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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL THE DEERSTALKER ISSUE 114 - 4th september 2020

From the Headmaster:

Well. Quite the week, or at least quite the three days. A natural oddity of life in education is that you operate in a slightly different calendar and therefore chronology to the rest of the world. Life is determined by the academic calendar and by the rhythm of the school day. A rhythm, I hasten to add, that can vary from the most soothing tones of Einaudi through to rather more rapid drum and bass of Chase and Status (also highly recommended for improving those strava times).

Therefore, new (school) year resolutions are not unusual at this time of year. In no particular order, I will commit to reducing the number of mentions in my Deerstalker introductions of the weather and the use of 'what a week' or 'quite the week.'

The emphasis, as was so kindly and humblingly, pointed out back in July in a card I received from you all (with, I believe, the guiding hand of Mrs Walsh) was that we 'held the children at the heart of everything you did...' Well this principle and ethos hasn't diminished nor reduced. It just so happens that this comment was the driving force behind the entire summer and the last four days as we adapt and respond to the Department for Education Covid-19 regulations whilst ensuring our children thrive and prosper academically, physically and creatively in the, and this will be the only time I will ever write it, in the 'new normal.' A hateful expression but one that perhaps captures how we are adapting and having to adapt to the situation we all find ourselves in whilst, and you must not underestimate the strength of the emotion behind these words, being absolutely determined to give our very best to our children.

Adapting? Some examples. No mixing of classes = a completely altered and logistical feat of timetable engineering to ensure all of our children get a break as well as eat lunch in entirely needed space without crossing or mixing of classes as per the regulations (hereafter to be known as 'the regs'). Mr Stevenson is, as a result, more than equipped to be contracted out to any parcel delivery company to guarantee no more losses or late deliveries.

Adapting? Some will recall the great lengths we went to from September 2016 to literally and figuratively open the door to you all to ensure an open and engaging environment for the benefit of our children. Our numerous social evenings and events were only ever that, albeit with the occasional rather late evening. On the back of the unique nature of relationship between us, the school, and you our parents. The welcome at the gate, the immediate resolution of queries or questions has meant that the school and our children have thrived. The regs state otherwise. We are not permitted to allow parents onto our site. I understand but cannot help but feel frustrated at the loss of our conversations and passing on of congratulations at your children's latest achievements. These informal contacts are so invaluable. We are determined to adapt to try and offer these exchanges but must follow the regs for the safety of children and staff. I was perturbed when a new member of our community queried why they were not allowed to access the school site and whether it had always been like that?

Adapting? If you manage to navigate through the restrictions in creating an environment 'safe' for children to sing, they must do “quietly” (yes, a direct quote) in order to reduce the 'accumulative aerosol accumulation.' I understand the regs but no singing? "How can the bird born for joy, sit in a cage and sing?" Again, I am not arguing against the regs but we have to find a way to let our children sing whilst still being compliant and safe. Drumming? Yes, Joe can sit two metres away and still teach. Piano? More challenging to teach from two metres away.

What am I saying?

We are still the thriving happy engaging school. We are still the 'excellent' school that cares and nurtures, it is simply that we have some restrictions that we are determined to adapt to whilst keeping the children at the heart of everything we do, whilst observing the regs.

The wall is not going up. You must continue to have the freedom to speak to me about anything, likewise the teachers. We have no egos at Park Hill. We are simply here to give our best to each an every child. It just so happens that we are having to be a little creative in various areas of school life.

The morning drop off will become more fluid but there will be occasions as our youngest children start their school career where you might need to wait for our talented and incredibly hard working nursery team to safely walk with some children to the classroom before returning. Ideal? No, far from it, but as the children become more confident and adapt we will reduce these occasions.

“Adaptability to change is itself a hallmark of successful education.” Peter Hilton

Now, on to more cheery matters. A Deerstalker chocked full of bright images of happy children, staff and a return to the buzz of school. Good for the heart and a delight for us all.

Enjoy your weekend. Stay safe and don't forget to spread a little happiness.

Alistair

IMPORTANT NOTES

Alexandra Road is a designated "school street" and as such is restricted during certain hours - details can be found through this link -

Mr Stevenson, Assistant Head - Curriculum

Punctuality

The start of the school day is crucial.

It sets the tone for the day and teachers view the start of the lesson as critical in ensuring learning objectives are achieved and realised. Arriving late to school is incredibly disruptive for all. I appreciate that buses and trains and traffic all play their part but we do need your help in ensuring the children gain the most from their school day and that they arrive by 8.30am. Late children must be signed in through the school office.

Mr Sims, Assistant Head - Compliance & Welfare

Illness & Medical

We continue to abide with the DfE Regulations.

Pupils, staff and other adults must not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days.

We ensure that anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home.

These are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We would like to remind you that if your child is absent from school due to sickness (vomiting, diarrhoea) they must be clear for at least 48 hours prior to returning to school. You must inform the school office directly on 020 8546 5496 if your child will be absent that day.

Uniform

The full uniform list can be found here.

Assembly

Rather appropriately the theme was perseverance, resilience and perhaps a key feature of the Deerstalker already, adaptability.

Call it resilience, perseverance or even 'bounce-back-ability' the key teaching point or element is to not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

We also reflected, once more, on. my favourite poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling. The key messages of character and strength of character is something of a hallmark of Park Hill pupils. There is not a word out of place, no word wasted.

Year 6

Year 6 have started the next year with a bang, getting very quickly involved in book studies, large addition and subtraction problems, and Art and DT projects.

Over the first three days, Year 6 began their study of Oranges in No Man’s Land, analysing the language, and how the author generates an emotional connection with the reader so quickly. They have delved deeply into the setting of the book, exploring Beirut using VR and maps. After meeting the character of Samar, the children have been considering her life before we meet her and how she may have been effected by the conflict, ultimately writing short chapters to explain what happened to her.

We have begun our maths using random number generation and have been focused on large number addition and subtraction.

This has been done while completing our new ‘Year 6 Rules’, and creating funky bookmarks to mark our progress through any books we read this year.

I has been lovely to see the smiling faces of Year 6 again, and we had huge amounts of laughter and excitement during our first days.

Mr Stevenson

Year 5

It has been wonderful to welcome back the children to Year 5, it was great to see the familiar faces of the children who were with us in Year 4 but to allow welcome our newest member of the class.

We have wasted no time in getting stuck into our text for the autumn term and the children have been reading and discussing the opening chapter of the classic novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo Baggins has not yet set off on his adventure but the throng of dwarves are gathering at Bilbo’s den and the excitement is certainly building.

In Humanities the children have been learning about WW2 and have so far had a gentle introduction to the key events that made up the war. We will be spending time looking through these key elements in more detail over the coming weeks.

A terrific start to the school year.

Mr Sims

Year 4

As Wednesday morning came in to light, we stumbled upon the den of the Badgers where Year Four will reside this year. After all the teacher introductions, we quickly got to re-familiarise ourselves with old and new class mates, or ‘cete’ to continue our Badger theme.

We were quick to settle down to work as we created our class etiquette guide, as well as looking at our hopes and aims for the year ahead.

Our artistic skills were challenged in the afternoon as we challenged ourselves with drawing our portraits in the reflection of a spoon. The results were impressive as convex and concave reflections created draughting dilemmas that many Year 4 pupils worked hard to resolve.

Over Thursday and Friday, Year 4 have worked hard on their curriculum, delving in to a range of different subjects. In their Religious Education, working independently, they discovered what the Five K’s of Sikhism where and why they are symbolic to a Khalsa. It was encouraging to see the debate that followed as we discussed with great enthusiasm, intelligence and maturity the items that are symbolic to Sikhs.

To support Mr Bond’s assembly on resilience, adaptability and perseverance, posters were produced to help support our ‘Growth Mindset’. The idea of giving up and other negative thoughts in relation to our learning and school life where addressed, and we were able to offer more positive and constructive approaches to dealing with negative mindsets.

Creative writing in English saw us respond to Henri Rousseau’s painting ‘Surprised’. It formed the basis of imaginative sentences and paragraphs to describe the setting. Next week we shall complete our writing on describing the story of the painting, before reading and responding to ‘Just So Stories’ by Rudyard Kipling.

Finally, in our Mathematics lesson, children have exercised and dusted off the cobwebs in using addition and subtractions skills as they played games that tested their place value knowledge up to four places.

A super first half week back and we look forward to a whole week of learning this Monday. Great work Year 4.

Mr Papps

Year 3

What a fantastic start the new Year 3 class have had. We welcomed our two new class members and have enjoyed getting to know them. Year 3 have discussed our current thoughts and feelings about everything that has gone on and how our lives have changed. Some of us felt a bit sad and worried about the pandemic and others are taking it in their stride. As a class we decided that it is so important to look out and support each other. This in turn led onto a fruitful discussion about class rules and why it is so important that we have them. Respect and kindness I am pleased to say, rated very highly, we built in patience this year too as some of us have felt unsettled and this may effect our mood.

One thing for sure is that Year 3 have enjoyed playing together in the playground and running around with friends again.

In art we have learnt about trigger fish using them as inspiration for target setting as they certainly are determined fish! We enjoyed using keynote to draw our own and are compiling our targets for the term as we speak.

We have been joining new Showbie folders to get our work into order and remembering to take great care with our iPads now we can take them home for the weekend.

In Mathematics we have been revisiting place value working both on an iPad and in our books.

Mr Bond

Year 2

Wow what a wonderful few days we have had in year 2. It has been great to see the children’s mailing and eager to learn. This week have done lots of work around ourself including some self portraits and then in English using adjectives to describe them. In Maths we have been learning all about place value and we will be continuing this next week.

Monday next week is sure to be an exciting day as the children are very excited about having their first Science and Adventure school lesson.

Mrs Kilb

Year 1

Week one of a new term and I am incredibly proud of Year 1. Every child came into school with a can do attitude and lots of positivity. Everyone has settled well into a new class and daily routine.

As a result we have had a wonderful few days exploring 2D shapes (some familiar and some new), positional language and demonstrating our independent writing.

We have enjoyed several in-depth discussions about books and pictures where Year 1 showed curiosity and creativity.

We are very much looking forward to next week for our first science, games and woodland school lesson.

Miss Gardner

Reception

Welcome to Reception! Everyone has had great fun getting to know each other. The week has been productive, full of creative tasks including, making mini me’s for our birthday display. The children used their talking partners to learn about numbers to 10.

The children used their talking partners to learn about numbers to 10. They played the missing number line game, identifying the numerals and putting them in the correct order. Next week we are looking forward to learning our new song about our body. Have a great weekend!

Mrs Gibbons

Second Steps

Second Steps have participated in lots of different activities during their first full week in school.

They have enjoyed working in groups and whole class activities to help build confidence and to get to know their peers. During one circle time the children loved looking in the mirrors together with a partner to describe each other’s features

We have been talking about forming new relationships and our feelings/emotions.

Miss Finch & Miss Vari

First Steps

We have had a great week in First Steps.

We have welcomed lots of new friends.

The children have been using the connecting blocks in the garden. They have been making tall towers, long trains and space rockets then counting them to see how big they are. There have been a few variations of number order but its all good fun.

The children have been having lots of messy fun in the mud kitchen making mud by mixing soil and water together an sharing it out in pots and bowls and putting them in the oven to make mud pies.

Great work, First Steps.

Mrs Akoglu, Mrs Mousi, Miss Gurd & Mrs Leech

Created By
Park Hill
Appreciate

Credits:

Alistair Bond