Maths Share Morning

Many thanks to all our families who attended our recent Share morning on calculations.  So far feedback has been very positive.  The children certainly enjoyed it.  If you were not able to attend and would like a handout on how we do calculations in school, there are a few copies left in the Office.


Hollowford Day 5

As your children are all safely back home with you now, I will let them fill you in on the events of the day.

In brief, we visited the Peak Cavern after breakfast to see how rope used to be made and to find out how the cave got its enigmatic nickname.

The bus journey was long and hot, but the children remained cheerful all the way home. I personally enjoyed playing SpongeBob Top Trumps and listening to all the songs. An ice cream at Sacrewell Farm Park also helped.

The half way stop also gave us a chance to say thank you to Mrs Walsh from Stradbroke Primary School who organised the trip. Having now retired, this was her last visit (of very many) to the Peak District with groups from our pyramid of schools. She said that this year’s group was by far the best that she had taken.

Well done children. It has been a pleasure to spend the last five days with you and to witness your many achievements. I hope your memories of Hollowford stay with you for a long time.

As a farewell, I thought I would post a few portraits snapped by the children this morning whilst waiting to go into the Devil’s *&£$?!.

Latest Ofsted Report

Please find attached a copy of our recent Ofsted report. I am delighted with the outcome of the inspection that acknowledges the schools significant progress over the last two and a half years. There are many excellent statements, but I am particularly pleased the inspector recognised ‘the school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding’. I firmly believe the school manages to strike a good balance between children’s well-being and academic achievement, with the school securing its best ever results across all key stages in 2015.

The growing success of the school is down to so many factors, and the children, parents, staff and governors should all be congratulated on the outcome of the inspection. One of the great strengths of the school is that it is at the heart of the community and this has played a large part in the schools recent achievements. The underlying theme that runs through the school is ‘our journey’, and I am extremely pleased that the school has come a long way in such a short time and is well set up to keep moving towards outstanding.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped to make the school such a success and I hope you have a wonderful summer.

Yours sincerely, Mark Taylor (Headteacher)

2016 Inspection Report

Hollowford Day 4

Phew! What a scorcher! The sun has blazed down on our last full day of activities today; and what a day it has been!

Isobel, Amber and Eliza set off this morning by minibus looking very nervous for their trip to Carl Wark Cavern in Stoney Middleton to go caving. The cave sits at the bottom of a cliff face in a little wood by the side of a very busy road and, unless you knew it was there, you would never be able to find it. To get in they needed to slither their way between the roots of a tree, down into a steeply descending tunnel and into the dark. Once in, they explored a cave system formed by an old underground stream. They were fascinated by the roof of the cave made from an enormous prehistoric bed of oysters. They also loved turning out our head torches and sitting in the pitch black.

This afternoon they tackled the high ropes with enormous enthusiasm and admirable bravery. They flew through ‘the vines,’ worked brilliantly together to get a member of their team to the top of the Jacob’s Ladder and then finished with the Leap of Faith. Well done girls.

Meanwhile, Evie and Sadie started the day with raft building. I have heard reports of them both getting stuck in with the tying of knots and they must have done their jobs well because the girls told me that their raft floated. So, you will have to ask them why they both ended up so completely soaking wet.

They ended their activities at Hollowford with a trip to Higger Tor to go weasling. They loved the views, the sunshine and the tiny gaps in the rocks that they slithered through. Well done to both of you.

Flora, Rachel and Kieran set off for the High Ropes this morning and I have been told that all three did incredibly well. Flora battled her nerves and wobbly knees in a steadfastly determined way and challenged herself on each activity to take just one more step. She did so well on this activity and during the caving yesterday that she won the prize in her group for the person who had impressed the most. Rachel has enjoyed every moment and I have heard reports about how encouraging she has been. And Kieran has tackled every activity with merry abandon. He was very proud of himself for having leapt off the Leap of Faith pole despite not managing to catch the pole.

This afternoon they also went weasling, although not with Evie and Sadie’s group. I hear that all three really enjoyed themselves and thought that it was a great way to finish their time at Hollowford.

The day ended with a talent show – well done Rachel, Evie, Amber and Eliza who won third prize – lots more silly games and the prize giving – well done to Flora and Sadie who won the awards for really impressing in their groups.
So now, they have all relocated their missing socks and soaking trainers, packed their bags and day bags and settled down for their final night.

Tomorrow we will visit Peak Cavern – you will have to ask them what it is also known as – have an ice cream and then board the bus for the journey home.

So, please be prepared to welcome back your very excited, very proud and very exhausted children between 5 and 5.30 tomorrow – I will text from our half-way stop to let you know if we are on time. We have had a fantastic time and they have been a pleasure to be with.

Enjoy the snaps.

Hollowford Day 3

It has been a beautiful day. The sun broke through the clouds early this morning and we have had glorious weather well into the evening – just perfect for our day wandering around Castleton and climbing Mam Tor.

As you can see from the pictures, the children really enjoyed visiting Peveril Castle, although there was stiff competition from both the souvenir shop and the fudge shop. They were admirably restrained with their sweet purchases and have all bought some special presents for people at home – what a lovely bunch!

This afternoon was the epic climb up Mam Tor. All the children managed spectacularly well on the journey up – despite the heat – and they were all incredibly proud of their achievements. Special mention must go to Kieran who proudly managed to cover himself in mud from top to toe by slipping over in a very boggy part of the journey down. Well done Kieran. Well done everyone.

This evening we were able to stay outside and play games until late and then we rounded the day off with the Hollowford Quiz Night. Well done to Isobel’s team which came second and Evie’s team which came first!

We hope you enjoy the pics!

Hollowford Day 2

A fine drizzle has accompanied all of our activities today, but at least it didn’t turn into the predicted downpours. In any case, it hasn’t stopped us. I have been really proud of the whole group and their achievements today.

Kieran has been unstoppable, determined to be the first at everything and ready for anything. He was the first in his group to tackle the zip wire, the first (and only) member of his raft-building group to dive in – or should that read fall in? He swam magnificently to the edge without swallowing too much pond water! Then, this afternoon in Bagshaw Cave, he was one of only three to tackle the hardest of the three squeezing through a tiny tunnel choices – rather him than me. Well done Kieran, what a day.

Flora and Sadie have also been magnificent. Despite real worries about being underground, in small confined spaces, and in the dark, both girls completed their caving activities and are really proud of themselves for having done so. This afternoon, in two different groups, in two different caves, both girls were given the option to turn back or not take part and both girls chose to carry on and both made it to the end. Well done – I am super proud of you!

Rachel showed what a fantastic leader she can be during the raft building activity, organising others, getting people galvanised and communicating really clearly. She said afterwards, “Well, otherwise they weren’t doing anything, so you just have to or it doesn’t work.” Impressive stuff. She also did brilliantly on the zip wire and was perfectly at ease in the Bagshaw cave, although she wasn’t too impressed with the colour her socks had turned by the end of the activity.

Isobel, Eliza and Amber spent the morning building an epic raft, called “The Killer Kraken” which beat Flora, Kieran and Rachel’s raft hands-down despite being encumbered with my weight at the back. They learnt how to tie a reef knot, a half-hitch and a square lashing to create a very secure, sturdy raft. They did such a good job that they – mostly – got back to the shore again almost completely dry. In the afternoon the three girls and I went weasling on Hagger Tor and squeezed and squirmed themselves through tiny gaps in the rocks and helped to guide me through a few too (and advise me when they thought it might be ‘a bit tight for you Mr Leicester’!)

Evie has confidently tackled all of her challenges. This morning she managed the Leap of Faith as almost her first activity. She decided that it was easier than some of the other high ropes activities because it was less wobbly. This afternoon she loved the cave she went down and has described the underground waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites to me. The part she most enjoyed though was squeezing her way through a tiny hole on her stomach: “It was fun.”

This evening we went for a short walk through Castleton, then played a raucous game of Beetle Drive and then they all went off to bed.

Tomorrow we start the day with a chance to buy souvenirs in the shops in Castleton, and a visit to Peveril Castle. Then, after lunch, we will be walking up Mam Tor. We hear that the weather is due to improve.

We hope you like the photos – which, I’m afraid are just of children in my group, but I will try and swap with other teachers tomorrow.


Hollowford Day 1

The bus journey passed very smoothly. The highlight of the journey was the sing-off between Fressingfield and Wilby schools in which the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory songs made another appearance. The gasp as the children came around the corner into the valley was also a highlight. We arrived at about 4.30pm.

Having settled into their rooms – and wrestled their duvets into their duvet covers – we had (a huge) dinner and then set off for a walk which took us up the hill, through a few fields of sheep, over stiles, through muddy puddles and past a rather worried cow.

We arrived back at the centre at about 8ish, and have since had a little time to unpack our bags, sort ourselves into groups for tomorrow and settle down for lights out which was at 10 o’clock. Tomorrow I think we are due some rain as we start our activities – high ropes, caving, weasling and raft building! Should be fun!