Latest news from around the school

Our weekly message (Friday 14 June 2024)

Posted on 14 June 2024 by Mr Roundtree

Don’t forget the school photographer’s in next Thursday to take class pics – please make sure your child is in uniform, even if it’s a PE day.

This week’s message comes from our Science and Foundation Subjects Leader. It’s about the final topic of the year.

Just before that: good luck to our Year 5/6 swimmers who are competing in the English Schools Swimming Association Primary National finals on Saturday at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

What is this half-term’s topic?

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 textiles (next year, it’s construction) so children will be busy designing and making products using fabric.

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, Moortown 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.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic – see pages 14 and 15 of our Topic Curriculum Guide.

Years 1 and 2

The product children will be designing, making and evaluating is a hand puppet. They’ll start by learning about the design process before looking at and evaluating existing hand puppet products. They’ll then learn to use an over stitch and practise threading needles and tying knots. Following this, they’ll be introduced to all the materials they can use to create their puppet. Once they’re familiar with the materials, they’ll design their puppet. Next, it’s on to the making stage. They’ve already honed their sewing skills so they should be confident making and then decorating their puppets according to their designs. Finally, it’s evaluation time: children will compare their designs to their finished products. They’ll reflect on successes and things they’d do differently next time.

Years 3 and 4

The product the children will be designing, making and evaluating is a pouch. The function of this pouch is entirely up to them. It could be used to store some pens, trading cards, a shell collection. Children can be as creative as they like – as long as the pouch can be made using a 20cm² piece of felt!

Before they begin to design their pouch, they’ll learn about a famous designer and how they became a designer. They’ll also learn some important skills that a designer needs to have. Children will then evaluate existing pouches, with a focus on fastenings, and will then design their pouch. They’ll practise their sewing skills, becoming proficient using a running stitch. They’ll then begin to make their pouches. First, they’ll create a template which they’ll use to cut out the pieces. Next, they’ll join the pieces using their running stitch and create a fastening for their pouch. Finally, they’ll evaluate their designs by comparing them to their designs, testing whether they’re fit for purpose and reflecting on their successes and areas to improve.

Years 5 and 6

Children will be designing, making and evaluating a cushion. However, before they get stuck into their cushion, they’ll learn about some designers who changed the world: Isambard Kingdom Brunel, George Stephenson, Lewis Latimer and Jony Ive. They’ll learn about their creations and their impact and look for things that link the designers.

Following this, children will learn about the importance of design criteria when designing a product. After this, they’ll practise their sewing skills and learn how to sew using a backstitch. Next, they’ll evaluate existing cushions. They’ll then decide on the specific design criteria for their cushions and create their designs using an annotated sketch, detailing the dimensions of their product. They’ll learn about the importance of using sustainable materials when researching the filling used for their cushion (the plan is to use old, unwanted pieces of fabric to stuff the cushions rather than Polyfill so please have a look through your wardrobe and keep hold of any old t-shirts or other clothes as we’ll need them later in the half-term).

Children will use a template to cut out the shapes, use a backstitch to appliqué decoration to their cushion, before finally sewing the pieces together and stuffing them. The final stage is to evaluate the designs against the design criteria.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they have been learning in class. The class news page of the school website is a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

The school library and local libraries will have some books about Design and Technology which your child will be able to borrow and develop both their reading skills and design knowledge.

Finally, there’s a lot of programmes on CBBC and CBeebies with a Design and Technology focus:

  • Bitz and Bob
  • Grace’s Amazing Machines
  • Junk Rescue
  • Maddie’s Do You Know?
  • The Dengineers
Finally, don’t forget to complete our annual survey – it’ll only take a few minutes and we do take on board as many views as we can.

Please complete our annual survey

Posted on 10 June 2024 by Mr Roundtree

At Moortown Primary, we’re always keen to hear your views. We hope that you let us know any questions, comments and concerns (as well as causes for celebration!) whenever these crop up, but we like to gather the views more generally at the end of the year – we do this via the annual survey.

Please complete the survey – it’ll only take a few minutes or so. You’ve plenty of time to do this – the deadline is 2pm on Friday 05 July 2024.

We can’t guarantee to meet the needs and wants of every parent / carer, but we do assure you that we consider all the points raise and aim to act on specific points that are raised by many, or a useful idea raised by just a few.

We’re looking forward to reading your views.

Our weekly message (Friday 07 June 2024)

Posted on 07 June 2024 by Mr Roundtree

We’re into the final half-term of the school year – it’s always a busy one, so please keep an eye on the school calendar. Coming up soon are a few things you might want to know about…

For children in Year 1 and some children in Year 2: Next week, children in Year 1 (and those who didn’t meet the standard who are in Year 2) will take part in an assessment around their phonics skills. Check out the government’s phonics screening check information for parents.

For children in Year 4: Also next week, Year 4 children will take an online assessment to check their quick recall of times tables and division facts. Check out the guide for parents. Keep practising on Times Tables Rock Stars!

For all children: On Thursday 20 June, the school photographer is in to take class photos.

Next week, look out for the link to our annual survey of parents and carers. too.

Attendance matters

At the start of every half-term, we review our attendance. For the full school year so far, up to the end of the Summer 1 half-term (Thursday 23 May), the whole school attendance figure was 96.8%. That’s comfortably higher than the national figure up to Friday 17 May for primary schools: 94.7%. Thank you for your support.

How does each class compare?

  • Reception: 94.0%
  • Year 1: 96.6%
  • Year 2: 97.7%
  • Year 3: 97.5%
  • Year 4: 97.7%
  • Year 5: 97.4%
  • Year 6: 96.2%

Let’s keep up this great achievement!

SEND support

SENDIASS support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents and carers to help with their related concerns or questions. They provide a free, impartial and confidential service through their website and online resources. You can self-refer to this service by contacting them directly. Find out more about SENDIASS in this short clip.

Here are the dates of forthcoming support sessions.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Did it float?

Posted on 05 June 2024 by Mrs Weekes

This was the big question for some of our Y6 friends on the first day of their residential.

After arriving safely, they started activities more or less straight away. Some great teamwork in building a raft and then seeing if it actually did the job – an exciting task! Even one of the group with an injury (not injured today but before they went) was able to be involved in building the raft and maybe they were glad when they couldn’t be part of the floating test!

Another busy day tomorrow with loads of activities planned. Thanks to Miss Wilson and Mrs Russell for giving up their time over the next couple of days – their weekend will be well deserved.

Our weekly message (Friday 24 May 2024)

Posted on 24 May 2024 by Mr Roundtree

Our message this week is a short one…

Positive Home-School Relationships

Governors have asked us to remind you about a recent policy – our Positive Home-School Relationships Policy. Please check it out.

And two things worth knowing about: one for Year 1 and 2 children, and the other for children in Year 4.

Year 1 and 2: Phonics screening check

In the week beginning 10 June, children in Year 1 (and those who didn’t meet the standard who are in Year 2) will take part in an assessment around their phonics skills. Check out the government’s phonics screening check information for parents.

Year 4: Multiplication tables check

In the same week (beginning 10 June), Year 4 children will take an online assessment to check their quick recall of times tables and division facts. Check out the guide for parents. Keep practising on Times Tables Rock Stars!


Have a happy and healthy – and hopefully drier – half-term week!

Triathletes of the future?

Posted on 20 May 2024 by Mrs Weekes

A group of KS2 children went to John Smeaton this morning to take part in the Brownlee triathlon specifically designed for primary children. They did a swim, a cycle ride and then a run. Great performance from them all and they represented school brilliantly. Not a bad start to the week!

Our weekly message (Friday 17 May 2024)

Posted on 17 May 2024 by Mr Roundtree

This week has been SATs week – the end of Key Stage 2 assessments. Well done to all the Year 6 children for coping so well. Well done also to adults in school for supporting our children, making sure the week isn’t a horrible one. Thanks to one of our governors who visited school to ensure the assessments were being managed effectively, going through a checklist of points to ensure robust procedures are in place.

Healthy eating

Our recent Living and Learning healthy eating sessions have included reference to the 5 a day message and the Eatwell Guide. Linked to this, the Just One More campaign, currently running across Leeds, aims to encourage increased vegetable intake by ‘just one more’ portion per day.

The campaign is to help people eat more vegetables by:

  • Consuming vegetables as snacks
  • Adding more vegetables into meals
  • Adding more vegetables when shopping
  • Growing vegetables at home or in community spaces
  • Sharing vegetables with friends and family
  • Choosing more vegetables at school

Give it a go – try ‘just one more’!

Handwriting and spelling

This comes from Mr Catherall, based at Scholes (Elmet) Primary but our Writing Leader across Sphere Federation

When it comes to writing, children have to think about a whole range of things in order to get their ideas down onto the paper. Some people liken writing to playing multiple games of chess at the same time – the demand on the brain is huge.

That’s why handwriting and spelling are so important. If children can write neatly and legibly without having to concentrate on this, it frees up lots of brain space for them to concentrate on other aspects of writing – like choosing the correct vocabulary.

It’s similar for spelling. If you can spell words automatically, your brain doesn’t need to waste power on thinking about this which significantly reduces the cognitive load on your brain.

In school, we place a huge emphasis on what we call the ‘Must Dos’
for writing – the basic skills needed to be an effective writer. A recent publication by Ofsted found that this isn’t always the case in primary schools.

With this in mind, we really appreciate the effort that goes into learning the weekly spellings at home – please encourage your child to learn these words. Also, if you’d like some help with how to support your child with their handwriting, check out our handwriting guide or speak with your child’s class teacher.

Finally this week, with just one more week of the Summer 1 half-term to go, you might like to check out the activities going on within Active Leeds this half term.

Our weekly message (Friday 10 May 2024)

Posted on 10 May 2024 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you’ve enjoyed the great weather this week. Check out the NHS guidance around sun protection for your child.

In case you missed it, last week’s message had a link to a useful NHS website with advice to support your child if they’re feeling anxious about any assesssments.

The rest of this week’s message is about Relationships and Sex Education.

Coming up in the weeks commencing 03 June, 10 June and 17 June, children from Year 1 to Year 6 will take part in Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) lessons.

We want parents/carers and pupils to feel assured that RSE is delivered at a level appropriate to both the age and development of pupils, and to feel safe to voice opinions and concerns relating to the provision.

The lessons are led by children’s class teacher. They take place in a safe learning environment and are underpinned by our school ethos and values.

Nationally, all primary schools are required by law to teach Relationships Education and Health Education. In Sphere Federation schools, we’ve provided RSE lessons successfully as part of Living and Learning for many years.

Read our RSE Policy:

  • Section 9 provides a list of the vocabulary that will be used (pages 7 and 8)
  • Section 11 includes an overview of the topics that will be covered (page 11 includes a table to show the learning across each year group)

We know that you might have some concerns. If you’d like to find out more, discuss any concerns, or speak to someone in more detail about the teaching and learning planned for this important aspect of your child’s education, please contact Mrs Weekes.

Similarly, you have the right to request that your child be withdrawn from some or all of the lessons that can be regarded as ‘sex education’. For our school, this comprises lessons in Year 6 on what human reproduction is and how babies grow. Please see the government’s factual guide to RSE for parents: Understanding Relationships and Health Education in your child’s primary school: a guide for parents. If you wish to withdraw your Year 6 child from RSE, please contact the Head of School to discuss the matter. See page 6 of the RSE policy for more information about your right to withdraw your child.

We’re committed to working in partnership with parents/carers. Feedback has indicated that the overwhelming majority of parents/carers are highly supportive of our Relationships and Sex Education programme.

Year 4 are out and about..

Posted on 09 May 2024 by Mrs Weekes

..on their first residential visit. It’s the first time that many of them have been away from home but the first night was successful (although very little sleep for some!) and they’re all having an amazing time. Here are some photos from last night – unfortunately, the long walk didn’t tire them out enough but I’m sure today’s activities will contribute to a better night’s sleep tonight.

Our weekly message (Friday 03 May 2024)

Posted on 03 May 2024 by Mr Roundtree

May is the month of SATs for children in Year 6, and – like most schools – as we approach the end of the school year, there are various assessments for children in each year group. Ask your child’s teacher if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns. You might like to check out this NHS guide to help reassure your child, too.

We’re pleased that in Sphere Federation, we now have an officially trained senior mental health lead, as part of the government’s commitment to offer this training to all eligible schools and colleges by 2025. The extensive training supported the senior mental health leads to develop and implement a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. It’s important that any mental health issues or wellbeing concerns can be addressed on a bespoke, individual or small group scale. Having a SMHL now gives us the ability to identify specific need and monitor the impact of any support or intervention. Well done to Mrs Weekes for successfully completing the course.

The rest of this week’s message is about one particular assessment. It’s mainly for parents and carers of children in Year 1. It might also be useful for if you’ve a child in Year 2 or Reception.

Phonics Screening Check

The Year 1 phonics screening check is for children in Year 1, and children in Year 2 who didn’t meet the threshold in the previous year. It checks that children are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and reading for learning.

The screening check is a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words. It helps to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they don’t fall behind in this vital early reading skill.

The check assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.

We make sure it’s not a stressful process for each child. It’s carried out by a teacher – usually the Year 1 teacher – who will be well-equipped to listen and understand children’s level of skills.

It checks if your child can sound out and blend graphemes (letters) in order to read simple words. This includes phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, eg cat, sand, windmill. There is also a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo (or ‘alien’) words eg brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.

The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds, so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there’s a problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.

School will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority.

Help at home by supporting your child to say each sound in the word from left to right. Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter – /b/ in bat, or letter group /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound. Then, run your finger under the whole word as you say it. Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read. Work at your child’s pace. Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.