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Latest news from around the school

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.

New fitness equipment

Posted on 06 May 2021 by Mrs Latham

We were excited to have some more fitness equipment installed on the Key Stage 1 playground before the Easter holidays. The children have been using it constantly since then. It is keeping our playtimes really active!

This week’s message (Friday 30 April 2021)

Posted on 30 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

There’s a growing sense of optimism at the moment with numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 going down and the numbers of Leeds residents who have been vaccinated going up. On 19 April, the case rate was 48.4 per 100,000. This is the lowest rate seen in Leeds since September 2020. The highest case rate is amongst young people aged 11-18 (87.6 per 100,000), so we do all need to keep following Covid restrictions.

Homework

Our Homework Policy and the accompanying Homework Guide currently sets out daily expectations (read, practise spellings, and practise times tables) and weekly expectations (Creative, Talk Time or Practice Makes Perfect).

Our assessments show that lockdown may have had an impact on some children’s reading fluency, spellings and times tables. Nationally, there’s growing evidence that the lockdown has had an impact on young children’s language skills.

For these reasons, from next week, we’re tweaking our policy a little for the rest of the school year. We’re dropping the Creative and Practice Makes Perfect tasks.

We really want you to make sure your child is meeting the daily expectations set out the Homework Guide:

  • Please do make sure your child spends some time each day learning spellings and practising their times tables – going on Times Tables Rock Stars would be great for this. (Numbots for younger children would be good, too.)
  • Reading is so helpful in so many ways – from reading fluency to promoting positive mental health, a good book works wonders – so please make sure your child is reading (or you read aloud to them) each day.

Each week, we’ll set a Talk Time homework. Its purpose is to promote lots of conversation and debate at home, which in turn should promote oracy and vocabulary.

Check out these five tips to boost your child’s vocabulary.

This article might also interest you – it’s about the value of more play time for your child’s mental health and social skills.

As always, you’re welcome to let us know your views. Later this term, we’ll include a question about the tweaked homework in the annual survey, too.

Computing

Children in Years 1-6 have a Computing topic this half-term. Read more about the learning that’s going on in our Curriculum Statement. Our age-related expectations for Computing are on pages 13 and 14. These are followed by Staying Safe Online expectations on pages 15 and 16.

To help at home… have chats with your child about what they’re learning. Ask them what vocabulary they’re using in the topic – it could be words like ‘de-bug’, ‘algorithm’, ‘sequence’ and ‘decomposing’. (All these words feature in the age-related expectations.)

Talking of Computing and staying safe online, over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.

Does your child play Roblox? It’s one of the most popular video games of recent times. Read this guide for tips on a number of potential risks such as in-app purchases, online dating and chat functionality.

This weekend is a longer one – enjoy the extra day, whatever the weather!

LFD testing

Posted on 23 April 2021 by Mrs Quirk

Following on from Mr Roundtree’s weekly message, we have received some  more information this morning about the LFD testing. Further information can be found here.

 

This week’s message (Friday 23 April 2021)

Posted on 23 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you had a happy and healthy holiday over the Easter period. Hopefully, it helped that lockdown eased a little in the second week of the holidays.

Reading, reading, reading

Every child should be reading on a daily basis at home. Please help your child to build in a routine to make sure this happens. Your child might read a book, a website, a comic… It doesn’t matter, as long as they’re reading.

In the lockdown period, we provided two daily sessions to support reading: reading fluency and reading skills. A recent blog post from Ofsted backs up this importance: ‘The primary schools we inspected had rightly prioritised developing the teaching of reading’.

We assess reading skills in various ways. If your child is in Year 2, we measure how many words per minute they’re able to read – ideally about 90 words per minute of an age-appropriate book. If your child is in Year 2, ask us to let you know how well they’re doing.

Attendance matters

You might be reassured to read in the same Ofsted blog post that inspectors noted: ‘Keeping motivated has been a struggle for almost every child. Schools told us that even children who had been motivated at first, had ‘switched off’ completely by the end of the third lockdown.’ This means that with all the home learning provision that schools provided, there is still missed learning – and that means attendance at school is even more important.

We’re really pleased to see that our attendance so far this year (from the start of the school year up to the Thursday before Easter) is 97.9%. Thank you for supporting your child to be a happy and healthy learner!

The Big Ask

Led by the Children’s Commissioner, The Big Ask is the largest ever survey of children in England, designed to find out what their concerns and aspirations about the future are. Watch this You Tube clip with your child and then please support / encourage your child to take part. There are different versions of the survey depending on the age of the child.

The results from the survey will help identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set ambitious goals for the country to achieve. The more children who respond, the stronger the results will be.

Staying safe in the sun

We’ve been really lucky since Easter period and have seen the sun on more than one occasion!

As we enter the summer term at school, we’d like to remind you about keeping your child safe in the sun.

NHS guidance makes it clear that most people do not apply enough sunscreen. If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection is reduced. It should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears. The SPF should be at least 30.

It’s really important that children come to school wearing sunscreen and that this is applied just before leaving home.

If you choose an ‘all day sunscreen’, it’s important that it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For sunscreen that needs to be reapplied, children can bring a named bottle into school which they will be able to reapply at lunchtime. Please teach your child how to do this independently. Staff in school will help/guide if needed but as you can imagine a vast amount of teaching and learning time could be lost if staff are applying cream to a full class.

A hat and plenty of water is essential. Please ensure that your child comes to school with a full bottle of drinking water each day. Water can be replenished throughout the day.

Staying safe online

Over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.

Our new school charity

As you know, we want our schools to be happy and healthy places to learn. There’s link here with charities. It might be said that donating money and raising money for charities helps to create a place which is happy and healthy, and can support a sense of wellbeing.

Each year, as part of teaching and learning about democracy, we nominate a charity to support for the year ahead. The selection process is as follows:

  1. Talk Time homework today: At home, your child should discuss charities in general, and specifically consider different charities and which one to support.
  2. Talk Time review in class: In class, children discuss the different charities and finally vote for one, which the junior leaders for each class then take to the Junior Leadership Team.
  3. The Head of School reviews the shortlist of charities: We’ll check that they’re all appropriate (eg in terms of inclusion, and that they are all registered charities).
  4. Junior Leadership Team decision: Next Friday, in a Junior Leadership Team meeting, the shortlist is considered and finally councillors vote for one.

On the same Friday (30 April), or Tuesday 04 April (the day after May Day bank holiday), we invite your child to donate 100 pence to take part in some fund-raising to coincide with the Captain Tom 100 initiative – the money raised will go towards the new school charity.

And finally, just when you thought we’d got through a whole message without mentioning Covid…

Home testing

Home test kits for Covid are now widely available. Adults (18+) can now collect two packs of home test kits at a pharmacy, for example. Each pack contains seven tests. The tests have proved useful in identifying children in school who have Covid but weren’t showing symptoms. It’s a good idea to think of the tests as useful in showing a red light (a positive case). They shouldn’t be used as a green light to prove someone doesn’t have Covid.

As always, please speak with us if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns. Have a good weekend – and don’t forget to make sure your child reads daily!

Captain Tom 100 Challenge

Posted on 19 April 2021 by Mrs Hogarth

Welcome back after the Easter break.

The brand new Junior Leadership Team are going to be very busy this half term and they’re ready for action! In the next few weeks, classes will be coming up with ideas for who our next school charity will be. The JLT will then make the final decision. Before we even do this though, we’re going to get cracking on some fundraising. Friday 30th April sees a campaign organised by the Captain Tom Foundation. This date marks a year from when Sir Captain Tom began the 100 laps around his garden. To mark this occasion, people are being encouraged to complete a challenge based on the number 100. We are definitely up for this challenge! Each class will be discussing and choosing their challenge. This could be based on a maths challenge, running 100 metres or even writing a 100-word poem. We will be asking for voluntary donations to support the children in their challenges. This money will be ready to be donated to our new charity as soon as it’s selected. Each class will be posting on the website their chosen challenge.

Thank you in advance of your support and good luck with all the challenges.

 

Staying safe online 5: Sharing information, pictures and videos

Posted on 10 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This is the last in a series of articles. Check out Thinkuknow for more ways to promote staying safe online.

It’s harder to stay connected with our friends and family right now, so you may be sharing more images and videos of our children online via social media. But before you do, there are some important things to consider.

Read sharing pictures of your children for info on how to protect your child whilst staying social.

Using devices like phones and tablets to share pictures and videos can be a fun way for children to have fun and stay in touch with friends and family online. It’s really important your child knows what’s ok to share online and what they should check with you first.

Read younger children sharing pictures or videos online for more information on the risks and how to support safer sharing.

Personal information is any information that can be used to identify your child. Sharing personal information online is easy and sometimes children, like adults, might share more online than they would offline, which can be risky.

Read your child’s personal information and how to protect it online for information and advice.

Staying safe online 4: Chatting, being kind and making friends online

Posted on 09 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Our fourth short article to help you support your child to stay safe online is about chatting, being kind and making friends online. As with the three previous articles this week, the content is from Thinkuknow.

Primary-age children may not have previously had much experience with video chatting apps such as Zoom, FaceTime and Skype, but may well be using them now to keep in touch with family and friends.

To make sure your child has a positive experience video chatting online, read this guide for parents and carers.

The internet has many positive opportunities for children to learn and play, but it can also be used in negative and unkind ways.

It’s really important to speak to your child about being kind online, and how they can get help if they see or hear anything that makes them feel worried, scared or sad. Use these conversation starters to help your child understand the importance of being kind online.

The term ‘online friend’ can be used to describe people you only know through the internet, or those that you also know offline. Some children make friends online by meeting new people through online platforms such as gaming sites.

To help children have positive online friendships, read this handy guide.

Staying safe online 3: Online gaming

Posted on 08 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Each day this week, we’re posting a short article about staying safe online – the advice comes from Thinkuknow.

Online games are social activities, and most have features that allow children to chat with others whilst they play.

For information about the positives of gaming, the risks of in-game chat and measures you can take to help protect them, watch this short video: In-game chat: a guide for parents and carers.

The PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating system can be a useful tool to help you decide what online games are appropriate for your child.

For more information on the PEGI system and other factors to consider before deciding what’s suitable, read Gaming: what’s appropriate for your child.

Gaming is popular with both children and adults and can help to cure that lockdown boredom! If your child is gaming, you Gaming: what parents need to know.

For a guide on the apps, sites and games your child might enjoy, visit: Net Aware.