Hamstel Infant School & Nursery Weekly News week ending 1st December 2023

Dear Parents and Carers,

It has been a week full of busy festiveness at Hamstel Infants as our preparations for all of our December activities really take shape. Christmas trees have been appearing across the school, our Infant hall is adorned with the fantastic hoops created by each class and we even managed to lay on a sprinkling of snow for 1st December too!

The highlight of the week was our Christmas Fair. Thank you so much to everybody who came along to support this event. It was great to see the halls so busy and full of happy faces…Most of our stalls sold out very quickly so we hope nobody was disappointed but the good news is that we made over £1700 all of which will be put back into our school funds to allow us to keep giving our children great opportunities.

Next week we have the first of our Nativity performances to parents as our Reception children take to the stage. They will be performing their dress rehearsal to the rest of the school on Tuesday before we welcome Kingfisher and Owl Class parents on Wednesday 6th and Peacock and Woodpecker Class parents on Thursday 7th . Both performances start at 9:00am.

There are also lots of other things happening across the week.

On Wednesday our Cross Country Team will be braving the cold to run in the inter-school Christmas Cross Country event against lots of other schools across the city. We wish them luck! We also have Enzo the Elf making a break in his busy schedule to come and visit the children on Thursday.

Also on Wednesday after school, our PTA hope to run a pre-loved school uniform sale, so it would be great chance to pick up any spare pieces of uniform that you may need.

Finally, Friday 8th December is another day full of festive cheer as its our Christmas Dinner Day. Don’t forget that this is also our Christmas jumper day so the children can come to school wearing something extra Christmassy. We can’t wait to see all of the fabulous designs that will be on show!

A final note about our Children’s Chocolate Raffle which is taking place for the next couple of weeks. This is a chance to buy some tickets to win one of our amazing sweet treat prizes as pictured below. Tickets cost £1 a strip and children can just bring their money into their classes and we will get their tickets to them. The draw will take place on Friday 15th December in our whole school assembly so that we can give the prizes directly to the children. We will then share the winners on our newsletter. Please help us to support this great cause as all proceeds will go towards Santa’s visit during the last week of term.

I hope you have a great weekend, stay warm and we will see you on Monday morning.

Scott Roche



This week in Nursery we have been reading the story ‘Handa’s Noisy Night’. We have been thinking about the different sounds in the story and in our environment. We have enjoyed playing different instruments and had fun making our own instruments.

In Maths we have continued learning about 2D shapes and have been comparing circles and triangles.

The children have been learning the Makaton signs for mum, dad, what, where, stars and Christmas. You will find these signs on Tapestry.

REMINDER: Outdoor Learning- Thursday 7th December.

Please ensure that your child is dressed warmly and that hats gloves and scarves are named. Thankyou.

The Nursery Christmas post box will be open for deliveries from Monday 4th December.

Rainbow & Starlight


The children have been listening and learning about the story 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff', we have been practicing understanding of language and direction, such as 'the troll is under the bridge'. And learning about prepositions (under, over, beside, in and between etc.) sorting colours and numbers. We have been learning about Long Ladder letters and Curly Caterpillar letters and have been looking at words in our everyday environment. The children have made some fantastic goats out of paper plates and used different media to create interesting textures.

The children have also enjoyed experimenting at the Sensory Play table using green pasta for grass, oats and chocolate powder for mud, and playdough to make the bridge and other characters from the story. The children are enjoying and participating in the Attention Autism bucket with interest. The children have done a superb job with their writing this week, trying very hard to make the correct formations for letters and numbers.


This week we have been sharing the story 'Peace at Last' and looking at the different sounds in the story. We have played listening games to see if we can identify what is making the sound, the children have really enjoyed this. We have also been learning to sequence a story.

The children have really engaged with all our different art and craft activities this week, practising using scissors and holding a paintbrush correctly, also sticking and collaging various textures.

The children have been trying their very best at forming their letters correctly.

Reception Year

This week in Reception we have been reading the story ‘Peace at Last’ by Jill Murphy. We have been thinking about the different sounds in the story but also what a sound is, what sounds we can hear and what makes these sounds. We have investigated various musical instruments and explored the different sounds we can make with the same instrument. We had fun discovering how an instrument can make lots of different sounds.

In Literacy we have been learning to write words and short sentences. We have been learning all the things you need to do to be successful in your writing.

In Handwriting we have been learning to write the one-armed robot letter k and p, making sure that we start and finish each letter in the right place.

We all enjoyed learning about how to be safe outside and enjoyed our walk to the post box to post our letters to Father Christmas.

How to Help at Home:

RWI and Reading:

  • Continue to read your child stories every day.
  • Listen to your child read their school book at least 5 times a week.
  • Watch the virtual classroom videos.


  • Practise writing k and p – start with air writing and then have a go on paper.

Letter home this week

Year One

Year 1 have continued to read the story 'Lost in the Toy Museum'. We all really enjoyed writing our own diary entries pretending to be the main character, Bunting. In Maths we have been learning how to partition numbers before adding them together.

We have started a really exciting DT project and all the children are learning how to sew a running stitch and then they will apply this skill when they make their own finger puppets.

Letters home this week

Year Two

The Christmas feel is starting to run through the classrooms of Year 2 this week with lots of lovely singing practice going on ready for our Year 2 Christingle at the end of term. I’m sure they will share their songs they are learning at home, giving you a glimpse into the excitement of the children’s performance they can’t wait to share with you.

In Literacy this week we have continued with developing our factual writing. We have been finding out all about Victorian Christmas traditions and how many of them are still the same today. Did you know that Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert introduced the Christmas Tree into the Queen’s home, which was a tradition brought over from Germany? After a picture being shared in the newspaper of Queen Victoria and her family around the tree, this quickly developed into a Christmas tradition in our country.

In Maths the children have been working hard, continuing to develop their new skills and knowledge with division. They have explored the concept of sharing different groups this week, working through this practically first and then developing their pictorial and written methods.

It might have been a chilly and frosty week, but the children still enjoyed their Outdoor Learning sessions. They were busy peeling and chopping vegetables to cook a nice warm soup over the fire in the Hobbit Hut, a definite essential for a cold day!

Letters home this week

Celebration Assembly - Effort & Resilience.

This weeks value has been 'Effort & Resilience', below are highlights from around the classes.

Online Safety

Online Safety: Music streaming

Music streaming apps allow people to listen to music on their devices. It gives users access to millions of songs and artists from around the world. Popular music streaming apps and sites include Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music, Amazon Prime and Deezer. Music streaming allows children to listen to songs from around the world in a much easier and cheaper way. This enables them to showcase their talent which would have been very hard to do many years back.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as explicit content, adult-themed podcasts and chatting to strangers.

Diary Dates


  • Monday 4th - Friends of Hamstel PTA AGM meeting 11.15am
  • Wednesday 6th - Reception Nativity 9am - Kingfisher & Owl Classes
  • PTA Uniform Sale after school
  • Christmas Cross Country Event
  • Thursday 7th - Reception Nativity 9am - Peacock & Woodpecker Classes
  • Enzo the Elf visiting
  • Carol singing at Centenary Place
  • Friday 8th - Christmas Jumper Day & Christmas Lunch
  • Wednesday 13th - Nursery Christmas Production 2.15pm
  • Year 2 Christingle 9am - Fox & Squirrel Classes
  • Thursday 14th - Nursery Christmas Production 9.15am
  • Year 2 Christingle 9am - Hedgehog & Otter Classes
  • Friday 15th - Year 1 Christmas Crafts
  • 9am - Heron & Newt Classes
  • 2.30pm - Duck & Dragonfly Classes
  • Wednesday 20th - Last Day of Term

Thursday 21st December to Wednesday 3rd January 2024 - Christmas Break

January 2024

  • Thursday 4th - First day of Spring Term - children return to school and nursery
  • Wednesday 10th - PTA School Uniform sale after school

February 2024

  • Wednesday 7th - Parent Council Meeting 9am
  • Friday 16th - INSET Day
  • Monday 19th - Friday 23rd - HALF TERM

Dinner menu

Week 3

Monday - Cumberland Sausages with Mashed Potato & Gravy - Vegan Sausages with Mashed Potato & Gravy - Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Ham Salad Wrap - Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Peas - Apple & Carrot Flapjack

Tuesday - Beef Chilli with Steamed Rice, Vegetable Chilli with Steamed Rice - Jacket Potato with Cheese - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Steamed Carrots - Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie

Wednesday - Sticky Glazed Chicken, Margherita Pizza - Pasta with Tomato & Basil Sauce - Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Spicy Potato Wedges & Coleslaw - Cherry Cornflake Cake

Thursday - Creamy Pesto Chicken with Fusilli Pasta - Vegetable Pasta Bake - Jacket Potato with Baked Beans - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Ham Sandwich - Pan Fried Leeks - Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday - CHRISTMAS LUNCH - Roast Turkey, Sage & Onion Stuffing, Chicken Chipolata Sausage or Vegan Roasted Vegetable & Cranberry Wellington, served with Roast Potatoes, Sprouts, Peas, Carrots & Gravy - Gingerbread Brownie

Please note: there will not be a pasta/jacket potato or sandwich option on Friday 8th December.

Parents/Carers with children who have a medically prescribed customised menu will be catered for and menus are available.

Freshly Baked Bread: Garlic & Rosemary Bread or Wholemeal Bread

Messages from the Office

Christmas in the City

Your child will have brought a booklet home showcasing lots of Christmas activities and events that are taking place in Southend. Join in Southend High Street to celebrate this festive season! Head to www.visitsouthend.co.uk for more details.

There are a range of markets coming to Southend this Christmas that will run alongside the wide range of city centre venues offering gifting ideas and Christmas delicacies from mince pies and gingerbread to hot dogs and mulled wine.

Fun family friendly events taking place this festive season in and around Southend. Contact the venues to find out more and book ahead.

Second-Hand Uniform

We have a limited stock of second-hand uniform available for a small donation of 50p per item. If there are any items you would like to request please complete the request form here.

Outdoor Learning

Week commencing 4th December - Reception & Nursery

  • Monday 4th - Owl Class
  • Tuesday 5th - Peacock Class
  • Wednesday 6th - Woodpecker Class
  • Thursday 7th - Kingfisher Class
  • Friday 8th - Nursery


  • Tuesday - Heron & Squirrel Classes
  • Wednesday - Newt & Hedgehog Classes
  • Thursday - Dragonfly & Otter Classes
  • Friday - Duck & Fox Classes

PE Days


  • Friday


  • Thursday
  • Friday


  • Monday - Woodpecker
  • Tuesday - Peacock
  • Wednesday - Kingfisher
  • Thursday - Owl

Year 1

  • Monday - Duck
  • Tuesday - Dragonfly
  • Wednesday - Heron
  • Thursday - Newt

Year 2

  • Tuesday - Otter Class
  • Wednesday - Fox Class
  • Thursday - Squirrel Class
  • Friday - Hedgehog Class


Weekly Attendance Award

Reception Year: Peacock Class - 95.2%

Overall Reception Year attendance for the week 91.5%

Year 1: Duck Class - 94.3%

Overall Year 1 attendance for the week 92.7%

Year 2: Otter Class - 97%

Overall Year 2 attendance for the week 93.4%

Whole School: 92.5%

If your child is going to be absent from school please contact the school office by 9am and leave a message on our answerphone or via ParentPay giving your child's name, class and specific reason for their absence.

Any planned absence for example medical appointments should be advised to the school office with a copy of the confirmation letter or text being provided. For other absence i.e weddings, holidays etc then a Leave of Absence Request form should be completed in advance. Copies of this can be obtained from the school office.


We will have a new selection of clubs to sign up to for when we return to school after the Christmas break.

Please keep a look out for emails related to this next week.

Premier Education Club Information

For before school clubs run by Premier Education drop-off is in our Infant School Hall. Enter through the Poynings Avenue gate and walk across the playground. The register will be taken by the club coach and once the club is finished children will be taken to their classrooms. Please arrive promptly.

For clubs after school run by Premier Education collection is from the Infant School Hall. Enter through the Poynings Avenue gate and walk across the playground. Children will have been escorted to the club by school staff for the start.

Collection time for all Premier Education after school clubs is 4.15pm. Premier Education staff will telephone parents/carers of any uncollected children after 5 minutes. Any child not collected after 10 minutes will be escorted to Hamstel Infant School & Nursery After School Club and a fee of £7.00 will be charged.

If you are unavoidably delayed please telephone the school emergency telephone number on 07526 079300 to speak with a staff member of our After School Club.

Bricks4Kidz Club Information

Bricks4Kidz Club is held in our Welcome classroom. Collection for this club is from the Reception Learning Garden (No mow) outside Woodpecker Class.

Collection time for the club is 4.15pm. Any child not collected after 10 minutes will be escorted to Hamstel Infant School & Nursery After School Club and a fee of £7.00 will be charged.

If you are unavoidably delayed please telephone the school emergency telephone number on 07526 079300 to speak with a staff member of our After School Club.