News

Latest news from around the school

Screen time - an update

Posted on 12 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

On 04 January, we published a news article called Screen time – to limit or not to limit? which in itself stemmed from a news article Worry less about children’s screen use, parents told.

During the week, the Chief Medical Officer for the UK, published guidance on screen-based activities. The media was full of headlines about screen bans. This wasn’t quite accurate.

The guidance itself had an infographic which helps you think about the challenges of managing their children’s screen use. Amongst other things, it includes advice on sleep, meal times and using features on a phone to restrict time spent on it. It’s also prompts you to consider things you might otherwise overlook – walking and using a phone at the same time, for example.

It’s a short, easy, sensible read – it might even be useful to help you work with your child to set ground rules as to how much time they’re online.

Attendance matters

Posted on 10 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

A few months ago, the Department for Education published updated guidance materials for schools about attendance: School attendance: Guidance for maintained schools, academies, independent schools and local authorities (September 2018).

Here’s an extract from the guidance (the bold text is from us; it’s not in the original text):

Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential is an assumption so widely understood that it is insufficiently stated – pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school.

The government expects:

Schools and local authorities to:

  • Promote good attendance and reduce absence, including persistent absence;
  • Ensure every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled; and,
  • Act early to address patterns of absence.

Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly.

All pupils to be punctual to their lessons.

You’ll be aware that we try to promote good attendance in lots of ways, including the Amazing Attendance competition and regular updates on attendance in newsletters. Thanks to you for fulfilling your side of this expectation: to ensure your child attends school regularly.

Keeping active - starting good habits

Posted on 10 February 2019 by Mrs Latham

Every Friday, each class takes it in turns to lead the daily Wake Up Shake Up (WUSU) session, which is part of our commitment to provide 30 active minutes every day (in addition to our PE lessons). It was F2’s first chance to lead this week. They were really excited and showed us their two favourite dances. Young children enjoy being active and find it easy to join in, without feeling self-conscious, so we hope this continues. Well done, F2!

 

Amazing attendance competition

Posted on 06 February 2019 by Mrs Craggs

Amazing attendance competition

Good attendance remains high on the agenda at our school.

  • A child with 90% attendance has missed four whole weeks of school in a year.
  • Over six years of primary school, a child with 90% attendance will have missed 24 weeks of learning – that’s almost two thirds of a year.
  • Good attendance enables your child to develop strong friendships at school, leading to a happy and healthy person.

Next half-term, we’re running an Amazing attendance competition!

If your child has 98% attendance or above over the course of Spring 2 half-term and up to the Easter weekend (from 25 February to 18 April inclusive), they will be entered in to a prize draw to win a £20 Pizza Express voucher.

There will be one voucher for each phase in school: Early Years, Y1-2, Y3-4 and Y5-6.

Help your child to be the best that they can be and do everything you can to make sure they attend school on time every day!

Fantastic feedback

Posted on 05 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

At Scholes (Elmet) Primary, we regularly seek the views of others. Last month, we let you know about feedback from:

  • children (see news article on 28 January, 2019, deriving from the Feedback Forms we ask our children to complete a couple of times a year)
  • Leeds Health and Safety Advisors (news article on 31 January 2019, deriving from a Health and Safety inspection)
  • Leeds Early Years Advisor (news article on 15 January 2019, deriving from a visit to Nursery and Reception classes)

In January, we also collected the views of staff for the second time in recent years. We asked staff to complete a survey with questions that Ofsted use during inspections (very much like the survey we ask parents and carers to complete in the Summer term). The survey was completed by 29 staff (in any role – premises staff, lunchtime supervisors, teachers, teaching assistants…). Here are some key findings:

100% of staff agree that our school has improved since it was last inspected, with 93% believing the school has improved a lot.

(These percentages exclude two staff members who are new to school and can’t comment on improvements since the inspection). Comments include: ‘Huge improvements to learning behaviours, assessment and especially teaching and learning.’ and ‘I feel that the school has a more positive vibe about it.’

100% thought the school was well-led and managed (of those who expressed an opinion).

‘There’s a clear and focused vision for the school.’ and ‘We are pushed to be the best we can be…’ were two of four comments made (all were positive).

100% approved how leaders support staff to manage behaviour (of those who were able to comment).

All the comments were positive: ‘Good whole school behaviour strategy which is monitored and maintained through regular discussions.’ and ‘Leaders regularly discuss keeping learning behaviour tight.’

We were also pleased to receive these two comments which came later in the survey: ‘I find the children take the warning system seriously and adhere to it.’ and ‘Over the 10 years working the lunchtime period, the children are better behaved than any other year.’

100% of staff agree that pupils are safe at this school, 83% agreeing strongly to the statement.

(One respondent didn’t feel in a position to comment and isn’t included here). Comments include: ‘With the use of weekly statements, living and learning ‘circle times’ and whole school assemblies, children know how to look after each other. Children have a range of ways to get help when needed.’ and ‘Children know what to do if they have a concern and who to talk to. The curriculum is designed to help children think about their safety in all aspects of life.’

96% of those who expressed an opinion agreed that leaders and managers are considerate of their well-being.

‘Senior leaders and a number of other staff members have been extremely supportive…’

100% felt that being in a federation benefits this school.

(A small group didn’t feel in a position to express an opinion). Comments include: ‘Planning can occasionally be shared between schools as well as ideas for learning in different contexts and environments.’ and ‘It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off, and who understands when I need to off-load!’

Strengths

We asked staff to comment in an open-ended question about the strengths of our school. Some of the many strengths they mentioned are:

  • ‘Great leadership, continuously improving behaviour management, fun and new learning opportunities.’
  • ‘A common sense approach to ensuring that things are done that lead to progress and not done for the sake of it.’
  • ‘Trying to get every child to reach their full potential.’
  • ‘Consistency across the classes.’
  • ‘High expectations of excellence.’
  • ‘Good behaviour policies.’
  • ‘Team work and shared vision – most members of staff working together to drive improvement forward.’
  • ‘Like the staff, children work together and discuss challenges openly.’
  • ‘A strong leadership team that is supportive of all teachers.’
  • ‘Individual children are valued and cared for. Staff are fully committed to the wellbeing of the pupils. Pupils and their needs come first and there is a high expectation for their intellectual learning too.’
  • ‘A clear vision of what needs to be done to bring about improved outcomes for children.’
  • ‘Leaders know what needs to be done and are implementing steps to continue improving outcomes for our children.’

Next steps

We’re always wanting to keep getting better and better. Based on the survey, the areas to develop are to support teaching assistants more with performance management and professional development: ‘To continue to develop support staff to be fully effective in their roles.’ Like so many schools across the country, we also want to be even more mindful of teachers’ work-life balance to ensure their wellbeing. Others things mentioned were:

  • ‘Pupil progress and how it is evident.’
  • ‘To continue to build on progression within all subjects.’
  • ‘To continue in the same vein of improvement and equipping staff to be amazing teachers.’
  • ‘I feel that slightly more time could be spent celebrating staff and student successes whether it be work produced in books or on displays, lesson ideas/slides, fun learning games and so on.’
  • ‘Consolidate the outcomes from 2018.’
  • ‘Securing consistently good attainment and progress outcomes for our children, year on year.’

Other comments

Finally, we asked staff if they had any other comments. These included:

  • ‘I am very happy working at this school. I have positive relationships with my peers and senior leaders. I completely believe that Scholes Primary is very much on a journey to being considered an ‘outstanding’ school and I’m glad to be a part of that.’
  • ‘The school has made rapid progress over the last two years.’
  • ‘The school is a lovely place to work. Children are polite and staff are easy to get a long with.’
  • ‘Staff have worked tirelessly and relentlessly to improve the areas identified by Ofsted, and others, hopefully ensuring the next inspection will be good or outstanding.’
  • ‘The school is a positive place to work.’
  • ‘2/3 years ago I didn’t think that the school particularly required improvement. However, seeing the changes that have been made since the inspection, there was obviously lots to be done! As a member of staff, I think morale is better than it’s ever been. As a parent, I feel my children are progressing well. Huge thanks to Mr Roundtree for turning this school around!’
  • ‘The school has made vast improvements since our last inspection. As a middle leader, I now feel that I have an effective role in the school’s journey. The priorities and actions for my subject area are now taken into account by senior leaders and I feel that I have autonomy for my subject area.’
  • ‘I am very proud to work at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School. The staff who I work with are great – they make a fantastic team.’

Thank you to all staff for supporting our school, and a special thanks to those who completed the survey.

Thank you to our football kit sponsors!

Posted on 04 February 2019 by Mrs Latham

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to our football kit sponsors. Alison Owen, who owns Willows Beauty Ltd in Scholes, sponsored the new Year 6 team kit and Danny Howarth arranged for CKS (a technical support company providing electronic repair and system integration to the film and tv industry) to sponsor the Year 5 kit. I hope you agree they are very smart and just waiting to get muddy in our upcoming matches. Thank you!

Is your child in Year 2 or Year 6?

Posted on 01 February 2019 by Mr Roundtree

If your child is in Year 2, then towards the end of the year he/she will be doing some assessments to mark the end of Key Stage 1. Similarly, if your child is in Year 6, he/she will do end of Key Stage 2 assessments – usually called SATs.

The short videos below will help you gain a greater understanding of the tests. (They’re labelled 2018, but the tests haven’t changed since then.)

A happy and healthy - and safe - place to learn

Posted on 31 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

We hear so many scare stories and myths about health and safety that it’s easy to pour scorn on anything remotely related to the topic. However, as a school, we need to know that our buildings and our practices are safe and secure for your child and his/her teachers.

Just like we’re happy to invite a fresh pair of eyes into school to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning, we do the same – invite an expert from Leeds City Council – to check on health and safety aspects of our school.

We’re delighted that our school was judged to be good in terms of health and safety, with outstanding management of this aspect of school.

Scholes (Elmet) Primary is a happy, healthy and safe place to learn!

Comments from our children

Posted on 28 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

From time to time, we collect the views of our pupils – they can be really helpful and interesting!

Here are a few comments from some of our youngest (in Year 1) and oldest (in Year 6) pupils:

  • ‘When I did the learning I am most proud of, at first it was a bit hard and I felt frustrated. I was determined. I felt happy and felt like a winner at the end.’ (Y1)
  • ‘I enjoy writing because it boosts my vocabulary and confidence.’ (Y6)
  • ‘Lunchtimes are fun and fantastic.’ (Y1)
  • ‘I am happy at school because I feel welcome every day and I really enjoy the lessons.’ (Y6)
  • ‘I like working with a partner in Maths.’ (Y1)
  • ‘Living and Learning is good because it helps me be a better person outside of school.’ (Y6)
  • ‘I know what a drug is and I know medicine is a drug.’ (Y1)

Training days 2019-20

Posted on 28 January 2019 by Mr Roundtree

For those already planning their trips away and days out, we’ve now agreed our 2019-2020 training days:

  • Monday 02 September 2019
  • Tuesday 03 September 2019 (this means children are back on Wednesday 04 September, although there’s a transition period for those starting in Reception)
  • Friday 25 October 2019 (this is the day before the October holidays)
  • Friday 15 May 2020 (this is the last day of the Key Stage 2 SATS week – a welcome day off for our Year 6 pupils)
  • Monday 20 July 2020 (the last day of the school term, meaning children break up on Friday 17 July 2020)

The dates are all published on our school calendar.

(We tell you our training days well in advance, and we’ve tried to schedule many close to existing school holidays. This means you’ve got more chance to plan and book any holidays abroad. We don’t authorise term-time absences for holidays.)