Whitkirk News! 19th March 2021

A message from Mrs Stout

Another super week here at Whitkirk what a difference we are seeing everyday with lighter mornings and evenings. Just two weeks until the clocks change - and just two weeks until we break up for Easter. We need to make the most of our time in school and we are certainly doing that. Attendance is superb so thank you for that and for your continued support with our parking battles! Mrs Mannion in our school office has been superb at chasing down local councillors to help get a police presence in the street and we sent out a letter reminding everyone that it is residents' parking only with a permit. At least now everyone knows and the worrying reversing at the top of the street and the parking so close to school has stopped.

We had a very successful safeguarding audit from Leeds City Council on Wednesday which we are pleased about! We are ending our spring term with a clear focus on key skills and ensuring we are filling gaps which have arisen as a result of this lockdown. There is a huge difference between this lockdown and the last one though as a result of the remote education offer and the superb learning done at home! It means we can be so much more focused rather than having to meet a huge variety of needs.

We are working on our amended calendar for the summer term and will share that with you soon - some old favourites should return (sports day for one!) We will also be able to introduce you to your new head, Mr Dawson, very soon as he will be spending a day a week here at Whitkirk and we will have a very sound handover. Good times are ahead!

Important information:

  • After school clubs- some parents have asked when after-school clubs will be running again. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer these at present as their core purpose is not for education or childcare. As soon as we are allowed (hopefully for some of the summer term), we shall be in touch.
  • Fidget toys- since children have returned to school many toys- fidget toys and cuddly toys- have been brought into school. As you can imagine, this causes some real difficulties in class and at the moment, is something that should be at an absolute minimum due to covid-restrictions. Unless these are provided by a member of the pastoral team, these are not allowed in school.
  • P.E. clothes- children are still allowed to come to school in their P.E kit on P.E days. We understand that some parents have purchased black/ navy zip-up jumpers for P.E days. Children are able to wear these if they are black/ navy and do not have logos. If your child does not have one of these, we ask that they wear their normal school jumper or cardigan.
  • School meals: If you would like your child to have a school dinner can you please ensure that you book these in advance, through ParentPay and preferably the day before. This applies to everyone, even if your child is in receipt of Free School Meals or Universal Free School Meals (for KS1). After reviewing the provision and organisation of school dinners this week, it has come to our attention that around 20% of meals each day are not being pre-booked. This makes it very difficult when placing food orders and can also result in your child not getting the meal of their choice and possibly running out of certain options. Thank you for your co-operation. If you have any problems booking meals, please contact the school office.


Firstly, a huge thank you to all of our parents/ carers/ family members who have been incredibly supportive whilst we try and work on parking outside of school. We have already seen vast improvements and it is making a much calmer and safer journey to school. As shared in previous letters, Templegate Walk is for permit holders only; therefore, no cars should be parked on here during drop off or pick up times. We will continue to have staff presence each day to ensure that we are keeping our children and community safe. If you attend school via taxi or if somebody else is dropping you off, we ask that this is not at the top of Templegate Walk. One of the recommendations given by the officer from West Yorkshire Police who attended the area on Monday was to place cones across Templegate Walk during these times. This is not something that we want to do as we hope that we can work together on something as important as this but it will be our next course of action if needed. We really appreciate the support that we've received from our community and we hope that together we can continue to make outside of the school gates a safer place to be.

Ready, Steady, Read!

WOW! WOW! WOW! We are simply blown away by how much money has been raised- as a school we have raised a grand total of £1283.50!!! This means that we have £2000 to spend on new books for our school- this is absolutely phenomenal, thank you so much to everybody who has taken part and donated money. This will have a huge positive impact on our school library, Whitkirk Waterstones! The children who raised the most money in each class have been awarded an Amazon voucher......possibly to spend on buying more books! We're so proud of our readers, like we've said before, the reading bug is one that we all hope to catch!

Congratulations to our winners in each class:

  • YRLM - Matthew
  • YRJS - Martha
  • Y1KD - Lydia and Leo
  • Y1/2JL - Lenny
  • Y2RW - Laila
  • Y3NT - Priya
  • Y3SB - Orlagh
  • Y4AR - Grace B
  • Y4CO - Leah
  • Y5PG - Matthew
  • Y5ZI - Mega and Isaac
  • Y6SB - Samuel
  • Y6RM - Lilly B

Maths with Michael!

During lockdown, it has been fantastic to see the extent that Whitkirk parents support their children with their learning. A phrase that we often hear is how keen you are to support, but often it is a case of 'They didn't do maths like that in my day' and we couldn't agree more! Starting this Sunday, White Rose Maths are launching a mini-series specifically designed to help parents and carers support their children with their maths. They will look at how maths is now taught and how the teaching of maths has changed. This week's focus is on Place Value! Please follow the link or visit their Facebook page to find out more!

Read, read and read some more! Mrs Diop shares her favourite story:

There are so many stories I love to share with the children in my class. Some of my all-time favourites include We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Whatever Next, Peace at Last and, The Tiger Who Came to Tea. My favourite children's author is Julia Donaldson - I love how her stories feature lots of different animals and how each story rhymes. For me, the best Julia Donaldson story is The Gruffalo. At first, we fear for the mouse because all the other animals in the woods want to eat him! But ultimately he has the last laugh when he cleverly tricks them all! As well as enjoying reading the story with children, I also enjoy teaching all the different activities that are inspired by the story such as making Gruffalo Crumble, getting muddy outside creating a new logpile house for Snake and retelling the story through role play.

Let's see what our classes have been up to this week:


This week we have loved reading our story The Tiny Seed. We have been writing our own versions of the story by changing where the tiny seed visits; we've had the park, grandma's house and even Elsa's castle! We have also been drawing and painting still life flowers, using tweezers to sort different shaped seeds and learning all about the seasons. At the beginning of the week, we thought about what a plant needs to grow. We all made a prediction and set up an experiment to test our theories, we are looking forward to seeing which carrots grow best. We have also learnt about the lifecycle of a sunflower and even created our own movements and actions to remember it! In maths, we have been practising our number bonds to 10 using counters, numicon tiles and objects we found outside and then wrote number sentences to match! It has been fabulous to see the sunshine this week and we have enjoyed using the water pipes, traffic signs and maths resources that have been put outside for us to play with.


We have had another fantastic week in Year 1! We have practised making numbers using tens and ones in Maths and then used this skill to solve some tricky problems. In Science, we have been looking at different animals and finding out how they are suited to live in either polar or tropical climates. In Geography, we have recapped the 7 continents, using a very catchy song to help us remember the names!

Year 1/2 continue to blow their teachers away each day that goes by! This week they have continued to impress us through their work around friendship. We used our knowledge from English to use capital letters for names and the conjunction ‘because’ to explain how a member of the class is a good friend. The children created their own rainbow clouds to share so many reasons about why members of their class are such amazing friends. Kindness has definitely been spreading throughout our classroom this week!

Year 2 have been super busy with assessments this week and Mrs Williams is so proud of how the children have tried so hard in these. A huge well done to all the children. Year 2 have extremely enjoyed learning about Polar and Rainforest habitats this week in Science. In Maths, we have been recapping on column addition when crossing 10 and in ICT we have been learning all about algorithms and designing our own! We have also been working on "perfect posture," and "perfect pencil grip," during our GPS sessions which the children are becoming so good at! Well done everyone!


Year 3 have been busy rock detectives this week. We investigated a range of different rocks around the school grounds and how they may have changed over time. We enjoyed creating our paper volcano sculptures using a range of techniques. It has been wonderful building our netball skills in the sunshine this week and we have had a real focus on our school value of respect. English wise, we are still busy with our class text; Tom is now cycling around South America and we are racking up those passport stamps as we follow his adventures!

Another jam-packed week in Year 4! This week, we've been continuing reading Stitch Head and gathering some spooky description to describe a mad professor's castle. We've compared Castle Grotteskew to Dracula's Castle, created our own soundtrack for Stitch Head's adventures and some of us were lucky enough to become best friends with a monster! In Maths, we've been looking at our division methods and we've really persevered with our partitioning method. Across the week, we've become animal experts by using classification keys to identify unknown species, mapped the key features of our local area and discovered how different religions believe the world was created. Keep it up Year 4, you are amazing!


Children should be seen and not heard! Yes, that’s right! Strict teachers, and the Dunces hat for left handers, left us all in a state of terror, as Year 5 endured a horribly realistic day of Victorian school on Monday. The day began focussing on the three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic! Lessons also included plenty of handwriting practise and constant chanting of the times table, and boys were given more importance than girls-which was not fair! The children (and teachers) enjoyed dressing up in their Victorian attire to help them get into character. The teachers were very strict and very good at making their role believable, which was a little bit scary at times but this helped us understand how Jim Jarvis from Street Child felt every single day! We are so grateful that the education system has changed since the 19th century! Whilst we had so much fun stepping back in time, we were all pleased to return to school on Tuesday; back to our colourful classrooms and smiley teachers! A day which we will never forget-ever!

The Y6s this week have given the BBC and ITV News a run for their money with their Boxing Day tsunami broadcasts - it's as though they were actually there! Using their understanding from Running Wild (our key text this half term) as a starting point, they have immersed themselves in the impact and significance of this modern catastrophe. Focussing so hard to keep the audience in mind alongside being 'Clear, concise and correct' (key tip from Hugh Edwards himself!), they have worked extremely hard to produce writing that they are proud of - and the y6 team have been so proud of their efforts and the quality of writing produced. So much so that Miss Quarmby paid us a visit to see what the writing buzz was about! As geographers, we have looked the climate and ocean currents which make the Galapagos islands truly unique. We were so impressed with the enthusiasm from the Year 6s - we think we may have the next generation of Charles Darwin on our hands!

Our stars of the week!

Take care everybody and have a super weekend!

Created By
Gemma Quarmby


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