News

Children in Need

Posted on Friday 25 November 2022 by Mrs Weekes

Thank you to everyone who donated money for Children In Need; we raised £249 which is amazing. Well done everyone and thank you.

This week’s message (Friday 25 November 2022)

Posted on Friday 25 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is in six parts: an important announcement, a celebration, a reminder, a question, a word about Ofsted, and an article to support your child at home.

May’s extra bank holiday and training day

This morning, we’ve received an important email that affects the training day we had planned for Friday 12 May and the Key Stage 2 SAT tests:

An additional bank holiday in honour of the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Monday 8 May 2023. As this date had previously been announced as the first day of the 2023 key stage 2 (KS2) test week in England, a change to the KS2 test schedule next year will be necessary.

Ministers have considered the situation carefully and have decided that KS2 tests will take place in the same week with tests following the usual order but each taking place one day later than originally planned.

This means that the tests will now run from Tuesday to Friday, and this has a knock-on effect on Friday’s training day which needs to be re-arranged. We know this may cause some inconvenience – as you can see, the situation is beyond our control.

We’re exploring ways to overcome this problem (such as to move the training day one day later, too, so it would be on Monday 15 May). We’ll confirm details as soon as we can.

Times tables

In last week’s message, we talked about the Year 4 multiplication tables check.

Yesterday, the government released data about the 2022 check – the one that our current Year 5 pupils took in June.

Nationally, 27% of pupils scored 25 out of 25. At Moortown Primary, 40% scored top marks.

Nationally, the average score was 19.8 out of 25. The average at Moortown was 22.6.

Well done to the Year 5 pupils for such a great achievement, and thank you to adults at home for helping your child to practise their times tables. (Next step is to continue to practise – a little and often – to maintain that rapid recall!)

Top topic

Next Friday from 2.30pm, teachers and children will welcome you to the class to share the great learning they’ve been doing during Topic Time.

This is a drop-in session – come and have a look at your child’s topic learning from 2.30pm.

(Parents of children in Reception should look out for other ways they can join in with their child’s learning journey.)

A question of behaviour…

All schools in England are required to have a Behaviour Policy. We’re currently reviewing our Positive Relationships Policy (that’s the name we use for our Behaviour Policy).

We usually ask about behaviour in our annual survey of parents – this year, 100% of of you who expressed an opinion said you were happy with how we make sure our pupils are well-behaved.

During our review, it’d be great to hear from you. If you’ve any particular views or suggestions, please let us know: moortownoffice@spherefederation.org

Ofsted

As you’ll know, we have an outstanding judgement from Ofsted. This was from quite a while ago (2011, to be exact) – the reason for this is that schools judged to be outstanding have been exempt from routine inspections. That’s no longer the case – outstanding schools are now inspected, just like other schools – and there’s now been a full year of inspections.

This BBC article reports that 80% of the re-inspected schools previously outstanding are now rated ‘good’ or ‘requires improvement’ (with a very small number judged ‘inadequate’).

At Moortown Primary, we’re expecting an Ofsted inspection at some point over the next year. We’re confident that whatever the outcome of the inspection, we continue to be a happy and healthy and great place to learn!

Finally this week, a message from Mr Catherall, one of our English leaders, about effective speaking and listening…

Support your child’s oracy

In Sphere Federation schools, we place a high emphasis on oracy: the ability to communicate and express yourself effectively. It’s about having the vocabulary to be able to say what you want to say and the grammatical awareness to structure your thoughts in a logical way.

Oracy is a crucial life skill:

  • it increases engagement in learning
  • it improves academic outcomes
  • it fosters wellbeing and confidence
  • it supports transitions and enhances employability
  • it equips students to thrive in later life
  • if all children develop good oracy skills, it promotes equality in society

How can you help at home?

  • Be an oracy role model: model good speaking and listening skills to your
    child, and when they’re in ear-shot.
  • Don’t ‘dumb down’ your language: try not to avoid using more complex
    vocabulary. Instead, use complicated language but then succinctly explain
    what it means.
  • Complete the Talk Time homework we provide each week: these are a great opportunity to have a conversation and model good oracy skills.

Have a go this weekend!

This week’s message (Friday 11 November 2022)

Posted on Friday 18 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has just four items, two of which are football-related…

Zoom sessions to support your child at home

This term, we’ve been hosting a series of Zoom presentations to help you support your child’s learning at home. So far, we’ve had sessions on  phonics and early reading; number; topic; and an introduction to Early Years. If you attended a session, or caught up afterwards by watching the recording: thank you.

There’s a few more coming up, all at 6pm on Mondays:

  • Online safety: 28 November 2022
  • Key Stage 2 SATs: 09 January 2023 (this one is mainly for parents of Y6 children)
  • Key Stage 1 SATs: 27 February 2023 (this one is mainly for parents of Y2 children)
  • Reception to Year 1 transition: 19 June 2023 (this one is for parents of Reception children)

If you’re interested in attending, please either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest.

If your child’s in Early Years, look out for the range of sessions specifically for you.

Time to learn times tables?

By the end of Year 4, children are expected to have a rapid recall of their times tables and corresponding tables facts. There’s a national assessment at the end of Year 4 – read more about the multiplication tables check.

Please keep making sure your child practises their times tables – focus on the one that’s being learnt in class. (Check the homework sheet to find this out.) Even if your child’s in Year 5 or Year 6 – after the national multiplication tables check – they should keep practising. We recommend little and enough (and this might include time on Times Tables Rock Stars).

Top tips! Encourage your child with a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer: knowing 4 x 7 = 28 means they also know 7 x 4 = 28, for example. And many people find 7 x 8 = 56 one of the toughest facts to learn, but if you think of it as 56 = 7 x 8, then the four digits in order might help (5, 6, 7, 8).

World Cup

Whatever your feelings about this year’s World Cup, the Youth Sport Trust has launched a social media competition which aims to inspire you and your child to play together via a series of football-based challenges – they can even be done in your living room. Check out the Half Time Challenge.

Is your child in a football club?

Every week millions of children play football, many of them in organised clubs and organisations. As part of its safeguarding response, the Football Association has created a safeguarding course for parents.

The course is designed to help parents make informed choices about the football settings where they enrol their children. (It might help raise awareness of safeguarding in other sporting clubs, too.) The course can help you to recognise best practice and see where there may be concerns, so that you can report them quickly and effectively. Check out the free course.

What a wet week we’ve had! Let’s hope for a drier weekend. Whatever the weather, have a happy and healthy one.

Junior leaders attend Youth Summit

Posted on Thursday 17 November 2022 by Mrs Taylor

Today, our Year 5 and 6 junior leaders, along with other children and young people from local primary and secondary schools, attended the Inner North East Community Committee Youth Summit at the Civic Hall.

We had the chance to meet and question councillors from the Moortown, Chapel Allerton and Roundhay wards and get involved with sharing views about youth activities for our local area.

We were then taken to the council chambers to meet the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Bob Gettings, where he took questions from the children. We learnt lots about his role.

The event was a great opportunity for the children to see how the council is run and give their views on issues in their local community. What great representatives of the school they were!

It was brilliant! We got to meet the Lord Mayor of Leeds.

It was amazing! We got to ask lots of questions and the Lord Mayor and councillors gave really good replies.

I liked hearing about the councillors’ experiences and what they do in their area.

I enjoyed it as you got to have a say.

Unique and different

Posted on Tuesday 15 November 2022 by Mrs Weekes

Children looked a bit different yesterday; I thought there’d be a few uniform letters sent home because nobody had the right socks on!

No need for letters as it was ‘Odd Socks Day’ celebrating Anti-Bullying Day. Why wear odd socks? It is designed to be a fun opportunity for people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality and what makes them unique.

Thanks to everyone for taking part.

This week’s message (Friday 11 November 2022)

Posted on Friday 11 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree

As we always do, the message this week – second week of the half-term – is all about the new topic. The message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads Science and foundation subjects across Sphere Federation. The message ends with some important guidance to help tackle online bullying…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg History, Art, Geography, Design Technology). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.

Although the learning in each topic is provided by the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in an art topic may be enriched by geography learning about where an artist was born and lived.

Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term, we’re artists. We’ll develop our art knowledge and skills.

The learning this half-term has two aspects to it:

  • art history: your child will learn about some specific artists and their work
  • art process: your child will practise and develop skills by creating art

Each phase has age-related knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. Please see pages 11 and 12 of the Curriculum Statement document. 

Children in Years 1 and 2 have two featured artists who they’ll study across the half-term: Georges Seurat and Bridget Riley. They’ll compare their art, talking about similarities and differences. They’ll discuss what they like and dislike about the art and how it makes them feel. They’ll also learn about the artists’ lives and where in the world they lived.

In practical art lessons, children will hone their artistic skills and knowledge by sketching objects using pencil and creating sculptures inspired by Bridget Riley’s art.

Children in Years 3 and 4 will learn about the work of two architects: Christopher Wren and Zaha Hadid.

They’ll compare and contrasting the buildings that these architects designed. They’ll look at the influence of classical Greek architecture on the two architects and look for examples of this in buildings locally. In practical art sessions, children will develop observational drawing skills, before focussing on digital art by manipulating images of buildings using technology and creating pieces of art using these images alongside digital art software.

Children in Years 5 and 6 are learning about and studying the work of two designers: William Morris and Orla Kiely.

They’ll look at examples of products that use their designs and then focus on the designs, analysing them using technical vocabulary. They’ll also compare the designs, spotting similarities and differences.

In practical art lessons, children will sketch their own designs inspired by Kiely or Morris. They’ll then create relief prints of their own designs which they’ll turn into a wallpaper design using a design website.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning. The Class News page of our website is a good place to go to find out more about what your child is doing.

Familiarise yourself with the artists and the artwork that your child will be learning about in class. Look in books or on the internet for pieces by the artists and talk about them. Find art by other artists that you like and compare it to the featured artists. If you feel confident, you can go into more depth using the topic-specific vocabulary. However, if not, leave that to the teachers and just enjoy looking at the pieces and asking general questions:

  • What do you like or dislike about the art?
  • How does the art make you feel?
  • What colours can you see?
  • Can you spot influence of Greek architecture in buildings (eg columns or pediments)?

The Tate Gallery has a good children’s website with games and activities which children can explore.

If you’re in Leeds, the Leeds Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute are both free to enter and if your child has already visited during a trip, they can be the tour guide and show you around!

Moving on… Did you know next week is Anti-Bullying Week?

STOP

In our school, STOP stands for both the problem and the solution for bullying:

  • Several Times On Purpose is the definition of bullying
  • Start Telling Other People is the solution – encourage your child to tell any trusted adult if there’s a problem

We’ll mark the week with our Anti-Bullying Day on Monday, which happens also to be Odd Socks Day.

STOP online

According to Ofcom’s 2022 Media Use and Attitudes report, children are now more likely to be bullied via technology than they are to experience it in person. 84% of 8 to 17-year-olds who reported being targeted said it had taken place via messaging, social media, online gaming and so on, as opposed to 61% who had been intimidated face-to-face.

Just like its offline counterpart, online-bullying creates feelings of isolation and anxiety in its victims along with a loss of self-esteem.

Read about how to support your child and tackle this problem.

Which charity will we support this year?

Posted on Friday 11 November 2022 by Mrs Weekes

Last week’s homework was all about charities. Children were given a list of six charities, some local and some national, and their homework was to decide which charity they wanted to support.

Each class discussed all six charities and then voted for the one they wanted to support. The final part of the process was the Junior Leadership Team voting from the shortlist. The junior leaders met yesterday and there was a list of three charities to vote from: Cancer Research; St Gemma’s Hospice; and Cool Earth.

They cast their votes and the charity that they voted to support is St Gemma’s Hospice. We look forward to working with this local charity who support people suffering from cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses, and their families.

This week’s message (Friday 04 November 2022)

Posted on Friday 04 November 2022 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you and your child(ren) managed to have some time over the half-term to rest and recuperate. Now that we’re firmly settled in to the school year, this week’s message has three important reminders, and ends with an invitation to share your views about Leeds admission policy…

Our expectations for home learning

At Moortown Primary, we expect every child to read at home, every day. The most important thing you can do at home is to make sure this is happening – reading independently and reading aloud together.

The reading should be at least 10-15 minutes and can include books, comics, websites – any reading! Please comment in your child’s Reading Record at least once a week.

There are two other things we expect your child to do at home each day:

  • spend about ten minutes each day practising number facts, like number bonds to ten (eg 3+7 and 4+6) and learning times tables; NumBots (mainly for children in Key Stage 1) and TimesTables Rock Stars (Key Stage 2 children) will support number fluency, as will practice in the car or walking to school (eg chanting forwards, backwards and alternating as you count through can all help)
  • spend a similar amount of time practising spellings, using the homework sheet we send home each week to see the weekly list of words to learn in preparation for a test on the following Friday (your child could use the words in written sentences or stories and in conversations)

As well as these three daily activities, there are weekly Talk Time prompts (set out on the homework sheet we send home each Friday and published on our website) and Living and Learning ideas (check these out in the school calendar, usually on Mondays – next week’s is I consider the views of others).

You’ll find occasional extra ideas in your child’s Class News page, too.

Read our guide to all the home learning that your child can do.

Our expectations for attendance

Our attendance rate for Autumn 1 was 97.1% – this is great, comparing very well to the national figure (subject to change) of 95.1% for primary schools.

Particular well done goes to Year 5, with attendance over 98%, which is brilliant. Also well done to our Reception class and the Year 1 and Year 2 classes – all have attendance over 97%.

The government is trialing a new service – check out national attendance figures, updated regularly.

Read our attendance policy. Remember, we don’t authorise unnecessary term-time absences. Holidays during term time are likely to result in a penalty notice.

Our expectations for uniform

This week in school, we’ve been enjoying a themed week: Me and My Community, a celebration of all the different communities to which we belong. We want our children to come to school proud of being part of their school community – uniform is an important part of this. Please take a moment to check our uniform policy – for example, is your child coming to school with long hair tied back, wearing discreet earrings (if any), and the right shoes?

Of course, we welcome the occasional non-uniform day as a break from routine to celebrate or raise funds. Coming up is the Children in Need fund-raising event for which we’ll have a non-uniform day. However, on days like this, we do still expect pupils to dress appropriately and respectfully for school. Check out the policy for more details.

Leeds Admission Policy

Leeds City Council is running a public consultation on the 2024/2025 admission policy for Leeds community and voluntary controlled schools. Share your views – you have until 07 December.

If you’re celebrating Bonfire Night, have a safe one, and – as always – a happy and healthy one.

The votes have been counted

Posted on Friday 21 October 2022 by Mrs Weekes

Introducing our new Junior Leadership Team for 2022-23.

Yesterday, our polling station opened and after hearing speeches, the children voted for their classmates and this lovely lot were voted in as our Junior Leadership Team.

There are two representatives from each class and they will attend regular meetings to help senior leaders to make decisions.

Congratulations and well done to everybody who made a speech – some of the results were very close!

This week’s message (Friday 21 October 2022)

Posted on Friday 21 October 2022 by Mr Roundtree

As I write this at 7.30 on Friday morning, I can hear the sound of pouring rain – let’s hope the half-term is drier so we can get out and about! This week’s message has a last minute reminder, a safety message, and some information about our Autumn term topics.

School day

There’s only a few hours left to complete this short survey about changes to the school day. We’ll close the survey at 5.00pm today – just a couple of hours. At the time of writing, 109 of you had submitted your views – thank you for taking the time to pass on your comments.

Firework safety

With many organised events cancelled due to tight budgets, West Yorkshire Fire Service is fearful that this may mean more families try to replicate a display, and that this may pose a greater risk to the safety of our children. Please speak with your child about the dangers of fireworks.

At the same time, it’s worth discussing the important role firefighters play in our community – in recent years, there’s been an increase in attacks on firefighters.

We’re all historians

This half-term, we’ve been historians. It would be great if you encourage your child to continue their History topic at home.

Children in Years 1 and 2 learnt about a significant British historical event: the Great Fire of London. Your child learnt about life at the time of the Great Fire of London. They discovered where the fire started and how it spread so quickly and the innovative ways that it was extinguished. Importantly, they thought about the different sources of evidence that helped us answer these questions, including Samuel Pepys’ diary. Finally, they learnt about the significant changes that occurred as a result of the fire, such as legal changes about the way houses were built and the beginning of a fire service in London. Link your discussions about firework safety with the history behind this event. Check out the Fire of London website – a great way to support and deepen children’s learning.

Ancient Greece was the topic for our Year 3 and 4 children. Your child began by sequencing periods of British history and seeing where the ‘golden-age’ of the Ancient Greek civilisation sits alongside British history. They then learnt about two contrasting city states: Athens and Sparta. Your child learnt about the type of government these states had and what the lives of the people living there were like. Ask your child about the influence that Athens has had on the world (they might mention democracy, mathematics, philosophy, literature, culture…) and how the civilisation ended. For a rainy half-term diversion, a visit to Leeds City Museum (next to Millennium Square) would be great because it has some Ancient Greek exhibits.

Children in Years 5 and 6 learnt about Stone Age to Iron Age Britain and contrasted it with Ancient Egypt. Your child began by looking at and creating timelines to gain an understanding of chronology. They learnt about the advances and innovations that occurred during the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. They then learnt about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation and contrasted this with what was happening in Britain at the same time. Speak with your child about the differences– it’s a stark contrast! As before, a trip to Leeds City Museum would be a great half-term day out – it has some Ancient Egyptian exhibits, including Nesyamum, the 3,000 year old Leeds mummy!

We’re all artists

Next half-term, we’re all artists. As well as creating some masterpieces, we’ll look at the work of various artists, architects and designers. To gain a head start, encourage your child to check out the work of our featured artists and designers:

Have a happy and healthy half-term break. Remember, the first day of next term is a training day: see you all on Tuesday 01 November.