Posted on 07 October 2022 by Miss Beatson
I felt so happy and proud yesterday during our Harvest Festival at church. The children read some lovely poems and prayers aloud and sang with enthusiasm. It was wonderful to see the church full of parents and carers to celebrate with us, too. Thank you to everybody who donated food which will go to St George’s Crypt in Leeds to help the homeless and vulnerable.
This week’s message (Friday 07 October 2022)
Posted on 07 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree
It certainly feels like Autumn these days – as well as shorter days and autumn colours, another sign of Autumn is the excited children showing us their conkers collected on the way to school! This week’s message includes two important messages (about medical conditions and attendance), and two more parts (about communications and this week’s Watch Us While We Work).
In the last school year (2021-22), the national average was 95.4% attendance. Our school attendance was 93.1% – quite a bit below the national figure.
We all know that attendance matters – the more your child is in school, the more they learn and the more they develop social skills.
Attendance is even more important following the disruption in learning caused by Covid – we’re now starting to identify gaps in learning and working hard to address this, but we need your child at school.
Please remember we won’t authorise holidays in term-time absence. For some, we also expect to see evidence of illness before we authorise an absence.
Thank you to everyone who makes sure their child is in school as much as possible.
When your child joins school, we always ask about any medical conditions so we can support your child in school. This includes letting us know about allergies. This is a reminder only: please do make sure you tell us about medical conditions, especially nut allergies and other food allergies. Based on what you tell us, we’ll make reasonable adaptations to meet your child’s needs.
A word about how we communicate
A small number of you told us in the Summer 2022 annual parent/carer survey that we send home too many communications. We’ve thought hard about the comments, but also considered other feedback that tells us you welcome how we communicate. In the end, we’ve decided that we’re getting it about right for most of you. However, we thought it might be useful to let you know the different ways that we communicate things with you.
Firstly, anything urgent (such as the cancellation of an after-school club) or a quick reminder about something (like the photographer being in school) is sent by text. If you have the School Gateway app, it may be useful to set it so you receive notifications of messages. Texts are automatically sent to your app, if you have it installed (it’s free for us to communicate with you this way).
The weekly Friday message contains important information (eg nuts, attendance and about things coming up, such as parent-teacher meetings) as well as other information that we think you might find useful (eg like this one). We usually use sub-headings to help you navigate the message so you can find the information you need.
Most letters are emailed out to you, too. We’re moving away from sending out hard copies of letters (it’s better for the environment to send things electronically and things sometimes don’t always get to you if they’re sent home in book bags). Please try to check your emails daily, so you don’t miss anything important.
For anything relevant to your child’s class, check out the Class News pages of our website (we recommend doing this at least once a week). Nursery and Reception tend to put reminders on their Class News page, as they don’t have a homework page.
Your child should bring home a hard copy of their weekly homework, but you’ll also find it on the Homework page of the website.
Finally, we do have Facebook and Twitter. These just provide additional little snippets, if you want them, but nothing urgent or important will be posted on social media as we realise that not everyone accesses these things.
Finally, a thank you…
…to everyone who attended this week’s Watch Us While We Work session. It was great to see so many of you in school, keen to get a flavour of school life (eg ‘Really nice to see class routines and how engaged the children were’) and to pick up some tips to help you continue to support your child at home (eg ‘Putting things in a bag and taking a few out to help counting’).
Look out for the next session: Thursday 26 January 2023.
Have a happy and healthy, awesome and autumnal weekend!
Watch us while we work
Posted on 04 October 2022 by Miss Beatson
Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who joined us this morning to watch us while we work. It was an opportunity to watch some learning in maths and reading and hopefully pick up a few strategies that can be used at home. Here are a few feedback comments from parents this morning:
“The children sat, listened and interacted well. It was lovely to see what they are like in class.”
“Great to see what happens in class. Really enjoyed it.”
“It was nice to see the classroom and teaching strategies.”
“Lovely being in class. Teacher had them engaged at all times. Good to see English and maths.”
“Great to see different ways we can help at home……different ways to practise times tables and retrieval in reading.”
Summer smile competition
Posted on 30 September 2022 by Miss Beatson
Before the Summer holiday, we asked you to look out for smiles in your surroundings or even create a smile. Thank you to everyone who sent in photographs of their smiles. Today, we looked at the photos in collective worship and the pictures certainly made everyone smile and laugh. The prize for the overall winners went to Cameron in Year 1 and Emily in Year 2 for their variety of smiling examples- congratulations!
Take a look at some of the fabulous entries!
This week’s message (Friday 30 September 2022)
Posted on 30 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree
Our message this week is an important one because it’s all about reading. The message comes from Mrs Latham (our Phonics and Early Reading Leader) and Mr Catherall (our acting Reading Leader, covering a maternity).
Early Reading and Phonics
We’ve started the year as we mean to go on – reading! Our Reception children have started Phonics lessons already – they’re rapidly acquiring the skills to become readers. We use the government validated systematic synthetic phonics scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
Children in Year 1 and Year 2 have also got back into Phonics lessons quickly. The lessons happen every day and last half an hour (Reception children build up to this over time). In these lessons, children are taught how a letter or letters (graphemes) match to sounds (phonemes).
We also have reading practice groups for children to use and apply their phonics skills. These are small group sessions, led by an adult, where children read a book that’s matched to the phonics phase for the children in that group. The time to do this has been made available by moving to allocating e-books for children. The e-books are essential for children to share their phonics reading success at home. Please make sure you hear your child read the e-book every week.
Year 1 or 2 children who have secure phonic knowledge will begin to access a wider variety of books in school and to take home.
Children will also take a sharing book home to develop a love of reading. These books are to enjoy together and read for pleasure. Enjoy stories, predict what might happen and use different voices for the characters. Information books (non-fiction) can also be so much fun to share – finding out facts and discussing new information. Above all – make it fun!
Our recent reading workshop explains phonics and early reading in more detail.
Key Stage 2
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
Should my child be reading at home?
In Sphere Federation schools, we insist that children read at home. Failure to do so would mean that children are missing out on the numerous benefits of reading. Research tells us that children with reading difficulties are more likely to experience mental health problems later in life. To give our children the best chance of becoming readers at home, we ensure that reading at home is celebrated.
What should my child be reading?
Occasionally, we get feedback that adults at home aren’t sure what book their child is reading and when it should be in school. As children progress from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, we want them to have more choice and ownership of what they read. For some families, this can feel less structured than it might have done when children were lower down school. Because of this, we’ve made some changes to how we read in Key Stage 2. Starting after the October half-term, we’ll be moving to a more structured system for reading at home.
What will this look like?
Our children are provided with the opportunity to read a variety of rich texts in school and at home. Children are always involved in the process of choosing what book they read at home and we place a high emphasis on choice of text. To ensure our children read a suitable range of suitable texts, we rotate between ‘solo reading’ and ‘group reading’ on a half-termly basis:
- Autumn 1: solo reading
- Autumn 2: group reading
- Spring 1: solo reading
- Spring 2: group reading
- Summer 1: solo reading
- Summer 2: group reading
Next half-term, your child will be ‘group reading’. This means, they’ll choose a book that they’ll read alongside some of their class mates. They’ll be set a target page to read to and will discuss what they’ve read with their group and an adult.
What if my child wants to read other books, too?
We love this! We’d really encourage you, if you can, to have lots of books at home. A trip to a book shop can be a wonderful and inspiring shared experience as a family – especially as the days are getting shorter and wetter! If you prefer to shop online, great! We’ve recently signed up with Love Reading 4Kids. This is a great website with a huge range of books at good prices. And, if you buy through this site you can support us here school – we’ll receive 25% of the value to spend on books!
This week’s message (Friday 23 September 2022)
Posted on 23 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree
Thanks to all of you who managed to come along to our coffee morning this week – it was lovely to see the hall buzzing!
This week’s message has some information about an event coming up for Key Stage 1 and 2 parents and carers. The rest of the message is about the annual survey we do with children.
Watch us while we work
Coming up at school is a short open session for current KS1 and KS2 parents/carers to join us in class to watch the teaching and learning of some essential Maths and Reading skills. The session is a great way to find out how you can support your child at home.
The session is at 9am on Tuesday 04 October. You’re welcome to visit us – there’s no need to reserve a place. We invite you to spend time in just one class. (For those of you with more than one child, you might want to come again for a second session on 26 January to visit a second classroom.)
Parents and carers of children in Reception have the opportunity to attend separate Stay and Learn sessions.
At around the same as the parent/carer survey is released, we ask children in KS2 to complete a quick survey, too. This helps us identify strengths and possible areas to develop.
Children rated provision in Science, Art, DT, Geography, History and Music higher than nationally – four of these were rated significantly higher and one very significantly higher.
Importantly, responses from children around safeguarding were all strong: all but one were above national figures (the other one matched the national figure). This includes one statement which had responses significantly above (‘I feel safe at this school’) and one very significantly better (‘There is no racist abuse at this school).
Similarly, responses about learning behaviour were better than national (‘I am always keen to do well in school was significantly better).
This all goes to prove that our school is a happy and healthy place to achieve and believe.
Talking of which, have a happy and healthy weekend!
This week’s message (Friday 16 September 2022)
Posted on 16 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who’s our Science and Foundation Subjects Leader. In this message, Mr Wilks introduces your child’s current topic…
What do we mean by topics?
Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg Art, History, Geography). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils knowledge and skills.
There are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in an art topic may be enriched by geography learning about where an artist was born and lived.
Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.
What is this half-term’s topic?
This half-term, we’re historians. We’ll develop our understanding of the past, both in Britain and the wider world.
Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary: see pages 27 and 28 of our Curriculum Statement.
Each phase also has key historical concepts which will feature within most lessons. These historical concepts are themes that are revisited, strengthened and deepened during your child’s journey through the history curriculum. See page 24 of the Curriculum Statement.
Years 1 and 2
In this topic, children learn about a significant British historical event: The Great Fire of London.
Children will learn about life at the time of the Great Fire of London. They’ll learn where the fire started and how it spread so quickly and the innovative ways that it was extinguished. Importantly, they’ll learn about the different sources of evidence that have helped us answer these questions, including Samuel Pepys’ diary. Finally, they’ll learn about the significant changes that occurred as a result of the fire, such as legal changes about the way houses were built and the beginning of a fire service in London.
The key concept that children will learn about in this history topic is innovation.
Years 3 and 4
In this topic, children learn about Ancient Greece.
Children begin by sequencing periods of British history and seeing where the ‘golden-age’ of the Ancient Greek civilisation sits alongside. They’ll then learn about two contrasting city states: Athens and Sparta. Children will learn about the type of government these states had and what the lives of the people living there were like. They’ll then debate which city state was the best. Next, they’ll focus in on the influence that Athens has had on the world: democracy, mathematics, philosophy, literature, culture… Finally, they’ll learn about how the civilisation ended.
The key concepts for this topic are civilisation, government and innovation.
Years 5 and 6
In this topic, children learn about Stone Age to Iron Age Britain and contrast it with Ancient Egypt.
They begin by looking at and creating timelines which sequence the periods of British history and also placing Ancient Egypt on this timeline. They’ll learn about the advances and innovations that occurred during the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. They’ll learn about and understand that the sources of evidence we have are limited to archaeological evidence. They’ll then learn about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and contrast this with what was happening in Britain at the same time – it’s a stark contrast!
The key concepts for this topic are innovation and civilisation.
How can you help?
Talk to your child about what they have been learning in class. The class news pages are a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.
Find some books from the library which match what your child is learning. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of books about the history your child will be learning about.
Watch television shows about history. Horrible Histories is great (regardless of your age!).
The BBC Bitesize history webpages have been revamped this summer and have lots of information about the history being covered this half-term.
If it’s a rainy weekend and you’re looking for something to do, why not spend a morning or afternoon in a museum? A visit to Leeds City Museum (next to Millennium Square) would be great for all children but especially for Y3,4 and Y5,6 children as it has some Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian exhibits, including Nesyamum, the 3,000 year old Leeds mummy!
London’s a bit far for a rainy weekend but the Fire of London website is great and will support and deepen children’s learning.
A great start!
Posted on 13 September 2022 by Miss Beatson
I would just like to say how impressed I’ve been with all the children starting back at school. Everyone is looking very smart in the school uniform and PE uniform- thank you for following our policy on this.
The children have been so enthusiastic about meeting their new teachers, seeing their friends again and enjoying their new learning. Every Friday, we have an achieve and believe collective worship where we hand out certificates. On Friday, the children were fantastic at telling me about their achievements just in the first four days of being back at school!
This week, we welcome the remainder of our Reception children; they’ve all settled in so well. It’s wonderful to walk around school and see happy and healthy children.
This week’s message (Friday 09 September 2022)
Posted on 09 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree
We’re sad to note the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. She demonstrated and represented important values and behaviours. In school today, we have marked this historic moment with a special assembly and teachers have followed this up with a review and reflection in class.
Our first weekly message of the year continues with some important information for the year ahead at St James’ CE Primary School…
Dates for the year
Key dates for the school year are in our school calendar. We’ve prepared this list for you to print out and have ready to check, too.
Support your child at home
Like last year, we’re hosting a series of Zoom presentations to help you support your child’s learning at home – the first one is this Monday.
The invitation is open to all parents and carers across Sphere Federation, although we’ve indicated if the session might be more appropriate for particular age ranges. The full list of presentations are:
- Phonics and early reading: 12 September 2022
- Story telling: 19 September 2022 (Mrs Payne here at St James’ CE Primary will read a story over Zoom for your child and you to enjoy – the session is ideal for children in Reception, but children in Year 1 and 2 are welcome to join, too.)
- Number (KS1): 03 October 2022
- Number (KS2): 10 October 2022
- Topic: 07 November 2022
- Reading and Writing: 14 November 2022
- Online safety: 28 November 2022
- Key Stage 2 SATs: 09 January 2023 (This one is mainly for parents of Y6 children.)
- Key Stage 1 SATs: 27 February 2023 (This one is mainly for parents of Y2 children.)
- Reception to Year 1 transition: 19 June 2023 (This one is for parents of Reception children.)
All the sessions are at 6pm on Mondays and should last around 30 minutes.
If you’re interested in attending any of these Zoom workshops, please either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest.
Your child’s first homework task is published today.
Homework is an important part of education and gives you a chance to support your child and find out what they’ve been learning. This doesn’t need to be sitting at home with a stack of worksheets or creating an elaborate project: quality time talking to your child and practising basic skills is enough.
Today, we’ve given each child a new homework book. The book is for your child to practise spellings, writing, times tables and number facts. It doesn’t need to be sent back to school.
This homework guide sets out what we expect children to do and why. Reading, spellings, times tables and number facts are essential for all children to be confident with. The focus of your support at home should be ideally around these areas. Your comments in the Reading Record book (at least once a week) are really helpful for your child’s teacher.
As always, contact school if you have any questions or concerns.
Children settled into the new school year really well this week. It’s likely they’ll feel tired after a busy week back. Have a restful, happy and healthy weekend.
Our Christian value this half-term is...
Posted on 07 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree
At St James’ CE Primary School, we learn about Christian values that help us to become well-rounded citizens in society. Each half-term, we have a new Christian value that will be embedded into our collective worship and our reflection areas.
This half term, our Christian Value is perseverance.
‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ (Galatians 6:9)
Endurance is needed when standing firm in the face of any difficulty. It is the special gift that we have when life is difficult or painful that helps us not to give up. Difficulties might include hardship, persecution or scorn, although we hope these difficulties do not arise in our school. We use it more in the context of ‘keeping going’ and ‘not giving up’.
Help at home by talking about and encouraging perseverance…
- How can we show perseverance in school?
- How can we show perseverance in home, or in other situations?
- Who do you know that shows lots of perseverance?
- What does perseverance look like to you?
- Tell me about a time when you showed perseverance