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Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 18 June 2021)

Posted on 18 June 2021 by Mr Roundtree

So, unsurprisingly, lockdown restrictions won’t be lifted on 21 June. This week’s message is mainly about the current topic learning in Years 1 to 6 – Design and Technology is the main driver. We start with a Covid-related point and end with a quick reminder about something else!

Monday’s announcement from the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister announced on Monday that current restrictions remain in place. Schools have been advised by the Department for Education to keep current protective measures in place until there is a further announcement on Step 4 of the roadmap. These measures in education settings will remain in place to help reduce transmission of the virus. Subsequent guidance does allow a little bit of flexibility. We’re waiting for more guidance from Leeds Health and Safety advisors to see if any end-of-year events such as Sports Day can happen in some way, although in their typical form that won’t happen.

The rest of this message comes from Mr Wilks, who works at Moortown Primary but is our curriculum leader across all three Sphere Federation schools for Science and Foundation subjects…

Our current topic is all about Design and Technology

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 construction (next year, it’s textiles) so children will be busy designing and making structures, prototypes and products.

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

Years 1 and 2 children will be designing, making and evaluating different structures and in doing so, learning about how structures can be strengthened and made more stable. They’ll evaluate real life structures like bridges and towers which will inform their designs.

Years 3,4 children will be creating a prototype of a go-kart using a construction system called TechCard. They’ll evaluate existing products before designing, building, testing and evaluating their own. We will even try to incorporate electric circuits into our designs to power the go-karts.

Years 5,6 children have been set a tricky task of creating a vehicle that can transport an egg (specific tests will be determined by the children) without it breaking. They’ll be using a range of tools (including saws, hammers, drills) to make their product.

In addition to this, children will learn a little about key inventions and designers through history.

Read our Curriculum Statement. On page 17, you’ll find the age-related expectations for the topic. The vocabulary that your child will learn is here:

Years 1 and 2

  • design: a plan or drawing showing what something will look like before it is made
  • design criteria: the things a product must have to be successful
  • design brief: a description of what a new product should do
  • base: the bottom part of an object; the part on which something rests
  • to evaluate: to decide, after careful consideration, how good or bad something is
  • structure: a combination of materials and/or parts to create a 3d shape
  • stable: something that is unlikely to fall down or collapse
  • freestanding: something that stands up by itself
  • to plan: to think about and decide how you’re going to do something

Years 3 and 4

  • product: something that is designed and made to be sold
  • function: the purpose of something
  • design process: the series of steps that need to happen for a product to go from an idea to a finished product
  • design criteria: the precise features a product must have in order to be successful
  • prototype: an early sample or model of a product used to evaluate a design
  • component: a part that combines with other parts to make something eg a machine or a piece of equipment
  • annotated sketch: a detailed sketch labelled with notes (eg dimensions, materials)
  • exploded diagram: a drawing that shows the individual components or parts of a product and how they fit together
  • mechanism: a number of parts or components working together, usually as part of a machine

Years 5 and 6

  • design process: the series of steps that need to happen for a product to go from an idea to a finished product
  • design criteria: the precise features a product must have in order to be successful
  • cross-sectional diagram: a drawing which ‘slices through’ an object to see some of the features inside
  • computer-aided design (CAD): a way of drawing on a computer to visualise designs and simulating them to see how they work
  • innovative: an adjective to describe a new or original idea about how something can be done
  • sustainable material: obtained from renewable sources and do not damage the environment when produced
  • dimensions: measurement of something in a particular direction, eg height, length, width
  • aesthetic: something about the appearance
  • to reinforce: to strengthen or support

Survey

Don’t forget to spend just a few minutes completing this year’s annual survey. We’re always keen to hear your views. Although we can’t guarantee that we can act on every point raised, we do closely consider all the survey results.

The survey’s open until Wednesday 30 June.

 

Last week’s message ended with talk of ice-cream and sunny weather over the weekend. This weekend looks like being a bit different to that – have a good one, all the same.

Reception new starters for September

Posted on 15 June 2021 by Mrs Craggs

Transition letters have been emailed this evening to all parents/carers with children due to start Reception in September. The letter contains details of stay-and-play dates and doorstep visits.

Please contact us if you haven’t received your letter!

We don't like cricket...we love it!

Posted on 12 June 2021 by Mrs Latham

We have Yorkshire Cricket coach, Jamie Sykes, coming into school over the next half term. All classes from Year 1 to Year 6 will receive some cricket coaching over the next 6 weeks. He set some very important ‘homework’…to watch some cricket, if you can! #chancetoshine #yorkshirecricket

This week’s message (Friday 11 June 2021)

Posted on 11 June 2021 by Mr Roundtree

What a difference the sunshine makes! It was such a pleasure to enjoy a happy and healthy half-term break with the end to what started to seem like interminable rain.

Surveys

Every year, we invite you to let us know how we’re doing via the annual survey of parents /carers. This year’s survey is now open.

The first part of the survey is about some of the changes we’ve made due to Covid – we’re especially interested to hear your views about homework. The second part is more general and includes statements which you might be familiar with from previous surveys.

It should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Lots of the questions need only a tick answer. Most responses are optional so you can miss out a question if you’ve no particular opinions. There are only a few (marked with a red asterisk*) where a response is needed.

We’re always keen to hear your views. We do closely consider all the survey results, although we can’t guarantee that we can act on every point raised (this year, because of Covid, that’s been especially difficult).

The survey helps us to gain a broad overview of how we’re doing. For more specific questions, comments and concerns, it’s always best to speak with your child’s class teacher or Miss Hague. The survey isn’t the right forum to raise a very specific point.

The survey’s open until Wednesday 30 June, so you’ve plenty of time to leave your views.

Amazing attendance

For the first five half-terms, our overall attendance figure is 97.7% – that’s a fantastic figure. Thank you for helping your child to attend school as much as they can.

Well done especially to the following classes, all of which have attendance over 98%:

  • Rainbow
  • 1,2V
  • 2C
  • 3,4E
  • 5,6M

Our new parent governor

In case you missed our earlier message, our new parent governor is Mr Andy Sammons (Candidate 2), whose child attends Scholes (Elmet) Primary.
The election closed on Friday just before the half-term holiday with 89 votes cast overall.

Thank you to both candidates for standing in the parent governor elections.

End of year events

There’s a lot of uncertainty about 21 June – the final date in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. This makes it hard to plan for events and activities such as Sports Day, Y5,6 productions and Leavers’ Assembly. These are all still pencilled in, but we’ll have to wait and see whether they can go ahead as normal or whether they need to be adapted (like having a Sports Day but without spectators) or even cancelled.

Enjoy the weekend. Miss Hague and I might both indulge in an ice-cream… one of us rates caramel or raspberry ripple as a top choice; the other one always opts for the most unusual flavour on a menu (basil being a recent taste triumph). Can you work out who’s more traditional and who’s more adventurous (at least in terms of ice-cream)?!

Our new parent governor is...

Posted on 31 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

…Mr Andy Sammons (Candidate 2), whose child attends Scholes (Elmet) Primary.

The election closed on Friday and 89 votes were cast overall.

Thank you to both candidates for standing in the parent governor elections.

Mr Sammons’ election note is below:

Fundamentally, the reason why I would dearly love to undertake this role is that I believe in the potential for education to change lives. For me, it is the thing that makes humans unique, and the thing that we must never lose sight of in terms of its ability to give everyone – especially young people – a chance to make the very best of their lives.

As a teacher myself (I am Director of English), I see this every day; as a result, I am ideally placed to understand key educational issues. I feel as though I would have a great deal to offer, as I have played a key role in building an engaging, enriching and ambitious curriculum for my own pupils.

I have one child at a federation primary school, and I hope that my younger child will be given a place too; as parents, we’ve been thrilled with the way that our little boy has settled in and has really started to thrive in terms of his academic progress, but also his social and emotional learning too. To be given the chance to shape and support the school in continuing to grow would mean a great deal to me.

This week’s message (Friday 28 May 2021)

Posted on 28 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

And we’ve made it to the end of another week! Each Friday, Miss Hague and I sigh with relief because we’ve had no bubbles bursting…

…Thank you for helping us by respecting the national restrictions that have been in place, and the changes we’ve made in school. Since the start of the year, we’ve managed over 30 emails from Leeds Health and Safety team, each one typically involving about ten or so changes to our risk assessments. I’m grateful to Miss Hague for managing these updates each week.

Staying with the Covid theme for a moment…

Testing positive…?

We’ve been asked once again to support the government’s Test and Trace system.

If your child has been attending school this week, we need you to tell us if they get a positive Covid test result in the period Saturday 29 May to Thursday 03 June 2021. We need you to do this because your child may have been infectious whilst in school.

So you can give us all the information we need, please use this form or scan this QR code (hover over it with the camera on – a link should appear):

This means we’ll have the information to take the necessary actions, laid down by the Department for Education.

We’d prefer you to use the online form, but if the technology fails you, please contact school: scholesheadofschool@spherefederation.org

If your child receives a positive test result after Thursday 03 June, you can tell us on the first day of the new term (Monday 07 June).

CyberSprinters

CyberSprinters is a free interactive game developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds. It’s designed to make learning about cyber security fun and interactive at a time when children might begin to seek more independence online.

The online game sees players become a ‘CyberSprinter’ who’s racing against its own depleting battery power. Users can win battery power by correctly answering questions about cyber security but face losing it if they bump into ‘cybervillains’.

Year 6 residential

We were so happy to be one of the first schools to have arranged one of the first residential trips for over a year! Last week, some of our Year 6 pupils enjoyed a week away, taking part in outdoor and adventurous activities and developing independence and team-work skills. Those who went, a mix of children from Scholes and Moortown, had a great time. Very many thanks to all the adults who went along to support, and to Mrs Weekes (Moortown Head of School) and Miss Hague (Scholes Head of School) for organising this valuable, worthwhile trip away.

Uniform

It’s been easy to let some routines and expectations become a bit slack in the last year. Now that lockdown’s easing, we want to tighten up on a few things related to uniform:

  • long hair should be tied back – it really does affect learning (for example, when children have to keep moving hair away from their face as they lean forwards to write)
  • earrings should be small, plain studs
  • PE kit, worn on PE days, should be white t-shirt, black shorts / tracksuit bottoms and plain trainers

At Scholes (Elmet) Primary School, we’re proud to be members of our school community and we want all our children to feel part of our community and to represent our school. Wearing the school uniform helps us to do this. Read our full policy. 

Happy birthday…

…to Miss Hague, who celebrates a big birthday next week!

Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday… Let’s hope the sun shines a bit more than in recent weeks.

This week’s message (Friday 21 May 2021)

Posted on 21 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you and all around you have had a happy and healthy week.

Help your child at home

Before we talk about a few new items, we continue to make a plea for daily reading and regular number facts practice at home…

More and more research is coming through that tries to measure the amount of lockdown learning loss. One report on lost learning found that the average loss in Reading progress was about two months for Reading and three months for Maths (and that’s just for the first lockdown, from March to July last year). It’s thought that the loss is even greater in the north and for pupils from lower-income families.

On the whole, our children have come back as happy and healthy learners who might not all have experienced this loss in progress – thank you for your support during the lockdowns. Even so, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Reading and Maths skills are strong enough.

We’re providing a Talk Time homework because this is something that you should try to do as a family at home, perhaps when you’re having a meal together. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.

Thanks to the parents and carers who have commented they like this new homework system.

Staying safe online

Our current Computing topic has been a hit with children. It’s also been a really good opportunity for us to reinforce appropriate behaviour when using electronic devices.

Across Sphere Federation, we’ve a monitoring system that sends alerts to a member of staff if inappropriate or concerning language is typed into a device. This can pick up bad language but it can also pick up situations when the language being used seems aggressive or threatening.

During this topic, there have been several alerts across Sphere. This might be bad language being used, or things that children say using a keyboard that they wouldn’t say in person. These alerts are always investigated.

The monitoring we do helps to keep your child safe at school. Help to keep your child safe at home, too.

If your child has access to an electronic device, make sure you check it regularly to make sure it’s being used safely and respectfully. For example, set a weekly alarm to prompt you to check your child’s phone, if they’ve got one. Read the messages they’ve sent and received, for example, and talk with your child about what apps they’ve got.

Read more about online safety.

Could your child be a game show winner?

We’ve been contacted by a television production company, CPL Productions, who are looking for children aged between 10-12 to take part in a children’s immersive game show.

Covid permitting, they hope to film the series in July/August. Read more about the show and how to apply. The closing date for applications is 25 June 2021.

National Smile Month

Monday 17 May saw the start of National Smile Month. One of our Living and Learning expectations is ‘I know about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene, including regular check-ups at the dentist’ so it’s a good idea to check out the following links:

Let’s hope the weekend is filled with happy and healthy smiles – have a good one.

Skipping into summer with Skipping School

Posted on 14 May 2021 by Mrs Latham

We have launched a whole school skipping project with Skipping School. Each class has their own class set of ropes and we also have long ropes for every class too. The children are so enthusiastic about it already. There are some tutorial videos below so you can work on your skills at home too!

 

This week’s message (Thursday 13 May 2021)

Posted on 13 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Tomorrow is a training day so school will be closed. This week’s message comes to you today instead.

On a trial basis, we’ve tweaked what we’re doing for homework. Each week, we’re providing you with a Talk Time homework that centres around something your child will be learning in school. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect homework tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.

Reading matters

A couple of weeks ago in the weekly message (23 April), we stressed the importance of reading at home. All children will benefit from a daily reading routine. Even just 10-15 minutes every day would make a massive difference to some children who haven’t made as much progress over the lockdowns.

To promote reading at home, the National Book Token people are running a competition to design a book token. Your child can win a £10 National Book Token for themselves and each of their classmates – featuring their own amazing artwork. The challenge is to create a National Book Token design. They’ll choose a winning design every week for six weeks. Each winning designer will see their artwork brought to life as a gift card loaded with £10 – one for them, and one for each of the children in their class!

Maths matters

Across the country, lockdown appears to have had a negative impact on some pupils’ attainment in Maths. One simple way to support your child is to help them learn number facts:

  • For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts – knowing them without using their fingers to work it out. NumBots will helps with this.
  • For older children, number facts also includes times tables. By the end of Year 4, children should know their times tables without having to count through to reach the answer. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with this.

    Our data shows that the children who do well in our assessments are the children who are spending more time practising on NumBots and Rock Stars. Likewise, the children who need to learn these facts more aren’t using this resource at home. Ten minutes every day at home would really help.

    Living and Learning

Living and Learning is our name for everything that falls within the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education curriculum, the PE curriculum and other things relating to being happy and healthy learners.

In Living and Learning, as shown in our long term plan, we’ll be focusing on drug education for the next two weeks.

Our first statement for this learning is I know what a drug is.

Our definition of a drug refers to a substance that changes the way the body or mind works. The word ‘drug’ includes:

  • all legal drugs, including tobacco, alcohol, solvents and volatile substances, misused medicines and legal highs
  • all illegal drugs
  • prescribed and over-the-counter medicines

During the two week topic, we welcome d:side, a health education provider, to school to deliver drug education workshops to each class as part of this learning.

On a separate matter linked to Living and Learning, you might not know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021). Take a look at this list of children’s books that open conversations about mental health.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 07 May 2021)

Posted on 07 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Like this week, next week is a four day week – Friday 14 May is a training day so school will be closed. Before then, of course, we’ve this Friday’s Weekly Message…

Charities

Last week, we decided our school charity for the year ahead. This began with some Talk Time homework where children discussed charities at home and then came to school with a particular charity to nominate. Then, in class, a second discussion was had to agree one charity to put forward to the newly-elected Junior Leadership Team. They then reviewed all the class suggestions and arrived at the final whole-school decision:

As part of the Captain Tom 100 initiative, we’ve already raised some money for the chosen charities – thanks for all your donations so far.

The importance of sleep

Our Living and Learning statement next week is I know the importance of sleep. You can help at home by making sure your child gets enough sleep, well away from tempting electronic devices. The NHS recommend that a primary school age child gets 9 – 12 hours.

Check out these sites for more information…

Pupil premium

Pupil premium is additional funding for schools that depends on the number of children who are registered for free school meals.

300,000 more pupils became eligible in first seven months of Covid.

Even if your child is in Reception or Key Stage 1, where school meals are free, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.

Even if your child has a packed lunch, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.

Speak to our office staff about how to do this.

Sports day

Finally this week, a few of you have asked about Sports Day, which is scheduled for the week beginning 12 July.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown sets out two dates for the further easing of restrictions if all goes well: 17 May and 21 June.

By 21 June, ‘the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact’. A key word here is ‘hopes’.

We can’t guarantee that Sports Day will go ahead, but we hope that it will happen as scheduled. There may need to be restrictions in place, such as asking families to stay socially distanced or inviting just one parent/carer to attend. We’ll have to wait and see…

Have a good weekend, even if it’s a bit of a wet one.