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Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 11 November 2022)

Posted on 11 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree

As we always do, the message this week – second week of the half-term – is all about the new topic. The message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads Science and foundation subjects across Sphere Federation. The message ends with some important guidance to help tackle online bullying…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg History, Art, Geography, Design Technology). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. 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 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 artists. We’ll develop our art knowledge and skills.

The learning this half-term has two aspects to it:

  • art history: your child will learn about some specific artists and their work
  • art process: your child will practise and develop skills by creating art

Each phase has age-related knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. Please see pages 11 and 12 of the Curriculum Statement document. 

Children in Years 1 and 2 have two featured artists who they’ll study across the half-term: Georges Seurat and Bridget Riley. They’ll compare their art, talking about similarities and differences. They’ll discuss what they like and dislike about the art and how it makes them feel. They’ll also learn about the artists’ lives and where in the world they lived.

In practical art lessons, children will hone their artistic skills and knowledge by sketching objects using pencil and creating sculptures inspired by Bridget Riley’s art.

Children in Years 3 and 4 will learn about the work of two architects: Christopher Wren and Zaha Hadid.

They’ll compare and contrasting the buildings that these architects designed. They’ll look at the influence of classical Greek architecture on the two architects and look for examples of this in buildings locally. In practical art sessions, children will develop observational drawing skills, before focussing on digital art by manipulating images of buildings using technology and creating pieces of art using these images alongside digital art software.

Children in Years 5 and 6 are learning about and studying the work of two designers: William Morris and Orla Kiely.

They’ll look at examples of products that use their designs and then focus on the designs, analysing them using technical vocabulary. They’ll also compare the designs, spotting similarities and differences.

In practical art lessons, children will sketch their own designs inspired by Kiely or Morris. They’ll then create relief prints of their own designs which they’ll turn into a wallpaper design using a design website.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning. The Class News page of our website is a good place to go to find out more about what your child is doing.

Familiarise yourself with the artists and the artwork that your child will be learning about in class. Look in books or on the internet for pieces by the artists and talk about them. Find art by other artists that you like and compare it to the featured artists. If you feel confident, you can go into more depth using the topic-specific vocabulary. However, if not, leave that to the teachers and just enjoy looking at the pieces and asking general questions:

  • What do you like or dislike about the art?
  • How does the art make you feel?
  • What colours can you see?
  • Can you spot influence of Greek architecture in buildings (eg columns or pediments)?

The Tate Gallery has a good children’s website with games and activities which children can explore.

If you’re in Leeds, the Leeds Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute are both free to enter and if your child has already visited during a trip, they can be the tour guide and show you around!

Moving on… Did you know next week is Anti-Bullying Week?

STOP

In our school, STOP stands for both the problem and the solution for bullying:

  • Several Times On Purpose is the definition of bullying
  • Start Telling Other People is the solution – encourage your child to tell any trusted adult if there’s a problem

We’ll mark the week with our Anti-Bullying Day on Monday, which happens also to be Odd Socks Day.

STOP online

According to Ofcom’s 2022 Media Use and Attitudes report, children are now more likely to be bullied via technology than they are to experience it in person. 84% of 8 to 17-year-olds who reported being targeted said it had taken place via messaging, social media, online gaming and so on, as opposed to 61% who had been intimidated face-to-face.

Just like its offline counterpart, online-bullying creates feelings of isolation and anxiety in its victims along with a loss of self-esteem.

Read about how to support your child and tackle this problem.

This week’s message (Friday 04 November 2022)

Posted on 04 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you and your child(ren) managed to have some time over the half-term to rest and recuperate. Now that we’re firmly settled in to the school year, this week’s message has three important reminders, and ends with an invitation to share your views about Leeds admission policy…

Our expectations for home learning

At Scholes (Elmet) Primary, we expect every child to read at home, every day. The most important thing you can do at home is to make sure this is happening – reading independently and reading aloud together.

The reading should be at least 10-15 minutes and can include books, comics, websites – any reading! Please comment in your child’s Reading Record at least once a week.

There are two other things we expect your child to do at home each day:

  • spend about ten minutes each day practising number facts, like number bonds to ten (eg 3+7 and 4+6) and learning times tables; NumBots (mainly for children in Key Stage 1) and TimesTables Rock Stars (Key Stage 2 children) will support number fluency, as will practice in the car or walking to school (eg chanting forwards, backwards and alternating as you count through can all help)
  • spend a similar amount of time practising spellings, using the homework sheet we send home each week to see the weekly list of words to learn in preparation for a test on the following Friday (your child could use the words in written sentences or stories and in conversations)

As well as these three daily activities, there are weekly Talk Time prompts (set out on the homework sheet we send home each Friday and published on our website) and Living and Learning ideas (check these out in the school calendar, usually on Mondays – next week’s is I consider the views of others).

You’ll find occasional extra ideas in your child’s Class News page, too.

Read our guide to all the home learning that your child can do.

Our expectations for attendance

Our attendance rate for Autumn 1 was 96.5% – this compares well to the national figure (subject to change) of 95.1% for primary schools.

Our aim is for the whole-school attendance to be at least 97%. Particular well done goes to our two Reception classes, our Y3,4 classes, and Class 5,6C – all have attendance over 97%.

The government is trialing a new service – check out national attendance figures, updated regularly.

Read our attendance policy. Remember, we don’t authorise unnecessary term-time absences. Holidays during term time are likely to result in a penalty notice.

Our expectations for uniform

This week in school, we’ve been enjoying a themed week: Me and My Community, a celebration of all the different communities to which we belong. We want our children to come to school proud of being part of their school community – uniform is an important part of this. Please take a moment to check our uniform policy – for example, is your child coming to school with long hair tied back, wearing discreet earrings (if any), and the right shoes?

Of course, we welcome the occasional non-uniform day as a break from routine to celebrate or raise funds. Coming up is the Children in Need fund-raising event for which we’ll have a non-uniform day. However, on days like this, we do still expect pupils to dress appropriately and respectfully for school. Check out the policy for more details.

Leeds Admission Policy

Leeds City Council is running a public consultation on the 2024/2025 admission policy for Leeds community and voluntary controlled schools. Share your views – you have until 07 December.

If you’re celebrating Bonfire Night, have a safe one, and – as always – a happy and healthy one.

Open Afternoon 08 November 2022

Posted on 02 November 2022 by Miss Hague

Are you looking for a reception school place for September 2023?

Why not come to our Open Afternoon on 08 November 2022, 1.30 – 2.30. We’d love to show you around our school and share with you what makes our school a happy and healthy place to learn.

Applications for places are now open and will close at midnight on 15 January 2023.

The local authority has produced some guidance which you might find useful.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on 08 November – no need to make an appointment, just turn up!

This week’s message (Friday 21 October 2022)

Posted on 21 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

As I write this at 7.30 on Friday morning, I can hear the sound of pouring rain – let’s hope the half-term is drier so we can get out and about! This week’s message has a last minute reminder, a safety message, and some information about our Autumn term topics.

School day

There’s only a few hours left to complete this short survey about changes to the school day. We’ll close the survey at 5.00pm today – just a couple of hours. At the time of writing, 154 of you had submitted your views – thank you for taking the time to pass on your comments.

Firework safety

With many organised events cancelled due to tight budgets, West Yorkshire Fire Service is fearful that this may mean more families try to replicate a display, and that this may pose a greater risk to the safety of our children. Please speak with your child about the dangers of fireworks.

At the same time, it’s worth discussing the important role firefighters play in our community – in recent years, there’s been an increase in attacks on firefighters.

We’re all historians

This half-term, we’ve been historians. It would be great if you encourage your child to continue their History topic at home.

Children in Years 1 and 2 learnt about a significant British historical event: the Great Fire of London. Your child learnt about life at the time of the Great Fire of London. They discovered where the fire started and how it spread so quickly and the innovative ways that it was extinguished. Importantly, they thought about the different sources of evidence that helped us answer these questions, including Samuel Pepys’ diary. Finally, they learnt 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. Link your discussions about firework safety with the history behind this event. Check out the Fire of London website – a great way to support and deepen children’s learning.

Ancient Greece was the topic for our Year 3 and 4 children. Your child began by sequencing periods of British history and seeing where the ‘golden-age’ of the Ancient Greek civilisation sits alongside British history. They then learnt about two contrasting city states: Athens and Sparta. Your child learnt about the type of government these states had and what the lives of the people living there were like. Ask your child about the influence that Athens has had on the world (they might mention democracy, mathematics, philosophy, literature, culture…) and how the civilisation ended. For a rainy half-term diversion, a visit to Leeds City Museum (next to Millennium Square) would be great because it has some Ancient Greek exhibits.

Children in Years 5 and 6 learnt about Stone Age to Iron Age Britain and contrasted it with Ancient Egypt. Your child began by looking at and creating timelines to gain an understanding of chronology. They learnt about the advances and innovations that occurred during the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. They then learnt about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and contrasted this with what was happening in Britain at the same time. Speak with your child about the differences– it’s a stark contrast! As before, a trip to Leeds City Museum would be a great half-term day out – it has some Ancient Egyptian exhibits, including Nesyamum, the 3,000 year old Leeds mummy!

We’re all artists

Next half-term, we’re all artists. As well as creating some masterpieces, we’ll look at the work of various artists, architects and designers. To gain a head start, encourage your child to check out the work of our featured artists and designers:

Have a happy and healthy half-term break. Remember, the first day of next term is a training day: see you all on Tuesday 01 November.

Halloween DISCO

Posted on 14 October 2022 by Mrs Latham

Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 had a spook-tastic time at the disco tonight! Dress up, dancing, the conga, sweets and juice – what’s not to love?

 

 

 

This week’s message (Friday 14 October 2022)

Posted on 14 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message includes some ways to support your child at home with Maths, written by Mrs Allaway (who celebrates a significant birthday today – happy birthday, Paula!). Sandwiched in between, a couple of useful reminders…

School day

Have you let us know your thoughts on changes to the school day? Our very short survey is open for one more week.

Maths

What are we learning in Maths?

In Key stages 1 and 2, our Maths curriculum is divided into blocks of learning. These include different aspects of maths such as place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, geometry, fractions, measures and statistics. Each block is broken down into a sequence of small manageable steps in learning, with each step building on the previous one.

Years 1 and 2

In the autumn term, our blocks of learning are place value, addition and subtraction, and shape.

A significant amount of time is spent on developing a deep understanding of the composition of numbers so that children become confident and fluent in both counting and recalling number facts. The crucial number facts are simple addition and subtraction facts. Regular short bursts of practice on NumBots will help with this. In school, we use a wide range of practical resources to support understanding of these key concepts.

When learning about shape, children are supported to recognise, draw, compare and sort different shapes alongside using the related mathematical vocabulary.

Years 3 and 4

In the autumn term, we cover three blocks of learning: place value; addition and subtraction; and multiplication and division.

It’s essential that children become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts. These facts need to be really secure so that children can develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large numbers. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with learning times tables up to 12 x 12.

We continue to use a range of practical resources. We use these to support children’s understanding of concepts and procedures – so they can see the maths. Ultimately, the expectation is that children can do the maths without the resources.

Years 5 and 6

In the autumn term, our blocks of learning are place value, the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and fractions.

Children extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include much larger numbers – up to 10 million.

Children are supported to become fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division. Children develop their skills to solve a wider range of increasingly complex problems that draw on these arithmetic skills.

When learning about fractions, children develop their understanding of equivalent fractions and use these to add and subtract fractions with different denominators. In order to be successful with this, children need to be fluent with times tables. Short bursts of regular practice on Times Tables Rock Stars will help to keep these skills sharp.

As always, speak to your child’s teacher if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns about your child’s learning in Maths.

JLT elections

We’ve recently launched this year’s Junior Leadership Team election process. Our Junior Leadership Team is one of the ways that children are encouraged to take an active part in pupil voice.

The election process allows children to develop an understanding of one of the British Valuesdemocracy, with a representative from each class chosen democratically by their peers.

Here are some of the qualities our junior leaders think are needed to be an effective JLT member.

  • use the 8Rs for learning
  • be respectful and polite
  • help others
  • be a good speaker and listener (to members of your class and in the meetings)
  • share and be confident with your ideas
  • let others speak
  • accept the views of others even if you don’t agree
  • be friendly and approachable
  • follow our school rules and make good choices in class and around school

This weeks’ whole school homework is all about the election and democracy, ready for the elections next Thursday 20 October.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Amazing donations!

Posted on 12 October 2022 by Miss Hague

Thank you so much for your harvest donations.  I think we collected everything on the shopping list… many times over.

At our assembly, we definitely ran out of space to display everything! We had to put lots of bags under the tables.

Here’s everything ready to be collected by The Wetherby and District Foodbank.

Your generosity will help lots of people over the next few months. Last year, the food bank provided 314 three-day emergency food supplies for those in crisis. It feels good to know we’ve done our little bit to help those facing a challenging winter.

Thank you once again.

This week’s message (Friday 07 October 2022)

Posted on 07 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

It certainly feels like Autumn these days – as well as shorter days and autumn colours, another sign of Autumn is the excited children showing us their conkers collected on the way to school! This week’s message includes two important messages (about medical conditions and attendance), and two more parts (about communications and this week’s Watch Us While We Work).

Attendance update

In the last school year (2021-22), the national average was 95.4% attendance. Our school attendance was 94.7% – we were below the national figure.

We all know that attendance matters – the more your child is in school, the more they learn and the more they develop social skills.

Attendance is even more important following the disruption in learning caused by Covid – we’re now starting to identify gaps in learning and working hard to address this, but we need your child at school.

Thank you to everyone who makes sure their child is in school as much as possible.

Medical conditions

When your child joins school, we always ask about any medical conditions so we can support your child in school. This includes letting us know about allergies. This is a reminder only: please do make sure you tell us about medical conditions, especially nut allergies and other food allergies. Based on what you tell us, we’ll make reasonable adaptations to meet your child’s needs.

A word about how we communicate

A small number of you told us in the Summer 2022 annual parent/carer survey that we send home too many communications. We’ve thought hard about the comments, but also considered other feedback that tells us you welcome how we communicate. In the end, we’ve decided that we’re getting it about right for most of you. However, we thought it might be useful to let you know the different ways that we communicate things with you.

Firstly, anything urgent (such as the cancellation of an after-school club) or a quick reminder about something (like the photographer being in school) is sent by text. If you have the School Gateway app, it may be useful to set it so you receive notifications of messages. Texts are automatically sent to your app, if you have it installed (it’s free for us to communicate with you this way).

The weekly Friday message contains important information (eg nuts, attendance and about things coming up, such as parent-teacher meetings) as well as other information that we think you might find useful (eg like this one). We usually use sub-headings to help you navigate the message so you can find the information you need.

Most letters are emailed out to you, too. We’re moving away from sending out hard copies of letters (it’s better for the environment to send things electronically and things sometimes don’t always get to you if they’re sent home in book bags). Please try to check your emails daily, so you don’t miss anything important.

For anything relevant to your child’s class, check out the Class News pages of our website (we recommend doing this at least once a week). Nursery and Reception tend to put reminders on their Class News page, as they don’t have a homework page.

Your child should bring home a hard copy of their weekly homework, but you’ll also find it on the Homework page of the website.

Finally, we do have Facebook and Twitter. These just provide additional little snippets, if you want them, but nothing urgent or important will be posted on social media as we realise that not everyone accesses these things.

Finally, a thank you…

…to everyone who attended this week’s Watch Us While We Work session. It was great to see so many of you in school, keen to get a flavour of school life  (eg ‘I thought both organisation and classroom content was great’) and to pick up some tips to help you continue to support your child at home (eg ‘We could practise counting in tens more’).

Look out for the next session: Thursday 26 January 2023.

Have a happy and healthy, awesome and autumnal weekend!

Watch Us While We Work

Posted on 05 October 2022 by Miss Hague

Watch Us While We Work was a huge success!

Nearly 90 families were able to join us yesterday morning. We know that for some of you it will have been the first time in school since Covid.

Welcome back!

Feedback was really positive with parents commenting on how engaged the children were in their learning, how carefully the lessons were structured, how complex the language was that the children were using, and how proficient the teachers were at teaching!

Lots of adults said that they had picked up some useful tips for helping at home.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you back on 26 January for another opportunity to ‘Watch Us While We Work’ but also on 02 December 2022 and 20 March 2023 for a topic review session.

This week’s message (Friday 30 September 2022)

Posted on 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!