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Mailbag 26 February 2021

Mailbag 26 February 2021


I hope that you managed to enjoy a good half term break. The weather was certainly better at the end of the week and I’m sure that lots of you managed to take advantage of that and get out for some walking / bike riding in the fresh air.


I’m pleased to say that the Bristol Uni CoMMinS saliva testing in school this week revealed no positive Covid cases. The study is expanding to all year groups, from Yr 2 up, so do consider signing your child up to participate, if you haven’t already. The information is below.


As you know, the Government has announced the return of all children to the classroom on 8th March. I am really pleased that we will have them back in school. I think it is what our children need.


There is a lot of talk about ‘catch up’ and ‘closing the gaps’. At Hillcrest we will be ensuring that the children catch up with their friends, teachers and all the fantastic members of staff here at Hillcrest first. We will of course make sure our curriculum remains broad and ambitious for all of our children but our number one priority is re-establishing our school routines, making sure our children feel safe and happy and getting the basics right.


As in the autumn, the children will remain in their year group bubbles. You may have a distant memory of staggered start/end times and different entrances from before this lockdown. The drop off time for all from 8th March will be 8.50, with pick-up at 3.30, but we will still be using the six entrances. The map showing the entrance for each year group is HERE, in case you need a reminder.


Also please note the following:-


  • From March 8th, the children will all be back in school uniform (complete with black school shoes, please. Trainers are ok as long as they are plain black).
  • Lunches will still be eaten in the classrooms but Chartwells will be providing hot meals every day, served on airline-style trays.
  • Our water fountains still won’t be in use so children will need to bring in a named water bottle
  • They are welcome to bring in a healthy break-time snack (no sweets/chocolate and please check ingredients for nuts - school is a nut free zone).
  • From March 8th Breakfast Club and Early-gators (just until 5pm for this term) will resume. Booking is open on Gateway now. The Fast Forward sports clubs will also be restarting. See the Enrichment timetable here for details.
  • We prefer children not to bring phones to school but, if it’s essential, please make sure that it has their name on. It must be switched off whilst on school premises and kept in the child’s bag until registration, when they should hand it to the class teacher. Phones are kept in the office and returned at the end of the school day.
  • Please wear a face mask and maintain social distance when dropping off and picking up your child.
  • We will still be asking parents not to come into the playgrounds. If you need to get a message to your child’s teacher please drop them an email or phone the school office.



CoMMinS COVID Study extended to include Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 - Hillcrest (along with many other schools across the city) is supporting the CoMMinS study, an urgent public health research study of Covid-19 transmission in schools.


This study involves University of Bristol researchers visiting the school, in full PPE, to collect saliva samples from children and staff. These samples are tested for current infection in a University of Bristol lab, using a test that is as accurate as the NHS swab PCR test. The test is non-invasive (just dribbling into a vial) and doesn't cause any discomfort.


The test is not related to vaccines at all. Despite the welcome news that vaccines are now being given out, this study is still important. Vaccination protects most people from getting seriously ill with COVID19 but scientists do not yet have a clear picture of how, or whether, the vaccine changes how Covid spreads. This is an important question that the CoMMinS study will seek to answer as more people have the jab, and the study team would like people to take part whether they have had a vaccination or not.


Participation was initially only open to children in Yrs 2 and 5 and school staff. Once all the children are back at school, however, it will be open to any child, from Year 2 upwards. If you haven't yet signed up to the study and would like your child to be involved, please watch the study YouTube video with your child:


Then please read the study information sheet, and provide your consent and contact details if you want to go ahead, by visiting this link:


If you have any questions about the research, please contact the study team by emailing


If your child is already signed up to the study, there is no need to do anything further.


It’s World Book Day next Thursday (March 4th). Back in pre-Covid times this would have been a day of assemblies and dressing up. Unfortunately, that can’t happen this time around but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have lots of fun.


We have decided to move the dressing-up part of the festivities to the last day of this term so the children can share their costumes with all their classmates.


On the day itself, we have lots going on:


  • Online lessons from children’s authors and illustrators
  • Two reading competitions (details to be released on the day)
  • Two writing competitions (again, details to be released on the day)
  • Children’s storytime, by children for children. This will be very much like the storytime we did on the last day of last term but, instead of teachers reading the stories, we would like children to read them. If your child would like to read a story to other children via Zoom, please let us know by Tuesday. Email

It promises to be lots of fun.


Short Story Competition - Ben and Martha Foxon’s Grandma and Grandpa sponsor a short story competition as part of an arts festival that they support. This year they've opened an under 13s category and they'd love to get as many children as possible to enter. They would be delighted to read lots of amazing Hillcrest entries! SHORT STORY PRIZE - Broadway Arts Festival


Friends Pancake Competition Winners! Thank you to everyone who entered their nutritious and delicious looking pancakes to our best decorated pancake competition! Check out some of the entries here! The winners are...


  • Luca, from Reception Parrot class, for his fantastic Lion pancake
  • Ilyes, from 2KL, for his Masterchef standard pancake stack.
  • Molly, from 6RT, for her sweet and savoury traditional pancakes.


Congratulations! You have each won a £10 book token. Friends will be in touch about your prize!


Thank you to all the grown-ups who took on the pancake flipping challenge! The videos showed that the Hillcrest community has a number of highly skilled pancake flippers, however there can only be one champion. Congratulations to...


  • Nick Drane, parent of Phoebe (Yr 5) and Louisa (Yr 3) with an impressive 32 flips!


You have won yourself the coveted title of The Friends of Hillcrest Champion Pancake Flipper 2021!


Heads (and bottoms) up - Unfortunately, we have head lice in Yr 1 and threadworms in Reception.


The Pied Piper - Don’t miss this wonderful theatrical treat from the Old Vic Theatre School, available to stream, absolutely free, for two weeks from tomorrow. Click on the link for details:


Winning House Forfeit - Adventure are the winners (again) this week and they’ve given poor Mr Mac (again!) not one, but two forfeits!


Reception - Yr 2 Celebration Assembly


Yr 3 - Yr 6 Celebration Assembly


Dojonator results


This week’s Art Challenge -



Enrichment timetable from 8th March

TCCW after school club flyer


Look out for your next Mailbag on Friday 5th March.