News

This week’s message (Friday 30 September 2022)

Posted on Friday 30 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Our message this week is an important one because it’s all about reading. The message comes from Mrs Latham (our Phonics and Early Reading Leader) and Mr Catherall (our acting Reading Leader, covering a maternity).

Early Reading and Phonics

We’ve started the year as we mean to go on – reading! Our Reception children have started Phonics lessons already – they’re rapidly acquiring the skills to become readers. We use the government validated systematic synthetic phonics scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

Children in Year 1 and Year 2 have also got back into Phonics lessons quickly. The lessons happen every day and last half an hour (Reception children build up to this over time). In these lessons, children are taught how a letter or letters (graphemes) match to sounds (phonemes).

We also have reading practice groups for children to use and apply their phonics skills. These are small group sessions, led by an adult, where children read a book that’s matched to the phonics phase for the children in that group. The time to do this has been made available by moving to allocating e-books for children. The e-books are essential for children to share their phonics reading success at home. Please make sure you hear your child read the e-book every week.

Year 1 or 2 children who have secure phonic knowledge will begin to access a wider variety of books in school and to take home.

Children will also take a sharing book home to develop a love of reading. These books are to enjoy together and read for pleasure. Enjoy stories, predict what might happen and use different voices for the characters. Information books (non-fiction) can also be so much fun to share – finding out facts and discussing new information. Above all – make it fun!

Our recent reading workshop explains phonics and early reading in more detail.

Key Stage 2

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

Should my child be reading at home?

In Sphere Federation schools, we insist that children read at home. Failure to do so would mean that children are missing out on the numerous benefits of reading. Research tells us that children with reading difficulties are more likely to experience mental health problems later in life. To give our children the best chance of becoming readers at home, we ensure that reading at home is celebrated.

What should my child be reading?

Occasionally, we get feedback that adults at home aren’t sure what book their child is reading and when it should be in school. As children progress from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, we want them to have more choice and ownership of what they read.  For some families, this can feel less structured than it might have done when children were lower down school. Because of this, we’ve made some changes to how we read in Key Stage 2. Starting after the October half-term, we’ll be moving to a more structured system for reading at home.

What will this look like?

Our children are provided with the opportunity to read a variety of rich texts in school and at home. Children are always involved in the process of choosing what book they read at home and we place a high emphasis on choice of text. To ensure our children read a suitable range of suitable texts, we rotate between ‘solo reading’ and ‘group reading’ on a half-termly basis:

  • Autumn 1: solo reading
  • Autumn 2: group reading
  • Spring 1: solo reading
  • Spring 2: group reading
  • Summer 1: solo reading
  • Summer 2: group reading

Next half-term, your child will be ‘group reading’. This means, they’ll choose a book that they’ll read alongside some of their class mates. They’ll be set a target page to read to and will discuss what they’ve read with their group and an adult.

What if my child wants to read other books, too?

We love this! We’d really encourage you, if you can, to have lots of books at home. A trip to a book shop can be a wonderful and inspiring shared experience as a family – especially as the days are getting shorter and wetter! If you prefer to shop online, great! We’ve recently signed up with Love Reading 4Kids. This is a great site with a huge range of books at good prices. And, if you buy through this site you can support us here school – we’ll receive 25% of the value to spend on books!

Harvest collection

Posted on Monday 26 September 2022 by Miss Hague

On Tuesday 11 October, we’re having our ‘Harvest’ collection in school.  This year, we are collecting for the  Wetherby and District Foodbank

We know how difficult it is for some families under the current circumstances and this seems a great way to show our support.

Wetherby and District Foodbank are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by the The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

They’ve given us a shopping list of the top items they would like us to collect:

Long-life milk

Long-life juice

Tinned fruit

Toiletries

Household cleaning products

If you feel able to support us with our collection, please send your donations in on Tuesday 11 October.

The support last year was overwhelming.

This week’s message (Friday 23 September 2022)

Posted on Friday 23 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has some information about an event coming up for Key Stage 1 and 2 parents and carers. The rest of the message includes some updates about our annual surveys, one for parents and carers and one for children. 

Watch us while we work

Coming up at school is a short open session for current KS1 and KS2 parents/carers to join us in class to watch the teaching and learning of some essential Maths and Reading skills. The session is a great way to find out how you can support your child at home.

The session is at 9am on Tuesday 04 October. You’re welcome to visit us – there’s no need to reserve a place. We invite you to spend time in just one class. (For those of you with more than one child, you might want to come again for a second session on 26 January to visit a second classroom.)

Parents and carers of children in Reception have the opportunity to attend separate Stay and Learn sessions.

Annual survey follow-up

In the summer (18 August), we presented some of the main findings of this year’s annual survey. (You can still read this by scrolling through a few news items here.)

We always consider the feedback we get from the survey.

This year, we’ve taken on board a useful comment about uniform: we’ve dropped the words ‘ideally with logo’ from our uniform policy. This
hopefully makes it clear that we have no expectation that your child should wear a sweatshirt with the school logo.

You also told us that you’d like us to be stricter about branded clothes. We agree. We’ve responded by addressing the fact that some children were wearing branded clothing for PE. We’ve bought spare kit for these children to change into and are regularly sending uniform reminders home.

We hope you’ll agree that the children look really smart when the uniform policy is adhered to.

We’ve responded to other comments, too. The fence around the KS2 wooden equipment has been replaced and our KS2 toilets are being cleaned and monitored regularly.

Some parents mentioned homework. Homework is always a challenge to get right as some people think there’s too much and some not enough. At primary school, we feel that practice is key as far as homework is concerned – that’s why we have prioritised reading, spelling, times tables and number fact fluency. Talk Time and Living and Learning offer the opportunity to join in with discussion with family members. Remember, you might wish to supplement the activities we provide with additional materials.

A few parents mentioned it would be good to have a wider choice of after-school club activities and more sports teams. We’ll hopefully be able to introduce more of these over the next term. If you’ve any ideas for the kinds of clubs you’d like to see, please speak to Miss Hague at the gate.

Pupil survey

At around the same as the parent/carer survey is released, we ask children in KS2 to complete a quick survey, too. This helps us identify strengths and possible areas to develop.

This year, children rated provision in Science, Art, DT, Geography, History and Music and PE higher than nationally, and six of these were rated significantly or very significantly higher.

All statements relating to attitudes to learning in school were recorded as higher than national average; two were rated significantly higher. However, attitude to homework was lower than national – please do make sure your child engages with our homework expectations.

Finally, and importantly, of the five safeguarding statements, four were recorded as higher than the national average, two significantly (with the other one in-line with national).

This all goes to prove that our school is a happy and healthy place to learn.

Talking of which, have a happy and healthy weekend!

This week’s message (Friday 16 September 2022)

Posted on Friday 16 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who’s our Science and Foundation Subjects Leader. In this message, Mr Wilks introduces your child’s current topic…

What do we mean by topics?

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.

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?

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

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary: see pages 27 and 28 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 learn about a significant British historical event: The Great Fire of London.

Children will learn about life at the time of the Great Fire of London. They’ll learn where the fire started and how it spread so quickly and the innovative ways that it was extinguished. Importantly, they’ll learn about the different sources of evidence that have helped us answer these questions, including Samuel Pepys’ diary. Finally, they’ll learn about the significant changes that occurred as a result of the fire, such as legal changes about the way houses were built and the beginning of a fire service in London.

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

Years 3 and 4

In this topic, children learn about Ancient Greece.

Children begin by sequencing periods of British history and seeing where the ‘golden-age’ of the Ancient Greek civilisation sits alongside. They’ll then learn about two contrasting city states: Athens and Sparta. Children will learn about the type of government these states had and what the lives of the people living there were like. They’ll then debate which city state was the best. Next, they’ll focus in on the influence that Athens has had on the world: democracy, mathematics, philosophy, literature, culture… Finally, they’ll learn about how the civilisation ended.

The key concepts for this topic are civilisation, government and innovation.

Years 5 and 6

In this topic, children learn about Stone Age to Iron Age Britain and contrast it with Ancient Egypt.

They begin by looking at and creating timelines which sequence the periods of British history and also placing Ancient Egypt on this timeline. They’ll learn about the advances and innovations that occurred during the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. They’ll learn about and understand that the sources of evidence we have are limited to archaeological evidence. They’ll then learn about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and contrast this with what was happening in Britain at the same time – it’s a stark contrast!

The key concepts for this topic are innovation and civilisation.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they have been learning in class. The class news pages 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. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of books about the history your child will be learning about.

Watch television shows about history. Horrible Histories is great (regardless of your age!).

The BBC Bitesize history webpages have been revamped this summer and have lots of information about the history being covered this half-term.

If it’s a rainy weekend and you’re looking for something to do, why not spend a morning or afternoon in a museum? A visit to Leeds City Museum (next to Millennium Square) would be great for all children but especially for Y3,4 and Y5,6 children as it has some Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian exhibits, including Nesyamum, the 3,000 year old Leeds mummy!

London’s a bit far for a rainy weekend but the Fire of London website is great and will support and deepen children’s learning.

Summer competition winners!

Posted on Wednesday 14 September 2022 by Miss Hague

Check out these happy and healthy faces that people spotted during the summer!

Don’t they make you smile?

Our Reception winner

Our Y1 winner

Our Year 2 winner

Our Y3,4 winner

Our Y5,6 winner

Thanks to everyone who entered – they were all amazing.  All entries will be displayed in school very soon.  Hopefully they’ll make everyone smile who passes them.

 

This week’s message (Friday 09 September 2022)

Posted on Friday 09 September 2022 by Mr Roundtree

We’re sad to note the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. She demonstrated and represented important values and behaviours. In school today, we have marked this historic moment with a special assembly and teachers have followed this up with a review and reflection in class.

Our first weekly message of the year continues with some important information for the year ahead at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School…

Dates for the year

Key dates for the school year are in our school calendar. We’ve prepared this list for you to print out and have ready to check, too.

Support your child at home

Like last year, we’re hosting a series of Zoom presentations to help you support your child’s learning at home – the first one is this Monday.

The invitation is open to all parents and carers across Sphere Federation, although we’ve indicated if the session might be more appropriate for particular age ranges. The full list of presentations are:

  • Phonics and early reading: 12 September 2022
  • Story telling: 19 September 2022 (A Reception teacher here at Scholes will read a story over Zoom for your child and you to enjoy – the session is ideal for children in Reception, but children in Year 1 and 2 are welcome to join, too.)
  • Number (KS1): 03 October 2022
  • Number (KS2): 10 October 2022
  • Topic: 07 November 2022
  • Reading and Writing: 14 November 2022
  • Online safety: 28 November 2022
  • Key Stage 2 SATs: 09 January 2023 (This one is mainly for parents of Y6 children.)
  • Key Stage 1 SATs: 27 February 2023 (This one is mainly for parents of Y2 children.)
  • Reception to Year 1 transition: 19 June 2023 (This one is for parents of Reception children.)

All the sessions are at 6pm on Mondays and should last around 30 minutes.

If you’re interested in attending any of these Zoom workshops, please either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest.

Homework

Your child’s first homework task is published today.

Homework is an important part of education and gives you a chance to support your child and find out what they’ve been learning. This doesn’t need to be sitting at home with a stack of worksheets or creating an elaborate project: quality time talking to your child and practising basic skills is enough.

Today, we’ve given each child a new homework book. The book is for your child to practise spellings, writing, times tables and number facts. It doesn’t need to be sent back to school.

This homework guide sets out what we expect children to do and why. Reading, spellings, times tables and number facts are essential for all children to be confident with. The focus of your support at home should be ideally around these areas. Your comments in the Reading Record book (at least once a week) are really helpful for your child’s teacher.

As always, contact school if you have any questions or concerns.

Children settled into the new school year really well this week. It’s likely they’ll feel tired after a busy week back. Have a restful, happy and healthy weekend.

Lunch menus

Posted on Monday 05 September 2022 by Mrs Latham

Here are the lunch menus until February 2023. Children will be asked to choose each morning, if they are having a school lunch. Have a look through together so they are familiar with the choices.

Our annual survey 2022

Posted on Thursday 18 August 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Every year, we invite you to complete an annual survey of parents and carers. Thank you to the 65 people who completed this year’s survey.

Most of the questions we asked were based on those that Ofsted use for their Parent View. This gives you the chance to tell Ofsted what you think about your child’s school, from the quality of teaching to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour.

We’re delighted that the statements prompted very good responses: 100% of those who expressed an opinion responded positively to the following three questions:

  • Is your child happy at school?
  • Does your child feel safe at school?
  • Does Scholes (Elmet) Primary make sure its pupils are well-behaved?

Typically, at least 97% of those who expressed an opinion responded positively to the remaining questions, including:

  • Would you recommend this school to another parent?
  • Is there a good range of subjects available to your child?
  • Does Scholes (Elmet) let you know how your child is doing?

We asked if you’re aware of bullying at the school. The majority of respondents were not aware. However, there was a minority who said they were. Our definition of bullying is Several Times On Purpose and our solution is Start Telling Other People. Please do make sure you alert us about any concerns you may have.

We asked if you’ve ever had to raise a concern. We’re pleased that the vast majority who had raised something replied that it was dealt with well – ‘I felt listened to and happy with the outcomes’ and ‘Instantly responded and issues dealt with appropriately’ were typical comments. As always, please do make sure you raise concerns – your child’s class teacher is usually around at the end of the day, and Miss Hague is nearly always at the school gate each day.

The last question was an open-ended one: we invited any comments you may have. There were 18 comments here, and the majority of these were positive – thank you.

Really love this school, as does our daughter. Very pleased our youngest daughter will be starting Nursery in September, too. All staff members are friendly and approachable. A good and helpful amount of feedback is given throughout the year, and lots of activities after school are offered.

The school clearly prioritises developing the whole child, not purely pushing for academic success. My girls both love coming to school and enjoy a varied and engaging curriculum. Communication with parents is outstanding (regular learning updates, parents evenings, weekly emails, Zoom workshops and easy access to communication with the class teacher). Thank you all for your continual hard work.

We’re keen to keep improving so we’ll review the suggestions that were made. In fact, we’ve already acted on two comments about uniform:

  • ‘I think that people should be made (as far as school can) to stick to the uniform policy’ – We agree. We’ve updated the uniform policy with an extra page that sets out very clear expectations – please check this out.
  • ‘I dislike the “ideally with logo” comment on the uniform policy, it has an underlying expectation that you should be spending £12+ on the cardigans and T-shirts when supermarket alternatives are so much cheaper.’ – Again, we agree. We’ve removed that phrase to avoid disadvantaging any families.

Thank you to those parents / carers who completed the survey.

As always, please contact us with any questions, comments and concerns during the school year.

Have you entered our Summer competition yet?

Posted on Saturday 06 August 2022 by Mr Roundtree

Stay alert to happy and healthy faces all around you…

We want to see your pics of hidden smiley faces in your surroundings: a walk in woods or a play on the beach might include creating a smiley face, for example! Here’s our suggestion (look for the smiling face!)…

…but we’re sure you can do better!

Look out for things around you that show a hidden smiley face – a happy and healthy face – or encourage your child to create their own from things around them (pebbles, leaves, Lego…). (Just avoid obvious and intended smiling faces like the ones featured in the Breeze list of summer dates from last week’s message – they’re too easy to spot!)

To enter, email your pics to scholesoffice@spherefederation.org by Friday 09 September. Enter ‘Summer competition’ as the subject.

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

Our Summer competition

Posted on Monday 25 July 2022 by Mr Roundtree

We’re a happy and healthy place to learn!

Over the Summer weeks, we want you all at home to stay alert to happy and healthy faces all around you… and take a pic of any hidden smiley faces in your surroundings: a day out at the beach might include creating a smiley face, for example! Here’s our suggestion (look for the smiling face!)…

…but we’re sure you can do better!

Look out for things around you that show a hidden smiley face – a happy and healthy face – or encourage your child to create their own from things around them (pebbles, leaves, Lego…). (Just avoid obvious and intended smiling faces like the ones featured in the Breeze list of summer dates from last week’s message – they’re too easy to spot!)

To enter, email your pics to scholesoffice@spherefederation.org by Friday 09 September. Enter ‘Summer competition’ as the subject.

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