Latest news from around the school

Extreme temperatures - an update

Posted on 18 July 2022 by Mrs Quirk

We’ve coped well today in the heat, helped by moving classrooms, cool clothing and staying in at break times.

However, by mid-afternoon, it was uncomfortable around school.

The peak temperature of 38 degrees is predicted between 2.00pm and 4.00pm. Based on this, we’re suggesting a pick-up time of 1.30pm tomorrow, Tuesday 19 July, if you can.

Extreme temperatures forecast

Posted on 17 July 2022 by Mr Roundtree

We all know about the extreme temperatures forecast for the first part of next week. The Department for Education is not advising that schools close; instead they have issued guidance to schools.

Please note there is a possibility we may need to close early, or invite you to collect your child from 1.30pm. We’ll let you know if this is the case as soon as we can.

Apologies: we haven’t advised on this earlier as we’ve been waiting more guidance and continued monitoring of weather forecasts. (And a lot depends on the day: a strong breeze, like today, will help make the next couple of days bearable, if there is one.)

In case you missed Friday’s message, the guidance sets out sensible points to follow – make sure you consider each of the following:

  • make sure your child comes to school with a large bottle (it could have water previously frozen)
  • your child should wear a sun hat and loose, cool clothing (we’re relaxing the rules around school uniform – replace uniform items with things that are cooler eg open sandals rather than shoes, uniform shorts with lighter PE shorts – try to stay as smart as possible)
  • your child should be wearing Factor 50 sunblock when they arrive at school and may apply more during the day

In school, we’ll take as many actions as we can. These will include indoor lunchtimes, avoiding vigorous activity, and avoiding being in large groups in one indoor space for a longer time.

This week’s message (Friday 15 July 2022)

Posted on 15 July 2022 by Mr Roundtree

It’s our penultimate message of the year… This one’s mainly about the Summer Fayre and our recent SIAMS inspection. There are also two links to other things if you’re interested.

Before we start the message, a note about extreme temperatures forecast for the first part of next week. The Department for Education is not advising that schools close; instead they have issued guidance to schools. The guidance sets out sensible points to follow – make sure you consider each of the following:

  • make sure your child comes to school with a large bottle (it could have water previously frozen)
  • your child should wear a sun hat and loose, cool clothing (we’re relaxing the rules around school uniform – replace uniform items with things that are cooler eg open sandals rather than shoes, uniform shorts with lighter PE shorts – try to stay as smart as possible)
  • your child should be wearing Factor 50 sunblock when they arrive at school and may apply more during the day

In school, we’ll take as many actions as we can. These will include indoor lunchtimes, avoiding vigorous activity, and avoiding being in large groups in one indoor space for a longer time – this might mean we have to postpone or cancel productions.

Summer Fayre – thank you!

Thanks to everyone who cam along to the Summer Fayre last week – and a big thank you to the PTA for organising such a wonderful event. The total profit was £1203.93 – a magnificent achievement! PTA say: ‘We are so thankful for all of the parents/carers support and we hope you enjoyed it’ – we certainly did!

The school’s vision of creating a ‘happy and healthy place to achieve and believe’ is passionately lived out by the entire school community.

We’re really proud of our recent SIAMS inspection!

SIAMS stands for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools – all church schools in England are regularly inspected, mainly to evaluate the extent to which church schools are ‘distinctively and recognisably Christian’. We were last inspected in 2022 and were judged to be good. Read the report.

Highlights include…

Leaders value and believe in each and every member of this community and the nurturing support they provide for individual parents, pupils and staff is transformational.

The vision lies at the heart of the school’s ambitious curriculum, which inspires pupils to believe that they can flourish and achieve.

The school’s vision of creating a ‘happy and healthy place to achieve and believe’ is passionately lived out by the entire school community.

Through his inspirational example of servant leadership, the head of federation is transforming this school, day by day, into a place where everyone is nurtured and supported to enable them to live ‘life in all its fullness’.

The head of school has worked tirelessly since her appointment to develop the school’s partnership with parents and carers. Exceptional care and support have been provided for individual parents when needed

Leaders and staff know each child and parent as an individual and they are therefore able to quickly recognise any barriers or challenges their families may be facing.


Governing bodies aren’t required to produce an annual report; however,  Sphere Federation governors believe communicating with our school community is important. Check out their annual governance statement.

Summer Fun

Breeze is for all children and young people aged 0-19 from Leeds (and their families) who are looking for positive things to do. Although Breeze is run by Leeds City Council, the information they list comes from all sorts of organisations and partners working positively with children, young people and their families in Leeds, not just the council. Check out the 27 days of fun: Breeze in the Park.

Have a good weekend. Next week, look out for the return of our Summer competition!

This week’s message (Friday 08 July 2022)

Posted on 07 July 2022 by Mr Roundtree

It’s a busy time of year in school. Sports day, productions, reports… This week, you should have received an end-of-year report for your child – if you haven’t, please let us know.

At this time of year, you might be already thinking about uniform for next year. This week’s message starts with a reminder that we’ve updated our school uniform policy

School uniform

Due to a recent change in guidance about school uniformwe’ve recently updated our school uniform policy.

Wearing a school uniform brings with it many benefits, and everyone following the policy brings a sense of fairness.

There’s no change as to what uniform is required in our policy: as has always been the case, branded items are available, but they’re optional. As well as having at least three suppliers for branded items (with different price ranges), you’re able to purchase generic items from a range of retailers, giving you choice and value for money. Second hand uniform items can also benefit parents / carers and, by extending the life of items, are more sustainable. Some items may be available in school (unclaimed and unnamed lost property at the end of term) or at the Leeds School Uniform Exchange.  Check out the website for more information on suppliers and the policy.

We do expect all children to follow this policy, including wearing the correct kit on PE days.

Thank you for supporting us with this.


Last week’s message mentioned TikTok. Here’s an extract from a weekly email we receive from a safeguarding expert:

A few days ago I spent a rather disturbing half-an-hour on TikTok… Clicking in to TikTok Live was worse than I had thought it would be… there were a number of video streams that I think should concern us from a safeguarding perspective. Livestreams from the school bus, school playgrounds and even from tutor time in classrooms. There was even a group of primary aged boys trying to out-swear each other while they waited for the bell.

Check out these parents’ guides: one from Common Sense Media and one from Internet Matters.

Some summer reading

You might like to read the latest edition of Raring2go. It’s got lots of ideas for the Summer holidays.

Some summer support 

The approach to providing free school meals during holidays has changed in line with government guidance. 

As a result of this change in government guidance, Leeds City Council has decided to support those households in receipt of council tax support. This will include most households receiving free school meals but this will no longer be the driver of eligibility. More detail on how the council is spending the funding can be found here.

Anyone in urgent need of support for food, rent and other household bills can contact the Leeds Welfare Support Team. Details are available at: Help with food and bills ( The Healthy Holidays scheme will also continue to provide support during the summer holidays to those most in need.

The forecast is looking good… Have a happy and healthy weekend!

This week’s message (Friday 01 July 2022)

Posted on 01 July 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Our message this week is a short one, but an important one. We know we send lots of messages about online safety, but please do take on board what we’re saying – this year, we’ve experienced more issues, and more serious issues, than ever before.

Ofcom recently published a report looking at media useattitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 3-17. It also includes findings on parents’ views about their children’s media use, and how parents of children and young people aged 3-17 monitor and manage their children’s use.

The summary of key points (below) comes from a safeguarding email we receive each week in school. The bold text is from us:

  • Children were more likely to experience being bullied via technology than face-to-face: 84% of 8-17s said they had been bullied this way (ie via text or messaging, on social media, in online games, through phone or video calls, or via other apps and sites).
  • Nearly all children went online in 2021 (99%); the majority used a mobile phone (72%) or tablet (69%) to do so.
  • Using video-sharing platforms (VSPs) such as YouTube or TikTok was the most popular online activity among children aged 3-17 (95%).
  • Among all types of online platforms, YouTube was the most widely used by children; 89% used it, compared to half using TikTok. But TikTok was more popular than YouTube for posting content.
  • A majority of children under 13 had their own profile on at least one social media app or site; 33% of parents of 5-7s said their child had a profile, and 60% of 8-11s said they had one. This is despite the minimum age for most social platforms being 13.
  • Just four in ten parents of 3-17s knew the minimum age requirement for using most social media; 42% correctly said 13. Four in ten parents of 8-11-year-olds said they would allow their child to use social media (38%).
  • Six in ten children aged 3-17 played games online in 2021, increasing to three-quarters of 12 – 17s.
  • More than a third of 8-17s who gamed online played with people they didn’t know (36%); overall, 16% of 8-17s chatted to people they didn’t know, via the messaging/ chat functions in games. You wouldn’t let your child play out with random strangers – for the same reasons, talk to you child about who they may be chatting with online.

Check out our online safety tips.

As always, if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, do speak with us.

Have a good weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 24 June 2022)

Posted on 24 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to everyone who responded to this year’s annual survey. We’ll spend the next few weeks reviewing the responses and building in some action points to our School Improvement Plan.

This week’s message comes from Miss Beatson, who writes about our Junior Leadership Team…

This year, the JLT have had a busy time taking on various responsibilities in school. Here are a few highlights:

At the beginning of the year, they had an important job of reading and checking the anti-bullying policy. They decided to tweak it a little bit and it now reads as ‘Bullying is when you hurt someone physically or emotionally in person or online, several times on purpose. You must start telling other people.’
The biggest fundraiser of the year, the sponsored maths challenge, was first suggested in a JLT meeting. They did a great job of organising and promoting the event. We hope to do this again next year!
Another great suggestion from one of the JLT led to Year 5 and 6 having regular reading sessions with Reception children. This continued to happen throughout the year and promoted a love of reading.
We have been reviewing our Christian values and the JLT were asked for their opinions on our current values and if they would change any. They’ve made some good suggestions for some new values – watch this space!
Thank you to all the representatives of the JLT for all their hard work and commitment this year.

Potato picking

Posted on 21 June 2022 by Miss Beatson

Mrs Small, Mr Atkins and some children have been busy tidying up our garden. They came across lots of potatoes that were planted last year. So many potatoes were collected that we used them to make a potato salad which was made available on the salad bar at lunchtime for everyone- delicious!

This week’s message (Friday 17 June 2022)

Posted on 17 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

To kick off this week, do check out this exciting event happening in Leeds: Little Amal has travelled over 8,000km and is in Leeds on Monday evening.

This week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads on Science and foundation subjects across Sphere Federation…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg history, art, geography…). 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 will be 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.

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

What is this half-term’s topic?

Design and Technology is the driving subject for this half-term and it’s a great topic to finish the year! The focus for all classes this year is textiles (next year, it’s construction), so your child will be busy designing and making products using fabric.

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.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. See page 17 and 18 of our Curriculum Statement.

Years 1 and 2

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a hand puppet. They’ll start by learning about the design process before looking at and evaluating existing hand puppet products. They’ll then learn to use an over stitch and practise threading needles and tying knots. Following this, they’ll be introduced to all the materials they can use to create their puppet. Once they’re familiar with the materials, they’ll design their puppet. Next, it’s on to the making stage. They’ve already honed their sewing skills so they should be confident making and then decorating their puppets according to their designs. Finally, it’s evaluation time: children will compare their designs to their finished products. They’ll reflect on successes and things they’d do differently next time.

Years 3 and 4

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a pouch. The function of this pouch is entirely up to them. It could be used to store some pens, trading cards, a shell collection. Children can be as creative as they like – as long as the pouch can be made using a 23cm² piece of felt!

Before they begin to design their pouch, they’ll learn about a famous designer and how they became a designer. They’ll also learn some important skills that a designer needs. Children will then evaluate existing pouches, with a focus on fastenings, and will then design their pouch. They’ll practise their sewing skills, becoming proficient using a running stitch. They’ll then begin to make their pouches. First, they’ll create a template which they’ll use to cut out the pieces. Next, they’ll join the pieces using their running stitch and create a fastening for their pouch. Finally, they’ll evaluate their designs by comparing them to their designs, testing whether they’re fit for purpose and reflecting on their successes and areas to improve.

Years 5 and 6

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a cushion. Before they get stuck into their cushion, they’ll learn about some designers who changed the world: Isambard Kingdom Brunel, George Stephenson, Lewis Latimer and Jony Ive. They’ll learn about their creations and their impact and look for things that link the designers. Following this, children will learn about the importance of design criteria when designing a product. After this, they’ll be practising their sewing skills and learn how to sew using a backstitch. Next, they’ll evaluate existing cushions. They’ll then decide on the specific design criteria for their cushions and create their designs using an annotated sketch, detailing the dimensions of their product. They’ll learn about the importance of using sustainable materials when researching the filling used for their cushion (the plan is to use old, unwanted pieces of fabric to stuff the cushions rather than Polyfill so please have a look through your wardrobe and keep hold of any old t-shirts or other clothes as we’ll need them later in the half-term).

Children will use a template to cut out the shapes, use a backstitch to add decoration to their cushion before finally sewing the pieces together and stuffing them. The final stage is to evaluate the designs against the design criteria.

Help at home

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.

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 are 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

A SIAMS inspection

Posted on 16 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Today in school, we were happy to welcome an inspector for SIAMS – this is the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools. We were last inspected in 2015 – read more about this inspection here.

This was an opportunity to demonstrate all the happy and healthy things we do here at St James’ – happy and healthy learning, happy and healthy playing, happy and healthy achieving and believing.

Thank you to the parents who spoke with the inspector first thing today.

And thank you to all of you for continuing to support our school.

We’ll be able to let you know the outcome of the inspection, and publish a copy of the report, by the end of the school year.

This week’s message (Friday 10 June 2022)

Posted on 10 June 2022 by Mr Roundtree

And we’re into the last half-term of the year – we hope you and your family had a good half-term break. This week’s message has just two parts: a reminder to complete the annual survey and some important news about classes and teachers next year.

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).

Complete the St James’ CE Primary survey here.

(It’s worth bearing in mind that 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.)

Staffing in 2022-23

It’s all change at St James’! In September, there will be quite a few staffing changes…

In July, we’ll be saying goodbye to Mrs Wood in Reception who’ll be going to teach at Moortown Primary School (one of the schools in Sphere Federation). Mrs Wood has been at St James’ for three years and has done a magnificent job in Early Years; I know the children and parents who’ve had Mrs Wood will agree.

Mrs Flynn in Year 1/2 is also moving on, this time to Scholes (Elmet) Primary (another Sphere Federation school). Mrs Flynn has been at St James’ this year and also taught in Reception at St James’ a few years ago. Mrs Flynn has been fantastic in Year 1/2 and the class have made great progress with her as the class teacher.

Mrs Boulton, our Nursery teacher, will be moving to Moortown Primary School. Mrs Boulton has worked hard to create a space where the Nursery children have thrived – she will be missed, too.

Mr Mills is also moving on. He currently teaches the Y5,6 class on Fridays, but is leaving to continue to expand his successful sports coaching business.

We’re excited and proud to welcome new teachers, too…

  • Nursery: Miss Ward will be the new Nursery teacher; she currently teaches at Scholes.
  • Reception: Mrs Payne will be the new Reception teacher. Some children and parents will already know Mrs Payne: she currently teaches in Year 3 on Thursday and Friday.
  • Year 1: Mrs Rowley will returning from maternity leave and join Mrs Palmer in Year 1.
  • Year 2: We welcome a new teacher, Miss Kay, in Year 2.
  • Year 3: Miss Gledhill, currently teaching in Year 4, will be the class teacher.
  • Year 4: Mrs Freeman will move up with her current Year 3 class into Year 4 and Mrs Valentine will be the other Year 4 class teacher.
  • Year 5,6: After being the Y5/6 teacher for five years, Miss Beatson will be coming out of class. Mr Freeman (currently a teacher at Scholes and previously a football coach at St James’, too) will be the full-time Y5/6 teacher.

On Thursday 14 July, we’ll be having a transition afternoon where the children will meet their new teacher and visit their new classroom.

As always, if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, please do speak with us. Have a good weekend.