atmosphere around school, and a team ethos.’
We’re really proud that in other statements, 100% of the staff who responded agreed with the following statements:
- Pupils are safe in our school, with 80% strongly agreeing.
- Leaders support staff well in managing behaviour.
- Leaders do all they can to ensure the school has a motivated, respected and effective staff.
- St James’ Primary is well-led and managed.
- I feel well supported working in this school.
- Leaders and managers are considerate of my well-being: ‘Leaders are supportive and understanding when there are problems in a teacher’s personal life and make sure to check in on teachers.’
- Being in a federation benefits me/my role in school.
Of the four remaining statements (such as ‘Being in a federation benefits this school.’), no staff member disagreed but one or two expressed no views as to whether they agreed or not.
Finally, we asked for any strengths and areas for further improvement…
We asked staff to comment in an open-ended question about the strengths of our school. Some of the many strengths they mentioned are:
- ‘Great staff and caring ethos.’
- ‘Staff work well together as a team.’
- ‘Pastoral care and senior leadership.’
- ‘Dedicated teachers and parent partnership.’
- ‘Absolutely amazing head of school. She is so supportive. I feel that my role at school is greatly appreciated.’
- ‘Promoting positive behaviour and Christian values.’
- ‘The effort and team playing of staff which is resulting in better results for children.’
- ‘The federation which we’re part of.’
We’re always wanting to keep getting better and better. There were far fewer suggestions for areas to develop, but, based on the survey, our next steps are to keep improving behaviour management for all staff and to keep developing positive partnerships with parents / carers that help to support the pupils in our school.
Thank you to all staff who support our school, with special thanks to those who completed the survey.
Amazing attendance competition
Posted on 06 February 2019 by Mrs Quirk
Amazing attendance competition
Good attendance remains high on the agenda at our school.
- A child with 90% attendance has missed four whole weeks of school in a year.
- Over six years of primary school, a child with 90% attendance will have missed 24 weeks of learning – that’s almost two thirds of a year.
- Good attendance enables your child to develop strong friendships at school, leading to a happy and healthy person.
Next half-term, we’re running an Amazing attendance competition !
If your child has 98% attendance or above over the course of Spring 2 half-term and up to the Easter weekend (from 25 February to 18 April inclusive), they will be entered in to a prize draw to win a £20 ASK voucher.
There will be two vouchers: one voucher for Early Years/Key Stage 1 and one voucher for Key Stage 2.
Help your child to be the best that they can be and do everything you can to make sure they attend school on time every day!
Staying Safe week
Posted on 05 February 2019 by Miss Beatson
We’ve had a great start to our ‘Staying Safe’ week at St James’!
Yesterday, we had a visitor from the road safety team who told us how to stay safe when crossing roads and how to ride our bikes and scooters safely.
Today, we had some visitors from the NSPCC, who told us how we can keep ourselves safe and what we can do if we don’t feel safe. The children were very good at making the Childline phone number with their hands! The children have been given some parent leaflets to take home about online safety, which have been created by the NSPCC.
We’ve also had a fluffy visitor in school- a cuddly, ‘pretend’ dog from the Dogs Trust. The visitors told us how the charity helps dogs to be re-homed. Their key message was how we can stay safe around dogs and the body language a dog might show if it was unhappy.
We are looking forward to many more workshops and visitors throughout the week to help us stay safe. Look on the class news pages for more information about what each class are getting up to.