Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 06 October 2023)

Posted on 06 October 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Thank you if you voted in the recent governor elections to find a new parent governors, and a particular thank you to the five parents who put themselves forward. In total, there were 139 votes – a good spread across the three Sphere Federation schools. The candidate with the most votes was Candidate B on the voting form: Steven Trangmar, who’s a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University.

The main parts of this week’s message come from two of the Sphere Federation leaders. Mrs Latham, the Early Reading and Phonics Leaders, has written the first section. Miss Wilson, the Reading Leader. has written the second.

For children at the early stages of reading…

We’re off to a flying start with our reading! Our Reception children started phonics lessons in Week 2 and are rapidly acquiring the skills to become readers. We use the government validated systematic synthetic phonics scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

Children in Year 1 and Year 2 have also got back into phonics lessons quickly. The lessons happen every day and last half an hour (Reception build up to this over time). In these lessons, children are taught how a letter or letters (‘graphemes’) match to sounds (‘phonemes’).

We also have reading practice groups for children to use and apply their phonics skills four times a week. These are small group sessions, led by an adult, where children read a book that is matched to the phonics they know. The focus is very much on practising reading.

Your child can then share their phonics reading success at home by accessing the same text as an e-book. Please make sure you do this every week. We monitor if and when children are accessing the e-books.

Year 1 or 2 children who have secure phonic knowledge will begin to access a wider variety of books in school and to take home.

Children also take a sharing book home. These books are to enjoy together and read for pleasure. The focus is very much on enjoyment – developing a love of reading. Enjoy stories, predict what might happen and use different voices for the characters. Information books (non-fiction) can also be so much fun to share – finding out facts and discussing new information. Above all: make it enjoyable!

For more experienced readers…

We’ve made a fantastic start to reading this year and have already read a variety of texts – we’ve learned about scientists, read poetry and really got stuck into our class novels.

  • Ask your child what they’re reading this week.
  • What do they like or dislike about it?
  • Who’s the author?
  • Can they give you a ten second summary? What about a ten word summary?Children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6) are engaging well with their weekly Reading Record activities (as directed on their homework sheet). Make sure your child reads at home every day for at least 10-15 minutes and, depending on their age and confidence, read and discuss the book together wherever possible.When you’re reading at home and discussing the book, try the following:
  • Give your child plenty of time to find the answer to your question.
  • Decide on the best places to pause to convey shock, concern or, sometimes, just to tease. Pausing builds anticipation.
  • Tell your child the definitions of words if they don’t know. There’s no point in guessing.
  • Use asides to show your reactions to particular events. For example, ‘Oh, no! This isn’t looking like things will turn out well for him!’
  • Colour your voice to give words meaning: whooped, wondered, wailed. Or perform an action as you read: sprouted, quivered, squirmed.

Enjoy a weekend of reading!

Cross country success

Posted on 05 October 2023 by Mrs Weekes

It is the season for cross country again (you can’t have cross country without mud!) and we had a team of eager runners take part in the first event of the year on Saturday. Five children from KS2 took part along with a Y2 child who sneaked in to the Y3/Y4 category!

They all ran really well but a particular mention to this young lady who came 33rd even though she was racing with children who were two years older than her – watch this space for more running from her!

Here are some more photos from the day – well done to all of you and thank you for staying to cheer on one of our former pupils who was running too. Thanks to all the parents who went along to support them on our behalf.

This week’s message (Friday 29 September 2023)

Posted on 29 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We’re approaching the end of the first month back at school. The new school year continues to go really well – children are happy, healthy learners with great behaviour. Our Reception children have settled in really well, too.

Thank you to the parents who responded with interest in becoming a parent governor. Because there was more than one person interested, it means there are elections. We’ve sent you a link so you can vote online after reading their expressions of interest. Look out for the reminder message about this. The deadline for votes is noon on Wednesday next week.

Is your child well enough to be in school?

Post-lockdowns, there’s growing concern about the low attendance rate for pupils. This letter to school leaders illustrates the point.

There is wide agreement among health professionals and educational professionals that school attendance is vital to the life chances of children and young people. Being in school improves health, wellbeing and socialisation

The letter makes two things clear:

  • ‘It is usually appropriate for parents and carers to send their children to school with mild respiratory illnesses. This would include general cold symptoms: a minor cough, runny nose or sore throat.’
  • ‘Worry and mild or moderate anxiety, whilst sometimes difficult emotions, can be a normal part of growing up for many children and young people. Being in school can often help alleviate the underlying issues. A prolonged period of absence is likely to heighten a child’s anxiety about attending in the future, rather than reduce it.’

We’ve shared the link already, but do check out this NHS website to help you decide if your child is well enough to attend school.

Also worth checking out is this parent’s guide to keeping kids healthy this school year.

Finally, Leeds has produced this short document intended for parents and carers of primary school aged children.

Last year’s school attendance here at Moortown Primary was certainly better than the national figures – please, let’s keep it like that in 2023-24.

Finally this week, thank you to Preston Baker, the estate agent. They’re celebrating their 15th birthday and have donated 15 books to 15 schools, including us!

Outstanding outcomes

Posted on 27 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We’re really proud of our 2022-23 Year 6 pupils. They’ve now left our school and are enjoying Year 7, but they leave us with great memories, not least their great attitudes to learning and how they supported each other.

In May each year, pupils in Year 6 do end-of-key stage assessments – the SATs. We get the results of these tests before the end of the school year, but it takes some time for the results to come through to help us evaluate their attainment and progress.

Check out our Outcomes page to see how well the children did compared to national assessment figures.

In a nutshell…

The proportions reaching national expectations are significantly above national figures:

  • Reading: 94% meeting expected standards (national: 73%)
  • Writing: 100% meeting expected standards (national: 71%)
  • Maths: 94% meeting expected standards (national: 73%)

The proportions reaching greater depth are also consistently higher than national:

  • Reading: 55% reaching greater depth (national: 29%)
  • Writing: 36% reaching greater depth (national: 13%)
  • Maths: 48% reaching greater depth (national: 24%)

The Department for Education measures progress from Key Stage 1 (KS1) to Key Stage 2 (KS2). Expected progress is zero, with anything above that being better than expected and negative numbers showing less than expected progress:

  • +3.3 average progress in Reading
  • +4.4 average progress in Writing
  • +3.9 average progress in Maths

Well done to all the 2022-23 pupils, and thank you to their parents, carers and other adults for their fantastic support throughout the years.

Allergy Aware

Posted on 26 September 2023 by Mrs Weekes

At Moortown Primary, we want all our pupils to be happy and healthy, and safe too. This includes pupils with allergies – they need to feel safe at school too.

At our school, we have pupils with a range of allergies including:

  • all types of nuts – the allergies might be if a nut or trace of nut is eaten, but also if a trace of nut is in the air
  • carrots
  • gluten

We have at least one child who has a severe reaction if they ingest nuts or are in the vicinity of nuts.

These pupils are at risk of serious harm if they have an allergic reaction. Because of this, we ask that everyone does what they can to help us keep them safe.

How can you help?

  • let us know if your child has an allergy
  • talk to your child about allergies and that they: mustn’t share food; must wash their hands before eating; take allergies seriously; and that they can be supportive of friends who have allergies
  • label your child’s water bottle to avoid any confusion
  • avoid sending in food that contains nuts for your child’s packed lunch or snack
  • as always, avoid sending food or sweets in for birthdays or other occasions – a long-standing policy to make sure we’re a happy and healthy school

If you’re inviting your child’s friends over for a playdate or party, talk to their parents or carers about any allergies and think about how you can accommodate their needs. Try your best to exclude the allergen, not the child.

If you’ve any questions or concerns about allergies, please get in touch with school.

Thanks for your support.

This week’s message (Friday 22 September 2023)

Posted on 22 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Thanks to all of you who took part in our Summer Competition this year. Check out the pics on this News page – we love them!

Remember we’ve a vacancy for parent governor on the governing board of Sphere Federation. If you’ve got time to commit to the role, please consider helping to contribute to the strategic leadership of Moortown Primary and Sphere Federation as a whole. Read more about the role. If you’re interested, please submit an expression of interest by  22 September 2023. Please use this form.

The rest of this week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who oversees all the topics in school…

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in foundation subjects (history, art, geography, for example). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching your child the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. The driver changes with each topic.

Although there’s a focus on one subject in each topic, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in a history driven subject may be enriched by observational drawing of an artefact. In this example, the enricher is art.

For more information about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics, click here.

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term we’re geographers. The topic is called Where in the world am I?

We’re focusing on the geography of the United Kingdom and helping to develop children’s sense of where they live through the use of fieldwork. As you read about the learning planned in each phase, you’ll see how the learning progresses across the primary age range.

Children in Years 1 and 2 will learn about the different countries that make up the United Kingdom and their capital cities. They’ll learn about the difference between physical and human geography and identify examples of both in the local area. They’ll also learn about the four compass points and use geographical vocabulary to describe what is north, south, east or west of them. A big chunk of the learning will have a focus on fieldwork. They’ll think of questions about the locality. For example, what types of trees are growing in the school grounds? They’ll then collect and present data to answer the question.

Children in Years 3 and 4 will develop their locational knowledge by using maps and atlases to locate some of the other cities in the United Kingdom. They’ll learn about counties and use the eight compass points to describe locations. The big focus for this phase is on maps. They’ll learn how to use Ordnance Survey maps and their keys. They’ll learn about four figure grid references and use these to locate features. They’ll then apply this learning more locally by mapping a route in the locality.

Children in Year 5 and 6 will learn about national parks, using maps to locate them. They’ll then learn about urban green spaces and their importance before learning about how Leeds has expanded over time. Importantly, children will get an understanding of how a geographer works by completing fieldwork in the locality. They’ll gather data about the amount of carbon stored in trees and present that data.

How can you help?

To kick off with, check out the links for each phase to explore more about the United Kingdom, Ordnance Survey and national parks.

Regardless of the year group your child is in, Google Earth is a brilliant tool to help develop children’s understanding of their sense of place in the world. Zoom right in on your home and then zoom out to reveal the area of Leeds that you live in. Zoom further out to see what city you live. Zoom further for the county. A little further and you might start to spot some national parks. Further still and you can see the country that we live in. Keep zooming and you’ll see the continent we live in (though this isn’t labelled). Before you know it, you’re floating in space and circling the Earth!

Google Maps is another great tool for investigating where you live. Try the street view option and you can walk along your street. You can even toggle between different data points to see what your house or garden looked like in previous years. (My lack of gardening skills were laid bare in a staff meeting when we compared my unkempt garden in 2019 to the lush, wildlife haven the previous owners had lovingly created in 2008!)

Have a quiz with your child about some locational knowledge to help them remember important information. I’ve listed some examples below. Use the age-related expectations on page 16 to find the right pitch for your child.

  • What country do we live in?
  • Which county do we live in?
  • Which city do we live in?
  • Which part of Leeds do we live in?
  • Which four countries make up the United Kingdom?
  • Which national parks are located in Yorkshire?

If you can, go to the library and get some geography related books, especially an atlas. You could compare maps of the same place to see what type of information they show. For example, you find lots of maps of the United Kingdom. One might show the countries and capital cities. Another might show the mountains, rivers and national parks. Another might give information about the climate.

Children could draw a plan/map of their bedroom with a key. Older children could try to do this for each room of their house. Children could also create a map of a mythical location with an accompanying key.

For children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6), there are lots of different games and activities on Ordnance Survey Mapzone. I especially like the jigsaws in the Map Puzzles section of the Games.

Also for KS2 children, there’s a lot of information and some tasks and quizzes on BBC Bitesize.

Autumn term after-school clubs

Posted on 20 September 2023 by Mrs Taylor

*Availability update*

Thank you for the great take up so far of our after-school clubs. Some clubs are now open to other year groups. Please see below for spaces that are still available to book.
Fun and Games – limited spaces available 
Reading Club – limited spaces available
Multi-sports – spaces available (now open to Y3)
Wake Up Shake Up – full
Sewing Club – full
Dodgeball – limited spaces available 
Yoga – spaces available (now open to Reception)
Netball – spaces available (now open to Y3)
Hama bead Club – full
Drama – limited spaces available 
Street Dance (Flex Dance) – full
Girls Football – spaces available (now open to Y2 and Y3)
Basketball KS1 – limited spaces available
Basketball KS2 –  spaces available
Lego Club – full

Our after-school clubs are available for booking on schoolcomms. Please contact the office if you need any further information or help with booking places. Clubs will begin next week.

Extreme Reading

Posted on 18 September 2023 by Mrs Weekes

The entries for our summer reading competition definitely show that our children love reading! We’ve seen reading in all sorts of places: up an apple tree; on safari; doing a handstand; on a jetty; and many more.

The winners were announced on Friday and here are the three winning entries: reading while buried in the sand; reading Dracula in front of Whitby Abbey; and reading at the same time as doing a forward roll!

Well done to everyone who entered and congratulations to the winners.

This week’s message (Friday 15 September 2023)

Posted on 15 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

We ended our message last week by saying ‘Children settled into the new school year really well’. Two weeks in and we’re really pleased to see our children coming to school with great attitudes and behaviour, perfectly living up to our aim: happy and healthy learners.

  • ‘Year 6 is great – there’s lots of new learning but I think it is much more individual.’
  • ‘I feel more confident in Year 4.’
  • ‘We’re more independent in Year 2.’
  • ‘It’s great that we can go swimming in Y3 – I’m so excited.’

Last week’s message had some important messages for the year ahead. We mentioned our expectations on home learning and uniform and behaviour, amongst other things – check back to last week’s message in case you missed it.

Governing board vacancy

We’ve a vacancy for parent governor on the governing board of Sphere Federation.

No special qualifications are needed other than dedication, commitment, enthusiasm – and time to commit to the role. Read more about the role.

If you’re interested in the role, please submit an expression of interest by  22 September 2023. Please use this form.

Reception children

We started this week’s message by saying how pleased we are to see our children coming to school with great attitudes and behaviour, perfectly living up to our aim: happy and healthy learners. This includes children who have started with us in Reception – we’ve got stuck straight into learning phonics.

Just so you’re aware, we’re currently carrying out a Reception Baseline Assessment, something we’re required to do by the Department for Education. Read their leaflet for more information.


Regularly, there are some horrible news stories, such as this one, about even young children ending up in hospital because of vaping.

It’s likely that the UK will follow other countries in banning disposable vapes.

At the moment, it’s illegal to sell vaping products to children and young people under 18. This is because of the risks involved:

  • The short-term side effects of vaping include throat and mouth irritation, headache, cough and feeling sick.  
  • The long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, they are still too new for there to have been proper research.  
  • Nicotine is highly addictive. There is also a risk when non-smokers try vaping, they might move on to try more harmful cigarettes and drugs.  
  • There are also illegal vapes being sold that contain dangerous levels of lead, nickel and chromium.

Check out this new guidance for parents and carers who might be worried about their child vaping.


This week’s message continues with three important messages about Living and Learning for the year ahead. As always, please speak with your child’s class teacher or with Mrs Weekes if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns.

Cooking sessions and allergies

Across the year, your child will take part in sessions to prepare three snacks or meals:

  • Year 1 and 2: banana sandwich, fruit salad, wraps
  • Year 3 and 4: leek and potato soup, pitta pizza, salad and dressing
  • Year 5 and 6: lentil and vegetable soup, omelette, a tomato sauce base

Read a shortened version of our Cooking and Nutrition plan for more detail of the sessions across the year. (We’re in Year A of a two year cycle for the plans.)

If your child has an allergy, please make sure you tell us. Contact the school office.

8Rs for learning

Talking of food…

This week in Living and Learning sessions, your child’s been thinking about eight different ‘ingredients’ for being a great learner. Check them out. Have a chat with your child about the different Rs:

  • Does your child demonstrate some Rs really well?
  • Are there other Rs they might need to work on, and if so, how?

Relationships and sex education

In the Summer term, there are specific sessions where we teach about this, but aspects of our policy may come up at any time. When you’ve got time, have a read of our policy – Section 9 and the table on page 11 might be especially useful.


Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Staying safe and secure

Posted on 14 September 2023 by Mr Roundtree

Many of you are aware that there have been some safeguarding concerns in Leeds schools today. The concerns affected only some Leeds schools – we were not affected. Be assured that if we had become aware of anything that compromised safeguarding, we would make sure you were informed.

We have comprehensive site security and safeguarding arrangements in place at all times. The advice from the local authority remains the same as always: continue to adhere to these robustly.

Please be assured that we place your child’s safety as the highest priority.