Latest news from around the school

Outstanding outcomes at key stage 2

Posted on 15 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

As most of you will know, end of key stage 2 assessments (known as SATs) were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. If our children had done the tests, it’s likely they’d have achieved outstanding outcomes – the fact is, they had already achieved great outcomes by February. Check out this visual overview of the results. Some highlights are:

  • 93.5% of pupils achieved the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths combined, placing Moortown Primary amongst the very highest performing schools in the country (percentile 2)
  • In Reading, Writing and Maths individually, the proportions reaching the higher standard (‘greater depth standard’) were roughly double that of the national figure
  • In terms of progress from Year 2 (the end of Key Stage 1), progress measures are similarly high for each of the subjects

How do we know?

This analysis comes from a service which Leeds City Council uses to analyse pupil assessment data.

Just before lockdown, our Year 6 children did a previous year’s SAT in Reading, Maths, and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling under test conditions. They were marked and graded based on the thresholds for that particular test. For Writing, the assessment stems from teacher assessment, as it would do for the outcomes in May. Year 6 teachers across Sphere Federation and beyond met at various times in the Autumn and Spring term to review their assessments for children’s writing.

The data uploaded to the local authority’s service was almost exactly that of the tests in February, meaning that the outstanding outcomes would more than likely be even better by May!

Well done to our former Year 6 pupils. Thanks also to the parents and carers for their support over the seven years of primary school.

Living and Learning: United against bullying

Posted on 15 November 2020 by Mrs Taylor

This week, it’s Anti-Bullying Week and the theme for this year is ‘United against bullying’.

Don’t forget – we are also taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday 16 November.

STOP is a key message linked to bullying. In our school, STOP stands for two things:

  • the definition: Several Times On Purpose
  • the solution: Start Telling Other People

Recently, our school council met to review our school definition of bullying and our child friendly anti-bullying policy. Thank you to the school councillors for their valued contributions. As a result, our definition and policy have now been updated.

Child friendly anti-bullying policy

What is bullying?

In our school, this is what bullying means:

Bullying is where you hurt someone, physically or emotionally (including online), several times on purpose.

What might bullying look like?

If any of these things happen several (lots of) times, it is bullying.

  • Hurting peoples’ feelings, for example, name calling, teasing, threatening, ignoring, leaving people out or spreading rumours
  • Hurting peoples’ bodies, for example, hitting, punching or kicking

This could be in person or online (cyber bullying) and could be because of someone’s race, disability, gender, appearance, age or any other protected characteristic.

What could you do if you are being bullied?





Who could you tell?

  • Mrs Weekes/Mrs Freeman/Mrs Russell/Mrs Small (they are child protection staff)
  • Mrs Taylor (Health Leader)
  • Any other members of staff
  • Friends
  • Someone in your family
  • A trusted adult
  • Childline (0800 1111)
  • Write a worry slip and put it in your Living and Learning box or the whole school worry box
  • Email [email protected]

Our views on bullying 

STOP bullying – bullying is wrong! We’re a happy and healthy school.


It's easy with 'easyfundraising'!

Posted on 14 November 2020 by Mrs Weekes

We have a chance to win £500 for our school this Christmas but we need your help!

All you need to do is remember to use the ‘easyfundraising’ website or app when you shop online in the run up to Christmas. Every time you use ‘easyfundraising’ to do your Christmas shopping with retailers like Amazon, eBay, Argos, Boots, Not on the High Street, Etsy (and 4000 other shops!) you’ll raise a free donation for the school at the same time.

PLUS, if our school raises the most in shopping donations between November 2nd and December 31st, we’ll win £500! Our school really needs this vital boost to its funds so please help! Can we do it? YES!

We are all doing lots more online shopping this year so ‘easyfundraising’ is a very easy way for you to raise money for the school from the comfort of home.

Please go to our ‘easyfundraising’ page here to find out more and support us when you shop:

Thank you so much in advance for your help – we can’t do this without you!

Thinking of others

Posted on 13 November 2020 by Mrs Weekes

Betsy, in Year 3, had a small idea; she wanted to run round Moortown Park a few times to raise money for Children in Need. This small idea grew and many of her friends decided to run round too – Mr Wain even tried to keep up.

Betsy’s idea led to Year 3 children raising a whopping £365 for Children in Need.

Fantastic effort. Well done.

Our weekly message (13 November 2020)

Posted on 13 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

It’s so good to keep receiving positive feedback about how we’re doing in these challenging times, including our weekly messages. Many thanks for this. This message kicks off with a gentle reminder. Lower down, there are details about some ways to support your child’s learning at home (whether they’re self-isolating or just in general). We’ve also important advice about your child keeping warm in school and some news about Christmas.

Continuing to take care

This is the end of the ninth week in school and we’re so fortunate that we’ve not burst a bubble – yet. Within your household group and beyond, it can sometimes feel a bit too much of an effort to maintain all the precautions…

  • hands (wash and sanitise them lots during the day)
  • face (wear a mask around people outside of your household)
  • space (maintain 2 metres distance around others)

…however, please do keep helping us keep our schools open for all. In general, respect the national lockdown restrictions, and in school, wear a mask and keep your distance from others at the start and end of the school day.

Supporting your child at home 1 – online activities

Since September, there’s a fairly steady number of children having to stay at home due to Covid. Whether your child is self-isolating or if you’re keen to provide a bit of extra support at home, please do remember we publish an overview of learning for your child to get on with at home on our Home learning page. Contact us if this online approach doesn’t work for you – we can provide paper-based learning if you’re child is self-isolating at home. It’s definitely also worth checking out our Help your child and Calculations and times tables pages which both contain a range of ideas, links and activities – even just a bit of regular practice of times tables and handwriting can make loads of difference!

Talking of times tables, Times Tables Rock Stars is an app and website that we use in school to quicken the recall of tables facts. It’s something that you can use at home, too – your child has their own username and password. (If you don’t have these, or you have any questions, email your child’s class teacher.) Each game is short so you don’t need lots of time. ‘Garage’ is where you’ll find tables set by us whilst ‘Soundcheck’ includes all facts up to 12 x 12.

We’ve just signed up to Numbots, too. Perhaps more suited to younger children or children who need a bit of extra support with the basics, this is a great app and website for practising addition and subtraction facts. Your child can use it at home – they login using the same details they use for Times Tables Rock Stars. There are 15 different games, each with a different focus. Topics covered include doubles and number bonds to 10, 20 and 100.

PhonicsPlay is a great website that teachers in Reception to Year 2 (and sometimes Year 3) use in their daily phonics lessons. In each game, you can select the phase of phonics and, more specifically, which letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes) to focus on.  The games are a fun way to practise reading sounds, real words, ‘alien words’ and sentences. Login details are Sphere (user name) and Spher3 (password). Check out the Resources page.

Supporting your child at home 2 – Zoom workshops for you

Normally in the Autumn term, we provide a range of workshops to help you support your child’s learning at home. This year, we’re happy to offer something similar via Zoom…

The sessions – each lasting just 30 minutes – are:

  • Wednesday 18 November: Curriculum
  • Monday 23 November: Reading (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  • Wednesday 25 November: Phonics (mainly for Reception / Key Stage 1)
  • Wednesday 02 December: Maths
  • **Re-scheduled date** Monday 07 December: EYFS (mainly for Reception)
  • Wednesday 09 December: Times Tables

All six sessions start at 6pm. If you’re interested in attending, please send us a message on the School Gateway app or email us at [email protected]. We’ll email the joining details out to all those who express an interest.

Keeping warm

Even though it’s getting colder, it’s important that we keep all areas of school as ventilated as possible. Ideally, the windows and doors should be open all of the time but we obviously don’t want staff or children shivering! We’ve asked teachers to judge the temperature and make a decision on whether it’s realistic to keep windows open during lessons. There’ll be times when it’s just too cold so we’ll open windows and doors when children aren’t in the rooms to blast some fresh air in.

Over the coming months, it’d be great if you could make sure your child has an extra layer on under their uniform or an extra jumper or fleece (unbranded and in the school colour where possible). Don’t forget suitable coats, too.

Christmas is coming…

…really?! Whilst we all wait eagerly for news of what Christmas might look like for ourselves and our families, we can say with some certainty that Christmas at school will be quite different.

Unfortunately, many of the things we do involve gathering large groups of children (and adults) together. Sadly, we won’t be performing any nativity plays for you to come and see. Instead, we’ll aim to share Christmas with you virtually with a few festive fun times. Details of these will be shared nearer the time.

Christmas parties will be held in individual classes with each child asked to bring their own party ‘pack-up’ to enjoy. Again, we’ll share details nearer the time.

Christmas will still be fun – just a little different!

Relationships and Sex Education Policy

Posted on 12 November 2020 by Mrs Craggs

Thank you to those of you who recently responded to our recent consultation about our revised Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Policy. We’ve taken a good deal of the feedback on board, especially around the notion of consent.

As part of our Living and Learning subject, coming up soon will be some teaching and learning specifically around RSE. Please see the letter and final policy. If you’ve any questions, comments or concerns, please speak with Mr Roundtree or Mrs Weekes.

Parent / carer workshops

Posted on 09 November 2020 by Mrs Craggs

Normally in the Autumn term, we provide a range of workshops to help you support your child’s learning at home. This year, we’re happy to offer something similar via Zoom…

We’ve arranged six short Zoom sessions led by Sphere Federation leaders on a range of subject areas. Each session will last for just 30 minutes, but will provide a few top tips and guidance as to how to support your child at home. The invitation is open to all parents and carers across Sphere Federation, although we’ve indicated below if the session might be more appropriate for particular age ranges.

The sessions are as follows:

  • Wednesday 18 November: Curriculum
  • Monday 23 November: Reading (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  • Wednesday 25 November: Phonics (mainly for Foundation 2 / Key Stage 1)
  • **re-scheduled date (apologies)** Monday 07 December: EYFS (mainly for Foundation 2)
  • Wednesday 02 December: Maths
  • Wednesday 09 December: Times Tables

All six sessions start at 6pm. They should last around 20-25 minutes, plus there will be a questions and answer session at the end of around 5-10 minutes.

If you are interested in attending any of these Zoom workshops, please could you either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email us at [email protected]. We will then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest, prior to the session.

We look forward to welcoming you to our virtual workshops!

Odd socks day

Posted on 09 November 2020 by Mrs Taylor

Next week is Anti-Bullying Week.

This year’s theme is ‘United against bullying’ and we will be taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday 16 November.

Odd socks day is to raise awareness of our differences, individuality and personal choice. There is no need for any payment – your child should simply wear odd socks and join in the fun!

Thank you for your support.

Our weekly message (06 November 2020)

Posted on 05 November 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Welcome back to school, and (sadly) to Lockdown 2…

Guidance for schools about the new national restrictions was released just the day before the lockdown kicked in, so we’re still working through any changes – we don’t anticipate too many, thankfully. You may have read headlines about teachers claiming that schools should close. The arguments stem from one particular union, and others disagree. As we said earlier this week, we fully support the decision to keep schools open – children need to be in school to learn and socialise. We can assure you that Sphere Federation schools have been working as hard as we can to keep our schools safe places to learn.

Your child’s a historian this half-term!

With the start of a new half-term comes the start of a new topic. Across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, children are becoming historians this half-term:

  • children in Years 1 and 2 will learn about the Great Fire of London
  • children in Years 3 and 4 will become experts on Ancient Greece
  • children in Years 5 and 6 will compare the Stone Age and Iron Age in Britain with what was going on in Ancient Egypt at around the same time

Read this one page list of History learning for the half-term ahead – it contains the core learning in terms of both knowledge and skills. (Be aware, though, that because of the closure of schools in Lockdown 1, teachers are being more flexible in their approach to the expectations set out in this document, making sure that missed learning and gaps are being addressed in Reading, Writing and Maths.)

And now, a message from Mrs Weekes…

The nights may be darker and with another lockdown just begun, but we’ve started this half term with lots of great learning and a positive buzz around school.
It’s great that we’ve made it into the second half term without having to ‘burst any bubbles’. This is because our children have been brilliant about staying in zones and keeping their hands sanitised and clean. It’s also down to you and the fact that social distancing and other measures are obviously being followed – thank you.
There are issues that are being reviewed constantly but routines are established and everyone’s getting used to the new normal. School lunches continue to be reviewed; the grab bags that are currently provided have really helped in getting the children used to new rules and expectations at lunchtime but we’re very aware that they aren’t ideal. With social distancing and available space, we can’t go back to a full hot menu, as yet, but there are plans in place to introduce a hot option that is not a grab bag – the details need to be decided but I’m meeting with the catering team this week to decide what is possible.
There have also been some changes to the extra space at the back of school; there’s been a separate website post about this but, in a nutshell, a lot of the land has been cleared and is now ready for some tarmac to be laid which is Phase 1 of the development. It’s very muddy (Mrs O’Malley had to hunt down her wellies) but we’re moving forward which is great news.
Part of keeping our environment safe during these Covid times is to have good ventilation all round school – great in the summer months but not so great now. We don’t want anyone to be shivering in class so there are a couple of options you could consider: add an extra layer for your child to wear under their uniform; or they could wear an additional jumper, sweatshirt or fleece (preferably red and unbranded). Also, please make sure that children are wearing suitable outdoor coats as we want them outside as much as possible.
Finally, two children have, in their own way, been thinking of people who are struggling for different reasons – well done to Betsy in Year 3 and Musa in Year 6 who have both been raising money for different causes. They’re both great role models to have in our school.
As always, thanks for all your ongoing support and patience with all the changes that are taking place.

What's happening with our extra space?

Posted on 03 November 2020 by Mrs Weekes

I know that many of you are wondering what’s happening with the area at the back of school. It might seem that during lockdown and with the pandemic being a priority, that we’ve put plans on hold. I can assure you that this isn’t the case. Here’s how the situation stands at present…

Planning permission was granted for us to lay tarmac and extend the playground area but there were pre-conditions we had to meet before we could go ahead with the work. These included trees and coal mining survey; soakaway tests; ground contamination; and assessment of tree protection needs. This involved engaging a landscape architect and a specialist company to do the surveys needed.

One of the most significant jobs was to have a groundwork analysis of the geology so that we can be certain of the impact on the drainage capacity. Getting quotes was the easy part, finding the money less so. The land is very wet so it’s essential that drainage is established and that conditions are followed.

We’re still waiting for the final sign off on the planning permission but we’re happy to tell you that the land clearance started last week in preparation for the tarmac to be laid.

The governors and staff have been working hard applying for grants and networking with local councillors to get the project kick started. All this work has paid off as the council have given us £10,000 as part of their Community Committee Funding Scheme.

We were also signposted to some big companies to be part of the council’s ‘Support the Community Project’. As a result of this, Colas Ltd has agreed to do all the works needed, at cost, and have also persuaded their suppliers to do the same!

Some of the future work will involve vehicles driving across the park area. We’re in contact with the council’s Parks and Countryside department to make sure any work is done safely and with consideration to the park. Colas Ltd are committed to doing the work sensitively and will restore any damage to the ground.

We’re hoping that the planning will be finally signed off some time in December and then the work can begin. Thank you to you all for your patience and support in this ongoing project.