This week’s message (Friday 07 January 2022)
Posted on 07 January 2022 by Mr Roundtree
Happy new year! We hope 2022 has started well for you. Our first message of the year has three parts: an attendance update; some information about books we’re sending home for children in Reception and Key Stage 1; and some information about forthcoming workshops.
It’s difficult deciding whether your child should attend school if they’re poorly. It’s even more difficult in these Covid times. Children have missed out on so many days of learning in school because of lockdowns and isolating, and yet we know you’re careful that your child isn’t attending school if they’re displaying any Covid symptoms.
- Thank you for taking care to look after your own child – and everyone around them, too.
- Equally, thank you for making sure that your child gets to school as much as possible, and on time, when it’s been safe to do so.
Our whole-school attendance figure for the Autumn term was 96.2%. Over a quarter of children have 100% attendance so far this year – that’s brilliant! Here’s an update on the attendance for each class:
- Reception: 93.6%
- Year 1: 96.9%
- Year 2: 97.8% – the highest in school, so well done!
- Year 3: 97.6% – a close second!
- Year 4: 95.3%
- Year 5: 95.8%
- Year 6: 95.5%
Reading at home
This section is for parents and carers of children in Early Years and Year 1. Something similar may be happening for Year 2 children – check with your child’s class teacher.
Earlier this week, we sent some information home about a change to what books we’ll send home. Since then, a few parents have asked for a bit more information about why we’re now asking you to read e-books at home.
It might help to be clear that there are two types of book.
The practice books are short books with simple words that your child will be able to ‘decode’ (to read). In school, these are physical books; at home, it’s the same text as an e-book. Your child will have read this book at least three times in school across the week. They’re for children to practise the phonics that they’ve learnt in school – matching letters to sounds. They’re also for you to celebrate your child’s increasing phonics skills. Reading the book won’t take more than about 10-15 minutes.
The sharing books are physical books (not e-books), typically chosen by your child. They’re likely to be longer. These books are to read together and enjoy. Your child is unlikely to be able to read all of the text independently. You’ll probably spend more time over a few days reading together the sharing books than the practice books.
Here are some of the reasons we’ve chosen to use a web-based approach for the practice books at home:
- the e-books mean the hard copies of the same books stay in school and therefore there will be less chance of some going missing – this is essential as even just one missing book will undermine the impact when we practise reading in school
- we’ve been really impressed by the appearance and user-interface of the website
- we’ve consulted other school leaders – the feedback about e-books has been overwhelmingly positive
Coming up next week is a Zoom session for parents and carers of children in Year 6, although others are welcome to attend, too. It’s to provide you with information about the end of Key Stage 2 assessments (the ‘SATs’) that will take place in the week beginning Monday 09 May.
The session is on Thursday 13 January and starts at 6pm. It’ll last around 30 minutes, and there’ll be opportunities to ask any questions that you might have.
We’ll send to Year 6 parents and carers the Zoom link. For other parents and carers, 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.
Talking of workshops, there are also some coming up about special education needs and disabilities (SEND). These come from Leeds Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information and Advice Support Service (not us) – read more about the workshops here.
Next week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads on Science and topics across Sphere Federation. He’ll provide an overview of the History learning that’s happening in Key Stage 1 and 2, and how you might help at home. In the meantime, have a great weekend.
This week’s message (Friday 17 December 2021)
Posted on 17 December 2021 by Mr Roundtree
The last message of 2021 comes from Mrs Weekes, the Head of School…
We’ve finally made it to the end of term! As always, our children have shown great resilience and have proved themselves to be happy and healthy learners. Just recently, when Mr Roundtree and I were both standing at the school gate one morning, we both commented, at almost exactly the same time, how happy the children are when they come to school in the morning. They skip in with a smile on their face, radiating happiness. It really is a pleasure to be at the school gate every morning.
When you look at our land behind school, I’m sure you must be wondering what on earth we’ve been doing all term and why it looks so neglected. I can assure you we’ve been incredibly busy but the green space stays looking the same. With a lot of priorities at this time of year and with staff turnover, we seem to be having to juggle many balls while trying not to drop any!
Some communication from the PTA, earlier this term, highlighted the need to carry on raising money so that the land can be developed into an area that is purposeful and pleasant – this is the bit that takes the most time.
We’re still working with a company to develop plans of what the area could look like. Early in 2022, we’ll meet with them again to decide what happens next.
Talking about the back of school, we’ve decided not to open the back gate in January and February. It’s been getting very muddy over the past few weeks and this isn’t going to improve any time soon. We’ll review the state of the park in March.
As you’ll know, we made the difficult decision to move Year 1 to remote learning this week because of an increase in positive Covid cases. We want everyone to be safe over the Christmas break. Please make sure you stay safe and follow any updated guidance so that you and your families can enjoy a well-deserved rest.
As always, thank you for your support.
From Mrs Weekes and me, and from all the staff at Moortown Primary: have a happy and healthy Christmas break.
This week’s message (Friday 10 December 2021)
Posted on 10 December 2021 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message has a couple of reminders, but we start with a ‘Plan B’ update on Covid precautions…
Since the early days of the pandemic, the Department for Education has been sending regular emails to schools. Yesterday’s came with an introductory sentence: ‘Today’s email includes an urgent update for all education and childcare settings on implementing Plan B of the COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan’. Here are some extracts:
school attendance remains mandatory and all the usual rules continue to apply
settings are strongly encouraged to ask parents, guardians and other visitors to take a lateral flow device (LFD) test before entering the setting
all staff and students should test over the holidays in line with national guidance. This means that they should test if they will be in a high-risk situation that day and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19
We were also asked to ‘revisit…existing outbreak plans to ensure [we] are well prepared for any future changes’ – let’s hope we don’t get to the same situation as we were in last January.
Next, a couple of reminders…
Next Tuesday, learning updates will be sent home. These are short reports that we send home at the end of the Autumn and Spring terms; they complement the parent-teacher meetings which take place earlier in the same terms. We started doing these a few years ago following your feedback in our annual surveys.
Also coming up is a non-uniform day at the end of the term on Friday 17 December (and for Y3 and Y4 pupils, on their party day, too). Our Uniform Policy contains the following:
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)… 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.
Have a happy and healthy weekend.
This week’s message (Friday 03 December 2021)
Posted on 03 December 2021 by Mr Roundtree
This week’s message is a short one. The main part is an important reminder about Covid, and we end – less seriously – with a link in case you’d like some stocking filler ideas…
Two weeks ago, we told you about a website with up-to-date Covid information for Leeds. The heatmap (the second graphic) shows that there’s still a high number of positive cases of Covid for children of primary school age – in fact, if you scroll across the second row up (children aged 5-9), you can see numbers are rising. We’re noticing this, too – in fact, we’ve had to return to remote learning for one class in Sphere Federation.
Please be alert to the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
- a loss of change to your sense of taste or smell
If your child has any of these main symptoms, even if they’re mild:
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) as soon as possible.
- Keep your child at home and not have visitors until you get the test result – they can only leave home to have the test.
We’re seeing children showing various other symptoms such as sickness, colds and headaches, too. Please keep you child at home if they’re not feeling right for whatever reason.
Thank you for continuing to support us to keep our school as safe from Covid as we can.
On a lighter note, if we’re all being as cautious as we can right now, Christmas should be a better one for many this year. If you’re on the look out for some ideas for pressies, check out this Christmas book guide. Giving a book at Christmas is a great way to keep children reading!
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…
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.
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.
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.