This week’s message (Friday 03 February 2023)
At a recent meeting of headteachers, we did a quick straw poll: which year group has been most impacted by Covid lockdowns? Well over half of the headteachers said Year 3, and to a large extent we’re finding that, too. No matter what year group, the best way to keep supporting your child is to make sure they’re reading every day and practising number facts. This week’s message comes from our Reading Leaders…
Early reading and phonics
We’ve already done nearly half a year’s worth of phonics in Reception and Year 1 – plus two assessments. We’re very pleased with progress and hope you can see how fluent children are when they’re reading to you at home. Year 2 children have been reviewing their phonic knowledge with an increasing focus on writing and spelling.
It’s all about repeated practice when learning how to read. If children are not reading words with fluency and automaticity (automatically), they probably just haven’t had enough practice. Re-reading to increase fluency, add prosody (rhythm, intonation, expression) and develop comprehension is why we read the same book or text in school all week. Extra reading of the same text at home is a brilliant way to celebrate children’s success and for them to continue to refine all these elements.
You really can help at home by ensuring you give your child the opportunity to read their school reading book or eBook. We’re the ‘expert readers’ so reading to them (at bedtime, for example) is just as important.
Reading in Key Stage 2
This half-term, your child is ‘solo reading’. They’ll be bringing home a book to read that they’ve chosen – usually from our school library. It’s really important that your child is reading this book regularly alongside an adult and that they bring their signed Reading Record into school every week.
Whilst regular reading is the most crucial aspect in a child’s development, there are other things you can do to help at home, too:
- talk about reading
- be a reading role model
- visit a local library / book shop
- ask your child what they’ve read at school
- regularly practise spellings (spelling and reading use the same skills – recognising patterns between letters and sounds)
This week saw the first of four days of industrial action by the National Education Union. Our school was unaffected. There are three more planned days coming up:
- Tuesday, 28 February (Northern, North West, Yorkshire and Humber regions)
- Wednesday, 15 March (England and Wales)
- Thursday, 16 March (England and Wales)
Workers don’t have to advise their employer if they plan to strike or not. Our advice remains the same: it might be wise to arrange childcare on these days in case your child’s class needs to close. We’ll keep you updated as much as we can.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in person for next week’s parent-teacher meetings. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend.
This week’s message (Friday 27 January 2023)
I can’t believe we’re almost into February already! Safer Internet Day is coming up on Tuesday o7 February. What’re you doing at home to help your child stay safe?
Is your child a gamer?
Check out this guide to keep safe whilst using online software and games. from SWGfL. With advice on reporting and blocking, online socialisation and the considerations on online gaming, the pamphlet can be a useful basis for a conversation about staying safe online when gaming.
Is your child a fan of Fortnite?
Since its release 2017, Fortnite has had a mass appeal for children. This means children are exposed to multi-player chatting with strangers, and financial exploitation via the game’s spend-to-gain-advantage operating style – this allows children to use real world money to gain perks and costumes.
Fortnite has the potential to lead to criminal blackmailing and coercion of nude exchanges by online ‘friends’ posing as children. Internet Matters has published a guide to understanding the game and its terms.
Is your child connected to virtual reality?
Research has shown that two thirds of the UK public lack confidence that child safety is a priority in the metaverse, with 71% of adults expressing doubt in tech companies prioritising children’s safety. However, the study also revealed over a fifth of adults would buy their child a VR (virtual reality) headset if they could, despite these concerns.
Is your child happy and healthy online?
It’s become more and more common for people – including children – to talk to strangers online. A small amount of these relationships turn out malicious – we need to be aware of the dangers if they do.
Children and young people may find it difficult to understand when an online relationship turns out to be a bad one. The Information Commissioners Office, the UK’s information rights agency, has published guidance on what to look for when online relationships turn sour.
And finally, remember some advice from last week, too:
- check devices regularly alongside your child – doing this means that your child can moderate their own behaviour and have regular opportunities to talk about things that might be concerning them
- keep the devices downstairs – the more ‘public’ space means that children make the same good choices they would do in ‘in real life’ and have plenty of opportunities to talk about what they’re doing and seeing
This week’s message (Friday 20 January 2023)
Today’s message is a long one. Hopefully, the sub-headings later on will help you to read the parts that matter most to you. We do encourage you all to read this next bit…
Did your child get an electronic device for their Christmas?
Recently, Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman has said she is ‘not comfortable’ with primary school aged children having unlimited internet access. She said there was a ‘great deal’ that could be done to really limit the content to which young children are exposed: ‘The first thing you can do is not give a child a smartphone when they’re too young,’ she said. ‘I’m very surprised when primary aged children have smartphones, for example, and even in early secondary school. It’s really hard to manage that.’
Whether you agree with her or not, the reality is that we’re having to increasingly address problems that children encounter online at home, especially bullying comments on WhatsApp (despite a minimum age of 16).
I had a chat with a parent this week about this. It was great to hear that she had rules in place at home for her children and online devices:
- sitting alongside the children, Mum or Dad check the devices regularly – knowing this means that children moderate their own behaviour and have set opportunities to talk about things that might be concerning them
- the devices are kept downstairs – the more ‘public’ space means that children make the same good choices they would do in the playground and other spaces and have plenty of opportunity to talk about what they’re doing and seeing
These two simple rules mean that online behaviour is open – nothing is secret.
If you’ve not already done so, please draw up a few ground rules to stay safe online.
Watch us while we work
Next Thursday (26 January), we’ve another session where we invite you into school to check out the teaching and learning. Come and join us in the classroom to watch us. It’s an opportunity to see some Maths and Reading being taught – it might help to support your child at home.
Safer Internet Day
On Tuesday 07 February, we’ll join schools across the UK in marking Safer Internet Day 2023. Safer Internet Day is a global campaign to promote the safe and responsible use of technology, which calls on children and young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers and more, to help to create a better internet.
Using the internet safely and positively is a key message that we promote in school. Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for us to re-emphasise the online safety messages we deliver throughout the year.
Please continue the conversation at home – use these activities and information to help you. Whether you have five minutes to start a conversation or hours to spare, there are top tips, quizzes and films which you can use at home with your child.
If you have any concerns or questions about keeping your child safe online, please do get in touch with your child’s class teacher or Miss Hague.
Speak out, Stay safe
Teaching children how to talk about their worries to stay safe is so important. Next week, as part of our Living and Learning lessons, all classes will be completing the NSPCC Speak out Stay Safe assemblies to ensure our pupils know what to do and who they can speak to.
The NSPCC has also developed an adapted version of their assembly for parents/carers to use at home with their children.
To complement the assembly, there are some resources that can be used to enable further discussion whilst doing activities with your children.
Childline also have a website with age-appropriate advice for primary school children on topics such as bullying. It also has games and other interactive tools.
Well done to Scholes (Elmet) parent, Liam Ffrench, who has been elected as Sphere Federation’s new parent governor. Thank you to all three candidates, and thank you to you if you voted.
Yesterday, the National Education Union (NEU), one of the trade unions representing the teaching profession, announced its intention to strike.
For schools in our region, the dates of the planned strikes are:
- Wednesday, 01 February
- Tuesday, 28 February
- Wednesday, 15 March
- Thursday, 16 March
In some schools there may be little or no impact from strike action but in others it may mean that changes are made to the way they operate – this includes partial or full closure.
At the moment, we are not in a position to indicate whether Scholes (Elmet) Primary will be affected.
We will keep you informed. In the meantime, it would be advisable to prepare for some disruption on the days listed here.
Miss Hague and I have assessed the situation and the likely impact on our school. Under the current legal framework, workers have the right to change their mind about taking industrial action so we can’t be 100% certain; however, at the moment, we’re confident that we can remain open on the strike days.
With our very best wishes for a happy and healthy – and warmer – weekend.
Today we did a ‘lockdown’ drill. This is one of three emergency procedures that we practise in school. We spoke to the children about this first and explained that there might be times when we need to be ‘in’ school rather than on our playground. We used the example of a fire in the village generating lots of smoke or an unfriendly animal near our school.
The children were amazing and managed to clear our playground, enter their classrooms and sit silently, in little over a minute. It was very impressive.
In other news, we’ve been doing really well with school attendance – we had two days last week with 100% attendance! It would be great if we could repeat this more often.
Have you seen our clothes bank? If you’re doing a bit of spring cleaning, why don’t you bring your unused clothes to be recycled. Bags are available from the office.
A polite request to parents in KS1 playground. Our playground is very busy on a morning and we’ve had a few incidents where parents are unsure if their child has come into the school building and a couple of incidents where children have started to wander back towards the gate, looking for their grown-ups. Please keep a close eye on your child to ensure you know where they are and what they are doing.
This week’s message (Friday 13 January 2023)
This week’s message is from Mr Wilks, our leader for Science and Foundation Subjects…
We’ve just started a Geography topic in school.Before we dive right in, here’s a reminder about topics and what they look like.
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 is provided by the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in a history-driven subject may be enriched by observational drawing of an artefact. In this example, the enricher is art.
For more information about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics, click here.
What is this half-term’s topic?
This half-term, your child is a geographer. The topic focusses on either environmental issues or natural disasters. Children in Years 1 and 2 will investigate their locality; Years 3 and 4 children will learn about volcanoes; and Y5,6 children are investigating climate change.
Across the year groups, children will develop their understanding of some key geographical concepts:
- location is a position (eg a country, a city), often described in a clear, precise way (ie using a latitude and longitude).
- place = location + meaning. It is constantly changing. A sense of place is also defined by how an individual perceives it (eg one person’s perception of Leeds or Wetherby as a place will be very different to another’s).
- scale is the relative sizes of different places. This could be differences in area, population, distance or the amount of natural resources. Scale is also defined by our view of the world. We may consider an aspect of geography on a local, national or international scale eg climate change.
- interdependence is the idea that the world is connected. No country or individual acts in isolation. Our actions here affect people in different countries around the world. This can be related to where we get our food and energy, where we go on holiday, or the effects of climate change across the world.
Check out our Curriculum Statement for more information about key concepts (page 17) and age-related expectations and vocabulary (page 22 and 23).
Years 1 and 2
Children begin the topic by learning about the four countries and capital cities that make up the United Kingdom. They then go on to learn about the difference between human and physical geography features. They’ll then investigate human and physical features in their locality. The key part of this topic is to investigate their locality and identify what they like about it and why. They will also investigate something that could be improved and how it could be improved. For example, they may notice that litter is an issue and raise awareness of this issue with their peers in school, local residents and even a local councillor.
Years 3 and 4
Children will be learning about volcanoes. They’ll begin by learning about what lies beneath the Earth’s surface. They’ll investigate plate tectonics and how these move and the different types of volcanoes formed by this movement. They’ll learn about how mountains are formed and name and locate the tallest peaks in the UK – did you know that these peaks are the remains of ancient volcanoes? Next, they’ll move onto some specific case studies: Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and Mount Vesuvius in Italy. They’ll investigate how volcanoes can be dangerous but also bring benefits to the people who live in their shadows.
Years 5 and 6
Children are learning about climate change. They’ll begin by learning about latitude and the link to world climate. They’ll then learn about what climate change is and what is causing it. They’ll then look at three case studies to learn more about the consequences of climate change across the world: melting sea ice in Greenland, rising sea levels in the Solomon Islands and coastal erosion in East Yorkshire. Finally, they’ll consider how climate change can be slowed and whose responsibility it is.
How can you help?
Regardless of the year group your child is in, Google Earth is a brilliant tool to help develop children’s understanding of space, place, scale and interdependence. Zoom right in on your home and then zoom out to reveal the area of Leeds that you live in. Zoom further out to see what city you live. Zoom further for the county. A little further and you might start to spot some national parks. Further still and you can see the country that we live in. Keep zooming and you’ll see the continent we live in (though this isn’t labelled). Before you know it, you’re floating in space and circling the Earth!
Google Maps is another great tool for comparing places.
- Year 1,2: Can you find your school? Your classroom? Your house? Your local park?
- Year 3,4: Can you locate the two volcanoes you’ll be studying? Can you zoom into the craters? What similarities and differences can you see?
- Year 5,6: Use this mapping tool to investigate how a place has changed over time. We’ll be focusing on coastal erosion but you could find where you live and compare today’s map with one from fifty or a hundred years ago. What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Quizzing your children about some locational knowledge will help them to remember important information. I’ve listed some examples below. Use the age-related expectations to find the right pitch for your child.
- Which continent do we live in?
- Which country do we live in?
- In which hemisphere is our country located?
- Which county do we live in?
- Which city do we live in?
- Which part of Leeds do we live in?
- Which four countries make up the United Kingdom?
Go to the library and get some geography-related books, especially an atlas. You could compare maps of the same place to see what type of information they show. For example, you find lots of maps of the United Kingdom. One might show the countries and capital cities. Another might show the mountains, rivers and National Parks. Another might give information about the climate.
For KS2 children, there are lots of different games and activities on the Ordnance Survey Mapzone website. I especially like the jigsaws in the Map Puzzles section of the Games. Click here for the website.
Also for KS2 children, there is lots of information and some tasks and quizzes on the BBC Bitesize website.
This week’s message (Friday 06 January 2023)
Happy new year to you all – I hope the Christmas break was a happy and healthy one for you. Now that we’ve had one full term in school, this week’s message is a look at attendance for the full Autumn term and information about a parent governor vacancy…
Up to 09 December across England, the attendance rate was 92.7% for all schools and 94.0% for primary schools (this is based on data for schools reporting their attendance figures to the Department for Education).
Up to 16 December, our whole school attendance figure is 95.3% – it’s fantastic that the Scholes (Elmet) Primary data is above national – thank you for helping to ensure your child attends school.
The attendance figure for each class is very similar:
- Sunshine class: 94.8%
- Rainbow class: 94.7%
- Class 1A (Miss Lowry): 94.9%
- Class 1,2B (Mrs Latham): 93.6%
- Class 2C (Miss Young): 94.8%
- Class 3,4A (Miss Paterson): 96.3%
- Class 3,4B (Mr Catherall and Mrs Wilkins): 96.3%
- Class 3,4C (Mrs McCormick & Mrs Wadsworth): 96.0%
- Class 5,6A (Mr Robson): 95.6%
- Class 5,6B (Mrs Hogarth): 95.0%
- Class 5,6C (Mr Lindsay): 96.2%
We recently wrote to all parents and carers regarding a parent governor vacancy, and to seek nominations. As the number of nominations received exceeded the number of parent governor vacancies, it’s now necessary to hold a ballot.
We sent an email out this morning giving details about the voting process. Every parent of a registered pupil at school is eligible to vote.
To vote, use the following link: https://forms.gle/
The ballot closes at 12 noon on 13 January 2023. The result of the election will be confirmed on the school websites.
Have a good weekend.
This year’s last message (Friday 16 December 2022)
Our last weekly message of the year comes from Miss Hague.
The end of a busy term – it’s hard to believe that Christmas is just over a week away. I think everyone is ready for a rest – although I’m not sure Christmas offers much in the way of relaxation!
Some highlights of our first term have been welcoming so many parents back into school. We were thrilled to be able to invite parents to see our Early Years and KS1 nativity plays. The children were really excited to perform for you and we know by the things that parents have said that you were excited to see them, too. A huge thanks to FOSP for putting on hot drinks and mince pies before each performance.
We were also overwhelmed by the numbers who attended ‘Watch us While We Work’ and our topic review. We’ve got another ‘Watch us While We Work’ on Thursday 26 January at 9.00am and another topic review on Monday 20 March at 1.45pm. We hope you can attend. Our Early Years team have also welcomed parents in for lots of ‘Stay and Learns’.
Speaking of our Early Years team, we’ve got some exciting news. We’re very happy to let you know that Mrs Flynn is expecting her second baby. She’s hidden it very well but it’s getting hard not to notice! Mrs Flynn will be leaving us at the end of January but she leaves the class in very safe hands as Mrs Allen-Kelly is going to cover her maternity leave meaning that she will be teaching full time in Rainbow class. We wish Mrs Flynn lots of luck.
It wouldn’t be a news post without a little nag about parking. I spotted a traffic warden outside school a couple of weeks ago. We don’t see them very often but I know our local residents contact them frequently. As the weather gets colder, we see an increase in parents tying to park as close to school as possible. Just this week, I was alerted to a car pulling right up onto the grass verge as children were walking past. Please park with respect for our neighbours and with the safety of our children in the forefront of your mind.
And a new nag… litter. We’ve noticed an increase in litter around school (and perhaps the village). I see lots of children eating well-earned snacks as they leave school. Please encourage your child to take any wrappers home with them.
On Wednesday, you’ll have received your child’s learning updates for this term. We hope you found them useful. As always, if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, please contact us. Two weeks’ break is just what we all need but if you can keep reading and practising those timetables and number facts – it’ll make all the difference to January.
Some happy and healthy news… Jeevan (Y4) recently won the sparring TAGB Taekwondo British Championships. He’s now preparing for the English Championships in Jan 2023 and the World championships in July 2023. Well done, Jeevan!
Thank you to everyone for their continued support over the first term at school. It certainly has felt like a happy and healthy place to learn. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
I’d like to thank you for your continued support throughout 2022, and wish you happy times over the Christmas holiday period. All the best, David Roundtree.
A huge well done to our Early Years and KS1 children for putting on 4 fabulous nativity plays.
It was great to welcome so many parents back into school.
We managed to raise £267 for our chosen charity ‘Cancer Research UK‘.
Thank you so much for your generosity.
This week’s message (Friday 09 December 2022)
Our message this week is has just three points, all of which are important…
Bank holidays and training days
On Friday 25 November, we told you about the additional bank holiday marking King Charles III’s coronation. This will be on Monday 8 May 2023.
This has had a knock-on effect:
- It means all the Key Stage 2 tests (the Year 6 SATs) will take place one day later than originally planned
- …and this means the training day on Friday 12 May is now on Monday 15 May instead.
We know this may cause some inconvenience – as you can see, the situation is beyond our control. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
The dates of the Key Stage 2 tests are now:
- Tuesday 9 May: Grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Wednesday 10 May: Reading paper
- Thursday 11 May: Maths
- Friday 12 May: Maths
Next Friday is a non-uniform day. We love a non-uniform day as a welcome change of routine, but (just like dress-down days at work) we do still have expectations, as set out in our Uniform Policy:
Pupils should dress appropriately and respectfully for school, even on non-uniform days. Clothes are inappropriate if they, for example, glorify violence, feature bad language, are very short (eg crop tops), or relate to age-inappropriate topics (eg computer games). When consulted (18.03.21), junior leaders described this as ‘setting appropriate’ clothing and clothing that is ‘well-judged’. Make-up (other than face paints as part of a specific costume) is not allowed. Flip-flops or high-heeled shoes are not allowed, even on non-uniform days, because they’re dangerous when running.
- aware of the signs and symptoms of these infections
- aware of how you can help to stop the spread of the infections
- reassured that scarlet fever is a common illness and it is usually very mild
- reassured that invasive Group A Strep (iGAS) remains very rare, despite recent headlines
And finally a recommendation… If you’ve time, over the holiday, you might want to see a panto or a show. As well as ones at a theatre, The Storymaker’s Apprentice at Leeds Central Library looks a good one.
It’s a freezing Friday – stay as warm as you can over the weekend. Have a happy and healthy one.
Run-up to Christmas
Just a few reminders of what’s coming up in the next two weeks as we swiftly approach Christmas.
This year, we welcome you back into school to enjoy watching Early Years and KS1 nativity plays. We know these have been really missed because of Covid but this year they’re back. Tissues at the ready!
Thursday 08 December:
10.00 am Early Years Christmas production
2.15 pm KS1 Christmas production
Friday 09 December:
9.30 am KS1 production
1.30 pm Early Years Christmas production
At all of these performances, we will be collecting for our chosen charity Cancer Research UK
Christmas parties are in the week commencing 12 December and are as follows:
Monday 12 December – Nursery
Wednesday 14 December – Y5,6
Thursday 15 December – Y3,4
Friday 16 December – Y1,2
On the day of your child’s party, children are able to come to school in non-uniform. Please remember that clothes should still be ‘setting appropriate’.
Your child is also able to bring a ‘party pack-up’ to eat at the party.
On Tuesday 13 December, it’s Christmas dinner day at school. Mrs Pennock usually transforms the hall and creates a magical winter wonderland for the children to enjoy. If you’d like your child to have a Christmas lunch, please contact the office.
On Wednesday 14 December, you’ll get a learning update from your child’s class teacher. These will reflect the progress that has been made during the first term and also give you some information about your child’s learning behaviour.
On Friday 16 December, it’s a non-uniform day. I’m sure everyone will be very excited and very ready for a holiday by that point!
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please chat to me at the gate.