Latest news from around the school

St James's Got Talent!

Posted on 22 March 2019 by Miss Beatson

Wow! We have seen some amazing talent at St James’ this afternoon: singing, dancing, gymnastics, comedians, skipping and much more. It was a fantastic way to end a week, where we have been recognising our talents for our Living and Learning theme. Well done to all the children who took part- you were marvellous!



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.

Positive pupils

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.’

Staying safe online

Posted on 18 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree

The Education & Early Years Safeguarding Team from Leeds Children’s Services offer this advice, which matches our own. Please follow this advice.

  • Ensure they know what their children can access online
  • Ensure children understand the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know
  • Tell their children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do
  • Use parental controls to keep children safe

The Safeguarding Team also list the most common signs to watch out. Please be alert if your child:

  • Becomes very secretive, especially about what they are doing online
  • Is spending a lot of time on the internet and social media
  • Is switching screens on their device when approached
  • Is withdrawn or angry after using the internet or sending text messages
  • Has lots of new phone numbers or email addresses on their devices

Supporting your child when the news is bad

Posted on 16 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree

News of a terrorist attack is horrible, but for parents/carers, there is the added dilemma of what to say to their children:

  • Should I shield them from the news?
  • Is it best just to turn off the television?
  • Will the images they see traumatise them?
  • Should I tell my children exactly what’s happened?

Following the terrible attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, these questions may well be going though your mind.

The Childline website is a good place to start – you might want to check it out first, then look at it alongside your child. They have a really useful page with advice on ‘worries about the world’.

The BBC’s Newsround website tells the news in a helpful, simple, child-friendly way. (We’d encourage children to read this regularly, in fact.) Their news about the New Zealand attacks presents the facts and provides extra information and advice.

Lots of other sites are available, too, but it’s probably helpful to stick to one or two and not dwell any more on the subject.

Finally, the NSPCC has this advice for parents and carers who may be worried about a child showing signs of radicalisation.

Powerful poetry

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!

Nature’s Call

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.



Attendance Matters

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.

Momo is a hoax

Posted on 04 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree

As you may be aware by now, the concerns around Momo are unfounded: Momo is a hoax. There is no evidence to say that any of the claims are true. Taken from Saturday’s Guardian:

A private company that provides schools with internet safety material has insisted it behaved responsibility by issuing factsheets on the Momo challenge hoax, despite concerns it may have exacerbated the panic surrounding the issue.

National Online Safety produced a factsheet entitled “What parents need to know about Momo”, which many UK schools sent home with children.

The guidance offered straightforward advice on internet safety but also quoted media reports about the Momo challenge in which a “scary doll-like figure reportedly sends graphic violent images, and asks users to partake in dangerous challenges like waking up at random hours and has even been associated with self-harm”.

Children’s charities have said well-intentioned warnings from schools about a seemingly non-existent threat may have inadvertently caused young people to be genuinely scared by what was previously a hoax.

We’re sorry for our part in this. We alerted you last week to the Momo challenge, and we also sent out the factsheet.

Alongside this, however, we did provide some advice that remains really important:

  • Ensure you know what your child can access online
  • Ensure your child understands the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know
  • Tell your children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do
  • Use parental controls to keep your child safe

Who's talking to your child online?

Posted on 26 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

If you were to glance outside your home and saw your child talking with someone, you’d want to know who. What about who they’re talking to online (even if they’re gaming).

West Yorkshire Police has teamed up with the NSPCC, Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in West Yorkshire to encourage parents and carers to have a five minute chat with children to keep them safe online. The following comes from their website:

A quick discussion with young people about the sites and apps they are using and the people they are talking to online, could help protect them from any potential cyber criminals.

The internet can be an amazing place for children, so they shouldn’t be discouraged from using it, but parents should remind them that people may not always be who they say they are, and they should talk to their parents about what they are doing online.

It can seem daunting for some parents, trying to keep up with the latest technology that their children are using, so the following websites and helplines can offer simple, practical advice on how to keep everyone safe online:

  • NSPCC and O2 helpline – If you have a question about parental controls or concern about a social network that your child uses, expert advisors are available on the free helpline – 0808 8005002

  • Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership

  • CEOP