No. 209

29 January 2021

Dear Children, Parents and Carers,

Wasn’t it great to see the snow last Sunday! It was just lovely to hear from the children at the start of the week about how much fun they’d had over the weekend, playing in the snow.

I am sure that you’ll have had mixed feelings about the latest government announcement regarding school closures and lockdown. With infection rates still high, it is so important that we continue to follow the advice to help reduce transmission locally, and there is no doubt that hospitals are still really under pressure. However, all of us recognise how challenging this is for parents, carers and children. It was certainly disappointing to hear that our freedoms will continue to be curtailed at least until March 8th and that school will not be reopening straight after the half-term break. Thank you so much to all those families who are making sacrifices to keep the children at home; we really appreciate how tricky home-schooling is, especially if you’re also trying to work yourself. As a school, we’ve kept our numbers on site relatively low. Thank you so much for making this possible; it will certainly help reduce infection locally, as well as hopefully shortening the local lockdown. If your child is coming into school, we are keen to continue to support you, but do let us know if you are able to reduce the number of days that they are on site so that we can have fewer staff in each day, with those at home focusing solely on the remote learning provision.

I’ve been so impressed by the children’s determination to continue learning in spite of the challenges. Let’s all make sure we congratulate them on their efforts, and also be ready to be flexible if it doesn’t always go smoothly. Some days will always be harder than others…don’t make it a battle; encourage your child to do something different instead if a particular task appears too hard. You can always have another go later on, if that seems like a good idea. Keep in touch with class teachers if you want any advice or support. Working alone is really tricky, even for adults and we know how much motivation children give to each other in the classroom, spurring one another on, and providing peer to peer feedback. Of course, the physical presence of a teacher is important too – but I think everyone is doing so well in the circumstances. We also mustn’t overlook the skills that are being developed because of the challenges we’re facing: resilience, independent learning strategies, expertise in use of digital technology, as well as sheer gritted determination to succeed in spite of adversity. These will stand the children in good stead whatever the future holds for them!

Next week, I will be hosting a virtual coffee-morning (11am on Wednesday 3rd February) together with our home-school link workers, (Lucy Cray and Bridgit Beynon). This will be an opportunity to meet Lucy and Bridgit, hear about the support that they’re able to offer, find out about local sources of parenting support, as well as share with other families in our school community. It’s a really informal event providing another way for good communication between home and school; just make yourself a coffee, and turn up! I’ll send the Zoom link by parentmail next week.

You may have spotted in the calendar that we had planned an INSET day for Friday 12th February. In order to best support families, we have decided to postpone this to the end of the academic year (which will now finish one day earlier with the end of the summer term now being Tuesday 20th July). Both remote learning and in-school provision will therefore continue right up until the half term break.

With love,

Thought of the Week: Love is kind– who needs your kindness today?

Guildford Family Centre
Due to the demand for the Parenting Puzzle Course, additional dates have now been added. Please find details here of the Parenting Puzzle Course.  Further information on their virtual courses, telephone advice sessions and support groups is available via their Facebook page: @GuildfordFamilyCentre.

Lockdown opportunity to support RSCH staff - "Buckets of love"
Some of your school's neighbours are putting together buckets full of presents to say thank you to the amazing doctors, nurses, carers and cleaners at the Royal Surrey Hospital (the ones who work in the Intensive Care Unit and look after patients with Covid-19). They’ve been working really hard and are probably tired, so we want them to have something special to open on Valentine’s Day. Each bucket will have a pebble painted (hopefully) by you, with the words ‘YOU ROCK’ on it, and lots of love hearts too. The examples were painted by someone in year 5 to give you an idea. Acrylic pens are the easiest to use apparently, but nail varnish and acrylic paints are good too. Maybe your parents would like to do one too? Pebbles and stones should be small enough to fit in the palm of an adult hand. Please paint your pebble before the 10th February and deliver it to the plastic boxes on the drives of:
38 Pewley Hill, Guildford, GU1 3SN
or 36 Warren Road, Guildford, GU1 2DH

Big garden birdwatch - this weekend!
Here's a good way to spend an hour with the family this weekend. Either in your garden or local park, sit for an hour with a checklist of which birds you spot. Visit the website for more information and for a handy identification guide (

No. 208

22 January 2021

Dear Children, Parents and Carers,

The whole school is really getting into the swing of the term now. None of us would have chosen to live through a global pandemic; however, it’s often said that in times of difficulty and challenge, human innovation and invention exceeds that seen in more settled times. We see this happening even within the school community with children becoming experts with technology, learning independence and finding ways to succeed through struggle. Well done to every child who hasn’t just given up at the first difficulty or hurdle, but been patient and persevered. These skills will be useful for the rest of your lives, not just when you’re learning at home.

We certainly see innovation on a daily basis amongst the staff. They have all risen to the challenges that we face with a cheerful and resourceful optimism. A year ago, few of us would have relished an opportunity for live, online teaching, we wouldn’t have thought about filming lessons or even known what Zoom was. And yet now, a year on, every member of staff is an expert Zoomer! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement to us all – it really has helped us persevere when we’ve been stuck or disillusioned! It’s been lovely to see how often we’ve solved problems together, sharing mistakes and passing on tips to save each other from falling into the same hole! We are all desperate to have a full school back together again, but I think you’ll agree with me, the team are doing a great job! Please keep being patient with us – this certainly isn’t the role that we trained for and it’s certainly pushing us beyond what’s comfortable…but the children seem to be making great progress in spite of the situation.

As the media starts to conjecture about a return to face-to-face schooling, it’s hard not to become frustrated with impatience, to wish away the weeks ahead and try to predict a timescale for school reopening. We’ve been thinking about patience in assembly this week, and this is a good example of where patience is needed - there’s nothing we can do, but wait and see. Hopefully, the infection rate locally will continue to fall and we will soon be back together. Until then though, let’s continue to make the best of this situation….and, where we can, find “heaven in the moment”. See the positives in this time together as families – even when you’re busy, have fun doing things together whenever you can.

I’ve seen the children show us how to do this; they are finding a zest for learning beyond the classroom – some of their art work, their Lego creations and their creative writing have been superb. Do keep sending the teachers examples of their work; it’s been so uplifting and an important reminder that for young children, time away from screens is where they learn the most and are most fulfilled! I’m going to be reminding the staff to keep this in mind in the weeks ahead as they set tasks to be completed at home. I’m really keen that we don’t forget creativity and imagination; the teachers are adapting topics to make home-school exciting and relevant, designing all sorts of creative learning tasks – so much more than just zooming. Building imaginary worlds under the stairs, performing a self-made play, setting up a school for your toys or experimenting with capacity and density in the bath are just some ideas for learning through play. Do challenge your children to spend time away from electronic entertainment. Please feel free to blame me if they tell you that everyone else is allowed to spend time online for so much longer than they are! Most importantly of all, make sure that they read often – and do enjoy books together. With more rain, or even snow forecast this weekend, I’ll be definitely spending time with a good book! And if it does snow, despite our technology and skills at remote learning, we’ll have a snow day!

With love,

Thought of the Week: Love is patient– who loves you enough to be patient with you?

Whole school notice

Opportunity to discuss ways to find hope
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been approached by families commenting on our school values bringing them comfort and hope. Mike Norris, one of our parents and part of St Saviour’s Church in Guildford, has offered to run a couple of online sessions exploring this and similar themes. See the attached flyer if you’re interested in taking part.

Guildford Family Centre
The Guildford Family Centre remains open to support the local community. They are offering virtual courses, telephone advice sessions and support groups. Their on-site services also include: selling of vitamins (women and babies) and hiring of electric breast pumps. Information on courses and resources is available via their Facebook page: @GuildfordFamilyCentre.


Hello everyone,

Thank you to those who attended last night’s committee meeting. We had a great discussion about how best we can support the school during the next term.

We agreed that 50% of all funds raised this year will go towards the new pitch at Holy Trinity, which many of our children will be able to enjoy once they move on to the Junior school.

Clare and the teachers have also indicated the needs for the school that any funds we raise would support.

These include:

  • A new sound system for the hall – replacing the existing cassette tape and CD player
  • Updating the reading scheme with more titles for all year groups
  • Continuing the work in the Year 1 outside space and the Rainbow Room

We have a few ideas to help raise funds to put towards all this that will hopefully provide some light relief during lockdown. We’ll give details in the coming weeks.

Have a lovely weekend all,

No. 207

15 January 2021

Dear Children, Parents and Carers,

After another week of leading two schools, the one that’s working remotely and the one for a very small group of key worker children in school, I again want to pass on my thanks to everyone involved! I’m so appreciative of our staff who are going the extra mile every day and I’m also grateful to all our families who are helping to keep children learning in difficult times.

We’re really doing our bit collectively to bring down the covid infection rate locally and there’s a glimmer of hope that the numbers are plateauing. Let’s keep being determined to reduce transmission whenever we can by staying at home. Thank you to the key worker families who only send their children in when it’s absolutely necessary. I’m working at home today with a strong team in school that I can rely on and plenty of Zoom time and phone calls keeping me in touch across the community. It’s reminded me again of the circumstances of so many of our families, working at home and juggling different demands on our time; with my son and husband also using the internet all day, we have quite a complicated schedule! I salute you for being so determined to prioritise your child’s education. It must be quite a sacrifice.

Compared to so many schools, we’re glad that at HTPD every child has the technology to be online each day. This daily contact is proving to be very popular, with teachers, children and families finding it a great motivator. The children love to see their work shared with their classmates and they’re also being inspired to work hard when others are producing such super quality too. Keep it up everyone!

If you’ve followed the news in the press about the free school meals debacle, you’ll be interested to know that we made the decision to support our families in need with vouchers rather than food parcels. These will be issued to those in receipt of means-tested free school meals next week, and back-dated to the start of term. To me, this seems so much more respectful. Please do get in touch if you’re going through financial difficulties – we still have our hardship fund open for donations on Parentpay, and we’re able to help out. We really want to look after each other and make sure that none of our children go hungry.

For me, this week’s highlight has been sharing assembly with all the children from Year 1 to Year 6. Being able to see the school gathered together despite the distance between us, really gave me hope. Eventually, we’ll all be back together in the same place again and what a celebration we’ll have. Thank you for continuing to make connection with school a priority; it’s great to belong to such a vibrant, determined and loving community. Your support and encouragement to the teaching staff is much appreciated – we share that feedback every week and cheer one another along! Thank you for all your encouraging emails.

With love,

Thought of the Week: Love is eternal – who will love you forever?

Whole school notice

Opportunity to discuss ways to find hope
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been approached by families commenting on our school values bringing them comfort and hope. Mike Norris, one of our parents and part of St Saviour’s Church in Guildford, has offered to run a couple of online sessions exploring this and similar themes. See the attached flyer if you’re interested in taking part.



Hello everyone,

A quick note to say we will be having a PTA meeting next Thursday 21st January at 8pm - on Zoom of course! Details will be sent out via ParentMail next week.

We'll be discussing fundraising objectives for the rest of the school year and activities to support everyone during this current lockdown.

I hope to 'meet' you there!
Kate x

No. 206

08 January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

Little did I realise on Monday morning when we began our INSET day thinking about the term ahead quite what would be required of the whole school community in the 24 hours that followed! As a staff, we started the morning considering what were the most important words and attitudes that we hoped to teach the children as they moved through the school before finally leaving in Year 6. I think you’ll be glad to see the word cloud that resulted. It’s shaped into a bird silhouette to remind us all of the hope that we have to soar above whatever situation that we find ourselves in. The Bible reminds us that “those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength and soar on wings like eagles”, Isaiah 40 v31. It was just what we needed to tackle the challenges ahead!


Thank you for your patience and encouragement as the week has gone on. It’s been amazing to see how many children have managed to engage so well with our online provision – and I’m so grateful to those of you that are making huge sacrifices to keep the numbers in school as low as possible. With both my daughter and husband working in the NHS, I take very seriously the challenge to keep people well and help prevent our health service being overwhelmed. For those children that do need to be in school, we are delighted to be able to look after them and support their families in this way.

One idea that was shared with me earlier in the week is worth passing on. If you have any old smart phones in a drawer (even without a SIM card), or a games console that connects to your Wifi, you can use them to enable children to access Zoom. This might be helpful, especially for families with several children all wanting to join in with remote learning, and for those juggling work demands at home too!

Do email your child’s class teacher, or a member of SLT if you need any support with home learning; we are so keen to continue looking after the whole school community. If your circumstances are challenging, just let us know and we’ll try to help and adjust our expectations accordingly. Remember too that Lucy and Bridgit, our home-school link workers are available if you need a listening ear (email or

On the theme of looking out for each other, our assembly series this term is based on St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in the new testament, in particular the words in chapter 13 about love. It will give us the opportunity week by week to think about different aspects of God’s perfect love, explaining to the children that love is patient, kind, not proud, selfish or rude and eternal. We’ll even be rewriting our motto for the term, from Learn to Live to “Learn to Love”. I’ll be leading the children in a weekly assembly a year group at a time; if you’d like to pause in your day and join us, you’d be really welcome. I think it will be a very helpful theme at this most challenging of times.

With love,

Thought of the Week: Love is eternal – who will love you forever?


Whole school

Online safety
With the children needing to spend time online to meet with their classteacher and their friends each day, we want to remind you to ensure their safety. Please do supervise their internet access, talk to them about what to do if they access inappropriate material on the internet and make sure they are chatting with school rather than on another app or website. If you have any online safety concerns, please let Tom Everard know; he is our e-safety lead and will be able to advise you with up to date information about children navigating the online world ( The following useful websites will also support you:

Closing date for primary applications - 15 January 2021
A final reminder that the deadline for applications to Year R and Year 3 for September 2021 is Friday 15 January. Online applications can be made via Surrey County Council’s website:

Roadworks in Harvey Road
The work on replacing the gas mains in Harvey Road has been delayed and will now start on Monday 11 January and last approximately five weeks. Please note, the road closure on Chesham Road will now be implemented on Monday 25 January for approximately two weeks.

NHS Advice Line
Central Surrey Health have set up an advice line for questions re 0-19 year olds. This is a really useful resource for parents and is staffed by Health Visitors and Community Nursery Nurses. They deal with any questions relating to health (such as enuresis, development concerns), and also provide an advice line for professionals.

Guildford Family Centre virtual courses (January – February 2021)
The Family Centre is offering various advice sessions and virtual courses. All sessions are free. Bookings are essential, as places are limited. Telephone 01483 510570.

  • Family Advice - one-to-one telephone session with Family Support Worker
  • SENDsory Advice – concerns regarding children’s development (one-to-one phone session)
  • Freedom – for women living with or who have left abusive relationships (11-week virtual course starting 24 Feb)
  • Parenting Puzzle – nurturing programme to help get the best out of family life (4-week course from 21 Jan)
  • Little Chatterboxes – concerns regarding children’s speech & language development (4-week course from 22 Jan)
  • Welcome to the World – for new and expecting parents (4 week course from 19 Jan).

Emmaus Road, one of the churches in Guildford that love to support our school have put together a new resource for families. You might like to take a look at their YouTube page


Shoes for Nicaragua and The Philippines
Thanks so much to everyone who sent in children’s shoes. We collected an amazing 9 huge bags! Janice, who volunteers for The Peace and Hope Trust, the charity responsible for distributing the shoes, was overwhelmed by the response. Your support will make an enormous difference to children who may not be able to access education if they don’t have shoes.

A message from Gillian Trumble
Thank you very much for the super Chilly’s drink bottle which will be very useful when day trips out are allowed again and also for the John Lewis voucher which I have put towards a reading lamp which has just arrived at my house. I’m looking forward to doing lots more reading now I am a retired lady! Many thanks for your very generous gifts.


See Whole school notices above.


Happy New Year from HTSC. Thank you for your generous donations to our funds last term – the GoFundMe campaign will remain open until July. We’ll update you with our plans for later this term once we’ve settled back into balancing home school and working from home.
Take care and stay safe, HTSC.




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