Staying safe online
Posted on 16 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree
#DITTO is a free online safety (e-safety) magazine in PDF format for schools, organisations and parents to keep you up to date with risks, issues, advice and guidance related to keeping children safe online, with a view to enjoying and learning about technology. A new edition is released approximately every six weeks.
You can subscribe for free to the magazine.
It’s written by Alan Mackenzie, an independent consultant specialising in online safety. Alan is a strong believer that technology, for the most part, is neutral; behaviour is the most important aspect.
In the latest edition of #DITTO, he looks at:
- How safe are our children report
- YouTube app review
- The Cybersurvey
- Online safety tickboxes
Check out his four top tips for resources to support you in making sure your child stays safe online – they’re on page 28.
Homework policy update
Posted on 12 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Each year in the annual survey of parents and carers, we ask what you like most about our school and what you think we might be able to improve. We always get lots more people telling us things they like – thank you for this! We do also welcome your suggestions for improvements – whilst we can’t always act on all the suggestions, we do always read and consider them.
One area that comes up every year is homework. Some of you want more, some of you want less. Some of you like the Creative homework, some of you thinks it takes too much time.
This year, we’ve listened to what you tell us and thought about ways we think we can improve:
- We’ve reminded teachers to make sure homework is purposeful.
- We’ve reviewed the guidelines as to how long we recommend your child spends on their homework – the new guide is no more than 30-40 minutes, which includes for Creative homework.
- We’ve reflected on the amount of the three different types of homework (Talk Time, Creative and Practice makes Perfect) so there’s hopefully a better balance to suit more pupils (and parents).
We hope the new changes will mean continued happy and healthy learning at home as well as at school. Read the policy and download a Homework Guide.
Have you signed up to receive the useful National Online Safety guides?
Posted on 11 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree
National Online Safety believe in empowering parents, carers and trusted adults with the information they need to hold informed and age appropriate conversations about online safety with their child, should they feel it is needed. Every Wednesday, they produce guides to focus on specific platforms/risks which they believe trusted adults should be aware of.
Top ten tips for travel and traffic
Posted on 11 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree
How is your child getting to school?
Posted on 11 September 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Start the new school year with good travel habits! Plan your journey well so your child can be as active as they possibly can – walking, cycling, scooting, ‘park and stride’ and even taking the bus are all far healthier than travelling by car.
Help your children to be healthier, happier, more independent, resilient and ready to learn: download information from Bright Kidz to help plan your journey.
Annual survey: you said, we'll do
Posted on 09 September 2019 by Mrs Weekes
Thank you to those parents who completed the annual parent/carer survey. Your comments give us the opportunity to not only celebrate those things you think are great about our school but also to consider ways to improve. Mr Roundtree has already presented an overview; I’ve identified three areas which we’ll work on in school. Whilst it is impossible to attempt to respond to all comments, we do read every one.
This year, a few people raised behaviour incidents that appeared to go unnoticed or children being told to ‘ignore’ incidents. Ignoring minor problems can be a way to ‘rise above’ something and help to build up resilience. However, we absolutely agree that this is often not the best way to respond. We’ll work with all adults in school to explore other ways to manage behaviour problems and to make sure we respond effectively to the child who’s upset. For example, we’ll aim to make sure that an upset child has ways to solve a minor problem independently – empowering the child in this way is likely to be more effective over time.
Linked to behaviour, a small number raised concerns about some individual children’s behaviour. Pupils’ behaviour at Moortown is really, really good: the vast majority of children follow our rules and behave appropriately in different situations. Sometimes, some individual children may need a different approach to help them support their behaviour choices. Their behaviour is not being ignored but is being addressed in a different way. Please be assured that behaviour is not ignored – it’s just that sometimes (quite rarely!) it needs addressing in different ways.
Homework was another thing raised in the survey. The right amount of homework is always difficult to achieve: some parents want school to provide more learning opportunities at home and others want none at all. We think reading and times table practice is essential. Some comments mentioned that the creative homework was difficult for children to achieve without parents supporting them to do research. As a result of this, we will add to our homework policy that creative homework should only come at the end of new learning – when the children have all the information they need. This means your child won’t need much help at all – they’re demonstrating what they’ve learnt in school.
There were several comments raised about the space at the back of school. We are as frustrated as you regarding the time it is taking to develop the area of land at the back of school. It may seem that we’re not doing anything but because of logistics (planning permission, tree felling, landscaping and cost), it’s taking a long time to show any changes. We know that you would like more outdoor space for your children to enhance their learning – we do too. The space will be developed into a useable area as soon and as safely as possible. We know you’re frustrated – we’ll update you with as much as we can each half term in our newsletters.
Posted on 08 September 2019 by Mrs Taylor
At the end of each year, schools are invited to apply for their School Games Mark. The School Games Mark rewards schools for their commitment to and development of competition, school sport and physical education.
We’re very proud to announce that our application has been verified and we have been awarded Platinum award.
Platinum award is open to schools who have achieved Gold award for the previous four years.
We have achieved this award due to encouraging a large number of children to participate in sporting activity; providing a variety of different sports; partaking in competitions; involving children in leadership activities and having many local links with external clubs and establishments.
Thank you to staff who have accompanied children to these events or run after-school clubs this year. Thank you also to Mrs Russell who provides excellent administration of our clubs and sporting events and competitions. Thank you as well to all parents/carers who have helped with transport and supported at our events this year.
Finally, well done to all pupils who have tried out a new physical activity either at an after-school club or as part of a competition or participation event and to those children who have represented our school so well this year.
KS2 fruit tuck shop
Posted on 08 September 2019 by Mrs Taylor
Our popular Key Stage 2 fruit tuck shop runs every Tuesday playtime and regularly sells over one hundred portions of fruit.
The dates for the tuck shop for this year are:
Autumn term Tuesday 24 September 2019 to Tuesday 17 December 2019 inclusive
Spring term Tuesday 14 January 2020 to Tuesday 31 March 2020 inclusive
Summer term Tuesday 28 April 2020 to Tuesday 14 July 2020 inclusive
This year we’ll continue with the pre-payment option so that you pay in advance for the whole year for your child to have fruit from the tuck shop. We know that some children like to buy more than one portion of fruit, either for variety or to top up their packed lunch and we can also offer the option of paying for two items.
As an incentive for selecting the pre-pay option, we’re able to offer you one week per term free. Therefore for this year, you’d pay for 31 weeks and receive fruit for 34 weeks. The cost for one portion of fruit for this year is £6.20 and the cost for two portions is £12.40.
Please note that payments are non-refundable and should be made via School Gateway. If you prefer your child to pay in cash on a weekly basis, that’s fine – we’ll continue to operate this system. Each portion of fruit costs 20p.
If you’d like to pay in advance for your child to visit the tuck shop, please do this via School Gateway, under the payment option, by Friday 20 September 2019.
Thank you for your support for the fruit tuck shop.
Living and Learning
Posted on 01 September 2019 by Mrs Taylor
As we return to school, we begin our Living and Learning theme with a focus on manners: I can greet someone politely.
We’ll then continue by thinking about the ‘8 Rs for learning’. This theme is about promoting good learning behaviour for your child.
Each week, we’ll focus on two different ‘Rs’. We use an animal to symbolise each ‘R’, which might help your child remember all eight – can your child remember which animal matches the correct ‘R’?
You can support your child at home – we’ve listed a few ideas to help you below. Ask us if you’ve any questions or comments.
I can show I am ready to learn.
Make sure your child is at school for a prompt start of 08:50.
Make sure your child has had plenty of sleep so they are alert and ready to learn at all times.
Encourage your child to ask lots of questions – that shows they want to learn!
I respond to feedback.
Ask your child if they remember their ‘stars’ and ‘steps’ in English and Maths.
I take a safe risk.
Talk about the difference between a safe and unsafe risk. At school, we want your child to take a safe risk by having a go at answering, even if unsure; trying something new and attempting harder learning.
I take responsibility for my own learning.
Provide time and space at home so your child is able to organise themselves: their PE kit, reading book, homework, spellings and tables… Don’t organise everything for them!
Make a link between rights and responsibilities: your child has the right to a great education, but needs to be responsible for their own learning.
I am resourceful.
Encourage your child to be organised so they can play with a range of different toys.
Encourage your child to try new ways to solve a tricky problem.
I am resilient.
Encourage your child to keep going! Set a tricky challenge or puzzle for your child to do.
Encourage your child to think of different ways of doing things.
Don’t let your child win when they play a game – they need to experience losing, too!
Celebrate mistakes as opportunities to learn – be happy that your child found some learning hard and encourage them to ‘bounce back’ and learn from the experience.
Make sure they have time to learn spellings, number bonds and times tables – a little practice daily is best.
Play memory games:
Kim’s game: show them objects for 30 seconds… can they remember all the objects?
Can they build up the sequence, ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple’… ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple and a bike.’… ‘I went to the shop and I bought an apple, a bike and a cucumber.’ etc … Take turns!
I reflect about my learning.
Talk with your child about what they’ve learnt, asking questions about:
how they learnt
why they learnt it
when they’ll use their learning
how they would teach this to someone else
what learning might link with what they’ve learnt today etc
As well as covering the 8Rs for learning, pupils will also learn about their rights and responsibilities.
Finally, we end the half term learning about democracy (one of the British Values). All children have the opportunity to experience democracy in our annual School Council elections. More details to follow.
Our full Living and Learning long term plan is available on the health pages and you can keep up to date with our weekly Living and Learning statements on the parent noticeboard in the playground and also on the school calendar.
Annual survey results summary, 2019
Posted on 27 August 2019 by Mr Roundtree
Every year, we invite you to complete the annual survey of parents and carers. Thank you to the 89 people who completed the 2019 survey.
The agree/disagree statements were closely based on those that Ofsted use for their Parent View. This gives you the chance to tell Ofsted what you think about your child’s school, from the quality of teaching to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour.
We also asked whether you’d recommend the school and invited comments about what you like and what we could improve on.
We’re delighted that the statements prompted a very positive response: at least 94% of parents agreed or strongly agreed (and most strongly agreed).
Particularly positive responses can be seen for a few statements, including two where responses were 100% in agreement. These relate to My child makes good progress at this school and I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress.
Also very positive was that 98% of parents would recommend us to others.
A couple of respondents expressed concerns that seem to influence their responses throughout the survey. Sadly, the parents chose not to provide their names or explain why and this means that we’re not going to be able to try to address their concerns. If you’re one of these parents, please do consider arranging an appointment to speak with Mrs Weekes and/or me, Mr Roundtree – we’d really like to explore your views and see what we might be able to do to make things better.
The statements, with one or two typical comments, are:
- My child is happy at Moortown Primary School. (‘Both our children enjoy coming to school and have made some lovely friends.’)
- My child feels safe at this school. (‘The overall school and staff make my child feel safe.’)
- My child makes good progress at this school. (‘I can’t believe how far my reception child has come this year. It’s phenomenal’ and ‘Miss Rushbrooke is a wonderful teacher, ensuring academic progress, but with a great imagination and strong sense of fun – if only she hadn’t had to contend with SATs!’)
- My child is well looked after. (‘From teacher to headteacher, everyone cares’ and ‘Very much so…The caring culture means that the children look out for each other, too.’)
- My child is taught well at Moortown Primary School. (‘My child is taught in a fun and engaging environment and is learning to the best of her ability’ and ‘The open mornings demonstrated the high quality of teaching.’)
- Adults in school make sure pupils are well behaved. (‘It is such a great environment I have rarely heard of any trouble from pupils.’)
- Moortown Primary School deals effectively with bullying. (This is the one statement which didn’t earn a 94+% agreement, but that’s because 22% answered they didn’t know, with comments saying their child hasn’t encountered bullying: ‘We’ve had no experience but I can see that there are high expectations of behaviour’ for example.)
- The school is well led and managed. (‘Well organised, clear communication, plenty of options to feed back, connect and always an open door and time for conversation. Thank you brilliant hard working team.’)
- The school responds well to any concerns I raise. (‘All staff have been very approachable in this regard.’)
- I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress. (‘The reports and parents evenings are very helpful.’)
Would you recommend the school? (‘We cannot speak highly enough of this school.’)
Tell us something you like about the school.
63 comments received, some of which relate to very specific reasons, but typical comments include praise for our teachers, our children’s behaviour and our community feel. ‘Nice culture and friendly inclusive environment. High quality staff and teaching. A standout is its respectful learning environment’ and ‘Caring and involved staff members. All seek to help and assist parents as well as pupils.’ are typical comments which we appreciate greatly!
Any reference here or throughout the survey to particular teachers will be passed on to teachers, who welcome the feedback as part of their commitment to performance improvement.
Tell us something the school could improve on.
55 comments received, although many of these are actually positive comments like ‘I like it the way it is. A shame we can’t opt out of SATs…’
As in previous years, the majority of comments reflect conflicting viewpoints, especially in relation to homework: some want more, some want less; some don’t like the creative homework, some don’t like the whole-school homework tasks… The conclusion, as in previous years, is that we can’t please everyone all the time about an issue like homework, but we will keep reviewing this. Interestingly this year, another example of differing opinions relate to the degree of competition in our school. Two other common issues that were raised are school dinners – we’ll pass on this feedback to our caterers – and the inconsiderate/unsafe parking of some parents/carers – we’ll continue to monitor and try to address these concerns in whatever way we can.
The survey results and the comments will be passed to Mrs Weekes, as Head of School, who will review the feedback alongside me, as Head of Federation, in order to identify up to three key actions that we will do. Mrs Weekes will also feed back to staff any particular concerns that were raised as well as – far more common – make sure staff are aware of the praise they’ve earned.