Latest news from around the school

Phonics feedback

Posted on 20 November 2015 by Mr Roundtree

Mrs Burke and the other Reception staff were delighted to welcome nearly all parents / carers into the classroom this week to watch the Reception children learn phonics – so important in developing reading and writing skills.

Parents who visited either on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday gained an insight into the general teaching that goes on in Reception, but more specifically learnt about how we teach phonics and how they should support their child’s learning at home:

‘It was useful to see the step-by-step process in which the children are taught so that I can attempt to support in a similar fashion at home. It was helpful to hear the language used in context (grapheme, phoneme etc).’

‘Very informative and well-organised. Definitely helps with how to support at home.’

Lots of parents left impressed by the children’s learning behaviour:

‘I was happy to see how well the children are engaged.’

Finally, we asked how we can make these sessions even better. We had a couple of suggestions – a longer session was suggested, and the session a little bit earlier in the year. We’ll consider these, although in previous years we’ve tried different things and this seems about right for most people. One parent suggested that we should remind others ‘that phonics is not the be all and end all’ and that we should ’emphasise the importance of reading for fun’ – we agree. The purpose of the session was kept quite specific, but Mrs Burke will include some reminders about this in subsequent newsletters because we certainly want to promote a love of reading.

Thanks again to everyone who came along. The next sessions are on 20, 21 and 22 January.

What is 'mastery'?

Posted on 19 November 2015 by Mr Roundtree

Mr Owen welcomed quite a lot of parents to the two workshops he ran on Monday (one at 2.30pm, one at 6.00pm). Once again, the feedback was really positive – parents who came appreciated the information and Mr Owen’s relaxing, friendly and clear delivery style. One parent summed up the session well by describing it as ‘really informative with useful handouts and great delivery’ and went on to conclude, ‘Pleased Moortown offer these workshops for parents.’

Other comments include:

  • ‘Convinced by the concept – I now understand it. Really stimulating.’
  • ‘Mr Owen is very passionate about his job and very good at ensuring parents understand concepts.’
  • ‘Great explanation of the teaching that is happening in school. Really helpful to see how you are supporting children in this way so that we can do this at home, too.’

I’m really pleased to read so many comments such as the last one – these workshops are intended to help you support your child at home.

Moortown 2 - 3 Our Lady's

Posted on 16 November 2015 by Mr Catherall

This evening, our Year 6 football team made the short trip to Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School.

Despite the wintery conditions, Moortown were ready for battle and made a very strong start. After several minutes of early dominance, Bailey poked the ball in to give Moortown the lead.

However, the game did not ‘pan out’ as Moortown had hoped. Remembering previous games, in which one goal hasn’t been enough to secure victory, Moortown took the risk and continued to attack. After a quick counter-attack, Our Lady’s drew the game level: 1-1.

Despite being very resourceful in finding different ways to unlock the sturdy Our Lady’s defence, Moortown could not convert their pressure into goals. In fact, for the 10 minutes either side of half time, the game became very scrappy. It was Our Lady’s who benefitted, scoring further unanswered goals to make it 3-1.

Moortown knew they had to respond and respond they did! The last 10 minutes saw both teams miss numerous chances as the game opened up. Each player took responsibility for their performance and, with two minutes to go, Moortown pulled a goal back: 3-2. Could they?

Unfortunately, with the light fading, the final whistle blew and Moortown suffered another narrow defeat. Captain for the day, Lennox, reflected on the game: “It was a hard game but it was very fun. I thought everyone was very resilient!”. Well summarised, Lennox (and thanks for mentioning our 8th ‘R’ for learning).

Next week, Moortown face Immaculate Heart of Mary in what is sure to be another close encounter!

Responding to terrorism

Posted on 16 November 2015 by Mr Roundtree

Our current SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) has as its theme the 8 Rs for Learning, one of which is responding. This ‘R’ is around developing children’s ability to respond constructively and positively towards feedback about their learning. Similarly, responding constructively and positively is something we must do following events which feature from time to time in the news, such as the attacks in Paris on Friday. Children can’t avoid being aware of news stories such as this, and it’s important to support children appropriately. This website post is intended to help you support your child at home.

The terrible events in Paris on Friday highlights the very unsettled world in which we live. Deaths, explosions and violence are seen on 24-hour television, web and newspapers and children are often totally exposed to this media, often with no explanation. Some of our pupils may have visited Paris, played on a Tunisian beach or flown on a plane out of Sharm el-Sheikh. We don’t know what effect hearing about these events has on children, but we need to be sensitive to their needs, questions, concerns and fears.

There is very little information on the internet offering advice to help children understand terrorist events. Much of the information comes from America and dates from September 11 2001, or offers support after a school shooting. Below is some of the available material – do check them out before using them with your child.

Books to help children explore world issues

After the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, author Sita Brahmachari wrote in The Guardian about why it’s more important than ever to write stories for children that explore our differences and common humanity. The article includes a diverse list of contemporary authors whose books have helped children and young people understand and empathise with some of the most complicated situations faced in the world today. Download the list of books.

Takeover Day

Posted on 15 November 2015 by Mrs Taylor

Next Friday, 20 November, is Takeover Day.


What is Takeover Day?

It’s a national initiative organised each year by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield OBE. Takeover gives children and young people the chance to work with adults for the day and to be involved in decision-making processes. Children and young people benefit from the opportunity to experience the world of work and make their voices heard, while adults and organisations gain a fresh perspective on what they do.

Recently our School Council discussed how children could be involved in ‘taking over’ at school.  Takeover activities will include school dinners (representatives from Year 4), the office (representatives from Year 5), assembly (representatives from Year 6) and KS2 tuck shop on 24 November (representatives from Year 2).

In addition there will be opportunities within class where children will takeover.  For example, spelling/times table tests, parts of lessons, PE warm ups and guided reading.

Check our class news pages to see this in action.

Make a noise about bullying

Posted on 13 November 2015 by Mrs Taylor

Next week it is national anti-bullying week.

Our school definition has recently been reviewed by the School Council and remains unchanged.

‘Bullying is when you hurt someone, physically or emotionally, several times on purpose.’

This year the theme of the week is Make a noise about bullying and our children are familiar with another STOP message to address this, start telling other people.

Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team will once again deliver Show Racism the Red Card workshops across school and in class children will discuss these aspects of bullying:

  • Our definition of bullying (above)
  • Types of bullying – cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion and belief, special educational need and disability
  • What to do if children experience bullying. The key message is to tell someone (start telling other people)

Bullying resources can be found at…

Children tell us what they would do if they were bullied: ‘I would tell an adult, teacher or someone I trust.’

All classes have access to their class SEAL box or a whole school worry box where they can tell an adult any concerns about bullying or any other issues.


Track and field stars

Posted on 12 November 2015 by Mrs Taylor

Well done to our athletics team who came second in the first round of the North East  Leeds Sports hall athletics at Allerton Grange – a great achievement.  It was a new event for the school and, despite a few nerves, everyone performed to the best of their ability in every event.  Well done to all the children involved and to parents for their support.  Look out for details of the next round.

all grange

If you’d like to continue athletics, there is also a local athletics club that runs at Scott Hall Leisure Centre.



Be safe, be seen

Posted on 11 November 2015 by Mr Roundtree

With lots of media attention on serious risks to children, it’s sometimes easy to forget the more traditional messages. With the dark nights now upon us, it’s worth (re)emphasising with your child the Be Safe – Be Seen message.

Cardiff Council’s Road Safety team have a great page on their website which also includes a number of other links and resources. There’s also a government site with some games.

Learning workshops

Posted on 11 November 2015 by Mr Roundtree

Learning Workshops, led by teachers in school, are organised to help you support your child at home.

Two different Learning Workshops took place yesterday. One was intended for Reception and Year 1 parents and it focused on phonics and simple number facts:

  • “Well explained in terms of the current methods in phonics and Maths teaching. Teachers were open to questions. Thanks – much appreciated.”
  • “Good overview of early learning concepts and teaching methods. A useful workshop – thank you.”
  • From a parent with older children at school: “Always nice to have a refresher workshop as many things – about phonics especially – come back to me which I’d forgotten.”

The second workshop, at 6.00pm, was all about grammar and writing:

  • “Great to go through all the grammar – it’s years since I was at school so a brilliant overview!”
  • “Very helpful ideas to assist my reluctant writer at home.”
  • “Thanks for the grammar web links.”
  • “Very clear and practical presentation of the subject. Helpful tips. Mr Owen made it simple and funny.”

Thank you to the parents who attended.

Forthcoming workshops and other ways to support your child at home are in the calendar (look for the events in blue) and listed below:

  • What is ‘mastery’? workshop – Monday 16 November, 2.30pm and 6.00pm
  • Reception phonics teaching – 18 / 19 / 20 November
  • Maths workshop – Monday 23 November, 6.00pm
  • Homework open afternoon – Wednesday 02 December (only suitable for Y1 – Y6)
  • Open morning – Tuesday 08 December
  • Reception phonics teaching – 20 / 21 / 22 January
  • Open morning – Wednesday 27 January
  • Topic open afternoon – Thursday 17 March
  • Reception phonics teaching – 27 / 28 / 29 April

Top vegetable choices

Posted on 06 November 2015 by Mrs Taylor

If your child chooses school dinners, they are served two portions of vegetables or vegetables and a portion of salad with each meal.  As we are all aware of the importance of eating vegetables, all children have been consulted on their favourite vegetables based on the vegetables that currently feature on the school dinner menu.  The most popular choices will now feature more regularly on the menu.

veg survey

We would also like your views on school dinners.  Look out for the school dinner survey due to be sent out next week.