News

Latest news from around the school

Making a healthy change

Posted on 07 July 2017 by Mrs Taylor

As part of our SEAL theme of Changes, the SEAL statement next week is I can make a healthy change.

During the week, children will be encouraged to make a healthy change.  This could be physically or emotionally and may include:

  • being active after school rather than being on an electronic device
  • having water with a packed lunch rather than a sugary drink
  • having a water bottle at school every day
  • taking part in a Sports Leader session at lunchtime
  • bringing a piece of fruit for KS2 playtime and Year 3 swimming
  • dealing with a problem in a positive way
  • going to bed earlier

Another healthy change would be travelling to school in a sustainable way – walking, scooting and biking.

Children will also be completing the annual pupil health questionnaire for this week’s whole school homework and this should be returned to your child’s class teacher by Thursday 13 July.  Views and opinions from the questionnaire will enable us to consider future ‘healthy changes’.

Change4life, whose aim is ‘to motivate and support millions more people to make and sustain changes that will improve their health’, provides lots of ideas.

We look forward to hearing all about your healthy changes.

Supporting your child through a bereavement

Posted on 06 July 2017 by Mr Roundtree

Talking about bereavement with children can be hard. There’s a series of books that might help children learn about a number of sensitive issues. One book in the series is Frog and the Birdsong by Max Velthuijs, Andersen Press.

The book concerns Frog, who one autumn day discovers a blackbird lying motionless in the grass. Worried, he asks his friends what can be the matter. Very gently and simply, the animals begin to understand the meaning of death and the beauty of life in this moving story.

Thank you...

Posted on 05 July 2017 by Mrs Weekes

A note from Richard Spencer, chair of the PTA:
Thank you to Mrs Weekes and the staff who helped at the fair and in preparing for the fair (with the maypole, ukuleles, wake up shake up – Mrs Burke, Miss Marsden, Miss Hale, Mrs Freeman, Mrs Valentine, Mrs Taylor).
Many thanks to Mrs O’Malley and Mrs Russell for their work helping us to prepare and on the day coordinating things and counting up the money.
Thank you to Mr Roundtree for drawing the raffle and selling the half and half jar.
Thank you to the Reception children who did a great job with the maypole and the older children who helped to keep the maypole stable.
Thank you to Year 4 for playing their ukuleles. It was great to give them another opportunity to perform the music they’ve spent lots of time practising.
Thank you to the ‘wake up shake up team’ who did a fantastic job with the dancing and impressed everyone.
Thank you to the Year 5 sports leaders for running beat the goalie and shoot the hoop.
A few special thank yous for some individuals who really contributed to the successful running of the fair:
Ben Copeland for staying calm in the face of technical difficulties and making sure the wake up shake up team had music.
Theo Cawood for operating the PA very professionally, well done.
Ben, Theo, Martha and Pia for great teamwork setting up the chairs and stands for year 4 to play their ukuleles.
Evie Miller for helping to put the Year 3 classroom back in order.
Emre Sen and Sam Gibbins for excellent culinary skills preparing the fruit kebabs.
Mrs Burke and Mrs Maqbool for selling lots of curry.
And how could I forget Miss Rushbrooke slaving over a boiling pan of hotdogs!
And thank you to everyone who came along on the day.

Leeds Youth Voice

Posted on 04 July 2017 by Mrs Taylor

Today, our Year 5 and 6 School Councillors attended the Leeds Youth Voice event at Leeds Civic Hall.

The event focused on Youth Voice within school, the community and Leeds as a city. During the day, the children enjoyed interactive activities about voting, democracy and representation, how to be active citizens, meeting and sharing ideas with pupils from other schools and sharing ideas on what makes an effective school councillor.

They even had an educational tour of the Leeds Council Chamber.

We look forward to hearing all about their day and their ideas at the next school council meeting.

Yellow Yorkshire Day 07 July

Posted on 04 July 2017 by Mrs Taylor

On Friday 07 July, we’re raising money for one of our school charities, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, by taking part in Yellow Yorkshire Day.

Children are encouraged to wear something yellow and bring a £1 donation.

A representative from Yorkshire Air Ambulance will be visiting school to talk about their important work in our county.

Apps update

Posted on 01 July 2017 by Mr Roundtree

A few days ago, we told you about a new SnapChat feature…

SnapMap lets users track other people’s location in real time – it shows exactly where people are in as much detail as the actual house. This might sound like a great idea, but just think about how vulnerable this could make a child using SnapChat. Within the feature, there is ‘Ghost Mode’ which enables you to hide your location. There are two ways which this can be turned on:

  1. Pinch the screen when you’re in selfie mode to bring up the SnapMap. Then, click the ‘Settings’ icon in the top right hand corner and set the phone to ‘Ghost Mode’.
  2. Click on ‘Snap Maps’ – ‘Settings’ – ‘Ghost Mode’.

Whilst we’re talking about apps, be aware of these ones, too…

Musical.ly and Live.ly are two other apps to be aware of. Musical.ly is a popular app where users can sing along to popular songs and upload them to the site. Live.ly is made by the same company and is a live streaming app where you can broadcast and communicate with others. This is a platform where comments and requests can be left for the users about their videos but, sadly, this has opened up inappropriate communication where young users are being asked to remove clothing and are being exposed to sexually explicit comments. Musical.ly also has some privacy controls which can be accessed via the settings option.

Roblox is a user-generated massive multiplayer online social gaming platform. Roblox’s chat facility has caused some concerns with parents reporting inappropriate comments to children.

Guidance for children using Roblox safely can be found via their safety/help page:

Check out the security information. Read the parents’ information.

It’s important that you talk to your child about using these apps. Most importantly, if they get a question or request that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should speak to a responsible adult immediately.

 

Please make sure that you know what your child is using – remember SnapChat and other similar apps are not recommended for children under the age of 13.

New school meal menu

Posted on 28 June 2017 by Mrs Taylor

The new school dinner menu, from our school meals provider, Catering Leeds, will be introduced in September and continues until February half term.

As well as on our website, the three week cyclical menu is also displayed on our dining room window for you to discuss with your child. Have a look for the weeks ahead to make your child aware of what the daily meals are.  If you would like a printed copy, please ask at the office.

School meals continue to be free for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. If your child is in Key Stage 2, please check for eligibility for free school meals. (It’s important to check for eligibility for younger children, too, because school receives additional funding for each child who is eligible for a free meal, even when they’re free in Reception and Year 1 and Year 2!)

If your child would like to start having school dinners, please inform the office. A combination of packed lunches and school dinners is also available.

Children are consulted on school meals through our regular School Council meetings.  Feedback may also be given by speaking to an adult in school or completing a suggestions/comments slip and posting it in their class SEAL box.

Thank you to parents who also raise questions and give feedback.  We can then ensure this is passed on to the kitchen staff.

Election of a parent governor

Posted on 27 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

A parent governor is required to fill a vacancy on the governing body of Sphere Federation.

If you wish to offer yourself as a candidate to become a parent governor, please read the following, which describes the role and outlines some key characteristics desired for a new governor and the process of becoming a governor. Nominations should be emailed to governingbody@spherefederation.org by Friday 07 July 2017. Alternatively, you can submit a paper copy to any of the school offices.

Background

The governing body’s three core functions are:

  • Ensuring clear vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Holding the Head of Federation to account for the educational performance of each school and its pupils;
  • Overseeing the financial performance of each school, ensuring money is well spent.

The schools in the federation are Scholes (Elmet) Primary School, St James’ CoE VC Primary School, and Moortown Primary School.

Requirements

The governing body would benefit more from new governors with expertise in one of three areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND);
  • Experience in HR and performance management;
  • Competency in educational data analysis.

Governors will also need to be able to understand their role is strategic and not operational; build relationships with a range of people; work as part of a team; question and challenge; make connections between different types of information; and represent the three schools and their community.

Expectations of governors is high. Governors need not be experts in the field of education but they do need an interest in the welfare of our children across all three of the federation schools, and the time and willingness to get involved in strategic oversight. Our parent governors are appointed for a term of four years, and are expected to attend termly evening meetings of the full governing body; sit on one sub-committee and attend termly meetings; regularly visit each Sphere Federation school formally for monitoring purposes; visit each school informally at least once a year; read and digest papers and governance information regularly; and commit to attend training and development courses relevant to the assigned governance role. All governor appointments are subject to a valid enhanced DBS check and disqualification criteria.

Training and support will be available to help you develop into this role. This will include compulsory external induction training and in-house mentoring and support.

To find out more about the role, please see the governance section of the school website or read the DfE’s Governance Handbook and Competency Framework.

For further details, please contact Mr Roundtree at headoffederation@spherefederation.org or Rachel Greenhalgh, Chair of Governors, at rachelgreenhalgh@spherefederation.org.uk

Nomination form

If there are more applications than vacancies, we will hold an election and parents will be sent a voting paper in due course. The information you supply as part of your nomination will be circulated to parents to help them decide who to vote for. Your personal details will not be distributed.

Nominations should be emailed to governingbody@spherefederation.org by Friday 07 July 2017. You can submit a nomination by hand or by email. The information we need, and sample wording, is as follows:

To the Head of Sphere Federation:

I wish to nominate myself as a candidate to be a parent governor of Sphere Federation.

I am the parent of … at … school.

I do / do not include a personal statement.

Please print name and address. (Please note the address details will not go out with the ballot forms.)

Personal statement (in no more than 200 words)

Write a few lines about yourself: what you do and what your interests are will help other parents decide who to vote for. Here are a few suggestions of areas you may like to give information on:

  • Experience you have which may be useful, particularly in relation to the skills the governing body is looking for
  • Family e.g. number of children, ages, which school in the federation they attend
  • Interests e.g. voluntary work, hobbies
  • Why you would like to be a governor
  • Anything else you would like to say

Please note that this statement will be typed for you.

Staying safe in the summer

Posted on 26 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

Summer time, and particularly the summer holidays, can be full of hazards and risks to manage. Here’s a round-up of some resources to help you keep your child safe this summer time.

Water Safety
RNLI
RoSPA
CanalRiverTrust

Beach Safety
Shore Thing (RNLI)

Sun Safety
Teenage Cancer Trust
Cancer Research

Railway Safety
Network Rail – Primary school resources

Keeping safe away from home (NSPCC)
Keeping safe away from home (NSPCC)

Protection from sexual abuse
Whilst it’s an uncomfortable thought, parents need to ask questions of any childcare provider, play scheme or holiday centre children’s services, about how they prevent their workers harming a child. The NSPCC has a useful video about the prevention of sexual abuse in particular and what adults can do to ask organisations about how they keep children safe.

Does your child use SnapChat?

Posted on 26 June 2017 by Mr Roundtree

SnapChat has a stated minimum age restriction of 13 years old. Despite this, we know some primary children do use it.

Last week, SnapChat launched a new feature. SnapMaps allows users to see the location of their contacts. This feature allows others to accurately pinpoint where you are. There are three possible privacy settings:

  • Ghost mode, where only you can see your position;
  • My Friends mode, where any contact can see your location; and
  • Select Friends mode, just those who you choose can see you

ChildNet have posted a thorough explanation of SnapMaps and how to ensure users stay safe – this is well worth a read if you know your child uses the app.

For more general advice, Family Share have produced 10 things parents and kids should know about the SnapChat app.