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Latest news from around the school

Covid-19: What to do if...

Posted on 19 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

There’s such a lot of information about Covid-19 that it’s sometimes easy to get confused.

To help, we’ve produced this guide which sets out nine different scenarios if your child, or someone in the household, had symptoms of Covid-19. The guide tells you what you need to do and when your child should come back to school.

(We’ve also included the guide in our Autumn for All booklet – it’s on page 15.)

Our weekly message (18 September 2020)

Posted on 18 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Well, we’ve made it to the end of Week 2 without having to temporarily close down a class or even the whole school. Sadly, quite a few local schools haven’t been so fortunate. Whilst the government is determined that primary schools remain open in any form of lockdown (and we absolutely share this determination), please do continue to be really careful:

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors), and stick to the rule of six, too

Letter from Leeds City Council

This letter from Councillor Saleem Tariq, OBE (Director, Children and Families) and Jonathan Pryor (Executive Member for Learning and Skills) is for you. Please read it. It includes three important ways to support you, your child and us to stay safe.

Home learning

Your child might have to self-isolate. This might be because someone in the family is displaying symptoms or if they’ve had a test and it’s positive (which means the person has Covid-19). It might be because someone in their bubble at school has a confirmed case.

We’ve been working hard to set up a way to support your child at home. If your child has to self-isolate, our teachers are starting to provide an overview of the teaching and learning for the week ahead. It’s still early days, but check out the new Home Learning page in our Learn More section.

Covid-19 tests and symptoms

Getting a Covid-19 test has proved a challenge for many this week. We’ve heard that a batch of available slots become available at different points during the day, so keep trying throughout the day (we’re told trying for slots after 8pm might be more successful, so don’t give up towards the end of the day).

Earlier in the week (14.09.20), we reminded you of the Covid-19 symptoms and made the distinction between a common cold and Covid-19. This BBC article really helps to explain the difference well. We especially like this table…

Symptoms chart

Newsletters

Very many of you have told us how much you appreciate the communication from school in the last few months – thank you.

In these busy times, we’re going to trial not sending home half-termly newsletters. There are quite a few drawbacks with paper copies of the newsletters, including:

  • it uses a lot of paper – not good for the environment
  • it costs a lot – the costs for printing are high and continue to increase
  • it takes up a lot of time – especially for people in the school office (who are currently busier than ever with tasks related to Covid-19) and for teachers who are working on home learning for children self-isolating

Instead, teachers will continue to post lots of class news and school leaders will continue to send messages such as this one.

This is a trial for the next few half-terms. During the trial, please do send us your comments and concerns – speak to the Head of School or drop us an email: [email protected]

And finally…

…this week, here’s the latest edition of the Leeds and West Yorkshire Families magazine. This was a popular addition to our daily messages before summer. In this edition, we especially like the 18 recommended new books and the face-to-face/virtual classes and clubs…

Keep talking to us if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns. Have a really good weekend, staying as happy and healthy and safe as you all can be.

What are the Covid-19 symptoms?

Posted on 14 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

In the Autumn term, it’s quite common for children to pick up a bug along the way – colds, for example. After a long period of isolation away from others, maybe this is even more likely if our immunity thresholds are lower. We’ve got quite a few children absent from school today, but not necessarily with Covid-19 symptoms.

The NHS list these as the three symptoms:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

It’s the cough symptom that might be trickiest. To help, do read the description: ‘this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours’.

A blocked or runny nose isn’t a symptom listed on the NHS website so we’d still expect this person to be in school.

There are two really important ways to protect your primary-aged child from Covid-19 (and other illnesses):

  • wash your hands more often, and for longer – is your child doing this as a matter of routine at home?
  • social distance – are you and everyone in your family aware of the rule of six?

Our weekly message (11 September 2020)

Posted on 11 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you for all the positive comments we’ve received about our daily messages before summer. For the time being, we plan to continue these, but just on a weekly basis. We’ll continue to post other, occasional messages on the website and send other emails, too.

Wow! What a brilliant first week. Our children have returned to school so happily – it’s been an absolute joy to see the smiles on their faces as they arrive at school. Teachers report how impressed they’ve been with how our children have settled. You should feel very proud about how you’ve supported your child so well over the last few months.

We’ve made two important updates to our Autumn for All guide for parents and carers – we’ll tell you about these in this message.

Homework

It’s Friday so your child will be coming home with a homework task: we’re setting weekly homework as we normally do. The key difference here is that Homework Books should stay at home for the time being.

Just as normal, the tasks are posted on the website. Instead of the task pasted into books, children take home a piece of paper with the task on, too. The tasks are a variety of Talk Time, Practice Makes Perfect and Creative, but especially the first two.

Parents can email a picture of the completed task (or task in process) or update about a completed task. (Lots of you were doing this with the home learning tasks we set in Spring and Summer terms). The homework will be reviewed in school, so some pictures would be good!

Emails

Talking of emails, we’re happy for you to continue to use this as the main way for you to speak with your child’s teacher. This might be to send a picture or description of the homework task (rather than sending the Homework Books back to school), or to ask a quick question – the sort of thing you’d normally say to the teacher at the start or end of the day.

We’ve strict policies in place around safeguarding and staff workload, so we’ve agreed a short policy about this – please see page 12 of the Autumn for All guide.

The rule of six

The other update to the Autumn for All guide is reference to the government’s updated rules on social distancing:

When seeing friends and family you do not live with you should:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time
  • meet people outdoors where practical: meeting people outdoors is safer than meeting people indoors because fresh air provides better ventilation

Limits on the number of people you can see socially are changing. From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors.

From 14 September – when the new rules apply – it will be against the law to meet people you do not live with in a group larger than 6 (unless you are meeting as a household or support bubble). The police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notice) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.

We know you support us in prioritising the safety of all our pupils, parents and staff. If we have concerns, we may have to ask a parent / carer to collect their child from school, possibly to self-isolate for 14 days or until they can provide evidence of a negative test result for Covid-19. This is because we have to be confident children can attend school in a way which does not undermine the safeguarding of others.

Please read pages 13-14 of the Autumn for All guide for more about this.

How to get a test

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you or your child is displaying even just one of these symptoms, arrange a test online or call 111. You can get a test by post, at a drive-through or walk-through, or at a mobile testing unit.

Please remember that a high temperature is one of the symptoms of Covid-19. Whilst a high temperature can mean lots of other more minor illnesses, please be cautious: don’t send your child to school (and don’t just hope that some Calpol will help!).

Thank you and well done

We started this week’s message with some thanks to you because your child has returned to school happily and healthily. This is a reflection on how well you’ve been supporting them at home.

Here are some other ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ messages from us to you…

  • Thank you for coming into school as close to the new timings as possible – this has really helped to keep numbers in school low.
  • Thank you for keeping your distance from others so well – we know it’s tempting to have a chat, but we’re grateful you’re helping to protect yourselves and everyone else by social distancing.
  • Thank you for just having one adult drop off and collect; again, this helps to keep numbers low.

And finally a big one: the prime minister announced this week that attendance in England’s schools was at about 90% this week. At 98.5%, we’re way better than that! That’s absolutely amazing attendance!

Since March, you’ve supported your child so well. It’s clear from their happy and healthy start to the new school year. Again: thank you and well done. Have a good weekend.

Own It app

Posted on 08 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Has you child got a mobile phone? If they have, do the have the Own It app from the BBC?

The Own It app helps children and young people take control of your online life. It gives them advice when they need it, in real-time as they type. It’s designed to help them make smart choices, feel more confident, and live their best life online.

The Own It app comes with a special keyboard. This can be used like any other keyboard, but it also gives users helpful tips and friendly advice as they write.

There’s also the ability to track how they feel and improve their wellbeing. There are plenty of gifs and emojis so users can express themselves.

The Own It keyboard and app is personal to the user. Everything your child types is kept completely private, and never leaves the Own It app on their phone.

Wearing PE kit to school - which days?

Posted on 03 September 2020 by Mrs Weekes

Hopefully you have read the information in the Autumn for all – Key Info Moortown, which also has a link to our uniform policy.

On the days your child has PE, they should come to school in their PE kit. (Track-suit bottoms instead of shorts would be good on colder days. Footwear : black/brown/grey/white flat shoes which are safe to run around in.)

Footwear on PE days could be children’s ‘school shoes’ which are often a ‘trainer’ style anyway, if you want to avoid having to buy 2 pairs of shoes.

Please find below the days each class has allocated PE times, which will be taught outdoors, wherever possible.

  • Reception (Mrs Burke): Wednesday & Friday (from week beginning 28 September)
  • Year 1 (Mrs Freeman & Mrs Taylor): Tuesday & Thursday
  • Year 2 (Mr Parker): Tuesday & Friday
  • Year 3 (Mr Wain): Tuesday & Thursday
  • Year 4 (Mr Wilks): Wednesday & Thursday
  • Year 5 (Mr Owen): Monday & Thursday
  • Year 6 (Miss Wilson): Monday & Wednesday

A summer message (03 September 2020)

Posted on 03 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today, our teachers are all back, busy preparing classrooms and lessons. We’re all looking forward to welcoming your child back on Monday 07 September.

This morning, we’ve virtually met with colleagues across our federation to consider the key elements in Maths that we need to teach lots of so that children can successfully catch up and consolidate their learning. Later on today, we’ll do the same for Reading.

From next Monday, there are staggered starts and ends to the school day to help social distancing. Read more about this in our Autumn for All guide.

Unlike June and July, we won’t be asking every parent if they’ve been social distancing, but we do need you to be careful to respect the current government guidance. We therefore encourage you to do what you can to reduce the number of contacts your child has, follow the guidance, and socially distance where possible.

In terms of dropping off and collecting your child, for example, you might want to restrict this to someone in your household or someone who regularly visits. Walking to school rather than using a car would be better as the virus is harder to catch in the open air.

Please aim to stick to your allocated drop off / collection time, too, so the numbers of people around school are as low as possible.

One new point in the Autumn for All guide is to make sure that someone from your own household is available to collect your child quickly if they’re at school but displaying symptoms of Covid-19 (or have any other, more ‘normal’ illness, like a cold, too). You might want to discuss this with your employer.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all again.

A bigger happy and healthy place: expanding the playground

Posted on 01 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’ve some great news about expanding our outdoor play space…

Our local councillors – Councillor Hamilton, Councillor Shahzad and Councillor Charlwood – have offered to support the development of more space at Moortown Primary to make our school an even happier and healthier place to be. The councillors are part of the Inner North East Community Committee which has recently agreed to donate £10,000 to school in order to develop the play space.

The extra land was part of the old Yorkshire Bank playing field. Some of the land was used for new housing, some for Moortown Park, and some was donated to school. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to sort out various aspects of the development – it’s more complicated than you might think! However, with this donation, we’re now very close to starting the first stage of the development of the land: extending of the playground at the back of the school. We’re aiming for this to be tarmac so that our children have more year-round space to play on at breaks and lunchtimes. Later on, we’ll develop other areas of the land with grass and other planting.

Also good news is that we’re hoping to get the work done at cost price from Colas Ltd as part of their community pay back scheme. Thanks to Cllr Shahzad for helping to arrange this.

We’re grateful to Councillor Hamilton and Councillor Shahzad for visiting our school just before the summer holiday, and we look forward to welcoming our local councillors back again so they can see the benefits of the funding. Thanks again to all three councillors for their support.

A summer message (01 September 2020)

Posted on 01 September 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It seems strange to still be on holiday when most schools across the country have re-opened already. (And I always think the Scottish summer holidays, which are all of July and the first half of August, work better with the UK’s weather, too!) In any case, we all hope you’ve had a good holiday – no doubt it was affected in some way by Covid-19, but hopefully you still made the most of things.

Teachers have two training days this week – Thursday and Friday. This means we can all be fully prepared and confident for the Autumn term, and it means that when the Leeds Autumn term officially starts on Monday 07 September, your child can start straight away, with no delays for a training day. We know you’re keen to have your child back at school.

We’ve made a few small changes to our Autumn for all guide for school in September – nothing major, just updates to some website links and an update on the period of self-isolation from seven to ten days if you think you may have the virus.

Have you checked out the whole-school picture book we’ll all be reading in the first couple of week? After the fall: how Humpty Dumpty got back up again is a great read, and one that has a message for us all in recovering after a calamity. Reading this with your child might really help your child to start school with confidence and some familiarity about what’s happening. (There are a few different YouTube sites where the book is read, too.)

Enjoy the last few days.

A summer message (21 August 2020)

Posted on 21 August 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you’re all having a good summer.

By now, you’re probably starting to think a little about your child returning to school in September – we’re open for all children from Monday 07 September.

This advice might help – seven tips to support your child. (There’s advice for secondary-age students, too.)

One of the pieces of advice is ‘pack right, pack light’: ‘Your school will have been in touch to let you know what your child should and (more likely) shouldn’t bring in – such as stationary, bags, PE kits, bottles and lunch. Make sure you have checked what they need, in order to make your child’s day easier.’

Our Autumn for All guide for school in September should help you with that – check out the key facts section.

Enjoy the rest of the summer break as much as you can.