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Mailbag 9 October 2020

Mailbag 9 October 2020


The end of Term 1 (but not as we know it!) is in sight and I am amazed at just how much we have all got used to in this new landscape.


I’d like to say a huge thank you to parents and carers for being mindful of mask wearing and social distancing at pick up and drop off. The children have settled back in and taken everything in their stride, remaining vigilant with hand washing and accepting all the new routines and timings cheerfully. The staff continue to work tirelessly to keep everyone safe whilst still engaging the children in fabulous learning.


Next week we’re holding Parents’ Evenings (but not as we know it!) Many of you will be meeting your child’s teacher via a brand new video facility on our Parents Evening system. I’m keeping everything crossed that the tech works! For those of you that are coming into school for distanced face to face meetings, I’ll be the one outside in the yellow tabard!


Have a lovely weekend



Have your financial circumstances changed? We know that this is a tough time financially for lots of families. There are now 3 million more households in the UK receiving Universal Credit than there were at the start of the year. If you are claiming certain government benefits you may be entitled to Free School Meals for your child. Even if you don’t pay for lunches at present because your child is in Reception or KS1 it’s worth checking if you are eligible. If you qualify, you will get some help with the cost of enrichment activities and school trips AND the school will receive an extra £1,300 per year to support your child’s education. Click HERE to find out more.


Pizza & Wedges ‘Take-away’ on Mondays - From next week the kitchen team will be delivering takeaway style meals - cheese and tomato pizza with potato wedges - to the classrooms on Mondays, as well as fish fingers and chips on Fridays. Children just need to order their lunch, as normal, at morning registration. The school packed lunch option won’t be available on Mondays or Fridays.


Paying for School Meals - Please remember that your child’s school meal account must be kept in credit. Your child should not order a meal if there isn’t enough money in the account to cover it. If your child has started in Yr 3 this year and you are not sure how to use the School Gateway system to pay for their lunches please ring the office. We will be happy to help. Don’t let your debt mount up.


We have just spotted that we never updated the price of a week’s-worth of lunches on Gateway to reflect the last price rise. This has been amended now.


Breakfast & Gator Club Term 2 bookings are now open on Gateway.

Inset Day - If you had booked a Breakfast or Gator Club session for Friday 23 October, which will now be an inset day, the money has been credited back to your child’s account.


Do you pay with Childcare Vouchers? All the payments go into a central pot at Bristol City Council and the finance department have to allocate them to the right schools. It would be a HUGE help if you could use the following as the Reference to make sure money doesn’t go astray:


Hillcrest child’s name, followed by B or A for Breakfast or After School Club.


Eg. HillcrestAbbieSmithB (If there isn’t enough space for the full name just the surname will do.)


(This applies to all the schemes except HMRC, which gives you a Reference Number.)


PGCE Students - We are pleased to welcome seven trainee teachers to Hillcrest for their teaching practice. They will be with us for several months. Like everyone else, they have been assigned a ‘bubble’ and will stay with the same class throughout. They will be joining the teaching teams in:


1JF Mr Thomas

2KL Miss Rodriguez

4CS Mr Armstrong

4SL Miss Nugent

5WL Miss Curly

6PB Miss Setter

6RT Miss Phillips


Reading News - A massive CONGRATULATIONS to Lola in 4SL who was 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 bookmarker. Keep reading everyone and next time it could be you!


Congratulations to Mrs Howard on the birth of her baby girl, Lois. There are some photos on the Hillcrest Social page HERE.



The Friends of Hillcrest is a registered charity run by volunteer parents and carers. Our main purpose is to raise money to enrich our children’s school experience, and support families who may not be able to fund extra-curricular activities. In previous years, we’ve organised activities such as the Christmas and Summer Fairs, discos, quizzes, Christmas card sales and sponsored walks.


Funds we have raised paid for the Hillcrest Book Barn and the 600 new books it contains. We have also funded sports equipment, the wooden train and woodland play area and stage and audio-visual equipment for the hall - all items that the School was not able to cover.


Although we ran several successful events in the last year, funds raised in 2019/20 were half what we would raise in a normal year. Due to COVID-19, this year we will be unable to run many of our key events as they rely on people coming together on school premises.


We have decided instead to set up a fundraising page where you can donate the amount you would spend on cakes, discos and splat the teacher games throughout the year. You can make a voluntary one-off contribution of anything from £1 - £30, or you can set up a voluntary monthly standing order.


If just half the families in school make a donation equivalent to a cup of coffee per month, this would raise half the annual income we would hope for in a normal year AND would excuse you from contributing to a cake sale with a clear conscience!


Your support will enable us to run enrichment events for the children and a select number of fundraising events for the whole community where we can do this safely. As always, all our events will be open to everyone in the Hillcrest community.


One-off and/or regular payments can be made at or scan the QR code on the Friends of Hillcrest page on the school website, HERE.


Thank you for any amount you can give.



Yr 1           Yr 2           Yr 3           Yr 4           Yr 5           Yr 6



Reception parents’ letter

Let’s Pretend Drama letter

St Mary Redcliffe Choir letter - The choir is looking for music-loving boys, 7 to 14 & girls, 9 to 16.

Totterdown Community Children’s Workshop Holiday Club letter


Look out for your Mailbag every Friday.