Dear Parents,

Earlier this week I received a letter from one of the trustees of the St. Nicholas Fund at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.  It was to thank you for the wonderful donations that were collected by the Brass Ensemble for their Carols in Peter Jones in December.

As always we are extremely grateful [for the donations], not least because just before Christmas we spent a large sum on the various children’s services, so contributions to our coffers are extremely welcome. Your last donation in November went towards the sibling area in the newly opened Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This time, the money will go directly towards play equipment for the Senior Play Leader.

Hill House is such a wonderful supporter of the St. Nicholas Fund; you never cease to amaze us!

This week I was able to send them another cheque for more than £2,000, which were the proceeds from the Secondhand Uniform sale in Founders’ Hall last Saturday.

Music lessons began again this week and there are now 88% of the children in the school playing instruments. We believe this to be the highest percentage of any primary level school in England. However there are just a very few places left for anyone not yet learning who would like to try an instrument.  The first five "taster" lessons are free and we will provide the orchestral instruments without charge.  Application forms are available in Hans Place and Cadogan Gardens.  Those who watched the carol service televised from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Eve will have seen the Duchess of Cambridge playing the piano superbly.  She also plays the flute and sings in a choir and in an interview spoke about how much music had helped her during the Covid lockdowns.  The discipline of learning an instrument – application, concentration, and perseverance – pays dividends in all academic subjects as well as bringing pleasure in its own right.  Swift progress depends upon a little regular practice at home – five or ten minutes every day is more beneficial than a long period at the weekend.  Parents do not need any musical skill themselves to help with practice just a listening ear and lots of encouragement.  The music tutor lists the work to be prepared between lessons on the pupil's Lesson Report Card and we do encourage parents to sign the card each week so that we know they have seen it.

The consultation period on the School Street outside Hans Place is coming to an end and you have until Sunday to complete the online survey to give your feedback to the council. The more support we have from parents the more likely it will become permanent. It has been so successful it would be a great shame if it did not continue.  Please follow the link below to complete the survey. It closes on Sunday 16 January. Thank you.

Below are some words from Mr Carlson relating to Covid and the school’s position. Please read this carefully. The Omicron strain is certainly more infectious even if the symptoms for the significant majority do appear to be milder. Nonetheless a positive case has repercussions beyond the individual concerned. As a school we are a community and our actions affect those around us. We are doing our very best within school to prevent the spread of cases with many protocols in place, while seeking to maintain as normal and enriching atmosphere as possible. Your help as parents at home is vital in this.

Best wishes, 

Richard Townend


Dear Parents,

The last two years have brought enormous challenges for the education sector. The roll out of remote learning, extended periods of lock down for pupils and staff and unfortunately seeing members of the school community fall ill, have all taken their toll.

Throughout this turbulent period, one thing has stood out time and time again; children need to be in school. The long-term effects of this period are still being discovered, but I am pleased to see the tutors at Hill House going above and beyond to produce a significant number of specialised booster groups to ensure that all children reach their full potential.

Today we see a remarkably different picture to that from two years ago. While we are seeing an increased number of cases, thus far the symptoms all appear to be mild in nature and the vast majority of children who are now isolating attend blended learning where pupils in class and at home learn at the same time. The recent reduction in isolation time also allows children to return as soon as it is safe to do so.

Despite the changing nature of the virus, we continue to be extremely vigilant in reducing any transmission and maintain the same daily cleaning procedures, mask wearing and through extensive LFD testing. It is worth mentioning that the school has been complimented on its approach when discussing our progress with the local Director of Public Health.

What remains incredibly important is our approach to LFD testing and I wish to expand on the two types of testing currently taking place at Hill House.

Twice weekly testing for all staff and those children in Main School

This testing is designed to pick up any asymptomatic cases in the school community. Where cases are identified, parents of close contacts are notified so that an enhanced testing program can be followed. We have seen that when this is carried out effectively, with all children testing, there is a significant reduction in the spread of cases. This type of test should be brought to school each Monday and Thursday morning where Senior Tutors will collate the results.

Daily testing

Where close contacts are identified, we ask that all children aged 5 and above undergo daily testing for a period of 7 days. This quick identification prevents further spread of cases. It is essential that these results are shared with the school, as it allows us to monitor any potential spread of COVID-19 and enables us to monitor the percentage uptake, thereby avoiding sending home year groups. These results should be submitted everyday on the submission form.

We are currently waiting to receive more Lateral Flow Test kits. The latest update suggests they should be with us in the second half of next week. In the meantime LFT packs are available from local pharmacies if you follow this link.

The altruistic nature of these tests, serve not to protect us individually, but to protect the school as a whole. Your support in explaining this behaviour to your children is appreciated and contributes to developing the kind and considerate characteristics we value at Hill House.

One final point that I would like to raise is the importance of privacy. Those families that identify a case of COVID will be going through a huge range of emotions and it is not helpful to invade their privacy. The school takes an extremely cautious approach when identifying close contacts, but due to data protection, we are unable to share details of those pupils and staff who have tested positive.

Kind regards

Christopher Carlson

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