News

Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 26 November 2021)

Posted on 26 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is in two parts. The first part relates to Ofsted inspections; the second part comes from Paula Allaway, who’s the Maths Leader across Sphere Federation…

Ofsted inspections

This extract is taken from a news bulletin that circulates to some schools:

There are currently 4,133 ‘outstanding’ schools in England, representing around one in five schools. All ‘outstanding’ schools last visited before 2015 [this includes Moortown Primary] will get a full inspection… Ofsted’s chief inspector has said halving the number of ‘outstanding’ schools to one in 10 is a ‘more realistic starting point for the system’… Some ‘outstanding’ schools which have improved since their last inspection may still be downgraded because the bar has been raised under the latest Ofsted inspection framework. Ofsted’s national director of education said if a previously ‘outstanding’ school receives a ‘good’ grade it ‘doesn’t mean that the school has declined in recent years, in fact the opposite can be the case’. He said this was because the top grade is a ‘challenging and exacting judgment to achieve’ under the new education inspection framework (EIF). Watch this video about inspections for more details.

Support your child with number facts

Is your child engaging with the number fact fluency homework?

Number fact fluency – the quick recall of addition and subtraction facts, and multiplication and division facts (times tables), is really important for all children. The ability to recall these facts quickly (rather than taking too long working them out) helps children to answer questions in lots of areas of Maths much more easily.

If these facts are learnt and stored, rather than being calculated or counted, they require less activity from the brain. Essentially, memorisation frees up working memory space to allow children to focus on learning new mathematical ideas and applying mathematics to solve problems, and not the facts themselves.

Addition and subtraction facts

For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts. We want children to know facts like bonds of ten (eg 3+7 and 4+6) without having to count on or back using their fingers. How fluent are your child’s number facts? Regularly accessing NumBots will help with this.

Multiplication and division facts

For older children, number facts also includes times tables up to 12 x 12. By the end of Year 4, children should know their times tables without having to count through to reach the answer. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with this. In June 2022, Y4 children will take part in a statutory national assessment – the Multiplication Tables Check. They’ll be tested on 25 randomly selected facts.

Without secure knowledge of times tables facts, many future Maths topics are more difficult to learn. In Y5,6, for example, progress in column methods, fractions, area, ratio and proportion can all be hampered because they involve recall of facts.

Children who do well in our assessments are the children who are spending more time practising on NumBots and Rock Stars. Likewise, the children who need to learn these facts more aren’t using this resource at home.

We know that being fluent with number facts leads to high confidence in maths generally. To support this, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Maths (and also Reading) skills are strong. Your child should spend about 10 minutes practising number facts each day. Look out for the focus on the homework sheet we send home.

If you need help accessing these, please contact your child’s class teacher.

Cross country results

Posted on 23 November 2021 by Mrs Taylor

The results have been checked and we are very pleased to announce that following the Leeds North East Cross Country Festival last week, Ewan (2nd – Year 5 boys) and Ralph (5th – Year 4 boys) are successfully through to the Leeds Cross Country Finals. What a great achievement to match their brilliant performances.

Commiserations to Billy (11th – Year 6 boys race), Zaid (20th – Year 6 boys race), Edris (15th – Year 6 girls race), William (12th – Year 3 boys race) and Zak (17th – Year 3 boys race) who narrowly missed out on qualifying.

This week’s message (Friday 19 November 2021)

Posted on 19 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Hello! We’ve received lots of positive feedback about last week’s message, which was an overview of our curriculum and how you can support your child at home with the current school topic. Do check it out if you missed it. This week’s message has two parts: one about Covid (it’s been a while since we talked about it!) and one about the Monday Zoom sessions we’ve been offering.

Covid cautions

We’ve recently come across this useful website that gives you an update on cases locally. The first graph thankfully shows that cases in Leeds appear to be in decline. However, check out the second graphic which is a ‘heatmap’: the darker the colour, the more cases there are. This shows that cases amongst primary age children remain high. It’s for this reason that we’re having to remain really cautious – we’ve had to reluctantly cancel live Christmas nativity shows, for example (we’ll record them and send you a copy, though).

Please continue to be equally cautious. Keep your child at home if they have a Covid symptom so they’re not spreading the disease, and make sure they go for a PCR test (a test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have Covid as soon as possible.

Supporting your child at home

Thanks to everyone who’s attended one or some of the Monday evening Zoom sessions to help you support your child at home.

This week’s session is an important one for all – it’s about staying safe online. It’s the last one of a series of seven Zoom sessions to help you support your child. Starting at 6pm and lasting for just 30 minutes , the session will provide top tips and guidance.

Please come! Send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details to all those who expressed an interest.

Watch the most recent two sessions here.

A session about Science and topic subjects…

And a session to support Writing…

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 12 November 2021)

Posted on 12 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s post comes from Mr Wilks, the Sphere Federation Leader for Science and foundation subjects…

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 and Technology). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.

Although the learning in each topic will be 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 and will be developing our art knowledge and skills.

The learning this half-term has two aspects to it. The first is art history where children will learn about specific artists and their work. The other is the art process where children will practise and develop skills by creating art.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic.

Years 1 and 2

Children have two featured artists: Leonardo Da Vinci and Paul Klee. 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.

Ask your child what is the same and what is different about the Mona Lisa (da Vinci) and Senecio (Klee).

In practical art lessons, children will be honing their artistic skills and knowledge by sketching objects using pencil, learning about and mixing colour and then they’ll be learning how to print by creating relief prints inspired by the artwork they’ve studied. 

Years 3 and 4

Children will learn about the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Martha McDonald Napaltjarri. They’ll compare and contrast artworks by these artists and also learn about their lives and the places they lived. In particular, children will learn about abstract and figurative art (see the vocabulary for definitions of these words).

Ask your children what they can see in these images: Composition VIII (Kandinsky) and Warlukuritji (Napaltjarri).

In practical art sessions, children will develop observational drawing skills, and develop their understanding of colour by learning about warm, cold and complementary colours. They’ll then apply what they’ve learnt by creating some mixed media collages inspired by the artists they’ve studied.

Years 5 and 6

Children are learning about sculpture in their art lessons and will focus on three artists: Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore (both local artists) and Thomas J Price. The children have already been on their school trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last week where they’ve seen and learned about sculptures by these artists.

Ask your child describe the art work of each artist and then do an internet search of their work to carry on the discussion.

In art history lessons, they learn about the lives of these artists and how their localities have influenced their art. They’ll learn about classical and modern art in relation to their featured artists and in art movements more generally. They’ll also learn when and why the modern art movement happened.

In practical art lessons, children will develop their observational skills and will creating maquettes (see the vocabulary list) inspired by the work of Barbara Hepworth.

How can you help?

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

Familiarise yourself with the artists and the art work that your child is learning about. 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 age-related expectations and the 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?
  • Is it life-like or not?
  • What colours can you see?

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!

Finally this week, two reminders…

Next week is Anti-Bullying Week. This year’s theme is ‘One Kind Word’ and we will be taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday. Odd Socks Day is to raise awareness of our differences, individuality and personal choice. Your child (and you!) can come to school wearing odd socks to celebrate what makes them unique.

And next Friday is Children in Need day. This is a non-uniform day. Your child is invited to come to school in non-uniform and make a donation to the charity.

Have a good weekend!

Odd socks day

Posted on 08 November 2021 by Mrs Taylor

Next week is Anti-Bullying Week.

This year’s theme is ‘One Kind Word’ and we will be taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday 15 November.

Odd socks day is to raise awareness of our differences, individuality and personal choice. Come to school wearing your odd socks to celebrate what makes us all unique.

This year, the Junior Leadership Team have requested a voluntary donation of £1 on the day to raise money for our school charity, Dog’s Trust.

Thank you for your support.

This week's message (Friday 05 November 2021)

Posted on 05 November 2021 by Mr Roundtree

It’s been great to welcome you all back after the Autumn half-term.

Have you noticed the new pictures on our website? If not, do check them out – you might even spot your own child somewhere! We’ve a welcome video to watch, too – you’ll find it on the homepage.

The more your child attends school…

…the more they’ll learn! Our attendance for the first half-term of the year was 95.9%. That’s a good figure, but let’s try to make it to 97% by Christmas!

Two classes are already beating that target. Well done to Year 1 children (97.1%) and Year 2 children (98.0%).

Also important is getting to school on time. The moment your child gets into class, there’s learning going on. Getting into class on time helps your child to settle quickly, too. Please make sure your child arrives by 8.50am.

Non-uniform day coming up

We’ve a non-uniform day coming up in two weeks for Children in Need – Friday 19 November. We’re keeping it simple this year – there’s no particular theme for dressing up. If your child wants to join in, a £1 donation would be welcome.

Here’s an extract from out Uniform Policy about non-uniform days:

Pupils should dress appropriately and respectfully for school, even on non-uniform days. Clothes are inappropriate if they, for example, glorify violence, feature bad language, are very short (eg crop tops), or relate to age-inappropriate topics (eg computer games). When consulted (18.03.21), some junior leaders described this as ‘setting appropriate’ clothing and clothing that is ‘well-judged’. Make-up (other than face paints as part of a specific costume) is not allowed. Flip-flops or high-heeled shoes are not allowed, even on non-uniform days, because they’re dangerous when running.

(By the way, it’s absolutely fine for your child to come in school uniform – some children prefer the routine, and we respect that.)

This might feel like we’re nagging, but…

…how safe is your child online? We know we talk about staying safe online a lot, but since the start of the pandemic, the amount of self-generated child abuse imagery has increased massively.

In 2020, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found there had been a rise of 77% of cases of images created by the victims themselves following some sort of online pressure.

In 80% of these cases, the victims were 11- to 13-year-old girls – that’s not much older than children in our school.

Check out the TALK advice.

Comics giveaway!

Thought Bubble is teaming up with Diamond Comics and Travelling Man to give away free graphic novels and comics to everyone! Libraries all over Yorkshire are participating – just pop in on Friday 12 November and pick up some great comics for free! Libraries taking part include the Central Library and Moor Allerton. Your child can pop in after school as long as there are any left – it might be better to call in earlier! (The comics include teen and all-age titles. All teen titles are identified on the covers.)

Next week, we have a curriculum update about the new topic in Years 1-6. Until then – remember, remember, the fifth of November. However you spend it, enjoy Bonfire Night.

This week’s message (Thursday 21 October 2021)

Posted on 21 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week, our teachers have enjoyed meeting you in the parent-teacher meetings – we hope you found them helpful. If you need a longer meeting, or if you missed the appointment, do contact us.

This week’s message comes a day early. Tomorrow is a training day – teachers will be having training on the art curriculum and an update on safeguarding. talking of safeguarding, our message this week has a safeguarding theme…

Be wise

The children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, has launched a new website aimed at helping parents with typical situations they can find themselves in with their children. Advice can be found on over forty topics including:

  • Understanding sibling rivalry
  • My child is lying: What does it mean? What should I do?
  • My child has trouble going to sleep
  • My child says ‘I hate you!’
  • Cultural identity: ‘Who am I?’

Be careful

Have you heard about Squid Game? Over the past week or so, there’s been  loads of news stories about it – a recent news article reported that one council has even written to parents and guardians of school children warning of the dangers of ‘replicating games from the Squid Game programme’.

The programme has a PEGI rating of 15 and over – that means across Europe, the recommendation is that it’s only suitable for people aged 15+ years. Check out this advice for parents and carers.

Be seen

On Saturday 30 / Sunday 31 October (the last week of the half-term holiday), we’ll all be setting the clocks back an hour. Read this guide for keeping children safe in the dark. You can read another one here, too.

This road safety guide for parents is worth a look, too, as is this one for children and families. If you or your child’s a cyclist, check this out.

So, with clocks going back an hour just before we return to school, we’ll see you all refreshed after an extra hour’s rest on Monday 01 November. Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday!

This week’s message (Friday 15 October 2021)

Posted on 15 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Our message this week comes from Mr Catherall, who used to teach at Moortown Primary and now at Scholes (Elmet) Primary. Mr Catherall is our Sphere Federation Writing Leader, and he’s chosen to write about spelling…

Is spelling important?

By now, you’ll be familiar with the new homework arrangements. Every week, as part of their homework, your child is given a set of spellings to learn. But why? They’ll probably just use auto-correct on their computer or tablet when they’re older, won’t they? You, like some others, might have found yourself asking these same questions. However…

Children who can spell more accurately feel more confident about their writing – we want all our children to feel proud and confident of their learning.

Also, research shows us that thinking about spellings takes up a large part of your working memory when writing (or typing). This means, if you’re able to have to think less about spelling, you’ve more brain power to think about other things: word choice, thinking creatively or pitching your written communication at the right level for your reader.

Help at home by helping your child learn their spellings. This doesn’t need to be for long and it doesn’t need to be boring. Here are some practical tips for effectively learning spellings at home:

  • ask your child to spell their words on the way to school, driving to the shops or walking the dog
  • use some ideas from our Super Spelling Strategies to make learning spellings more creative
  • place the words on Post-it notes around the house so your child is reading them regularly
  • practise them whilst doing something active (throwing a ball, kicking a football, playing tennis etc)

Most importantly of all, remember that little and often is much more effective than one big session. Practising for five minutes every day will lead to much better outcomes than one 30 minute session a week.

If you’d like any help or advice about how to support your child with their writing, please speak to their class teacher.

This week’s message (Friday 08 October 2021)

Posted on 08 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has two new items and two that you’ll probably be aware of…

Nut allergies

If your child has a nut allergy (or any other significant allergy), do please let us know. We don’t have a simple policy about this, other than we will work with parents and carers to best accommodate the needs of children with medical conditions like this, so it’s important you let us know.

Have you been attending our Zoom sessions to support your child?

So far, we’ve had three short Zoom sessions – one on phonics (mainly for parents/carers of younger children), one on Reading (for parents/carers of older children), and a Maths one this week (for parents/carers of younger children). Watch the Maths one here:

 

Each session lasts for just 30 minutes and will provide a few top tips and guidance as to how to support your child at home. The invitation is open to all parents and carers across Sphere Federation, although we’ve indicated if the session might be more appropriate for particular age ranges.

The remaining sessions are as follows:

  1. Monday 11 October: Number fact fluency (inc times tables) (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  2. Monday 08 November: Our curriculum topics (for Key Stage 1 and 2)
  3. Monday 15 November: Writing (for Key Stage 1 and 2)
  4. Monday 22 November: Staying safe online (mainly Key Stage 2)

All six sessions start at 6pm. They last around 30 minutes.

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 a range of sessions specifically for you.

And in case you missed this message from earlier in the week…

After 15 years at Moortown, Mrs O’Malley has decided that the time has come for a new challenge. She’s secured a new role which will start after half term.
Mrs O’Malley has been the welcoming face of Moortown Primary for so long. Many of you have seen over the years and she’s been a valued member of the Moortown team. We’re sad to see her go but we’re sure that you’ll wish her all the best in her new job. Her last day at Moortown Primary will be Thursday 21 October.

Mrs O’Malley has many roles within school and they’ll be hard to fill, but we’ve plans that are taking shape – we’ll keep you updated.

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for a parent-teacher Zoom slot – the meetings are in the week just before half-term.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Crazy climbers

Posted on 05 October 2021 by Mrs Weekes

Two of our pupils have found they have an amazing talent in climbing. The youth BMC climbing competition series has started; one member of the family came 1st in the NorthWest region (Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria) in rope climbing and the other sibling came 4th in their age division. Absolutely amazing!
To give you some idea of the standard that is involved, when they reach 12 years old and finish in the top 4 climbers (overall in the series) they are invited to compete at National level.  Carry on climbing – keep an eye out for these two; they could be famous!