News

Latest news from around the school

Fantastic feedback

Posted on 07 July 2021 by Mr Roundtree

At Scholes (Elmet) Primary, we’ve been working hard to juggle two key priorities this year:

  • keep making sure we’re as Covid-secure as we possibly can be (despite a few bubbles bursting, we’ve been successful at this compared to other Leeds schools)
  • keep making sure we find ways to continually improve teaching and learning (that’s why we ask your views each year in our survey, with specific questions this year about homework, for example, and that’s why we’re making the change to teaching Latin as the statutory foreign language taught in our school)

Linked to the latter, we were keen to invite an advisor in to school recently (all done in a way which followed our risk assessment to make sure we were as Covid-secure as we could be). The advisor – an independent consultant and also a trained Ofsted inspector – carried out an evaluation of how we teach Maths at Scholes (Elmet) Primary.

Here’s some of the feedback:

The teaching of maths is strong overall.

Pupils demonstrate very positive attitudes to their learning and good behaviours. In all lessons visited, pupils were engaged, responding readily to their class teacher’s questions. When working independently they concentrated well.

Pupils make progress through the maths curriculum at both the whole school level and in individual lessons.

Pupils spoke of their enjoyment of maths and the support they received from their class teacher.

There is clear evidence of whole school strategies and approaches in the classrooms to enhance pupils understanding and progress through the maths curriculum. Overall, there is a high level of consistency of practice.

Class teachers are able to lucidly articulate the intent of their lesson, where the lesson fits in a sequence of lessons, including how future lessons will build on learning. Similarly, they are able to explain their thinking behind the chosen pedagogy.

Maths is well-led at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School. The Lead Teacher [Mrs Allaway] has considerable subject and subject pedagogical knowledge. Her passionate commitment to all aspects of the teaching of primary mathematics ensures that the subject is appropriately prioritised and effectively regularly reviewed.

The curriculum is ambitious for all pupils, including pupils with SEND.

Scarecrow competition

Posted on 04 July 2021 by Mrs Latham

We will be making some scarecrows in school. If anyone lives in the village, you can join in individually and display them outside your house. If not, and you want to make your own, bring your scarecrow to school on Friday 16 July and we will display it outside school over the weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 02 July 2021)

Posted on 02 July 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Salve!

This week’s message begins with the Latin word for ‘hello’, because we’ve some news about a change to our curriculum next year…

From September, children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) will learn Latin as the Foreign Language part of the National Curriculum. This might come as a bit of a surprise to some of you, with many wondering why switch to an ancient language. Here, we present three reasons, but there are plenty of others.

Learning some Latin will support learning other languages in the future. About 80% of words in Romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian come from Latin. The Latin for ‘bread‘ is ‘panem‘. Learning this means your child should more easily recognise and remember the word for bread in French (pain), Spanish (pan) or Italian (pane).

Linked to this is what your child will learn when they move to secondary school. In Year 7, your child might learn French, or Spanish, or German… in most cases, there won’t be much choice, and different secondary schools offer different languages for Year 7 students. Latin provides a really useful basis to learn other languages. (And most secondary schools start from scratch anyway, so Latin will be a good grounding.)

A third reason is that learning some Latin will help to enhance your child’s understanding in English, too. About two thirds of English words are derived from Latin, so your child will be more confident when they come across a new word in English if they can recognise parts of it. Here’s an example. The Latin word for ‘father’ is ‘pater‘, which gives us lots of English words, such as paternal, patronise and patriarchy. ‘Mother’ is ‘mater‘ – what words derive from ‘mater‘?

We’ve spoken to a few parents about this already, and the reaction has been really positive. If you’d like to find out more, we’re hosting a live Zoom discussion next week: 6pm on Thursday 08 July (we’ve deliberately avoided Wednesday in anticipation of some important event that night – it’s coming home…!). If you’d like to attend, please contact scholesoffice@spherefederation.org

Finally this week, a big thank you to all of you who completed this year’s annual survey. We’ll spend some time over the next few weeks looking at the results, and we’ll update you later in the year.

Quia nunc vale!

This week’s message (Friday 25 June 2021)

Posted on 25 June 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has three new messages and two reminders, one with an important update…

Holidays

The 2021-22 school year has been officially shortened by one day to take into account the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The 2021-22 school year is 194 days. Leeds has decided that schools will break up for summer on Tuesday 26 July 2022 instead of Wednesday 27 July. This ensures that pupils and staff all benefit from the extra public holiday, even though it falls during the May half term break.

We had a training day booked on this day that we’ve moved. The holidays and training days for next year are all in our school calendar.

Please remember…

…to spend just a few minutes completing this year’s annual survey. The survey’s open until Wednesday 30 June so you’ve still got a few days. Thank you to all the parents / carers who have responded so far.

Staying safe online: FIFA 21

The European Football Championships are well underway. Your child might be reaching for the online game FIFA 21 to virtually recreate the sort of shots, passes and saves they’ve watched their real-life heroes pull off on TV. In the popularity league table, FIFA is the Real Madrid of football games – some seasons are better than others, but it’s never away from the summit for long.

FIFA doesn’t include inappropriate content or violence (apart from the odd reckless sliding tackle!). However, do be aware of risks such as in-game purchases, over-competitiveness and the possibility of becoming addicted. Read more about FIFA 21.

Finally, two short messages that we emailed earlier in the week…

Stay safe

The number of pupils absent because of a potential contact with Covid-19 in school has quadrupled in just one week. In our own schools, and in lots of schools around us, there’s been a notable rise in Covid cases – more now than ever before.

Please keep your child at home if:

  • they’ve any of the recognised Covid symptoms
  • they just don’t feel quite right (a headache, feeling sick, particularly tired…)

And an update to this, following an email to schools from Leeds City Council…

As you are no doubt aware, the Delta variant of Covid-19 is now the most prevalent form of the virus in Leeds. The Zoe Covid Symptom Study, the largest ongoing global study of Covid-19, has highlighted that a headache, sore throat and runny nose are now the most common symptoms of the Delta variant, instead of a cough and loss of smell, although fever is still common.

Sports day

With bubbles bursting in Sphere schools and other local schools, we’ve taken the difficult decision to go ahead with Sports Day events, but sadly not to invite parents and carers this year.

To restrict the spread of the virus, your child will still take part in competitive events, but within bubbles, so distanced from other classes.

We know for many of you, this is a highlight of the Summer term. We’re sorry to disappoint, but we’re sure you’ll agree it’s better to take this cautious approach.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you and those around you get up to.

This week’s message (Friday 18 June 2021)

Posted on 18 June 2021 by Mr Roundtree

So, unsurprisingly, lockdown restrictions won’t be lifted on 21 June. This week’s message is mainly about the current topic learning in Years 1 to 6 – Design and Technology is the main driver. We start with a Covid-related point and end with a quick reminder about something else!

Monday’s announcement from the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister announced on Monday that current restrictions remain in place. Schools have been advised by the Department for Education to keep current protective measures in place until there is a further announcement on Step 4 of the roadmap. These measures in education settings will remain in place to help reduce transmission of the virus. Subsequent guidance does allow a little bit of flexibility. We’re waiting for more guidance from Leeds Health and Safety advisors to see if any end-of-year events such as Sports Day can happen in some way, although in their typical form that won’t happen.

The rest of this message comes from Mr Wilks, who works at Moortown Primary but is our curriculum leader across all three Sphere Federation schools for Science and Foundation subjects…

Our current topic is all about Design and Technology

Design and Technology is the driving subject for this half-term and it’s a great topic to finish the year! The focus for all classes this year is construction (next year, it’s textiles) so children will be busy designing and making structures, prototypes and products.

A key aspect of the Design and Technology curriculum is the understanding that products don’t just get made. Instead, they go through a design process that includes three key elements: evaluate, design and make. Think of this process as a cycle. For example, Sphere Motors want to create a new family car. Before the car is made, they need to evaluate existing products and talk to customers so that they’re clear about what the new car needs to have. They will then design the car and evaluate those designs. They may make a prototype of the car to help them evaluate the designs. Next, they’ll decide on a final design that will go into production and get made. This finished product will be evaluated and the whole process starts again.

Years 1 and 2 children will be designing, making and evaluating different structures and in doing so, learning about how structures can be strengthened and made more stable. They’ll evaluate real life structures like bridges and towers which will inform their designs.

Years 3,4 children will be creating a prototype of a go-kart using a construction system called TechCard. They’ll evaluate existing products before designing, building, testing and evaluating their own. We will even try to incorporate electric circuits into our designs to power the go-karts.

Years 5,6 children have been set a tricky task of creating a vehicle that can transport an egg (specific tests will be determined by the children) without it breaking. They’ll be using a range of tools (including saws, hammers, drills) to make their product.

In addition to this, children will learn a little about key inventions and designers through history.

Read our Curriculum Statement. On page 17, you’ll find the age-related expectations for the topic. The vocabulary that your child will learn is here:

Years 1 and 2

  • design: a plan or drawing showing what something will look like before it is made
  • design criteria: the things a product must have to be successful
  • design brief: a description of what a new product should do
  • base: the bottom part of an object; the part on which something rests
  • to evaluate: to decide, after careful consideration, how good or bad something is
  • structure: a combination of materials and/or parts to create a 3d shape
  • stable: something that is unlikely to fall down or collapse
  • freestanding: something that stands up by itself
  • to plan: to think about and decide how you’re going to do something

Years 3 and 4

  • product: something that is designed and made to be sold
  • function: the purpose of something
  • design process: the series of steps that need to happen for a product to go from an idea to a finished product
  • design criteria: the precise features a product must have in order to be successful
  • prototype: an early sample or model of a product used to evaluate a design
  • component: a part that combines with other parts to make something eg a machine or a piece of equipment
  • annotated sketch: a detailed sketch labelled with notes (eg dimensions, materials)
  • exploded diagram: a drawing that shows the individual components or parts of a product and how they fit together
  • mechanism: a number of parts or components working together, usually as part of a machine

Years 5 and 6

  • design process: the series of steps that need to happen for a product to go from an idea to a finished product
  • design criteria: the precise features a product must have in order to be successful
  • cross-sectional diagram: a drawing which ‘slices through’ an object to see some of the features inside
  • computer-aided design (CAD): a way of drawing on a computer to visualise designs and simulating them to see how they work
  • innovative: an adjective to describe a new or original idea about how something can be done
  • sustainable material: obtained from renewable sources and do not damage the environment when produced
  • dimensions: measurement of something in a particular direction, eg height, length, width
  • aesthetic: something about the appearance
  • to reinforce: to strengthen or support

Survey

Don’t forget to spend just a few minutes completing this year’s annual survey. We’re always keen to hear your views. Although we can’t guarantee that we can act on every point raised, we do closely consider all the survey results.

The survey’s open until Wednesday 30 June.

 

Last week’s message ended with talk of ice-cream and sunny weather over the weekend. This weekend looks like being a bit different to that – have a good one, all the same.

Reception new starters for September

Posted on 15 June 2021 by Mrs Quirk

Transition letters have been emailed this evening to all parents/carers with children due to start Reception in September. The letter contains details of stay-and-play dates and doorstep visits.

Please contact us if you haven’t received your letter!

We don't like cricket...we love it!

Posted on 12 June 2021 by Mrs Latham

We have Yorkshire Cricket coach, Jamie Sykes, coming into school over the next half term. All classes from Year 1 to Year 6 will receive some cricket coaching over the next 6 weeks. He set some very important ‘homework’…to watch some cricket, if you can! #chancetoshine #yorkshirecricket

This week’s message (Friday 11 June 2021)

Posted on 11 June 2021 by Mr Roundtree

What a difference the sunshine makes! It was such a pleasure to enjoy a happy and healthy half-term break with the end to what started to seem like interminable rain.

Surveys

Every year, we invite you to let us know how we’re doing via the annual survey of parents /carers. This year’s survey is now open.

The first part of the survey is about some of the changes we’ve made due to Covid – we’re especially interested to hear your views about homework. The second part is more general and includes statements which you might be familiar with from previous surveys.

It should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Lots of the questions need only a tick answer. Most responses are optional so you can miss out a question if you’ve no particular opinions. There are only a few (marked with a red asterisk*) where a response is needed.

We’re always keen to hear your views. We do closely consider all the survey results, although we can’t guarantee that we can act on every point raised (this year, because of Covid, that’s been especially difficult).

The survey helps us to gain a broad overview of how we’re doing. For more specific questions, comments and concerns, it’s always best to speak with your child’s class teacher or Miss Hague. The survey isn’t the right forum to raise a very specific point.

The survey’s open until Wednesday 30 June, so you’ve plenty of time to leave your views.

Amazing attendance

For the first five half-terms, our overall attendance figure is 97.7% – that’s a fantastic figure. Thank you for helping your child to attend school as much as they can.

Well done especially to the following classes, all of which have attendance over 98%:

  • Rainbow
  • 1,2V
  • 2C
  • 3,4E
  • 5,6M

Our new parent governor

In case you missed our earlier message, our new parent governor is Mr Andy Sammons (Candidate 2), whose child attends Scholes (Elmet) Primary.
The election closed on Friday just before the half-term holiday with 89 votes cast overall.

Thank you to both candidates for standing in the parent governor elections.

End of year events

There’s a lot of uncertainty about 21 June – the final date in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. This makes it hard to plan for events and activities such as Sports Day, Y5,6 productions and Leavers’ Assembly. These are all still pencilled in, but we’ll have to wait and see whether they can go ahead as normal or whether they need to be adapted (like having a Sports Day but without spectators) or even cancelled.

Enjoy the weekend. Miss Hague and I might both indulge in an ice-cream… one of us rates caramel or raspberry ripple as a top choice; the other one always opts for the most unusual flavour on a menu (basil being a recent taste triumph). Can you work out who’s more traditional and who’s more adventurous (at least in terms of ice-cream)?!

Our new parent governor is...

Posted on 31 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

…Mr Andy Sammons (Candidate 2), whose child attends Scholes (Elmet) Primary.

The election closed on Friday and 89 votes were cast overall.

Thank you to both candidates for standing in the parent governor elections.

Mr Sammons’ election note is below:

Fundamentally, the reason why I would dearly love to undertake this role is that I believe in the potential for education to change lives. For me, it is the thing that makes humans unique, and the thing that we must never lose sight of in terms of its ability to give everyone – especially young people – a chance to make the very best of their lives.

As a teacher myself (I am Director of English), I see this every day; as a result, I am ideally placed to understand key educational issues. I feel as though I would have a great deal to offer, as I have played a key role in building an engaging, enriching and ambitious curriculum for my own pupils.

I have one child at a federation primary school, and I hope that my younger child will be given a place too; as parents, we’ve been thrilled with the way that our little boy has settled in and has really started to thrive in terms of his academic progress, but also his social and emotional learning too. To be given the chance to shape and support the school in continuing to grow would mean a great deal to me.

This week’s message (Friday 28 May 2021)

Posted on 28 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

And we’ve made it to the end of another week! Each Friday, Miss Hague and I sigh with relief because we’ve had no bubbles bursting…

…Thank you for helping us by respecting the national restrictions that have been in place, and the changes we’ve made in school. Since the start of the year, we’ve managed over 30 emails from Leeds Health and Safety team, each one typically involving about ten or so changes to our risk assessments. I’m grateful to Miss Hague for managing these updates each week.

Staying with the Covid theme for a moment…

Testing positive…?

We’ve been asked once again to support the government’s Test and Trace system.

If your child has been attending school this week, we need you to tell us if they get a positive Covid test result in the period Saturday 29 May to Thursday 03 June 2021. We need you to do this because your child may have been infectious whilst in school.

So you can give us all the information we need, please use this form or scan this QR code (hover over it with the camera on – a link should appear):

This means we’ll have the information to take the necessary actions, laid down by the Department for Education.

We’d prefer you to use the online form, but if the technology fails you, please contact school: scholesheadofschool@spherefederation.org

If your child receives a positive test result after Thursday 03 June, you can tell us on the first day of the new term (Monday 07 June).

CyberSprinters

CyberSprinters is a free interactive game developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds. It’s designed to make learning about cyber security fun and interactive at a time when children might begin to seek more independence online.

The online game sees players become a ‘CyberSprinter’ who’s racing against its own depleting battery power. Users can win battery power by correctly answering questions about cyber security but face losing it if they bump into ‘cybervillains’.

Year 6 residential

We were so happy to be one of the first schools to have arranged one of the first residential trips for over a year! Last week, some of our Year 6 pupils enjoyed a week away, taking part in outdoor and adventurous activities and developing independence and team-work skills. Those who went, a mix of children from Scholes and Moortown, had a great time. Very many thanks to all the adults who went along to support, and to Mrs Weekes (Moortown Head of School) and Miss Hague (Scholes Head of School) for organising this valuable, worthwhile trip away.

Uniform

It’s been easy to let some routines and expectations become a bit slack in the last year. Now that lockdown’s easing, we want to tighten up on a few things related to uniform:

  • long hair should be tied back – it really does affect learning (for example, when children have to keep moving hair away from their face as they lean forwards to write)
  • earrings should be small, plain studs
  • PE kit, worn on PE days, should be white t-shirt, black shorts / tracksuit bottoms and plain trainers

At Scholes (Elmet) Primary School, we’re proud to be members of our school community and we want all our children to feel part of our community and to represent our school. Wearing the school uniform helps us to do this. Read our full policy. 

Happy birthday…

…to Miss Hague, who celebrates a big birthday next week!

Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday… Let’s hope the sun shines a bit more than in recent weeks.