Education and Training Awards 2020

Most Caring Foundation - KS2 School 2020 - Windsor & Maidenhead Inspiring a love of learning is one of the most important things that a teacher can do, and many schools struggle to manage this amidst the need to learn essential content that will allow kids to succeed at the next level. At Hilltop First School, learning is always the first step, in an environment that is loving, warm and safe. We take a closer look in the light of the team’s success in this year’s Education and Training Awards. While all schools put their students first and centre, few do it as effectively as the team at Hilltop First School. Catering to children from Nursery to Year 4, the team have been able to achieve great things, inspiring their pupils through the simple gold rule “Aim High; Be Kind.” Hilltop First School is proud to serve a range of children, placing them into both pure and mixed classes within each key stage. Pupils are brought together from a variety of varied ethnic backgrounds, allowing the students to learn first-hand what it means to grow up in a culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Needless to say, the team have become adept at meeting the needs of all students, ensuring an incredibly inclusive environment. The sign of success for the Hilltop team is the passion with which each pupil comes to school. All know that this is a safe place where they can learn more about the world around them. From the very beginning, a growth mindset is modelled. This means that the children are encouraged to say, “I can’t do it… yet” and look at what or who can help them to be successful. This practical approach puts them all in good stead for the future, establishing a clear path forward that will help them for years to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a number of decisions that wouldn’t normally be made, but the team at Hilltop First School have reacted incredibly well. They’ve simply gone above and beyond in their work, developing an online curriculum that is counter to the usual methods of practical activities, speaking and listening and modelling. Weekly food parcels and printed resources for the most vulnerable families have been provided, with staff communicating to children through online chat and regular postcards. As lockdown has begun to lift, the Hilltop team know that they must adapt to a new way of life, one where the connection that has been encouraged thus far is shown in different ways. The challenge for the team is to construct a curriculum that restores the school’s community while drawing in pupils who have missed many months of vital learning time. For the teaching staff, the need to weave in previously planned content is obvious, but a challenge they will rise to with ease. Despite this, the priority is to build children who have a passion for learning, as opposed to just consuming content. Currently, there is an RBWM consultation underway, investigating potential new SEND resource provision at some schools. As a result of its proven capability to help students who need more specialist help, Hilltop is one of the schools involved in the consultation. If all goes well, it would provide the team with the opportunity to provide specific support for children who need something more than a mainstream school can offer. The caring attitude of Hilltop First School is well illustrated in their decision to implement Golden Time on a Friday afternoon. Whilst this is an activity that many schools do, it is how and why Hilltop does it is different. This is a time when children can choose from a range of creative activities, games and toys. Rather than using the time for admin, or any activities that could be done without the children present, staff use it build connections through joining in with pupils’ play and conversations, recognising the importance of trust and relationships and how they are just as valuable as learning in lessons. What Hilltop First School brings is an interest in education that will stand the test of time. These formative years create so many of the attitudes and characteristics which will define a person. A Hilltop student is defined by their ability to find the fun in any situation, with a passion for learning that will never dim. In the words of a Year 4 student at Hilltop First School. “You build lots of memories at Hilltop and you feel safe. I’ve loved my time at Hilltop because I am always happy and whatever happens Hilltop makes a big effort to keep in touch. Hilltop has a kind environment so everyone is friends.” Company: Hilltop First School Headteacher: Lynn Bima Web Address: Education & Training Awards 2020 Jun20115