Hilltop News: August 2021

Posted 19 August 2021

Well, what a busy half-term we finished the year with! We were been able to undertake transition, as the children moved into their new classes and met their new teachers. While it was regrettable that families could not attend sports day, it was a huge success enjoyed by children and adults. Orange class took part in our first trip for a long time to the Blue Planet Aquarium and Key Stage 2 had a superb time on their residential to Mount Cook.

Our wonderful year 6 pupils had a fantastic time at their prom and leavers assembly. I was devastated that I could not be there but I have seen all of the photos and it looked like they all had an amazing time. A huge thank you to the PTA and anyone else that was part of the organisation.

You will have seen our new look website that is now up and running. We are pleased with the design and we hope to utilise it to further improve our communication with families. It was also fabulous in the final weeks of term for the school to have been in the Ashbourne News Telegraph twice.

I have particularly enjoyed some of the fantastic topics that have been going on across the school. Early Years were making bee cafes, Orange Class were been learning about our oceans and the effect of plastics and Purple Class wrote letters to famous people who inspire them to name just a few. We even had a reply from Amanda Owen, star of the Yorkshire Farm.

At this point I would like to acknowledge that effective communication with families has been challenging in recent months. This has been due to admin staffing shortages. I am passionate about improving this in the future and we will be striving for our school to have clear and efficient channels of communication with all stakeholders going forwards.

Before we join together again in September, I wanted to update you on a few things and let you know of some of our plans for next term.

Uniform questionnaire

Thanks to all of you that filled in the uniform questionnaire. We had many positive responses about our current uniform and some good ideas of how we can improve it — these were mainly about setting clear expectations rather than changing what the children wear.

As a result, we won’t be making any significant changes to uniform, but we plan to provide clearer rules — particularly on PE kit — and ensure families are following these, as well as giving families the opportunity to buy a wider selection of suitable items online. Our updated Uniform Policy is available through the link below, which we hope will help your preparations for September. We are also looking at the possibility of making a slight tweak to our logo, with the aim of simplifying it, which should make it look more professional, more recognisable and easier to replicate on clothing and other items.

We won’t be asking families to purchase new items when the old ones fit perfectly well, but we do want to ensure children look smart and are wearing the Hilltop colours with pride! Our logo jumpers are still available from needles, though we might recommend holding off on purchasing new branded clothing until the Autumn term, when we will have more information to share on our logo design and new online uniform shopping.

On PE days we will continue to expect pupils to arrive in their school PE kit. Again details on uniform expectations for September 2021 are available through the link below. For those attending any afterschool sports club, changes of clothing needed should be brought to school and changed into at the end of the day.

Tidy-up day

Our fantastic PTA are planning a tidy-up day at School and we would love parents to help out. It will be a great opportunity to improve the school environment for our pupils and it should also be a welcome social opportunity for parents, governors and members of staff to get to know one another better, after the constraints of Covid-19 restrictions.

Look out for more information about this on Class Dojo, and if you can, do volunteer your time to help.

Plans for next term


As part of our roadmap back to being a ‘Good’ school, we are updating and revitalising our entire curriculum. Staff have already begun work on this and your children will start to benefit from this when they return in September. In particular,

We are also investing heavily in our reading resources, so that there is a broader range of high-quality texts for children to choose from, to further develop their reading. As soon as these arrive in school we will be excited to share this with you.

There will be more information about this on the Curriculum pages of our website next term.

From September we expect bubbles to be gone and we look forward to being able to mix between year groups for assemblies, break times etc. This will clearly be done in line with national guidelines at the time of returning to school. We will communicate how school will look closer to our September return.

Site Improvements

We have more plans to improve certain areas of the school site, including the nature garden, forest school area and pond, which we want to again use as an outdoor learning resource for the children.

These are exciting times to be at Hilltop and we all look forward to sharing the coming year with you.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, stay safe and look after each other. See you in September!

Yours sincerely

Darren Hooley