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Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Hall’

Smarties challenge for Hunter Hall Pupils

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Hunter Hall School in Penrith is well on the way to raising funds for their new state of the art S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) facility, which they hope to build within the next two years.

The school has been undertaking many fundraising initiatives since 2017, including their most recent which was a ‘Silver Smarties’ Challenge.  Children from across the school were tasked with helping parents, family, friends and neighbours with household tasks and chores and in return swapped Smarties for silver coins. Each Friday assembly the children added their spoils to the total and told each other how they had helped make their contribution to the school’s fundraising. Jobs included; washing the car, laying the fire, cleaning out the shoe cupboard, cleaning out pets, feeding the pigs and making winter homes for animals to shelter from left over bracken in the fields!

It fell upon Year 6 pupils, along with Head of Mathematics Mr Philip Sturgess to count all of the silver coins collected since the challenge was set prior to the Christmas break.  The children managed to raise a magnificent £656.81, which brings the total fundraising sum to £22,270.14.

Hunter Hall School aims to raise at least £75,000 which will support the building and fitting of a new bespoke S.T.E.M Centre.  This will be built on the site of an old classroom building, thereby further enhancing their facilities to provide a 21st century establishment from which the children can enthuse about subjects such as Science. As always, Hunter Hall remains keen to continue links with the community and in time offer the facility for others to also benefit from as it does with its sports facilities.

The next event in the fundraising calendar is the Spring Ball on St Patricks Day, Saturday 17th of March at The Roundthorn. The Spring Ball is not just open to Hunter Hall parents, but to all members of the local community who are all very welcome to come along prior to booking through the school.

The school will be continuing to run many fundraising events throughout the year and hope that with support from the local community, businesses and alumni they will reach their target.

If you run a business who may be able to support the school in their challenge, please contact them on 01768 891291 or donations can be made online at


Top 100 in England

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

The ‘Parent Power’ supplement from The Sunday Times has been published, citing Hunter Hall School in Penrith as one of the Top 100 Independent Preparatory Schools in England.

The paper, published on Sunday lists the Top 100 Schools based on SATs results taken in 2016 from  Preparatory schools across England. There are over 600 such schools who are members of the Independent Schools Association.  The results have been published by The Times for the last 25 years and uses a ranking system that aggregates the averaged scaled scores achieved by children in tests in reading, grammar and maths.  Hunter Hall achieved a score of 312 based on 15 pupils sitting the tests.

The way that SATs have been calculated since 2016 is via a new aggregate system, which looks at a scaled scores ranging from 240 to 360, (the old system based was based on the percentages of children reaching level 5 in tests).  The Sunday Times states that schools that get the best out of every pupil are the ones who have fared best in the list.

Hunter Hall is one of only seven schools based in the North West of England to make the Top 100 and the only school in Cumbria to make the list.

Donna Vinsome, Head Teacher at Hunter Hall School comments,

“We are absolutely thrilled to be listed as one of the top 100 schools in England.  This is another wonderful accolade for us and helps to substantiate what we as staff and governors feel; that children get an outstanding education at Hunter Hall in all areas of the curriculum both inside as well as outside of the classroom.

Hunter Hall was inspected recently by the Independent Schools Inspectorate who gave them a glowing report with 100% in all areas of compliance with no actions for improvement. They have also recently been shortlisted for two TES Education awards.

Donna continues,

“All these successes are down to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team of specialist teachers we have at Hunter Hall School and the dedicated children we have the privilege to work with every day. I believe we are incredible value for money, giving children the best possible start in life from 3 through to 11 right here in Cumbria”.

Double celebrations for Hunter Hall School

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Hunter Hall School in Penrith, had important visitors at the end of September as the Independent School’s Inspectorate (ISI), an independent body approved by the government’s Department of Education called for two days.

The inspectors who visited Hunter Hall School; Cumbria’s only stand-alone preparatory school, looked at many facets of school life including the pastoral welfare of the children, safeguarding procedures and all aspects of health and safety. Parents and children were asked to complete questionnaires and the inspectors spent time talking to children, staff and governors, as well as pouring over policies and procedures and monitoring their implementation.

The school was delighted to get a 100% complete clean bill of health and therefore continues to be an outstanding school of excellence.

All standards were met with no further action required as a result of the inspection.  The children, staff, parents and governors were thrilled with the outcome, a report richly deserved. Head teacher of Hunter Hall School Donna Vinsome said,

“We are absolutely thrilled with the results of our latest inspection.  It has been a very worthwhile exercise and whilst it was never in any doubt what a super school Hunter Hall is, as a place to educate children, it was wonderful to hear a ringing endorsement that the school had met each standard with aplomb!”

Hunter Hall School opened in 1985 and has provided an independent education for hundreds of children from around the area since.  Hunter Hall School provides a strong foundation for learning, with exam results and senior school destinations including 11+ pass rates extremely high making the school a very appealing place for children to begin their education.

Mrs Vinsome continues,

“We work very hard to ensure our school and our pupils flourish and the results we achieve through inspections, exam results and secondary school places are evidence of this.  All the team and each of our pupils should feel very proud”

Hunter Hall School continues to provide very affordable independent education with fees well below the national norm offering extremely good value education. Fees are also inclusive of after school care which helps many hard working parents knowing that their children are being looked after at the end of the school day with fun structured activities taking place.

TES Education awards

Another reason to celebrate this week is that the school has been shortlisted for two awards from the Times Educational Supplement in the annual Independent School Awards – for Marketing Campaign of the year and an Independent State School partnership award

The awards, which take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in February, celebrate those schools making remarkable strategic contributions to independent education.  From individuals to teams, TES look to applaud excellence and reward innovation; providing benchmarks for the sector as a whole.


Hunter Hall pupils ditch the pitch for ballet

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Year six pupils at Hunter Hall School in Penrith have been introduced to the world of ballet this term as a way of improving and developing their fitness and core body strength.

Bishop Yard School of Dance teacher Miss. Booth (parent of Grace Addison) has been asked to deliver ballet lessons to the year six group, who are working towards producing a contemporary dance routine of their own.

The lessons have come about after Mr Andrew Hetherington; Director of Sport at Hunter Hall was inspired by sports clubs using dance to improve their fitness.  Members of Carlisle United and the youth team at Wigan Warriors have been participating in ballet sessions to develop their flexibility and strength and to assist in injury prevention.

Mr Hetherington said,

 “I was keen for the children to develop their sporting talents to the full and was inspired after researching and reading about Wigan Warriors rugby players who were on a mission to break down ballet stereotypes – the team take weekly classes in ballet to improve posture, and reduce injury particularly to ankles and knees.”

Whilst there is much press coverage of ‘couch potato’ children and studies showing that approximately half of children are overweight by the age of 7, Hunter Hall School takes sport and fitness very seriously, believing that physical well-being goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing.  A fit and healthy body leads to a fit and healthy mind, which is ripe for learning.

The children of Hunter Hall School, both girls and boys have embraced the lessons, are up for the challenge and look forward to learning a new dimension of their games curriculum.

Hunter Hall pupil’s poetry inspiration

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Pupils at Hunter Hall recently welcomed Holly Corfield Carr, the Wordsworth Trust’s Poet in Residence in to school.  Holly spent an afternoon running poetry workshops with children in Years’ 2 and 3 and Year 6.

The younger classes’ workshop, on the theme of ‘Caves’ invited the children to collaborate in building their own portable, private space through imaginative writing.  Responding via the senses, they played games with echoes, wore headsets to simulate a cave’s ‘white noise’ and explored what happens to language in the dark!

Year 6 enjoyed a separate session entitled ‘Cairns’, in which each child was invited to select a small pebble from a small mound of stones that Holly had collected from the local area. With magnifying glasses and wet sponges, the children were able to bring out the patterns and colours of the stone. As a fun introduction to the geology of the Lakes, this workshop offered a superb starter for the children to write, arrange and ‘edit’ their own poem taking inspiration from rocks gathered in the Lake District; just as Wordsworth found his inspiration for poetry writing from the environment around him.

Year 6 pupils Connie Clutterbuck-Riley and Emily Hetherington explained that:

“After Holly had taught us some interesting facts about Wordsworth, we were given rocks that were aged between three and four million years old. We were told to use similes and metaphors to describe our rocks.  We all really enjoyed the afternoon and the poetry writing and would love to do the workshop again.”

Here is Connie’s poem, inspired by Wordsworth;

My Rock

My rock is like dozens of grains of sand

Spread out on the sunny beach near the tropical palm trees,

Glimmering and glistening under the topaz sky.

Some grains are wet and lonely,

Drowned by the aquamarine wave water

Hollowing the ground.

Others are so positive and dry that they burn in the golden sun.


Deputy Head Teacher Antonia Taylor commented,

“We were delighted to welcome Holly into school.  The children loved the workshops and learned a lot about creative writing and the local area – we have some budding poets amongst our pupils who were really inspired by Wordsworth and his love of the Lakes and writing.”

 Hunter Hall’s next Open Event is taking place from 27th – 31st March 2017.  To find out more about visit or call 01768 891291 to book an appointment


Life Education Bus rolls into Hunter Hall

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The Life Education bus made a pit stop at Hunter Hall School last week.  The team on board facilitate learning in this unique environment about all aspects of Personal, Social and Health Education.

Children from Nursery up to Year 6 spent time on the bus learning about themselves, their friendships and the choices in life they will need to make.  The bus visited the school as part of Hunter Hall’s PSHE programme.

Mrs Donna Vinsome, Head Teacher at Hunter Hall comments,

“Part of the ethos at Hunter Hall is about preparing our pupils for life outside the classroom and helping them to become well rounded, respectable young people.  To do this teaching elping to prepare Personal, Social and Health Education is as important as teaching the children about core subjects. 

 “The Life Education Bus is a fantastic learning space and the children loved it – they liked the unique environment of the bus in which to learn and the interactive ‘brain’ which helped them with their learning.”

The life bus will return to school later in the term to do some work on cyber safety with the older children.

Hunter Hall’s next Open Event is taking place from 20th – 24th March 2017.  To find out more about visit or call 01768 891291 to book an appointment

‘Here We Grow’ at Hunter Hall School

Monday, June 8th, 2015

On Wednesday 20th May, children in the foundation unit at Hunter Hall School in Penrith welcomed a visit from the Community Champion of Dobbies Garden Centre in Carlisle, as part of the ‘Here We Grow’ scheme.

The School was selected to take part in the national programme, which was launched by Dobbies Garden Centres in 2010 to encourage local communities to get growing.

An outdoor area, which is part of the Foundation Unit at Hunter Hall School, is currently being developed into a sensory garden.  Hayley Berry, Community Champion from Dobbies Carlisle brought with her a wonderful selection of plants and herbs with different colours, textures sizes and scents for the new garden that were all donated to the school through the scheme.

Mrs Cross, Foundation Stage Manager at Hunter Hall School commented,

“The children in the foundation unit want to say a huge thank you to Hayley and Dobbies at Carlisle for supporting the development of our sensory garden area.

Creating a safe, diverse and developmentally appropriate outdoor sensory garden will offer benefits across the curriculum and developmental learning for the children.  It is evident that children learn best about the world through their senses, so the introduction of herbs and edible flowers will provide an early introduction to fresh healthy foods and can have an important impact as children begin making their own food choices.”

The Dobbies ‘Here We Grow’ scheme has been running for five years and aims to help local communities develop green spaces in their areas, giving everyone the chance to appreciate the wonders of local gardens and outdoor space.  In the past, they’ve organised sensory gardens and veggie patches, as well as garden makeovers at homes of families in need and planted trees at elderly homes and disability centres.

Hunter Hall pupils join Food Revolution Day

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Pupils at Hunter Hall School took part in an international cooking lesson hosted by Jamie Oliver to celebrate “Food Revolution Day” on 15th May.

Food Revolution Day is Jamie Oliver’s global day of action to fight for food education and get children excited about cooking. It’s about celebrating the importance of cooking good food from scratch and raising awareness of how it impacts our health and wellbeing.

This is the second year the pupils of Hunter Hall School have taken part in the live cooking event.  This year, the children made Jamie’s ‘Squash it Sandwich’ joining in an online, live cooking video from Jamie himself.

The event was organised by Mrs Judith Wilson, a parent of one of the children at the school, and experienced cookery teacher. Mrs Wilson also runs a weekly Cookery Club, which is one of the most popular after school clubs at Hunter Hall.

Mrs Wilson comments,

“Food Revolution Day is such a popular event at Hunter Hall and all the children love getting involved and making something really unusual.  Most importantly it gives the children new skills in cooking and also teaches them the importance of healthy eating.  The children were introduced to several foods they hadn’t tried before, such as houmous, sunflower seeds and radishes and thoroughly enjoyed the finished product!”

In 2014, Food Revolution Day saw more than 10,000 events occur across 121 countries. Worldwide, more than 250,000 children tuned in to watch and join in with Jamie’s live cooking lesson; during which they made delicious rainbow salad wraps.