This week’s message (Friday 28 May 2021)
Posted on 28 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree
And we’ve made it to the end of another week! Each Friday, Miss Beatson and I sigh with relief because we’ve had no bubbles bursting…
…Thank you for helping us by respecting the national restrictions that have been in place, and the changes we’ve made in school. Since the start of the year, we’ve managed over 30 emails from Leeds Health and Safety team, each one typically involving about ten or so changes to our risk assessments. I’m grateful to Miss Beatson for managing these updates each week.
Staying with the Covid theme for a moment…
We’ve been asked once again to support the government’s Test and Trace system.
If your child has been attending school this week, we need you to tell us if they get a positive Covid test result in the period Saturday 29 May to Thursday 03 June 2021. We need you to do this because your child may have been infectious whilst in school.
So you can give us all the information we need, please use this form or scan this QR code (hover over it with the camera on – a link should appear):
This means we’ll have the information to take the necessary actions, laid down by the Department for Education.
We’d prefer you to use the online form, but if the technology fails you, please contact school: email@example.com
If your child receives a positive test result after Thursday 03 June, you can tell us on the first day of the new term (Monday 07 June).
CyberSprinters is a free interactive game developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds. It’s designed to make learning about cyber security fun and interactive at a time when children might begin to seek more independence online.
The online game sees players become a ‘CyberSprinter’ who’s racing against its own depleting battery power. Users can win battery power by correctly answering questions about cyber security but face losing it if they bump into ‘cybervillains’.
Congratulations to Mrs Rowley, one of our two Y3,4 teachers, who’s expecting her second child – what lovely news! Mrs Rowley will be on maternity leave for most of the 2021-22 school year. We’ve already organised a replacement teacher and we’ll update you on this soon.
It’s been easy to let some routines and expectations become a bit slack in the last year. Now that lockdown’s easing, we want to tighten up on a few things related to uniform:
- long hair should be tied back – it really does affect learning (for example, when children have to keep moving hair away from their face as they lean forwards to write)
- earrings should be small, plain studs
- PE kit, worn on PE days, should be white t-shirt, black shorts / tracksuit bottoms and plain trainers
At St James’ CE Primary School, we are proud to be members of our school community and we want all our children to feel part of our community and to represent our school. Wearing the school uniform helps us to do this. Read our full policy.
Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday… Let’s hope the sun shines a bit more than in recent weeks.
This week’s message (Friday 21 May 2021)
Posted on 21 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree
We hope you and all around you have had a happy and healthy week.
Help your child at home
Before we talk about a few new items, we continue to make a plea for daily reading and regular number facts practice at home…
More and more research is coming through that tries to measure the amount of lockdown learning loss. One report on lost learning found that the average loss in Reading progress was about two months for Reading and three months for Maths (and that’s just for the first lockdown, from March to July last year). It’s thought that the loss is even greater in the north and for pupils from lower-income families.
On the whole, our children have come back as happy and healthy learners who might not all have experienced this loss in progress – thank you for your support during the lockdowns. Even so, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Reading and Maths skills are strong enough.
We’re providing a Talk Time homework because this is something that you should try to do as a family at home, perhaps when you’re having a meal together. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.
Thanks to the parents and carers who have commented they like this new homework system.
Staying safe online
Our current Computing topic has been a hit with children. It’s also been a really good opportunity for us to reinforce appropriate behaviour when using electronic devices.
Across Sphere Federation, we’ve a monitoring system that sends alerts to a member of staff if inappropriate or concerning language is typed into a device. This can pick up bad language but it can also pick up situations when the language being used seems aggressive or threatening.
During this topic, there have been several alerts across Sphere. This might be bad language being used, or things that children say using a keyboard that they wouldn’t say in person. These alerts are always investigated.
The monitoring we do helps to keep your child safe at school. Help to keep your child safe at home, too.
If your child has access to an electronic device, make sure you check it regularly to make sure it’s being used safely and respectfully. For example, set a weekly alarm to prompt you to check your child’s phone, if they’ve got one. Read the messages they’ve sent and received, for example, and talk with your child about what apps they’ve got.
Read more about online safety.
Could your child be a game show winner?
We’ve been contacted by a television production company, CPL Productions, who are looking for children aged between 10-12 to take part in a children’s immersive game show.
Covid permitting, they hope to film the series in July/August. Read more about the show and how to apply. The closing date for applications is 25 June 2021.
National Smile Month
Monday 17 May saw the start of National Smile Month. One of our Living and Learning expectations is ‘I know about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene, including regular check-ups at the dentist’ so it’s a good idea to check out the following links:
Let’s hope the weekend is filled with happy and healthy smiles – have a good one.
Skipping into summer with Skipping School
Posted on 14 May 2021 by Mrs Latham
We have launched a whole school skipping project with Skipping School. Each class has their own class set of ropes and we also have long ropes for every class too. The children are so enthusiastic about it already. There are some tutorial videos below so you can work on your skills at home too!
- Skipping Tips
- EYFS and KS1 ‘Click and Jump’ tutorial
- EYFS and KS1 ‘Big Rope Bouncing’ tutorial
- EYFS and KS1 ‘Double Bounce’ tutorial
- KS2 ‘Double Bounce’ tutorial
- KS2 ‘Speed Bounce’ tutorial
- KS2 ‘Hop and Swap’ tutorial
- KS2 ‘Side Straddle’ tutorial
- KS2 ‘Forward and Backward Straddle’ tutorial
- KS2 ‘Criss Cross’ tutorial
This week’s message (Thursday 13 May 2021)
Posted on 13 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree
Tomorrow is a training day so school will be closed. This week’s message comes to you today instead.
On a trial basis, we’ve tweaked what we’re doing for homework. Each week, we’re providing you with a Talk Time homework that centres around something your child will be learning in school. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect homework tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.
A couple of weeks ago in the weekly message (23 April), we stressed the importance of reading at home. All children will benefit from a daily reading routine. Even just 10-15 minutes every day would make a massive difference to some children who haven’t made as much progress over the lockdowns.
To promote reading at home, the National Book Token people are running a competition to design a book token. Your child can win a £10 National Book Token for themselves and each of their classmates – featuring their own amazing artwork. The challenge is to create a National Book Token design. They’ll choose a winning design every week for six weeks. Each winning designer will see their artwork brought to life as a gift card loaded with £10 – one for them, and one for each of the children in their class!
Across the country, lockdown appears to have had a negative impact on some pupils’ attainment in Maths. One simple way to support your child is to help them learn number facts:
- For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts – knowing them without using their fingers to work it out. NumBots will helps with this.
- For older children, number facts also includes times tables. By the end of Year 4, children should know their times tables without having to count through to reach the answer. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with this.
Our data shows that the children who do well in our assessments are the children who are spending more time practising on NumBots and Rock Stars. Likewise, the children who need to learn these facts more aren’t using this resource at home. Ten minutes every day at home would really help.
Living and Learning
Living and Learning is our name for everything that falls within the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education curriculum, the PE curriculum and other things relating to being happy and healthy learners.
In Living and Learning, as shown in our long term plan, we’ll be focusing on drug education for the next two weeks.
Our first statement for this learning is I know what a drug is.
Our definition of a drug refers to a substance that changes the way the body or mind works. The word ‘drug’ includes:
- all legal drugs, including tobacco, alcohol, solvents and volatile substances, misused medicines and legal highs
- all illegal drugs
- prescribed and over-the-counter medicines
During the two week topic, we welcome d:side, a health education provider, to school to deliver drug education workshops to each class as part of this learning.
On a separate matter linked to Living and Learning, you might not know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021). Take a look at this list of children’s books that open conversations about mental health.
Have a happy and healthy weekend.
This week’s message (Friday 07 May 2021)
Posted on 07 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree
Like this week, next week is a four day week – Friday 14 May is a training day so school will be closed. Before then, of course, we’ve this Friday’s Weekly Message…
Last week, we decided our school charity for the year ahead. This began woth some Talk Time homework where children discussed charities at home and then came to school with a particular charity to nominate. Then, in class, a second discussion was had to agree one charity to put forward to the newly-elected Junior Leadership Team. They then reviewed all the class suggestions and arrived at the final whole-school decision:
As part of the Captain Tom 100 initiative, we’ve already raised some money for the chosen charities – thanks for all your donations so far.
The importance of sleep
Our Living and Learning statement next week is I know the importance of sleep. You can help at home by making sure your child gets enough sleep, well away from tempting electronic devices. The NHS recommend that a primary school age child gets 9 – 12 hours.
Check out these sites for more information…
- The NHS Choices web-page offers a wealth of information on sleep-related problems and some ideas of where to obtain further support including healthy sleep tips for children.
- The Raising Children website is an Australian resource from The Royal children’s hospital, Melbourne, and has some really good sleep information that helps to support patients and families.
- The Sleep Council offers advice and support.
- Childline’s tips for better sleep are really good, and written in a child-friendly way.
Pupil premium is additional funding for schools that depends on the number of children who are registered for free school meals.
Even if your child is in Reception or Key Stage 1, where school meals are free, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.
Even if your child has a packed lunch, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.
Speak to our office staff about how to do this.
Finally this week, a few of you have asked about Sports Day, which is scheduled for the week beginning 12 July.
The government’s roadmap out of lockdown sets out two dates for the further easing of restrictions if all goes well: 17 May and 21 June.
By 21 June, ‘the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact’. A key word here is ‘hopes’.
We can’t guarantee that Sports Day will go ahead, but we hope that it will happen as scheduled. There may need to be restrictions in place, such as asking families to stay socially distanced or inviting just one parent/carer to attend. We’ll have to wait and see…
Have a good weekend, even if it’s a bit of a wet one.
Captain Tom 100 Challenge
Posted on 04 May 2021 by Miss Beatson
Today, each class took part in the Captain Tom 100 Challenge to raise money for charity. The charity we are supporting this year is the RSPCA. Thank you to everyone who donated 100 pennies today- we’re still waiting for a few contributions but we will let you know the final amount raised shortly. This is how each class attempted the challenge:
Y5/6 planted 100 seeds
Y3/4 wrote 100 adjectives
Y1/2 skipped 100 times
Foundation did 100 star jumps
Watch the video here.
Captain Tom 100 Challenge
Posted on 30 April 2021 by Miss Beatson
Today, the JLT voted for the school charity we will be supporting this year- RSPCA.
This week’s message (Friday 30 April 2021)
Posted on 30 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree
There’s a growing sense of optimism at the moment with numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 going down and the numbers of Leeds residents who have been vaccinated going up. On 19 April, the case rate was 48.4 per 100,000. This is the lowest rate seen in Leeds since September 2020. The highest case rate is amongst young people aged 11-18 (87.6 per 100,000), so we do all need to keep following Covid restrictions.
Our Homework Policy and the accompanying Homework Guide currently sets out daily expectations (read, practise spellings, and practise times tables) and weekly expectations (Creative, Talk Time or Practice Makes Perfect).
Our assessments show that lockdown may have had an impact on some children’s reading fluency, spellings and times tables. Nationally, there’s growing evidence that the lockdown has had an impact on young children’s language skills.
For these reasons, from next week, we’re tweaking our policy a little for the rest of the school year. We’re dropping the Creative and Practice Makes Perfect tasks.
We really want you to make sure your child is meeting the daily expectations set out the Homework Guide:
- Please do make sure your child spends some time each day learning spellings and practising their times tables – going on Times Tables Rock Stars would be great for this. (Numbots for younger children would be good, too.)
- Reading is so helpful in so many ways – from reading fluency to promoting positive mental health, a good book works wonders – so please make sure your child is reading (or you read aloud to them) each day.
Each week, we’ll set a Talk Time homework. Its purpose is to promote lots of conversation and debate at home, which in turn should promote oracy and vocabulary.
This article might also interest you – it’s about the value of more play time for your child’s mental health and social skills.
As always, you’re welcome to let us know your views. Later this term, we’ll include a question about the tweaked homework in the annual survey, too.
Children in Years 1-6 have a Computing topic this half-term. Read more about the learning that’s going on in our Curriculum Statement. Our age-related expectations for Computing are on pages 13 and 14. These are followed by Staying Safe Online expectations on pages 15 and 16.
To help at home… have chats with your child about what they’re learning. Ask them what vocabulary they’re using in the topic – it could be words like ‘de-bug’, ‘algorithm’, ‘sequence’ and ‘decomposing’. (All these words feature in the age-related expectations.)
Talking of Computing and staying safe online, over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.
Does your child play Roblox? It’s one of the most popular video games of recent times. Read this guide for tips on a number of potential risks such as in-app purchases, online dating and chat functionality.
This weekend is a longer one – enjoy the extra day, whatever the weather!
Posted on 23 April 2021 by Mrs Quirk
Following on from Mr Roundtree’s weekly message, we have received some more information this morning about the LFD testing. Further information can be found here.
This week’s message (Friday 23 April 2021)
Posted on 23 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree
We hope you had a happy and healthy holiday over the Easter period. Hopefully, it helped that lockdown eased a little in the second week of the holidays.
Reading, reading, reading
Every child should be reading on a daily basis at home. Please help your child to build in a routine to make sure this happens. Your child might read a book, a website, a comic… It doesn’t matter, as long as they’re reading.
In the lockdown period, we provided two daily sessions to support reading: reading fluency and reading skills. A recent blog post from Ofsted backs up this importance: ‘The primary schools we inspected had rightly prioritised developing the teaching of reading’.
We assess reading skills in various ways. If your child is in Year 2, we measure how many words per minute they’re able to read – ideally about 90 words per minute of an age-appropriate book. If your child is in Year 2, ask us to let you know how well they’re doing.
You might be reassured to read in the same Ofsted blog post that inspectors noted: ‘Keeping motivated has been a struggle for almost every child. Schools told us that even children who had been motivated at first, had ‘switched off’ completely by the end of the third lockdown.’ This means that with all the home learning provision that schools provided, there is still missed learning – and that means attendance at school is even more important.
We’re pleased to see that our attendance so far this year (from the start of the school year up to the Thursday before Easter) is 95.3%. Our Year 1 and Year 6 children have especially high attendance: 99.3% (Year 1) and 98.0% (Year 6). Thank you for supporting your child to be a happy and healthy learner!
The Big Ask
Led by the Children’s Commissioner, The Big Ask is the largest ever survey of children in England, designed to find out what their concerns and aspirations about the future are. Watch this You Tube clip with your child and then please support / encourage your child to take part. There are different versions of the survey depending on the age of the child.
The results from the survey will help identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set ambitious goals for the country to achieve. The more children who respond, the stronger the results will be.
Staying safe in the sun
We’ve been really lucky since Easter period and have seen the sun on more than one occasion!
As we enter the summer term at school, we’d like to remind you about keeping your child safe in the sun.
NHS guidance makes it clear that most people do not apply enough sunscreen. If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection is reduced. It should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears. The SPF should be at least 30.
It’s really important that children come to school wearing sunscreen and that this is applied just before leaving home.
If you choose an ‘all day sunscreen’, it’s important that it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For sunscreen that needs to be reapplied, children can bring a named bottle into school which they will be able to reapply at lunchtime. Please teach your child how to do this independently. Staff in school will help/guide if needed but as you can imagine a vast amount of teaching and learning time could be lost if staff are applying cream to a full class.
A hat and plenty of water is essential. Please ensure that your child comes to school with a full bottle of drinking water each day. Water can be replenished throughout the day.
Staying safe online
Over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.
Our new school charity
As you know, we want our schools to be happy and healthy places to learn. There’s link here with charities. It might be said that donating money and raising money for charities helps to create a place which is happy and healthy, and can support a sense of wellbeing.
Each year, as part of teaching and learning about democracy, we nominate a charity to support for the year ahead. The selection process is as follows:
- Talk Time homework today: At home, your child should discuss charities in general, and specifically consider different charities and which one to support.
- Talk Time review in class: In class, children discuss the different charities and finally vote for one, which the junior leaders for each class then take to the Junior Leadership Team.
- The Head of School reviews the shortlist of charities: We’ll check that they’re all appropriate (eg in terms of inclusion, and that they are all registered charities).
- Junior Leadership Team decision: Next Friday, in a Junior Leadership Team meeting, the shortlist is considered and finally councillors vote for one.
On the same Friday (30 April), or Tuesday 04 April (the day after May Day bank holiday), we invite your child to donate 100 pence to take part in some fund-raising to coincide with the Captain Tom 100 initiative – the money raised will go towards the new school charity.
And finally, just when you thought we’d got through a whole message without mentioning Covid…
Home test kits for Covid are now widely available. Adults (18+) can now collect two packs of home test kits at a pharmacy, for example. Each pack contains seven tests. The tests have proved useful in identifying children in school who have Covid but weren’t showing symptoms. It’s a good idea to think of the tests as useful in showing a red light (a positive case). They shouldn’t be used as a green light to prove someone doesn’t have Covid.
As always, please speak with us if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns. Have a good weekend – and don’t forget to make sure your child reads daily!