Latest news from around the school

Our Christian value for this half-term is...

Posted on 13 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree


In Mark Chapter 12, Jesus was asked which of the ten commandments was the most important, to which he replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these.”

The challenge for us is how can we show love to each other on a daily basis? How can we encourage each other? How can we make someone smile? How can we show love for our school and our world?

Why did the Church Council choose this Christian value?

‘Love is why Jesus came into the world – to send out love.’ (Year 2 Church Council member)

Home Challenge:

Which is your favourite film or book? Think about the main characters in it – how do they show love? For example, Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – how does he show love? Or how does Harry Potter show love for those around him, or no longer with him, such as his parents?

Church Council

Posted on 13 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary, our Church Council is a much-valued part of our school. It consists of two representatives from each class, from Year 1 to Year 6. The Church Council meets frequently to express views and make decisions on the church aspects of our school.

Each year, a new Church Council is elected by staff and students. This half term, our Church Council is being elected. Does your child have an interest in being part of this group?

The role of Church Councillor includes attending meetings with visitors, listening to people’s suggestions and representing the Christian distinctiveness in our school.

Current Church Councillors say you must:

  • Be ready and wise to make decisions – sometimes not the decision we want to make but it is a fair decision
  • Have skills to look after the church side of our school
  • Have good listening skills
  • Be confident enough to sometimes lead collective worship and to talk to visitors

Does your child want to be part of the Church Council? Tell them to speak to Mrs Rowley or their class teacher to put themselves forward for the role!

Screen time - to limit or not to limit?

Posted on 04 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

You might have heard about this news story: ‘Worry less about children’s screen use, parents told‘. In it, there is guidance from leading paediatricians who say there is little evidence that screen use for children is harmful in itself.

That’s fine, but it’s important to read beyond the headlines…

While the guidance avoids setting screen time limits, it recommends not using them in the hour before bedtime. We often see children in school who look tired and struggle to concentrate. There’s lots of evidence to show that missing out on sleep can be really bad for your health. Our advice is don’t let your child take an electronic device to bed.

Equally, while the researchers choose not to recommend screen time limits, it does, recommend that families negotiate screen time limits with their children. These should be based on individual needs and how much it impacts on sleep, as well as physical and social activities that your child is involved with. Our advice is that this should involve parents/carers deciding what content they watch and for how long they use the devices. For older children (those at high school, for example), greater freedom over screen use can be introduced, but this should be gradual and under the guidance of an adult.

Experts say it is important that the use of devices does not replace sleep, exercising and time with family. You wouldn’t want your child to exist solely on one type of food at the expense of others – you’d want them to benefit from a balanced diet. Our advice is consider electronic devices as one part of your child’s life, but not the only part – a ‘balanced diet’ of activity.

The review of evidence found associations between higher screen use and obesity and depression. Experts at University College, London, said it was not clear from the evidence if higher screen use was causing these problems or if people with these issues were more likely to spend more time on screens. However, the fact remains there is a strong link that parents and carers should be aware of. Our advice is consider electronic devices as part of a ‘balanced diet’ of activity that is talked about and kept open about the positives and drawbacks of electronic devices – don’t let it become a solitary activity.

Stemming from the research is a series of questions to help families make decisions about their screen time use. Our advice is to be honest when you reflect on these questions, perhaps having an open family discussion (and be ready – your child might talk about the time you’re on-line, too):

  • Is your family’s screen time under control?
  • Does screen use interfere with what your family want to do?
  • Does screen use interfere with sleep?
  • Are you able to control snacking during screen time?

Dr Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), has said: “We need to stick to advising parents to do what they do well, which is to balance the risks and benefits.” Parents should consider their own use of screens, if screen time is controlled in their family, and if excessive use is affecting their child’s development and everyday life, he added.

Merry Christmas

Posted on 21 December 2018 by Miss Beatson

It’s been a very busy week! It started with our visit to the care home on Sandbeck way to bury a time capsule. We then had two wonderful Christmas performances, parties, Santa visit and a Christingle service at church! Congratulations to Bailey in year 6! He designed a card, which was chosen by the Mayor of Wetherby, to be his Christmas card this year.

We have had a very successful term; the children and staff have worked incredibly hard. Thank you to all the parents, who have continued to support the school in a such a positive way. We would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. We look forward to seeing everyone again on Monday 7th December 2019!


Learning updates

Posted on 19 December 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Going home with your child (Y1 to Y6 only) today are the end-of-term Learning Updates. These ‘mini-reports’ aren’t new – we’ve used these before during parent-teacher meetings.

This year, we’ve listened to what you said in the annual surveys: you asked for more frequent updates on your child’s learning. As a result, we’ve tweaked when we do things a little so you now get an update at the end of most half terms:

  • Autumn 1 (the parent-teacher meeting)
  • Autumn 2 (the Learning Update)
  • Spring 1 (the parent-teacher meeting)
  • Spring 2 (the Learning Update)
  • Summer 2 (the end of year report)

If you’ve any questions, comments or concerns about the report, please contact your child’s class teacher.

Time Capsule

Posted on 17 December 2018 by Miss Beatson

This morning, year 1-6 visited the Windsor Court care home on Sandbeck way. The new home will be opening in January 2019 and to help celebrate, we were asked to bury a time capsule with artefacts and pictures to represent what life is like now. The time capsule will be dug up in 2078! The care home are holding a cinema morning for children on Saturday 29th December at 10am with festive popcorn, if you fancy taking your children along.



Supporting parents with anxious children

Posted on 14 December 2018 by Mrs Craggs

EPOSS Cluster are running a group to support parents with anxious children. The group will give advice and strategies to support your child, provide psycho-education on anxiety and give the opportunity for you to meet parents with similar problems and share ideas.

The first session will be held MONDAY 21 JANUARY

Venue: The House
Wetherby High School
Hallfield Lane
LS22 6JS

Time: 8am-9am.

No need to book, just turn up on the day.

If there is sufficient uptake the group will then run every Monday until the February half-term holiday.

If you would like any further information please call:

Rachel Midgley, Cluster Therapist –   0752 617 2934

Liz Giles, Targeted Services Officer – 0791 278 4637

We keep getting better and better!

Posted on 14 December 2018 by Mr Roundtree

We’re the most improved school in Leeds local authority. One of the reasons for this is that we’re an outward-looking school: we work closely with the local authority and with other schools, including as part of Noctua Teaching School.

As a school which has been previously judged to ‘require improvement’, the local authority offered us a full teaching and learning review, carried out by two advisors, one of whom is a trained Ofsted inspector. We’re always keen to hear from others so we can keep improving, and were therefore happy to take up the offer.

Here are some extracts from the report:

  • ‘Evidence from the review paints a positive picture of a much improved and still improving school. The Executive Headteacher has been systematic and single minded in his determination to improve all aspects of school life.’
  • ‘…the staff team […is…] working in harmony to provide the best for each pupil.’
  • ‘It is clear to the review team that an ethos of continuous improvement pervades the school.’
  • ‘Governance has improved considerably since the last inspection.’
  • ‘Lesson observations supported by book-looks and data analysis evidence the impact of improved teaching over time.’
  • ‘There is a warm but stimulating atmosphere in the classes and pupils are well motivated to learn.’
  • ‘In Y5/6, the teacher’s expert knowledge of English was used to good effect to stimulate writing based on ‘The Highwayman’. Constant reference to modelling and sharing work using the visualiser ensured every individual child was clear about success or how to improve their work further.’
  • ‘In Y3/4, the teacher and well informed teaching assistant didn’t miss any opportunity in providing incisive feedback to the class in order to improve outcomes…’
  • ‘…in Y1/2, the teacher’s clever use of ‘The Lonely Beast’ was used to support the children’s diary writing. Here, it was good to note how pupils… were building stamina to write at length.’
  • ‘Neat presentation in books accompanied by high productivity supports the improvements in pupil achievement and progress over time.’
  • ‘In maths, teachers plan for pupils to develop their fluency whilst exercises in reasoning provide pupils with opportunity to explain their thinking and learning. In both KS1 and KS2, the teaching of maths was highly effective. The effective use of practical resources to support learning was another key feature of improved teaching practice in maths.’
  • ‘In reading, the introduction of dedicated reading sessions is beginning to have an impact on pupil outcomes. Pupils spoke eloquently about how the school helps develop their love of reading, citing strategies… as all having a positive impact on their learning.’
  • ‘Meanwhile, writing outcomes at expected are improving and are now virtually in line with national and above at the greater depth standard. The conscious decision by leaders to demand an application of reading, writing and maths across the wider curriculum has contributed to these successes and the team felt this was key to the ever-improving standards across the school.’
  • ‘The school’s consistent approaches to discipline guarantee the children knowing exactly where they stand.’
  • ‘In a meeting with School Council pupils, they evidenced how the school is supporting them to be reflective learners. The group reported how they enjoyed coming to school and the opportunities afforded to them…’
  • ‘The Federation Early Years lead has provided expert guidance on what high quality provision actually looks like and how it impacts on children’s early development and attitude to learning. Leaders have ensured that the different areas in early years are inviting and attractive.’
  • ‘In the 2-year old provision area… adults supporting children were adept at asking pertinent questions and encouraging co-operative play.’

Well done to all the staff and pupils; thank you to parents and carers for continued support.

How do you manage your child's screen time?

Posted on 12 December 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Many of you mention your concerns about your child being in front of a screen for too long. Also, children tell us they’re often on-line when at home.

Digital devices have become commonplace during family time in most homes. However, studies show that screen-free activities have a positive impact on children’s development and health in a wide range of areas, including social skills, physical exercise, sleep and academic performance.

Read the full article from Action for Children – it’s really helpful and interesting! It includes top tips on creating screen-free playtime that will aid your child’s development at all ages.

Children who use any screens for over seven hours a day are starting to show signs that their brain cortex is thinning prematurely… The researchers have also determined that kids who spend over two hours a day on screen time score lower on thinking and language tests.

Read the full article.

Christmas coffee morning

Posted on 11 December 2018 by Miss Beatson

A reminder that we are having a Christmas coffee morning tomorrow at 9am. There will be tea/coffee, mince pies and Christmas crafts to do with your child. Mrs Small, our  learning mentor, will also be around to have chat with.