Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 12 May 2023)

Posted on 12 May 2023 by Mr Roundtree

A short message from us this week…

Well done to all our Year 6 pupils this week – they’ve been doing their SATs, the end of Key Stage 2 assessments. They’ve coped really well, despite some of the papers being reported as challenging.

A particular well done to one pupil in the federation who’s shown great determination and resilience by doing the tests whilst in hospital – impressive determination, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Our annual survey

Every year, we invite you to complete a short survey. Your views matter. They help to shape what we do in the forthcoming year(s).

Like last year, this year’s survey features a series of questions closely related to what Ofsted might ask parents during an inspection.

Complete the St James’ CE Primary survey here. We’ll send a few reminders before the closing date, which is Friday 16 June.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you raise in the survey something very specific that needs to be addressed, we can’t easily act on this without your child’s name. In fact, the survey isn’t the best place to raise individual, specific concerns – hopefully, you’re comfortable to speak with Miss Beatson or a class teacher about these instead.

Finally, a quick reminder that Monday is a training day so school is closed. See you all on Tuesday.

A visit from the Mayor of Wetherby

Posted on 05 May 2023 by Miss Beatson

Today, we welcomed the Mayor of Wetherby, Councillor Neil O’Byrne, to St James’ . The Junior Leadership Team joined the Mayor as he officially opened our new woodland area. The Mayor has donated £100 towards our wonderful forest school which has paid for resources such as hammocks, gloves, rakes and much more. It has been our second week of forest school and the children are having a fantastic time learning outdoors.

Thank you to the PTA for their continued support with this great initiative and thank you to the Mayor of Wetherby for his support and kind donation.

This week’s message (Friday 05 May 2023)

Posted on 05 May 2023 by Mr Roundtree

May’s always a busy time in school with statutory assessments beginning. Today, we’ve also had activities linked to the coronation.

Our message today has three short pieces of news…

Stress-free SATs

Next week, Year 6 pupils have their end-of-key stage assessments – their SATs. Check out these seven top tips to support your child doing the SATs. (They’re useful for lots of children, lots of the time, too!)


Because of the coronation, all the Year 6 tests are one day later than normal. This means that our original training day, originally scheduled for Friday 12 May, is now Monday 15 May. We’re closed on this day.


‘Neurodiversity’ describes the different ways that people’s brains develop. Everyone’s brain is unique but the majority of us have similar brains to others. Our brains affect how we experience the world around us and how we react to it. Neurodiversity includes neurotypical and neurodivergent people. Neurodivergence describes people whose brains have developed differently, including autistic people and those with ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, developmental language disorder and Tourette syndrome. The list of neurodivergent brain types is ever changing as we learn more.

NHS MindMate has recently launched a great website with loads of really helpful information, tips and advice – check it out.

Whatever you get up to this weekend, enjoy a happy and healthy – and longer – weekend!

St James' Woodland

Posted on 29 April 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Today, Born of the Forest came to St James’ and the children in Years 3, 4 and 5 explored our woodland – check it out…

Each Friday, children will continue to learn with the forest school – please ensure your child is dressed appropriately to spend 90 mins outdoors, whatever the weather!

This week’s message (Friday 28 April 2023)

Posted on 28 April 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is about this half-term’s topic…

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.

Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.

This half-term, we’re historians. We’ll develop our understanding of people and events in Britain and the wider world.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary. (See pages 29 and 30 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 will learn about two significant individuals who stood up for something they believed in. Nelson Mandela is famous across the world for his devotion to equal rights for black people in South Africa.  Leonora Cohen was a suffragette from Leeds who fought passionately for the right to vote for women. Children will learn about what they believed in, what they did and the impact that they had. They’ll also consider what they believe strongly about and how they can make a change.

The key concept that children will learn about in this history topic is inequality.

Years 3 and 4

In this topic, children learn about the Leeds West Indian Carnival. They’ll learn about the carnival’s founder, Arthur France, and how he came to Leeds from the West Indies. They’ll learn about how Arthur and friends started the carnival. They’ll then use a range of historical sources to study how the carnival has changed and how it has stayed the same. Children will finally learn about the origins of West Indian carnivals by learning about slavery and the slave trade.

The key concepts for this topic are trade, inequality and power.

Years 5 and 6

In this topic, children learn about what life was like in Britain during World War II. Children will begin by learning about how the war began. They’ll then learn about the mass evacuation of Jewish children from Germany to Britain. Next, they’ll learn about the Blitz and the evacuation of British children from towns and cities to the countryside. They’ll then learn about the role of women. Finally, they’ll investigate life after the war. They’ll learn about how the opportunities for women narrowed again and also the important role that immigration from Commonwealth countries played in helping Britain to rebuild after the war.

The key concepts for this topic are invasion, inequality and power.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they have been learning in class. The class news pages of the school website 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.

Visit Abbey House Museum as they have some artefacts relating to suffragettes and Leonora Cohen – it’s also a great visit, regardless of which period children are learning about. Leeds residents also get free access to nearby Kirkstall Abbey which is great to explore on a sunny day.

Leonora Cohen also has a blue plaque on a house she lived in on Clarendon Road in Woodhouse. Your teacher would love to see a selfie of you with her plaque!

Nelson Mandela Gardens in Millennium Square commemorates Mandela’s visit to Leeds when he has presented with the Freedom of the City. It’s a small, calm space well worth visiting if you’re in the city centre.

On Monday 01 May, you can book tickets to an illustration workshop at Harewood House with Kate Pankhurst, the author of the Fantastically Great Women books.

For World War II, Eden Camp is a great visit. Also in North Yorkshire is Yorkshire Air Museum which will be of particular interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the planes used during the war.  A bit closer is the Royal Armouries museum which has weapons and armour from a wide variety of time periods and places around the world.

Finally, it’s a little while away but a visit to the Leeds West Indian Carnival in August will give children the opportunity to experience the event in real life.

King's Coronation 2023

Posted on 27 April 2023 by Mr Roundtree

The coronation of King Charles III is approaching and what better way to celebrate this historical event in style than with a crown competition!

Your child will be coming home with a crown template they can decorate any way they like – they could use felt tips, glitter, stickers, gems…anything!

We’ll all be taking part in a whole school royal parade on Friday 5th May. Plus, they’ll be prizes to celebrate the most ornately decorated crowns so be sure to have your crown in school to be in with a chance of winning a prize!



This week’s message (Friday 21 April 2023)

Posted on 21 April 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you had a happy and healthy Spring break.

Industrial action

First, in case you missed an earlier message this week, is some advance warning about the forthcoming industrial action.

The National Education Union (NEU) has announced planned strike action for Thursday 27 April and Tuesday 02 May.

St James’ CE Primary has previously remained open and been largely unaffected by the industrial action. It seems likely that this will be the case again.

However, as was the case previously, we’re not in a position to guarantee this because all workers, including teachers, have the right to take industrial action without prior notice. It would be advisable to prepare for some disruption on the days listed here just in case.

We’ll continue to keep you informed.

Class trips

Thank you very much for your responses to the recent survey about class trips. The feedback has been really helpful. The key message we’ve received is that you’re very keen for school trips to happen more regularly and that you see a lot of value in them:

  • ‘I think they are an important part of the curriculum to enhance learning and make connections with the real world. They also form a memorable part of school. In summary, an invaluable experience.’
  • ‘Great that these are coming back following the pandemic.  Thank you for putting time and energy into making these a possibility again. In terms of the regularity of class trips, the vast majority of people would like there to be more than one trip per year. We’ll aim to offer two class visits per year, but this does depend on receiving enough voluntary contributions from all parents/carers.

You also gave us a variety of other feedback and suggestions which we’ll consider. Examples of useful points raised include scheduling trips on a Monday or Friday if classes need parent helpers; a memorable visit doesn’t have to be something new or expensive or a long distance away; and weekly direct debits to build up contributions – we’ll ponder over your suggestions as well as start putting in place a schedule of trips across all year groups.

Attendance matters

For the year so far, up to the Easter holiday, the whole-school attendance rate is 91.7%.

This is lower than the national figures for the same period: 92.4% for all schools and 63.9% for primary schools.

Our assessments show a simple picture: the higher the attendance rate, the better the learning.

Not only that, children with good attendance get a chance to socialise with their friends – they’re happier and healthier.

For their sake, please make sure your child attends school as much as they can.

Enjoy the weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 31 March 2023)

Posted on 31 March 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We’ve reached the end of the Spring term – the longer evenings are so welcome!

Top talent

A fun night was had by all at St James’ Got Talent Show on Wednesday. There were some fantastic acts: jokes, singing, skipping, impressions, karate, ballet and much more. It was wonderful to see the children show off their talents and skills – I was blown away by their confidence.

Thank you to all the parents who attended to support their children and thank you to the staff who made it all happen.

Positive relationships

A few months ago, we asked you for feedback about our current Positive Relationships Policy. A big thanks to those of you who sent in your comments. Since then, we’ve also consulted with our Junior Leadership Team, governors and staff. All the views have been carefully considered.

Our updated policy has various changes, the main one being new school rules – shorter and more positive. We’ll launch the new rules in the Summer 2 term – a gradual change to allow staff and pupils to get used to them ready for the new school year in September.

Check out the updated policy. We’re happy to hear your views and will continue to review and respond.

Special educational needs and disabilities

Leeds SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice Support Service) host virtual information sessions which aim to provide parents and carers with information, advice and support on SEND topics. There are three virtual information sessions coming up – check them out and book a place.

I hope you’ve got some happy and healthy plans for the Easter break – whatever you do, enjoy it!

This week’s message (Friday 24 March 2023)

Posted on 24 March 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is from Miss Beatson…

Spring term is always my favourite: the brighter get-ups, more opportunity to be outside, and it’s the time in the academic year where we see children start to make great progress.

This half term, the children have been learning about Computing. It’s been impressive to hear children from Year 1 upwards talking about algorithms, coding and programming. We had a Topic Review this week where parents and carers came into the classroom to discover more about all the great Computing learning that has been happening. Here are some of the positive comments:

  • ‘Really excellent covering of the topic- the class enjoyed it and they were encouraged to participate well.’
  • ‘Really enjoyed this session. It was clear the children had learnt a lot and were so engaged.’
  • ‘It is a great topic. Totally encourage the use of technology for education.’

This term has also seen the start of our new Design Technology: Cooking curriculum. Years 1 and 2 have made overnight oats with fruit and yoghurt; Years 3 and 4 cooked some delicious tomato bruschetta; and Years 5 and 6 have cooked pasta bake with lots of vegetables. Hopefully, they’ll be able to re-create these healthy recipes at home, too! More wonderful creations will take place next term, too.

In recent weeks, some of you may have noticed that Mr Freeman, who teaches in Year 5/6, hasn’t been at school. Mr Freeman has been very poorly and unable to teach but we’re hoping he’ll be well enough to come back at some point in the Summer term. I know the children are missing him very much and I know he’s really missing being at school. We wish him all the best in a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Miss Wilson (a teacher from Moortown Primary School), Mrs Bald and I are teaching the class in Mr Freeman’s absence.

Next week, we have a few end of term events:

  • Monday 27 March: PTA bake sale after school. Please bring in your donations on Monday morning.
  • Wednesday 29 March: Easter Service 2-2.45pm at St James’ Church.
  • Friday 31 March: PTA Easter Hunt (this is in school time and just the children will be involved).

Finally, thanks to everyone who responded to the survey about class trips which closed at 12 noon today – we had over 260 responses from the three Sphere Federation schools. We’ll be reviewing the responses which will help inform how we develop a long-term plan for the trips.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Staff vacancies at St James'

Posted on 22 March 2023 by Mrs Quirk