News

Latest news from around the school

Momo is a hoax

Posted on 04 March 2019 by Mr Roundtree

As you may be aware by now, the concerns around Momo are unfounded: Momo is a hoax. There is no evidence to say that any of the claims are true. Taken from Saturday’s Guardian:

A private company that provides schools with internet safety material has insisted it behaved responsibility by issuing factsheets on the Momo challenge hoax, despite concerns it may have exacerbated the panic surrounding the issue.

National Online Safety produced a factsheet entitled “What parents need to know about Momo”, which many UK schools sent home with children.

The guidance offered straightforward advice on internet safety but also quoted media reports about the Momo challenge in which a “scary doll-like figure reportedly sends graphic violent images, and asks users to partake in dangerous challenges like waking up at random hours and has even been associated with self-harm”.

Children’s charities have said well-intentioned warnings from schools about a seemingly non-existent threat may have inadvertently caused young people to be genuinely scared by what was previously a hoax.

We’re sorry for our part in this. We alerted you last week to the Momo challenge, and we also sent out the factsheet.

Alongside this, however, we did provide some advice that remains really important:

  • Ensure you know what your child can access online
  • Ensure your child understands the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know
  • Tell your children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do
  • Use parental controls to keep your child safe

Who's talking to your child online?

Posted on 26 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

If you were to glance outside your home and saw your child talking with someone, you’d want to know who. What about who they’re talking to online (even if they’re gaming).

West Yorkshire Police has teamed up with the NSPCC, Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in West Yorkshire to encourage parents and carers to have a five minute chat with children to keep them safe online. The following comes from their website:

A quick discussion with young people about the sites and apps they are using and the people they are talking to online, could help protect them from any potential cyber criminals.

The internet can be an amazing place for children, so they shouldn’t be discouraged from using it, but parents should remind them that people may not always be who they say they are, and they should talk to their parents about what they are doing online.

It can seem daunting for some parents, trying to keep up with the latest technology that their children are using, so the following websites and helplines can offer simple, practical advice on how to keep everyone safe online:

  • NSPCC and O2 helpline – If you have a question about parental controls or concern about a social network that your child uses, expert advisors are available on the free helpline – 0808 8005002

  • Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership

  • CEOP

Please be aware...

Posted on 26 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

…of a current craze that seems to be spreading online. Read the full BBC news story here.

Momo is a doll figure with bulging eyes and a creepy grin who targets young children on social media.

The doll encourages them to add a contact on messaging service WhatsApp, then hounds them with violent images and dares. It encourages them to self-harm and the ultimate post tells them to take their own lives.

Police say they’re concerned that Momo may be run by hackers who are looking for information.

Their advice to parents/carers matches ours:

  • Ensure you know what your child can access online
  • Ensure your child understands the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know
  • Tell your children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do
  • Use parental controls to keep your child safe

Our Christian value this half-term is...

Posted on 25 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

forgiveness.

Why did the Church Council choose this Christian value? ‘Because Jesus forgives his disciples. Jesus died on the cross.’ (Year 4 Church Council member)

Sometimes, we accidentally break things that belong to ourselves or others. Sometimes, we use something so much it wears out. Some things that are broken can’t be mended, but it’s often possible to mend things that we’ve broken. When you fall out with one of your friends, you can’t mend that friendship with a needle and thread, or some Sellotape, or Superglue, or a puncture kit, or a sticking plaster.

This half term, we’ll learn all about forgiveness and hear stories from the Bible to help us.

Home challenge:

Discuss as a family: Why is it important to forgive? The quotes here may be a good starting point for your discussion; do you agree?

  • ‘The first to apologise is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.’
  • ‘Forgiveness is an act of inner kindness and expression of love.’

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

Safe searching?

Posted on 25 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

Are you confident that your child searches the internet in a safe way? You might have filters set on your internet, and you might have a rule where your child is only inline in the same room as you.

If your child has their own laptop or tablet, you might also want to consider changing the default search engine to

Kiddle is powered by Google and is described by them as a ‘Safe visual search engine for kids’.

Parent-teacher meetings

Posted on 19 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to all of you who attended the parent-teacher meetings last week – it’s always good to see so many supporting their child’s learning.

In the last year or so, one or two governors attend the evenings in order to gather the views of parents and carers. This can provide some useful, independent feedback on how well we’re doing and how we can keep getting better and better. Governors write up a report; here are some of the comments from the report from the evening of Thursday 14 February:

  • All the parents felt that their children were very safe at school.
  • Most parents were unable to tell me anything that they thought the school could improve upon.
  • It seems as if the school is slowly becoming the school of choice in the area… A number of parents told me that they were recommending St James to other parents.
  • Most parents liked the atmosphere in the small school and felt it was good that everybody knew everybody else.
  • Parents continue to mention how much things had improved under the new leadership.
  • Communications are good. Parents like getting the newsletters in both electronic and hard form.
  • Parents of EYFS children felt especially ‘in the know’ about exactly what was being taught.

Fab feedback

Posted on 12 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

At St James’ CE Primary, we regularly seek the views of others. Last month, we let you know about feedback from a Leeds Health and Safety Advisor (news article on 31 January 2019, deriving from a Health and Safety inspection) and a Leeds Early Years Advisor (news article on 15 January 2019, deriving from a visit to the Early Years class).

In January, we also collected the views of staff for the second time in recent years. We asked staff to complete a survey with questions that Ofsted use during inspections (very much like the survey we ask parents and carers to complete in the Summer term). The survey was completed by ten staff (in any role – premises staff, lunchtime supervisors, teachers, teaching assistants…). Here are some key findings:

100% of staff agree that our school has improved since it was last inspected, with 86% believing the school has improved a lot. (These percentages exclude three staff members who are new to school and can’t comment on improvements since the inspection). Comments include: ‘Massive improvement. Staff morale is so much better.’ and ‘Much better – more consistency and support, much better atmosphere around school, and a team ethos.’

We’re really proud that in other statements, 100% of the staff who responded agreed with the following statements:

  • Pupils are safe in our school, with 80% strongly agreeing.
  • Leaders support staff well in managing behaviour.
  • Leaders do all they can to ensure the school has a motivated, respected and effective staff.
  • St James’ Primary is well-led and managed.
  • I feel well supported working in this school.
  • Leaders and managers are considerate of my well-being: ‘Leaders are supportive and understanding when there are problems in a teacher’s personal life and make sure to check in on teachers.’
  • Being in a federation benefits me/my role in school.

Of the four remaining statements (such as ‘Being in a federation benefits this school.’), no staff member disagreed but one or two expressed no views as to whether they agreed or not.

Finally, we asked for any strengths and areas for further improvement…

Strengths

We asked staff to comment in an open-ended question about the strengths of our school. Some of the many strengths they mentioned are:

  • ‘Great staff and caring ethos.’
  • ‘Staff work well together as a team.’
  • ‘Pastoral care and senior leadership.’
  • ‘Dedicated teachers and parent partnership.’
  • ‘Absolutely amazing head of school. She is so supportive. I feel that my role at school is greatly appreciated.’
  • ‘Promoting positive behaviour and Christian values.’
  • ‘The effort and team playing of staff which is resulting in better results for children.’
  • ‘The federation which we’re part of.’

Next steps

We’re always wanting to keep getting better and better. There were far fewer suggestions for areas to develop, but, based on the survey, our next steps are to keep improving behaviour management for all staff and to keep developing positive partnerships with parents / carers that help to support the pupils in our school.

Thank you to all staff who support our school, with special thanks to those who completed the survey.

Screen time - an update

Posted on 12 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

On 04 January, we published a news article called Screen time – to limit or not to limit? which in itself stemmed from a news article Worry less about children’s screen use, parents told.

During the week, the Chief Medical Officer for the UK, published guidance on screen-based activities. The media was full of headlines about screen bans. This wasn’t quite accurate.

The guidance itself had an infographic which helps you think about the challenges of managing their children’s screen use. Amongst other things, it includes advice on sleep, meal times and using features on a phone to restrict time spent on it. It’s also prompts you to consider things you might otherwise overlook – walking and using a phone at the same time, for example.

It’s a short, easy, sensible read – it might even be useful to help you work with your child to set ground rules as to how much time they’re online.

Attendance matters

Posted on 10 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

A few months ago, the Department for Education published updated guidance materials for schools about attendance: School attendance: Guidance for maintained schools, academies, independent schools and local authorities (September 2018).

Here’s an extract from the guidance (the bold text is from us; it’s not in the original text):

Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential is an assumption so widely understood that it is insufficiently stated – pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school.

The government expects:

Schools and local authorities to:

  • Promote good attendance and reduce absence, including persistent absence;
  • Ensure every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled; and,
  • Act early to address patterns of absence.

Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly.

All pupils to be punctual to their lessons.

You’ll be aware that we try to promote good attendance in lots of ways, including the Amazing Attendance competition and regular updates on attendance in newsletters. Thanks to you for fulfilling your side of this expectation: to ensure your child attends school regularly.

Amazing attendance competition

Posted on 06 February 2019 by Mrs Craggs

Amazing attendance competition

Good attendance remains high on the agenda at our school.

  • A child with 90% attendance has missed four whole weeks of school in a year.
  • Over six years of primary school, a child with 90% attendance will have missed 24 weeks of learning – that’s almost two thirds of a year.
  • Good attendance enables your child to develop strong friendships at school, leading to a happy and healthy person.

Next half-term, we’re running an Amazing attendance competition !

If your child has 98% attendance or above over the course of Spring 2 half-term and up to the Easter weekend (from 25 February to 18 April inclusive), they will be entered in to a prize draw to win a £20 ASK voucher.

There will be two vouchers: one voucher for Early Years/Key Stage 1 and one voucher for Key Stage 2.

Help your child to be the best that they can be and do everything you can to make sure they attend school on time every day!