News

Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Friday 21 May 2021)

Posted on 21 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

We hope you and all around you have had a happy and healthy week.

Help your child at home

Before we talk about a few new items, we continue to make a plea for daily reading and regular number facts practice at home…

More and more research is coming through that tries to measure the amount of lockdown learning loss. One report on lost learning found that the average loss in Reading progress was about two months for Reading and three months for Maths (and that’s just for the first lockdown, from March to July last year). It’s thought that the loss is even greater in the north and for pupils from lower-income families.

On the whole, our children have come back as happy and healthy learners who might not all have experienced this loss in progress – thank you for your support during the lockdowns. Even so, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Reading and Maths skills are strong enough.

We’re providing a Talk Time homework because this is something that you should try to do as a family at home, perhaps when you’re having a meal together. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.

Thanks to the parents and carers who have commented they like this new homework system.

Staying safe online

Our current Computing topic has been a hit with children. It’s also been a really good opportunity for us to reinforce appropriate behaviour when using electronic devices.

Across Sphere Federation, we’ve a monitoring system that sends alerts to a member of staff if inappropriate or concerning language is typed into a device. This can pick up bad language but it can also pick up situations when the language being used seems aggressive or threatening.

During this topic, there have been several alerts across Sphere. This might be bad language being used, or things that children say using a keyboard that they wouldn’t say in person. These alerts are always investigated.

The monitoring we do helps to keep your child safe at school. Help to keep your child safe at home, too.

If your child has access to an electronic device, make sure you check it regularly to make sure it’s being used safely and respectfully. For example, set a weekly alarm to prompt you to check your child’s phone, if they’ve got one. Read the messages they’ve sent and received, for example, and talk with your child about what apps they’ve got.

Read more about online safety.

Could your child be a game show winner?

We’ve been contacted by a television production company, CPL Productions, who are looking for children aged between 10-12 to take part in a children’s immersive game show.

Covid permitting, they hope to film the series in July/August. Read more about the show and how to apply. The closing date for applications is 25 June 2021.

National Smile Month

Monday 17 May saw the start of National Smile Month. One of our Living and Learning expectations is ‘I know about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene, including regular check-ups at the dentist’ so it’s a good idea to check out the following links:

Let’s hope the weekend is filled with happy and healthy smiles – have a good one.

What's next?

Posted on 18 May 2021 by Mrs Weekes

Now the tarmac has been laid for our new playground, the planning of the next phase – the grassed area – can start! We’ve secured various grants (Warburtons, Linley and Simpson, Tescos…) and we’ve even had contact from a former pupil who wishes to make a very generous donation.
We’re going to consult with our Junior Leadership Team for their views on what markings and seating we should have on the tarmac.
We also need to decide on what planting would be good around the fence to provide a screen between the playground and the park.
The grassed area is going to be a project in itself and will take time to be done. It has a woodland protection order and this means we need to apply for planning permission for most of the work that we want to do. We’re meeting next week with a specialist advisor and the plan and timescales will become clearer then.
We’re looking at putting turf down to provide a grass area adjacent to the trees and currently working with contractors for quotes.
A big thank you to Colas Ltd, who laid the tarmac. They’re coming back at half term to do the tarmac behind the portacabin for free.

After-school club availability

Posted on 13 May 2021 by Mrs Taylor

Our after-school clubs return from next week and we still have some places available. It is not too late if you would like to book your child on. Clubs are mainly based on your child’s class bubble at the moment.

Monday

Year 6 dodgeball (starting 24 May)

Year 2 multi-skills

Tuesday

Year 2 Wake up Shake up

Year 3 football

Wednesday

Year 4 Wake up Shake up

Thursday

Year 1 multi-skills

Friday

Year 4/5 multi-games

Please check on School Gateway or contact the office for more details.

This week’s message (Thursday 13 May 2021)

Posted on 13 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Tomorrow is a training day so school will be closed. This week’s message comes to you today instead.

On a trial basis, we’ve tweaked what we’re doing for homework. Each week, we’re providing you with a Talk Time homework that centres around something your child will be learning in school. We’re not issuing Creative or Practice Makes Perfect homework tasks. This is so that you child has more time to read each day and to practise their times tables and spellings.

Reading matters

A couple of weeks ago in the weekly message (23 April), we stressed the importance of reading at home. All children will benefit from a daily reading routine. Even just 10-15 minutes every day would make a massive difference to some children who haven’t made as much progress over the lockdowns.

To promote reading at home, the National Book Token people are running a competition to design a book token. Your child can win a £10 National Book Token for themselves and each of their classmates – featuring their own amazing artwork. The challenge is to create a National Book Token design. They’ll choose a winning design every week for six weeks. Each winning designer will see their artwork brought to life as a gift card loaded with £10 – one for them, and one for each of the children in their class!

Maths matters

Across the country, lockdown appears to have had a negative impact on some pupils’ attainment in Maths. One simple way to support your child is to help them learn number facts:

  • For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts – knowing them without using their fingers to work it out. NumBots will helps with this.
  • For older children, number facts also includes times tables. By the end of Year 4, children should know their times tables without having to count through to reach the answer. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with this.

    Our data shows that the children who do well in our assessments are the children who are spending more time practising on NumBots and Rock Stars. Likewise, the children who need to learn these facts more aren’t using this resource at home. Ten minutes every day at home would really help.

    Living and Learning

Living and Learning is our name for everything that falls within the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education curriculum, the PE curriculum and other things relating to being happy and healthy learners.

In Living and Learning, as shown in our long term plan, we’ll be focusing on drug education for the next two weeks.

Our first statement for this learning is I know what a drug is.

Our definition of a drug refers to a substance that changes the way the body or mind works. The word ‘drug’ includes:

  • all legal drugs, including tobacco, alcohol, solvents and volatile substances, misused medicines and legal highs
  • all illegal drugs
  • prescribed and over-the-counter medicines

During the two week topic, we welcome d:side, a health education provider, to school to deliver drug education workshops to each class as part of this learning.

On a separate matter linked to Living and Learning, you might not know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021). Take a look at this list of children’s books that open conversations about mental health.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 07 May 2021)

Posted on 07 May 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Like this week, next week is a four day week – Friday 14 May is a training day so school will be closed. Before then, of course, we’ve this Friday’s Weekly Message…

Charities

Last week, we decided our school charity for the year ahead. This began with some Talk Time homework where children discussed charities at home and then came to school with a particular charity to nominate. Then, in class, a second discussion was had to agree one charity to put forward to the newly-elected Junior Leadership Team. They then reviewed all the class suggestions and arrived at the final whole-school decision:

As part of the Captain Tom 100 initiative, we’ve already raised some money for the chosen charities – thanks for all your donations so far.

The importance of sleep

Our Living and Learning statement next week is I know the importance of sleep. You can help at home by making sure your child gets enough sleep, well away from tempting electronic devices. The NHS recommend that a primary school age child gets 9 – 12 hours.

Check out these sites for more information…

Pupil premium

Pupil premium is additional funding for schools that depends on the number of children who are registered for free school meals.

300,000 more pupils became eligible in first seven months of Covid.

Even if your child is in Reception or Key Stage 1, where school meals are free, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.

Even if your child has a packed lunch, we need you to register for free school meals – this will lead to extra funding.

Speak to our office staff about how to do this.

Sports day

Finally this week, a few of you have asked about Sports Day, which is scheduled for the week beginning 12 July.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown sets out two dates for the further easing of restrictions if all goes well: 17 May and 21 June.

By 21 June, ‘the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact’. A key word here is ‘hopes’.

We can’t guarantee that Sports Day will go ahead, but we hope that it will happen as scheduled. There may need to be restrictions in place, such as asking families to stay socially distanced or inviting just one parent/carer to attend. We’ll have to wait and see…

Have a good weekend, even if it’s a bit of a wet one.

From student to teacher

Posted on 03 May 2021 by Mrs Weekes

We broke the news to you last week that Mr Owen is leaving Moortown Primary at the end of the summer term. We had a lot of people applying for the vacancy and last Wednesday, we invited 11 candidates to teach in the hall (and complete a couple of other tasks)  and then we invited the strongest teachers back on Thursday for an interview – a rigorous recruitment process!

We’re delighted to share the news that Miss Needham has been offered the post from September. Miss Needham joined us in September 2018 and was a teaching assistant for two years. During the last year, she has been a School Direct student and has been teaching alongside Mr Parker in Year 2. We’ve not confirmed which class Miss Needham will be teaching but in the meantime, we’d like to say ‘Congratulations’!

Which charity?

Posted on 02 May 2021 by Mrs Weekes

Our newly elected Junior Leadership Team’s (JLT) first job has been a very important one. As you know, all classes have been discussing which charity they’d like to support this year. I met with the JLT on Friday morning and found out more about the charities each class had chosen: one class had chosen a charity which supports those in need at times of crisis, Akhirah Team; two classes chose World Wildlife Fund; and four classes chose Dogs Trust. It was decided, by the majority, that the charity we are going to support is Dogs Trust.

Our first fundraising event will be on Tuesday 04 May when all children will be taking part in the Captain Tom 100 challenge. There will be a bucket at the gate for donations of at least £1.

Thank you for your support with fundraising and in helping your child with choosing a charity.

This week’s message (Friday 30 April 2021)

Posted on 30 April 2021 by Mr Roundtree

There’s a growing sense of optimism at the moment with numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 going down and the numbers of Leeds residents who have been vaccinated going up. On 19 April, the case rate was 48.4 per 100,000. This is the lowest rate seen in Leeds since September 2020. The highest case rate is amongst young people aged 11-18 (87.6 per 100,000), so we do all need to keep following Covid restrictions.

Homework

Our Homework Policy and the accompanying Homework Guide currently sets out daily expectations (read, practise spellings, and practise times tables) and weekly expectations (Creative, Talk Time or Practice Makes Perfect).

Our assessments show that lockdown may have had an impact on some children’s reading fluency, spellings and times tables. Nationally, there’s growing evidence that the lockdown has had an impact on young children’s language skills.

For these reasons, from next week, we’re tweaking our policy a little for the rest of the school year. We’re dropping the Creative and Practice Makes Perfect tasks.

We really want you to make sure your child is meeting the daily expectations set out the Homework Guide:

  • Please do make sure your child spends some time each day learning spellings and practising their times tables – going on Times Tables Rock Stars would be great for this. (Numbots for younger children would be good, too.)
  • Reading is so helpful in so many ways – from reading fluency to promoting positive mental health, a good book works wonders – so please make sure your child is reading (or you read aloud to them) each day.

Each week, we’ll set a Talk Time homework. Its purpose is to promote lots of conversation and debate at home, which in turn should promote oracy and vocabulary.

Check out these five tips to boost your child’s vocabulary.

This article might also interest you – it’s about the value of more play time for your child’s mental health and social skills.

As always, you’re welcome to let us know your views. Later this term, we’ll include a question about the tweaked homework in the annual survey, too.

Computing

Children in Years 1-6 have a Computing topic this half-term. Read more about the learning that’s going on in our Curriculum Statement. Our age-related expectations for Computing are on pages 13 and 14. These are followed by Staying Safe Online expectations on pages 15 and 16.

To help at home… have chats with your child about what they’re learning. Ask them what vocabulary they’re using in the topic – it could be words like ‘de-bug’, ‘algorithm’, ‘sequence’ and ‘decomposing’. (All these words feature in the age-related expectations.)

Talking of Computing and staying safe online, over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.

Does your child play Roblox? It’s one of the most popular video games of recent times. Read this guide for tips on a number of potential risks such as in-app purchases, online dating and chat functionality.

This weekend is a longer one – enjoy the extra day, whatever the weather!

Skip into summer

Posted on 28 April 2021 by Mrs Taylor

This term, all classes will be taking part in the West Yorkshire Skip into Summer project with Skipping School. We are excited to be part of the 136 schools and almost 33,000 children taking part!

As part of this project, we have skipping ropes available to buy at a subsidised price of £3.

If your child would like to buy a rope, to keep learning their new skills at home, they will be on sale, outside the Year 1 classroom in the middle playground, 3:10-3:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Exact change would be helpful.

LFD testing

Posted on 23 April 2021 by Mrs Craggs

Following on from Mr Roundtree’s weekly message, we have received some  more information this morning about the LFD testing. Further information can be found here.