Latest news from around the school

17 November 2023

Posted on 17 November 2023 by Mrs Quirk

Our whole-school homework this week is:

Reading: please make sure your child is reading on a daily basis.

Number Fact Fluency: Use Numbots or Times Table Rock Stars in regular short bursts.

Talk Time

Our Talk Time homework this week is all about charity.

To start the discussion at home, talk with your child about charities. Things you might talk about are how charity is the act of giving help to those in need of it. It involves giving money, goods or time to those that need it, without expecting something in return.

Soon, the Junior Leadership Team will choose our new charity. Each school leader in Sphere Federation has suggested a charity and now it’s over to you. Spend some time at home considering each of the six shortlisted charities below. Which one will your child encourage the junior leaders in school to vote for?

Did you know you can find out more about any registered charities really easily:

This site tells you lots of facts and figures about different charities – even things like how much income they receive and how many workers and volunteers they have.

You might use this site to decide which of the six charities to support. (In the list below, the text in italics is taken from the Charity Overview page from the site.)

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund

The main objective of the charity is to enhance the quality of care and support available to babies, young children and adult congenital cardiac patients, who are treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, based at Leeds General Infirmary.


We receive referrals through our network of schools. We deliver a bed bundle for every child in the household that requires it; this includes a brand-new Bed, Mattress, Duvet, Pillow, Bed Sheets, Pyjamas and Hygiene Kit. We work with local partners to include Food Parcels and, if needed, a school uniform. We can also mediate between families and their support services, as well as making referrals.

Leeds Hospitals Charity

To further any charitable purpose or purposes relating to the general or any specific purposes of Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust or the purposes of the National Health Service.

Simon on the Streets

Objectives are to: 1) prevent and relieve hardship and need and distress amongst those who are homeless and rootless by the provision of practical and emotional support, in particular but not exclusively to those who are sleeping rough or who are unwilling or unable to accept existing provision; 2) educate the public concerning the problems of social isolation and homelessness.

Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Mind (The National Association for Mental Health)

We provide information and support, campaign to improve policy and attitudes and, in partnership with independent local Minds, develop and provide local services.

The charities will be reviewed in class on Thursday 23 November. Each class will vote for one charity which will be brought to the Junior Leadership Team who will have the final vote on Friday 24 November.

This week’s message (Friday 17 November 2023)

Posted on 17 November 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week, we marked Anti-Bullying Week. Make sure your child knows our definition of bullying (Several Times On Purpose) and the solution (Start Telling Other People).

Near the start of each half-term, Mr Wilks writes the weekly message to tell you more about the current topic in school…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the way we deliver much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg history, art, geography, DT). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.

Although the learning in each topic is provided by the driving subject, 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.

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term, we’re artists: we’re developing our art knowledge and skills. The learning this half-term has two aspects to it. In art history and appreciation lessons, children learn about some specific artists and their work. In art process lessons, children practise and develop skills by creating art.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. Follow this link to the Curriculum Guide to find out more.

Years 1 and 2

Children have two featured artists: Leonardo Da Vinci and Paul Klee. They’ll compare their art, talking about similarities and differences. They’ll discuss what they like and dislike about the art and how it makes them feel. They’ll also learn about the artists’ lives and where in the world they lived.

In practical art lessons, children will hone their artistic skills and knowledge by sketching objects using pencil, learning about and mixing colour and then they’ll be learning how to print by creating relief prints inspired by the artwork they’ve studied.

Part way through the half-term, they’ll visit the Hepworth Gallery for a printmaking workshop to complement the learning in school.

Years 3 and 4

Children will learn about the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Martha McDonald Napaltjarri. They’ll compare and contrast the artworks by these artists and also learn about their lives and the places they lived. In particular, children will learn about abstract and figurative art (see the vocabulary for definitions of these words).

In practical art sessions, children will develop observational drawing skills and their understanding of colour by learning about warm, cold and complementary colours. They’ll then apply what they’ve learnt by creating sculptures inspired by the artists they’ve studied.

Years 5 and 6

Children in Years 5 and 6 are learning about sculpture in their art lessons and will focus on three artists: Thomas J Price, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

The children have already been on their school trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park this week. They’ve seen and learned about sculptures by these artists. In art history and appreciation lessons, they’ll learn about the lives of these artists and how their localities have influenced their art. They’ll learn about classical and modern art in relation to their featured artists and in art movements more generally. They’ll also learn when and why the modern art movement happened.

In practical art lessons, children will continue to develop their observational skills and will create maquettes (see the vocabulary list) inspired by the work of Barbara Hepworth.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning in class. The class news page of the school website is a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

Familiarise yourself with the artists and the artwork that your child is learning about. Look in books or on the internet for pieces by the artists and talk about them. Find art by other artists that you like and compare it to the featured artists. If you feel confident, you can go into more depth using the vocabulary. However, if not, leave that to the teachers and just enjoy looking at the pieces and asking general questions:

  • What do you like or dislike about the art?
  • How does the art make you feel?
  • Is it life-like or not?
  • What colours can you see?

The Tate Gallery has a good children’s website with games and activities which children can explore.

If you’re in Leeds, the Leeds Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute are both free to enter.

Finally, thanks for any donations you made to Children in Need today.

Have a good weekend.

Children in Need

Posted on 17 November 2023 by Miss Beatson

Thank you for all your support raising money for Children in Need. 

We have raised £140 for the charity.


Penny trail

Posted on 13 November 2023 by Miss Beatson

As part of Me and My Money themed week, we created a penny trail in our playground. Thank you to everyone who brought in some spare pennies to make the trail extremely long. We raised £45 just from one pence coins! The money raised will go to Cancer Research UK.

This week’s message (Friday 10 November 2023)

Posted on 10 November 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s been a busy one – the first of our two themed weeks in the year. This one’s been Me and My Money. Ask your child what they’ve been learning about. Our Living and Learning Curriculum Guide lists the learning that we’ve been focusing on in school – see page 17.

Sticking to Living and Learning…

Bullying, Odd Socks and STOP

Next Monday, 13 November, is Anti-Bullying Day. This year’s theme is ‘Make noise about bullying’ and we will be taking part in Odd Socks Day on this day.

Odd Socks Day raises awareness of our differences, individuality and personal choice. Your child can come to school wearing odd socks (with their uniform) to celebrate what makes them unique.

Check out this parent and carer pack about bullying.

Remember our two STOP acronyms about bullying:

  • the definition: Several Times On Purpose
  • the solution: Start Telling Other People

Attendance matters

The whole-school attendance figure for Autumn 1 half-term was 95.2%. The national figure from 11 September to 13 October 2023 was 93.7% – we’re higher than national! Thank you for making sure your child attends school as much as possible.

Here’s a breakdown for each class…

  • Reception – 95.7%
  • Year 1 – 95.3%
  • Year 2 – 97.9% – brilliant!
  • Year 3 – 97.3% – amazing attendance!
  • Year 4 – 96.6%
  • Year 5 – 88.4%
  • Year 6 – 90.6%

Remember to check this new NHS website if you’re not sure whether your child is ill enough to miss out on school.

Rocking Rockstars

If your child’s in Year 3, 4, 5 or 6, they should be practising their times tables regularly at home – a little every day is best for most children. Children in Year 4 are expected to know their times tables with quick recall, and the matching division facts – check out this guide.

A good way to practise is to use Times Tables Rock Stars. The Times Tables Rock Stars website has just been updated, including:

  • intro video
  • parent guide
  • the importance of times tables
  • FAQs
  • free downloadables

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Our Christian value this half-term is...

Posted on 06 November 2023 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.

‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ Ephesians 4:32

The definition of compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is hurting, in pain, or has misfortune and is accompanied by a strong desire to help the suffering. Christians believe that Jesus is the greatest example of someone with true compassion. Not only did Jesus have compassion and heal people from physical suffering, he also showed the greatest compassion when he died on the cross for our sins.

A Junior Leadership Team member thinks this value is important because, ‘It helps you understand what they’re feeling and how to help them and then makes the school a happier place’.

It’s not always easy to show compassion, especially when we feel like the person deserves their misfortune, but we try to show compassion to all who need it whether they are the same as us or different.

Help at home!

Talk to your child about compassion.

  • How can they show sympathy for a friend?
  • Is there anyone in school who is very compassionate?
  • Talk about a time when you were compassionate or someone was compassionate towards you.

This week’s message (Friday 27 October 2023)

Posted on 27 October 2023 by Mr Roundtree

It’s our last Friday’s message of Autumn 1 half-term.

Today’s a training day in school. All the teachers across Sphere Federation have gathered together to learn more about Maths, PE and Art. They’re learning about it in a carousel of phases – Early Years and Y1,2 in one, Y3,4 in another, and Y5,6 in the third.

In last week’s message, we announced our new Junior Leadership Team. This week, we thought you might like to read some of their favourite aspects of St James’ CE Primary…

  • Eliza, Y6: ‘The teachers create a nice learning environment in the classroom and create good bonds with us.’
  • Amira, Y6: ‘I like writing because I like using lots of adventurous vocabulary. I also like Maths because we get to do loads of fun maths like quizzes.’
  • Lilly, Y5: ‘Reading is good because it’s calming. I like the class novel (Survivors: Extraordinary Tales from the Wild and Beyond) because it’s got lots of adventure stories.’
  • Lily, Y4: ‘Miss Beatson is a really, really nice teacher. She’s good at teaching Maths.’
  • Freddie, Y4: ‘My favourite subject is writing and maths. I like them because the teachers make it fun.’
  • Isla, Y3: ‘Wake Up Shake Up is great because it helps people to have a break and then learn again.’
  • Harper, Y3: ‘All the teachers help us learn. They’re nice and kind.’
  • Sophie, Y2: ‘I enjoy reading because it’s nice and relaxing.’
  • Lily, Y2: ‘The clubs are good because you can make things and take them home. I like Mr Roundtree because he’s so kind and he takes care of us all.’
  • Arthur, Y1: ‘I like writing because I like doing sentences.’
  • Olly, Y1: ‘Maths is good because I like numbers.’

These comments now feature at the foot of the homepage of our website, too.

Leeds City Council Admissions Policy – consultation

Leeds City Council is running a public consultation on the 2025/2026 admission policy for Leeds community and voluntary controlled schools. You can share your views until 4 December. Share your views.

It’s been an extra long Autumn 1 half-term – eight weeks. Lots of children are tired – a break will be welcome to relax and recuperate. We hope you’re able to enjoy a longer weekend and a great half-term break.

Bake Sale

Posted on 24 October 2023 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to everyone who baked or donated cakes for our Autumn book and bake sale last week. We raised £267.90!

Thank you to all the parents/carers who helped and the PTA for organising the event.

This week’s message (Friday 20 October 2023)

Posted on 20 October 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Miss Beatson…

This week our Living and Learning statement is ‘I take part in democratic decisions’. This is because the children took part in an important event in the life of St James’ CE Primary: Junior Leadership (JLT) elections.

The children listened to speeches from people in their class who wanted to be on the JLT and then decided on the person they believe would be a good representative this year.

The results were announced in Collective Worship today and badges were handed out.

The new JLT are:

  • Year 1: Ollie and Arthur
  • Year 2: Lily and Sophie
  • Year 3: Isla and Harper
  • Year 4: Freddie and Lily
  • Year 5: Lilly and James
  • Year 6: Amira and Eliza

    Congratulations to these children and to everybody who had a go.

    The previous JLT were fantastic at sharing their views and ideas throughout the year and being the voice for all children in their class. They had the final decision on the school charity and shared their views and opinions on our new school rules. They met with the PTA to provide ideas on how money raised can be spent in school- one idea being new lunchtime trolleys for each class.

    We’re confident that our new Junior Leadership Team will be just as helpful and enthusiastic as the last.

And one last message this week… Need any ideas for half-term?

Carnegie Great Outdoors have an activity camp happening this coming October half term at Leeds Beckett University. There are options to sign up for three days or just a single day.

Have a great weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 13 October 2023)

Posted on 13 October 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Our Living and Learning message this week has been about respecting yourself. Have a conversation at home about this. What can your child feel especially proud of at home? And at school? Share examples of you feeling proud, too. How can feeling proud and believing in ourselves help us?

Junior Leadership Team

We’ve recently launched this year’s Junior Leadership Team election process. Our Junior Leadership Team (JLT) is one of the ways that children are encouraged to take an active part in pupil voice.

The election process allows children to develop an understanding of one of the British Valuesdemocracy, with two representatives from each year group chosen democratically by their peers.

Here are some of the qualities our current Junior Leaders think are needed to be an effective JLT member:

  • use the 8Rs for learning
  • be respectful and polite
  • help others
  • be a good speaker and listener (to members of your class and in the meetings)
  • share and be confident with your ideas
  • let others speak
  • accept the views of others even if you don’t agree
  • be friendly and approachable
  • follow our school rules and make good choices in class and around school

This week’s whole school homework is all about the election and democracy, ready for the elections next Thursday 19 October.

Talking of pupil voice…

The Big Ambition

The Children’s Commissioner for England has recently launched ‘The Big Ambition’ to hear directly from children, young people, and parents across the country.

This is an opportunity to hear from all children, in every part of the country and in every setting. The survey will be used to encourage policymakers to think about children and young people’s needs, to ensure children’s voices are reflected in the decisions that will affect them in years to come.

Encourage your child to take part in The Big Ambition survey


Measles cases are rising across the country.

  • 9 out of 10 unvaccinated children can catch measles if someone in their class has it.
  • 102,000 children starting school in England are at risk of catching measles.

Check your child is up to date with their MMR vaccinations.

Measles is highly infectious and if left unvaccinated nine out of ten children in a classroom can catch the disease if just one child is infectious.


Have a happy and healthy weekend.