Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 19 January 2024)

Posted on 19 January 2024 by Mr Roundtree

Early in each half-term, our weekly message centres around the current KS1 and KS2 topic. The message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads on foundation subjects (see page 7 for what foundation subjects are).

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term, we’re historians and will be developing our understanding of Britain’s past and the wider world.

I love history. It’s one of my favourite subjects to teach. There are so many amazing stories and characters from the past and although the people and events we study can be separated from our own lives by thousands of years, there are lots of relevant connections we can make with the world today. Children will use enquiry skills to answer questions about the past that require opinions. They’ll be ‘time detectives’, using sources of evidence to help them answer these questions.

Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. See pages 22, 23 and 24.

Years 1 and 2

In this topic, children will learn about how shopping has changed over time. They’ll develop chronological understanding by sequencing events in their own lives before learning about how shopping was different during their parents’ and grandparents’ and great grandparents’ childhoods. They’ll look at similar products from different times and try to sequence them chronologically using logical reasoning. They’ll use photographs and other sources of evidence to identify changes and similarities on the high street over time. They’ll learn about the history of a local shop, Marks and Spencer, and how it has changed over time.

The key historical concept which we’ll explore in this topic is trade. Trade is the exchange of goods and services, initially for other goods and services, and then for money.

Years 3 and 4

Children will learn about the Roman Empire and its invasion of Britain. They will examine how life changed for the people living in Britain at the time of the invasion. They will learn about the Celtic warrior, Boudicca, and how she resisted the Romans. Children will also consider what we know about Boudicca, how we know it, and whether we can trust it.

They’ll learn about the amazing inventions and advances that the Romans brought to Britain. Finally, they’ll find out why the Romans left Britain and who the Anglo-Saxons were.

There are two key historical concepts which we’ll explore in this topic: empire and invasion. An empire is a large group of countries or states ruled by an emperor or empress. An invasion is when a country or region is invaded by an armed force. 

Years 5 and 6

In this topic, children will learn about Viking Britain and an Early Islamic Civilisation centred around the city of Baghdad around 800AD.

During this period of time, Baghdad was the largest city in the world and was the centre of the world’s trade routes. Trade between Vikings and Baghdad happened and provides a real link between these two societies.

Through studying the Vikings, children will again learn about how people invaded and settled in Britain. Invasion is also relevant as it brought an end to the Islamic Golden Age.

The Islamic Golden Age was a period of great innovation. Learning and knowledge was key to their success. They built the world’s first hospitals, universities and observatories, as well as studied writing from scholars around the world. The contrast with Viking Britain during the Dark Ages is stark!

There are three key historical concepts which we’ll explore in this topic: trade, invasion and innovation. Trade is the exchange of goods and services, initially for other goods and services, and then for money. An innovation is an improvement or replacement for something. An invasion is when a country or region is invaded by an armed force.

Help at home

Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning in class. The class news page of the school website is a good place to go to find out more about what the children are doing.

Find some books from the library which match what the children are learning. This will be quite easy for children in Key Stage 2 as there will be plenty of books about Roman Britain and Viking Britain. You should also be able to find some about the Islamic Golden Age. For children in KS1, you may find it more difficult to find books about shopping over time. However, any book that looks at how an aspect of life has changed over time will be good. For example, you may find KS1 history books about toys and games, houses, transport, holidays. These will all help your child to sequence chronologically and explore similarities and differences.

Watch television shows about history. Horrible Histories is great – regardless of your age!

Children's Heart Surgery Fund

Posted on 17 January 2024 by Mrs Taylor

This week, Lauren from Children’s Heart Surgery Fund came to visit.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund is our new school charity, voted for by the Junior Leadership Team, and we learnt all about their work and how our donations will support the charity over the next year.

Here are some of our Junior Leaders with Lauren.


This week’s message (Friday 12 January 2024)

Posted on 12 January 2024 by Mr Roundtree

Welcome to our first message of 2024! It seems a little late to wish you a happy new year, but we’ll do it all the same: best wishes for a happy and healthy 2024. This week’s message has quite a few things, but we’ve tried to keep them fairly short…

Dates for your diary

This Spring term is a short one – just five weeks in Spring 1 and just a day short of six weeks in Spring 2. As always, please check our school calendar to know what’s coming up (amongst other things, a Watch Us While We Work session in Years 1-6 and Stay and Learn sessions in Reception, plus parent-teacher meetings).

Did your child get an electronic device for Christmas?

…If so, then do make sure parental controls are all in place. Here’s a handy guide from the NSPCC.

Attendance matters

Our whole-school attendance for the Autumn term was 96.9%. How does your child’s class compare with that figure?

  • Reception – 94.9% – that’s an amazing increase since Autumn 1 (91.5%)!
  • Year 1 – 96.7%
  • Year 2 – 97.6%
  • Year 3 – 97.9% – well done!
  • Year 4 – 97.9% – well done, too!
  • Year 5 – 96.9%
  • Year 6 – 96.1%

We know that winter is one of the peak times for adults and children to come down with mild illnesses such as colds, coughs and sore throats.

Your child should stay at home from school if they’ve a high temperature (fever) and are unwell, and wait until it has passed before going back.

If they’ve just got a runny nose, sore throat or slight cough – without a high temperature – your child should still attend school. Children should stay at home if they’ve a high temperature (fever) or if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting – this helps stop the spread of stomach bugs.

If in doubt, check the NHS site: Is my child too ill for school?

Read this BBC article for five top tips to help.

The national attendance rate for Autumn was 93.2%. We’re proud that our figure is quite a bit higher here at Moortown Primary. Thank you for knowing that attendance counts.

DT: Cooking and nutrition

We sent this message earlier in the week, but in case you missed it…

Our updated long-term plans for Cooking and Nutrition were introduced at the beginning of this school year. Last term, your child took part in a practical lesson where they did some cooking in school and were able to eat what they had made. Hopefully, they’ll have come home and told you all about it!

So we can continue to offer this to all children in Years 1 to 6, we’re asking you for a small voluntary contribution towards the cost of ingredients. This will help to cover the costs for the full year – that’s three recipes. We suggest a contribution between £3 to £6, although we really appreciate anything you can offer. Payment for this can be made online on the School Gateway app.

By the way, please remember to tell us if your child has an allergy so that we can adapt the recipes we’ve planned.

The Big Ambition survey

We’ve mentioned this before, too, but we’ve been asked to communicate a final reminder which comes from Dame Rachel De Souza, the Children’s Commissioner for England…

I have been overwhelmed by the response the survey has received so far. More than 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers have participated, making it one of the largest surveys of its kind, but I want to give even more people the chance to have their say.

Complete The Big Ambition survey. It closes on Friday 19 January.

Finally, I don’t often offer a personal recommendation, but a highlight of the holidays for me was a trip to the cinema to see Wonka – I loved it! Have a good weekend, whether that involves a cinema trip or whatever you and your family get up to. 

This week’s message (Friday 22 December 2023)

Posted on 22 December 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Following an earlier message this week, this last message of 2023 is a short one…

Our library here at Moortown Primary has been restocked with some brilliant, funny and awe-inspiring books! It’s been great to see enthusiasm pouring out of the children as they’ve flicked through the new spines and marvelled at the interesting covers. Hopefully, your child will bring home a library book (or two) this week for you to enjoy together over the break. They might even be able to tell you all about our new featured shelf which contains fiction books purely dedicated to animals. We want children to follow their interests when reading and we encourage them to read anything, whatever it is: TV subtitles, newspapers with a grandparent or even just the back of a cereal box! Every word or sentence read helps your child to put in the reading miles. Happy reading!

In case you missed it, over three events this week (older children carol singing and younger children performing in Lights, Camera, Action!) we’ve raised £278.15 for our chosen charity Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Thank you and we hope you enjoyed the singing or the show!

Finally, all of us here at Moortown Primary wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

We look forward to seeing you all again on Monday 08 January.

What a start!

Posted on 21 December 2023 by Mrs Weekes

As you know, our chosen charity is the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Over three events this week, KS2 carol singing and KS1 performances, we’ve already raised £278.15. This is amazing!

Thank you for your generosity and support!

An early weekly message (Wednesday 20 December)

Posted on 20 December 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message comes early, and it’s an unusual one because the majority of it is written by Miss Hague, the Head of School at Scholes (Elmet) Primary, one of our sister schools in Sphere Federation:

I’ve visited Moortown Primary School many times to work with Mrs Weekes but a couple of weeks ago I came to talk to the children about safeguarding – making sure we keep our children as safe as they can reasonably be, both in school and beyond school.

From the moment I arrived, I was really impressed by the welcome I received. Simply walking around school, I was met with lots of smiles
and friendly greetings – those first impressions are really important.

During my visit, I met with three different groups of children from three different phases: Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4, and children from Years 5 and 6. Our conversation covered many topics such as feeling safe (both in school and online); what you should do if you’re worried about something; behaviour in school; and the school rules. We also talked about what we understand by equality.

The children had a vast amount of knowledge and could talk to me confidently about all these areas.

It was really clear that the Living and Learning curriculum is embedded and woven into many aspects of school life. A real strength for me was to hear the children talk about equality. The younger children were able to talk about everyone being treated the same and the older children were able to talk in more detail about protected characteristics. There was a genuine message (and feeling) that the children were able to convey to me and that was that everyone would be welcome at Moortown Primary no matter what.

When speaking about online safety, our conversation was mostly about keeping personal details safe, not trusting everything people claim to be online, and not getting persuaded by ‘pop-ups’. It’s really helpful if children think in terms of the4Cs for online safety: content (what we see), contact (who we communicate with), conduct (how we behave online), and commerce (buying, selling, gambling, phishing). The NSPCC have useful information that might help you think of the online

Thanks to the children at Moortown – I had a really lovely afternoon.

And some feedback from someone else, too: we recently had a visit from our Local Authority School Improvement Advisor. Amongst other great feedback were the following comments:

Pupils know the expectations for learning and routines across school are clearly embedded. Teachers were observed demonstrating strong subject knowledge. Behaviour across school continues to be exemplary including during transitional times.

This week’s message (Friday 15 December 2023)

Posted on 15 December 2023 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has three healthy-themed messages…

Living and Learning

In Living and Learning sessions, your child has been considering mental health. As we come to the end of this unit of learning, it would be a great time to reflect on this more at home.

Self-care is all about what you can do to help yourself feel better or to keep yourself feeling good. It’s a way that we can look after our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help your body and mind to relax, drift away, or be more energised.

This self-care plan from Anna Freud walks children through a series of steps, helping them to create a simple self-care plan that works for them.

There are lots of different ways you can try self-care: dancing, spending time with friends, playing sports, laughing, drawing, spending time with pets – anything that makes you feel good! We have listed some activity suggestions in this booklet – give them a try and see what works for you.

Let us know what you think…

We’ve recently updated our policy around food in school. Our Food in School policy sets out key points for parents/carers and staff. For parents/carers, this includes guidance around special occasions, birthdays, rewards and the importance of alerting us if your child has a food allergy.

Please let us know your thoughts.

Don’t skip breakfasts

Research suggests that having breakfast every day has a positive impact on diet quality, weight status and even learning. You might like to read this recent article about the importance of breakfast for school children.

Have a good weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 08 December 2023)

Posted on 08 December 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We’ve two full weeks of term left. As we said last week, please do check out our calendar so you know what’s going on in the last week of the year – it’s a busy one!

Non-uniform day

One of the things coming up is a non-uniform day on the last day of term – Friday 22 December. Just like a place of work would have standards for a dress-down day, so do we – our Uniform Policy sets out expectations:

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), 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.

Thank you for following our policy.

Get reading

For those who celebrate Christmas, a book or two makes an ideal stocking filler or present. (And for those who don’t celebrate, reading over the forthcoming holiday is an ideal way to spend some time on cold, dark days!) Our Reading Curriculum Guide has a list of what we read in school:

  • page 7 (Year 1 and 2)
  • page 8 (Year 3 and 4)
  • page 9 (Year 5 and 6)

The guide has a list of books we read as class novels and extracts from other books, plus poems and picture books. It doesn’t matter what you choose. You might want to get something by the same author, for example.

And finally, one more suggestion…

Last year, we recommended a play at Leeds Central Library. The recommendation went down well – we had a few families thank us for the suggestion and commented that it was really good value. Here’s the tip again. Check out Cinderella at Leeds Central Library. It’s a pay-what-you-decide family-friendly event suitable for children aged 5+. Hurry though – there are only a few seats left.

Have a good weekend!

This week’s message (Friday 01 December 2023)

Posted on 01 December 2023 by Mr Roundtree

It’s the first day of December and the weather certainly matches the season!

We’ve still a while to go before the end of term and there’s lots of learning and socialising to be done in the next few weeks. The last week of the Autumn term – coming up in three weeks’ time – is always a busy one. Please check our school calendar for all the events happening so you don’t miss out.

Talking of events…

Today’s been a busy one in school.

We started the day with the last of three open sessions for prospective new parents for a September 2024 Reception place. If you know of anyone who has a child start school, please mention us!

And we ended it with another open session – this time for you, our existing family of parents, to check out all the learning in our topics so far this year. If you managed to come along, thank you! There’s another topic review on Monday 18 March, and before then, a Watch Us While We Work session on Friday 26 January.

Just two more things in this week’s message…

First, a quick reminder: if you’ve got any new contact details for you or other contacts, please remember to let us know. We need up-to-date details for the people on our lists in case of emergencies. (The people on our lists are the ones you gave us when your child school – in most cases, this will be three different people.)

Second, here’s an extract from an Ofsted blog

Persistent school absence is one of the most significant ongoing impacts of the pandemic. The latest data shows that nearly 1 in 4 pupils were absent for 10% of school sessions in autumn 2022, nearly double the position in 2019. We remain very concerned about the effect this will have on children.

As the Department for Education (DfE) points out in its blog Why is school attendance so important and what are the risks of missing a day?, we know that the highest attendance rates are linked with the best outcomes at all key stages. Even missing small amounts of education can mean a child misses important sections of the curriculum and may therefore struggle to learn concepts that are built on what they missed.

And it’s not just about the academic opportunities. There’s value in the whole school experience. Learning with peers, enjoying sport and music, building relationships with adults beyond their families, and building friendships – these are the building blocks of well-being and a good life. School contributes so much to this.

It is therefore vital that children are in school as much as possible.

Thank you for helping to make sure your child’s in school. Don’t forget to check the NHS site to decide – in most cases, it’s fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or common cold.

Have a great weekend – stay warm!

Every Little Helps

Posted on 30 November 2023 by Mrs Weekes

As well as Tesco saying that ‘every little helps’ with your weekly shopping, they’re also committed to helping communities, and the planet.

A while ago, we applied for a grant to help develop ‘The Green’;we’ve just found out that we’ve been awarded £1000 as part of Tesco’s Stronger Starts scheme. The money will be used over the next year to start to develop areas on ‘The Green’ so, watch this space – as Tesco says ‘every little helps’!