News

Latest news from around the school

Staying safe to and from school

Posted on 08 November 2018 by Mr Roundtree

We want our children to be happy and healthy learners. For older children, walking to and from school, perhaps with friends, can be a good way to incorporate some physical activity into the school day. It’s also a way to develop independence as they approach secondary school.

If your child walks, scoots or cycles to and from school without an adult, please do make sure you regularly check that they understand how to stay safe.

Are they crossing roads in a safe way?
It can be easy to become distracted, perhaps with their friends or, even more likely, if they’re using a mobile. Make sure you’re confident your child knows the importance of crossing roads safely.

Do they know what to do if they encounter a stranger who’s behaving suspiciously?
Perhaps when you were growing up, the message was ‘Stranger danger’. However, this message doesn’t recognise that sometimes approaching a stranger is a way to stay safe – if your child were to get lost, seeking help would be better than becoming more lost, for example. A new campaign is promoting a new message: ‘Clever never goes‘. Does your child know to never go off somewhere with an adult (whether a stranger or not)? Does your child have ideas about what to do if an adult is following them?

If you’ve any specific questions, comments or concerns, please do ask.

Parent-teacher consultations

Posted on 04 November 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to all the parents and carers who came along to the first of our parent-teacher meetings just before the half-term holiday. It was great to see so many people attend, taking an active role in supporting their child’s learning.

Thanks also to the 23 parents and carers who spoke to the governors who were around. Here are some of the comments:

Do you feel your child is safe in the school?  How do you feel school do this? 100% of parents who were consulted felt their children were safe in safe. Evidence they mentioned included good safeguarding policies, children following rules, a secure site, sharing of information (such as when a child has had a head bump)… even the recent lockdown practice was mentioned.

Do you feel your child is making good progress in school? 100% of parents felt their child was making good progress in school. Comments included: ‘I have just attended parents’ evening and my child’s teacher gave in-depth feedback which was really helpful and evidenced the progress made since year 3.’

Do you have any concerns regarding child progress? Have you discussed this with the school? 100% of parents stated they did not have any concerns.

Do you feel your child is challenged in terms of their learning? All but one of the parents spoken to felt their children were challenged in terms of their children’s learning. Points mentioned included that we’re always promote new learning ideas and we encourage children to learn from their mistakes. ‘My child’s correctly challenged – not too difficult so they lose their confidence.’

Governors also asked about the school library. Parents were positive: ‘There’s has been a huge improvement in the library and the standard and range is good. My children love borrowing the books.’

Governors asked for any additional comments. There are many great pieces of feedback, such as ‘I have seen a massive difference in my child’s confidence and the teacher understands my child.’ and ‘The school maintains excellent relationships with families and the local community.’

…and finally:

Governors spoke to many children during the evening:

  • ‘I love my teacher – she is really kind and makes me smile.’
  • ‘I know that when you have a green lanyard you are a safe person in the school and if you have a red lanyard you need to be working with another teacher.’ [When asked how the child knew this information she stated her teacher had told her. This was a completely unprompted comment that stemmed from the lanyard the governor was wearing.]
  • ‘I love Maths – I am really trying hard. I sometimes get it wrong but I try my hardest.’
  • ‘My favourite subjects are reading and writing.’
  • ‘I am very happy at school and I love coming.’

 

We don’t just want to hear your praise. Whilst we can’t act on every comment and suggestion, we do think about them and consider ways to keep getting better. On this occasion, the subject that came up most as an area to improve is the actual parent-teacher consultations themselves: some of you would prefer to have these in classrooms where it’s quieter. Thanks for raising this. There are various reasons to have the meetings in the hall (it seems more and more schools are doing this), but we do accept it can get noisy. We’ll continue to explore what we can do, but in the meantime, do let us know if you have a particular need (eg a hearing impairment) and we can make alternative arrangements.

Thanks to everyone who came to the parent-teacher meetings, whether you spoke to governors or not. Look out for the Learning Update mini-report in December.

Staying safe with fireworks

Posted on 29 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

With the darker nights come a number of events involving fireworks and bonfires, starting with Bonfire night – that’s next Monday, but many people will celebrate over the coming weekend.

Spend some time with your child talking about ways to stay safe. Here’s a list of sites to help inform young people and minimise the risks of harm:

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

Posted on 29 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

YoungMinds is a charity set up to make sure children and young people get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.

The YoungMinds crisis messenger service provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. Young people experiencing a mental health crisis and need support can text YM to 85258.

They also offer support for parents / carers, too.

British Values - Democracy in Action

Posted on 26 October 2018 by Miss Parling

Scholes polling station was open yesterday. All pupils voted for the new school council members.

Well done to our newly elected candidates.

They are looking forward to contributing ideas to improve our school, being the pupil voice and exercising our British values.

Destination @ British Judo

Posted on 25 October 2018 by Mrs Latham

This week, all classes have experienced a judo session delivered by a international judo expert. [email protected] Judo are launching a huge programme across Yorkshire to encourage children to get involved in this sport. The children reported enjoying the sessions thoroughly. There are lessons available at Swarcliffe Community Centre, LS14 5LS. Call 0121-7286987 or email [email protected] for more information.

I loved learning judo hold.

I got to hold my friend down on the floor!

Staying safe and secure in our school

Posted on 22 October 2018 by Miss Hague

At Scholes (Elmet) Primary School, we take safeguarding and safety very seriously. It’s important that we continue to review all our procedures, taking into account even those events that are very unlikely to occur. As part of this process, we’ll shortly practise a new procedure called ‘lockdown’.

What is a lockdown and when would we carry it out?

A lockdown procedure is a standard health and safety procedure, similar to a fire drill.

Our lockdown procedure would be used when there is a threat to the safety of pupils, staff and others in the school, and when it is safer for everyone to remain in school than evacuate. The aim is to keep people safe by confining them to a secure place of safety.

We’ll practise this procedure soon.

Before we do, staff will take time to talk to pupils about lockdown procedures and explain why they are important. They will reassure pupils after the drill that they are safe, and will emphasise that practising procedures like this will make sure the school remains a happy, healthy and safe place to learn. 

If you have any questions or concerns please speak to either me or Mr Roundtree.

(Yet more) fab feedback!

Posted on 22 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

You’ll be aware that we work closely with Leeds Children’s Services to monitor how well we’re doing. We value time spent with advisors as a way to check our progress and offer us more top tips to keep getting better and better. Here are three extracts from the latest report, based on a visit where the advisor carried out two monitoring exercises:

  • a book scrutiny – closely looking at pupils’ books in Reading, Writing, Maths and Topic
  • a learning conversation – a discussion with some pupils about their learning

Under the Executive Headteacher’s astute leadership and the combined efforts of an increasingly effective senior leadership team, progress from previous visits continues apace.

 

Pupils of all abilities are making good progress from their September starting points in reading, writing and maths.

 

Pupils were able to convey an enjoyment of their learning at Scholes. Pupils in Y3 feel the work has become considerably harder but nevertheless are responding and enjoying the challenge… Responses evidenced how the school works hard to develop a love or reading; weekly library books, reading in class, daily reading sessions and reading scheme books were all cited as being the core offer for all children.

Homework matters

Posted on 21 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

Some of you might have spotted an article in the Sunday Times today about a group of parents who have concerns about homework. As part of the article, the newspaper has carried out research on a sample of 80 schools and their homework policies, including Scholes (Elmet) Primary.

Articles like this are not especially helpful, especially when they take only a very short extract from our policy: ‘At Scholes (Elmet) Primary School in Leeds parents are contacted “if homework is of a regular poor standard, or . . . regularly not handed in”, according to the website.’

First, it’s not quite accurate. Our policy says: ‘We will communicate to parents/carers if homework is of a regular poor standard, or which is regularly not handed in.’ It would be extremely rare for us to contact parents/carers specifically about homework. Typically, we would wait until parent-teacher consultations or the annual report and make a comment at that point.

Second, the article doesn’t really present the big picture. Our Homework Policy presents a clear rationale for homework, backed up by research evidence. A review of the research around homework indicates that ‘Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support…The broader evidence base suggests that short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school.’ We believe our homework tasks achieve this: Talk Time is almost entirely about developing parental involvement and support in a way that is easy to achieve – ideally sitting together over a meal, but possible even in the car or walking to school; Creative homework is designed to let children demonstrate their learning in a way that suits their own ideas and preferences, and one where families can talk about and be involved in to whatever extent they choose. These two, plus the more traditional Practice Makes Perfect homework, are always based on learning that relates directly to what is being taught in school.

The policy also promotes other activities that will enrich children’s childhood: ‘Whilst homework develops children’s learning and independence, quality family time, play and free time are also important. Homework should not prevent children from taking part in wider activities such as those offered by out-of-school clubs and other organisations. Children develop their interests and skills to the full only when parents/carers encourage them to make maximum use of the opportunities available outside school.’

Third, this article was in today’s Sunday Times. Less than four years ago, the same newspaper published a very different article:

‘ONE of the biggest studies of homework ever carried out proves what every parent has always told their child — knuckling down after school pays dividends. An international study of the homework patterns of 15-year-olds in 65 countries has revealed a clear link between longer homework hours and higher academic performance. “These findings should finally silence sceptics who have argued that homework is bad for youngsters, causing stress and division in families,” said Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham. He called on more schools to take homework seriously by enforcing sanctions when pupils fail to do it.’

It’s a pity that today’s article misses an opportunity to present a more balanced report, even at the expense of referring to its own previous journalism.

Our Homework Policy was developed in consultation with parents/carers. Each year, we consider carefully views expressed in our annual survey – inevitably, some parents/carers feel there is too much but the majority support the current policy.

Impressive homework: our 8Rs re-interpreted

Posted on 19 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree

We love this great homework in 3,4EK.

Here’s a poem which is great to read – especially the part highlighted in purple!

This Scrabble game is a great challenge. (It’s a good way to learn spellings, too – whether you have real Scrabble pieces or not, can your child arrange this week’s spelling words in a grid?)