Posted on 21 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree
Some of you might have spotted an article in the Sunday Times today about a group of parents who have concerns about homework. As part of the article, the newspaper has carried out research on a sample of 80 schools and their homework policies, including that of Scholes (Elmet) Primary., one of our federation schools, whose policy is almost the same as our own.
Articles like this are not especially helpful, especially when they take only a very short extract from our policy: ‘At Scholes (Elmet) Primary School in Leeds parents are contacted “if homework is of a regular poor standard, or . . . regularly not handed in”, according to the website.’
First, it’s not quite accurate. Our policy says: ‘We will communicate to parents/carers if homework is of a regular poor standard, or which is regularly not handed in.’ It would be extremely rare for us to contact parents/carers specifically about homework. Typically, we would wait until parent-teacher consultations or the annual report and make a comment at that point.
Second, the article doesn’t really present the big picture. Our Homework Policy presents a clear rationale for homework, backed up by research evidence. A review of the research around homework indicates that ‘Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support…The broader evidence base suggests that short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school.’ We believe our homework tasks achieve this: Talk Time is almost entirely about developing parental involvement and support in a way that is easy to achieve – ideally sitting together over a meal, but possible even in the car or walking to school; Creative homework is designed to let children demonstrate their learning in a way that suits their own ideas and preferences, and one where families can talk about and be involved in to whatever extent they choose. These two, plus the more traditional Practice Makes Perfect homework, are always based on learning that relates directly to what is being taught in school.
The policy also promotes other activities that will enrich children’s childhood: ‘Whilst homework develops children’s learning and independence, quality family time, play and free time are also important. Homework should not prevent children from taking part in wider activities such as those offered by out-of-school clubs and other organisations. Children develop their interests and skills to the full only when parents/carers encourage them to make maximum use of the opportunities available outside school.’
Third, this article was in today’s Sunday Times. Less than four years ago, the same newspaper published a very different article:
‘ONE of the biggest studies of homework ever carried out proves what every parent has always told their child — knuckling down after school pays dividends. An international study of the homework patterns of 15-year-olds in 65 countries has revealed a clear link between longer homework hours and higher academic performance. “These findings should finally silence sceptics who have argued that homework is bad for youngsters, causing stress and division in families,” said Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham. He called on more schools to take homework seriously by enforcing sanctions when pupils fail to do it.’
It’s a pity that today’s article misses an opportunity to present a more balanced report, even at the expense of referring to its own previous journalism.
Our Homework Policy was developed in consultation with parents/carers. Each year, we consider carefully views expressed in our annual survey – inevitably, some parents/carers feel there is too much but the majority support the current policy.
Active travel in October - week two winner
Posted on 21 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor
Well done to our week two active travel winner (08 – 12 October) who was randomly selected to receive the latest £10 voucher.
Our week three winner will be announced early next week.
We have a final weekly prize to award and also a prize for someone who has made an active journey to school every day in October. These prizes will be awarded straight after half term once our Living Streets travel tracker data is available.
Remember an active journey can be walking, biking, scooting or parking away from the school gate and striding the last part of the journey.
Posted on 17 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor
School Council are involved in a project to try and reduce the amount of lost property we have at school.
Starting this Friday, lost property will be available to look through in the playground to hopefully reduce the pile we have already this term!
Naming your child’s items helps to get things back to their owners so we will also be offering a clothing name labelling service for 20p per item. Profits will go to our school charity, Make-a-Wish.
New additions to the library - thank you, school councillors
Posted on 17 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor
At their final meeting, our current school councillors spent time, using part of their budget, choosing new books for our library.
From sport books to science books, there’s a great selection. The books will soon be available to borrow from the library.
School Council elections
Posted on 16 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor
In our whole school assembly today, we launched this year’s School Council election process. Our School Council is one of the ways that children are encouraged to take an active part in pupil voice.
The election process allows children to develop an understanding of one of the British Values, democracy, with two representatives from each class, chosen democratically by their peers.
Our current school councillors spoke about their role over the last year and the qualities needed to be an effective school councillor.
- use the 8 Rs for learning
- be respectful and polite
- help others
- be a good speaker and listener (to members of your class and in the meetings)
- share and be confident with your ideas
- let others speak
- accept the views of others even if you don’t agree
- be friendly and approachable
- follow our school rules and make good choices in class and around school
Watch out for the whole school homework this week all about the election and democracy, ready for the elections next Thursday 25 October.
Bike and run at the Brownlee Centre
Posted on 14 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor
The Brownlee Centre is a great facility on our doorstep.
These bike and run sessions, run by the Brownlee Foundation, are open to all children, any ability, aged 8-14. Why not give it a tri?
A happy and healthy and safe place to learn
Posted on 09 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree
At Moortown Primary, we place keeping our children safe – both physically and emotionally – as our top priority. We recently invited someone from Leeds LA to come in to school to audit all our safeguarding procedures. The purpose of the audit was to ‘assist schools in evaluating their procedures for Safeguarding and Child Protection’ – it’s something that many schools request in order to make sure their procedures are as robust as they can be.
We’re happy to tell you the audit went really well – some aspects of our procedures were even identified as exemplary!
Final comments in the report are:
I was shown around the school where I observed that the Living and Learning theme is embedded and visible to all pupils and staff and that notice boards and displays were of a high standard.
I spoke to 4 pupils who were confident in telling me about who they could go to in school for support and how they are taught to keep themselves safe on line. They all stated clearly that they felt safe in school because of the teachers they have around them.
It is clear to see that the safety and welfare of the children at Moortown Primary School is of high importance and the staff and SLT [Senior Leadership Team] have worked hard to meet the needs of its children and families.
The evidence presented for the audit was good and very thorough and the preventative approach through the curriculum was shown to be excellent and is embedded throughout the school.
Well done, Mrs Weekes, who’s the lead person in school for safeguarding.
Moortown Primary is a happy and healthy and safe place to learn.
Active travel winner
Posted on 09 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor
To mark International Walk to School month and our recent promotion of the Park and Stride site at Marks and Spencer, we are running a prize draw every week in October.
All children who make an active journey (bike, scoot, walk or park and stride) every day for each week are entered into a prize draw.
Each Friday in October, we will select a winner at random to win a £10 Love2Shop gift voucher.
Here’s our first winner. Keep up those active journeys to be in with a chance to win the next prize.
Parents' evening coming up
Posted on 08 October 2018 by Mr Roundtree
The first of two parent-teacher meetings are coming up soon: 22 October and 23 October. At these meetings, you’ll notice two changes.
In the annual survey of parents and carers, a small number mentioned that they would prefer more frequent updates about their child’s progress. We’ve acted on this by changing when we provide you with the Learning Updates. These were previously given to you at parents’ evening. However, this year, we’ll send these home at the end of the Autumn and Spring terms. This means you’ll have an update at the end of Autumn 1 (the parents’ evening), Autumn 2 (the Learning Update), Spring 1 (the second parents’ evening), Spring 2 (the second Learning Update), and then the end of year report in the Summer.
The second change is that under new data protection legislation, pupils’ books will be given to you during the parent-teacher meeting – meaning you can only see your own child’s books – and you’ll return those on the way out of school. (We’re sure parents didn’t peek into other books, but we’re doing this as a precaution.) To make things easier, the meetings will take place in the front building – some in classrooms and some in the hall.
As always, Mrs Weekes will be around to hear your questions, compliments and concerns with these arrangements.
Bounce into basketball
Posted on 03 October 2018 by Mrs Taylor