Fashion Design/Dress Making – Inspiring You Week

We have been extremely fortunate to have Mrs Kasimatis in school to talk to us about her lifelong passion and career for a long time in her life of fashion design and dress making. Mrs Kasimatis talked us through her experience in fashion design and dress making and said she as only 9/10 years old when she made her first dress. By the time she was 16, she had made lots of clothing and particularly enjoying designing and making evening gowns. She then worked in the children and baby clothes industry and then on to adult clothing but still missed designing and making evening gowns. After marrying, she moved to Greece which meant she had to stop her job as a dress maker because in Greece there was not enough work in Greece for fashion design. Since then, Mrs Kasimatis has enjoyed making clothes for her own children and grandchildren and even wedding dresses for her daughters’ weddings – one of which she brought in to show us which was absolutely breathtaking! Mrs Kasimatis also shared that for dress making, she not only needed skills and technique in actually designing and making the dresses but she needed maths skills to calculate how much material was needed per design and how much it would cost, then maths to measure the materials. She talked about the importance of learning every subject well because you don’t know what might come in handy when you are working. Mrs Kasimatis said that her favourite subject was history and that she felt this was the most important subject you can learn and that she still enjoys learning about history.

Mrs Kasimatis was truly inspiring and really engaged our pupils in dress making/fashion design. We then had a go at designing our own outfits. Mrs Kasimatis gave the children tips and tricks on how they could improve or really make their design the best it could be.

Take a look at some of the designs made, inspired by Mrs Kasimatis’ talk:

This workshop supported the development of being lifelong learners as a true example of a lady who still loved learning even after a lifetime of working; the majority of children said that after this workshop they were inspired to further explore fashion design. Mrs Kasimatis was very passionate that we could have some future dress makers or fashion designers in our class and was absolutely overwhelmed with the engagement and joy from the children.

Thank you to our fantastic volunteer, Mrs Kasimatis, for offering her free time to enhance our curriculum; what a fantastic experience this was!

CAFOD Climate Change Workshop

CAFOD visited us in school to work with KS2 on the extremely important issue of ‘Climate Change’. All pupils discussed the impact climate change is having on the planet including fields flooding, ground cracking because it is so dry, the bush fires in Australia and many more! Pupils learnt that most of this country’s electricity is made by burning fossil fuels, like coal and gas. This puts harmful gases into the atmosphere and makes the world get hotter. This changes our climate and these polluting gases warm our earth and change the beautiful world God has created. These changes in our world are much worse for people living in poverty overseas. More extreme weather makes it harder to make a living, and can lead to more and more disasters like droughts, floods and cyclones. 

We need to make an urgent change to help our planet! We share this world with everyone and KS2 pupils learnt and showed understanding that it’s our responsibility to take care of it. Pope Francis calls the world ‘our common home’. The UK reaching net zero will mean that we no longer contribute to the devastating impact of climate change.

We already have our Planet Protectors that do so much in school as well as encouraging our pupils, staff and parents to do more for the world too. It was a simple yet powerful reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful world and that we should be active citizens of the world and take care of it whilst we can!

Moving Stories & Improplay – Dance Event at Wetherby Arts Festival 2019

Katy Hewison, a local dance artist from Wetherby and former pupil of St Joseph’s, is passionate about sharing the practices of improvisation and physical theatre and their movement, imagination and engagement potential for all ages and abilities. Katy has performed & taught throughout Yorkshire, UK and internationally. She trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds and her work now is inspired by Montessori learning methods and Play Theories, her work uses elements of improvisation, physical theatre and invitations for interaction.

Up until recently, dance hasn’t been included in the Wetherby Arts Festival and Katy wanted to introduce dance into the festival. To do this, she asked St Joseph’s to join the Improplay Project to make this possible – of course, we said yes! A number of our children from St Joseph’s, therefore, have been involved in an exciting project linked with the Wetherby Arts Festival. The performance our children joined, called ‘Moving Stories’, was a collaboration between 12 of our pupils from St Joseph’s and professional dance artists using improvisation and physical theatre. The children represented our school fantastically and it was lovely to see the talents that our pupils have shine!


Climate Coalition Event: Energy Heroes

Our Energy Heroes attended the Climate Coalition Event last week at the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility and presented to a number of CEOs and representatives from the local authority, warning of the dangers of climate change. The event saw the launch of the Climate Coalition, which will see the combined authority work with environmental researchers to find a way to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the region. In line with our Live Simply Initiative in school, we continue to strive to live more sustainably and simply to look after God’s planet. To read the full article and to find out more about the Climate Coalition and the work of our Energy Heroes please click on the following link: Climate Coalition

Mr Grundy and Mr Walker: Aikido Workshop

We were really fortunate during our Inspiring You themed week to have a Aikido taster session with Mr Grundy and Mr Walker who are active and passionate Aikido instructors and also compete in competitions both in the UK and other countries. The session started with some background context around Aikido. The main message around the Aikido was that it is used for self-defence and Mr Walker showed us some really amazing moves which brought Mr Grundy to the ground. Mr Grundy also showed us how to protect your back by breaking falls with rolls rather than falling flat.

This workshop supported the development of being active and resilient learners as growth mind-set was crucial; many of the children never tried this before and it is very physical so a ‘can-do’ attitude was crucial. Resilience was needed for the children who didn’t win their rounds and this was quite a challenge as adrenaline was flowing and definitely heightens emotions. The sessions were very active and Mr Grundy talked about the importance of healthy eating, an active lifestyle and dedication needed to be able to take this sport to a competitive level. Interestingly, Mr Grundy told us that there are more champions in this sport from Leeds Clubs than Japanese champions which is incredible since this is a Japanese discipline. Mr Grundy was very passionate that we could have a future champion sat there in the hall today if they worked hard at the sport. Thank to you our visitors for bringing this enrichment to our curriculum.


Mr Foster Visits (Orthopaedic Surgeon)

Mr Foster is a parent or ours and works at Leeds General Infirmary and came to speak to the children about his work fixing bones. He brought with him a real skeleton for the children to see and taught us lots of interesting information about bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, tendons and muscles. He also taught us about all the different roles in the NHS and how he has a team of people around him all playing a really important role in helping the patients get to surgery, through surgery and post surgery care. Thank you to Mr Foster for giving up his time to inspire our class to think about possibilities for their future.

Mr Wilson (History Enthusiast)

Mr Wilson is a parent of ours and today we were really fortunate to have him visit to tell the most remarkable story behind a genuine WW1 officers uniform which he brought in for us to see and learn about. The uniform belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Bury VandeleurWe learnt about his journey through WW1. We saw real photos of him wearing the actual uniform too!  During the war, he was wounded and taken prisoner. He was the first British officer to escape from the Germans in the WW1. To help us to understand what he and all the other soldiers went through, Mr Wilson organised the children into groups: vets, medics, soldiers on watch, ammunition, communications and catering. One child was given the role of German soldier was put in charge of the prisoners of war (POW). He had to try to keep the two POWs (Mrs Ward and Mrs Doran) from escaping. All the children worked hard on their task. Then an attack happened and they all had to try to continue doing their jobs whilst being under fire from the enemy. It was noisy and exciting. When the attack ended, the prisoners of war had escaped just like Vandeleur did! We will use this fantastic real story as a stimulus for writing escape stories. I’m sure they’ll be fantastic! Thank you to Mr Wilson for this really engaging experience. After he visited, we discussed the different jobs you can have using your passion in history like working in museums, teaching history, becoming an archaeologist, etc.

St Joseph’s Race for Life

During Fun, Food and Fitness Week, we held our very own Race for Life event, which saw our sports field turning into a SHOCKING PINK blaze of positive energy! The week was arranged as a collaboration between three important curriculum subjects: Design Technology (including food technology) P.E and PSHE. It is important that the children recognise the value of keeping active, being willing to have a go at taking on new physical challenges, eating well and understanding the link between physical and mental health, resilience and feeling good about themselves and we did all this whilst raising a whopping £6,000 for Cancer Research UK!

Thank you to the Bownlee brothers for their words of encouragement! This gave us a real boost before we started the race! We must also say a huge thank you to the Wetherby Runners who lead us in a fantastic and all important warm up, and to Cllr Lamb and the Mayor and Mayoress, who joined us for the event and cheered throughout and even joined in for a lap or two! Of course, none of this would have happened without the hard work and coordination of one of our dedicated parents and member of the FOSJ, Mrs Towse who organised and set up such a fantastic community event!

Hand Hygiene

We had the privilege of working with Public Health and Debb to create our very own professional Hand Hygiene posters. We learnt about the importance of hand hygiene and each child in school entered the hand hygiene hand wash poster competition. We all had a lot of fun working with our visitors and the winning posters were then professionally designed to be used around school and in other local organisations!

Zoe Phillips Delivers DT workshops

Zoe Phillips of Deckle and Hide and former Head of Armoury at the Royal Opera House lead a practical arts workshop .She was very excited to be running this workshop for a number of classes and the children certainly enjoyed the experience. In the workshop, the children explored the life of a maker working behind the scenes of opera and ballet, and the richness and vibrancy that a life in the arts can bring. The children explored career diversity and traditional craft skills, culminating in a practical hands on project, working with leather and up-cycled materials which fits with our Live Simply mission. They made minature magic Drosselmeyer bags which they accessorised and personalised, and a magic trick to go inside the bag.

The DT skills they developed to be able to achieve this included using a template, careful cutting, folding, gluing, strengthening and following instructions to name only a few. As they worked, the children had to problem solve to progress with the task.  Also leather is a material they have never worked with before so cutting through it felt very different to cutting paper. Zoe taught the children a good technique of slightly tilting the scissors on an angle and using the very inside of the blades rather than the tips of the scissors. This made an instant change. Some of the children also realised that adding a bit of tension to the leather helped with the cutting too.

What a fantastic experience for our children, delivered by our very talented parent!

Watch the video below to see some of Zoe’s experiences which inspired us today.


St John’s Ambulance

We have been very lucky to have Mr Ward visit us this week and talk to us about his role as a volunteer with St John’s Ambulance Service. He told us about  how he helps others when in need as well as delivering training to other adults and children. Mr Ward then went on to tell us about the work of the Ambulance service and showed us some of the equipment that they use to help save lives. He also reiterated the importance of children knowing basic first aid and how to ring for an Ambulance. The children loved hearing about Mr Ward’s role and looking at all the equipment that he uses. Thank you for providing such a valuable experience!