News

Latest news from around the school

Have you a child due to start school in September 2021?

Posted on 23 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

The application process is open until 15 January 2021.

Apply by visiting www.leeds.gov.uk/applyeven if you’ve a child at school already. (Make sure you include sibling information on your application.)

Find information about schools, previous years’ allocation data, catchment maps and links to school admissions.

Leeds City Council can’t hold face to face drop-in sessions this year and so they’re holding Facebook question and answers sessions, to help with the application process, on:

  • Thursday 03 December 2020, 6pm to 7pm
  • Tuesday 05 January 2021, 4pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday 13 January 2021, 2pm to 3pm

When you apply for a school, you should use all five preferences – using only use one or two preferences decreases the chances of being offered a place at a preferred school.

Any supplementary information needs to be provided by the closing date (this applies if a child is previously looked after, is seeking admission under exceptional needs, or if a family wish to apply for their child to be admitted out of chronological age group).

Make sure you use your child’s actual address. Using that of a friend, relative, childminder or renting a property to gain a school place are all considered fraud and places can be withdrawn.

If you’ve any questions about the admissions process, please contact the Admissions Team at Leeds City Council on 0113 222 4414 or by email: startingprimary@leeds.gov.uk

Parent governor elections

Posted on 20 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you to all of you who voted in Sphere Federation governing body elections for a new parent governor.

The governing body of Sphere Federation is made up of two staff members (including the Head of Federation), governors appointed by Leeds City Council and the Diocese of Leeds, and representatives from the local community, all of whom share the important job of overseeing the running of the school. Mr Matthew Hick has been elected as the new parent governor joining the team. As a reminder, here’s Mr Hick’s ‘blurb’ from the nomination form:

As a former pupil of a Sphere Federation school, and someone with a lifelong connection to the neighbourhood, whose two children now attend the school, it would be a privilege to become a governor for the Federation and give something back to the community. I have extensive leadership experience and am the Chair and founder of an organisation that promotes volunteering work, former Chair and Trustee of an organisation that promotes voluntary, community and social enterprise and Co-founder of a local Covid-19 support Group. Alongside this I am Head of Volunteering with a large national charitable organisation where I lead on strategy, policy, and systems. In 2019, I was nominated to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, for my work in the voluntary sector, which I gladly accepted. Away from work and volunteering, I enjoy spending time with family, sport – and, in particular, running – and film. After 12 years of working in the third sector, I believe passionately in the power of people to come together to build a better future. I believe this applies equally to social action groups as it does to boards of governors and trustees. I would relish the opportunity to apply my passion and skills to helping Sphere Federation achieve its ambitions.

We had five candidates in total and all five presented a strong set of skills for the role. Thank you to all five for expressing their interest and we hope the other four might do so again when another vacancy arises.

Our weekly message (20 November 2020)

Posted on 20 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’re reaching the end of the tenth week of the school year…

We’ve been really pleased with our pupils and their positive attitudes on their return to school. We’ve assessed their learning and we’re also pleased: whilst there are some gaps and some ‘slowing down’, we’re confident we can catch up over the year, especially with your continuing support.

Talking of support, thank you to the very many of you who joined the first of six Zoom workshops to help you support your child at home – Wednesday’s was about Science and ‘topic subjects’ like history and geography. (Those who arrived early got to hear why I’m looking so battered just now, too!) Next week, we’ve two English-related workshops: one on reading (Monday, 6pm) and one on phonics (Wednesday, 6pm). Contact school for details on how to join the Zoom.

Last week, we talked about how fortunate we’ve been in not having to ‘burst a bubble’. We spoke too soon: in one of our Sphere schools, we did have to send a class home to self-isolate. (Interesting to note the date last week…) As we said, in such circumstances, check out our Home Learning page. (In fact, check it out now so you can familiarise yourself, just in case.)

Covid-19 continues to throw up new challenges each day and the range of symptoms that people report seems to grow each day, too. However, the government is sticking to three main symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

There have been instances where symptoms have been vague and a Covid test has not been done until a few days after people have felt unwell. In these cases, we’re taking the 14 days isolation period from the positive test date or from the onset of classic Covid-19 symptoms, listed above. (This might seem to contradict what Test and Trace advise you, but it’s in consultation with Public Health England and the Department for Education.)

Similarly, we’ve had a few situations where children who have been self-isolating have come back to school too soon. The reason for this is that parents appear to have had messages from Test and Trace saying that children can come back. As a school, we need to follow government guidance which states that self-isolation is for 14 days. When you let us know that your child has to self-isolate, we note when they can return to school and we’ll tell you. If your child comes back before that date, they’ll be sent home. The only exception to this is if the person showing symptoms gets a negative test.

We’re working really hard to keep everyone safe and hope you understand our position on this.

Have you done a Covid test on yourself? It’s not the nicest thing to have to do, and it seems people fall into two camps: those who hate more the throat swab, and those who hate more the nose swab! Some of you will already have administered the test for your child. If not, this guide might help.

And that’s enough Covid talk for one message!

This week, we’ve been grateful to some parents who alerted us to concerns that their children may not be drinking enough water. We’ve reminded staff in the classroom and at lunchtime that they should be encouraging and checking children are drinking to stay hydrated – so important for health and for learning. Please help with this: make sure your child brings in a bottle full of fresh water each day.

Finally…

Here’s the latest edition of Families magazine. There are lots of creative Christmas-themed ideas to do at home – we like the Christmas decorations on page 5 and the Christmas cooking on page 8!

Outstanding outcomes at key stage 2

Posted on 15 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

As most of you will know, end of key stage 2 assessments (known as SATs) were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. If our children had done the tests, it’s likely they’d have achieved outstanding outcomes – the fact is, they had already achieved great outcomes by February. Check out this visual overview of the results. Some highlights are:

  • 93.5% of pupils achieved the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths combined, placing Moortown Primary amongst the very highest performing schools in the country (percentile 2)
  • In Reading, Writing and Maths individually, the proportions reaching the higher standard (‘greater depth standard’) were roughly double that of the national figure
  • In terms of progress from Year 2 (the end of Key Stage 1), progress measures are similarly high for each of the subjects

How do we know?

This analysis comes from a service which Leeds City Council uses to analyse pupil assessment data.

Just before lockdown, our Year 6 children did a previous year’s SAT in Reading, Maths, and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling under test conditions. They were marked and graded based on the thresholds for that particular test. For Writing, the assessment stems from teacher assessment, as it would do for the outcomes in May. Year 6 teachers across Sphere Federation and beyond met at various times in the Autumn and Spring term to review their assessments for children’s writing.

The data uploaded to the local authority’s service was almost exactly that of the tests in February, meaning that the outstanding outcomes would more than likely be even better by May!

Well done to our former Year 6 pupils. Thanks also to the parents and carers for their support over the seven years of primary school.

Living and Learning: United against bullying

Posted on 15 November 2020 by Mrs Taylor

This week, it’s Anti-Bullying Week and the theme for this year is ‘United against bullying’.

Don’t forget – we are also taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday 16 November.

STOP is a key message linked to bullying. In our school, STOP stands for two things:

  • the definition: Several Times On Purpose
  • the solution: Start Telling Other People

Recently, our school council met to review our school definition of bullying and our child friendly anti-bullying policy. Thank you to the school councillors for their valued contributions. As a result, our definition and policy have now been updated.

Child friendly anti-bullying policy

What is bullying?

In our school, this is what bullying means:

Bullying is where you hurt someone, physically or emotionally (including online), several times on purpose.

What might bullying look like?

If any of these things happen several (lots of) times, it is bullying.

  • Hurting peoples’ feelings, for example, name calling, teasing, threatening, ignoring, leaving people out or spreading rumours
  • Hurting peoples’ bodies, for example, hitting, punching or kicking

This could be in person or online (cyber bullying) and could be because of someone’s race, disability, gender, appearance, age or any other protected characteristic.

What could you do if you are being bullied?

Start

Telling

Other

People

Who could you tell?

  • Mrs Weekes/Mrs Freeman/Mrs Russell/Mrs Small (they are child protection staff)
  • Mrs Taylor (Health Leader)
  • Any other members of staff
  • Friends
  • Someone in your family
  • A trusted adult
  • Childline (0800 1111)
  • Write a worry slip and put it in your Living and Learning box or the whole school worry box
  • Email stayingsafe@spherefederation.org

Our views on bullying 

STOP bullying – bullying is wrong! We’re a happy and healthy school.

 

It's easy with 'easyfundraising'!

Posted on 14 November 2020 by Mrs Weekes

We have a chance to win £500 for our school this Christmas but we need your help!

All you need to do is remember to use the ‘easyfundraising’ website or app when you shop online in the run up to Christmas. Every time you use ‘easyfundraising’ to do your Christmas shopping with retailers like Amazon, eBay, Argos, Boots, Not on the High Street, Etsy (and 4000 other shops!) you’ll raise a free donation for the school at the same time.

PLUS, if our school raises the most in shopping donations between November 2nd and December 31st, we’ll win £500! Our school really needs this vital boost to its funds so please help! Can we do it? YES!

We are all doing lots more online shopping this year so ‘easyfundraising’ is a very easy way for you to raise money for the school from the comfort of home.

Please go to our ‘easyfundraising’ page here to find out more and support us when you shop: 

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/moortownps

Thank you so much in advance for your help – we can’t do this without you!

Thinking of others

Posted on 13 November 2020 by Mrs Weekes

Betsy, in Year 3, had a small idea; she wanted to run round Moortown Park a few times to raise money for Children in Need. This small idea grew and many of her friends decided to run round too – Mr Wain even tried to keep up.

Betsy’s idea led to Year 3 children raising a whopping £365 for Children in Need.

Fantastic effort. Well done.

Our weekly message (13 November 2020)

Posted on 13 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It’s so good to keep receiving positive feedback about how we’re doing in these challenging times, including our weekly messages. Many thanks for this. This message kicks off with a gentle reminder. Lower down, there are details about some ways to support your child’s learning at home (whether they’re self-isolating or just in general). We’ve also important advice about your child keeping warm in school and some news about Christmas.

Continuing to take care

This is the end of the ninth week in school and we’re so fortunate that we’ve not burst a bubble – yet. Within your household group and beyond, it can sometimes feel a bit too much of an effort to maintain all the precautions…

  • hands (wash and sanitise them lots during the day)
  • face (wear a mask around people outside of your household)
  • space (maintain 2 metres distance around others)

…however, please do keep helping us keep our schools open for all. In general, respect the national lockdown restrictions, and in school, wear a mask and keep your distance from others at the start and end of the school day.

Supporting your child at home 1 – online activities

Since September, there’s a fairly steady number of children having to stay at home due to Covid. Whether your child is self-isolating or if you’re keen to provide a bit of extra support at home, please do remember we publish an overview of learning for your child to get on with at home on our Home learning page. Contact us if this online approach doesn’t work for you – we can provide paper-based learning if you’re child is self-isolating at home. It’s definitely also worth checking out our Help your child and Calculations and times tables pages which both contain a range of ideas, links and activities – even just a bit of regular practice of times tables and handwriting can make loads of difference!

Talking of times tables, Times Tables Rock Stars is an app and website that we use in school to quicken the recall of tables facts. It’s something that you can use at home, too – your child has their own username and password. (If you don’t have these, or you have any questions, email your child’s class teacher.) Each game is short so you don’t need lots of time. ‘Garage’ is where you’ll find tables set by us whilst ‘Soundcheck’ includes all facts up to 12 x 12.

We’ve just signed up to Numbots, too. Perhaps more suited to younger children or children who need a bit of extra support with the basics, this is a great app and website for practising addition and subtraction facts. Your child can use it at home – they login using the same details they use for Times Tables Rock Stars. There are 15 different games, each with a different focus. Topics covered include doubles and number bonds to 10, 20 and 100.

PhonicsPlay is a great website that teachers in Reception to Year 2 (and sometimes Year 3) use in their daily phonics lessons. In each game, you can select the phase of phonics and, more specifically, which letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes) to focus on.  The games are a fun way to practise reading sounds, real words, ‘alien words’ and sentences. Login details are Sphere (user name) and Spher3 (password). Check out the Resources page.

Supporting your child at home 2 – Zoom workshops for you

Normally in the Autumn term, we provide a range of workshops to help you support your child’s learning at home. This year, we’re happy to offer something similar via Zoom…

The sessions – each lasting just 30 minutes – are:

  • Wednesday 18 November: Curriculum
  • Monday 23 November: Reading (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  • Wednesday 25 November: Phonics (mainly for Reception / Key Stage 1)
  • Wednesday 02 December: Maths
  • **Re-scheduled date** Monday 07 December: EYFS (mainly for Reception)
  • Wednesday 09 December: Times Tables

All six sessions start at 6pm. If you’re interested in attending, please send us a message on the School Gateway app or email us at moortownoffice@spherefederation.org. We’ll email the joining details out to all those who express an interest.

Keeping warm

Even though it’s getting colder, it’s important that we keep all areas of school as ventilated as possible. Ideally, the windows and doors should be open all of the time but we obviously don’t want staff or children shivering! We’ve asked teachers to judge the temperature and make a decision on whether it’s realistic to keep windows open during lessons. There’ll be times when it’s just too cold so we’ll open windows and doors when children aren’t in the rooms to blast some fresh air in.

Over the coming months, it’d be great if you could make sure your child has an extra layer on under their uniform or an extra jumper or fleece (unbranded and in the school colour where possible). Don’t forget suitable coats, too.

Christmas is coming…

…really?! Whilst we all wait eagerly for news of what Christmas might look like for ourselves and our families, we can say with some certainty that Christmas at school will be quite different.

Unfortunately, many of the things we do involve gathering large groups of children (and adults) together. Sadly, we won’t be performing any nativity plays for you to come and see. Instead, we’ll aim to share Christmas with you virtually with a few festive fun times. Details of these will be shared nearer the time.

Christmas parties will be held in individual classes with each child asked to bring their own party ‘pack-up’ to enjoy. Again, we’ll share details nearer the time.

Christmas will still be fun – just a little different!

Relationships and Sex Education Policy

Posted on 12 November 2020 by Mrs Craggs

Thank you to those of you who recently responded to our recent consultation about our revised Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Policy. We’ve taken a good deal of the feedback on board, especially around the notion of consent.

As part of our Living and Learning subject, coming up soon will be some teaching and learning specifically around RSE. Please see the letter and final policy. If you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, please speak with Mr Roundtree or Mrs Weekes.

Parent / carer workshops

Posted on 09 November 2020 by Mrs Craggs

Normally in the Autumn term, we provide a range of workshops to help you support your child’s learning at home. This year, we’re happy to offer something similar via Zoom…

We’ve arranged six short Zoom sessions led by Sphere Federation leaders on a range of subject areas. Each session will last for just 30 minutes, but 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 below if the session might be more appropriate for particular age ranges.

The sessions are as follows:

  • Wednesday 18 November: Curriculum
  • Monday 23 November: Reading (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  • Wednesday 25 November: Phonics (mainly for Foundation 2 / Key Stage 1)
  • **re-scheduled date (apologies)** Monday 07 December: EYFS (mainly for Foundation 2)
  • Wednesday 02 December: Maths
  • Wednesday 09 December: Times Tables

All six sessions start at 6pm. They should last around 20-25 minutes, plus there will be a questions and answer session at the end of around 5-10 minutes.

If you are interested in attending any of these Zoom workshops, please could you either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email us at moortownoffice@spherefederation.org. We will then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest, prior to the session.

We look forward to welcoming you to our virtual workshops!