Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 17 December 2021)

Posted on 17 December 2021 by Mr Roundtree

The last message of 2021 comes from Miss Hague, the Head of School…

So here we are at the end of a long term. As always, our children have shown themselves to be resilient (one of our Rs for learning!) and happy and healthy learners. Standing at the gate each morning and being greeted by lots of smiling faces is a lovely way to start the day – whatever the weather throws our way!

Autumn term is always a special time in school as we welcome new families to our school community. Our Nursery and Reception children have once again settled so well despite having some restrictions around their transition.  Thanks to all our families for working with us on this.

This term, we’ve managed to run several school trips – something we haven’t been able to do for quite a while. Our Year 5 and 6 children enjoyed a day at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park whilst the rest of the school went to Leeds Art Gallery.  Getting on a coach is always exciting, especially if it’s your first school trip.

In exciting news, we’ve trained up two of our Teaching Assistants to be swimming teachers. This means that early in the Spring term (possibly week two), we’ll be able to get our Reception and KS1 children back in our own pool!  We’ve really struggled to recruit swimming teachers so this is amazing news. Details will follow after Christmas. Our Year 4 children will swim for another half term at Wetherby Leisure Centre and then we’ll swap to the Year 3 children.

I promise I didn’t have a crystal ball when I made the difficult decision to move our KS1 and Early Years Nativity plays to a recorded version! I, like you, had never heard of Omicron at that point. Yet here we are with the Covid gift that keeps on giving! Seriously, I hope the recorded version of these little treasures added some sparkle and shine to your Christmas. I certainly enjoyed watching them.

As things continue to change around us, here’s to a brighter 2022.

From Miss Hague and me, and from all the staff at Scholes (Elmet) Primary: have a happy and healthy Christmas break.

This week’s message (Friday 10 December 2021)

Posted on 10 December 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has a couple of reminders, but we start with a ‘Plan B’ update on Covid precautions…

Since the early days of the pandemic, the Department for Education has been sending regular emails to schools. Yesterday’s came with an introductory sentence: ‘Today’s email includes an urgent update for all education and childcare settings on implementing Plan B of the COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan’. Here are some extracts:

school attendance remains mandatory and all the usual rules continue to apply

settings are strongly encouraged to ask parents, guardians and other visitors to take a lateral flow device (LFD) test before entering the setting

all staff and students should test over the holidays in line with national guidance. This means that they should test if they will be in a high-risk situation that day and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19

We were also asked to ‘revisit…existing outbreak plans to ensure [we] are well prepared for any future changes’ – let’s hope we don’t get to the same situation as we were in last January.

Next, a couple of reminders…

Next Tuesday, learning updates will be sent home. These are short reports that we send home at the end of the Autumn and Spring terms; they complement the parent-teacher meetings which take place earlier in the same terms. We started doing these a few years ago following your feedback in our annual surveys.

Also coming up is a non-uniform day at the end of the term on Friday 17 December. Our Uniform Policy contains the following:

Pupils should dress appropriately and respectfully for school, even on non-uniform days. Clothes are inappropriate if they, for example, glorify violence, feature bad language, are very short (eg crop tops), or relate to age-inappropriate topics (eg computer games)… Make-up (other than face paints as part of a specific costume) is not allowed. Flip-flops or high-heeled shoes are not allowed, even on non-uniform days, because they’re dangerous when running.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Christmas fun in the hall

Posted on 09 December 2021 by Mrs Latham

A massive thank you to Mrs Pennock and all the lunchtime staff who created a fabulous atmosphere for Christmas dinner day today. The children and staff had a lovely time!

Wake Up Shake Up (WUSU) Club

Posted on 07 December 2021 by Mrs Latham

WUSU Club have had a successful series of sessions after school this half term. They have made two new dances for you to enjoy and learn:

Dance Monkey and and Christmas Special, One More Sleep

WUSU club will be continuing after Christmas. Keep an eye out for letters about after school clubs so you can decide if you’d like to join in with any.

This week’s message (Friday 03 December 2021)

Posted on 03 December 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is a short one. The main part is an important reminder about Covid, and we end – less seriously – with a link in case you’d like some stocking filler ideas…

Two weeks ago, we told you about a website with up-to-date Covid information for Leeds. The heatmap (the second graphic) shows that there’s still a high number of positive cases of Covid for children of primary school age – in fact, if you scroll across the second row up (children aged 5-9), you can see numbers are rising. We’re noticing this, too – in fact, we’ve had to return to remote learning for one class in Sphere Federation.

Please be alert to the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss of change to your sense of taste or smell

If your child has any of these main symptoms, even if they’re mild:

  1. Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) as soon as possible.
  2. Keep your child at home and not have visitors until you get the test result – they can only leave home to have the test.

We’re seeing children showing various other symptoms such as sickness, colds and headaches, too. Please keep you child at home if they’re not feeling right for whatever reason.

Thank you for continuing to support us to keep our school as safe from Covid as we can.

On a lighter note, if we’re all being as cautious as we can right now, Christmas should be a better one for many this year. If you’re on the look out for some ideas for pressies, check out this Christmas book guide. Giving a book at Christmas is a great way to keep children reading!

This week’s message (Friday 26 November 2021)

Posted on 26 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes from Paula Allaway, who’s the Maths Leader across Sphere Federation…

Is your child engaging with the number fact fluency homework?

Number fact fluency – the quick recall of addition and subtraction facts, and multiplication and division facts (times tables), is really important for all children. The ability to recall these facts quickly (rather than taking too long working them out) helps children to answer questions in lots of areas of Maths much more easily.

If these facts are learnt and stored, rather than being calculated or counted, they require less activity from the brain. Essentially, memorisation frees up working memory space to allow children to focus on learning new mathematical ideas and applying mathematics to solve problems, and not the facts themselves.

Addition and subtraction facts

For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts. We want children to know facts like bonds of ten (eg 3+7 and 4+6) without having to count on or back using their fingers. How fluent are your child’s number facts? Regularly accessing NumBots will help with this.

Multiplication and division facts

For older children, number facts also includes times tables up to 12 x 12. 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. In June 2022, Y4 children will take part in a statutory national assessment – the Multiplication Tables Check. They’ll be tested on 25 randomly selected facts.

Without secure knowledge of times tables facts, many future Maths topics are more difficult to learn. In Y5,6, for example, progress in column methods, fractions, area, ratio and proportion can all be hampered because they involve recall of facts.

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.

We know that being fluent with number facts leads to high confidence in maths generally. To support this, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Maths (and also Reading) skills are strong. Your child should spend about 10 minutes practising number facts each day. Look out for the focus on the homework sheet we send home.

If you need help accessing these, please contact your child’s class teacher.

This week’s message (Friday 19 November 2021)

Posted on 19 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Hello! We’ve received lots of positive feedback about last week’s message, which was an overview of our curriculum and how you can support your child at home with the current school topic. Do check it out if you missed it. This week’s message has two parts: one about Covid (it’s been a while since we talked about it!) and one about the Monday Zoom sessions we’ve been offering.

Covid cautions

We’ve recently come across this useful website that gives you an update on cases locally. The first graph thankfully shows that cases in Leeds appear to be in decline. However, check out the second graphic which is a ‘heatmap’: the darker the colour, the more cases there are. This shows that cases amongst primary age children remain high. It’s for this reason that we’re having to remain really cautious – we’ve had to reluctantly cancel live Christmas nativity shows, for example (we’ll record them and send you a copy, though).

Please continue to be equally cautious. Keep your child at home if they have a Covid symptom so they’re not spreading the disease, and make sure they go for a PCR test (a test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have Covid as soon as possible.

Supporting your child at home

Thanks to everyone who’s attended one or some of the Monday evening Zoom sessions to help you support your child at home.

This week’s session is an important one for all – it’s about staying safe online. It’s the last one of a series of seven Zoom sessions to help you support your child. Starting at 6pm and lasting for just 30 minutes , the session will provide top tips and guidance.

Please come! Send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details to all those who expressed an interest.

Watch the most recent two sessions here.

A session about Science and topic subjects…

And a session to support Writing…

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 12 November 2021)

Posted on 12 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s post comes from Mr Wilks, the Sphere Federation Leader for Science and foundation subjects – it’s an overview of our current topic and how you can help at home. It might seem long, but just read the year group that applies to your own child. At the end of the message, there’s a couple of reminders about next week.

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 and Technology). 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 will be 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 and will be developing our art knowledge and skills.

The learning this half-term has two aspects to it. The first is art history where children will learn about specific artists and their work. The other is the art process where children will practise and develop skills by creating art.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic.

Years 1 and 2

Children have two featured artists: Leonardo Da Vinci and Paul Klee. 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.

Ask your child what is the same and what is different about the Mona Lisa (da Vinci) and Senecio (Klee).

In practical art lessons, children will be honing their artistic skills and knowledge by sketching objects using pencil, learning about and mixing colour and then they’ll be learning how to print by creating relief prints inspired by the artwork they’ve studied. 

Years 3 and 4

Children will learn about the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Martha McDonald Napaltjarri. They’ll compare and contrast artworks by these artists and also learn about their lives and the places they lived. In particular, children will learn about abstract and figurative art (see the vocabulary for definitions of these words).

Ask your children what they can see in these images: Composition VIII (Kandinsky) and Warlukuritji (Napaltjarri).

In practical art sessions, children will develop observational drawing skills, and develop their understanding of colour by learning about warm, cold and complementary colours. They’ll then apply what they’ve learnt by creating some mixed media collages inspired by the artists they’ve studied.

Years 5 and 6

Children are learning about sculpture in their art lessons and will focus on three artists: Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore (both local artists) and Thomas J Price. The children have already been on their school trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last week where they’ve seen and learned about sculptures by these artists.

Ask your child describe the art work of each artist and then do an internet search of their work to carry on the discussion.

In art history lessons, they learn about the lives of these artists and how their localities have influenced their art. They’ll learn about classical and modern art in relation to their featured artists and in art movements more generally. They’ll also learn when and why the modern art movement happened.

In practical art lessons, children will develop their observational skills and will creating maquettes (see the vocabulary list) inspired by the work of Barbara Hepworth.

How can you help?

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

Familiarise yourself with the artists and the art work that your child is learning about. 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 age-related expectations and the 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?
  • Is it life-like or not?
  • What colours can you see?

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!

Finally this week, two reminders…

Next week is Anti-Bullying Week. This year’s theme is ‘One Kind Word’ and we will be taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday. Odd Socks Day is to raise awareness of our differences, individuality and personal choice. Your child (and you!) can come to school wearing odd socks to celebrate what makes them unique.

And next Friday is Children in Need day. This is a non-uniform day. Your child is invited to come to school in non-uniform and make a donation to the charity.

Have a good weekend!

This week's message (Friday 05 November 2021)

Posted on 05 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

It’s been great to welcome you all back after the Autumn half-term.

Have you noticed the new video on our website homepage? If not, do check it out – you might even spot your own child somewhere! We’ve lots of new pics coming soon, too – keep a look out.

The more your child attends school…

…the more they’ll learn! Our attendance for the first half-term of the year was 96.2%. That’s a good figure, but let’s try to make it to 97% by Christmas!

A few classes are already beating that target. Well done to…

  • Class 1,2B (Mrs Latham’s class) – 97.3%
  • Class 3,4A (Miss Harker’s class) – 97.7%
  • Class 5,6B (Mrs Hogarth’s class) – 97.1%

Also important is getting to school on time. The moment your child gets into class, there’s learning going on. Getting into class on time helps your child to settle quickly, too. Please make sure your child arrives by 8.50am.

Non-uniform day coming up

We’ve a non-uniform day coming up in two weeks for Children in Need – Friday 19 November. We’re keeping it simple this year – there’s no particular theme for dressing up. If your child wants to join in, a £1 donation would be welcome.

Here’s an extract from out Uniform Policy about non-uniform days:

Pupils should dress appropriately and respectfully for school, even on non-uniform days. Clothes are inappropriate if they, for example, glorify violence, feature bad language, are very short (eg crop tops), or relate to age-inappropriate topics (eg computer games). When consulted (18.03.21), some junior leaders described this as ‘setting appropriate’ clothing and clothing that is ‘well-judged’. Make-up (other than face paints as part of a specific costume) is not allowed. Flip-flops or high-heeled shoes are not allowed, even on non-uniform days, because they’re dangerous when running.

(By the way, it’s absolutely fine for your child to come in school uniform – some children prefer the routine, and we respect that.)

This might feel like we’re nagging, but…

…how safe is your child online? We know we talk about staying safe online a lot, but since the start of the pandemic, the amount of self-generated child abuse imagery has increased massively.

In 2020, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found there had been a rise of 77% of cases of images created by the victims themselves following some sort of online pressure.

In 80% of these cases, the victims were 11- to 13-year-old girls – that’s not much older than children in our school.

Check out the TALK advice.

Comics giveaway!

Thought Bubble is teaming up with Diamond Comics and Travelling Man to give away free graphic novels and comics to everyone! Libraries all over Yorkshire are participating – just pop in on Friday 12 November and pick up some great comics for free! Libraries taking part include the Central Library, Crossgates, Garforth and Seacroft. Your child can pop in after school as long as there are any left – it might be better to call in earlier! (The comics include teen and all-age titles. All teen titles are identified on the covers.)

Next week, we have a curriculum update about the new topic in Years 1-6. Until then – remember, remember, the fifth of November. However you spend it, enjoy Bonfire Night.

This week’s message (Thursday 21 October 2021)

Posted on 21 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week, our teachers have enjoyed meeting you in the parent-teacher meetings – we hope you found them helpful. If you need a longer meeting, or if you missed the appointment, do contact us.

This week’s message comes a day early. Tomorrow is a training day – teachers will be having training on the art curriculum and an update on safeguarding. talking of safeguarding, our message this week has a safeguarding theme…

Be wise

The children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, has launched a new website aimed at helping parents with typical situations they can find themselves in with their children. Advice can be found on over forty topics including:

  • Understanding sibling rivalry
  • My child is lying: What does it mean? What should I do?
  • My child has trouble going to sleep
  • My child says ‘I hate you!’
  • Cultural identity: ‘Who am I?’

Be careful

Have you heard about Squid Game? Over the past week or so, there’s been  loads of news stories about it – a recent news article reported that one council has even written to parents and guardians of school children warning of the dangers of ‘replicating games from the Squid Game programme’.

The programme has a PEGI rating of 15 and over – that means across Europe, the recommendation is that it’s only suitable for people aged 15+ years. Check out this advice for parents and carers.

Be seen

On Saturday 30 / Sunday 31 October (the last week of the half-term holiday), we’ll all be setting the clocks back an hour. Read this guide for keeping children safe in the dark. You can read another one here, too.

This road safety guide for parents is worth a look, too, as is this one for children and families. If you or your child’s a cyclist, check this out.

So, with clocks going back an hour just before we return to school, we’ll see you all refreshed after an extra hour’s rest on Monday 01 November. Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday!