Let’s get reading!
This week’s message (Friday 17 March 2023)
This week’s message is a short one, kicking off with a reminder…
We want to put a long-term plan in place for class trips.
There are lots of benefits of class trips (a chance to make learning more real or practical, a memorable, exciting change from the typical day…), but we know they’re expensive.
To help us, we’d be very grateful if you spend just five minutes completing this short survey.
We’ve been sent by Leeds City Council an attendance summary for 2021-22.
We’re really pleased to see that Moortown Primary attendance was in the top 10% of Leeds primary schools (it ranked 21 out of 226 schools). It’s also great to see that we had around a third of the cases of persistent absenteeism (6.0% compared to the Leeds average of 17.6%)
About two thirds of the absences were due to illness. One in five absences were not authorised, mainly due to holidays.
Today at Scholes (Elmet) Primary, we’ve been delighted to welcome people from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM). Alongside lots of teachers, they visited Mrs Allaway (the Sphere Federation Maths Leader) and a class of Year 4 children to review good practice in Maths teaching. We’re fortunate that Mrs Allaway is a lead teacher for NCETM, regularly supporting teachers in other schools as well as supporting our very own teachers.
As well as Comic Relief, it’s another special day – happy St Patrick’s Day if you’re celebrating!
Have a great weekend.
New police officers on the beat!
If you were at Moortown Corner yesterday, you may have seen some mini police officers handing out tickets to drivers. Over the past few weeks, a lot of our children have been writing letters about issues that concern them; Year 1 children wrote to the local councillors about the parking on Moortown Corner and that they felt, at times, it wasn’t safe.
One or our local councillors, Mahalia France Mir, responded to the letters and visited the children with some local police officers. They designed their own ‘parking tickets’ and, dressed as mini police officers, gave them out to local residents who use the parking in front of the shops.
It was fantastic for the children to get a response to their letters and then to be able to go out and share their concerns with the community.
School and snow day all in one
After a very hard decision this morning, we managed to open school and the majority of staff made it too – thank you to them for their efforts in quite severe conditions.
It may have been a shorter day and different in many ways but we’re really glad we made the decision to open. These photos show one of the reasons why – a school day combined with a snow day.
This week’s message (Friday 10 March 2023)
Moortown Primary is a happy and healthy place to learn. We want to keep getting better and better and a key part of this is to hear your views…
I can’t fault this school. My kids love it and the teachers are amazing. Always willing to help and keep us up to date with progress and anything we can help the kids with at home.
That’s one of the comments from a recent survey of Reception parents – thank you to the 17 parents who took the time to let us know their views. We’ll spend some time now reviewing what was said and seeing if we can act on some of the points raised.
We need your help again – this time for all parents and carers to let us know about class trips.
We’re currently reviewing our curriculum plans. We’re keen to put a long-term plan in place for class trips. Class trips are a highlight for children:
- they’re a chance to get out and about, making learning more real or practical
- after the trip, children enjoy reviewing and remembering what they did
- the writing done after the trip is often really rich in terms of description
- they’re a memorable, exciting change from the typical day
The downside of trips is the expense – we’re very aware that trips aren’t cheap (often due to transport costs). We ask you to make a voluntary contribution to cover the cost, but even then, trips can be expensive for those who contribute and for school. Whilst the contributions are voluntary, we can’t go ahead with a planned trip if we don’t receive enough contributions.
We want to plan a schedule of trips from Reception to Year 6. This is to make sure we plan trips better, so we can closely match the trips with the learning that’s happening in school and to make sure that teachers are clear on our expectations (so that trips are spread out across the years).
To help us, we’d be very grateful if you spend just five minutes completing this short survey.
In the Summer term, look out for the annual survey for all parents and carers, too.
And now a change of subject…
Big Walk and Wheel
Get set… we’re taking part in Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel 2023.
We want your child to walk, scooter or cycle to school, even more so during the Big Walk and Wheel challenge which runs from 20-31 March.
The challenge is a great way to build physical activity in your child’s daily routine – so important for physical health and mental wellbeing. Active school runs also help to reduce congestion and air pollution outside the school gate. A 2021 YouGov study showed nearly half of UK children worry about air pollution near their school and that children thought active travel was the best away to bring down these pollution levels.
There are some great prizes to be won every day if enough children taking part!
Download your free family guide.
We’ll end this week’s message with another great comment from a Reception parent…
Reception at Moortown is an incredible start for a child’s learning journey. They learn to read in an amazingly short space of time, and the classroom is very impressive and changes regularly to ensure children are engaged and challenged, all whilst making good friendships and having fun.
Snow update – we aim to open at 10.30am
We aim to open at 10.30am this morning.
This is due to the heavy snow. Staff can’t safely arrive at work on time at the moment. The forecast shows an improving picture, so we aim to open at 10.30am.
Breakfast club isn’t open but wraparound care this afternoon will be if safe to do so.
Apologies for the inconvenience.
This week’s message (Friday 03 March 2023)
This week’s message is all about our current topic…
What do we mean by topics?
Topics are the way we teach much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg history, art, geography, DT). Each half-term topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.
Although the learning in each topic comes from the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects.
Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.
What is this half-term’s topic?
This half-term, it’s Computing. We’ll be developing our knowledge of computers and computer programming.
Computer programming is super. Creating games, animations and solving real world problems is fun, encourages creativity and is challenging! Importantly, the skills the children will use and develop are easily transferable to other subjects and areas of life. For example, the concept of decomposition in programming is concerned with breaking down a large task into smaller chunks. This concept could be used when writing a story, solving a maths problem or tidying a particularly messy bedroom! Debugging is the skill of identifying and fixing an error in a program. It requires systematic, objective thinking and plenty of resilience.
Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. See page 13 and 14 of the curriculum statement document.
Years 1 and 2
Children will learn about how technology is used beyond school in our homes and all around us. They’ll begin to consider what a computer is and isn’t.
In programming lessons they’ll create animations in Scratch Jr by creating and debugging algorithms. They’ll then continue to use Scratch Jr to create an interactive quizzes.
Years 3 and 4
Children will reason about what exactly makes a computer a computer. Is a games console a computer? Is a TV a computer? Is a bedside lamp a computer? Next, they’ll learn about inputs and outputs and identify different examples of them in everyday technology.
They’ll then be introduced to Scratch and will learn how they can add or change sprites and backdrops and then begin to experiment with making their sprites move. They’ll look at programs created on Scratch and use logical reasoning to explain what will happen when these programs are run. They’ll learn about the importance of sequencing in programming when they recreate a well-known melody. Finally, they’ll create their own ‘band’ on Scratch by programming different instrument sprites to play sounds.
Years 5 and 6
Children will learn about what a computer network is and that the Internet is an enormous computer network. They’ll learn about the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. In programming lessons, they’ll be introduced to BBC Microbits – pocket sized computers which they’ll program to do lots of different things. This will allow children to gain a deeper understanding of concepts like sequence, selection and variables. Some of this vocabulary may sound alien to you. However, before the end of the topic your child will be able to tell you what they mean and give examples of how they’ve used them in their projects. Some of the projects your children will be making are:
- a magic 8-ball style program which will give you an answer to all your questions!
- a compass so you can confidently find your way to school in foggy conditions!
- a pedometer to count the number of steps they’re making
How can you help?
Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning in class. The Class News page is a good place to find out more about what your child is doing.
The school library and local libraries have lots of books about coding and computer games which your child will be able to borrow and develop both their reading skills and computing knowledge.
Finally, try programming with your child. There are loads of programming apps and software available to download, often for free…
Key Stage 1
- Daisy the Dinosaur (Apple only)
- Tynker Junior
- Scratch Jr5
Key Stage 2
- Scratch Jr
Finally, and importantly, talk to your child about our Being Online: Acceptable Use Agreement. (Page 8 is the one for early Years and Key Stage 1 children and page 9 is for older children). Discuss whether the points that are listed apply to being online at home as well as at school.
When stories come to life
An unusual sight welcomed the children this morning! A unicorn, a shark, an astronaut and a spider were at the school gate to celebrate World Book Day – thank you to the PTA for organising this (and Mrs Burgess aka the unicorn!)
We then enjoyed hearing teachers reading their favourite children’s book; Mr McGriffiths had everyone’s attention, including the teachers, reading ‘I Want My Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen. Everyone loves a good picture book!
Happy World Book Day! Try and take 5 minutes to enjoy a book – you will feel better for it.
This week’s message (Friday 24 February 2023)
As a teacher, the year is punctuated with school-related milestones, most obviously the different terms. After just one week away, it’s remarkable how different Spring 2 feels – we’re arriving and leaving work in the daylight, spotting signs of Spring on our way. As you travel to and from school with your child, talk about the changes in the seasons: daffodils, daylight, leaves on trees… Being mindful like this can have a really good impact on our emotions.
Earlier in the week, we emailed you about the forthcoming industrial strikes planned across a series of dates:
- Tuesday, 28 February
- Wednesday, 15 March
- Thursday, 16 March
As it stands right now, it looks that our school will be able to remain open.
However, please remember that all workers, including teachers, have the right to take industrial action without prior notice. This means we might have to close some classes at the last minute. As such, it would be advisable to prepare for some disruption on the days listed here just in case.
For the school year up to Friday 10 February, our attendance figure was 96.0%. This is continues to be higher than national figures – great news!
- Reception: 95.4%
- Year 1: 95.6%
- Year 2: 96.7% – brilliant attendance!
- Year 3: 95.6%
- Year 4: 96.6%- great stuff!
- Year 5: 96.1%
- Year 6: 96.0%
Good attendance is important:
- regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
- regular attenders cope better and benefit from school routines, school work and friendships
- regular attenders find learning more satisfying
- regular attenders are more successful in transferring between primary school, secondary school, and higher education, employment or training
- statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and absence below 95%
Thank you for helping us increase our attendance rate. Please continue to make sure your child is getting to school on time every day.
Have a good weekend, whatever you get up to.
Supporting our school charity
St Gemma’s Hospice is our current school charity chosen democratically by the children.
Today, we welcomed Steph and Stewart from St Gemma’s Hospice for an assembly to find out more about the fantastic work they do in our local community.
Here, two of our junior leaders are presenting them with a cheque for £377 for the money we have raised so far.
Steph and Stewart commented on the impressive behaviour of the children and the intelligent questions they asked.
Our junior leaders are planning a visit to the hospice over the next few weeks to continue this partnership.