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Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 16 July 2021)

Posted on 16 July 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message is in two parts: next week (England moves to step 4 of restrictions easing on Monday), and next school year. We’ve tried to keep the messages simple, using a Q&A style…

Next week

Will you be completely back to normal?

No. With one more week left in school, the Leeds Health and Safety team has advised that we should continue with the Covid measures we’ve in place. This means we’ll continue with the staggered school day and bubbles.

If there’s a positive case, will you burst a bubble?

No. The advice we received yesterday sets out what happens. If a child tests positive, they (or parents) will be contacted directly by Test and Trace. This is so that you can tell the tracers who close contacts are. (Good luck with finding out from your child the names of people who were within two metres for a period of 15 minutes!)

What about a bubble that burst before Monday?

They must complete the full ten day isolation period.

What if someone has symptoms?

They should stay at home and book a PCR test. If your child has any symptoms – or just doesn’t seem their usual selves – please keep them at home until you have the results of a PCR test.

There’s lots of confusion about what’s happening next week, and aspects of ‘Freedom Day’ don’t seem to make sense for people. We’ve always followed Leeds and national advice, and we’ll continue to do that for the last week of term. Thank you for continuing to do so, too.

Next year

Will you have a return to the normal start and end times?

Yes. The normal times are 8.50am start and 3.15pm finish. Although the staggered school day has had benefits, there are lots of reasons we won’t continue this. These include:

  • it’s very hard to coordinate for families with more than one child
  • we want children to have the opportunity to play together with friends from other classes – having staggered times for the school day but fixed times for breaks would mean very long or very short sessions rather than the carefully planned school day we normally enjoy
  • it’s hard to track if all pupils are arriving on time

One of the benefits has been a reduction in traffic congestion. We know this is a hassle, but – like other schools – our advice would always be to try to walk, cycle, scoot to school. If you have to drive, park further away and walk the last bit of the journey.

We’re hoping to get lots of after-school clubs back up and running, too.

Will you continue to allow children to wear PE kit on PE days?

Yes. We’re going to trial this for another year – it saves time and reduces lost property. You’ve told us you prefer it, too. Please make sure your child’s PE kit follows the uniform policy.

Yesterday was St Swithin’s Day. If we really are due to enjoy 40 rain-free days, then this weekend should be the first of a few good ones. Enjoy.

Key Stage 1 Sports Day

Posted on 15 July 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Glorious weather. Sporting spectacles. Elite athletes of the highest calibre.

Nothing could stop the Year 1 and 2 pupils enjoying Sports Day (not even the necessary Covid caution).

The results are:

  • Red Team 26 points
  • Green Team 20 points
  • Blue Team 48 points
  • White Team 34 points

Well done to the Blue Team!

The scores will be combined with next Tuesday morning’s Key Stage 2 Sports Day for the overall winning team. At this event, we’ll welcome two adults for each Year 6 child only. We’re sorry – other people will be asked to leave. (We know this event takes place after the government’s final easing of restrictions, but we’ve been advised to continue to follow our risk assessment and existing plans.)

A big thank you to Mrs Taylor for organising today’s event so well, and to Mrs Weekes for managing the risk assessments.

Who's going where?

Posted on 15 July 2021 by Mrs Weekes

At this time of year, we’re normally planning for the children to visit new classrooms and meet their teacher before September. As we’ve got such a high number of children self-isolating, this isn’t possible this year. All of the children have been told who their teacher is going to be next year and there is a buzz of excitement around school which is great.

As we’ve a number of new teachers joining the team, I’m taking this opportunity to tell you who’ll be teaching each year group from September:

Year Group   Teacher 2021/22
Reception   Mrs Burke
Year 1   Mr McGriffiths
Year 2   Mrs Taylor & Mrs Lake
Year 3   Mr Wain
Year 4   Miss Birch
Year 5   Miss Needham
Year 6   Miss Wilson

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the school office.

This week’s message (Friday 09 July 2021)

Posted on 09 July 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Next week is our Being Healthy themed week. It’s all about being healthy, both physically and emotionally. This week’s message is all about the themed week…

Due to the current restrictions, we’re limited to the events and visitors we can host but we’ve still got many activities planned for our children to enjoy. The learning forms part of our Living and Learning curriculum to ensure our pupils are happy and healthy.

Pupils are invited to come in PE kit (in line with our uniform policy) every day of the themed week. Please make sure the PE kit is in line with our Uniform Policy. (By the way, do check out the link: you’ll notice we’re going to continue to allow children to wear their kit on PE days for 2021-22 as a long-term trial – this decision is based on your feedback.)

Sports day events will take place during the themed week. Sadly, this year we’re limiting the spectators attending. 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.

Over the last few months, all classes have been taking part in the Skipping into Summer project to develop and improve skipping skills. We’ll be having a celebration day at the end of the themed week for our children to share these skills.

This themed week is a good opportunity to continue to think about healthy, active ways to travel to school.  We’ll be encouraging children to use a sustainable method of transport, maybe parking further away from school, scooting, biking or walking to school.

We’d love to hear about your child’s physical activity achievements outside of school so please ask your child to share these with us so we can celebrate their achievements and efforts. (In case you missed it, have you seen this amazing, active achievement from one of our Year 5 pupils?)

We always like to hear the children’s views about being healthy so this week’s homework is to complete the online annual health questionnaire.

Getting enough sleep helps us all to feel happy and healthy. Welcome to Sweet Dreams is an audio play which follows the interstellar adventures of Ivy and her toy rabbit, Bun Bun. Check out the podcasts for families and for children, too – they’re presented by ex-Blue Peter presenter, Zoe Salmon, who introduces leading sleep experts and guests all talking about how to get a great night’s sleep. There’s also an interactive game.

Finally, to support this learning at home, you might want to take a look at the following health resources…

We hope your child enjoys and achieves in our Being Healthy themed week.

Fantastic feedback

Posted on 07 July 2021 by Mr Roundtree

At Moortown 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 the bubbles bursting recently, 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 reading at Moortown Primary.

Here’s some of the feedback:

Pupils enjoy the library provision and love to get new books. They all expressed positive feelings about reading.

Pupils demonstrate a mature use of vocabulary as a result of intentional teaching. For example, a reception child was heard to accurately use the word ‘squabble’, whilst a child in year 3 used the word ‘euphoric’ and could justify its use.

Reading has a high priority in school. Leadership of reading is strong.

Class teachers play a key role in fostering a love of reading, they have been given support in how to be a reading role model.

Learning environments evidence a focus on reading and vocabulary development, including some subject specific technical language.

All lessons are characterised by positive relationships. Well established routines ensure strong learning behaviours and attitudes.

Welcome back!

Posted on 05 July 2021 by Mrs Weekes

We’re looking forward to classes returning to school this week after periods of self-isolating at home.

Year 2 have returned today; Year 1, Year 3 and Year 5 return tomorrow; and Year 4 and Reception on Friday.

Thank you for all the positive messages about how well this brief but turbulent period was managed – we really appreciate your continued support. It was especially good to hear that live Zoom teaching went well.

After any period of time away from school, including holidays, it’s natural for some children to feel a little anxious about returning to school. As always, adults in school will be sensitive to this and offer as much support as we can – just like in the long lockdowns we’ve had. Teachers will be flexible in their teaching to allow time for emotional aspects of learning. The phased return of classes might help too.

We continue to follow all the aspects in our comprehensive risk assessment to do as much as we can to contain the virus.

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 moortownoffice@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!

PTA Big Summer Raffle

Posted on 01 July 2021 by Mrs Weekes

It’s been a disruptive 18 months for us all – including raising money for the PTA! So, there’s no summer fair this year but don’t despair, you can still spend some money and buy tickets for the Big Summer Raffle! All you have to do is:

  • click on this link: bigptaraffle.co.uk
  • buy tickets (as many as you like!)
  • enter the school name

 

You could win lots of amazing prizes – go on, have a go! It would be a great way to end the year – you might just win!

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 a reminder…

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, a short message 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.

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

Super skills and stamina - you must check this out...

Posted on 24 June 2021 by Mr Roundtree

We know our children are talented in school – amazing artists, marvellous mathematicians, superb scientists. We like to hear about the talents and triumphs out of school, too.

Edris in Year 5 has stunned staff today with her climbing skills. This short clip is so impressive in terms of grip and determination. Check out how high she climbs in this clip – you might get dizzy, it’s so high!

For the past 18 months, Edris has been training four hours each week as part of the Leeds Climbing Academy, a selective squad funded by Sport England to develop UK competitive climbers at grass roots.

Well done, Edris!