From the Headmaster:

What a thoroughly enjoyable week! What can be more fun than learning how to do bunny hops on a mountain bike, creating unique art with an iPad controlled gyroscopic ball, making your own set of false teeth using marshmallows (Second Steps will explain), bringing the Bayeux Tapestry quite literally to life and learning how to tie a taut line hitch?

This was accompanied by inspiring lessons, column subtraction and creative writing amongst many, many other things...

I am allowed to use the word inspiring as we were joined by senior colleagues from Apple Education who were utterly impressed and inspired by all that the children do here at Park Hill.

We also dared to dream in the assembly and reflected on the dream that Martin Luther King had in 1963. Lots of stories and news to read in this edition.

So, a really good week (and it is only week 2!)

Yours sincerely,


PS - Don't forget to sign your names up for the parent social on 1st February, it will be a super evening. Details below.

There are also some wonderful images from our Little Adventurers available through their own instagram page -

Please note: the school council expressed (very clearly!) that they found the school water bottles to be unsuitable (leaking over homework and desktops) and that they prefer to be allowed to bring in their own bottles.

Please note: If your children arrive late to school, please ensure you visit the school office to sign them in. This is for safeguarding purposes and is a requirement for schools. (Some of the reasons provided have been refreshingly honest...!)

Parent Social

One of the many events that I look forward to at the start of the New Year is our now famous food and wine/beer pairing evening.

The approach is simple: give our incredibly talented Chef Leon carte blanche to create a variety of tantalising treats, canapés and hors d’oeuvres to tickle the taste buds that are then matched with a variety of wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks to ensure a most enjoyable evening. In addition, a selection of cheeses from Teddington Cheese for those cheese lovers amongst us and, as previously requested, some single malt Scotch whisky to enjoy later in the evening.

I would very much like to encourage you to join us for the evening. Whether it be to celebrate the end of (dry) January, or to simply enjoy the relaxed company of fellow parents and teaching staff from across the school. No pretensions, just good food, drinks and company.

Do click on this link to reserve your place, it will be a super evening. (The form will close on Friday 25th January, 6pm.)

Technology and History

Whilst it is a little of a standing joke, often at my expense, we are incredibly proud to be just one of 30 schools in the UK and Ireland who achieved the status of being an Apple Distinguished School. We were reminded just yesterday of how much this is providing our children with opportunities to extend their vocabulary and ability to think creatively.

Our Year 5 and Year 4 children are currently starting their Middle Ages History topic that includes exploring the Bayeux Tapestry and Guillaume le Conquérant...

Having discussed and written about the key characters in the story of the Bayeux Tapestry (even discovering that it isn't actually a tapestry) they used their technological know-how and brought the tapestry alive. What better way to develop their understanding than to actually become a character and to understand how it will have felt being in the Battle of Hastings?

Put simply. We use technology, where appropriate, to enhance and extend learning.

The considered use of technology to foster creative thinking.

What a pleasure it was to welcome Joe Perkins and Niel McLeod from Apple Education to school just yesterday who later tweeted-

And now, watch how the children brought the Bayeux Tapestry to life....

Adventure School

Feet in the 'attack position', weight back behind the seat and over the rear wheel, feathering the brakes to ensure you have complete control over the mountain bike as you head downhill.

As the image above demonstrates, we enjoyed the second week of Adventure School and using our newly acquired school mountain bikes to develop and refine the key skills. Dare I add that I thoroughly enjoyed putting my Mountain Bike Instructor Certificate to use for the first time since qualifying.

The Year 2 children applied their newly developed knot tying skills to erecting a bivvy shelter. As you can see below, they did really rather well!

As I explained to the children, we will be outside regardless of weather; do please ensure that your children have their bags packed with the appropriate clothing -

No such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing...

Assembly - Dare to dream...

We have introduced a new Personal, Social and Health curriculum which the children will be enjoying. This first half term sees the whole school looking at aspirations and dreams. Judging by the assembly on Thursday, we have some highly aspirational children, parents and children!

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T.E. Lawrence

We explored the life of Martin Luther King and looked at how he 'dared to dream' in 1963.

It is Martin Luther King Day on Monday, I have challenged the children to make a difference and 'if you want to change something, you probably can.'

News from Year 5 and Year 4

There is a quote from a staff member that; ‘no two days at Park Hill School are the same’. Well, I would argue against this: everyday this week has been really busy!

Pupils pulled up their ties and were ready to work from the first morning. We were very impressed with the pupils attitude as visitors from Apple attended the classroom. They were impressed as pupils explored the use of Talkr apps and HP Reveal to animate and bring to life the Bayeux Tapestry. Watch out for our Bayeux Tapestry video. It will be filled with information, action and suspect French accent. To be released soon!

Our Spooky Stories in English have developed from plans in to drafts with amendments made; to be written up with our best handwriting next week.

For Maths there has been division in the class as we have sought to use our confidence in multiplication to use inverse and mental maths methods to divide numbers with two or more digits. Next week we aim to use these skills with written word problems where we shall develop our vocabulary to identify which operations are required.

In Science pupils have continued their explorations with Mr Stevenson who has conducted the flow of electricity and it’s applications in everyday life in to the pupils learning.

As it is heading towards the end of January our focus may be similar to some parents as we delve in to the world of business and commerce. Remember to get your tax returns in soon! In the world of Business, pupils have started to design their own entrepreneurial initiatives; creating business plans in their Computing lessons with Mr Stevenson where they use a small investment of memory to generate a profitable business.

However, in our dealings with Medieval History the concept of tax in the classroom has been the norm, an idea we’ve learnt from William the Conqueror. The Domesday Book has arrived and pupils have taken this innovative idea from Norman wisdom, and applied it to Park Hill School, or PHRC (Park Hill Revenue and Customs). For all parents and teachers reading from First Steps up to Year 3, expect a tax bill next week as Year 4 and 5 Norman Commissioners have made an inventory of every classroom, and calculations will be made early on Monday and Tuesday. Sorry, no cheques please!

A taxing week, but rewarding too.

Great work Year 4 and 5!

News from Year 3

This week Year 3 have enjoyed learning about the Mayan writing, which is very similar to Ancient Egyptians hieroglyphics, based image based. We have also learnt that they were quite an advanced civilisation. We have been painting our Mayan Art work using watercolours and looking to get a good colour by mixing carefully with water and using a wash for the background.

In Mathematics we have been looking at column subtraction, stealing from next door (decomposition) when necessary, breaking the H, T and Ones up helped us understand the process. In English we are still working on The Tear Thief and looking to use her characteristics into poetry. I have been impressed with the children’s vocabulary and use of similes.

In Computing we are continuing our work on coding which is always a favourite even though debugging and problem solving can be very challenging. We are really enjoying our Latin lessons and can use general greetings with confidence, this week we learnt how to write and invite other children to our own party using Roman Numerals.

News from Year 2

This week, the children have been working on their reports and have created reports on animals, and digital reports on computing and coding. The children used book creator to add different information to the book such as voice notes, videos, screen recordings, and photos. In Mathematics, the children have started their work on subtraction and have been looking at different methods to subtract including hundred squares, and partitioning and place value.

In Science, we have begun to look at uses for materials and have begun to think about how we would create buildings considering the different properties of materials.

We enjoyed our visit from Apple and we spoke to them about how we use technology in the classroom. They were particularly impressed by Adrius and his use of BookCreator.

News from Year 1

Year 1 have been learning how to achieve our goals as a team. We have examined success and the emotions associated with achievement. At Woodland school this week, we learnt how to create a shelter using waterproof fabric and rope as well as materials found in the environment. They worked well as a team, sharing ideas, supporting one another, problem solving and making group decisions.

In Literacy our focus is narrative - traditional tales. We have been learning to identify the features of a traditional tale as well as retelling familiar stories in innovative and creative ways through hot seating, still image and recording character voice notes within Book Creator.

In Maths we revisit geometry and deepened our understanding of 2 and 3D shapes. Year 1 created patterns, investigated environmental shapes as well as sorting and grouping using properties.

News from Reception

Yusuf’s dream of becoming an astronaut inspired his class peers and even his class teachers... it began with a mission to Mars, but before embarking on this adventure the children had to complete four onerous mathematical tasks; a fit station, finding the value of items using money, weighing items and measuring length, all in which tested their problem solving skills. Within a time frame, the children worked collaboratively by taking turns, listening to each other and most importantly persevering! The children succeeded with flying colours!

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality...”

Zayan’s dream is to become a captain. So within Phonics we created a seaside small world which also reinforced the ‘sh’ digraph. The children became pirates and segmented words using pirate sound talk! Using their iPads, the children created their own ‘under the sea’ theme picture adding images that began with the ‘sh’ sound: ‘sheep,’ toothbrush,’ ‘ship,’ ‘shell,’ ‘shoe,’ ‘shirt,’ ‘shopping trolley,’ ‘shed’ and a ‘shop,’ some very unusual objects under the sea, however they confidently and independently changed the colour, manipulated the size and rotated when necessary.

The cafe trip was SO much fun so Chloe says! Cheese, ham, tuna and chicken sandwiches were made, remembering their step by step instructions learnt in Literacy. The children really did amaze me with their money skills. They individually wore their own bumbags and paid with their own money, counting the coins and noting its value.

A very impressive week it has been. Always remember, dream it, believe it, achieve it. Our growth mindset encourages our children to believe that they are in control of their own ability and can learn and improve by practising.

There is a great article on CBeebies - Growth Mindsets: Help your child try new things. Follow the link or follow the QR code.

News from Second Steps

We have had a very productive week in Second Steps as we have continued our topic of Growth.

It has been such a delight to see the baby and family pictures and the children have enjoyed talking to the class about this.

We had a great response to our homework last week which was to upload a video or photos of the children brushing their teeth. Indeed, caring for teeth has been our focus this week. We did a maths game and activity of rolling a dice and counting out pretend teeth to go with the number.

Another exciting activity was using the Sphero robots to roll around in paint on a canvas to make a truly unique picture for our classroom The children learnt how to control the robots while using the i-pads.

A similar picture was made using marbles dipped in paint and rolled around the builders tray.

This again made a super picture and also helped to develop language skills as they described what they were doing and what the picture looked like.

News from First Steps

This week, we have been exploring coding. First Steps children used caterpillars to practise their very first coding lesson. Children’s aim were to reassemble the caterpillar based on directions on each piece. They quickly started to feel confident and even raced their caterpillars!

The children practiced travelling in different ways such as, walking, jumping, going through hoops in PE lesson with Miss A.

At the art table children used their imagination and made lots of cards for their family members. We have experimented how balloons would blow up by vinegar and baking soda mixture. At Woodland School we have learnt a new song called “wiggly woo’ then went to search a wiggly worm at bark area.

Picture Gallery

I found myself with my camera in hand at various intervals this week; hopefully a selection of images from different times and perspectives on Park (Hill) life....(sorry for that pun...!!)

Created By
Park Hill


Alistair Bond

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