Latest news from around the school

Our weekly message (Friday 22 March 2024)

Posted on 22 March 2024 by Mr Roundtree

We’ve got to start this week’s message with a big thank you for all your support this week during the Ofsted inspection. Thanks in particular to those of you who submitted your views on Ofsted’s Parent View (you can check out the overall feedback) and who encouraged your child to submit their views.

It’s been a long wait, and one which has seen the goal posts shift: the criteria for a ‘good’ or an ‘outstanding’ grade are much harder than 2011! We’ve a while to wait for the report and the inspectors’ judgements to be released because there’s always a rigorous quality assurance process. We’ll let you know as soon as we can. In the meantime, we’ve been reading the report from 2011 – it feels so long ago, but 13 years on and Mrs Weekes, Mr Wilks, Mrs Taylor and I (and one or two teaching assistants) are still around!

This rest of this week’s message comes from Mr Catherall, the Writing Leader across Sphere Federation…

Words, words, words

We try to regularly give tips for you can help at home across various subjects. To help with reading, we encourage you to read with your child every day. To help with maths, we encourage the use of Numbots or Times Table Rockstars. To help with writing, we ask you to regularly practise the spellings that are sent home. But, there’s another way you can really help your child with their writing. Before the big reveal, a quick note on spelling…

Why spelling?

Spelling is a really important part of becoming a fluent writer. Our aim is for children to get to the point where spelling becomes automatic for them. When this happens, loads of ‘brain space’ is freed up to concentrate on the content of what you’re writing. If children are having to really focus on how to spell lots of words, they’re unable to write effectively because their brain is working in overdrive just to get the words down on the page (or device).

So, what’s the other way I can help?


That’s it – talk to your child. All the time. About anything– it doesn’t really matter.

Being able to speak to others and communicate effectively is a crucial life skill. But, it’s one we need to practise. The more words you know, the better able you are to communicate with others. So, talk to your child as much as you possibly can. Don’t simplify your language, either. Children are sponges for learning new words so the more we can expose them to, the more they’ll have ‘in the bank’ to use.

If children can speak fluently, they can probably write fluently. The more words they know, the more varied and interesting their writing will be.

It’s not just us that think this. There’s a growing bank of research which proves how important vocabulary and language development is.

‘A child’s vocabulary is a big predictor of their future success,’ says Alice Penfold, Project Manager of the Words for Work programme at the National Literacy Trust. ‘It not only affects their chances of performing well in exams, but also their life chances.

‘For example, children who have a poor vocabulary at the age of five are four times more likely to struggle with reading as adults, and three times more prone to mental health issues.’

With this in mind, it’s well worth making an effort to build your child’s vocabulary.

One way we encourage you talk together at home is through our weekly Talk Time homework. This can be done over dinner, in the car, on the way to the park or swimming or football or gymnastics or wherever you need to be. It doesn’t need to be a serious chat but the prompt we give is one we think should stimulate some discussion.

If you need any help, or further ideas about how to support your child with their writing, please contact your child’s class teacher.

Finally, look out for your child’s latest Learning Update which will be sent home next week.

Ofsted inspection this week

Posted on 18 March 2024 by Mr Roundtree

As you know, Moortown Primary will be inspected by Ofsted on Tuesday 19 March and Wednesday 20 March. Ofsted have produced a guide for parents which you may want to read. We’ve sent a letter from Ofsted home, and we’ve included two extracts below.

  • Please do complete the survey.
  • Encourage your child to fill in their survey, too – we sent a link earlier.

Your views about the school are important to us

If you are a registered parent or carer of a pupil at the school (including pupils on sick leave or who are temporarily excluded), you can tell us your views about the school by completing Ofsted’s online survey, Ofsted Parent View, at:

Ofsted Parent View asks for your opinion on some aspects of your child’s school, including the progress made by your child, the quality of teaching, how the school deals with bullying and poor behaviour. It also provides a free-text box for you to make additional comments, if you wish. The inspectors will use the online survey responses when inspecting your child’s school. Written comments can also be sent to the school in a sealed envelope, marked confidential and addressed to the inspection team.

To register your views, you will need to provide your email address, which will be held securely. It will not be used for any purpose other than providing access to the online survey. Neither schools nor Ofsted will have access to any email addresses.

Please complete the online survey by 11am on 19 March 2024 as this will give the inspection team more time to consider your views. However, we will consider all online responses that are completed during the inspection, although the free-text box facility will not be available after noon on 20 March 2024.


Speaking to an inspector

If you are unable to complete the online survey, it may be possible to speak to an inspector during the inspection, for instance at the start of the school day, or to pass on messages to the inspectors if you are unable to speak to them in person. Inspection administrators will be happy to make the necessary arrangements. If concerns are raised about child protection, we may have to pass the information we receive to social services or the police. You can contact the administrators on 03330777222. Inspectors will be pleased to receive your comments, but cannot deal with complaints about individual pupils or settle disputes between you and the school.

Thank you for your continued support and your words of encouragement today.

Our weekly message (Friday 15 March 2024)

Posted on 15 March 2024 by Mr Roundtree

Parents sometimes tell us their children don’t say much about what they’ve been doing at school. It’s not unusual! If you want to have a chat about school, one idea might be to re-phrase the question to keep it specific and keep it positive:

  • What’s the best learning you’ve done today, or this week?
  • When have you successfully used an R for learning?
  • How have you helped make school a happy and healthy place?

Something else that might help is to come along to the Topic Review session on Monday at 2.30pm. This is the second of two drop-in sessions – come and have a look at your child’s topic learning – and maybe be prepared to join in!

If you do come along to this, please remember to let us have some feedback.

Reception/Year 1: Mrs Wood’s maternity cover

As you already know, Mrs Wood will soon start her maternity leave. We’re really pleased we’re able to cover the time with a teacher who already works in Sphere Federation.

From Monday 13 May, Miss Lowry takes over teaching Reception until the end of summer term. Miss Lowry, who’s normally based at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School, has a wealth of teaching experience. We’re looking forward to working with her at Moortown.

Mrs Wood plans to start her maternity leave on Monday 29 April – her last day is Friday 26 April.

This means there’s a gap of two weeks from the time Mrs Wood begins her maternity leave to the time Miss Lowry is able to start in Reception.

Mr McGriffiths, our current Y1 teacher, will teach Reception for those two weeks – he’s looking forward to it.

His Year 1 class will be taught by Miss Parwani, a trainee teacher. She’s already been teaching in Year 1 for the last few weeks alongside Mr McGriffiths and they’ll continue to work together closely.

As Miss Lowry will be new to Moortown, she’ll spend some time with Mrs Wood and Mr McGriffiths. She’ll be in school on:

  • Tuesday 26 March
  • Thursday 28 March
  • Monday 29 April
  • Tuesday 30 April
  • Friday 10 May

Please take the opportunity to say hello and introduce yourself. In the meantime, read more about Miss Lowry.

We’re confident that this change in staff will be smooth and successful. As always, if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, please speak with Mrs Wood or Mrs Weekes.

Talking of Reception…

Reception Parent Survey

Thank you again for your responses to our recent survey of parents and carers of children in Reception. It’s been great to read lots of your positive feedback, and it’s also a useful time for us to consider how we can keep getting better. One suggestion we’ll act on is to add another Stay and Learn session into our schedule for next year – we know this won’t benefit you, but hopefully our parents in 2024-25 will appreciate your suggestion. We’ve spoken with any parent (who left their name) who expressed a particular concern about their own child, too.

Our communications

We thought it would be useful to remind you about the different ways that we communicate things with you.

Anything urgent (such as the cancellation of an after school club) or a quick reminder about something (like the photographer being in school) is sent by text. If you have the School Gateway app, it may be useful to set it so you receive notifications of messages. Texts are automatically sent to your app, if you have it installed (it’s free for us to communicate with you this way).

Our weekly message on Fridays contain information about things coming up, such as parents’ evenings or sports days, as well as other information that we think you might find useful, such as top tips to support your child to stay safe online.

Most letters will be emailed out to you, too. We’re moving away from sending out hard copies of letters (it’s better for the environment to send things electronically and things sometimes don’t always get to you, if they’re sent home in bookbags). Please try and check your emails daily, so you don’t miss anything important.

For anything relevant to your child’s class, please check the class news pages of the website (we recommend doing this at least once a week).
Nursery and Reception tend to put reminders on their class news page, as they don’t have a homework page.

Finally today, a couple of thank yous…

Thank you

We recently asked you to consider making a voluntary contribution towards our Cooking and Nutrition lessons for the year. A big thank you for your contribution, which will help to pay for the ingredients for these sessions and therefore ensure they go ahead each term.

And also a thank you for your contributions to Comic Relief today. We’re delighted to let you know that we’ve raised £197.25 for this fantastic cause.

Have a good weekend.

Flowers with a difference

Posted on 11 March 2024 by Mrs Weekes

Somebody’s mum got a lovely surprise this weekend – instead of a bunch of flowers, this mum got an edible fruit bouquet! Mrs Russell made these with some of the Y5 children; a great idea. Tasty too!

This week’s message (Friday 08 March 2024)

Posted on 08 March 2024 by Mr Roundtree

After World Book Day yesterday, let’s kick off this week’s message with a word from Mrs Latham (our Phonics Leader, based at one of the other Sphere Federation schools) about Early Reading…

Early reading (for parents of younger children)

Children learn to read during daily phonics lessons which are taught using a carefully sequenced, systematic phonics programme in Reception and Year 1.

Alongside this, there are Reading Practice groups four times each week. Children read the same book (a ‘real’ book, not an e-book) every day and the aim is to build fluency, prosody (expression) and comprehension throughout the week. The books are for practice. The words closely match the phonics that have been learnt in school. After the four reads in school, children can then celebrate their reading by reading the same text as an e-book at home.

Alongside these practice books, children should also have a book to read at home for pleasure. These books don’t match the learning at school – they’re best to read aloud together to enjoy.

We’ve now invested in some additional Fluency Reading books that follow on from this programme so that children can continue to develop reading fluency. They’re very appealing – children are thoroughly enjoying reading them. Take a look at them.

Help at home by listening to your child read out loud every day or reading out loud to them.

Publication: KS2 tests information leaflet for parents (for parents of older children)

Ahead of the end of Key Stage 2 national curriculum tests and teacher assessments in May, the Department for Education has published a new information leaflet for parents.

This leaflet provides an overview of the purpose of the tests, when they are scheduled, and when results will be shared by schools.

Is your child entitled to free school meals?

Free school meals are available to all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. They are also available to some older children according to family income. It’s important to register for entitlement to free school meals, even if your child has a packed lunch or is in a younger class – this is so we can receive additional funding (called the pupil premium) which we can use to help your child.

Read our guide to free school meals.

Big Walk and Wheel 2024

Get set… we’re taking part in Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel 2024, the UK’s largest inter-school cycling, walking, wheeling and scooting challenge. The challenge runs from 11 March to 22 March. It’s free and we’d love everyone to be involved.

Last year, in our category of small primary schools, we finished in 24th place out of 514 schools with an average of 91.14% of our journeys to school being active. We achieved the highest national (24th) and Northern England (5th) ranking out of those schools in Leeds taking part.

What do you need to do?
Encourage your child(ren) to walk, scoot or cycle to school on as many days as possible during the event. Bike and scooter storage facilities are available by the Year 3 and 4 classrooms. Park and stride trips can also be included (Marks and Spencer car park provides this facility).

Why are we taking part?
Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel is a great way to build physical activity in children’s daily routine which is important for their physical health and mental wellbeing.

Active school runs also help to reduce congestion and air pollution outside the school gate. A 2021 YouGov study showed nearly half of UK children worry about air pollution near their school. And that children thought active travel was the best way to bring down these pollution levels. Plus there are some great prizes to be won every day if we get enough children taking part!

Useful resources
To help you prepare, Sustrans has developed a handy free guide packed with advice, games and challenges to help you have hassle-free cycle, walk or scoot to school.
Download your free family guide.


I can’t fault this school. My kids love it and the teachers are amazing. Always willing to help and keep us up to date with progress and anything we can help the kids with at home.

That’s one of the comments from a recent survey of Reception parents – thank you to the 17 parents who took the time to let us know their views. We’re now reviewing what was said to see how we can act on some of the points raised.

Test your knowledge of book characters!

Posted on 07 March 2024 by Mrs Weekes

Dressing up as a book character is always a favourite at Moortown. There were some amazing costumes for World Book Day and it was great to see how much imagination had gone into some of them.

Here are some characters – can you work out who they all are? I think the big ears give one of them away!

New railway staff spotted in York..

Posted on 05 March 2024 by Mrs Weekes mistake, it’s the Reception class having a well earned lunch break after exploring York Railway Museum.

Mrs Wood reports that they’re having a fantastic day and the children are showing brilliant behaviour. There might be some tired faces at the end of school but it will all have been worth it.

This week’s message (Friday 01 March 2024)

Posted on 01 March 2024 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the first day of March and starting to feel like Spring. It’s also St David’s Day, so if you’ve any Welsh connections (or happen to be called David!) then perhaps enjoy some sort of celebration!

World Book Day is right around the corner but we celebrate reading all year round. We want children to leave school and have a life-long love of reading because the benefits of those who read for pleasure are far-ranging; there’s a strong positive link with empathy, well-being and attainment, just to name a few. Next week (and beyond), try reading something you and your child wouldn’t normally choose. You could create a quiz about the book or pretend to be the main character, acting or talking like them. You might just curl up together on the sofa and take turns reading aloud. The most important thing for children is that they have dedicated time put towards reading and that they have the power of choice over what they read… like a match day programme, song lyrics or graphic novels – anything counts!

The rest of this week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who’s our Curriculum Leader in Sphere Federation…

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term, it’s Computing. We’re developing our knowledge of computers and computer programming.

Computer programming is super. Creating games, animations and solving real world problems is fun, encourages creativity and is challenging! Importantly, the skills the children develop and use are transferable to other subjects and areas of life. For example, the concept of decomposition in programming is concerned with breaking down a large task into smaller chunks. This concept could be used when writing a story, solving a maths problem or tidying a particularly messy bedroom! Debugging is the skill of identifying and fixing an error in a program. It requires systematic, objective thinking and plenty of resilience.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. See pages 11 and 12 of our Topic Curriculum Guide.

Years 1 and 2

Children will learn about how technology is used beyond school in our homes and all around us. They’ll begin to consider what a computer is and isn’t.

In programming lessons, they’ll be introduced to algorithms and will learn about how they need to be written in the correct sequence.

They’ll create their own algorithms in ‘unplugged computing’ lessons and will debug errors in their own and others’ algorithms. Next, they’ll plan and create their own unplugged game where they have to create an algorithm to move a character from one place to another using positional language.

They’ll then use the same concepts using Beebots – simple robots which can be programmed to move and turn. Finally, it’ll be time to create their own game using Beebots.

Years 3 and 4

Pupils will begin with some ‘unplugged computing’. They’ll create, and debug unplugged programs which use sequence and repetition before they then create their own unplugged game which will require some decomposition. Next, it’s time to program on a platform called Scratch Jr. It’s a free app available on most devices and will allow children to develop and refine their understanding and use of concepts like repetition and sequence. Finally, they’ll create their own game on Scratch Jr using all of the skills they’ve learned over the topic. They will have some creativity to plan and design their own game. They may choose to create a maze game or a simple platform game. 

Years 5 and 6

Children will begin the topic by reasoning about what makes a computer a computer. They’ll then learn about how search engines work and how to best use them. In programming lessons, they’ll use Scratch to gain a deeper understanding of concepts like sequence and repetition before learning about selection and variables. Some of this vocabulary may sound alien to you. However, before the end of the topic your child will be able to tell you what they mean and give examples of how they’ve used them in their projects. Some of the projects your children will create are:

  • A Spirograph style drawing animation with some potentially psychedelic visual effects!
  • A chatbot program which will ask you questions and decide if your responses are correct or not.
  • A times table quiz program that will test you on randomly selected times table questions within a set time limit.

How can you help?

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning in class. Our Class News  is a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

The school library and local libraries have lots of books about coding and computer games which your child will be able to borrow and develop both their reading skills and computing knowledge.

Finally, try programming with your child. There are loads of programming apps and software available to download, often for free. Here’s a list:

Key Stage 1:

  • Daisy the Dinosaur (Apple only)
  • Beebot
  • Tynker Junior

Key Stage 2:

  • Lightbot
  • Tynker
  • Scratch Jr
  • Scratch

Is this really Y6?

Posted on 29 February 2024 by Mrs Weekes

As I went through the hall one day this week, I stayed longer than expected. Y6 were learning some yoga and it was so calm and focused. There was some great stretching and different movements and it felt productive, healthy and certainly happy. Well done Y6 – I really enjoyed watching your lesson.

This week’s message (Friday 23 February 2024)

Posted on 23 February 2024 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you all managed some sort of break last week, the half-term break. This half-term has quite a few events coming up…

Number facts challenge

It’s time for another Number Facts Challenge, our annual sponsored maths challenge. The challenge is in two parts:

Today, children in Years 1-6 did a Maths challenge in class. On Wednesday 28 February, they’ll do the same challenge again to see if they can beat their score. (Reception children join in the challenge on Wednesday.)

Polish those number skills and get practising over the next couple of weeks and see how much money we can raise. Any money raised will be split between our school charity, the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), and PTA.

Happy sponsoring and thank you for your support.

World Book Day

World Book Day is on Thursday 07 March. At Moortown Primary, we love to celebrate reading. This includes celebrating World Book Day each year, although we don’t always dress up (we do this every other year).

It’s that time again! We invite children to dress up as a book character. Whether it’s someone from a fairy tale or fantasy, a character from a comic or Harry in Hogwarts, your child is invited to celebrate their love of reading.
As always on days like this, this is a choice. If you or your child would prefer not to dress up, that’s absolutely fine.

Supermarkets are stocked up with World Book Day outfits but often you can dress up using clothes you already have or can borrow for free.

Also, and especially with younger children, please make sure costumes are practical. For example, all-in-one outfits are really tricky when a Reception child needs the toilet, and princess shoes aren’t ideal for running around at playtimes!

Comic Relief – Red Nose Day

Also coming up is Red Nose Day, which is on Friday 15 March. Each year at Moortown Primary, pupils select a new school charity. As you know, this year, it’s the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF).

Alongside some fund-raising for the CHSF, we mark a small number of other events, including Red Nose Day. This will be a non-uniform day. There’s no expectation to donate, but if you’d like to, your donation would be appreciated.

We realise that’s a lot going on. Please remember, participation and donations are voluntary for these events.

Attendance matters

At the start of each half-term, we like to celebrate the fantastic attendance at Moortown Primary. Our current attendance figure (right up until the end of Spring 1) is 96.8%. The national figure for primary schools for the same period is 93.7%.

Well done especially to Year 3 with a figure of 97.8%. Other classes are not far off, too.

We’re really proud of our attendance figure. Thank you for making sure your child gets to school as much as they can.