Latest news from around the school

Staying safe in the summer

Posted on 26 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

Summer time, and particularly the summer holidays, can be full of hazards and risks to manage. Here’s a round-up of some resources to help you keep your child safe this summer time.

Water Safety

Beach Safety
Shore Thing (RNLI)

Sun Safety
Teenage Cancer Trust
Cancer Research

Railway Safety
Network Rail – Primary school resources

Keeping safe away from home (NSPCC)
Keeping safe away from home (NSPCC)

Protection from sexual abuse
Whilst it’s an uncomfortable thought, parents need to ask questions of any childcare provider, play scheme or holiday centre children’s services, about how they prevent their workers harming a child. The NSPCC has a useful video about the prevention of sexual abuse in particular and what adults can do to ask organisations about how they keep children safe.

Does your child use SnapChat?

Posted on 26 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

SnapChat has a stated minimum age restriction of 13 years old. Despite this, we know some primary children do use it.

Last week, SnapChat launched a new feature. SnapMaps allows users to see the location of their contacts. This feature allows others to accurately pinpoint where you are. There are three possible privacy settings:

  • Ghost mode, where only you can see your position;
  • My Friends mode, where any contact can see your location; and
  • Select Friends mode, just those who you choose can see you

ChildNet have posted a thorough explanation of SnapMaps and how to ensure users stay safe – this is well worth a read if you know your child uses the app.

For more general advice, Family Share have produced 10 things parents and kids should know about the SnapChat app.

Class structure for 2017 / 2018

Posted on 22 June 2017 by Mrs Quirk

As the end of term fast approaches, preparations are underway in school to get ready for September.

We are pleased to let you know that we have secured replacements for Mr Mills and Miss Walker. We are holding interviews next week for the Early Years position that is currently being advertised, and so will hopefully be in a position to confirm details by the end of the month.

The class structure for 2017/2018 will be as follows:

  • Nursery: Mrs Long and one new teacher
  • Foundation 2 / Reception: Miss Eckersley and Mrs Flynn
  • Year 1: Miss Parling
  • Year 1/2: Mrs Latham (phase leader)
  • Year 2: Miss Lowry and Mrs Wilkins
  • Year 3/4: Mrs Allaway (phase leader)
  • Year 3/4: Mrs McCormick
  • Year 3/4: Mr Gathercole
  • Year 5/6: Miss Barrott
  • Year 5/6: Miss Bainbridge (phase leader)
  • Year 5/6: Mr Lindsay

You may notice that Mrs Beesley (Head of Early Years across the federation) is not included in our structure above. Don’t worry though, she is not leaving us! We’ve arranged a swap with St James’ CE Primary School and Mrs Beesley will teach there alongside Mrs Ellison, her current class-share partner at Scholes. Coming over from St James’ we have Mrs Flynn who will work alongside Miss Eckersley in Reception. Mrs Flynn has been at St James’ for the past three years and is an outstanding Early Years specialist. She is keen to develop her experience in a larger setting, and we are delighted that she is joining us at Scholes.

We are also pleased to welcome Mr Gathercole to our school. Mr Gathercole is an enthusiastic newly qualified teacher and is looking forward to working with the children at Scholes. You may see him around over the next couple of weeks as he is joining us for a few days to meet the children and staff before September.

Class lists are currently being looked at. We will let you know whose class your child will be in once the final arrangements have been worked out. If you have any questions in the meantime, catch me at the gate before or after school.

Kind regards

Karen Hague, Acting Head of School

Homework is changing...

Posted on 19 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

From September, we’re changing how our homework routines, for three main reasons:

  • to raise standards in key areas like learning times tables and spelling
  • to follow research about how to get the best from homework (more about that later)
  • following feedback from parents, who want more ways to support their child at home on current learning, plus specific tables and spelling to focus on

Weekly homework tasks

Each week, there will be one of three possible types of homework (not all three in one week). Homework is handed out on Friday and returned on Thursday. It should take a minimum of around 30-40 minutes, possibly carried out over a few days.

Talk Time: The purpose of Talk Time is to encourage a conversation around children’s current learning. We want our children to be expert talkers, using a variety of sentences and expressions, and able to back up their points or disagree with others in a polite way. Simply: it’s hard to be a good writer if you’re not a good speaker, so Talk Times using ambitious words, useful phrases, interesting sentences is the best way to support your child. Children shouldn’t spend a lot of time on the presentation of the Talk Time homework. Instead, children should make notes which will act as a prompt when it is discussed in class the following week.
Creative: Creative homework is an opportunity for your child to choose whatever they want to demonstrate some learning. For example, I can show what I know about food chains …your child could present all their learning in so many different ways, from a diagram with notes to a story or comic strip. Parents’ and carers’ role is to support, encourage, help but (obviously) never to take over and do the homework!
Practice Makes Perfect: This is useful homework when something has been taught in school but needs consolidation. The work should be fairly straightforward for the child as there should be no need for new learning, so just some encouragement from you is needed. However, it would be a great time to get your child to ‘teach’ you – they should be able to explain the key points or processes!


Research backs this up.

All of this corresponds to recommendations following research, which says:

Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support.

Creative homework is just that: your child can be as creative as they want, and this can involve as much of your involvement and support as you want in order to get the most out of the experience.

Talk Time homework completely matches this, too, with not a lot of effort or time involved by you. It’s all about involving your child in thoughtful, open discussion, and in developing language use. We’re sure you’re going this already, but the Talk Time homework will present a focus for your family discussions that meet the next recommendation…

Short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school, are likely to be more effective.

Homework tasks will always link to some learning in school, whether that is in English, Maths, topic or something else, and the homework will always be followed up the next week with some sort of review:

  • Talk Time homework will be followed up by a class discussion or debate.
  • Creative homework will be followed up by sharing and celebrating the different homeworks, during which the teacher (and peers) will provide feedback.
  • Practice Makes Perfect homework will be marked.

Daily expectations

We hope our children do lots of other learning, too. Specifically, children should be reading each day, plus practising spellings and (from Year 2) times tables.

Reading: We can’t stress enough the value of reading. At the very least, it helps your child access lots of learning across all subjects. Research also shows other benefits, too, such as improved social and emotional skills. Reading could be fiction, non-fiction, magazines, websites – anything!  Reading to your child is really valuable, too, so even a bedtime story counts!
Spellings (about ten minutes every day): From Year 1, children will be given a list of spellings to learn for a Friday test or some sort of spelling challenge – this could be a spelling investigation (research shows that active learning like this promotes better learning).
Times tables (about ten minutes every day): Starting in Year 2, children will also have a times table to learn for a Friday test – the aim is that by the end of Year 4 children have a rapid recall of all multiplication and division facts up to 12×12.

Thank you to those parents/carers who came along to one of our recent forums to review homework. They were supportive of the changes, and their views were helpful to hear, too.

Business as usual!

Posted on 05 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

As you know, today we had to close school for the day following the extensive flooding.

After heavy rain on Saturday 27 May, the first weekend in the half-term break, our site superintendent discovered on Tuesday morning a very wet school. Since then, she, plus other staff, and some parents, too, have worked tremendously hard: mopping, cleaning, heavy lifting, ripping up carpets…

Thank you to all the parents and carers who helped. Staff have talked lots today about how wonderful you all were, and how grateful we all are. There are too many to name, but we very much appreciate your hard work and great enthusiasm.

Thank you also to the staff who have helped today, and particularly those who were able to come in during the holidays. A big thank you especially to Miss Grainge, Miss Hague, Mrs Craggs, plus Mrs Myers and Mrs Drake.

Thank you for your co-operation and understanding today. We look forward to seeing you and your child back in school tomorrow.

Have a happy and healthy half-term

Posted on 27 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the half-term holidays!

There are lots of things going on in and around Leeds. To find out more, check out Breeze for what’s coming up right across the city for children and young people. Visit Leeds lists lots of events listed, including their Top 5 suggestions. Leeds City Council‘s own website is certainly worth a look, too.

Whatever you get up to, have a happy and healthy half-term holiday.

See you all again on Monday 05 June.

How do we respond to children's concerns after events such as the Manchester attack?

Posted on 23 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree

This morning, we woke up to the dreadful news of the terror attack that took place in Manchester last night. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those that lost their lives and the many people that were injured as a result of the atrocity.

Your child may be upset or worried about news events such as this one. The following may be helpful websites may be useful:

Childline presents a general overview of worries of the world, and this includes attacks, extremism and bullying.

BBC Newsround advice is more specific to the Manchester attack, offering simple information and advice for a child or young person who is upset.

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. There’s a link on their homepage to this leaflet on supporting a child after a frightening event.

Winston’s Wish is another charity that supports bereaved children. They’re offering specific advice on how to respond to children and young people affected by the media coverage of the incident in Manchester.

What I thought about the SATs this year...

Posted on 22 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree

…by a Year 6 pupil.

Now that the SATs are over, we’ve asked one pupil to give us his thoughts on how the tests went.

Reading: “In the Reading paper, we had to read extracts from two stories and one factual article. I liked the second story because it wasn’t very dramatic at first but then then it got more exciting.”

Grammar and Punctuation: “My favourite paper in SATs was English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling because it wasn’t too easy and it wasn’t too hard. In my opinion, the hardest question was one about subordinating conjunctions.”

Maths: “The hardest SATs paper was the third Maths paper because some Maths I find easy and some Maths I don’t. The trickiest question was one about the cost of items.”

Keeping your child safe online

Posted on 16 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree

Have you checked out these useful resources yet?

Think U Know is a great website for children and young people – there are pages that cover children aged 5-8, aged 8-10, aged 11-13 and aged 14+. There are also really useful pages for parents/carers.

The NSPCC also has great guidance to the social networks your child might be using.

Finally (for now!), Vodafone has been particularly supportive of parents with their Digital Parenting magazine. They’ve produced this for five years now. The magazine is available as a downloadable pdf.

Key Stage 2 SATs

Posted on 11 May 2017 by Mr Roundtree

Many of you will be aware that this week, our Year 6 pupils have been sitting SATs tests. On Monday, they had an hour-long Reading test; on Tuesday, they had a Grammar and Punctuation test and a separate Spelling test; yesterday, they had two Maths tests (one on arithmetic, which focussed on calculations, and one on reasoning, which is about using and applying their mathematical skills in problem-solving). Today, there is one more Maths test (another reasoning one). We wish all our Year 6 children lots of success.

The SATs tests can be a stressful time, but our children have performed well. Thank you for your support at home in making sure your child is in school, feeling as relaxed as they can be, and bright and alert having had enough sleep the night before.

The Department for Education places a great deal of importance on these tests as one way to measure a school’s performance. To this end, representatives from the local authority make unannounced spot-checks on schools to check that the administration of the tests is all done correctly – checking, for example, that the papers have been stored securely beforehand and that they are not opened privately before the tests are due to begin. The Department for Education also encourage schools to arrange a monitoring visit from someone who is able to check proceedings from a more independent standpoint; they suggest a governor or someone from a local secondary school.

It’s hard to arrange a visit from the latter – lots of primary schools would want a teacher to visit in the same week, so secondary schools struggle to provide this. However, we did arrange visits from governors who checked what was going on. One governor report describes checks on ‘Where test scripts are securely kept, who has access / keys. Observed securely sealed scripts, removal, opening and distribution of scripts.’ (Her report continues to describe the secure proceedings over the course of a morning.) Thank you to those governors who carried out this extra check to ensure there is no maladministration.

Thank you also to the staff who have provided help and reassurances to our children, and again to you, for your support. Most of all, thank you to the Year 6 children for putting in lots of extra effort in this tough week.