Hamstel Infant School & Nursery Weekly News week ending 15th MARCH 2024

Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you to all the parents and carers that came along to our parent/ teacher discussions, it was lovely to welcome you all to the school and to see lots of happy faces leaving, having heard how much progress your children have made. We are very proud of their achievements as I’m sure you are too. If you were unable to attend this week but would still like to talk to your child’s class teacher, please get in touch and we will arrange a suitable time for you to meet.

Today we celebrated Comic Relief with our ‘red’ themed dressing up day!! The hall was a mass of red for our celebration assembly and it was great to hear some jokes shared by the staff and children alike. Although I must be honest some jokes were so bad, not even I’d use them and I have some seriously bad dad jokes in my repertoire believe me!

The favourite joke of the day has to be….

What do you call an exploding monkey?

A baboom!!

Next week, we have a parent council meeting taking place on Wednesday, so if you have any views to share with us, please speak to your class parent councillor. It’s also not too late to get involved yourself, so if you would like to be a member of our Parent Council and would like to share your views about important school issues, please get in touch with the office.

Just to give you some advance warning, after the Easter Holidays we will be asking parents to send children into school with a clear, water bottle that can be refilled. We think this will work better than the cups currently used and will allow us to see how much water children are drinking during the day.

It never ceases to amaze me just how much we can fit into a week at Hamstel Infants and next week is no different. Over the last month, our Year 1 children have been busy rehearsing for their spring show which they will perform to parents in the last week of term. However, next Thursday, they get to show off all their hard work to the whole school when they will perform their dress reversal. Then on Friday, it’s our eagerly awaited Science Day, where each class will get to take part in an amazing, investigative science assembly with our visiting scientists. We can’t wait to see what happens!

I hope you have a great weekend and we will see you all again on Monday morning for another fun week at Hamstel Infant School and Nursery!

Best regards,

Scott Roche


Book Week Story Jar Competition

Here are the names of the winners for the Story Jar Competition we ran for Book Week. We had lots of entries, so a big thank you for everyone who took part. The winners all received a certificate and a book.

Squirrel - Sebastian

Hedgehog - Maggie

Fox - Madeleine

Otter - Kathryn

Newt - Harper

Dragonfly - Nabeeha

Duck - Sophia

Heron - Ivy

Woodpecker - Archie

Kingfisher - Ruby

Peacock - Lizzy

Owl - Clemintine

Seahorse - Oakley

Diary Dates


  • Wednesday 20th - Parent Council Meeting
  • Friday 22nd - Science Day
  • Monday 25th - Nursery Easter Craft sessions
  • Tuesday 26th - Year 1 Spring Show: Duck Class & Newt Class
  • Wednesday 27th - Year 1 Spring Show: Dragonfly Class & Heron Class
  • Bunny Hop Disco 4-5pm
  • Thursday 28th - Year 2 Banquet
  • Friday 29th - GOOD FRIDAY


  • Monday 1st - EASTER MONDAY
  • Tuesday 2nd - Friday 12th - Easter Holidays


  • Monday 6th - BANK HOLIDAY
  • Wednesday 8th - Class photos
  • Monday 20th - Reception & KS1 Jacqson Diego Assembly
  • Wednesday 22nd - Parent Council Meeting
  • Monday 27th - BANK HOLIDAY
  • Tuesday 28th - Friday 31st - May Half Term


  • Tuesday 4th - Reception & Nursery Police visit
  • KS1 Police Assembly
  • Monday 10th - Thursday 14th - Phonics Screening Week
  • Friday 14th - INSET DAY
  • Wednesday 19th - SPORTS DAY


  • Wednesday 3rd - Parent Council Meeting
  • Tuesday 9th - Water Safety Assembly
  • Wednesday 10th - Year 2 Disco
  • Friday 19th - Last Day of Term
  • Monday 22nd - INSET DAY


This week we have been reading the book ‘Billy and the Dragon’ we have continued talking about the beginning, middle and end of a story and answering questions to develop our understanding of stories.

In Maths we have been learning to order numbers 1-5

We have been looking at different materials and describing how they feel and what they look like, such as smooth, rough, soft shiny etc.

In outdoor learning we have been learning the names of different plants that we see in the wildlife area and around the school.

How to help at home

Watch the RWI Virtual Classroom videos with your child, encouraging them to join in with the Fred Talk.

REMINDER: Please ensure that your child always has spare clothes in their bag, especially underwear and trousers.

Can you return any clothes that have been borrowed from Nursery as our supplies are running low.

Rainbow & Starlight


Another busy week for Rainbow Room, as we continued learning about The Gruffalo and all his friends in the forest. The children looked at differences between animals, animals with legs, wings or no legs at all, we have looked at measurements, and made some lovely pictures using different types of media. The children have really enjoyed the bucket this week and have shown focus and anticipation. They have practiced zig zag monster letters and CVC words. The afternoons have been full of fine and gross motor skills and sensory play, exploring different textures and using our hands to build things.

The children enjoyed swimming as they become more confidence in the water, practicing different strokes and movements, such as making bubbles in the water, kicking legs and playing with water safely.


We have continued our learning based around ‘The Gruffalo.’ The children have used colourful semantics to make sentences to match pictures from the story; they have become more confident and accurate as the week has progressed. We have continued practising our fine motor skills, using scissors to cut straight lines and using tweezers to pick up small items. The children have used playing cards, sorting the cards into suits and sorting them by number.

Thank you for continuing to support your child by attending the parents evening to discuss their progress.

Reception Year

This week we have been reading the book ‘Look Out, It’s a Dragon!’ In History we have been learning about who lived and worked in castles in the past. In Art we have been using the techniques that we have learnt about to make our clay monsters. In Outdoor learning, we have been identifying different minibeasts and their physical features by going on a minibeast hunt in the wildlife garden. In Maths we have been learning to count beyond 20, count objects accurately and order numbers from 1 to 10. In PE we have continued with our Dance unit, this week exploring contrasting movements linked to predators and prey.

How to help at home


Continue to practise the zig zag monster letters, remember to start and finish in the correct place


  • Practise counting verbally beyond 20.
  • Count a group of objects accurately, remember to start at 1
  • Order numbers between 1 and 10

Year One

This week we have been continuing with the traditional tale of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. In our Literacy lessons we have been using our imagination to replace the golden hen with a new magical object, which has been lots of fun! We then went on to retell the story with our new ending.

In Maths we have been revisiting number stories using addition and subtraction. Alongside this we have been solving some word problems.

We have also enjoyed having our adults in to watch one of our Maths Mastery sessions this week!

In Art we have been doing an artist study on Eric Carle. We learned some facts about him and looked at some of the beautiful work he had created. We then got to do our own printing, exploring with various materials.

How to help at home

Continue to watch the RWI Virtual Classroom videos:

REMINDER: Next week Year 1 have Outdoor Learning. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Letters sent home this week

Year Two

This week in Year 2 the children have been using their imaginations and thinking about how they might trap a dragon. The children have come up with some creative ideas and have turned these ideas into a set of written instructions.

The children started the week by revisiting command sentences, as this is a key sentence type needed in instructions. In our classes we have also had to think about the sequence of our instructional writing by using time conjunctions to signal the steps needed, e.g. first, next, after that. Of course, after careful planning and rehearsing some ideas the children wrote some brilliant instructions on ‘How to Trap a Dragon’, which may come in very handy if you were ever to spot one lurking somewhere!

In Maths this week the children have continued to develop their knowledge and understanding of 2d shape. The children have been practicing using the correct language in full sentences to describe the properties of a 2d shape or explain how they know what shape it is e.g. I know it is a square because it has 4 vertices, 4 equal sides and more than one line of symmetry. The children have also continued to explore lines of symmetry this week and then moved on to exploring patterns using 2d shapes. Why not continue to explore the shapes you see at home and see if you can guess the shape someone is describing?

Letters sent home this week

Team Hamstel Leaps and Bounds in KS1 Gymnastics Competition

Team Hamstel recently showcased their gymnastic talents at the KS1 Gymnastics Competition, participating in four distinct areas: bar, beam, floor, and vault. The children demonstrated remarkable skill and determination as they performed a series of challenging movements, aiming to impress the judges and earn high scores.

Throughout the competition, the children executed a variety of gymnastic manoeuvres with precision and finesse. From accurate cartwheels to graceful bridge poses, straight jumps, and impressive holds on the bar including straddle and pike positions, each participant showcased their agility, strength, and flexibility.

Despite the demanding nature of the competition, Team Hamstel displayed unwavering enthusiasm and effort in every aspect of their performance. With a rigorous marking criteria in place and no participants achieving scores in the gold band, the children faced a tough challenge. However, they approached each routine with determination and a positive attitude, striving to perform to the best of their abilities.

While no participant in the whole competition scored in the gold band, the entire team should be commended for their outstanding effort and dedication. Finishing with 3 silver award and 3 Bronze awards. Special mention goes to Harper who scored the highest in the whole competition, finishing 1 mark away from gold. Some of the movements the children had never tried before. Each child demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence and exhibited impressive gymnastic skills throughout the competition.

Overall, Team Hamstel's participation in the KS1 Gymnastics Competition was a testament to their talent, hard work, and sportsmanship. Their enthusiasm, effort and determination were truly commendable and they should be proud of their achievements.

View more photos here

Celebration Assembly - Respect

This weeks value has been 'Respect', below are highlights from around the classes.

Online Safety

For children and young people, low-quality sleep can become a serious issue. It has been theorised that poor sleep can have a significant impact on children’s brain development, affecting them for the rest of their lives. A healthy – and consistent – sleeping pattern, therefore, is incredibly important for children and young people’s wellbeing.

With the stresses and distractions that can present themselves to youngsters, it can be tricky to ensure they’re in the best mindset to wind down in the evenings for the rejuvenating rest that they need. This can be the case when they are on digital devices before they go to sleep. The right approach, however, can give them a better chance of cultivating a healthy sleeping pattern. Our guide has some practical tips on helping them to achieve exactly that.

Dinner menu

Week 3

Monday - Chicken & Sweetcorn Meatballs with Tomato Sauce & Penne - Vegan Roasted Ratatouille with Penne - Baked Jacket with Grated Cheese - Ham Salad Wrap - Cheese and Tomato Bloomer - Carrots & Broccoli - Orange Shortbread Biscuit

Tuesday - Fajita Spiced Turkey & Vegetables with Steamed Rice - Vegan Burrito - Pasta & Tomato sauce - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Sweetcorn & Coleslaw - Carrot cake

Wednesday - Herby Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes & Gravy - 3 Vegetable Mac n’ Cheese - Baked Jacket with Baked Beans - Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Seasonal Greens & Broccoli - Chocolate Brownie

Thursday - Traditional Beef Lasagna- Vegan Chickpea & Spinach Korma with Steamed Rice - Pasta & Tomato Sauce - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Ham Sandwich - Cauliflower & Carrots - Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday - Breaded Fish Fingers with Chips & Ketchup - Vegan Bubble & Squeak with Chips & Ketchup - Baked Jacket with Grated Cheese - Ham Salad Bloomer - Cheese Sandwich - Peas & Baked Beans - Apple Cake

Freshly Baked Bread - Courgette & Tomato or Wholemeal Bread.


Easter Egg Design Competition

Easter Egg Design Competition.

Our PTA, Friends of Hamstel are running another exciting event for the children, a fun Easter Competition.

The children have the chance to create their own Easter Egg design. The design sheets are available from your child's class teacher, children can buy one from them for 50p. Simply send your child in with 50p in a named envelope, all monies raised will then be passed onto the PTA.

There will be a chocolatey prize for the best design in each year group.

This competition is running across both Hamstel schools and all entries need to be returned to school by Friday 22nd March 2024.

Messages from the Office

Measles - Prevention

Cases of measles are increasing nationally, the best way of avoiding catching measles is vaccination.

2 doses of the MMR vaccine is all that’s needed for the best protection. Most children have these as part of the childhood vaccination programme: the MMR vaccine is given normally at around 12 months old and then again between 3 and 4 years old.

If you can’t remember if your child has had any, 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccine, check their personal child health record (the Red Book). If this doesn’t help, speak to your GP, they will have a record of this.

If your child is has not yet received them, no matter what age they are, you should contact your GP to get them vaccinated as soon as possible. It is never too late to catch up on missing vaccinations.

Adults can also check whether they have been vaccinated and have the vaccine too.

School Nurse - Drop-in Sessions

Our School Nurse is next in school on the dates below, she is available to speak with parents or carers. You can either book a slot by contacting the school office or pop in, although the times will be subject to her availability.


We have received some information about some great events happening in Southend over the next few weeks. Please click on the links for more details.

Window Wanderland is a captivating new community art project that invites Southend’s residents to be a part of transforming our city into a spectacular outdoor art gallery

There are also lots of different Easter Events on offer, so visit the VisitSouthend website for more details.

Outdoor Learning

  • Monday 18th - Newt
  • Tuesday 19th - Duck
  • Wednesday 20th - Dragonfly
  • Thursday 21st - Heron
  • Friday 22nd - Rainbow & Starlight


  • Tuesday - Heron & Dragonfly Classes - CHANGE TO DRAGONFLY AND SQUIRREL CLASS SWIM
  • Wednesday - Newt & Hedgehog Classes
  • Thursday - Squirrel & Otter Classes - CHANGE TO DRAGONFLY AND SQUIRREL CLASS SWIM
  • 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: Kingfisher Class - 96.8%

Overall Reception Year attendance for the week 94.6%

Year 1: Dragonfly Class - 94.7%

Overall Year 1 attendance for the week 92.9%

Year 2: Squirrel Class - 97.3%

Overall Year 2 attendance for the week 94.7%

Whole School: 94%

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.


Premier Education Club Information

Book onto clubs using this link www.premier-education.com

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

Book onto club using this link www.bricks4kidz.co.uk/essex

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.

Singing Club

The last Singing Club session will be held on Monday 18th March.