From the Headmaster:

You are going to have to zoom in a little bit.

Ignore the legs and look more closely at the foot. You might notice that who ever this foot belongs to has quite deliberately and surgically, you might say, sliced through the desert boot (a clue) to allow a little toe to breath.

I would suggest that there is a military bearing to the foot. Quite why it is possible to glean such information from the angle of boot and trouser but I would hope that I am not alone in doing so. Allow me to add some further clues.

He is the first and only person to circumnavigate the whole planet through both the North and South Pole.

In 1993 he became the first man to walk across the whole continent of Antarctica, unsupported. It took him just 93 days.

He ran 7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days for the British Heart Foundation.

After several unsuccessful and unlucky attempts to scale Mount Everest, he finally summited in 2009, as a 65-year-old man.

He also ran a 156-kilometer ultramarathon through the Sahara desert. He was 71 when he accomplished it.

And rightfully, Guinness Book Of World Records has named him “The World’s Greatest Living Explorer.”

He also happens to share my birthday.

The foot does indeed belong to a certain Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes.

I will gladly confess to being a great admirer of Ranulph Fiennes. The reasons are quite obvious but include an extraordinary resilience and perseverance but perhaps greatest of all is a desire to challenge oneself with a healthy dose of bloody-mindness thrown into the mix.

I had the very good fortune to hear him speak and subsequently meet him. I am pleased to say that the old saying of 'never meet your heroes' was false. An utterly engaging and gentle man, albeit with a clear glint of mischief in his eyes.

He formed part of the focus of the assembly this week - people we find inspiring and, more importantly, why?

I also included Marie Curie into my selection. Again, I suspect a determination and resilience to overcome not just scientific challenges but also a climate that was certainly not a level playing field. Who else?

Well, a walk around the school resulted in choices as diverse as members of the medical world, Elena's father (in fact I am rather delighted to say that mums and dads are clear role models across Park Hill as Rosie chose her mum for putting up with three children) through to Rosa Parks, Emmeline Pankhurst, Mr Stevenson chose his mother, Mr Papps chose his university lecturer and Mrs Bond chose Steve Backshall (you have every righto to be suspicious about her alleged reason) and then we had selections from parents including The Rock (the ex wrestler/actor, not the film) and the Iron Lady.

What do they all have in common? Might I suggest a set of beliefs, a set of core values and a desire to act on them? An ability to overcome obstacles, a resilience and a perseverance to move forward. As Sir Fiennes says himself -

“There’ll be a voice in my head saying I’ll have a heart attack, I’ll get hyperthermia, I’ve got a family, it’s stupid to carry on. That sort of wimpish voice tries to appear logical, finding reasons for stopping. You have to fight it. I’ve had it so many times.”

I'm off this weekend to be more like Fiennes. A little adventure to travel from the lowest point in Surrey to the highest point in two hours (locations revealed at the bottom of this edition).

Small steps....


From the School Office - Michelle Gambi

"Mr Bond has kindly passed on that my smile was missed these last two days. I look forward to being back in school next week."

We have a request for help from our finance team based up in Stanmore. The Finance team have asked that when making a payment of any kind (Fee’s, after school club etc) can you please make sure to specify your bill payer ref number on each payment along with your child's name.

If you are unsure what your payer reference is please contact me directly. We do have a number of payments that we are struggling to allocate.

Term Dates

As a reminder, term dates can be uploaded to your device from the school calendar page of our website. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, the key dates for Christmas are as follows -

Last day of term - Friday 11th December, 12.30pm (for both nursery and school) for staff training.

Nursery closed - 6pm Wednesday 23rd December.

Whole school, including nursery - start of term 8am, Wednesday 6th January 2021.

Lost Property

We do our very best to return items, do please ensure that al belongings are labelled.


What stood out at the Remembrance Day Assembly this year was the extraordinary level of respect and dignity shown by all of our children. By all, I do indeed mean every child from Nursery through to Year 6. From poems read by our Year 6 through to the Year 5 children whose ancestry fought, I am left in no doubt that they will be remembered and that the future generations will ensure no voices will be forgotten.

“When you go home, tell them of us and say,

for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”


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.

With all of our children throughout the school having made a terrific start to the school year, the gate will now close promptly at 8.30am.

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.

Mr Sims - Welfare and Compliance

It can be a difficult task to explain to to children the significance of Remembrance Day. For many of them, their young minds are too fragile to comprehend the sacrifices that have been made by others to enable us to enjoy the world in which we live and thrive. By the time the children reach the upper end of the school, they have studied both World War 1 and World War 2 in their Humanities lessons. For those of you who were able to join us for the Remembrance Day assembly on Wednesday, I truly hope that the maturity and composure with which the Year 5 and Year 6 children led the event came through to you at home. It was fascinating to watch the younger children, many of whom are yet to celebrate their 3rd birthdays, watch and take their lead from the older children and sitting in silence for 2 minutes. Let’s be honest, to sit in the playground, which every other day is the place for anything but sitting still and remaining silent in a huge achievement. As is so often the case, the young children frequently look to the older children to model and define what is acceptable behaviour and then set the tone for events such as these, we are most fortunate to have such wonderful role models at the top of the school.

As mentioned during the school assembly on Thursday, January will see the start of 2 new weekly awards at Park Hill. These will be known as the Perseverance Award and the Resilience Award.

The words ‘perseverance’ and ‘resilience’ frequently come up in conversations when we are discussing the children at Park Hill. These two words express how the journey that our children go on throughout their developmental years is full of challenge and experiences that test their character and understanding of how the world works. To build up resilience against the impact of set backs and showing perseverance in the desire to expand abilities, knowledge and understanding are key life skills. We endeavour to support children to embrace these skills and attributes on their journey through Park Hill.

To further promote the value of these attributes, the start of the Spring Term will see the introduction of two new weekly awards. Mr Stevenson will be on the lookout for times when the children have taken great strides in their academic work or excelled in a piece of work set by their teacher. This can be in any subject area but must show that the child has persevered with their work to create something, which for them, is quite special. The winner of this award will receive the Perseverance Award for Academic Achievement.

To partner the Perseverance Award, I will be awarding the Resilience Award for Courage and Kindness. This will be to recognise the times when a child has either overcome a problem, turned a potentially negative experience to a positive one or showed exceptional kindness to another.

At the end of each month, the effort of the award winners will be celebrated when they will be invited to join Mr Stevenson and myself at break time for hot chocolate and cake, or perhaps in the summer term milkshake and ice cream.

I am sure you will agree that these are qualities that we endeavour to encourage and celebrate for our children. At Park Hill we have many parents who in their own professional and personal lives excel in these areas. We often talk to the children about the tremendous work that many of our parents do to serve our community and would like to take this opportunity to recognise their work and thank them while we celebrate the work of the children. With that in mind, I am delighted to announce that our first award in January will be given out by Mrs Walsh and Mrs Kane, who as Matron and Deputy Director of Nursing at Kingston Hospital who so wonderfully embrace the two philosophies of perseverance and resilience in supporting our community.

I know that many of our parents will be too modest to put themselves forward, but if you know of a member of our school community for whom it would be particularly appropriate for them to hand out an award for perseverance or resilience, please email their name along with a few lines summarising your reason for nominating them to Matthew.Sims@parkhillschool.com

Have a wonderful weekend.

Health, Safety and Medicines at School

Please note the following important points regarding the administration of medicines at school.

Further to recent recommendations and legislation we are no longer allowed to dispense any medicines to the children, with the exception of school provided Calpol, Waspeze and sun lotion and then only when you have signed the medical form agreeing to this procedure.

If your child is taking prescribed antibiotics or other drugs you are advised to adjust the timing to avoid school hours. You may wish to discuss this with your doctor at the time of prescription.

• Asthma: Children who take medication for asthma must have two named inhalers at school. One to be kept in the first aid kit in the classroom the other in the School Office. Please label clearly with your child’s name and hand personally to Miss Gambi.

• Epipens: Please provide two epipens for use in school when necessary; labelled clearly with your child’s name.

• Cough sweets (or any other sweets) are NOT allowed in school as they pose a potential choking hazard.

• Children with a temperature or diarrhoea and/or vomiting within the last day must be kept at home until clear of all symptoms for a minimum of 48 hours.

• Head lice - please remember to check your child's hair regularly.

• Contagious diseases: Please inform the school office immediately if your child has been diagnosed with any contagious disease eg: chicken pox, measles etc

• It is imperative that you inform the school, in writing (a quick note will suffice), of any medication your child has received, since midnight, before coming to school.

Thank you for your co-operation. We know you will appreciate that these procedures are for the benefit and safety of all your children.


The full uniform list can be found here.

Mr Stevenson - Teaching and Learning

It seems that each week has something new and exciting happening at Park Hill. With our assessments now over and everyone now well in to their topics, some excellent learning has been spotted around the school. Here are just a few.

We are incredibly fortunate to have our apple devices to hand and the use of these has helped develop the children’s skills across a variety of subjects. Whether they are completing comprehension exercises in Year 2, exploring the solar system with AR in Year 4, or formulating and recording sentences in Year 3 French, the iPad provide something that little else can. These devices provide a tool that the children use to demonstrate understanding, access lesson content, and explore the world. Please check out the photos below.

Let us not forget our lower school who have been practising cutting skills, constructing buildings, drawing and using colour (check out Jess’ picture), and digging up our and replanting a plant or two.

Times tables practise is going strong here and the competition this week has been fierce, particularly between Year 4 and Year 6, to answer the most questions correctly on our new app, Times tables rockstars. In the end, it was Gabriel in Year 6 who came out on top, answering a whopping 3338 questions correctly this week (so far). This was followed by Yash - 1877, Rachel - 1398, Thomas - 1094, Luce - 1050, and Miles - 887. It’s always great to see the children actively engaging in a friendly competition, particularly when it is all about times tables. All the classes from Year 1 up are now logged in to this and have a user name/Password. Ask your class teacher for yours.

Despite it being known as my favourite subject, I feel I have neglected science in the past few Deerstalkers. Let that be no longer.

There are some truly fascinating subjects in flow at the school at the moment. Year 6 currently are learning about objects outside of the colour system, focusing on the life cycle of stars. VR was used to send them to far away places and watch supernovas, witness stars larger than they thought possible, and find stars that are half the size of our sun. The collective gasp when they realised now small our planet actually is was a joy to be behold. Year 5 are looking at something a little closer to home: healthy living and drugs. After researching the effects of alcohol, Year 5 attempted to cross a fake street with moving cars (footballs), while dizzy and with blurred vision. It was quickly agreed that this was substantially harder than they thought it would be. Year 4 also have space, but explored the solar system using AR, holding the moon in the palm of their hand. Year 3 were squashing and squeezing their fake stomachs to demonstrate the process of digestion. And Year 2 are making sure that they are safe around electricity.

Finally, our STEAM session this week was combined with what will become our performance. Props were created, moulded, cut, glued, blended, constructed, and many other verbs.

Our Little Adventurers have been ‘adventuring’ once again this week...

Year 6

I ‘Wonder’ what Year 6 have been up to? Our book study is coming along nicely, with the children writing play scripts last week, and writing their own version of the first 80 pages this week. During this, our main character joins a new school and then everything goes wrong. Each child has created a story similar to this and following the same theme. I’ve been impressed with the vocabulary they have used, as well as how they structured and planned them.

In order to help with this, they used Padlet to share their ideas and any events that taken place in the first pages, and watched the same part from the movie. The similarities and differences provided the main ideas they would need to cover in their stories.

Maths provided challenges in the form of division with remainders, and converting those remainders into fractions. The children worked in teams to solve problems, convert them, and will be recording their own tutorials.

In Science, we have begun our work on celestial objects, beginning with stars and their lifecycle. The children used their iPads to travel around and visit different stars, noticing size, colour, and distance from our star.

Mr Stevenson

Year 5

I could not be more proud of the children of Year 5 this week. The WW2 project came to an end in coordination with the special Remembrance Day assembly. It was a particularly rewarding experience when children spoke freely about how the significance of the Remembrance Day has developed in their minds as their understanding of the sacrifices that have been made have developed. At the assembly, each child spoke about the family members whom they had researched as part of the homework earlier in the term. The children performed their lines and conducted themselves with beautiful composure and maturity.

In English, the children had the opportunity to put in to practice the creative language, character building and plot development skills they have learnt from studying The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien. They enjoyed they opportunity to express their own fantasy worlds and create their own characters.

Mr Sims

Year 4

As superstitious days go, I’m pretty sure Friday the 13th won’t be considered an unlucky day at all for Year 4. No ladders in sight and certainly no black cats, nor any broken mirrors. However all thirteen pupils safely navigated their way from Monday to Friday with creative endeavours on all fronts of the curriculum. It all began in Adventure School on Monday as we ventured to Richmond Park. Using only natural materials gathered from our surroundings, pupils set about creating their interventions that included silhouetted figures of themselves made with fallen autumnal leaves. There was also a large assemblage of twigs, branches and mores leaves in the shape of the Park Hill School logo, complete with fallow deer.

Rather forgotten in most Year Four Deerstalkers, Sports has been providing pupils with great engagement with movement and catching skills for Netball. This week we ventured to the astroturf to work on drills with passing a ball between 3-4 players in a group. It is amazing to see how every group came up with their own effective method for movement, passing and carrying a ball across the whole length of the hockey pitch, and back.

In more academic learning we have been reading a range of poetry that employ the use of metaphors and personification. We analysed poetry on themes of: night time, the sun and rainbows in which we identified how the poets have compared them to animals and a range of emotions and other objects. These poems inspired us to develop lines for our own poems where we are comparing the world to a range of animals, objects and events. We look forward to completing them next week.

Sorting angles in to right angles, acute, obtuse and reflex began our explorations in Maths. Continuing this angle on our learning, we then used protractors to measure and draw a range of angles that enabled us to create our own triangles as a way to consolidate our understanding.

One of the most enjoyable lessons (for Mr Papps) was our Humanities. After reading an insightful text on life for ordinary civilians in Ancient Egypt we found out how the young and ...er... younger people lived. Brothers and Sisters would play and work, perform domestic tasks as well as sleep on their roofs. Bread was a solid foundation of their diet too, though a little too solid perhaps sometimes as it would often contain grit and dung leading to worn teeth and an upset tummy. After a comprehension task and some lively role play, Year Four wrote out some rather entertaining accounts of a day in the life of a Ancient Egyptian civilian that included the important findings we made from our initial reading.

Finally, casting a shadow over our week, our art lesson on light and dark saw us making informed responses to the effects of light on objects, in this case fruit. Drawing the outline of the fruits shape, pupils then added a range of progressively darker tones of grey with paint to depict the texture and three dimension qualities of apples, oranges and bananas. Stunning work!

A long and creative week has come to close, but more to follow next week. I shall look forward to our continued artistry across the curriculum with excitement.

Mr Papps

Year 3

Year 3 have enjoyed their work on fractions this week looking at reading fractions, equivalent fractions, adding fractions and converting fractions into mixed numbers.

In English we have been learning about the vocabulary used in writing instructions and how instructions are used to help us in our daily lives. Testing out paper aeroplane instructions made us realise the importance of clear concise details when trying to write our own. After testing out some sets of instructions we then wrote our on on Book Creator ready to try out on others at home.

Adventure school work had an artistic challenge using nature as our inspiration. Thought out the activity we still had to focus on team work and communication to ensure our masterpieces were a success! Art later on in the week started with a focus on still life, drawing of fruit looking at shading, by applying varying pressure on the sketching pencil. A challenging topic and I was most impressed with how maturely the class responded.

Well done, Year 3!

Mrs Bond

As promised, the impressive poem written by Athena (Y3).

Year 2

What a wonderful week Year 2 have had. We have focused a lot on the war due to remembrance day. We wrote letters home from a soldiers point of view and we even did some news reports of nurses and children back in the war. It was great to hear all the children’s points of view on what they thought living in war time would be like.

In maths we have been concentrating on adding and subtracting 2 digit numbers using our hundred squares. Making sure we break up the number into its 10s and ones. We also started doing some worked problems which the children decoded excellently.

We celebrated Diwali by making Rangoli patterns and creating some super divas with home made clay.

Next week we are going to be creating some simple circuits in science which I’m sure the children are going to love.

Mrs Kilb

Year 1

Learning Challenge: Can we see without light?

We have been exploring light sources and had a fascinating discussion about natural, artificial or man made light sources. We have learnt that light is a form of energy that is created though heat. Also that some creatures create their own light which led to a wonderful discussion about bioluminescence.

We discovered that although we have light at night - moonlight is actually reflected light from the sun. We began to learn that light travels in straight lines and can be blocked by opaque objects. This led to another learning opportunity-identifying opaque and transparent objects and materials.



The children have been exploring poetry this week creating sound, sight and shape poems about fireworks.

We have explored onomatopoeia and how font size and colour can affect meaning.


The children are working on developing their comprehension skills such as answering questions about what they have read, making predictions and simple inference questions. They have been practising reading tricky or common exception words so that they are able to spot them and read them fluently.


In maths, the children have been exploring the properties and names of 3D shapes. During maths sessions, for our starter we are focussing on quick recall of number bonds to 10 and building on our knowledge of place value.


In PSHE the children have been thinking about their own identity within a wider society. They learnt about what makes themselves and others special and about what roles and responsibilities they have at home and school. The children also looked at ways in which they can work and play cooperatively with other people.

Miss Gardner


I would like to take this opportunity to welcome May into reception. It is wonderful to have a familiar but new face (for some) back into the classroom. This week we have delved into more celebrations around the world. Firstly focusing on Remembrance Day - we discussed special days in the year when we remember specific people, including birthdays, mothers’ and fathers’ days, some festival days and other anniversaries. The children watched a video ‘In Flanders Field’ and learnt why we wear poppies. The children created some digital art poppies using the iPad and showed these in the assembly on Wednesday.

The children have also been learning about Diwali - the festival of light! 🎆🎇We have enjoyed reading stories about Rama and Sita and learning about rangoli patterns and diva lamps. The children made their own diva lamps and also explored colours creating their own rangoli patterns. I think their highlight was making ‘chocolate sparklers’ and eating them for snack!

In maths we looked at repeating patterns - using threading materials, coloured cubes and our own drawing. The children then applied their learning creating a 2 or 3 step pattern on the iPad inserting their own shapes too.

In phonics this week we learnt the digraph ‘th’ sound. Please continue to work with your child on these words for our spelling test next week.

Have a great weekend, happy Diwali! 🪔

Happy weekend!

Mrs Gibbons

Second Steps

Second Steps have been discovering a lot this week. We have been learning about why we wear poppies. The children were really good and said it was so we remember the soldiers. We made our poppies and took them with us for the Remembrance assembly. They participated really well and listened to the older children reading their poems.

We have been recapping our understanding of the phonics work we have been doing with the letters S and A. The children were using pipe cleaners to manipulate and to create the S and A shapes.

We have been celebrating Diwali by listening to traditional music, creating rangoli and mehndi patterns and making Diva lamps.

We celebrated Santhosh’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Santhosh.

We took the second half of the class to Richmond Park, we had so much fun. The muddy puddle was still there and again we had a good jump as well as lots of running, jumping and climbing.

Thank you to Mr Sims and Mrs Leech for coming with us.

Parents evening was a great success. Thank you to the parents for being so accommodating and taking the time to meet over Zoom.

All the children have settled so well into Second Steps and we got some lovely feedback.

Have a lovely weekend.

Miss Finch & Miss Vari

First Steps

The children were very busy painting many poppies for the Remembrance Day.They decorated the windows of classroom and participated in the whole school assembly for Remembrance Day by wearing their own handmade poppy pin.They also watched a 2 minute animation called “Poppies”, showing war from animals points of view.It was a fantastic way to dive into the topic.

This Saturday many people will be celebrating Diwali, FS children had a variety of Diwali activities.They made hand print art, diva lamps with playdough, they danced and said “Happy Diwali”.

Our focus book for this week was the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Many children spent endless hours in the messy tray feeding the puppet caterpillar with green rice and fruits.

Our circle session included the reading of Buster’s Birthday, one memory game, the new song “5 little speckled frogs” and the corn flour experiment of “Magic rain”.

The babies were in the home corner and the children looked after them, fed and put them to sleep.

Stay safe and well.

Mrs Guniz Mrs Mousi

Keep up the hard work First Steps!

Images from the Week

Social Media


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

Useful Links -

The lowest point in Surrey is - Thames Ditton

The highest point - Leith Hill

Created By
Park Hill


Alistair Bond