Our summer production
Posted on 04 July 2017 by Mr Roundtree
The St James’ CE Primary summer production is now less than a week away! Tickets have been going fast – thank you for showing so much interest and enthusiasm.
Spare tickets will be released on Monday based on your requests on the ticket form. If you have not already asked for tickets, please ensure that you do so by Friday.
Thank you for to those parents who have already sent in costumes for the production. Please make sure costumes arrive in a named bag by Friday.
Thank you for your continued support.
Posted on 01 July 2017 by Mr Roundtree
A few days ago, we told you about a new SnapChat feature…
SnapMap lets users track other people’s location in real time – it shows exactly where people are in as much detail as the actual house. This might sound like a great idea, but just think about how vulnerable this could make a child using SnapChat. Within the feature, there is ‘Ghost Mode’ which enables you to hide your location. There are two ways which this can be turned on:
- Pinch the screen when you’re in selfie mode to bring up the SnapMap. Then, click the ‘Settings’ icon in the top right hand corner and set the phone to ‘Ghost Mode’.
- Click on ‘Snap Maps’ – ‘Settings’ – ‘Ghost Mode’.
Whilst we’re talking about apps, be aware of these ones, too…
Musical.ly and Live.ly are two other apps to be aware of. Musical.ly is a popular app where users can sing along to popular songs and upload them to the site. Live.ly is made by the same company and is a live streaming app where you can broadcast and communicate with others. This is a platform where comments and requests can be left for the users about their videos but, sadly, this has opened up inappropriate communication where young users are being asked to remove clothing and are being exposed to sexually explicit comments. Musical.ly also has some privacy controls which can be accessed via the settings option.
Roblox is a user-generated massive multiplayer online social gaming platform. Roblox’s chat facility has caused some concerns with parents reporting inappropriate comments to children.
Guidance for children using Roblox safely can be found via their safety/help page:
It’s important that you talk to your child about using these apps. Most importantly, if they get a question or request that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should speak to a responsible adult immediately.
Election of a parent governor
Posted on 27 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree
A parent governor is required to fill a vacancy on the governing body of Sphere Federation.
If you wish to offer yourself as a candidate to become a parent governor, please read the following, which describes the role and outlines some key characteristics desired for a new governor and the process of becoming a governor. Nominations should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 07 July 2017. Alternatively, you can submit a paper copy to any of the school offices.
The governing body’s three core functions are:
- Ensuring clear vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Head of Federation to account for the educational performance of each school and its pupils;
- Overseeing the financial performance of each school, ensuring money is well spent.
The schools in the federation are Scholes (Elmet) Primary School, St James’ CoE VC Primary School, and Moortown Primary School.
The governing body would benefit more from new governors with expertise in one of three areas:
- Knowledge and understanding of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND);
- Experience in HR and performance management;
- Competency in educational data analysis.
Governors will also need to be able to understand their role is strategic and not operational; build relationships with a range of people; work as part of a team; question and challenge; make connections between different types of information; and represent the three schools and their community.
Expectations of governors is high. Governors need not be experts in the field of education but they do need an interest in the welfare of our children across all three of the federation schools, and the time and willingness to get involved in strategic oversight. Our parent governors are appointed for a term of four years, and are expected to attend termly evening meetings of the full governing body; sit on one sub-committee and attend termly meetings; regularly visit each Sphere Federation school formally for monitoring purposes; visit each school informally at least once a year; read and digest papers and governance information regularly; and commit to attend training and development courses relevant to the assigned governance role. All governor appointments are subject to a valid enhanced DBS check and disqualification criteria.
Training and support will be available to help you develop into this role. This will include compulsory external induction training and in-house mentoring and support.
For further details, please contact Mr Roundtree at email@example.com or Rachel Greenhalgh, Chair of Governors, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are more applications than vacancies, we will hold an election and parents will be sent a voting paper in due course. The information you supply as part of your nomination will be circulated to parents to help them decide who to vote for. Your personal details will not be distributed.
Nominations should be emailed to email@example.com by Friday 07 July 2017. You can submit a nomination by hand or by email. The information we need, and sample wording, is as follows:
To the Head of Sphere Federation:
I wish to nominate myself as a candidate to be a parent governor of Sphere Federation.
I am the parent of … at … school.
I do / do not include a personal statement.
Please print name and address. (Please note the address details will not go out with the ballot forms.)
Personal statement (in no more than 200 words)
Write a few lines about yourself: what you do and what your interests are will help other parents decide who to vote for. Here are a few suggestions of areas you may like to give information on:
- Experience you have which may be useful, particularly in relation to the skills the governing body is looking for
- Family e.g. number of children, ages, which school in the federation they attend
- Interests e.g. voluntary work, hobbies
- Why you would like to be a governor
- Anything else you would like to say
Please note that this statement will be typed for you.
Staying safe in the summer
Posted on 26 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree
Summer time, and particularly the summer holidays, can be full of hazards and risks to manage. Here’s a round-up of some resources to help you keep your child safe this summer time.
Shore Thing (RNLI)
Network Rail – Primary school resources
Keeping safe away from home (NSPCC)
Keeping safe away from home (NSPCC)
Protection from sexual abuse
Whilst it’s an uncomfortable thought, parents need to ask questions of any childcare provider, play scheme or holiday centre children’s services, about how they prevent their workers harming a child. The NSPCC has a useful video about the prevention of sexual abuse in particular and what adults can do to ask organisations about how they keep children safe.
Does your child use SnapChat?
Posted on 26 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree
SnapChat has a stated minimum age restriction of 13 years old. Despite this, we know some primary children do use it.
Last week, SnapChat launched a new feature. SnapMaps allows users to see the location of their contacts. This feature allows others to accurately pinpoint where you are. There are three possible privacy settings:
- Ghost mode, where only you can see your position;
- My Friends mode, where any contact can see your location; and
- Select Friends mode, just those who you choose can see you
ChildNet have posted a thorough explanation of SnapMaps and how to ensure users stay safe – this is well worth a read if you know your child uses the app.
For more general advice, Family Share have produced 10 things parents and kids should know about the SnapChat app.
Homework is changing...
Posted on 19 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree
From September, we’re changing how our homework routines, for three main reasons:
- to raise standards in key areas like learning times tables and spelling
- to follow research about how to get the best from homework (more about that later)
- following feedback from parents, who want more ways to support their child at home on current learning, plus specific tables and spelling to focus on
Weekly homework tasks
Each week, there will be one of three possible types of homework (not all three in one week). Homework is handed out on Friday and returned on Thursday. It should take a minimum of around 30-40 minutes, possibly carried out over a few days.
Research backs this up.
All of this corresponds to recommendations following research, which says:
Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support.
Creative homework is just that: your child can be as creative as they want, and this can involve as much of your involvement and support as you want in order to get the most out of the experience.
Talk Time homework completely matches this, too, with not a lot of effort or time involved by you. It’s all about involving your child in thoughtful, open discussion, and in developing language use. We’re sure you’re going this already, but the Talk Time homework will present a focus for your family discussions that meet the next recommendation…
Short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school, are likely to be more effective.
Homework tasks will always link to some learning in school, whether that is in English, Maths, topic or something else, and the homework will always be followed up the next week with some sort of review:
- Talk Time homework will be followed up by a class discussion or debate.
- Creative homework will be followed up by sharing and celebrating the different homeworks, during which the teacher (and peers) will provide feedback.
- Practice Makes Perfect homework will be marked.
We hope our children do lots of other learning, too. Specifically, children should be reading each day, plus practising spellings and (from Year 2) times tables.
Happy and healthy half-term
Posted on 27 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree
It’s the half-term holidays!
There are lots of things going on in and around Leeds. To find out more, check out Breeze for what’s coming up right across the city for children and young people. Visit Leeds lists lots of events listed, including their Top 5 suggestions. Leeds City Council‘s own website is certainly worth a look, too.
Whatever you get up to, have a happy and healthy half-term holiday.
See you all again on Monday 05 June.
How do we respond to children's concerns after events such as the Manchester attack?
Posted on 23 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree
This morning, we woke up to the dreadful news of the terror attack that took place in Manchester last night. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those that lost their lives and the many people that were injured as a result of the atrocity.
Your child may be upset or worried about news events such as this one. The following may be helpful websites may be useful:
Childline presents a general overview of worries of the world, and this includes attacks, extremism and bullying.
BBC Newsround advice is more specific to the Manchester attack, offering simple information and advice for a child or young person who is upset.
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. There’s a link on their homepage to this leaflet on supporting a child after a frightening event.
Winston’s Wish is another charity that supports bereaved children. They’re offering specific advice on how to respond to children and young people affected by the media coverage of the incident in Manchester.
Keeping your child safe online
Posted on 16 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree
Have you checked out these useful resources yet?
Think U Know is a great website for children and young people – there are pages that cover children aged 5-8, aged 8-10, aged 11-13 and aged 14+. There are also really useful pages for parents/carers.
The NSPCC also has great guidance to the social networks your child might be using.
Finally (for now!), Vodafone has been particularly supportive of parents with their Digital Parenting magazine. They’ve produced this for five years now. The magazine is available as a downloadable pdf.
Key Stage 2 SATs
Posted on 11 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree
Many of you will be aware that this week, our Year 6 pupils have been sitting SATs tests. On Monday, they had an hour-long Reading test; on Tuesday, they had a Grammar and Punctuation test and a separate Spelling test; yesterday, they had two Maths tests (one on arithmetic, which focussed on calculations, and one on reasoning, which is about using and applying their mathematical skills in problem-solving). Today, there is one more Maths test (another reasoning one). We wish all our Year 6 children lots of success.
The SATs tests can be a stressful time, but our children have performed well. Thank you for your support at home in making sure your child is in school, feeling as relaxed as they can be, and bright and alert having had enough sleep the night before.
The Department for Education places a great deal of importance on these tests as one way to measure a school’s performance. To this end, representatives from the local authority make unannounced spot-checks on schools to check that the administration of the tests is all done correctly – checking, for example, that the papers have been stored securely beforehand and that they are not opened privately before the tests are due to begin. The Department for Education also encourage schools to arrange a monitoring visit from someone who is able to check proceedings from a more independent standpoint; they suggest a governor or someone from a local secondary school.
It’s hard to arrange a visit from the latter – lots of primary schools would want a teacher to visit in the same week, so secondary schools struggle to provide this. However, we did arrange visits from governors who checked what was going on. One governor report describes checks on ‘Where test scripts are securely kept, who has access / keys. Observed securely sealed scripts, removal, opening and distribution of scripts.’ (Her report continues to describe the secure proceedings over the course of a morning.) Thank you to those governors who carried out this extra check to ensure there is no maladministration.
Thank you also to the staff who have provided help and reassurances to our children, and again to you, for your support. Most of all, thank you to the Year 6 children for putting in lots of extra effort in this tough week.