News

Latest news from around the school

Our daily message (15 July 2020)

Posted on 15 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our message last Wednesday (08 July) had a summer focus. One week on, and we re-visit this topic…

We’re reaching the end of the school year. For many, home learning has drifted off a bit. Don’t feel bad about this – the home learning situation has lasted far longer than we might have predicted way back in March. From our communications with you, we know you’ve done a good job.

Get out and about

During the summer break, if you’re looking for activities, then check out the range of useful information on the Breeze website.

Last week, we provided you with a list of summer camps and other activities. It might be an idea to sign up to something if you can afford it. Your child could benefit from the social aspects, and it’ll give you a much-needed break. (Like we said last week, though: seek assurance that the provider is following protective measures in line with the guidance which the government has produced.)

Set a summer challenge

Parents’ / carers’ feedback about our previous holiday activities was
really positive, so here are some more holiday challenges that you and your child might want to complete over the summer holidays. A few key points…

  • The list is the same across year groups, meaning if you’ve more than one
    child, they might work on it together in some way.
  • You can encourage your child to do some or all of the activities –
    they’re all optional.
  • We’re sorry – unlike at Easter and the summer half-term, teachers won’t be around so please don’t email them. Teachers will not be giving feedback about these tasks.

Keep up with reading

If your child starts back at school in September being an enthusiastic and fluent reader, then they’ll be in a great starting position to kick off the school year.

Many of you have told us you’ve appreciated the online copies of First News that we’ve emailed out. Children really enjoy reading First News in school. You can subscribe at home. It’s a great way to keep your child reading – the articles are quite short and presented in an attractive format. Right now, there’s a ten week summer subscription for £19.99 (and it comes with a free puzzle book).

To make things even better, for every subscription parents take out and select our school from the drop down box at the checkout, we’ll get money back to put towards our school. This is a great opportunity to get your kids reading at home while helping the school raise money. Remember to select our school when ordering so we can fundraise: you’ll need our postcode, which is LS15 4BJ.

Just in case…

Over the summer, if you experience difficulties and need advice or support, information is available from Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership. Alternatively, you can contact your local Early Help Hub: [email protected]  or 0113 3785996.

Our daily message: School in September (update 2, 14 July 2020)

Posted on 14 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message has important updates for school in September.

Summer was for some pupils, Autumn is for all. We’re looking forward to welcoming back all pupils on Monday 07 September. Here are a few updates that we think you’ll want to know about.

Two things going ahead…

PE is going ahead. On the days your child has PE, they should come to school in their PE kit. (Track-suit bottoms instead of shorts would be good on colder days.) Children should wear their usual school uniform on other days. Read more about our uniform policy.

Homework is going ahead. We’ll set weekly homework as we normally do. The key difference is that Homework books should stay at home for the time being. Just as normal, the tasks will be posted on the website. Instead of the task pasted into books, children will take home a piece of paper with the task on, too. The tasks will be a variety of Talk Time, Practice Makes Perfect and Creative, but especially the first two.

Parents can email a picture or update about a completed task (just as many have been doing with the home learning tasks we set in Spring and Summer terms). The homework will be reviewed in school, so some pictures would be good!

And a few things put on hold for now…

For the first half-term, there are a few things not happening:

  • swimming lessons for Year 4 children,
  • swimming lessons for children in Key Stage 1,
  • after-school clubs for all children, and
  • peripatetic instrument lessons.

We really want to get these up-and-running soon, but want to make sure that everything happens as smoothly as possible in other aspects of school life for all our children and staff.

Our daily message (13 July 2020)

Posted on 13 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you had a good weekend. Hopefully, lockdown easing a little has meant you can catch up with more people. Like most Mondays, we’ve our Living and Learning ideas. Before that…

It’s the 14th week of home learning (that’s not counting Easter and the summer half-term holiday), and it’s the last week. Well done for getting this far – it’s been tough for so many people.

On Friday, we updated you with our plans for a staggered start and end to the school day. Tomorrow, we’ll update you with more plans for September in school.

Leeds City Council has produced a new checklist of things for us to consider as we prepare for Autumn for all children. The checklist has 36 sections and 282 items for us to consider, so you can be confident that by the time we’ve worked our way through it, our plans will be sensible and comprehensive.

Living and learning

Each week in school, we have a Living and Learning statement. I can reflect and look ahead is our statement this week. One of the Sphere Federation Health Leaders writes:

We’re nearing the end of the school year. Being able to reflect is one of our eight Rs for learning – we looked at these way back in the first half-term of the school year. Reflecting means to think carefully about something and in this statement refers to looking back and thinking about what has happened this year.

Whether you’re at home or at school, in this, the last week of the school year, we can reflect on the year’s successes, changes and challenges. Reflect together: use these prompts to discuss with your child.

  • I feel I improved the most in…
  • Something important that I learned this year was…
  • My favourite subject this year has been…
  • What I enjoyed learning the most this year was…
  • Something I’m proud of accomplishing is…
  • Something I’ve learned about myself is…
  • Something I will miss is…
  • I will never forget this year because…

Encourage your child to include a reason: My favourite subject this year has been… because

We thought about changes and transition last week. The following prompts can be used to support your child to look ahead to their next school year.

  • I’m excited about…
  • I want to learn about…
  • I’m nervous about…
  • I think the hardest thing will be…
  • I can’t wait for…
  • I think I’ll be surprised about…

This activity allows children to reflect and look ahead by writing a letter to their future self.

Never Forget

Posted on 10 July 2020 by Miss Hague

We’re nearly at the end of this crazy year.

It’s been a long time but we’re not too sure where we’ve been.

We’ve had good times …

Do you know what?  I’ll let Take That say the rest.

(If they refuse to sing or you can only see half of the screen, slide the image to the far right and click on the full screen icon.)

 

Our daily message: School in September (update 1)

Posted on 10 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our final daily message this week comes from Miss Hague…

We’re really excited to finally be able to welcome back all our pupils to school – and to welcome some new faces, too!

Autumn is for all children – we’re welcoming back all children on Monday 07 September 2020.

The new school year will have lots of things in place to keep making sure school is a happy and healthy and safe place to learn.

We’ve closely considered lots of different aspects to make sure the new school year goes smoothly. Of course, lots of things are subject to change – the government might update guidance and we’ll be evaluating how things go, ready to iron out any glitches as we go along. 

Today, we have some important news about the start and end of the school day.

 We need a way to make sure our 350 children can get in and out of school safely. As we ease out of lockdown, it’s still  important to reduce ‘people traffic’ around school at these busy times. We’ve considered different ways to do this, including these two ways of staggering drop-off and pick-up times…

Option 1: Staggering the start and end times alphabetically by surname

This is the system we used for partial opening in Summer 2. It allows families to drop off siblings at the same time. However, it means that class teaching can’t begin until the last group of children arrive. This reduces the amount of teaching and learning time every day by a significant amount.

Option 2: Staggering the start and end times by class

This allows us to begin teaching the class at the same time so learning time is not reduced – something which the guidance from the Department for Education prioritises. This is what we’ve chosen to do.

class teacher drop-off time pick-up time

(Mondays)

pick-up time

(Tuesdays – Fridays)

Sunshine*

1,2V

3,4E

5,6S

Miss Parling

Mrs Latham

Mrs McCormick

Mrs Hogarth

8.30am 2.10pm 3.10pm
2C

3,4N

5,6B

Mr Gathercole

Mrs Wadsworth

Mr Freeman

8.40am 2.20pm 3.20pm
Rainbow*

1KN

3,4O

5,6M

Mrs Allen-Kelly / Mrs Wilkins

Miss Lowry / Mrs Lake

Mr Catherall

Mr Lindsay

8.50am 2.30pm 3.30pm

*Foundation 2: The timings for our F2 classes will be in place once your child has attended for a few sessions and have built up to attending full-time. Class allocation and an individual transition plan will be emailed to all F2 parents next week.

It’s important to note this is not a window of time in which to drop-off or pick-up so please be punctual. This will help us to keep our community safe by reducing congestion.

We appreciate it may be tricky for families with siblings. Where there’s only a 10 minute gap between siblings, it would help enormously if families can keep to the class times.

If this isn’t possible or there is a 20 minutes gap, families should drop off at the earlier time, taking the child whose class starts first. Alternatively, take the youngest child to the classroom door and allow the older child to head into school on their own.

For example, for a family with a child in Y1/2V (start time 8.30am) and a child in Y5/6M (start time 8.50)… If dropping off siblings at the same time, drop-off both children at 8.30am and pick-up both children at 3.10pm (2.10pm Mondays).

Class teachers know which siblings to expect if children arrive earlier than their allocated class time.

Other things you can do to help

  • If you’re waiting in the playground, please ensure your child stands with you and doesn’t mix with other children who may be in a different bubble. Children mixing across bubbles fundamentally undermines our risk assessment.
  • Where possible, just one adult should drop-off and pick-up. This reduces the number of adults on site.
  • Whilst our playground has always had a community feel about it with people enjoying chatting in groups and catching up with others, during this time, we ask that adults swiftly enter and leave the school grounds.

Senior leaders will be on the playground and will challenge things we feel may compromise the risk assessment. These are uncomfortable conversations for staff and families; please do all you can to support us.

We’ll keep updating you about school in September – Autumn is for all children back again!

Our daily message (09 July 2020)

Posted on 09 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Our daily message today includes a word from the Chair of Governors for Sphere Federation. Before that…

Sadly, during lockdown, incidents of domestic violence and other domestic abuse have increased quite significantly. Get support if this is happening to you or to someone you know.

We’re a few days into July, but it’s not too late to benefit from this Jump Back July calendar from Action for Happiness. This month, their focus is on how we can be more resilient in challenging times. Even taking just one thing on board each week might make a difference. Today’s suggestion is ‘Help someone in need and notice how that gives you a boost, too’. (My favourite so far this month has been the tip for Sunday 05 July – and, for me, that related to mowing the lawn!)

Finally, some words from Rachel Greenhalgh, our Chair of Governors…

As the academic year draws to a close, the governing body reflects on its work throughout 2019/20 and looks ahead to the coming year. This annual governance statement will shortly be published on our Governance page (in the Join In section).

Without exception, this past year has been the most challenging the education sector has experienced. As a governing body, we have responded by adapting our governance to cover essential business only and to ensure our school leaders have been supported.

At the end of last week, the Government published guidance for full opening of schools from September. School leaders are working hard to digest this new information, discussing numerous options in detail, creating plans, and managing risks for the safest possible return for all pupils and staff next term. Mr Roundtree has also initiated a working party with other school leaders and people from the Local Authority to develop well thought through plans for September. The governing body will ensure these plans and risk assessments are robust, and communicated to you as soon as possible.

Next year, the governing body will continue to ensure that all our statutory duties are met and focus on essential areas of governance whilst supporting school leaders as the Covid-19 situation evolves in the new academic year. Our immediate areas of priority remain the safety and wellbeing of all pupils and school staff, and we will continue to challenge school leaders on our vision that all the schools are a happy and healthy place to learn, and that all our children feel safe.

These past few months have been a very difficult time for most people and we are extremely proud of how all our school community has pulled together throughout the pandemic, and we thank you for all your support over the year. The Government has confirmed they are not asking schools to open over the summer holiday. We fully support this and agree ‘teachers, support staff and school leaders deserve a break, to recharge and rest’ (Department for Education daily email, 30.06.20).

We hope that you and your children have a happy and healthy school summer holiday and we look forward to seeing you all in September.

Tomorrow’s message is from the Head of School and provides the first key information about school in Autumn for all children.

Virtual School Sports Day - results

Posted on 08 July 2020 by Mrs Latham

Thank you to everyone at home and in school who took part and submitted results. Over 200 schools across West Yorkshire took part and we did really well – netball being our particular strength!

Our daily message (08 July 2020)

Posted on 08 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message talks about the summer and September…

The BBC reports today that ‘home-schooling has been hell‘. We don’t doubt for one minute that it’s been tough – even more so if you’re one of the majority whose child is still at home.

In a recent daily message (25.06.20), we made the analogy of home-school learning being like a marathon: ‘This was always going to be a marathon, not a sprint. We’re definitely approaching the finishing line – we just can’t see it yet. And just like a real marathon…the last stages are tough.’

Are we reaching the finishing line? Some of you are anxious about the summer weeks, too.

From our communications with you, we know you’ve done a really good job. Some of you have had to step back from the home-learning quite a bit. That’s completely understandable, as you try to engage your child, deal with work, deal with all the other problems that this virus has brought about.

To hopefully help some of you through the summer, we’ve produced a list of summer camps and other activities. If you’re in a position to afford this, it might be an idea to sign up to something – your child could benefit from the social aspects, and it’ll give you the much-needed break you deserve. (If you do sign up for something, do seek assurance that the provider is following protective measures in line with the guidance which the government has produced. To help reduce the spread of Covid-19, we also strongly recommend you limit as far as possible the number of clubs your child attends.)

In that previous daily message, we also said: The government has announced that all pupils in all year groups in England will go back to school full-time in September. Even if that doesn’t happen (and I’m thinking worst-case scenario here), I’m confident all children will be back at school on a rota system.’ In September, some schools in Leeds are planning reduced school days or reduced weeks for the first couple of weeks, and others are planning for years groups to return on a staggered basis over a few weeks. We’re planning to have all our children back from Monday 07 September – the very first day of the school term.

The school day might have a slightly different start and end time; there will be lots of tweaks to the timetable to allow for handwashing, playtimes and lunches; and we’re changing our curriculum topics to support children’s return. There will be plenty of other changes to consider, too, no doubt.

We’re lucky because our staff had already all agreed to attend training days at the end of the summer holidays (Thursday 03 September and Friday 04 September). We can use these to prepare all staff for the changes and safeguarding measures we’ll need to take. This will mean we can open for your child on Monday 07 September, the first day of term.

We want to assure you now that we’re doing all we can to hit the ground running from the very first day of the 2020-21 school year – a marathon that we hope we can all run together from the very start to the very end.

Did you get sporty today?

Posted on 07 July 2020 by Mrs Latham

Well, the rain came – just like when we usually have sports day! We hope you managed to complete at least some of the challenges set by the West Yorkshire School Games for the Virtual Sports Day. Don’t forget to submit your results here : https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfdEX8xOo-PtkFwasg0B7deXM1uzvMQMFAPwpKCU9yEKG6qqg/viewform

Our daily message (07 July 2020)

Posted on 07 July 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s message reflects the conversations we’re having in order to prepare for September, when schools open more widely…

We’re working hard to make sure the September start for all our children returning to school – or joining for the first time – is a happy and healthy one.

I’m working closely with people from Leeds City Council and other Leeds headteachers to share ideas and best practice as we wade through the current government guidance. (This morning, I had my longest Zoom meeting yet – it lasted just short of three hours! – but it was really positive and productive).

School leaders across Sphere are also working hard on specific details. Some of the detail has to be based on each of the Sphere schools context, but others can be applied across all three schools. (I had another Zoom meeting this afternoon, for example – thankfully, a bit shorter at one and a half hours!).

There’s a lot to consider. Some obvious things are staggered start times, playtimes, lunches and finish times.

During the school day, we’re planning an adapted curriculum that follows two key principles: we want it to be broad and balanced but allow for flexibility so we can support children in terms of learning and wellbeing. The government’s guidance contains some broad messages (such as ‘Substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time should be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge with the aim of returning to the school’s normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021‘) and some specific detail, too (such as information about specific subjects like PE and music).

Other aspects of school organisation that we’re working through include before and after school care, maintaining the increased sanitisation,  handwashing and cleaning, and staffing issues. (There are some aspects of school that you might not immediately think about, such as checks for Legionnaires’ disease to ensure the water we have is healthy.)

Some of what we’re doing may have to be finalised in the summer holiday, and guidance from government could well change, too. We’ll keep you informed as much as we can, and as soon as we can.