Hamstel Infant School & Nursery Weekly News week ending 20th October 2023

Dear Parents and Carers,

Well, it seems hard to believe but we are already at the October half term and of course mid-way through our Autumn term.

This half term is always a very busy one for everybody in school. The children and parents return after the summer and have to adapt to new routines and the teachers have to get to know all of those special little details about each child in their class. I must say how impressed I have been with all of our children and how quickly they have settled, especially our Nursery and Reception children, who for many, this half term was their first experience at Hamstel Infants.

This week we have welcomed so many current or prospective parents into school.

Throughout the week we have being running parent tours for our prospective new 2024 Reception intake. It is always a pleasure to show people around our wonderful school site and to hear such positive first impressions of our school from people new to Hamstel Infants.

We have also welcomed Reception parents in for our Handwriting workshops led by Mrs Bryant. Thank you to everybody who came, we hope you found it useful.

It was lovely to welcome so many of you into school for our Parent/Carer Evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings – this is always a great opportunity for our teachers to discuss your children’s learning but equally as important to talk about how they have settled back during this first part of the academic year. Thank you to everybody who came along, especially those who braved some truly awful weather to get here!

Sadly we also said goodbye to two of our team here at Hamstel Infants this week but we wish Mrs Esp and Miss Booker every happiness in their new schools and thank them for all of their efforts over the years.

During the first week back Year 1 are off to The Hive for some exciting outdoor learning work and on Thursday 2nd we need the children to look their best for their individual school photographs.

Then after that it’s the countdown to all our seasonal fun. Did you know Christmas is actually only 66 days away?

Anyway, let’s put any festive thoughts on the back burner for now as its half term! I hope you have a great week and we look forward to welcoming you all back to Hamstel Infants on Monday 30th October.

Scott Roche



This week we have shared the story ‘The diggers’ we have been learning about different vehicles that you might find on a building site. We have also been talking about our favourite modes of transport.

The children have really enjoyed looking at the photos of themselves as babies and talking about how they have changed.

In Maths we have continued looking at repeating patterns, we have also been looking at different amounts of objects and saying which group had more or fewer in.

REMINDER: Please ensure that you have your childs name on their clothes, Thank you.

Could you please ensure that your child has spare clothes at Nursery and if you could return any borrowed clothes as we are running very low.

Letters home this week

Rainbow & Starlight


This week in Rainbow Room the children have been learning about and singing to nursery rhymes, they have made some lovely pictures, using paint and different textured media. The children have danced to and sang along to '123 once I caught a Fish Alive', 'The Muffin Man' and 'Twinkle twinkle little star', we have used these as incentives to learn new words and make lots of different art.

We have had sand play, messy play using household items, and much more, the children have been using rhythms to learn and further their knowledge of numbers, letters, colours and shapes, it has been a busy week for Rainbow Room.


This week children in Starlight Room have been enjoying the story ‘Whatever Next’. They have designed their own space rockets using different shapes and producing some lovely artwork. We have also been learning about the artist Bridget Riley, the children have used chalk to create their own masterpieces in the style of Bridget Riley. The children have been learning to recognise numbers and count the appropriate number of objects.

The children have really entered enthusiastically into What’s in the Bucket and enjoyed all the activities alongside it.

Reception Year

This week we have been learning about the book ‘Whatever Next.’

In Literacy we have been learning to spell simple words using our Fred Fingers to help us. In Art we have created our own artwork based on Bridget Riley. In Handwriting we have been learning to write the long legged giraffe letters ‘j and y’, remembering to start at the top. In Maths we have been learning to represent a given number on our fingers without looking, compare two sets of objects and say which is more than or fewer than.

In outdoor learning we have been learning about our school environment, we have been on a walk around the school grounds naming the different areas around the school and learning how to draw a simple map. We have also tested our boats we made last week, to find out if they float or sink.

How to help at home:



Encourage your children to write the letter j and y. Make sure they start each letter in the right place and finish in the right place.

Letter home this week

Year One

Year 1 have continued to read and learn about the traditional tale ‘The Gingerbread Man’. We have written our own versions of the story and thought about what the character might be saying.

In Maths we have continued to explore subtraction and number families.

In Geography this week we have been learning about the compass points and using maps to locate different areas of our school.

REMINDER: We will be going on our first Hive trip after half term. It is outside so please make sure your child is wearing warm, waterproof clothing. If you have not yet completed the permission form please do this now using this link.

If you send your child into school wearing wellie boots please make sure they have their school shoes to change into.

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

Letters home this week

Year Two

Wow! We can’t believe we are at the end of the half term already! The year 2 children have settled brilliantly this autumn and have worked incredibly hard building on and learning new skills.

The classic poem 'The Owl and the Pussycat' has been our focus this week in Literacy. The children have learnt to recite the first verse of the poem and worked together as a class to create a pictorial map to help remember the words. Using our imaginations, we then changed the animals, the transport and the musical instrument to create our own versions. Just some of the ideas included cobras, squirrels, elephants, bumble bees and Labradors. The children wrote them out beautifully and all the children had some great ideas and finished the week feeling very proud of their new poems.

In Maths we have been working hard at developing our calculating skills to understand subtraction. The children have shown an increased confidence in representing the column method and partitioning numbers in the written form to show their working out.

Reminders: Mrs Farrell Headteacher will be conducting tours for prospective parents who are thinking of sending their child to Hamstel Juniors in September from Year 2.

The dates are:

  • 31st October at 9.15am
  • 2nd November at 9.15 am
  • 9th November at 4.30pm

Letters home this week

Online Safety

With children increasingly going online, the chances of them coming across content that may cause them upset also increases. Whilst carefully monitoring and the device settings will minimise this there may be occasions when you will need to talk with them. This latest guide offers you some ways to support them.

Cross Country Celebration

On Friday 6th October, Team Hamstel kicked off the year’s sporting competitions at the Southend Cross Country event. The team had been training hard at lunchtimes since the summer holidays and were ready and raring to go. The team was made up of 6 boys and 6 girls from Year 1 and 6 boys and 6 girls from Year 2. With 20 schools coming together from across Southend the races were going to be tough. Up to 120 children lined up at the start of each race.

The event started with the Year 1 girl’s race. There was lots of nerves and excitement as the Team Hamstel girls lined up on the start line. The race started and the girls got away well, they worked hard to move their way through the competitors around the 1000m course. Summer was the first finisher for the team in 9th place closely followed by Kiah in 10th. Lennie-Grace finished 15th, Ava was 23rd, Violet was 35th and Nylah was 68th. A great first race of the day and a brilliant performance for all in their first competition representing Team Hamstel.

The Year 1 boys were up next and were keen to show what they could do. The boys found the start hard going with lots of children sprinting off but this did not affect the team. They kept running and starting to move through the field. Lenny was the first finisher in 22nd place, Joshua was not far behind in 28th, Ire finished in 39th, Noah came 48th, Ethan was 54th and Lucky finished in 58th. Some brilliant running and great battling the Year 1 boys.

Next up was the Year 2 girls and some of the team had run last year so knew what to expect. The girls got off to a good start and settled into their running. Harper and Daria pulled away from the others and battled to try to catch the leaders. Harper finished 15th and Daria finished 17th, equaling her position the last year’s race. Hanna was not far behind in 24th, Maya was 28th, Rosie was 30th and Evie finished 32nd. A great team performance!

The last race of the day was the Year 2 boys. A fast start saw the team split up early in the race. Chase got out well and was up near the front of the race. The rest of the team had to fight their way through the crowds to move up the field of competitors. Chase worked extremely hard to try to catch the front pack and did an amazing job finishing in 11th place, 10 places higher than he had come the year before. Didi battled well to finish in 30th, Indy was 36th, Max 42nd, Seb followed in 43rd and Ethan finished in 55th. A super race to end the day.

The team had worked so hard and finished feeling very proud of their achievements. The final thing to do was to wait for the overall results. At the end of all the races, the finishing positions are added up for all the teams taking part. The team with the lowest score is the winner. After a long week of waiting, the results were sent through and Team Hamstel had finished 3rd overall.

Diary Dates


  • Friday 20th - INSET DAY
  • Monday 23rd - Friday 27th - October Half Term
  • Monday 30th - Year 1 Outdoor learning week at The Hive
  • Prospective Parent tour
  • Tuesday 31st - Prospective Parent tour
  • Wednesday 1st November - Uniform Sale after school
  • Thursday 2nd November - Tempest Individual Photographs and Sibling Groups 8-8.45am


  • Wednesday 1st - Prospective Parent tour
  • Thursday 2nd - Prospective Parent tour
  • Individual photos
  • Friday 3rd - Non Uniform Day
  • Monday 6th - Year 2 Library visit Fox & Otter
  • Tuesday 7th - Year 2 Library visit Squirrel & Hedgehog
  • Wednesday 8th - Year 2 Reading Rocks Day
  • Friday 10th - Share a book Open Door 3pm
  • Remembrance event
  • Monday 13th - Odd Sock Day
  • Tuesday 14th - Phonics workshop -
  • 9am - Woodpecker & Peacock
  • 2.30pm - Kingfisher & Owl
  • Wednesday 15th - Year 1 Maths workshop
  • Friday 17th - Children in Need
  • Monday 27th - Friday 1st - Reception walk to the postbox
  • Wednesday 29th - KS1 Christmas Fair
  • Thursday 30th - EYFS Christmas Fair


  • Wednesday 6th - Reception Nativity 9am
  • Thursday 7th - Reception Nativity 9am
  • Friday 8th - Christmas Jumper Day
  • Wednesday 13th - Nursery Christmas Production 9am
  • Year 2 Christingle
  • Thursday 14th - Nursery Christmas Production 9am
  • Year 2 Christingle
  • Friday 15th - Year 1 Christmas Crafts
  • 9am - Newt & Heron
  • 2.30pm - Duck & Daragonfly

Dinner menu

Week 1

Monday - Ham & Pineapple Pizza with Baked Jacket Wedges - Margherita Pizza with Baked Jacket Wedges - Jacket Potato with Baked Beans - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Cheese Salad Wrap - Sweetcorn - Chocolate Rice Krispie Cake

Tuesday - Vegan Bolognaise with Spaghetti - Jacket Potato with Cheese - Ham Sandwich - Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Peas - Carrot Cake

Wednesday - Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes & Gravy - Macaroni & Cheese - Jacket Potato with Salmon Mayonnaise - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Seasonal Greens - Vanilla Ice Cream

Thursday - Chicken Fajita Wrap - Vegetable & Bean Burrito - Pasta with Roasted Tomato & Basil Sauce - Tuna Mayo Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Steamed Carrots - Maryland Cookie

Friday - Breaded Fish Fingers - Vegetable & Bean Chimichangas - Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Ham Sandwich - Egg Mayo Baguette - Chips & Baked Beans - Chocolate Sponge

Freshly Baked Bread: Pesto Bread or Wholemeal Bread

Kidaround Magazine

The October Issue is here and full of family fun things to do, whether general days out, Halloween events or Firework displays – this edition has it covered. If you would prefer to receive this direct to your email, subscribe for free here

  • Competitions – enter to win a family ticket to Marsh Farm or Lee Valley Park Farm
  • Halloween themed living rooms
  • Spooky Special – events near you
  • Firework Displays
  • Activities and games

Messages from the Office

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.

Late Arrival and Collection of Children

We have unfortunately noticed an increase in the number of children either being brought late into school or who are being collected late through the office.

In the morning class doors are open from 8.30am and close at 8.50am, unless there are very exceptional circumstances please make every effort to be at school during this window. Late arrival can mean your child feeling uncomfortable when going into class and missing out on important information at the start of the day. If you are experiencing a particular issue with getting your child into school on time each day please contact the school office to discuss this further.

In the same way being collected late from school can be upsetting for young children, if you are going to be late due to an exceptional reason always contact the school office in the first instance so that we are able to reassure your child and discuss the best course of action with you. Any child who has not been collected by 3.30pm will be taken to our After School Club provision and a charge of £7.00 will be made. We would rather avoid this happening as our After School Club is very popular and used regularly by lots of families who have booked in advance.

Reception September 2024 Intake - Prospective Parent Tours

If you have a child born between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020 they will be due to start school in September 2024. The application process is now open and if you live within the Southend Borough Council area you can apply online at www.southend.gov.uk/admissions. Deadline for applications is 15 January 2024.

If you, a family member or friend have a child due to start school and would like to view our school please contact the school office either by telephone 01702 468461 or by email office@his.porticoacademytrust.co.uk to book onto one of the tours we have coming up.

Please refer to the items attached to this week's newsletter which we have been asked to share by the local authority. All parents have the right to reply to a consultation on any school.

Outdoor Learning

Week commencing 30th October - Year 1 at The Hive

  • Monday 30th - Newt Class
  • Tuesday 31st - Duck Class
  • Wednesday 1st - Dragonfly Class
  • Thursday 2nd - Heron Class
  • Friday 3rd - Rainbow & Starlight


  • 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: Kingfisher Class - 96.1%

Overall Reception Year attendance for the week 93.7%

Year 1: Newt Class - 94.2%

Overall Year 1 attendance for the week 93%

Year 2: Squirrel Class - 97.3%

Overall Year 2 attendance for the week 95.3%

Whole School: 95.3%

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 Clubs

Premier Education Clubs are now available to book for after the half-term holiday. Book now using their website at this link www.premier-education.com Please see the flyer for details of clubs and how to book.

All clubs are now open to our Reception Year children.

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 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.