School focus: Hillsborough Nursery and Primary

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School
Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School
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There is an atmosphere around Hillsborough Nursery and Primary School like no other.

Once inside the gates visitors feel a million miles from its location – nestled between two busy main roads next to the Sheffield Wednesday football stadium.

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Children are happy and smiling, as are the teachers – with laughter often heard coming from the staff room.

The school recently celebrated being one of the top two per cent of schools in England in terms of the progress pupils make by the end of key stage two.

It is also ranked seventh in Sheffield in terms of attainment – a big achievement for a school where pupils speak 34 languages and children are from a variety of backgrounds.

Acting headteacher Jane King said: “It’s something we have built on and we always want the best outcomes for all of our children regardless of their starting points.

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

“The thing that has surprised us is that we got a letter from Parliament praising our achievements – it has really been celebrated.”

She added: “We work really hard so that the children are life-long learners, get that motivation and thirst for knowledge and they want to be successful.

“We do our learning through a creative approach – there is lots of learning outside and cross-curricular learning.

“We do value the academic success of children but we do like to look at the children as a whole.”

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Children are praised for their efforts inside and outside the classroom – with emphasis put on creating well-rounded children and not just focusing on achievements.

They are taught to problem solve and understand not everyone learns in the same way. They are given a variety of strategies to learn and are encouraged to use the one which best works for them.

Assistant headteacher Teresa Minnis said: “We make sure children believe in themselves.

“We want children to realise the trying is as important as the achieving.

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

“We want children to never feel that failure.

“It is about removing that fear of failing and seeing the effort as a success and a road to achieving.

“We don’t want our children to feel embarrassed if they get something wrong. We don’t want them to feel they can’t put their hands up for fear that they will get the answer wrong.

“We are not praising failure, we are praising the effort – that’s why we have got the results we have got because all our children are willing to learn.”

The school, which is part of the Tapton Academy Trust, has a mixture of new and experienced teachers and greatly benefits from the trust’s associated teaching school.

Mrs King said the team at Hillsborough Primary is ‘dedicated and hardworking’ and are always willing to go above and beyond.

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

She was also full of praise for parents, who get involved in all aspects of school life, for the governors and executive head Angela Lant.

Learning is made fun for youngsters and every opportunity is used to engage pupils.

The school is home to a handful of chickens that have been used in science and literacy lessons, as well as helping with social and emotional skills.

Themed events are held with local artists and authors, and the school is heavily involved in sporting, PE and community activities with Sheffield Wednesday.

Year four and six pupils enjoy residential trips, while each class’s top writers are regularly celebrated and rewarded with a tea party with senior leaders.

Last week some pupils took part in a Greek week, dressing up and creating mosaics, models and artwork. Children are also gearing up to celebrate the Royal Wedding with a variety of activities planned and a health week which will focus on the fat and sugar in foods in a bid to help reduce obesity.

The school has extensive links with the University of Sheffield. Children take part in regular science days there and are busy finding a new germ in the hope of helping to develop a new antibiotic.

The school’s youngest pupils are also not forgotten.

Mrs King said: “We have recently improved the nursery and foundation stage’s outside learning area.

“The nursery and foundation stage two children learn together and for us that is positive for the children because they start nursery and they get to mix with older children and they are showing them how to learn and how to use resources.

“We feel the foundation stage is a real strength of the school.”

Ms Minnis said the diverse nature of the school is what makes it so special.

“We are very diverse and that is what makes us unique – we feel that feeds into our individuality,” she said.

“Ultimately our success is our children. You can have the best teachers in the world, and we have some great ones, but ultimately it’s down to the little bodies staring up at you every day.”

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School

Pupils at Hillsborough Primary School