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Mailbag 29 March 2021

Mailbag 29 March 2021


As some of you may know, we have been fortunate to have hosted several student teachers from University of the West of England since October 2020: Mr Thomas with Kestrels, Miss Nugent with Robins, Mr Armstrong with Wrens, Miss Curly with Woodpeckers and Miss Setter with Owls.


Whilst hosting trainee teachers isn't new to us, obviously the fact we have been through a pandemic with them is! I am sure all the staff and children at our school will join me in saying a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of them. I have seen first-hand the respect they have shown for the children in their care. They integrated quickly and seamlessly into their class teaching teams and helped to enhance the sense of community and belonging in the classroom. They have shown great warmth, enthusiasm and care in extraordinary circumstances. They set high expectations and conveyed their own love of learning. Above all, they have shown oodles of flexibility. We wish them every success as they embark on their second placements after Easter.


We’ll be ending the term with a bang on Wednesday with our annual, book-themed fancy dress day, postponed from World Book Day. I can’t wait to see the children (and staff, of course) dressed up as their favourite book characters and authors!


We won’t be setting homework over the Easter holidays. Instead, we’ve put together an Easter ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’ of activities, suggestions and fun challenges for children and families to pick from. You could even use technology and do them with wider friends and family in a ‘virtual’ way, too.


It only remains to wish you a pleasant and relaxing Easter break. We’ll welcome the children back on Monday 19th April, by which time Spring should be in full swing.



From the Crest of the Hill Episode 3 - This term's episode of our awesome school podcast ‘From the Crest of the Hill’ goes live tomorrow, Tuesday 30th March. As usual, it is chokka-block with news and stories from across the school, and this term, we are introducing two very special competitions for children to try out. One is a challenge set by Miss Norman, and the other is "The Podcast Password" where children can help their house win a non-school uniform day! All they need to do is tune in to the podcast on Tuesday evening to collect the password and tell their teacher the next morning, Wednesday 31st March.


You will find the podcast (and a video explaining the rules of "The Podcast Password" competition) on the new podcast page under the Pupil Voice tab on our school website HERE, from tomorrow.


Today marks the start of Autism Awareness Week - 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK alone. Though everyone on the spectrum may have different experiences and needs, World Autism Awareness Week is a chance to speak up for the rights of all autistic people, and highlight the social, economic, health and educational obstacles that many autistic people face.


In school this week we will be talking about being kind, learning about how we’re the same and how we’re different, and understanding autism better. Ms Norman is leading the week with a Whole School Autism Awareness Virtual Assembly, beamed to the classrooms via Zoom.


Find out more information about World Autism Awareness Week and the work that the National Autistic Society do year-round here:


Drinking Water - As our drinking fountains are out of action at the moment as a Covid precaution it’s really important that every child has their own clearly-named water bottle in school with them each day. They can fill it at the classroom tap. Please remind your child of the need to drink water throughout the day - some children just forget.


Let’s get physical - One of the things children have missed out on over the last year is the opportunity to take part in organised sports. We emerged from the 2020 spring lockdown as a nation of people who understand better than ever before the benefits that sport and activity can bring to mental and physical wellbeing,


From today, Monday 29th March, we will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people and outdoor sports venues and facilities can reopen. Out of school sports clubs will be starting up again and we will pass on any information we receive about them (see Letters below).


Ashton Park School Sport Partnership are working on a tentative roadmap for the summer months, starting with a series of "pop-up" Multi-Sport Festivals throughout May - a starting point in getting children out of the school environment to be active and have fun! Timings will be staggered and activities well spread out to ensure school bubbles are maintained. As we move into Term 6 they hope to deliver a return to more formal summer competitions and participation events.


Children can experience many benefits - physically, mentally and emotionally - as a direct result of taking part in sports. You can find some suggestions from the Association for Physical Education for ways you can support your child’s engagement in PE HERE.


Living Streets’ WOW - The year-round walk to school challenge is back at Hillcrest Primary to help encourage as many children as possible to experience the benefits of walking to school. The project is being delivered by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, in association with Bristol City Council and funded by the Department for Transport. WOW is a pupil-led initiative where children selfreport how they get to school every day. If they travel sustainably (walk, cycle or scoot) three times every week for a month, they get rewarded with a collectable badge at the end of the month. Read all about the scheme HERE.


Reading News - A massive congratulations to Lara in 1MH, this week's random winner of the 'I Read At Least Four Times This Week And An Adult Has Signed My Reading Book To Prove It' competition. She has won a personalised bookmark. Keep reading everyone - next time it could be you!


Friends of Hillcrest Easter Egg Hunt - Friends have hidden 14 eggs, beautifully decorated by Hillcrest students, in windows around the local area.


The eggs can be spotted throughout the Easter holidays (from Friday 2nd until 18th April). Download the information HERE and use either the map OR the tough clues - depending on how challenging you'd like the egg hunt to be!


When you find an egg, note down the accompanying letter in the column on the Clues sheet. Collect all the letters to reveal a secret message. Happy Hunting!


Recycling Fundraiser - Friends of Hillcrest are collecting various items to recycle via Recycling for Good Causes - you should find a flyer in your child’s book bag.


If you are having a clear out of any of these items over the Easter hols Friends would love to have them:


  • Jewellery - gold and silver, including damaged items, costume jewellery and watches
  • Mobile phones, cameras and gadgets - phones, video cameras, digital and old film cameras, sat navs, game consoles, games and accessories, iPods, MP3 players, tablets
  • Banknotes and coins - any currency UK or foreign of any age, unchangeable currency
  • Stamps - loose/single stamps (in an envelope please), first day covers, presentation packs

Bring your donations to school on Friday 23rd April.


The Wild of the Words Outdoor Storying - Have you ever wondered whether the tree you're leaning against is a hazel or a hawthorn? Or asked yourself why the woods look like they do in this particular part of the park? Would you like to discover some of the folklore connected to our local flora and fauna, and what about enjoying a story outdoors?


'Fairytrails' is all about creatively reconnecting with the wild outside; allowing the outdoors to breathe new life into our experience of story, and story to magically animate the landscape around us. Follow an outdoor storying route around Victoria Park and encounter tales told, read and written down, discover some of the folklore associated with the trees, plants and creatures we see outdoors, pick up some handy natural navigation tips and learn a little bush craft and plant lore. Pretty soon, you'll be reading the landscape confidently and creatively - looking at the wild outside in a whole new way!


Explore The Wild of the Words website HERE - a treasury of stories, nature lore, resources and activities for children and adults - it’s brimming with magical things to do over the Easter holiday.


Tutoring - 5WL’s teacher, Mr Wilson, runs his own tutoring business. He has a limited number of online tutoring sessions available for children in KS2 during the summer term. If you are interested in getting some regular, additional support to boost your child's learning in maths or reading, you can contact him by email for more details:


Autism Awareness Easter Raffle - To raise awareness and support Hillcrest in providing resources and books on communication, mental health and wellbeing, Hillcrest parent Jeni Easterbrook is raffling a sumptuous Easter box, worth over £40, packed with chocolate treats, from Mendip Chocolate Chef. Click on the link to enter the raffle - It’s only £1 per entry and the more entries, the more chances you'll have of winning this fantastic prize! There’s still time to enter...


The winner will be announced on Wednesday 31st March and you will be able to collect your prize from school the same day, just in time for Easter. Click on the link above to enter. Do remember to include your full name.


Yr 3 Children Step Up! Isa, Arry, Freddie, Verity, Eva and Rosa from 3DB decided to raise money for the NHS. Over the past week they have been doing at least 10,000 steps every day. By last Friday, just four days into their challenge, they had already raised £435. If you would like to support their fundraising efforts here's the link -


Sydenham Road Under Fives Cake Sale - Wednesday 31st March from 3.00pm, Cemetery Road Yummy cakes from 50p - £1.00. All monies raised go to Sydenham Road Under Fives. Please observe social distancing.


Egg Boxes - The school hens have stepped up production now that Spring is here and we’ve finally got through all the boxes people kindly brought in. Please can you start saving half dozen boxes for us again? Thank you. Ask at the office if you would like to buy some of our super-fresh brown, white and blue school eggs! The money raised goes towards the chickens’ feed.



Easter ‘Pick’n’Mix’ holiday activities

Reception parent volunteers for Redcatch trips

Yr 1 Perrett’s Park Picnic

Friends Easter Egg Hunt Clues & Map

WOW Active Travel letter

Easter Junior Golf Camps flyer

Dynamo Plus Girls’ Cricket flyer

Bedminster Trailblazers Girls’ Cricket flyer


City of Bristol Aquatics swimming club flyer - The club is looking for the next generation of swimming talent. A multi discipline club - Competitive Swimming, Artistic & Water Polo based at Hengrove Leisure Centre, they’re lucky to have some of the best facilities in Bristol including a 50m pool and have pathways to suit most abilities from Academy (stage 5 and above) right through to Performance (National & International).


Netball Juniors is starting again at Ashton Park Sports Centre, Wednesday 5-6pm for ages 8-11. They are also hoping to set up a 6-7 aged session from 4-5pm, also at Ashton Park Sports Centre. Enquiries to


The children break up on Wednesday. Have a great Easter break and look out for your next Mailbag on Monday 19th April, the first day back.