Practice that feels like play
Practice that feels like play – does this sound beneficial for your child? Have a look at IXL. It’s an online tool where you can access different activities to help your child practise basic skills.
It’s split into year groups, specifically looking at English and Maths, then each subject is broken down into sections. You can get a flavour of the activities by hovering over the title and can have a go at some of them – it looks great fun and very child friendly. The questions are all interactive and there are detailed explanations for new concepts.
There is a small monthly fee if you wish to sign up. Take a look – it might be something you want to explore.
Are you interested in a career in primary teaching?
Our teaching school partner, Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary, writes:
Pudsey Primrose Hill, a strategic partner of Noctua TSA, are the Lead School for School Direct (Salaried) and School Direct (Fee Paying) and work in collaboration with Educate Teacher Training.
We have a partnership of schools across Leeds and Bradford who work together to deliver the School Direct route into primary teaching.
We have created a ‘learning on the job’ style programme with trainees allocated to one of our partnership schools for the academic year.
Trainees carry out a six week second school placement, also in one of our partnership schools.
We offer both Salaried and Fee Paying programmes and have delivered Initial Teacher Education for over 8 years.
If you are interested in attending the Information Event on Wednesday 4th October , please book a place using the contact details below.
Our information event will begin with a short presentation at 6pm followed by the opportunity to ask questions and speak to school direct
trainees past and present.
We look forward to meeting you there!
Phone: 0113 2574129
Email: [email protected]
Staying safe online
During the summer holidays, we published a news article with a list of social media apps and sites to be aware of. This social media update comes from the West Yorkshire Police safeguarding team. It’s a quick reference guide to help you monitor what your child is using online.
In case you missed the article, we thought it would be good to encourage you to check out the list again.
Heading to secondary school next year?
Is your child currently in Year 6? If so, now’s the time to apply for a secondary school place. The deadline for applying is 31 October 2017.
Make your application online.
Here’s a list of Q&As that you might find helpful – provided by Leeds City Council.
When can I apply for a place at High School Year 7? The application process is available from 1 August 2017 to 31 October 2017.
How do I apply for a place? You can apply online by going to www.leeds.gov.uk and searching for school admissions. If you need assistance with the application you can call us on 0113 2224414 or email us at [email protected]. There is also a video on www.leeds.gov.uk which offers advice and guidance.
What are admissions policies? Admissions policies set out how schools will offer places, and who will be offered a place first if there are more applications than places available at the school. The criteria set out in the admissions policy will be used to rank all applications and then places will be offered from the top of the list of applicants until the year group is full.
It is important that you look at the admissions policy for each of the schools you are including in your list of preferences as different schools have different admission policies. Admissions policies for all kinds of schools (Community, Foundation, Voluntary Aided and Academy schools) can be obtained from schools directly, found on the school website, on the Leeds City Council website at www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Admissions.aspx, or by contacting the Admissions Team on 0113 2224414.
How are places offered? The local authority is required to co-ordinate all applications for year 7 places. This means the Local Authority receive all applications centrally, work with schools who determine their own admissions to gather information from them, and send out all the offer letters, making sure each child only receives one offer.
We consider all preferences at the same time and aim to offer your highest preference possible, but whether we can offer you the place you want for your child will depend on your circumstances, the schools you have asked for and their policies, the number of applications they have received and the circumstances of all other applicants to that school.
I have good reasons why my child should attend my first preference school – so you have to offer them a place there don’t you? Many parents have good reasons why they would prefer their child to attend a particular school, but while parents have the legal right to express their preference, this is not the same as free choice about where their child is admitted. School admissions policies provide very clear criteria about who can be prioritised over others for a place and you should review the policies to see whether your child meets any of these priority criteria. If they do, please tell us on your application so that the admissions policy can be applied to your application for each school correctly.
What is my priority school/catchment area? One priority which many admission policies include is a priority for children requesting a place where they are living in the priority catchment area or where the school is their ‘nearest’ school. It’s important to look at the school policy as not all schools include this priority. You will receive a letter telling you which school is your catchment priority school.
Distance (measured in a straight line) is also often used as a tie break within each priority, so all children who meet the ‘catchment’ priority will also be ranked in order of distance from the school. There is no guarantee that you will be allocated a place at your priority catchment school if you request it – each year it depends on the number of children requesting the school who meet this priority.
It is important that you look at each school admission policy and all other available information before making a decision about your preferences as it is important to consider whether you have a realistic chance of being offered a place.
Does it matter what order I list my preferences? Places are not offered on a ‘first preference first’ basis – it is against the School Admissions Code for this to happen. When schools are ranking their applications in line with their admissions policy, they don’t know which preference number you gave to that school.
Your preference order is only used by the Local Authority when they are making the offers on behalf of the school, and it only influences which offer is made where you could be offered more than one of your preferences.
The Local Authority is obliged to offer you the highest preference school which your child qualifies for so please put the schools in order of where you would like your child to attend.
If I only provide one preference, do you have to offer me that school? No. Providing just one or two preferences does not in any way increase your chances of being offered a place at these schools as your application for each school is ranked in line with the admissions policy. If the Local Authority is unable to offer a preferred school, you will be offered a place at any school with a vacancy available after all other applications have been considered, so not using all five of the available preferences actually decreases the chances of you being offered a preferred place.
Can I find out which schools are closest to my home? You can contact the Leeds City Council Admissions Team on 0113 2224414 or send an email to
[email protected] to ask for this information. Please remember to include your address when contacting us. Our measurements are based on a straight-line distance from the school to your address. Previous allocation maps for primary schools are on the Leeds City Council website www.leeds.gov.uk/admissions. These show the distances from home to school for the people who were successful in gaining places last year so give an indication of your chances of being offered a place. Most online mapping tools only use postcodes and not the full address. If you want to know your nearest priority school you must ask us for details; you should also receive a letter in July which will give details of your priority school but you don’t need this letter to apply.
What is the ‘furthest allocation distance’? In the information provided on the Leeds City Council website, ‘furthest allocation distances’ are stated where this information is available.
Furthest allocation distances are the distance the last pupil allocated a place at a school under one of the distance priorities (in the Leeds City Council policy this is Priority 3 – Priority Catchment and Priority 4 – non-catchment) lived from the school.
Further details of allocation data can be found at: www.datamillnorth.org/dataset/secondary-school-allocations
When will I find out which school my child has been offered? 1 March 2018 is National Offer day. You will be sent an email on this day with your offer letter attached or if you did not apply online a letter will be sent out by second class post and you will receive it a few days after the 1 March.
What should do when I receive my offer of a place? You should accept the offer of the school place directly with the school. Accepting a lower preference offer will not affect your position on a waiting list or your right to appeal against the refusal at any other school.
What happens if I don’t get offered a place at the school I want? If you don’t get offered a place at the school you would prefer, you can request to go on the waiting list. You can also appeal against the decision to refuse a place at a school, although appeals can only be granted in specific circumstances. More information will be provided with your offer letter.
What happens if I move into the area or change address? If you move into the area or change address between the closing date in October 2017 and the start of the new school year in September 2018, you must let us know as this could affect your application. We will try our best to offer your child a place at the school you prefer. If there are no places left at any of the schools you wanted, we will offer your child a place at the school closest to your home with available places. Remember that we will find your closest school by measuring in a straight line. If you move to a new address, we will ask you to provide written proof of your new address and written proof that you have left your previous address.
Useful numbers and contacts
Leeds City Council website: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Admissions.aspx
Admissions team: phone 0113 222 4414 email [email protected].
Transport: Information about application forms, bus routes, timetables and up-to-date ticket prices phone 0113 348 1121 or visit www.generationm.co.uk. For information about the policy governing free travel phone 0113 247 5268 or email [email protected]
Elective Home Education: phone 0113 378 5028.
Attendance Team: phone 0113 378 2480.
School meals: To apply for free school meals please contact 0113 222 4404.
School uniforms and other expenses: Parents should contact the school their child will be attending for information about help with school uniforms.
Special Educational Needs Information: For children with an existing Education Health and Care Plan (EHC) parents should contact their SEN casework officer phone 0113 378 5256. For general information, support and advice about SEN and disabilities contact the Leeds Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Service phone 0113 378 5020.
At Scholes, we want our children to be happy and healthy learners. Life’s so busy, sometimes we need some ‘time out’ to get some peace and quiet – some ‘head space’.
On Monday 18 September, we’re looking forward to some sessions around minfulness. In the meantime, check out this article.
Living and learning
Living and Learning is our new name for SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning).
Living and Learning will continue to cover SEAL learning but will also incorporate other aspects of PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) such as keeping safe, identity, drug education, physical health, rights and responsibilities and healthy minds.
We begin our Living and Learning learning this week with a focus on manners: I can greet someone politely.
For the rest of this half-term, we’re thinking about the ‘8 Rs for learning’. This theme is about promoting good learning behaviour for your child.
Each week, we’ll focus on two different ‘Rs’. We use an animal to symbolise each ‘R’, which might help your child remember all eight – can your child remember which animal matches the correct ‘R’?
You can support your child at home – we’ve listed a few ideas to help you below. Ask us if you’ve any questions or comments.
I can show I am ready to learn.
Make sure your child is at school for a prompt start of 08:50.
Make sure your child has had plenty of sleep so they are alert and ready to learn at all times.
Encourage your child to ask lots of questions – that shows they want to learn!
I respond to feedback.
Ask your child if they remember their ‘stars’ and ‘steps’ in English and Maths.
I take a safe risk.
Talk about the difference between a safe and unsafe risk. At school, we want your child to take a safe risk by having a go at answering, even if unsure; trying something new and attempting harder learning.
I take responsibility for my own learning.
Provide time and space at home so your child is able to organise themselves: their PE kit, reading book, homework, spellings and tables… Don’t organise everything for them!
Make a link between rights and responsibilities: your child has the right to a great education, but needs to be responsible for their own learning.
I am resourceful.
Encourage your child to be organised so they can play with a range of different toys.
Encourage your child to try new ways to solve a tricky problem.
I am resilient.
Encourage your child to keep going! Set a tricky challenge or puzzle for your child to do.
Encourage your child to think of different ways of doing things.
Don’t let your child win when they play a game – they need to experience losing, too!
Celebrate mistakes as opportunities to learn – be happy that your child found some learning hard and encourage them to ‘bounce back’ and learn from the experience.
Make sure they have time to learn spellings, number bonds and times tables – a little practice daily is best.
Play memory games:
Kim’s game: show them objects for 30 seconds… can they remember all the objects?
Can they build up the sequence, ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple’… ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple and a bike.’… ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple, a bike and a cucumber.’ etc … Take turns!
I reflect about my learning.
Talk with your child about what they’ve learnt, asking questions about:
how they learnt
why they learnt it
when they’ll use their learning
how they would teach this to someone else
what learning might link with what they’ve learnt today etc
Looking forward to seeing you back at school on Tuesday 5th September. I hope you have all had a great summer. Staff have just finished their first day back at work and are all ready to welcome the children to the new school year.
Christmas card competition
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Jane Dowson, is looking to have her Christmas card 2017 designed by a child from Leeds (aged up to 13 years). The card will be sent out by the Lord Mayor across the city and beyond. The theme is “Leeds at Christmas”.
The rules/details are on the attached poster and the closing date is 09 October. The winner will be presented with a copy of the card and a special gift by the Lord Mayor.
This is a really exciting and unique opportunity for children.
How to enter: Designs should be completed on A4 paper. Please write (in pencil) the child’s name and age on the reverse and a parent or guardian’s contact number. Crayons, felt tip, pen and paint can be used for the design, however items should not be stuck on to the paper as this will not replicate when the design is scanned. Entries should be sent to: Lord Mayor Christmas Card Competition, 8 Woodhouse Square, Leeds LS3 1AD by the closing date of Monday 09 October 2017.
Social media update
Occasionally, we receive an updated social media update from the West Yorkshire Police safeguarding team. This update includes a list of apps and sites that you should be aware of – a quick reference guide to help you monitor what your child is using online.
Our annual parents/carers survey
Thanks to all those of you who took the time to complete our recent parent / carer survey. There were 89 responses in total – that’s around one in four of you. The responses are fairly evenly spread across the classes so we have a good representation across the school.
It appears a few parents have completed the survey more than once: one parent completed the survey seven times, another three, another two (and others possibly, as it is possible to submit anonymously). Despite this, the response rate is higher than last year. (We hope this duplication is accidental!)
Below is a summary of what you’ve said. However, please do bear in mind this note of caution: it’s hard to present a summary or interpret the feedback very accurately due to the few multiple responses from the same people.
Lots of you added some comments after each question; we’ve included here just one or two positive and negative comments that represent typical responses. Please do contact us directly if you said something which might help us improve further. We can’t guarantee we can accommodate everyone’s wishes or opinions, but we do guarantee we consider each one.
In case you’ve not spotted it, we’ve installed a post box in the front hall area so you can post any sort of feedback, as and when you like. And, of course, Miss Hague and I are often around at the start and end of the school day – we’ve started noticing more parents give us more positive comments, which is great – but we do welcome all constructive feedback.
1. My child is happy at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School.
95.5% agreed or strongly agreed with this, which is great, and represents an increase on the 2016 figure. This is a step in the right direction!
Of the seven comments, four were positive (‘All of my children have been, on the whole, very happy at Scholes school.’) and one was negative, raising concerns from some years ago: ‘I spoke to the school but it always seemed to be swept under the carpet and never dealt with properly’. A lot has changed since then. If you do have concerns, I hope you would find they would be dealt in a satisfactory way by Miss Hague.
The remaining comments related to split age classes – we know this is something that causes concern (at Scholes and in any school where the admissions number does not allow for single age intakes of 30, 60 or 90 – ours is 45). However, this year saw far fewer issues as we allocated pupils to classes. We no longer have mixed classes crossing different key stages (such as a Reception-Year 1 class), and nor do we have mixed classes where a small number from one year group is overshadowed by another (as was the case in a Year 5,6 class in 2015-16) – neither set-up supports good learning.
2. My child feels safe at this school.
92.1% agreed or strongly agreed with this. The comments show, however, that one respondent answered this question seven times (which matches the number who indicated they disagree), which will have skewed the results.
Including just one of the seven duplicate comments, all three comments refer to individual pupils. With tightening budgets, we, and most other schools in the area, are finding this a challenge. However, we’re working hard to address the concerns here – we’ve employed a Learning Mentor and allocated support staff accordingly, for example.
3. My child makes good progress at this school.
74.2% agreed or strongly agreed with this. 17 parents / carers disagreed, but seven of these were from the same parent.
Looking at the comments, respondents cited various points, the main one being mixed age classes. We don’t think this automatically causes children to progress less, but we do want to explore different ways to meet the needs of all pupils in the class.
One parent said: ‘I feel that progress slowed a bit in KS2.’ This matches the findings of Ofsted inspectors in our recent inspection. We’re working hard to address this.
Another said: ‘She’s achieving. If homework was supplied I think she’d be higher in her attainment.’ We’re changing our homework policy from September – you’ll hopefully have read about it in the last newsletter of the year.
There were positive comments, too, such as ‘seen so much progress from both children’.
4. My child is well looked after.
93.3% agreed or strongly agreed here – that’s an increase on the previous year.
Comments here range from ‘My daughter has some anxiety issues and each and every member of staff has been so kind and caring towards her’ and ‘Any minor injuries are dealt with well’ to a couple of concerns about lunchtimes which we’ll take on board.
One comment was about very specific individual needs; if you think your child’s specific needs are not being met, please do speak with someone about it.
5. My child is taught well at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School.
76.4% agreed or strongly agreed with this, with quite a large proportion unsure.
Excluding duplicated comments, three were largely positive (‘The teachers create a supportive and engaging learning environment.’), five were mixed (‘Have some concerns as one child is high achieving and finds the work too easy a lot of the time. All other children doing well and making progress so would say they are taught well’), three were negative (‘I strongly disagree with split classes in year six and do not believe it is beneficial to their education or socially. This year there have been three year 5/6 class splits and my son is being taught with children nearly two years younger??’).
Our School Improvement Advisor has visited school twice since our Ofsted inspection and is very encouraged by the improvements he sees, as are we, but of course we know we want to get better and better by tackling subject knowledge, increase reading, writing and maths skills being used across all curriculum subjects, and other key areas.
6. Adults in school make sure pupils are well behaved.
83.2% of you were in agreement here (an increase on last year), and most others were unsure.
Understandably, comments cited concerns around the behaviour of specific individuals: ‘I do believe generally behaviour in school is good but there are some children in the school with very challenging behaviour and the school seem to reward these children more than children who behave well. Which seems unfair to the children who do behave well.’ We understand concerns such as these. More and more headteachers are reporting an increase in the number of pupils who present challenging behaviour. We’re working closely with behaviour and inclusion consultants to tackle this issue, and we have instances this year where we have excluded pupils.
7. Scholes (Elmet) Primary School deals effectively with bullying.
It’s encouraging to see only 3.4% of respondents disagreed with this statement – that’s a fall from the previous year.
It’s also quite typical that there is a large proportion of parents / carers who indicate they are unsure (this year, 36.0%) – respondents cite the reason for this being that their child hasn’t encountered bullying (‘I don’t know as we aren’t in school, but my child fully understands the behaviour policy.’). The proportion agreeing has increased by around half as much as in 2016.
Incidentally, it’s always worth mentioning two core messages about bullying. We define bullying as upsetting or harmful behaviour which is Several Times On Purpose, and we encourage children to Start Telling Other People before it becomes a problem. Please help us reinforce this message at home, too.
8. The school is well led and managed.
Whilst there’s clearly still room for improvement, this statement is one which has increased a lot, which is really encouraging: 73.0% agreed or strongly agreed this year. We’re trying to be more open and to communicate better, and this might account for substantially fewer than last year saying they were unsure about leadership.
Interestingly, this statement prompted the most number of comments (even taking into account any duplicated responses) – the comments split quite evenly into positive (‘Miss Hague and Mr Roundtree seem to make an amazing team, management has never been better in my opinion.’), neutral (‘The school is still in a period of transition and the current leadership team requires further development. The fact that Mr Roundtree went from managing one school, to two, to three within six months is of concern as it may be the case that he is very busy and may not have the capacity to address all issues in a timely manner.’) and negative (‘I would like to see more information about what the governors are doing. I think this needs to be better advertised.’).
9. The school responds well to any concerns I raise.
This is another area that’s increased quite a lot from last year, with still room for improvement. 73.0% agreed or strongly agreed: ‘The concerns I had regarding my daughter have been dealt with sensitively and quickly.’
Negative comments include: ‘There is still, unfortunately, a culture of denial and self-preservation within the school, in my opinion.’ I hope the fact we’ve produced this report, highlighting concerns as well as improvements, will help to reassure you we want to change this perception.
10. I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress.
64.1% agreed or agreed strongly with this statement. Compared to last year, almost double the proportion of parents / carers agreed strongly, but we’re disappointed that not more of you feel we provide useful information.
Since last year, we have introduced a new website with clear age-related expectations for every subject; at parents’ evenings, we’ve introduced a Learning Update document indicating attainment and progress; and your child’s annual report now includes an indication of progress in every subject.
For 2017-18, we have planned a number of learning workshops to help you support your child at home, plus various open sessions where you can come into school. Following the annual report, there will be a drop-in session where we invite you as parents / carers to come in with any questions you might have specifically about the reports.
Many of the concerns related to parents’ evenings, such as this one: ‘I only get updates at parents evening and sometime I feel that I am rushed and they are waiting for me to ask all the questions when I just want the teacher to tell me all I need to know. As I don’t know all the questions to ask about each topic.’ So, for 2017-18, we will also double the time allocation at parents’ evening from five to ten minutes, and make sure teachers have a (loose) agenda to work through so they provide as much useful information as possible. This is a direct response to what you’re telling us here – we are listening!
…we asked you to tell us about things you like and the things we could improve on. This question is a result of our first post-Ofsted parents evening, when parents told us they wanted a more open-ended way to talk about the school.
You tell us that the things we could improve on are, amongst many quite diverse, specific points, the points that have already been mentioned here: mixed age classes; even more information about your child’s learning; and communication in general. Some suggestions are easier to address than others: for example, we’re already changing our homework practices, which was a common point raised, whereas someone suggested changing our admissions policy, which we can’t do as we are a local authority maintained school and must follow the Leeds policy.
The things you like are also quite wide-ranging, and they include the friendly atmosphere and the staff (many of you mentioned specific staff and we’ll make sure staff are made aware).
To end with: ‘Keep up the good work, I know the Ofsted report must have been a bitter pill to swallow. However, I don’t think they have captured the energy, spirit and belief that exists in Scholes Elmet Primary School, throughout the staff, teachers and pupils.’