Dear Families and Friends,

We have had a fantastic Autumn term with so many events and celebrations happening across the school and Nursery. I do hope that you have enjoyed reading the newsletters and stories that are on our website which share all the children’s wonderful achievements. The very busy life of the school goes on as ever. We have achieved the Science Award Silver and have been re-accredited with our Inclusion Quality Mark at Flagship School status once again. I would like to thank all for your support and also to the staff for providing such wealth of experiences for our children. It is truly amazing what we have packed into this term and I am very proud of every child and the strong relationships we have with our families.

We are now well into the Christmas spirit and the children are very excited! We had our very well attended Christmas Fair, which is a culmination of our Enterprise Week. As a result of the enterprising skills of the children we raised an amazing £1,252.24 – budding entrepreneurs of the future! You have also helped us raise an incredible £296.56 for the Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day – thank you!

We have had some very magical moments in our Christmas celebrations performed by each year group – the children are so spellbound by the magic of Christmas it is an absolute joy to see their faces and their performances. Well done children you have made us proud and I know have made your relations very proud of you too. Again a huge thank you to all the staff who work so hard at this time of year to enable this to happen for us all to enjoy. Thank you for your contributions for our collection at the end of the performances, these monies go to replacing costumes etc. for such events to take place.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, a time when the magic happens for our little ones. I hope Father Christmas is kind to you all and we look forward to seeing the children back with all their festive stories on the 6th January 2020.

Lisa Clark, Headteacher

Nite Owls swoop in

On Monday 14th October 2019 the Year 2 children at Hamstel Infants were excited to have some special visitors for the morning. Some stunning Owls came to visit and carried out a fantastic display and their carers Erika and Olivia from Nite Owls gave the children an informative chat about owls.

The children were very fortunate to meet a range of species which included Barn Owls and A Little Owl. They had some lovely names too, Whisper, Dotty, Cookie, and Monty.

The Owls demonstrated how wide their wing span was and how low they could fly when hunting, by swooping silently over the children’s heads; not a sound was heard from any of the owls. Some children were lucky enough to participate in the flying of the owls, holding the owl whilst it took off and then catching the owl once it landed.

Erika and Olivia explained that there are over 200 different species of owls and they can be found all over the world. The children were also fascinated by other ‘owl facts’ such as how they digest their food and then bring up ‘pellets’, where you may find small bones of the animal they might have had for their dinner. They also found out that owls have an amazing sense of hearing for catching their prey and can turn their heads all the way round!

Once the children had watched the fascinating display they had the opportunity to meet Whisper the Barn Owl up close and have their photo taken with him.

The children had an amazing first-hand experience meeting these beautiful birds of prey up close and they were truly wowed by the owls. A big thank you to Erika and Olivia for bringing their ‘Nite Owls’ to visit Hamstel Infants.

IQM Award

Hamstel Infant School and Nursery are very proud to be one of around only 100 schools nationally to be awarded with the prestigious ‘Flagship School’ status by the Inclusion Quality Mark. This award recognises our commitment to providing equal opportunities for all pupils irrespective of individual need, ability or disability and the schools commitment to continuous improvement in this area over the last three years. Last week two members of staff attended the award ceremony in central London to celebrate this achievement. Schools across the country were presented with a plaque to recognise this achievement. The effectiveness of Hamstel Infant School and Nursery of Inclusion was shared with the other schools.

Year 1 become Palaeontologists

Year 1 at Hamstel Infant School and Nursey became palaeontologists for the day as they explored real life fossils! With the help of a real-life dinosaur expert from Education Group they uncovered real fossils using their fossil brushes and tools. They then used the evidence they found to identify the species of dinosaur and apply their knowledge and identify whether they were a carnivore or herbivore. The children loved this real life experience which helped to develop their scientific enquiry skills and develop their scientific vocabulary. Year 1 teacher Mr Sayer said “The children were fully engaged with the workshop. They were extremely excited to be palaeontologists. All the children listened carefully to the workshop leader and asked some very insightful and challenging questions.”

Hamstel Marks Armistice Day with Special Remembrance Ceremony

Hamstel Infant School and Nursery held their annual Remembrance service on Monday 11th November 2019. We commemorated this special event by holding a service which involved the sounding of the Last Post as played by Mrs Snashall on a trumpet and a march past from members of Westcliff High School for Boys’ Combined Cadet Force.

The children from Hamstel Infant School and Nursery planted a field of red poppies with each of the children making their own poppy from recycled materials to mark this special event.

This year we had two members from the local British Legion who joined us to support our service and to lay a wreath.

The Hamstel Schools were officially opened on August 31st 1914, just twenty seven days after World War 1 was declared, the marking of this special event was even more poignant for all those associated over the years with ‘The Hamstels’.

The schools chose to commemorate the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the ending of World War 1 in this moving manner as a way of helping the children of our generation to understand the message of Remembrance and to have a powerful experience they will themselves remember. The sound of a lone bugler playing the Last Post was a very moving moment for all.

Reception Christmas Craft Day

The Reception children had a lovely Christmas Craft Day on Thursday. The children were joined by their grown-ups to make an exciting assortment of Christmas decorations.

The children and grown-ups enjoyed making angels, shiny baubles, cotton wool snowmen, colourful crackers and wax resist Christmas pictures.

The children had a wonderful time and loved spending time with their parents and carers. It also looked like the parents enjoyed themselves as well!

Thank you to everyone who joined us.

Reception Multicultural week

The Reception children had a lovely food tasting day on Friday 4th October.

The children were joined by their grown-ups to taste our amazing multicultural cooking for around the world (China, Spain, Scotland, France and Sri-Lanka)

The children enjoyed making a Spanish fruit salad, Chinese stir fry, Scottish shortbread, Sri Lankan potato cakes and a French apple cake. We learnt how to safely cut and prepare fresh food.

The children had a wonderful time and loved spending time with their parents and carers. The parents looked like they enjoyed themselves as well!

Thank you to everyone who joined us.

Year 1 Multicultural Week

Year 1 were very busy during multi-cultural week, every class learned a song or poem to perform during our Harvest Celebration Assembly and each class brought in lots of food donations. Each class then focussed on a different country and prepared food from that country to share with their adults;

  • Dragonfly Class looked at Mexico and made Salsa and Guacamole
  • Newt Class created Pizzas inspired by Italy
  • Heron Class learned about Germany and made Apple Cake
  • Duck made Shortbread from Scotland.
  • Frogs made Hummus for Greece.

The children really enjoyed finding out about the different countries and sharing the food with their grown-ups.

Year 2 Harvest and Multicultural Week

Year 2 enjoyed learning about a variety of countries during Multicultural week, from Wales to India! The children spent their time learning about their chosen countries in class and used this newly found information to create fact posters. We learnt all about famous cities, landmarks and food! Year 2 then made a traditional dish from their country and presented it to their parents after school.

During this week, the children were also incredibly busy learning a performance for our Harvest festival. The children learnt a poem or song focused on the beginning of autumn and the Harvest season. Parents, children and the staff collected an impressive amount of food, all of which was gratefully received by HARP; Southend’s local homeless charity.

Outdoor Learning

In Outdoor Learning, the children have had an amazing time learning about their topics. In Reception, the children have been investigating light and looking at the changes to marshmallows after being in the fire. They also had fun painting their Father Christmas decorations.

In Year 1, the children were very excited to explore Shrek’s swamp. They made mud ogres using natural resources and learnt the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees. The children also used their senses to explore different textures in feely boxes. During road safety week, the children discussed how to keep safe when crossing the road.

Year 2 Visit Hyde Hall

Year 2 have enjoyed their trips to Hyde Hall in Rettendon. The two days supported all the work we have been doing about woodland and mini-beast habitats.

Each class spent some time in the brand new education building carrying out a range of different tasks. These included planting some cress seeds, making leaf baskets, using magnifying glasses to explore the ‘dead’ table and creating some beautiful leaf rubbings.

During the day the children also worked in teams and were given the challenge of building a nest for a bird. They had to think about all the different things that would make it a suitable habitat for a bird such as a Blackbird or Blue-Tit.

The children made colour book marks with different Autumn colour leaves. We also used some of the natural items to make some lovely art work.

In between all these wonderful tasks wemanaged to squeeze in a spot of lunch! Yum

The children excelled themselves whilst visiting Hyde Hall and were praised by the staff for their excellent behaviour as well as how enthusiastic they were with their learning. They should be very proud of themselves!

Singing club sing to local care homes

The children of our Singing Club have performed carols and Christmas songs at four events this year. Firstly, they entertained visitors to the school’s Christmas Fair. They have then sung at three local homes, Centenary Place, Boulevard Lodge and Whittingham House. On all occasions the children sang with great enthusiasm and their performance was enjoyed by all.

Children In Need

On Friday 15th November 2019 the children had an amazing time supporting Pudsey for Children In Need.The theme this year was ‘Get Together’.

The children raised funds by bringing in a donation for wearing something spotty to school. In addition to wearing something spotty, classes got together in the morning and Mrs Morris led a Joe Wickes inspired ‘Big Move’ workout.

Mrs Clark helped Pudsey with the ‘Big Move’ workout as he joined in with the children.

Cliff’s Pavilion Drama and Dance Workshop

As part of our topic on Lights and Sounds all the Reception children took part in a drama and dance workshop by the Cliff’s Pavilion.

The children were taught how to warm up their voices, mouths and tongues like actors so they can project their voices clearly on stage.

The children then practised making different firework noises and making firework shapes with their bodies. We all looked out for the best impression of a firework!

To finish the workshop, the children were taught a short dance routine to music.

We all had lots of fun and learnt lots about drama and dance.

Southend Activity Awards

On Wednesday 27th November we were invited to the Southend Activity Awards ceremony at the Tickfield Centre. Our KS1 3 Tees Cricket team had been nominated for KS1 team of the year for getting to the Essex Finals, where they came 3rd . The evening was organised by Active Life. The awards were presented by the Mayor of Southend & Lions Rotary Club. The children were very excited and proud when Hamstel Infant School was called out and they went to collect the award. We shared the award with Temple Sutton’s KS1 gym team.

One of the children was sporting a ‘limited edition’ Blue Peter Badge. He was awarded this after his parents nominated him for trying a new sport – 3 Tees Cricket!

It was a lovely evening and well deserved by the team. Thank you to Mrs Snashall and Mrs Walker for all their hard work with coaching and supporting the team.

We are already anticipating exciting stories about the next round of sporting activities next term.

Christmas Fair 2019

We enjoyed a very busy Infant Christmas Fair on Wednesday 27th November 2019. Each class created their own merchandise to sell, it was a very well attended event.

This year had the added bonus of both the Infant Hall and the Junior Hall as a joint venue, which meant that families could spread out and make the most of all the stalls during the evening. There was a lovely family Christmas feel on the day. There were items to decorate your home to create a Christmas atmosphere:

A range of Christmas decorations

  • Gift labels
  • Punch balloons
  • General Christmas Sale

There were lovely things to eat and drink like;

  • Christmas themed biscuits and cakes
  • Sausage rolls
  • Hot chocolate, teas and coffee
  • Sweet bags

There were many Christmas themed games like;

  • Children’s and Adult Tombola
  • Guess how many sweet in the jar!
  • Guess the destination location for Paddington Bear
  • Find the Santa in the Chimney

The children worked tirelessly on the items for each stall and the Staff supported this by putting each stall together, displaying all the goods and selling them to Parents, Carers, family and friends who attended the fair.

The Infant hall was decorated by the children with Christmas hoops designed by each class.

Well done everyone for helping to create such a successful day!

Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day

What a brilliant Christmas Jumper day we have had!

Children and Staff all over the school have supported the Save the Children charity by wearing festive Christmas themed clothing! Thank you for all your kind donations, we really enjoyed getting dressed up and Christmassy to support this worthy cause.

Christmas Nativities

What an amazing December we have had, each year group performed fantastic retellings of the Christmas story for their parents, carers and friends. All of the shows were very successful and well attended.

We would like to say a big Thank you to all the parents and families who gave their support. It was a real pleasure seeing you all in the audience enjoying the show while celebrating the children’s talent. The staff in each year group clearly worked really hard to put together these memorable performances.

Nursery started off the proceedings and dazzled us with their Nursery Nativity complimented by a range of festive songs.

Year 1 wowed us with their ‘Everyone Loves A Baby’ Christmas story with songs that made everyone feel in the mood for Christmas.

Year 2 set a magical scene with their Nativity. We were very grateful for the part Reverend Goodliff played as he added to our understanding of the meaning of Christmas and the Christingle. During the performance some of the children held a lit Christingle while the rest of the year group sung silent night.

Reception ended the series of shows with their sensational Christmas Concert, where key children bravely told the Christmas story in parts while each class sang songs to set the mood. This production completed our Infant and Nursery show line up.

Well done to everyone that took part, we are very proud of all the children and wish all our Hamstel families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

School dinners

The school dinner menu can be found on our website. We will be returning on 'Week One' menu.

Medical Reminders

Any medicines your child requires during school time i.e. asthma medication must be brought to the school office. You will be asked to complete a green Medication Consent form and we will pass the medication to your child’s class teacher. The school office is open from 8am until 4.15pm, Monday-Friday during term time.

If your child needs medicine during school at other times i.e antibiotics that must be given four times a day then a Medication Consent form must be completed at the school office and the medicine collected at the end of each day until the course is finished.

Please refer to the school website for our policy on supporting children with medical conditions. A Medication Consent form can also be downloaded.

Changes to Personal Information or Collection Arrangements

Please remember to let us know of any changes, so if you move home or have a new telephone number we will need to know this at the earliest opportunity. A Change of Personal Details form can be obtained from the school office or the school website.

As you are aware we only release your child to those on your Collection Sheet or in an emergency if the parent contacts the school office to advise of a change for that day. Collection Forms can be updated by requesting a form at the school office.

Dates for the diary

  • Monday 6th January - Children return to school
  • Monday 13th January - School activity clubs begin
  • Outside provider clubs begin
  • Wednesday 15th January - Deadline to apply for a Year 3 place September 2020
  • Thursday 6th February - Yr 1 & 2 E-Safety assembly
  • Friday 7th February - SPSSA KS1 Football
  • Friday 14th February - INSET DAY
  • Monday 17th - Friday 21st  - February Half Term