Latest news from around the school

Staying safe and secure in our school

Posted on 24 October 2018 by Miss Beatson

At St James’ C of E Primary School, we take safeguarding and safety very seriously. It’s important that we continue to review all our procedures, taking into account even those events that are very unlikely to occur. As part of this process, we’ll shortly practise a new procedure called ‘lockdown’.

What is a lockdown and when would we carry it out?

A lockdown procedure is a standard health and safety procedure similar to a fire drill.

Our lockdown procedure would be used when there is a threat to the safety of pupils, staff and others in the school, and when it is safer for everyone to remain in school than evacuate. The aim is to keep people safe by confining them to a secure place of safety.

We’ll practise this procedure soon.

Before we do, staff will take time to talk to pupils about lockdown procedures and explain why they are important. They will reassure pupils after the drill that they are safe, and will emphasise that practising procedures like this will make sure the school remains a happy, healthy and safe place to learn.

If you have any questions or concerns please speak to Miss Beatson or Mr Roundtree.

(Yet more) fab feedback!

Posted on 22 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

You’ll be aware that we work closely with Leeds Children’s Services to monitor how well we’re doing. We value time spent with advisors as a way to check our progress and offer us more top tips to keep getting better and better. Here are three extracts from the latest report, based on a visit where the advisor carried out two monitoring exercises:

  • a book scrutiny – closely looking at pupils’ books in Reading, Writing, Maths and Topic
  • a learning conversation – a discussion with some pupils about their learning


Under the Executive Headteacher’s astute leadership and the combined efforts of an increasingly effective senior leadership team, progress from previous visits continues apace.


Teachers should feel immensely proud of their work and ambition in raising standards at St James’.


The standard of work in pupil’s books is unrecognisable from 2-years ago and it is through the dedication, hard work and willingness of staff to respond to advice that his enabling such improvement.


Pupils of all abilities are making good progress from their September starting points in reading, writing and maths.

Homework matters

Posted on 21 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Some of you might have spotted an article in the Sunday Times today about a group of parents who have concerns about homework. As part of the article, the newspaper has carried out research on a sample of 80 schools and their homework policies, including that of Scholes (Elmet) Primary., one of our federation schools, whose policy is almost the same as our own.

Articles like this are not especially helpful, especially when they take only a very short extract from our policy: ‘At Scholes (Elmet) Primary School in Leeds parents are contacted “if homework is of a regular poor standard, or . . . regularly not handed in”, according to the website.’

First, it’s not quite accurate. Our policy says: ‘We will communicate to parents/carers if homework is of a regular poor standard, or which is regularly not handed in.’ It would be extremely rare for us to contact parents/carers specifically about homework. Typically, we would wait until parent-teacher consultations or the annual report and make a comment at that point.

Second, the article doesn’t really present the big picture. Our Homework Policy presents a clear rationale for homework, backed up by research evidence. A review of the research around homework indicates that ‘Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support…The broader evidence base suggests that short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school.’ We believe our homework tasks achieve this: Talk Time is almost entirely about developing parental involvement and support in a way that is easy to achieve – ideally sitting together over a meal, but possible even in the car or walking to school; Creative homework is designed to let children demonstrate their learning in a way that suits their own ideas and preferences, and one where families can talk about and be involved in to whatever extent they choose. These two, plus the more traditional Practice Makes Perfect homework, are always based on learning that relates directly to what is being taught in school.

The policy also promotes other activities that will enrich children’s childhood: ‘Whilst homework develops children’s learning and independence, quality family time, play and free time are also important. Homework should not prevent children from taking part in wider activities such as those offered by out-of-school clubs and other organisations. Children develop their interests and skills to the full only when parents/carers encourage them to make maximum use of the opportunities available outside school.’

Third, this article was in today’s Sunday Times. Less than four years ago, the same newspaper published a very different article:

‘One of the biggest studies of homework ever carried out proves what every parent has always told their child — knuckling down after school pays dividends. An international study of the homework patterns of 15-year-olds in 65 countries has revealed a clear link between longer homework hours and higher academic performance. “These findings should finally silence sceptics who have argued that homework is bad for youngsters, causing stress and division in families,” said Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham. He called on more schools to take homework seriously by enforcing sanctions when pupils fail to do it.’

It’s a pity that today’s article misses an opportunity to present a more balanced report, even at the expense of referring to its own previous journalism.

Our Homework Policy was developed in consultation with parents/carers. Each year, we consider carefully views expressed in our annual survey – inevitably, some parents/carers feel there is too much but the majority support the current policy.

Achievement Assembly

Posted on 19 October 2018 by Miss Beatson

Well done to all the children who received a certificate in assembly today and to all the Y3/4 children who showed their spectacular, creative homework!

Christmas Cards

Posted on 16 October 2018 by Miss Beatson

Tomorrow, your child will bring home their very own Christmas card they have designed. They will also have an order form so you can order packs of Christmas cards, gift tags, mugs or tea towels. If you would like to purchase any of these items then please complete the form and return to school with the correct payment as soon as possible.

St James' School Choir

Posted on 15 October 2018 by Mrs Rowley

Yesterday alongside four other schools, St James’ Choir sang in the Wetherby Arts Festival at St James’ Church.

The children sang “Lean on Me” in a combined choir and lead the congregation in some of their prayers. Mrs Sharp said, “I received lots of lovely comments at the end about how well the children/young people sang and how lovely it was to welcome them and their families to our Harvest Festival Service.”

The children were a credit to our school and sang their hearts out.

Achievement assembly

Posted on 12 October 2018 by Miss Beatson

Well done to all the pupils who received a certificate in achievement assembly.

Harvest Festival

Posted on 11 October 2018 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to all the parents who came along to the harvest service at St James’ Church this afternoon. The children read out their poems, readings and prayers beautifully.

Our choir will be performing at the Wetherby harvest festival this Sunday in church and as some of you may have seen, we have entered the scarecrow competition!

Here is James, the fisherman!





Open morning for prospective 2019 parents / carers

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Mrs Craggs

If you’re looking for a Reception place for your child, we’re holding our open morning on Tuesday 06 November at 9.30am. This is an opportunity for you to come and visit the school, ask any questions you may have, and be shown around by some of our Year 6 children. No appointment needed – just turn up.

Thank you...

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

…for the voluntary donations you made recently so we could go ahead with the wonderful Hobgoblin theatre shows last week.

By now, you’re child will have told you all about the great show – and hopefully gained a better understanding of the history of Britain. The show was all about…

History of Britain Logo for website

…and it fits perfectly with the Key Stage 1 and 2 Big Topic, Time Travel.

A show like this is a great way to enrich your child’s learning experience. Without your donations to subsidise the cost, we wouldn’t have been able to go ahead with this. Thank you for your support.