From the Headmaster:

Resilience and perseverance. Well, I think a number of us deserve an award at the next assembly for displaying these two qualities in, well, bucketloads!

Before I go on to explain the reasons behind a potential 'self-award' on Thursday I feel I must share this video -

Following a superb twilight CPD session last week, we are enhancing and further developing our 'learning outside the classroom' provision. Whilst I dislike the phrase 'learning outside the classroom' and prefer the division between 'outdoor' learning and 'indoor' learning to be invisible, we have identified even more opportunities to use our location to further enhance the quality of teaching and learning across the whole curriculum. With the January sales in full flow and (please don't groan) no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing, we have acquired waterproof suits for our nursery classes to enable them to spend more time outside engaged in a range of activities on a very regular basis. As you can see, Amber had a smashing (splashing) time trying out the suits!

Now for the resilience and perseverance.

I am absolutely delighted to inform you that we have now received our restricted operators licence from the DVSA which permits us to run, for the time being, two of our own minibuses. I am particularly pleased with this development as it permits us to further enhance the curriculum and to explore more areas of the local area on a more flexible way. Delivery is due over half term, at which point I will write again with details of further transport arrangements.

I am sure, like me, you are looking forward to the beginning of spring. There are signs already of buds and bulbs keen to open their eyes and bring some colour to the world. Whether it is coincidence or divergence of events, I have been reminded this week of the importance of being alert to keeping the frenetic pace of life and work at bay and that the greatest gift you can give is 'simply' giving someone your absolute undivided attention. Distractions from work; emails, calls and the need to be somewhere, quickly, need to be kept in perspective.

Just as you can see and hear from the video, it wasn't just Amber who enjoyed being outside; being outside is good for you! We are fortunate to enjoy considerable natural resources at Park Hill and we do enjoy a very creative curriculum, one that we are constantly looking to further improve and develop. I am very pleased, therefore, to inform you that on Friday 1st March we shall be joined by Mr Pete Moorhouse who will be working with all of our staff on 'Learning through woodwork' and how, I am delighted to inform you, there is a growing realisation that working with wood should start from early years and the important role it plays in mental health and happiness. I do have a very small number of spaces available should you like to join us on 1st March.

Pete is well worth reading up on and following on Twitter - @PeteMoorhouseEY I will, of course, let you know how we will develop woodwork at Park Hill in due course.

Now finally and out of interest, how many of us jumped in a puddle this weekend? How many of us made something with our hands? How many of us went for a walk with our family?

Yours sincerely,


PS - Good luck to our cross country team on Monday who will be competing in the rearranged regional event.

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...!)

Creativity - #everyonecancreate

One of the most rewarding aspects of Park (Hill) life is the ethos of teamwork and collegiality that permeates all aspects of the school day. With Mr Papps on a first aid course, I had a most enjoyable morning with the Year 5 and Year 4 children on Friday as we explored two ways in which you can create animation using KeyNote on the iPad. The children imported a photograph onto a slide, reduced the opacity and then accessed the sketch tool. By then removing the original image from the background, this enabled them to create a range of artwork which were then animated and explored into a movie. We had tigers chasing deer through a jungle and even a UFO hovering menacingly over the school. What was particularly pleasing was to receive some examples from Isabel who clearly enjoyed the lesson and continued the creative process at home - bravo!

Good Work!

I receive many visits to my office during the week and I am determined to lead a crusade against the misperception that you only come to my office for, um, misdemeanours!

I was visited by four young Reception children this week (and by Mrs Gibbons who I think may have recognised a post fish and chip Friday weakness with the school budget that she exploited to her benefit) to share with me some super work. As you can see, a wide variety of topics covered and some particularly creative language from Chloe, Yousef, Holly and Timothy. It seems that Reception class will be enjoying some new writing resources on Monday with Chloe even pressing the 'order now' button...

News from Year 5 and Year 4

新年快快, (Xin nián kuài lè!) Or Happy New Year! Although the pig is considered a little lazy, it is also seen as a sign of wealth and fortune, and a wealth of activities and events have formed our week in Year 4 and 5. On the theme of good fortune, this was met by one lucky, or unlucky pupil, who was hit on the lapel of their blazer by some flying bird poo! Wealth and riches await her, and hopefully a good omen for our class as we enter the final week before half term.

The week began with Jeffrey presenting, alongside Isabel, an explanation and description of Chinese New Year celebrations. We discovered that in our class that we had a Rat amongst us, a c Monkey too. However, most of the class seemed to be Ox’s and Tigers. We enjoyed making Jeffrey’s time at Park Hill fun and wish him and his family all the best as they return to Wenzhou.

In lessons, pupils have been finishing off work on The Black Plague, as they finish their Medieval Times newspaper report. There has been more handwriting practice too as Year 4 and 5 perfect their scribing ‘skills with the quills’. We aim to develop our skills to write out our own documents, as if we were Medieval Monks. We just need some kind of Tale to tell? More on this next week...

For our English studies we have been progressing with our report writing (Non-chronological reports) and developing skills in organising data ready to be explained in detail and written up next week. Parenthesis (adding more information) has also been a strong focus for pupils, Year 4 and 5, who are now able to identify it’s application to a written text and the punctuation used - Brackets, dashes and commas.

In Maths we have been concerned with data in the form of Line Graphs: Presenting them accurately; the ability to interpret them. Interpreting was a task we excelled in, though the complications of presenting a line graph were identified on a steep but positive learning curve.

The teaching week may have ended on Wednesday for some, but Year 4 and 5 excelled during the Open Day on Thursday and enjoyed the attentions of Mr Stevenson as they developed their entrepreneurial endeavours which will hopefully yield profitable returns for all. To develop their own business gives pupils them a mature insight in to future jobs they may take up, and what it takes to be successful. This fits in with their PSHCE as this week they considered the hopes and dreams other children from around the world may have. If they are thinking about amassing fortunes, they must hog the attention on them and channel the Chinese New Year Pig.

再见 (zài jiàn)...or See you soon!

News from Year 3

Year 3 have thoroughly enjoyed having our Chinese visitor for two weeks. We thoroughly enjoyed our presentation on Tuesday celebrating Chinese New Year. We learnt about how the Chinese celebrate with family gatherings and even learnt how to write our names and various greetings.

In English we have enjoyed learning about Greek Myths and are currently creating our own mythical creatures looking at interesting vocabulary to describe its many features.

In art we have continued our work on the Mayans making our own Mayan calendar. Their calendar was certainly more complicated than ours! Scan this QR code and find out more!

News from Year 2

What an interesting week this has been.

We have begun our building our houses out of wood and plastic. Paint and hinges are all being used to construct our houses. Mathematics has been all about fractions and shapes, with the children learning to half using the diamond method, and then create fraction walls. Halves, quarters, and thirds are all being used to build our walls.

In English, we have finished our Kamishibai and have created a new display for our classroom. Performance poetry is now the order of the day, and the children have been practising performing poems rhythmically, and with great expression.

Out came the Jimu dancing robots this week and we have started to program them to dance in response to different inputs. Tilting or taping were the inputs this week.

News from Year 1

Year 1 have been exceeding all expectations this week within their maths lessons. They have become place value experts able to identify tens, ones and even hundreds. They have learnt how to represent and read larger numbers as well as solving reasoning questions. At the end of the week we completed a ‘Blob tree’ assessment to see how the class felt about their learning which was very interesting.

In Literacy we focused on phase 5 sounds playing a range of games to extend our knowledge. We also took an alternative approach to traditional story telling... first testing to see if the facts within the Three little pigs were true. Which material would really make the strongest house and could the wolf blow them down?

Then we challenged the story of Little Red Riding Hood - was the Wolf really bad or misunderstood? The class wrote diary entries from his perspective.

At Woodland school we built on our prior knowledge of structures to design a hibernation house for a hedgehog. The class were asked to find a suitable location safe from predators, with food for an omnivore as well as only using natural materials found in the environment. The results were tremendous and the class demonstrated critical thinking and excellent team work skills. We had a huge amount of fun exploring muddy puddles and wet weather conditions, learning about safety and how the landscape is changing over time.

News from Reception

There has been a huge focus on symmetry in Reception this week. Within the continuous provision they have been investigating objects which are symmetrical. We saw symmetry in nature, including stags, leaves, tree stumps and spider webs. We also looked at symmetry used in architecture and art designs including Islamic art and prayer mats. Using key note on our iPads we created symmetrical butterflies adding shapes and patterns, ensuring the two halves are mirrored images of each other. Other activities included using magnetic shapes, printing and painting. Literacy involved drawing our self portrait and testing to see if a symmetrical line can be drawn through the middle. We used mirrors to support this. Within Big Write the children used gif’s to enhance their creative writing. It was pleasing to see so many varied pieces. Well done, keep up the hard work Reception.

News from Second Steps

What a full on week Second Steps have had this week! On Tuesday the 5th February we celebrated Chinese New Year. The children enjoyed being involved in this and absolutely enjoyed themselves in the role-play area, which was a Chinese Restaurant. We have also had different types of noodles out in the messy tray and the children enjoyed using chopsticks to pick up the noodles. They learnt how to say Happy New Year in Mandarin as well as count 1-10! We have also been learning to write in Mandarin, using place paint. The children dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes and learnt how to cook some yummy food too. As part of our Expressive Arts and Design development and Understanding of the World it is vital that children learn through play, to be able to use their imaginary play as well as learn about different cultures.

“ I liked cooking with the noodles in the role-play area”- Christopher

“I enjoyed doing all the different types of decorations” - James

Our story of the week has been “The Tiger who cam to Tea”, the children have had a delightful time acting out the story. On Tuesday morning we had some very special visitors who came to our school for some tea ( as the Tiger told them to come). We had a dragon, a panda and a bear come to tea. They were so funny and the bear was late for the tea party! They ate everything in the classroom and wanted more! Although they shard their tea with us, which was delicious, we had to give them some really big tins of food to take home with them.

“The animals were so funny and they ate all the food but it was nice of them to share their fruity tea”- Rameez

“ Oh no! They ate all the food up and made me laugh so much.”- Kit

For the rest of the week the children have been having their own tea party. They poured and sipped fruity tea as well as make their own sandwiches. Great fine motor skills were used by all the Second Steps children as they spread the jam and butter onto their bread.

“ I enjoyed making my own sandwiches and pouring the tea into the cups for my friends.”- Jack

“I liked the tea it was nice and warm and tasted of fruit”- Benjamin

For maths and phonics this week, the children have ben learning how to blend simple CVC words as well as continuing to practice their letters and sounds. They did many different activities to engage their learning and interest. The children had to chisel away at the ice to get the letters/sounds and tell the teachers what sound they found. The children also enjoyed doing this with numbers as well. For maths the children enjoyed using the logs with the numbers on and putting the right about of quantity onto the logs. They all preserved at this and showed a “I can do” attitude. Amazing work Second Steppers! They even wanted to do this activity again a few days later and some children got involved to teach the others.

“ I enjoyed having to break the ice to get the sounds”- Aiden

“ When I was looking I saw many numbers, I like number 4.”- Kassius

In outside area the children had great time exploring the different trays put out. They had to dig and search for some treasure hidden within the sand. They also went back in time to the Jurassic era and explored the jungle and the many types of dinosaurs. We learnt the different types of food they ate and how some had to hunt for their food.

“ The dinosaurs makes lots of noise....ROAR!”- Christian

“ Let’s make a Dinosaur Park for them with the soft play.”- James

The children had a great time with the soft play, creating a Dinosaur Park for the dinosaurs. The children then became dinosaurs and climbed onto the soft play.

“ I am the biggest of dinosaurs, look at my big feet.”- Mary

“ I’m a big big dinosaur....ROAR!”- Harry

Second Steps have been exploring different ways of movement and have been using their gross motor skills to jump over hurdles as well as climbing over objects. Second Steps have been pretending to be different types of animals and moving to how that animal would in the jungle or forest.

“ I am a snake and a snake goes like this on the ground, it also eats other animals.”- Jack

“Look at me! I am scary, I am a lion and I crawl on the floor and ROAR!”- Gisele

Second Steps have also been busy preparing for Valentines Day and have started to create their gifts for their loved ones. During this time, the children have shown particular interest on how to write different phrases in a card how to to construct a sentence. There has been some lovely written work by them and the teachers have been really proud of their work. Well done Second Steps.

This week the children have also been learning about independence and how it is important to tidy up or clean up the mess made. It was lovely to see how children helped each other to tidy up or even sweep up the mess made when having so much fun.

“ it is nice to help other people because that’s being kind.”- Kit

“When you help others you feel good but it make your friends happy because you helped them.”- Zachary

Second Steps has had a great week, filled with many different activities which all the children have been involved in. They have had many learning experiences as well as opportunities. Well done Second Steps!

News from First Steps

Gong hei fat choy!

Happy Chinese New Year!

We have been learning about Chinese New Year! Mrs Chan and Mrs Ko kindly came in First Steps and taught us how did they celebrate Chinese New Year! At the assembly all the children wore red costumes and traditional Chinese clothes. A Chinese dragon came to our class, we scared it away using different musical instruments making lots of noise and it has worked. The dragon ran away and didn’t come back. Thank you children! For their hard work children have been rewarded with red envelops (with surprise in it) by Mrs Chan. Thank you very much Mrs Chan!

First Steps children tried on different Chinese clothes and used chop sticks to eat noodles from our messy tray. They practised writing Chinese numbers as well as Latin numbers.

Science was fun as always. The children dropped different colours on lemon slices, made holes then added the soda bicarbonate and magic has started! The children have had so much fun watching the reaction of the mixture.

At the end of the week we cooked noodles in the class. The children cut, chopped and grated the vegetables then mixed them with noodles. We poured hot water over the noodles and talked about the changes: how noodles got softer.

Created By
Park Hill


Alistair Bond

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