Latest news from around the school

We are closed.

Posted on 28 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Driving conditions are bad and forecast for the entire day is for snow. Staff are struggling to access school.

In case of snow...

Posted on 26 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

It’s been many years since St James’ CE Primary needed to close due to extreme snow – and we don’t intend to close this week, either, despite the weather warnings for parts of the UK which you’ll have heard.

If snow is bad, we have to make decisions based on various factors, including how safe it is for our staff to travel to school. (Whilst most of our pupils walk to school, most of our teachers live quite a distance away and need to drive to school.)

We will communicate if school is closed by text, email, Twitter and a news post on the website (which then uploads to Facebook, too).

We won’t take this decision lightly. However, if we do, we’ll aim to make the decision by 08.15 am at the latest. Until that point, please assume school will be open.

Our current Christian value: perseverance

Posted on 21 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary School, we learn about Christian values that help us to become well-rounded citizens in society. These values have been chosen by our Church Council, a group of pupils who advise us on aspects of our provision. The values are woven into our everyday school life. 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)

The Church Council chose this because ‘Jesus always said to try our best’ (Y4 Church Council member).

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! Talk about perseverance together…

  • 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.

Happy and healthy learning at home

Posted on 20 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to everyone who attended parent-teacher meetings recently. It’s great to see that almost all parents / carers took the time to hear how their child is progressing and to find out more about how to support their child at home.

Talking of support at home, the Learn More section of our website has lots of different top tips. Go to Help Your Child.

Of course, there are loads of games and activities online, too. Perhaps there’s too much – going on-line can be overwhelming. Here are two sites we suggest – useful for children of any age.

We really like IXL. Here, you’ll find pages for every year group, with activities to practise English and Maths skills. There are usually well over 100 pages for each subject. This could be overwhelming, but each subject is then broken down into helpful sub-categories. (For example, in Year 6 Maths, these are sections on Numbers and Comparing, Place Value, Addition, Understanding Fractions etc.)

This site is especially good to explain – and avoid – a common mistake in writing: ‘run-on’ sentences, which we call ’squashed’ sentences in school. These are two (or more) sentences that are squashed together. For example:

In half-term, I went to the cinema I saw Early Man it was great!

In this example, there are actually three ‘chunks’ (clauses) that all make sense and need to be split up (using a full stop or a dash or a semi-colon):

In half-term, I went to the cinema. I saw Early Man – it was great!

The sentences could also be joined with a conjunction:

In the half-term, I went to the cinema and I saw Early Man – it was great!

On IXL, there’s at least one activity to practise this in Y3-Y6 – start with the Year 3 one, even if your child is older.

The BBC Bitesize website has recently been updated – it’s probably best you avoid the old archived one, so use this link. The site contains pages on most National Curriculum subjects and it’s definitely worth checking it out.

Speak with us about other ways to support your child at home.

Change4Life healthier snacking

Posted on 16 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Have you see the recent Change4Life campaign encouraging children to have no more than two packaged snacks per day to reduce their sugar intake?  Remember fruit and veg are always the best snack and count towards your child’s 5 A Day.

The campaign is launched as Public Health England reveals half the sugar children consume comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks. Children in England are eating nearly three times the recommended amount of sugar.  Too much sugar can lead to harmful fat building up inside and serious health problems, and also painful tooth decay.

Living and Learning this half term

Posted on 16 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Living and Learning sessions are held weekly in class to promote social and emotional aspects of learning and other areas of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). This half term our main theme, from our long-term plan, is Being me and is all around building self-image and self-esteem  
We begin the half term with a focus on manners and in particular covering our mouth when we cough, sneeze or yawn. To promote good hygiene we refer to the vampire technique. By coughing or sneezing into our elbow, germs are not spread into the air or on our hands which may contaminate other things. Don’t forget to ‘use your sleeve to cough and sneeze’.
Here are the weekly Living and Learning statements, to support this learning.
  • I cover my mouth (when I yawn, cough, sneeze).  Get your child to demonstrate the ‘vampire’ method to family members at home.
  • I can say something good about myself.  It’s important that your child can confidently talk about themselves in a positive way.
  • I pay compliments in a sensible way.  Try paying compliments each day to each other!
  • I receive compliments in a sensible way.  Some children struggle to hear positive words about themselves, but this is important for self-esteem. Try paying (and listening) to praise and compliments.
  • I know the difference between being proud and showing off.  We encourage compliments to be paid – but encourage your children to know the balance between being having self-esteem and showing off.
  • I recognise my talents.  Talk to your child about talents, whether academic, physical, social or emotional.

Splats Workshop

Posted on 08 February 2018 by Miss Beatson

Yesterday, Years 1-6 had a great day learning about e-safety in a fun and creative way. The children took part in a Splats workshop to practise a scene from a play called ‘Aliens -v- Robots’ and then all the children joined together at the end of the day to perform it.

  • ‘Don’t be mean back to someone who has been mean to you online. Tell an adult.’
  • ‘Don’t chat to people online if you don’t know who they are.’

Fab feedback

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary, we’re always wanting to keep getting better and better. Because of this, we value the support and advice from the Local Authority. Recently, our School Improvement Advisor visited; he spent a long time examining the learning journeys of children in Year 4 and, as well as providing us with useful recommendations, made lots of positive comments. These include:

In Maths books…

pupil response to feedback… is consistent and impacts on deepening of understanding

incisive and immediate feedback impacts on learning

clear learning journeys that provide appropriate incremental challenge and extended challenge for the more able


In Writing books…

clear evidence of learning sequences whereby elements of composition and grammar or punctuation are taught, rehearsed and applied via frequent (at least weekly) extended writing opportunity

good evidence of how reading is used to support the sentence level and grammar work seen in the children’s writing books

there is evidence that the majority are developing a neat, legible, joined handwriting style


In Reading books…

children have access to a wide range of texts including poetry, fiction, non-fiction and reference

teaching sequences are invariably linked to work seen in writing books

In Topic books…

the application of maths in topic work is some of the strongest the advisor has seen. These activities, which include Venn diagrams, classification tables, Carroll diagrams to categorise, and graph work are all relevant to the topic in hand and effective in helping children understanding the wider use of mathematics

good evidence to demonstrate the children enjoy a skills-based curriculum; for example, using map reading skills, globe use and practical science learning

Our School Improvement Advisor also did a ‘learning walk’ around school, spending some time in each class observing the teaching and learning that’s going on. He concluded:

Without exception across the school, teachers were observed demonstrated good subject knowledge and used this well to structure learning appropriately.  Subsequently, the learning behaviours of the vast majority of children are such that they listened attentively, settled quickly to task and and applied themselves well. For example, in Y5/6 classroom the children were focused on an extended writing task that had been developed from exploring Romeo and Juliet… The teacher’s working knowledge of the children…meant all children, regardless of ability, could access the challenge. Meanwhile, in Early Years, the provision appeared imaginatively organised. Challenge boards evident in each area ensured activities had purpose. In Y1/2, although the children were coming from and going to an additional church-led activity in another part of school, they showed some good resilience in their adventure story writing activity.

Great stuff!

Learning workshops

Posted on 01 February 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to the parents and carers of Year 2 and Year 6 children who came to school this week for a workshop around supporting their child’s learning at home. We’re really pleased to see people taking the time to learn how you can best support your child at home.

Here are two examples of the great feedback we got:

  • ‘We found it very informative on what [our child] should expect and how we can support her and help learning.’
  • ‘It helped us as we understand the SATs papers more thoroughly. This will enable us to support her better to achieve positive results.’

Watch a short video about the Key Stage 2 assessments (SATs) here.

Some spellings support

Posted on 15 January 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Have you checked out out Learn More pages? They contain lots of tips and ideas to support your child at home.

In particular, look at the Help Your Child page. On here, we’ve just published a new guide to support your child with their spellings – it’s full of ideas to learn spellings in an active way. Encourage your child to try out the ideas. They won’t all suit, but some may end up being their favourite – and most effective – strategy!