This week’s message (Friday 27 May 2022)
Posted on 27 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree
The last message for this half-term comes from Miss Hague, our Head of School. There’s also a reminder about our annual survey of parents and carers.
It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of May and about to enter the last half term of the year! We’ve managed a full year in school (so far) – the first since 2018-19!
I know everyone has worked really hard since Easter especially our Y6 and Y2 children who have completed their end of key stage SAT tests. Well done to everyone. The last half term is a busy one, too, with Year 1 phonics assessments and Year 4 multiplication checks. We’ll also be giving the children the chance to meet their new teacher and you’ll get to read their end of term reports.
Have you seen our new little traffic wardens? Hopefully you’ll have spotted them at the end of Morwick Grove, on the zig zag lines. We’ve had a couple of near misses on this corner as children struggle to cross the road and navigate illegally parked cars. Parking continues to be an issue around school but hopefully our traffic wardens will persuade some drivers to park further away and walk to school.
We’ve got lots of exciting work going on over the summer. The space in school which is used by the Out of School Club is having a full makeover and will be renamed The Hub. The Hub will still be equipped to cater for out of school provision but will also be a space that we can use to take groups of children to undertake more practical activities like cooking. It’s all very exciting! We’re also aiming to make our main entrance to school much wider – you’ll know how much of a bottle neck it can be.
What a difference a phone makes! Last week our Year 6 children went on residential to Winmarleigh Hall PGL Centre in Preston. Five action-packed days all undertaken without a phone in sight! Whilst chatting to some of the children on the way back from residential, they acknowledged that if they’d brought their phones, they wouldn’t have enjoyed the experience half as much. They admitted they would have traded time outside playing hide and seek for hours of YouTube viewing.
Our child behaved really well on residential – the whole group did. They represented themselves really well. They were sociable with each other and with children from other schools. They were enthusiastic and respectful to the adults running the centre. We were very proud of them.
We recognise how difficult it can be to police phone usage especially if ‘everyone else has one and is allowed to go on [whatever app is most current]’ but we saw children without their phones and it felt nice. Why not give it a go during the half term and have some phone-free days!
Did you hear our Jubilee celebrations this afternoon? (Apologies to our neighbours!) An outdoor picnic and a great afternoon dancing to seven decades’ worth of tunes. If you’re doing anything to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, enjoy yourselves.
And here’s a reminder about the annual survey…
Your views matter. Every year, we invite you to complete a short survey. Complete the Scholes (Elmet) Primary survey here. It’ll only take a few minutes to complete – thanks!
Whatever you and your child get up to, have a happy and healthy half-term holiday.
Walk to School Week winners
Posted on 22 May 2022 by Mrs Latham
Lots of families joined in with Walk to School Week last week. The Buffers and St Phillips car parks were busy with people walking some of the way, if they couldn’t walk all the way from home. Thank you for joining in and helping to make our school and community an even happier and healthier place to be. Here are some of our lucky winners!
This week’s message (Friday 20 May 2022)
Posted on 20 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message has two parts: one introduces this year’s annual survey, and the second comes from Mrs Allaway, our Maths Leader.
Every year, we invite you to complete a short survey. Your views matter. They help to shape what we do in the forthcoming year(s).
This year’s survey features a series of questions closely related to what Ofsted might ask parents during an inspection, plus a question about school uniform which we’re asking because of recent statutory guidance from the government.
Complete the Scholes (Elmet) Primary survey here. We’ll send a few reminders before the closing date, which is Friday 17 June.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if you raise in the survey something very specific that needs to be addressed, we can’t easily act on this without your child’s name. In fact, the survey isn’t the best place to raise individual, specific concerns – hopefully, you’re comfortable to speak with Miss Hague or a class teacher about these instead.
Mrs Allaway writes…
As a parent or carer, you give your child their first experiences with Maths. Even if you don’t feel confident with Maths, you can still make a huge difference to how your child’s confidence and ability develops.
Be positive about maths
One of the most important things you can do is to be positive about Maths. Don’t say things like I can’t do maths or I hated maths at school. Your child might start to think like that themselves. Praise your child for their effort – this shows them that by working hard they can always improve.
A good understanding of everyday maths will help your child with important tasks, such as making decisions and understanding information. It will also help them develop essential lifelong skills:
- working out how much food is needed for a family meal and following recipes
- converting currency rates when abroad
- managing personal finances, budgeting and saving
- working out which are the best buys in the supermarket, checking change and working out sale prices
- getting to work on time, estimating how long a journey will take, knowing when to fill up on fuel
- knowing if the answer on a calculator is reasonable or if a wrong button was pressed
- keeping score in games and knowing what to aim for in order to win
- splitting the bill after a meal out with friends and working out what tip to leave
- DIY jobs such as painting and decorating or working out how many wall tiles are needed to cover an area
- reading data presented in graphs and tables and interpreting statistics in the news
Maths in everyday life
Point out the maths in everyday life. Include your child in activities involving money, cooking and travelling.
Baking and cooking are great ways for your child to practise lots of maths skills: weighing and measuring in grams and kilograms; reading scales; and measuring out capacities in litres and millilitres. Make the most of shopping trips and other outings. Help your child to recognise coins and count out particular amounts. Talk about working out totals and calculating change. Does your child understand the offers they see on signs or adverts in shops?
There’s a huge amount of maths in sports. Does your child like cricket? You can ask lots of maths questions. If there are two overs left in a game, how many balls does the bowler have left to bowl? How many more runs does the team need to win?
Can they tell the time? Having both traditional and digital clocks around the house will give your child opportunities to practise reading the time. Use timetables and TV guides. Give your child time problems to solve: Tea will be 30 minutes. What time will it be ready?
Being positive about maths and using maths in everyday life will really make a difference.
And finally, don’t forget the importance of knowing simple number facts (like two numbers adding to make 10: 2+8 or 3+7 for example) and times tables.
As always, speak to your child’s teacher if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns about your child’s learning in Maths.
Have a happy and healthy weekend.
Walk to School Week 16-20 May 2022
Posted on 13 May 2022 by Mrs Latham
Next week is Walk to School Week (or scoot or ride).
We hope you’ll all try to take part in this, even if you can’t walk from home. The Buffers Pub and St Phillip’s Church have agreed for us to use their car parks so everyone has the opportunity to walk part of the way.
Remember to bring your raffle tickets each day you walk to put in your class boxes to be in with a chance of winning a prize!
Let’s get active!
This week’s message (Thursday 12 May 2022)
Posted on 12 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree
This week, we’ve seen the end of Key Stage 2 SATs for our Year 6 children. Because of the need for extra adults and rooms in school, it’s a week that affects everyone. We know our Year 6 pupils approached the tests admirably and are very deserving of their day off tomorrow! It’s a training day – staff in school will be developing their phonics knowledge and skills.
Happy and healthy and hydrated
We teach our children about the importance of drinking water. We actively encourage them to take drinks throughout the day. Please make sure your child brings in their water bottle each day, and then take it home and wash it regularly. Water is provided at lunchtime for all children, whether they’re having a school dinner or a packed lunch. Please note: at school, children are allowed only to drink water – the healthiest choice.
Happy and healthy and active
Did you know May is National Walking Month? The evenings are getting lighter, the weather is getting warmer – it’s the perfect time to get outside and get walking. It’s not too late to take up the challenge: walk for 20 minutes every day. And walking to and from school is the ideal opportunity to achieve this!
Are you aware there’s a rise in cases of hepatitis amongst children? No one’s quite sure yet why we’re seeing this rise in hepatitis (liver inflammation).
Be alert to the signs of hepatitis:
- yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
- dark urine
- pale, grey-coloured faeces (poo)
- itchy skin
- muscle and joint pain
- a high temperature
- feeling and being sick
- feeling unusually tired all the time
- loss of appetite
- tummy pain
If you’re concerned, contact a health care professional.
Good hygiene, including supervising hand washing in young children, can help to prevent infections that can cause hepatitis.
Children experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection including vomiting and diarrhoea should stay at home and not return to school until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped. This is our regular advice to parents.
Leeds is outstanding
Have you heard the news? Ofsted has once again rated children’s services provided by Leeds City Council as ‘outstanding’.
The outstanding rating, previously received in 2018, comes following a rigorous inspection into services for the most vulnerable children and young people – those children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers.
We started this week’s message with reference to the training day tomorrow. Whatever you get up to tomorrow, and throughout the weekend, enjoy!
This week’s message (Friday 06 May 2022)
Posted on 06 May 2022 by Mr Roundtree
The Summer Term is a busy one for schools, not least because of all the statutory assessments: we’ve had end of Key Stage 1 assessments this week, and end of Key Stage 2 assessments (the SATs) are coming up next week. Also coming up are Year 1 phonics screening checks and Year 4 multiplication checks. Dates for these are in the school calendar.
Help support your child by making sure they’re reading daily (and practising times tables from Year 2), making sure they’re getting enough sleep, and making sure they’re enjoying time outdoors for play, too.
This week, we’ve a mix of messages…
It’s estimated that about a third of children aged 8-11 have profiles on TikTok. But do you know the minimum age to use TikTok? Or other social networking sites? Most require users to be at least 13 years of age.
We’ve warned you before about the risks involved in primary school age children accessing TikTok. We’re sadly still encountering problems that stem from it. Please do check out advice so your child is protected.
It’s been a while since we had to speak about Covid. Thankfully, the number of cases is dropping – but we do still have cases of Covid around. To help, if your child has a temperature, they should stay at home. (Please don’t send them to school with a dose of Calpol – that might help the symptoms, but your child can still spread Covid.)
Reception to Year 1 transition
This message comes from Mrs Beesley, our Early Years Leader:
As the weather becomes brighter and we near the end of the academic year, you may be thinking about your child’s next steps as they journey into Year 1. Moving to Year 1 is perhaps a less significant change for children – that’s because we’re a happy and healthy place to learn where we all know each other.
A meeting for parents on Thursday 23 June starts our transition process. Here, you’ll meet the Key Stage 1 staff (where possible) and find out about the Year 1 curriculum. You’ll get to see where your child will be learning. The next step is for your child to spend some time in the Year 1 classrooms. They’ll meet the teacher and join in with the learning, getting a taste of what it’s like to be in Year 1. A whole-school transition session, on Thursday 14 July, completes the process. Children will spend an afternoon with their new teacher, making plans for the learning in the year ahead.
This is a really exciting time of year, moving on and taking those next steps whilst continuing to strengthen the effective learning behaviours they’ve established in Reception.
Our settling in survey
Talking of Reception, thank you to parents of Reception who responded to our recent survey about various aspects of the first year at school. We’ve reviewed the responses.
Overall, for example, you’ve told us that you’d like to have chances to get into the classroom – we definitely agree! Normally, there would be various opportunities across the year, but sadly the high incidents of Covid meant this didn’t happen. Next year (we know – too late for you, sadly), we’re planning a mix of visits to Reception plus some Zoom sessions – it seems most of you found these convenient.
Across Sphere Federation, there were just one or two small issues, all of which we hope we’ve addressed. Please do speak with Miss Hague if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns – we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to act on everything, but we do guarantee we’ll listen and consider.
Sticking with surveys…
On a national level, the Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza writes:
Family is a core pillar of my work as Children’s Commissioner, following ‘The Big Ask’ survey, which demonstrated how important families are to children.
Children explained how having a supportive family has a positive impact on their lives, from receiving emotional support, to being able to talk with family members about their worries and aspirations for the future. I have been commissioned by government to undertake a review of family life across the country.
The family review will seek to understand the composition of the modern family. It will explore whether the needs of children are understood in the provision of services to families, and how we can improve children’s outcomes by developing the way public services understand the needs of families as a unit.
Capturing children’s voices is key to this review. That is why I am launching my call for action… Please encourage children to complete the questions on the Children’s Commissioner website, and to share their view on family life. The answers will help us understand what children think of family life and help inform our work.
Look out for our annual survey for all parents and carers later this term, too.
Have a happy and healthy weekend!
This week’s message (Friday 29 April 2022)
Posted on 29 April 2022 by Mr Roundtree
This half-term, your child is a geographer. This week’s message, from Mr Wilks, our Sphere Federation Topic Leader, helps you to support your child at home…
However, 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, DT). 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, we’re geographers. The topic is called Explorers.
We’re comparing a place in the United Kingdom with a place in another country. Y1,2 children are heading to Kenya in Africa; Y3,4 children are having a mini-break in Venice; and Y5,6 children are trekking through the Amazon Rainforest in South America.
Across the year groups, children are developing their understanding of some key geographical concepts:
- Space is a precise location, eg a country, city a latitude or longitude.
- Place = location + meaning. This includes the physical and human geography that make a place unique. Importantly, place is not rigid. It is changing and can be perceived in different ways.
- Scale is defined by the relative sizes of places. This could be differences in area, population, distances. Scale can also be defined by our view of the world. For example, we may consider an aspect of geography on a local, national and international scale.
- Interdependence is the idea that the world is connected and that countries or individuals do not act in isolation. Our actions here affect people in different countries around the world. For example, food, energy, holidays, climate.
Click this link to the Curriculum Statement for more information about key concepts (page 19) and age-related expectations and vocabulary (page 22 and 23).
Years 1 and 2
Children begin the topic by learning about the different continents and oceans in the world. They learn about the Equator and how it splits the Earth into two hemispheres. They then focus on a specific continent, Africa, and a specific country within that continent, Kenya. They compare Nairobi in Kenya to London, with a focus on the physical and human geography of these two places. Finally, they take a visit into the countryside and compare features of the Yorkshire Dales with a National Park just outside Nairobi.
Years 3 and 4
Children recap learning about the Equator and hemispheres. They then develop that by learning about the tropics and climate zones. A focus on European and world cities and countries follows; this links to climate zone learning. After that, they focus in on Venice in Italy and its physical and human geography which they compare with York. They’ll learn about the positives and benefits that tourism brings, putting themselves in the shoes of both tourists visiting the places and locals who live there. Finally, they’ll learn about the problems posed by flooding in both localities and the solutions they have introduced to limit the consequences of flooding.
Years 5 and 6
We begin the topic by learning about the different types of biomes found on Earth and how these are linked to climate. Children then focus on the biomes found in Brazil and the UK. They then focus on Brazil more generally, building their understanding of it as a place. Next, they learn about the Amazon Rainforest and its importance to Brazil in terms of the economy as well as its importance ecologically. They’ll learn about the threats to the rainforest and the impact that deforestation is having. Finally, children consider what Brazil – and we – need to do to slow down deforestation and what we can do to slow deforestation.
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. Try the street view option and you can walk along a street in Nairobi and a street in London. Take a drive through the lush Yorkshire Dales and compare this to the Kenyan countryside. You could wander down the Shambles in York and compare this to the streets in Venice. You can also compare images of the same street from different points in time.
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 (see the links to our Curriculum Statement, above) 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?
If you can, 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 older 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!
Also for children in Key Stage 2, there are lots of information and some tasks and quizzes on the BBC Bitesize website.
This week’s message (Friday 22 April 2022)
Posted on 22 April 2022 by Mr Roundtree
With bright sunny days, what a great week to kick off the Summer term! We hope you all had a lovely break.
Our whole school attendance is at 95.0% – that’s a slight drop from 04 March when we last reported.
- Sunshine class: 93.4%
- Rainbow class: 95.0%
- Class 1A: 94.9%
- Class 1,2B: 94.1%
- Class 2C: 95.6%
- Class 3,4A: 95.6%
- Class 3,4B: 96.7%
- Class 3,4C: 94.2% – it’s great we’re seeing this figure continue to rise after the Covid outbreak in the class
- Class 5,6A: 95.7% – that’s a slight increase, so well done!
- Class 5,6B: 95.4%
- Class 5,6C: 94.5%
It’s really clear from our assessments that children who attend school regularly are the most successful. Please make sure your child is coming to school as much as possible and getting to school on time.
Please remember that we’re not allowed to authorise term-time absence unless it’s in exceptional circumstances, and if you do need to request term-time absence it should be done in advance using a form you can collect at the office.
Thank you for helping your child get to school regularly and on time.
Updated NHS Covid symptoms lists
The official advice is that adults and children who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including Covid, should follow the UKHSA guidance. Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare and resume normal activities when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.
Have a happy and healthy weekend.
This week’s message (Friday 01 April 2022)
Posted on 01 April 2022 by Mr Roundtree
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a busy week for us…
…because we’ve been recruiting new teachers across our three schools this week. We had an incredibly high number of applications: 184 in total. We want to recruit the very best teachers so our recruitment process involves inviting lots of people in so we can watch them teach – we observed 43 teachers across Monday (Moortown), Tuesday (Scholes) and Wednesday (St James’) mornings. Following this, we invited some people back in the afternoon – we interviewed 15 candidates across the three days. Somewhat exhausted, we’re also delighted by the high calibre of people we met. We’ll update you more about staffing next term.
(A funny aside to this: on one of the mornings, one Year 4 pupil approached the head of school unprompted, and without knowing the reason for the visitors in school, to offer her views and grades for the three teachers who had visited the class!)
It’s April Fool’s Day!
But this year, I promise there are no jokes in the weekly message. Last year, I announced the departure of Miss Hague. Despite including the words ‘April’, ‘fools’ and ‘day’ in the news item, and then warning readers to be wary of April Fool jokes, it did seem to trick quite a few people! I’m on my best behaviour this year.
Well, not quite yet. Unlike other local authorities around us, Leeds has fixed Easter holidays – the first two weeks in April, even if Easter doesn’t fall in the holiday. This year, it does – just! We’ll be open again on Tuesday 19 April.
This Easter, schools from across the city are taking up the Love Exploring Leeds Inter-School Challenge. Help us join the challenge by using the free Love Exploring app to play augmented reality games with your child – like the new Mega Mini-Beast game, developed in consultation with bug experts at Leeds Museum.
The app uses the magic of augmented reality to bring to life magical sights on a smartphone – like the giant butterflies and ladybirds created for the Mega Mini-Beast game. There’s a Dinosaur Safari to play, too.
Love Exploring is available at 15 Leeds parks. By getting active as a family and answering questions on the interactive quiz, you’ll score points which link to our school. There are points for every question answered and for every 100m you walk. All participating schools win a prize. The family with the most points wins an iPad.
The challenge runs from today to 6 June. Look out for special activities in libraries and parks in May.
From all of us, have an egg-cellent Easter.
This week’s message (Friday 25 March 2022)
Posted on 25 March 2022 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message comes from Miss Hague, our Head of School…
At last, Spring is here. This last week of sunshine has made my time at the gate a much warmer experience – I’m very grateful for that. I hope the weather stays fine as we head towards our Easter holidays – even better if it lasts during the holiday!
Our children are also really enjoying the fine weather. At the end of playtime, we often have lots of coats and jumpers left around as children have discarded them as they get hot. I know that names often get washed out over time but if items are named they almost always find their owner!
Next week, we’re inviting our first group of parents back into school – we’re really excited. At this time of year, our Year 3 and 4 children usually put on a Spring production of some sort. We’ve decided not to go ahead this year and not just because of Covid. Any production takes hours of planning, preparation and rehearsing – time we don’t have after such a large amount of lost learning time. Instead, we’re inviting parents in to share the learning that our children have been doing. As we progress through the year, we’re hoping that we can invite more of you back into school safely.
Covid continues to be an issue in school. During this last half term, we’ve been hit the hardest with staff being unwell – you may have noticed some missing faces! I’d like to express a huge thanks to the staff at Scholes who have covered extra duties, missed PPA time, missed some lunch breaks and generally kept the ‘ship afloat’ when it’s got quite stormy. We came very close to some remote learning but made it through!
Looking forward, we’ve started thinking about our Jubilee celebrations for the end of May – we’ll send you details as they become firmer. Early thoughts are for a whole school picnic on the field, dressing in red, white and blue, and learning Wake Up, Shake Up songs from each of the decades that the Queen has been on the throne. It’s a moment in time that we want the children to remember.
I’ve been alerted to a few ‘canisters’ left on the ground around our school – you might want to read more about what’s causing this. In our Wise Up Wednesday assembly we talked about caring for our community and being aware of litter. We gave children a clear instruction not to pick up anything they were unsure of. You might want to reinforce this message at home.
Don’t forget the clocks go forwards this weekend. One less hour in bed hardly seems fair on Mother’s Day! Wishing all our lovely mums and grandmas a very happy Mother’s Day.