This week’s message (Friday 10 February 2023)
Posted on 10 February 2023 by Mr Roundtree
We’ve reached the end of the Spring 1 half-term. Thank you to everyone for attending the parent-teacher meetings this week.
Next half term, our Living and Learning sessions return to the theme of mental wellbeing. MindMate supports mental health and wellbeing – check out the resources and support that’s available for parents and carers.
As always the associated weekly Living and Learning statement can be found on our school calendar.
Sticking to the theme of health, find out more about Play Streets, Junior Parkrun and Park Play in this short video.
This week’s seen us mark Safer Internet Day – talk to your child about what they’ve learnt about in school. To help support staying safe online, have you got parental controls switched on? Check out this easy to follow guide. Read more information about parental controls.
As part of the Safer Internet Day, we had some special visitors from the NSPCC come into school. Here’s some lovely feedback…
Thank you for allowing us to visit today to share important messages with children. As soon as we walked through the door, we had a warm welcome from the reception staff, the children on the playground (they all recognised buddy, our mascot) and from the teachers. You have a lovely school, and it had a warm and friendly feel to it!
Both classes [Y5 and Y6] engaged extremely well… There were some great discussions and involvement from all children. Both volunteers commented how well behaved the children were.
Does your child have additional needs?
Over the next few weeks, Leeds SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice Support Service) is running some virtual information sessions aimed at providing parents/carers with information, advice and support on SEND topics. These will cover topics that they’re frequently asked about, and there’ll also be the opportunity to ask relevant questions at the end of each session. Dates/times for these are as follows:
SEND support in schools
Monday 06 March, 5.15pm
Wednesday 15 March, 1pm
EHC needs assessments
Thursday 02 March, 10am
Monday 20 March, 5.15pm
Section I appeals
Monday 27 February, 5.15pm
Wednesday 08 March, 1pm
Refusal to assess appeals
Monday 13 March, 5.15pm
Tuesday 21 March, 10am
To book a place or for more information, check out their website.
Over the holiday, please keep encouraging a love of reading: books, comics, websites, recipes… Have a happy and healthy half-term.
Marvellous maths makes money!
Posted on 08 February 2023 by Mrs Weekes
Hopefully, if you are a parent of a child in Y1 upwards, you will have seen a letter telling you about our sponsored maths challenge. After the success of this event last year, our Junior Leadership Team decided it was worth doing again. We think they’ve made a good decision.
Each class will be doing a maths challenge on 01 March which gives everyone plenty of time to get some sponsors! Children from Year 1 upwards will be having a go at the challenge on Friday, this week, without any practise and then they have got plenty of time to improve their score before the sponsored event in March. The children in Reception will be bringing their letters home on Friday to tell you about their challenge which is slightly different.
Polish those number skills and get practising over the next couple of weeks and see how much money we can raise. Any money raised will be split between our school charity, St Gemma’s Hospice, and school – any money raised for school will be used to improve our outside environment.
Happy sponsoring and thank you for your support.
This week’s message (Friday 03 February 2023)
Posted on 03 February 2023 by Mr Roundtree
At a recent meeting of headteachers, we did a quick straw poll: which year group has been most impacted by Covid lockdowns? Well over half of the headteachers said Year 3, and to a large extent we’re finding that, too. No matter what year group, the best way to keep supporting your child is to make sure they’re reading every day and practising number facts. This week’s message comes from our Reading Leaders…
Early reading and phonics
We’ve already done nearly half a year’s worth of phonics in Reception and Year 1 – plus two assessments. We’re very pleased with progress and hope you can see how fluent children are when they’re reading to you at home. Year 2 children have been reviewing their phonic knowledge with an increasing focus on writing and spelling.
It’s all about repeated practice when learning how to read. If children are not reading words with fluency and automaticity (automatically), they probably just haven’t had enough practice. Re-reading to increase fluency, add prosody (rhythm, intonation, expression) and develop comprehension is why we read the same book or text in school all week. Extra reading of the same text at home is a brilliant way to celebrate children’s success and for them to continue to refine all these elements.
You really can help at home by ensuring you give your child the opportunity to read their school reading book or eBook. We’re the ‘expert readers’ so reading to them (at bedtime, for example) is just as important.
Reading in Key Stage 2
This half-term, your child is ‘solo reading’. They’ll be bringing home a book to read that they’ve chosen – usually from our school library. It’s really important that your child is reading this book regularly alongside an adult and that they bring their signed Reading Record into school every week.
Whilst regular reading is the most crucial aspect in a child’s development, there are other things you can do to help at home, too:
- talk about reading
- be a reading role model
- visit a local library / book shop
- ask your child what they’ve read at school
- regularly practise spellings (spelling and reading use the same skills – recognising patterns between letters and sounds)
This week saw the first of four days of industrial action by the National Education Union. Our school was largely unaffected. There are three more planned days coming up:
- Tuesday, 28 February (Northern, North West, Yorkshire and Humber regions)
- Wednesday, 15 March (England and Wales)
- Thursday, 16 March (England and Wales)
Workers don’t have to advise their employer if they plan to strike or not. Our advice remains the same: it might be wise to arrange childcare on these days in case your child’s class needs to close. We’ll keep you updated as much as we can.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in person for next week’s parent-teacher meetings. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend.
Cross country finalists
Posted on 02 February 2023 by Mrs Taylor
Today, four Key Stage 2 pupils represented our school in the Leeds cross country final after qualifying in the North East Leeds competition.
Well done to all the children who gave 100% in their races of over 100 runners and with a tough hill at the end.
Special congratulations to our Year 6 runner who after finishing 1st in his heat went on to finish 1st in the Leeds final today! A fantastic acheievement! He will now qualify for the West Yorkshire cross country final.
Thank you to parents who transported and supported the children today.
This week’s message (Friday 27 January 2023)
Posted on 27 January 2023 by Mr Roundtree
I can’t believe we’re almost into February already! Safer Internet Day is coming up on Tuesday o7 February. What’re you doing at home to help your child stay safe?
Is your child a gamer?
Check out this guide to keep safe whilst using online software and games. from SWGfL. With advice on reporting and blocking, online socialisation and the considerations on online gaming, the pamphlet can be a useful basis for a conversation about staying safe online when gaming.
Is your child a fan of Fortnite?
Since its release 2017, Fortnite has had a mass appeal for children. This means children are exposed to multi-player chatting with strangers, and financial exploitation via the game’s spend-to-gain-advantage operating style – this allows children to use real world money to gain perks and costumes.
Fortnite has the potential to lead to criminal blackmailing and coercion of nude exchanges by online ‘friends’ posing as children. Internet Matters has published a guide to understanding the game and its terms.
Is your child connected to virtual reality?
Research has shown that two thirds of the UK public lack confidence that child safety is a priority in the metaverse, with 71% of adults expressing doubt in tech companies prioritising children’s safety. However, the study also revealed over a fifth of adults would buy their child a VR (virtual reality) headset if they could, despite these concerns.
Is your child happy and healthy online?
It’s become more and more common for people – including children – to talk to strangers online. A small amount of these relationships turn out malicious – we need to be aware of the dangers if they do.
Children and young people may find it difficult to understand when an online relationship turns out to be a bad one. The Information Commissioners Office, the UK’s information rights agency, has published guidance on what to look for when online relationships turn sour.
And finally, remember some advice from last week, too:
- check devices regularly alongside your child – doing this means that your child can moderate their own behaviour and have regular opportunities to talk about things that might be concerning them
- keep the devices downstairs – the more ‘public’ space means that children make the same good choices they would do in ‘in real life’ and have plenty of opportunities to talk about what they’re doing and seeing
Posted on 26 January 2023 by Mrs Weekes
With such fierce competition, our children did brilliantly:
Industrial action - 01 February 2023
Posted on 25 January 2023 by Mrs Weekes
Last week, we sent a couple of messages about the forthcoming strikes:
As you know, the National Education Union (NEU), one of the trade unions representing the teaching profession, has announced its intention to strike.
As communicated before, for schools in our region, the dates of the planned strikes are:
- Wednesday, 01 February
- Tuesday, 28 February
- Wednesday, 15 March
- Thursday, 16 March
Mr Roundtree and I have assessed the situation and the likely impact on our school. Under the current legal framework, workers have the right to change their mind about taking industrial action so we can’t be 100% certain; however, at the moment, we’re confident that we can remain open on Wednesday 01 February. As this is the first day of industrial action, we’ll reassess the situation for the other dates.
Thank you for your support and patience.
This week’s message (Friday 20 January 2023)
Posted on 20 January 2023 by Mr Roundtree
Today’s message is a long one. Hopefully, the sub-headings later on will help you to read the parts that matter most to you. We do encourage you all to read this next bit…
Did your child get an electronic device for their Christmas?
Recently, Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman has said she is ‘not comfortable’ with primary school aged children having unlimited internet access. She said there was a ‘great deal’ that could be done to really limit the content to which young children are exposed: ‘The first thing you can do is not give a child a smartphone when they’re too young,’ she said. ‘I’m very surprised when primary aged children have smartphones, for example, and even in early secondary school. It’s really hard to manage that.’
Whether you agree with her or not, the reality is that we’re having to increasingly address problems that children encounter online at home, especially bullying comments on WhatsApp (despite a minimum age of 16).
I had a chat with a parent this week about this. It was great to hear that she had rules in place at home for her children and online devices:
- sitting alongside the children, Mum or Dad check the devices regularly – knowing this means that children moderate their own behaviour and have set opportunities to talk about things that might be concerning them
- the devices are kept downstairs – the more ‘public’ space means that children make the same good choices they would do in the playground and other spaces and have plenty of opportunity to talk about what they’re doing and seeing
These two simple rules mean that online behaviour is open – nothing is secret.
If you’ve not already done so, please draw up a few ground rules to stay safe online.
Watch us while we work
Next Thursday (26 January), we’ve another session where we invite you into school to check out the teaching and learning. Come and join us in the classroom to watch us. It’s an opportunity to see some Maths and Reading being taught – it might help to support your child at home.
Safer Internet Day
On Tuesday 07 February, we’ll join schools across the UK in marking Safer Internet Day 2023. Safer Internet Day is a global campaign to promote the safe and responsible use of technology, which calls on children and young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers and more, to help to create a better internet.
Using the internet safely and positively is a key message that we promote in school. Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for us to re-emphasise the online safety messages we deliver throughout the year.
Please continue the conversation at home – use these activities and information to help you. Whether you have five minutes to start a conversation or hours to spare, there are top tips, quizzes and films which you can use at home with your child.
If you have any concerns or questions about keeping your child safe online, please do get in touch with your child’s class teacher or Mrs Weekes.
Speak out, Stay safe
Teaching children how to talk about their worries to stay safe is so important. Next week, as part of our Living and Learning lessons, all classes will be completing the NSPCC Speak out Stay Safe assemblies to ensure our pupils know what to do and who they can speak to.
The NSPCC has also developed an adapted version of their assembly for parents/carers to use at home with their children.
To complement the assembly, there are some resources that can be used to enable further discussion whilst doing activities with your children.
Childline also have a website with age-appropriate advice for primary school children on topics such as bullying. It also has games and other interactive tools.
Well done to Scholes (Elmet) parent, Liam Ffrench, who has been elected as Sphere Federation’s new parent governor. Thank you to all three candidates, and thank you to you if you voted.
Yesterday, the National Education Union (NEU), one of the trade unions representing the teaching profession, announced its intention to strike.
For schools in our region, the dates of the planned strikes are:
- Wednesday, 01 February
- Tuesday, 28 February
- Wednesday, 15 March
- Thursday, 16 March
In some schools there may be little or no impact from strike action but in others it may mean that changes are made to the way they operate – this includes partial or full closure.
At the moment, we are not in a position to indicate whether Moortown Primary will be affected.
We will keep you informed. In the meantime, it would be advisable to prepare for some disruption on the days listed here.
We understand this is frustrating and that it might seem like there are mixed messages: if teachers strike, how can we refuse term-time holidays, for example. To be clear, it is one teachers’ union that is currently striking and this union argue that there are strong reasons to strike for the long-term benefit of pupils. There are other teachers’ unions who are not currently striking. Mrs Weekes and I are currently assessing the possible impact of the strike days. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.
With our very best wishes for a happy and healthy – and warmer – weekend.
This week’s message (Friday 13 January 2023)
Posted on 13 January 2023 by Mr Roundtree
Thanks for all the compliments about the after-school clubs we’re offering this term – everything from art to yoga!
This week’s message is from Mr Wilks, our leader for Science and Foundation Subjects…
We’ve just started a Geography topic in school.Before we dive right in, here’s a reminder about topics and what they look like.
What do we mean by topics?
Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg History, Art, Geography). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.
Although the learning in each topic is provided by the driving subject, 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, your child is a geographer. The topic focusses on either environmental issues or natural disasters. Children in Years 1 and 2 will investigate their locality; Years 3 and 4 children will learn about volcanoes; and Y5,6 children are investigating climate change.
Across the year groups, children will develop their understanding of some key geographical concepts:
- location is a position (eg a country, a city), often described in a clear, precise way (ie using a latitude and longitude).
- place = location + meaning. It is constantly changing. A sense of place is also defined by how an individual perceives it (eg one person’s perception of Leeds or Wetherby as a place will be very different to another’s).
- scale is the relative sizes of different places. This could be differences in area, population, distance or the amount of natural resources. Scale is also defined by our view of the world. We may consider an aspect of geography on a local, national or international scale eg climate change.
- interdependence is the idea that the world is connected. No country or individual acts in isolation. Our actions here affect people in different countries around the world. This can be related to where we get our food and energy, where we go on holiday, or the effects of climate change across the world.
Check out our Curriculum Statement for more information about key concepts (page 17) and age-related expectations and vocabulary (page 22 and 23).
Years 1 and 2
Children begin the topic by learning about the four countries and capital cities that make up the United Kingdom. They then go on to learn about the difference between human and physical geography features. They’ll then investigate human and physical features in their locality. The key part of this topic is to investigate their locality and identify what they like about it and why. They will also investigate something that could be improved and how it could be improved. For example, they may notice that litter is an issue and raise awareness of this issue with their peers in school, local residents and even a local councillor.
Years 3 and 4
Children will be learning about volcanoes. They’ll begin by learning about what lies beneath the Earth’s surface. They’ll investigate plate tectonics and how these move and the different types of volcanoes formed by this movement. They’ll learn about how mountains are formed and name and locate the tallest peaks in the UK – did you know that these peaks are the remains of ancient volcanoes? Next, they’ll move onto some specific case studies: Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and Mount Vesuvius in Italy. They’ll investigate how volcanoes can be dangerous but also bring benefits to the people who live in their shadows.
Years 5 and 6
Children are learning about climate change. They’ll begin by learning about latitude and the link to world climate. They’ll then learn about what climate change is and what is causing it. They’ll then look at three case studies to learn more about the consequences of climate change across the world: melting sea ice in Greenland, rising sea levels in the Solomon Islands and coastal erosion in East Yorkshire. Finally, they’ll consider how climate change can be slowed and whose responsibility it is.
How can you help?
Regardless of the year group your child is in, Google Earth is a brilliant tool to help develop children’s understanding of space, place, scale and interdependence. 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 comparing places.
- Year 1,2: Can you find your school? Your classroom? Your house? Your local park?
- Year 3,4: Can you locate the two volcanoes you’ll be studying? Can you zoom into the craters? What similarities and differences can you see?
- Year 5,6: Use this mapping tool to investigate how a place has changed over time. We’ll be focusing on coastal erosion but you could find where you live and compare today’s map with one from fifty or a hundred years ago. What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Quizzing your children about some locational knowledge will help them to remember important information. I’ve listed some examples below. Use the age-related expectations to find the right pitch for your child.
- Which continent do we live in?
- Which country do we live in?
- In which hemisphere is our country located?
- 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?
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.
For KS2 children, there are lots of different games and activities on the Ordnance Survey Mapzone website. I especially like the jigsaws in the Map Puzzles section of the Games. Click here for the website.
Also for KS2 children, there is lots of information and some tasks and quizzes on the BBC Bitesize website.
This week’s message (Friday 06 January 2023)
Posted on 06 January 2023 by Mr Roundtree
Happy new year to you all – I hope the Christmas break was a happy and healthy one for you. Now that we’ve had one full term in school, this week’s message is a look at attendance for the full Autumn term and information about a parent governor vacancy…
Up to 09 December across England, the attendance rate was 92.7% for all schools and 94.0% for primary schools (this is based on data for schools reporting their attendance figures to the Department for Education).
Up to 16 December, our whole school attendance figure is 95.6% – it’s fantastic that the Moortown Primary data is above national – thank you for helping to ensure your child attends school.
The attendance figure for each year group is similar:
- Reception class: 95.1%
- Year 1: 95.4%
- Year 2: 96.1%
- Year 3: 94.9%
- Year 4: 96.2%
- Year 5: 96.1%
- Year 6: 95.5%
We recently wrote to all parents and carers regarding a parent governor vacancy, and to seek nominations. As the number of nominations received exceeded the number of parent governor vacancies, it’s now necessary to hold a ballot.
We sent an email out this morning giving details about the voting process. Every parent of a registered pupil at school is eligible to vote.
To vote, use the following link: https://forms.gle/
The ballot closes at 12 noon on 13 January 2023. The result of the election will be confirmed on the school websites.
Have a good weekend.