Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 21 July 2023)

Posted on 21 July 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This is our last message of the school year. We hope you and your child have had a good one. Thank you for all your support throughout the year – it’s always very much appreciated.

PTA Summer Fair

Thanks to everyone who attended the PTA Summer Fair last Friday – and, of course, a big thanks to the PTA for organising such a great event. £892.65 was raised – a tremendous achievement!

Talking of PTA, check out their updated website page and their 2022-23 annual report.

Extreme reading

We’re already getting some entries through for our Summer Competition this year. Here at St James’ CE Primary, we love reading and thought we’d celebrate our love of reading this year with the theme of extreme reading. Here’s a couple of pics – the first to come through from across Sphere Federation – we love them!

To enter, email your pics to by Friday 08 September. Enter ‘Summer competition’ as the subject. All entries will be displayed in school, and there are prizes for our favourites.

Talking of reading, check out the Leeds Libraries Summer Challenge.

Our school day

A reminder…

From September 2023, the school day starts at 8.45am and ends at 3.15pm every day. This is to meet the government’s expectation for a minimum school week of 32.5 hours.

In the schools white paper published in March 2022, the government announced that all mainstream, state-funded schools would be expected to deliver a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023. The white paper was subsequently abandoned. However, an email from the Department for Education this week reiterates this expectation.


The following comes from the Department for Education for all parents and carers to read.

Measles can be very serious and spreads easily. Children and adults who contract measles can end up in hospital or suffer long term health consequences. In rare cases, it can be fatal.

Measles is completely preventable with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The first dose is offered to children at 1 year of age and the second dose at 3 years and 4 months. Measles outbreaks happen when not enough children have been vaccinated and can be very disruptive in educational settings.

Schools are also encouraged to remind parents to check that their children’s vaccines are up to date. You can catch up on your MMR vaccine through your GP whatever your age.

Read more about the MMR vaccination.


Whatever you get up to, have a very happy and healthy summer. We’ll see you again on Tuesday 05 September – remember the 8.45am start!

Staff vacancy

Posted on 20 July 2023 by Mrs Quirk

We have a vacancy for a lunchtime assistant, starting September 2023, to supervise the children whilst eating and playing. Hours are 11.45am – 1.00pm, Monday to Friday.

An enhanced DBS check will be required.

Please email for an application form and further information.

From Friends of St James’ (Your PTA)...

Posted on 19 July 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week marks the end of the school year and the end of our second year running the PTA. Woo hoo!

It’s been a pleasure to arrange the fun activities and events for everyone. We hope you’ve all enjoyed them. Thank you for all your support again this year.

We’re very happy to say together this year we’ve raised £3,484.04 for school. Thank you so much for helping to make this happen.

Our aim is to raise money to fund resources and experiences that enrich the children’s education and we work closely with school to make sure we raise money for items required by school and specifically asked for by the children.

Our biggest achievement this year is the launch of St James’ Woods, our very own Forest School on school grounds. From speaking to parents and staff, we know how much the children are enjoying it and we’re delighted to be able to tell you we’ve raised enough money this year to support school to be able to run Forest School sessions all year round. So your child can expect to do a six-week block of 90-minute sessions each term. Altogether, that’s 27 hours of Forest School during one academic year. We’re so happy and proud that we can help to provide this invaluable way of learning to all at St James’.

We’ll move into next year with some new fundraising priorities – watch this space!

You can read our full annual report on the PTA page of the school website – this has recently been updated.

As always, we welcome any feedback, ideas or suggestions from you. We’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September, when we’ll discuss the year ahead and welcome any new members and volunteers. Everybody is welcome to attend, so even if you just fancy having a nosey to see what we’re all about, please come along. The more the merrier. More information to follow.

Finally, we hope you have a wonderful summer. And best of luck to all the Leavers – we hope high school is everything you want it to be.

We’ll see most of you again for more fun in September.

Many thanks

Year 6 leavers' dinner

Posted on 18 July 2023 by Miss Beatson

We’ve had a lovely dinner this evening at Ask to celebrate our fabulous Year 6s. Great company, great food and lots of ice-cream!



This week’s message (Friday 14 July 2023)

Posted on 14 July 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Miss Beatson…

As we come to the end of the school year, I’d like to reflect on what a great year we’ve had at St James’ CE Primary School.

The children and staff have worked incredibly hard and this is reflected in our end of year outcomes for our children. The highlights have been the progress made by our Reception children, the Year 1 phonics scores, KS1 SATs outcomes and our KS2 reading and writing outcomes- we’re very proud of everyone’s achievements.

Summer term has seen the opening of our fabulous forest school. Years 1 to 5 have had the opportunity to learn in the St James’ Woodland and the feedback from children, parents and staff has been so positive.

  • ‘It makes me feel happy and go out of my comfort zone.’
  • ‘I enjoyed making a slack line and a swing with ropes – we were told how to stay safe.’
  • ‘We’ve created art and made a snake hotel using a big tube and leaves for a bed!’
  • ‘I’ve enjoyed the fire – I learnt that it needs three things: air, wood and sparks. I enjoyed toasting the marshmallows too.’

We really value the benefit of forest school for the personal development and wellbeing of the children. With help from the PTA, we’ve managed to secure funding for forest school to continue for next year which means all the children in school will have the chance to attend.

We’ve also enriched the curriculum with trips to various places: Early Years visited Piglets Adventure Farm, Key Stage 1 visited Cannon Hall Farm, Key Stage 2 had fun on the beach in Filey and Year 6 went on their residential to Robinwood. These are experiences the children really enjoy and will remember forever.

This week, we’ve had the Key Stage 2 performance of Robin and the Sherwood Hoodies. The children were brilliant and we had some lovely comments from those who came to watch.

It’s also been health week this week. As part of the themed week, we had our sport’s day. Thank you to all the visitors who cheered the children on in their races (and took part themselves!). Well done to the blue team for achieving the most points overall. Check out our recently updated guide: Physical Activity. Also, make sure your child completes the health questionnaire alongside you – it’s this week’s homework.

As we come to the end of the academic year, we’re sadly saying some goodbyes. Year 6 will be leaving us to go to secondary school. I’m so proud of the Year 6 children who were in Year 1 when I first started at St James’.  It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow and mature into fantastic young people- I wish them all the best in their futures.

We also say goodbye to some members of staff: Mrs Rowley, Mrs Valentine, Mrs Payne and Miss Kay. Thank you to them all for their hard work and commitment to the children at St James’ – you will be missed.

In September, we’ll see new arrivals in our Nursery, Reception and teaching staff. We’re looking forward to welcoming them into our school community.

This year, our school chosen charity has been Cancer Research UK. Thank you for all your donations throughout the year. Some of our staff have raised money for events outside of school, too. Mrs Payne and Miss Gledhill were busy baking and selling cakes at a recent cake sale at St James’ Church and last weekend a group of staff participated in the Race for Life event in Harrogate. Miss Gledhill had a special mention on the day for being one of the top five fundraisers! Well done to all involved (and thank you if you donated).

We’ve one more week to go but I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy Summer break. We look forward to seeing the children back on Tuesday 05 September.

Reception drop-in session

Posted on 11 July 2023 by Miss Beatson

Thank you to all the parents/carers who visited our Reception classroom today to look at all the wonderful learning that the children have been doing this year. We had some lovely feedback from our visitors:

“….loves coming to school and that’s all due to the wonderfully nurturing, fun and enthusiastic staff at St James’.”

“The boys have loved this year and really enjoyed coming into school everyday. They have had so much support and have done so well.”

“We have really enjoyed all the drop ins which have given us an insight into Reception life and their learning techniques.”

“The teaching has been wonderful and …… has come on leaps and bounds. We’re all so pleased with her progress. She is very happy.”

We will continue to invite parents and carers into school next year to share the fabulous learning we do at St James’!

This week’s message (Friday 07 July 2023)

Posted on 07 July 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Happy Friday!

Big brains

A recent news article caught our eye – front page of The Times (28.06.23):

Here’s an extract from the article:

Young children who love reading grow up to be cleverer teenagers with better mental health, a study has found.

Research by Cambridge and Warwick universities found that reading a lot between the ages of two and nine was linked to better academic performance at secondary school, greater happiness and a reduced likelihood of depression, anxiety or behavioural problems.

Bookish children spent less time on their phones or watching TV. Scans revealed that they had bigger brains.

The research authors stressed the value of parents and carers ‘doing their best to awaken the joy of reading in their children at an early age’. The reaserch suggests that the ideal would be for children to read about 12 hours each week.

Talking of reading…

Extreme reading

Here at St James’ CE Primary, we love reading. Over the Summer holidays, we’ve a challenge for your child… Show us how reading-obsessed they are by sending us a pic of them reading in an extreme place or position.

Here’s someone who’s already getting stuck into some extreme reading. (can’t think who it could be!)…

To enter, email your pics to by Friday 08 September. Enter ‘Summer competition’ as the subject.

All entries will be displayed in school, and there are prizes for our favourites.

Running to raise money

Our school charity this year is Cancer Research. Lots of our staff are doing The Race For Life in Harrogate on Sunday. If you feel like donating, we’d be very grateful!


Each year, the Sphere Federation governors produce a document that outlines their work over the year. Read the 2022-23 Annual Governance Statement.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 30 June 2023)

Posted on 30 June 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from our Junior Leaders. Before this, just a wee reminder: the last few weeks of the school year are busy (annual reports, productions, sports day…) so it’s a good idea to check out our school calendar.

It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Junior Leadership Team this year.

In the Autumn term, our classes elected us to represent them at the JLT meetings and we hope we’ve done this by sharing their ideas and discussing them at JLT meetings.

At the start of the year we took on the role of reviewing the anti-bullying policy. We read through the policy and discussed some small changes. Then, we made sure that this was shared with the rest of the school and that everyone was clear on what bullying is and what we can do about it.

This was followed by the JLT deciding on a charity that school would support this year. Class nominations were brought to a meeting and we took a democratic vote. As a result, Cancer Research became our charity this year.

Another fundraising event we supported was Sports for Champions. This was an exciting day when a professional female footballer came into school. We helped Mr Freeman organise the sponsored event by helping set up activities, promote the event around school and reward children on the day.

Part of the role of a JLT, when you’re in Years 5 and 6, is to become a collective worship leader. This year, we’ve supported adults who lead worship as well as planning and leading our own worships about Eid and Holi. We really enjoyed working together as a team to present information to the rest of the school about different festivals.

Recently, we met as a JLT to share our views about changing the school rules. We discussed this at length and we all decided that our new school rules (we’re respectful, we’re ready, we’re safe) are really good because they are simple and clear to understand.

As we come to the end of term, we are hoping to raise thel ast bit of money for Cancer Research by shaking buckets at the KS2 production in a few weeks.

Junior Leadership Team

This week’s message (Friday 23 June 2023)

Posted on 23 June 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We kick off this week’s message with early news of our annual Summer competition…

Extreme reading

Here at St James’ CE Primary, we love reading. Over the coming weeks, we’ve a challenge for your child… Show us how reading-obsessed they are by sending us a pic of them reading in an extreme place or position.

For last year’s competition, we gave you a few ideas for your happy and healthy smiley faces spotted in unusual places. This year, we’re not giving you any ideas (yet!), but you’ve plenty of advance warning, so get your thinking caps on!

To enter, email your pics to by Friday 08 September. Enter ‘Summer competition’ as the subject.

All entries will be displayed in school, and there are prizes for our favourites.

Our current topic…

…is a Design and Technology one – it’s a great topic to finish the year! The focus for all classes this year is construction (next year, it’s textiles) so children are busy designing and making products.

A key aspect of the Design and Technology curriculum is the understanding that products don’t just get made. Instead, they go through a design process that includes three key elements: evaluate, design and make. Think of this process as a cycle. For example, Sphere Motors want to create a new family car. Before the car is made, they need to evaluate existing products and talk to customers so that they’re clear about what the new car needs to have. They will then design the car and evaluate those designs. They may make a prototype of the car to help them evaluate the designs. Next, they’ll decide on a final design that will go into production and get made. This finished product will be evaluated and the whole process starts again.

Years 1 and 2

Children have been exploring what makes structures stable and strong. Next, they’ll get their design brief: to design and make a new chair for Baby Bear (clumsy Goldilocks has broken it again). Children will design and make their product, using what they’ve learned about strength and stability to help them. Finally, they’ll evaluate the product by testing it and reflect on what they would change about their design to improve it.

Years 3 and 4

Children will use a construction kit called Techcard to design and make a prototype of a go-kart which must satisfy a number of design criteria. They’ll explore how to make strong structures and mechanisms using Techcard before designing and making their prototype. Finally, children will evaluate their finished product by comparing it to their design and testing whether they have achieved the design criteria.

Years 5 and 6

Children have begun the topic by learning about pioneering female designers and engineers.

They then move on to designing and making a moving vehicle which most protect Eggy the Egg in a crash. They’ll need to research and learn about the different safety features that cars use to prevent crashes and protect passengers. They’ll then establish the design criteria and design and make their vehicles. They’ll be using a range of tools and materials to make their vehicles. Finally, children will test their vehicles against each design criteria to see how successful it is. They’ll then evaluate the vehicle based on the results of the tests to suggest improvements.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning in class. You could even talk through the three key elements of the design process: evaluate, design and make (check out Sphere Motors, above).

The class news page of the school website is a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

The school library and local libraries will have some books about Design and Technology which your child will be able to borrow and develop both their reading skills and design knowledge.

Finally, there’s a lot of programmes on CBBC and CBeebies with a Design and Technology focus:

  • Bitz and Bob
  • Grace’s Amazing Machines
  • Junk Rescue
  • Maddie’s Do You Know?
  • The Dengineers

Uniform update

Each year, we review our Uniform Policy. This year, there’s only a tiny tweak about footwear to make things clearer for you: ‘choose shoes that are safe to run around for healthy, active playtimes’.

Talking of uniform, please remember a couple more points:

  • ‘Regarding jewellery, only plain stud earrings (no more than 4mm wide)…are allowed.’ We’ve started to notice more earrings that are bigger and brighter – please save those for weekends and holidays!
  • ‘Advisors recommend no earrings are worn for PE; therefore, we will ask your child to remove earrings before the lesson and put them back in after the lesson. This will be carried out by the child. If they are unable to remove or put their earrings back in by themselves, they must not wear them on the day they have PE.’ – so the start of the Summer holidays is a good time for ears to be pierced.

Thanks for your cooperation.

That’s all from us this week – enjoy a happy and healthy weekend (maybe the whole family will get up to some extreme reading!).

This week’s message (Friday 16 June 2023)

Posted on 16 June 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Hot, hot, hot! Despite the weather, there’s still loads of learning happening at St James’ CE Primary!

We start this week’s message with with an important change…

Our school day

Some time ago, the Government published a White Paper setting out various proposals which included the strong expectation that schools are open for 32.5 hours each week. Following the consultation, the White Paper was cancelled. We assumed the ‘strong expectation’ would also be no more.

Frustratingly, the expectation remains in DfE and Ofsted publications – this wasn’t clear earlier in the year.

This means we need to add five minutes to the school day. We’re going with the overall preference from the parent/carer consultation earlier in the year, which is to add the five minutes to the start of the day. This means our school day from September will be 08.45 – 3.15, every day.

I’m sorry for the confusion and change.

As always, if you’ve questions, comments or concerns, please do let me know.

Testing times

The end of the school year brings with it many assessments, some we have to do and others are to help us keep track of all our pupils’ learning.

The DfE has updated its collection of information for parents. This now includes links to all National Curriculum assessment leaflets for parents, including leaflets for the:

  • KS1 and KS2 national curriculum tests (Year 2 and Year 6 pupils)
  • reception baseline assessment (RBA)
  • phonics screening check (Year 1 pupils, and some Year 2 pupils)
  • multiplication tables check (Year 4 pupils)

In school, we really try to make sure all the assessments are as positive as possible.

Our annual survey

Thank you to everyone who completed the annual survey this year. The survey closed at noon today. We’ve had quite a small number of responses, but all were extremely positive (100% of respondents report their child is happy and feels safe at school, for example).

We’ll spend some time reviewing the responses. Just like in previous years, we’ll get in touch with any individual parent / carer in advance if they’ve raised any specific issue (as long as they’ve provided their name), and we’ll look at some of your suggestions for improvements.

Staying safe in the water

Next week is Drowning Prevention Week. Here’s a few facts to think about:

  • around 44% of accidental drownings happen between May and August
  • 62.4% of accidental drownings happen in inland water
  • accidental drownings takes an average of 402 UK & Irish Citizens every year          
  • lack of confidence and competence in water affects survival rates 
  • more than 46% never intended to be in the water

Spend some time with your child talking about staying safe in and near water.

Have a happy and healthy – and safe – weekend.