News

Latest news from around the school

This week’s message (Thursday 21 October 2021)

Posted on 21 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week, our teachers have enjoyed meeting you in the parent-teacher meetings – we hope you found them helpful. If you need a longer meeting, or if you missed the appointment, do contact us.

This week’s message comes a day early. Tomorrow is a training day – teachers will be having training on the art curriculum and an update on safeguarding. talking of safeguarding, our message this week has a safeguarding theme…

Be wise

The children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, has launched a new website aimed at helping parents with typical situations they can find themselves in with their children. Advice can be found on over forty topics including:

  • Understanding sibling rivalry
  • My child is lying: What does it mean? What should I do?
  • My child has trouble going to sleep
  • My child says ‘I hate you!’
  • Cultural identity: ‘Who am I?’

Be careful

Have you heard about Squid Game? Over the past week or so, there’s been  loads of news stories about it – a recent news article reported that one council has even written to parents and guardians of school children warning of the dangers of ‘replicating games from the Squid Game programme’.

The programme has a PEGI rating of 15 and over – that means across Europe, the recommendation is that it’s only suitable for people aged 15+ years. Check out this advice for parents and carers.

Be seen

On Saturday 30 / Sunday 31 October (the last week of the half-term holiday), we’ll all be setting the clocks back an hour. Read this guide for keeping children safe in the dark. You can read another one here, too.

This road safety guide for parents is worth a look, too, as is this one for children and families. If you or your child’s a cyclist, check this out.

So, with clocks going back an hour just before we return to school, we’ll see you all refreshed after an extra hour’s rest on Monday 01 November. Have a happy and healthy half-term holiday!

This week’s message (Friday 15 October 2021)

Posted on 15 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

Our message this week comes from Mr Catherall, who used to teach at Moortown Primary and now at Scholes (Elmet) Primary. Mr Catherall is our Sphere Federation Writing Leader, and he’s chosen to write about spelling…

Is spelling important?

By now, you’ll be familiar with the new homework arrangements. Every week, as part of their homework, your child is given a set of spellings to learn. But why? They’ll probably just use auto-correct on their computer or tablet when they’re older, won’t they? You, like some others, might have found yourself asking these same questions. However…

Children who can spell more accurately feel more confident about their writing – we want all our children to feel proud and confident of their learning.

Also, research shows us that thinking about spellings takes up a large part of your working memory when writing (or typing). This means, if you’re able to have to think less about spelling, you’ve more brain power to think about other things: word choice, thinking creatively or pitching your written communication at the right level for your reader.

Help at home by helping your child learn their spellings. This doesn’t need to be for long and it doesn’t need to be boring. Here are some practical tips for effectively learning spellings at home:

  • ask your child to spell their words on the way to school, driving to the shops or walking the dog
  • use some ideas from our Super Spelling Strategies to make learning spellings more creative
  • place the words on Post-it notes around the house so your child is reading them regularly
  • practise them whilst doing something active (throwing a ball, kicking a football, playing tennis etc)

Most importantly of all, remember that little and often is much more effective than one big session. Practising for five minutes every day will lead to much better outcomes than one 30 minute session a week.

If you’d like any help or advice about how to support your child with their writing, please speak to their class teacher.

This week’s message (Friday 08 October 2021)

Posted on 08 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message has two new items and two that you’ll probably be aware of…

Nut allergies

If your child has a nut allergy (or any other significant allergy), do please let us know. We don’t have a simple policy about this, other than we will work with parents and carers to best accommodate the needs of children with medical conditions like this, so it’s important you let us know.

Have you been attending our Zoom sessions to support your child?

So far, we’ve had three short Zoom sessions – one on phonics (mainly for parents/carers of younger children), one on Reading (for parents/carers of older children), and a Maths one this week (for parents/carers of younger children). Watch the Maths one here:

 

Each session lasts for just 30 minutes and 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 if the session might be more appropriate for particular age ranges.

The remaining sessions are as follows:

  1. Monday 11 October: Number fact fluency (inc times tables) (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  2. Monday 08 November: Our curriculum topics (for Key Stage 1 and 2)
  3. Monday 15 November: Writing (for Key Stage 1 and 2)
  4. Monday 22 November: Staying safe online (mainly Key Stage 2)

All six sessions start at 6pm. They last around 30 minutes.

If you’re interested in attending, please either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest.

If your child’s in Early Years, look out for a range of sessions specifically for you.

And in case you missed this message from earlier in the week…

After 15 years at Moortown, Mrs O’Malley has decided that the time has come for a new challenge. She’s secured a new role which will start after half term.
Mrs O’Malley has been the welcoming face of Moortown Primary for so long. Many of you have seen over the years and she’s been a valued member of the Moortown team. We’re sad to see her go but we’re sure that you’ll wish her all the best in her new job. Her last day at Moortown Primary will be Thursday 21 October.

Mrs O’Malley has many roles within school and they’ll be hard to fill, but we’ve plans that are taking shape – we’ll keep you updated.

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for a parent-teacher Zoom slot – the meetings are in the week just before half-term.

Have a happy and healthy weekend.

Crazy climbers

Posted on 05 October 2021 by Mrs Weekes

Two of our pupils have found they have an amazing talent in climbing. The youth BMC climbing competition series has started; one member of the family came 1st in the NorthWest region (Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria) in rope climbing and the other sibling came 4th in their age division. Absolutely amazing!
To give you some idea of the standard that is involved, when they reach 12 years old and finish in the top 4 climbers (overall in the series) they are invited to compete at National level.  Carry on climbing – keep an eye out for these two; they could be famous!

This week’s message (Friday 01 October 2021)

Posted on 01 October 2021 by Mr Roundtree

A couple of weeks ago, the weekly message came from our Science and Foundation Subjects Leader. This week, the message comes from our Reading Leaders. Mrs Latham, a teacher at Scholes (Elmet) Primary, leads on Phonics and Early Reading across Sphere Federation. Miss Wilson, based here at Moortown Primary, leads on other aspects.

Phonics and early reading

Becoming a reader is an essential life skill that shouldn’t be undervalued. Every child should be reading on a daily basis at home, even for just a few minutes. Reading aloud to your child is also crucial – it helps develop the emotional connection to reading, advances listening skills, and helps foster a love of reading.

In Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2), we read every day in our fluency sessions. It does what is says on the tin – develops fluency. We read the same text every day for a week. To become a fluent reader, you need to read regularly and read the same text/books more than once. This feels strange for adults sometimes but young children increase in confidence and feel satisfied when they can fluently read something after a few attempts.

Phonics underpins all our reading teaching in the Early Years and Key Stage 1. Phonics teaches children to read by matching sounds with letters or groups of letters. We teach a daily phonics lesson using a systematic approach.

Find out more about phonics.

Read more about how to help your child.

Reading at Key Stage 2

By now, your child will have received their brand new Reading Record. Each week, they’ll need to complete the activity as directed by their teacher. We’d like you to comment at least once every week, too – useful comments might be what they did well (such as their expression or how clear they were), how many pages they read or maybe what they need help with. Remember that your child should be reading every day for at least ten minutes and don’t forget the power of reading to your child as well!

Have a chat at home about the texts they’ve been reading in school. What’s their class novel? Do they like or dislike it? What’s just happened? What might happen next? Does it remind them of anything? Discussions like these really help children to understand and remember what they’ve been reading. (Share with your child what you’re reading, too!)

How often do you have your subtitles on when watching TV? It’s been proven to really help with learning to read so give it a go next time you’re watching The Chase! You might want to suggest they switch subtitles on when using video apps, too!

Check out Book Trust’s Book Finder service – a great way to introduce your child to new books.

There’s another message from a curriculum leader in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, let’s hope the weekend is drier than the week we’ve had. Whatever the weather, enjoy!

This week’s message (Friday 24 September 2021)

Posted on 24 September 2021 by Mr Roundtree

We’re three weeks into the new school year and our children have settled well into school routines – this includes our new Nursery and Reception children who have all settled really well. Parent-teacher meetings aren’t too far away, but remember you can contact your child’s class teacher with any questions, comments and concerns you might have.

Is your child getting to school on time?

Settling back into routines is hard, and even more so after Covid situations. Without the staggered starts, children are expected at 8.50am. It’s more important than ever for us all to be punctual. Arriving a few minutes late each day means a child misses out on almost half an hour of learning across a week. Just as important is that it can be unsettling for them to arrive in class on their own, with lots of their friends noticing they’re late. Set your alarm five minutes earlier to make sure you arrive at school on time.

Is your child in Year 1 or 2?

The phonics screening check determines how well a child uses the phonics skills they’ve learned, ensuring that they’re on track to become fluent readers.

The check was cancelled by the government for Year 1 children last year. Instead, in December, the phonics screening check will be taken by all children in Year 2 (and pupils who don’t meet the expected standard then will take the statutory check again in June 2022, alongside Year 1 pupils.)

The check contains 40 words divided into two sections. Both sections contain a mixture of real words and alien words.

Children are encouraged to add sound buttons or use phoneme fingers to read a word. Here’s a video showing how we do this.

Help your child at home by reading anything and everything!

Did you attend this week’s Zoom session to support your child?

The session this week was about reading at home and was specifically for parents / carers of older children. If you missed it, watch the recorded session.

There are still a few Zoom sessions coming up:

  1. Monday 04 October: Number fact fluency (mainly for Key Stage 1)
  2. Monday 11 October: Number fact fluency (inc times tables) (mainly for Key Stage 2)
  3. Monday 08 November: Our curriculum topics (for Key Stage 1 and 2)
  4. Monday 15 November: Writing (for Key Stage 1 and 2)
  5. Monday 22 November: Staying safe online (mainly Key Stage 2)

All the sessions start at 6pm and last around 30 minutes. If you’re interested in attending, either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email the Zoom joining details out to all those who have expressed an interest. (If your child’s in Early Years, look out for a range of sessions specifically for you.)

How do you travel to school?

Biking and scooting are one of the ways we encourage children to actively travel to and from school. Next week, we’re taking part in Bike to School Week (with Sustrans and the Bikeability Trust). We’re pleased to be part of this UK-wide event, encouraging families to cycle, or scoot, to school. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate active school journeys and the positive impact it has on children’s health and wellbeing – as well as the environment.

According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.. At 1.6 miles, the average primary school journey is a distance that can be cycled, scooted or walked.

You can pledge to cycle or scoot to school during Bike To School Week. Every family pledging their journeys will be entered into a competition to win a Frog Bike worth up to £400. Plus you’ll be joining families all around the UK highlighting the benefits of an active school run.

Is your child eating healthily?

If you’re worried about your child’s relationship with food or their body, it might be worth looking for some support. If your child’s eating habits negatively affect their everyday life, they may have an eating disorder. This is when someone uses food to cope with certain situations or feelings. Teenagers between 13 and 17 are most at risk, but anyone can have an eating disorder. It can be helpful to know the signs and what to do if you’re worried about your child.

Finally, in case you missed it, we sent a list of key dates for the school year home this week. Have a happy and healthy weekend!

Bike to School week and Let's ride

Posted on 22 September 2021 by Mrs Taylor

Biking and scooting are one of the ways we encourage children to actively travel to and from school and next week we’ll be taking part in Bike to School Week (with Sustrans and the Bikeability Trust). We are pleased to be part of this UK-wide event, encouraging families to cycle, or scoot, to school. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate active school journeys and the positive impact it has on children’s health and wellbeing – as well as the environment.

Bike and scooter storage facilities are available by the side of the Year 4 classroom.

Also, taking place this weekend is the free Let’s Ride session held locally at the Brownlee Centre.

This free family community event is ideal for the whole family to enjoy cycling in a safe and friendly space. At the Leeds Brownlee Centre, Bodington Playing Fields, you can ride at your own pace as many times as you like with volunteers on hand to chat all things cycling.

Sign up for the event here.

 

Key dates 2021/2022

Posted on 20 September 2021 by Mrs Quirk

As you’ve found it helpful in previous years, we’ve produced a list of key dates for this academic year and attach a copy here for your reference.

Please be aware that some of the dates are inevitably subject to change. This is for two main reasons. The first is that we’re planning right across the year, and the second is due to Covid.

Any dates that are changed or added throughout the year will be communicated to you. The full calendar can also be found on the website in the ‘Find Out’ section.

This week’s message (Friday 17 September 2021)

Posted on 17 September 2021 by Mr Roundtree

This week’s message come from our Science and Foundation Subjects Leader, Mr Wilks, who’s based at here at Moortown Primary. The message is about the current topic that children in Years 1-6 are learning about this half-term: Geography. It’s a long message – you could skip to the last section on helping your child at home if you need to. (There are links to the recent Zoom sessions on phonics and Early Years at the end, too.)

What do we mean by topics?

Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg history, art, geography, DT). 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 will be 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.

Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.

What is this half-term’s topic?

This half-term, the topic is called Where in the world am I? and your child’s a geographer.

In this geography-driven topic, we’re focusing on the geography of the United Kingdom and helping to develop the children’s sense of where they live through the use of fieldwork. Each phase has age-related specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic.

Children in Years 1 and 2 will learn about the different countries that make up the United Kingdom and their capital cities. They’ll learn about the difference between physical and human geography and identify examples of both in the local area. They’ll also be learning about the four compass points and using geographical vocabulary to describe what is north, south, east or west of them. Fieldwork in the local area may include taking photographs of features in the local area and then locating them on a map. It could also involve conducting a survey about what they like and dislike about their local area. They may even survey parents or members of the local community.

Children in Years 3 and 4 will develop their locational knowledge by using maps and atlases to locate some of the other cities in the United Kingdom. They’ll learn about counties and use the eight compass points to describe their locations. The big focus for this phase is on maps. They’ll learn how to use Ordnance Survey maps and their keys. They’ll learn about four figure grid references and use these to locate features. They’ll then apply this learning more locally by mapping a route to school.

Children in Years 5 and 6 will learn about National Parks, using maps to locate them. Like Y3,4 they’ll also use Ordnance Survey maps but this time they’ll be tasked with using six figure grid references to locate places. Importantly, they’ll get an understanding of how a geographer works by completing fieldwork on urban green spaces.

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 their sense of place in the world. 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 investigating where you live. Try the Street View option and you can walk along your street. You can even toggle between different data points to see what your house or garden looked like in previous years. (My lack of gardening skills were laid bare in a staff meeting when we compared my unkempt garden in 2020 to the lush, wildlife haven the previous owners had lovingly created in 2008!)

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.

  • What country do we live in?
  • 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?
  • Which National Parks are located in Yorkshire?

If you can, 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.

Children could draw a plan/map of their bedroom with a key. Older children could try to do this for each room of their house. You could also create a map of a mythical location with an accompanying key.

For children in Years 3-6, there are lots of different games and activities on Ordnance Survey Mapzone. I especially like the jigsaws in the Map Puzzles section of the Games.

Also for older children, there are lots of information and some tasks and quizzes on BBC Bitesize.

Thanks to Mr Wilks for this guided tour of our Where in the World am I? topic. As always with learning at home, keep it simple and make it fun.

Thank you to everyone who has attended our recent Zoom sessions to help you support your child at home. Watch the phonics session and the Early Years introduction. (And apologies for the distracting cursor in the latter – maybe that’s a nervous habit of mine!)

Enjoy your weekend.

This week’s message (Friday 10 September 2021)

Posted on 10 September 2021 by Mr Roundtree

The first week back at school brings with it a return to familiar routines and a rhythm for the week. Most children really benefit from this as well as the social and learning aspects of school, and we’ve noticed that: lots of happy and healthy, content and concentrating faces. This week, we also welcomed new faces to our Reception class, which is always a delight for us. Our new pupils have settled in well.

This message contains a few short pieces (none of which relate to Covid – hopefully a good omen for the year ahead.)

Most of the messages relate to what’s going on in Key Stages 1 and 2 – keep an eye our for news specific to Reception on the Class News page.

Homework

Homework for the year ahead is different. As you might have read over the summer in a school news article about the annual survey (Our annual survey – overview of the outcomes posted on 11 August), we’re dropping (for now at least) Creative and Practice Makes Perfect homework activities. Here’s what you can expect each Friday:

  • a Talk Time prompt
  • a reminder to read often at home – the key to successful learning in all subjects (every child will soon have a Reading Record book to show they’re reading regularly)
  • a reminder to be practising number facts (and for children from Year 2 onwards, this includes times tables) – NumBots and Times Tables Rock Stars will help (your child has a subscription via school – don’t buy your own!)
  • a list of spellings

We’ll provide a weekly paper copy that sets this out and you’ll find the details on our Homework page, too, although some of the details on the page need to be updated as we develop our new policy. We’ll also provide a home learning book; this doesn’t need to be brought to school each week – it should stay at home. Your child can use this to practise spellings or number facts and possibly to make notes during your Talk Time discussion at home.

Living and learning

‘Living and learning’ is the name we use for everything linked to personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). Our 8Rs for Learning is coming up in the next two weeks – these eight characteristics can be really helpful in encouraging your child to be an effective learner. Find out more in our parent guide.

Attendance matters

Last year’s attendance was 97.4% (based on the actual days school was open and excluding absences directly due to Covid). This is a really high figure so thank you for your support. With so many school days lost in the last two school years, it’s even more important than ever to make sure your child’s at school each day unless they’re not feeling well.

Consultation about Medical Conditions Policy

Schools are required to have a policy that outlines how we will support children with a long-term medical condition. This might be asthma, diabetes or a disability. We’ve recently renewed our policy. If you’d like to see the draft policy and let us know your views, please get in touch.

Workshops

On Wednesday, we sent news (by email and on the website) of a series of short Zoom sessions to support your child’s learning at home. The sessions start at 6pm and last around 30 minutes in total. The first one is this Monday and it’s about phonics – useful for parents of younger children. If you’re interested in attending some or all of the sessions, either send us a message on the School Gateway app or email the school office. We’ll then email to you the Zoom joining details. We’ll record the sessions, too.

If your child’s in Early Years, look out for a range of sessions specifically for you.

Our office staff

Anyone calling or popping into the office might notice that we’ve a new face here. Sam Limbert is with us for a few weeks until we’re joined by a permanent, new admin assistant. This is because Nicky Russell has moved to Year 5 as a Teaching Assistant this year.

Arriving and leaving school each day

Just in case you’re not aware, we’re trialling an extra entrance/exit: there’s a gate at the back of school meaning you can come in and leave via the park. If there’s enough people using this second entrance/exit, we’ll carry it on longer-term.

Next week’s message comes from Mr Wilks, who’s the senior leader responsible for Science and topic subjects across Sphere Federation. The message will relate to your child’s current Geography topic, Where in the world am I?