Hillcrest Centre Blog

July 2019

Abi’s Class

Abi’s class visited the Samye Ling temple as a culmination of their lessons on Buddhism.  Pupils toured the temple and gardens, exploring all areas.  The class found the temple peaceful and particularly engaged well with the monk who described life at the temple.

April 2019

Abi’s Class

Pupils had a topic launch day at Beamish Hall.  The pupils all accessed the new Alice in Wonderland Woodland trail, exploring parts of the story through nature.  Everyone found the cheshire cat and most of the group travelled down the rabbit hole!  Pupils are now eager to find out more about the topic this term in their school based lessons.’


Jen’s Class

Play Skills – Every Tuesday afternoon our class work with the Occupational Therapists for a Play Skills lesson. The purpose of the lesson is to teach appropriate play and encourage interaction with each other, focussing on turn taking and sharing.

During this lesson pupils are encouraged to use their preferred communication methods to make selections of what games they would like to participate in. Pupils are then supported to work in pairs, or sometimes as a whole group to engage in their chosen activity and when we are lucky enough to have some sunshine; the lesson can be taken out in to the garden; as was the case on Tuesday 30th April 2019 when the pupils clearly enjoyed their lesson in the sun.


Games included Jolly Octopus, where the pupils took it in turns to rescue coloured crabs from the octopus’s rock and Leapfrog; a game which encourages pupils to take it in turns to bounce the frog on to a numbered lily pad and which also allows for some numeracy to be embedded.

Jess’s Class

We have been doing some lovely things in Jess’ class over the last term.

We have been forming letters with different materials


In computing we have been using different devices to make muffins as part of the topic great British Bake off by working together and following instructions


And in Science we have been engaging in a range of experiments!


What a fabulous term we’ve had in Jess’s class!

Ashleigh’s Class  

Our class have continued with our weekly hiking sessions this term. The students continue to build up their stamina and core strength during each hike and can now all hike confidently up to 8 miles. The students engage in forest and coastal school activities throughout their hike which embeds communication, numeracy and team working along with exploring nature.


Michelle’s Class 

This term we are exploring the stories of Julia Donaldson and within our community access  session we have been visiting story settings from some of her books. So far, like ‘The Smartest Giant In Town’ we have been into town and visited Newcastle city library and like the ladybird from ‘What The Ladybird Heard’ we have been to meet the animals at Ouseburn farm.

Students have been following simple maps looking for key landmarks to follow a route to the venue and finding items at their given location. Whilst on our visits we have also been completing sketches of things we can see in the style of Alex Scheffler, the illustrator of many of Julia Donaldson’s books. Following our visits students are completing scrapbooks, adding photos, captions and drawings to record where we have been and identifying key features of the different environments and encouraging students to reflect upon what they have most enjoyed and anything they have not liked. In Future weeks we will visit coastal and forest areas.

Ruth’s Class 

Pupils had a great time visiting Whitley water park during their community links session. They really enjoyed exploring the water features (even dipping their toes into the cold water!), and played fantastically alongside each other.

Carol’s Class

A fantastic end of term enrichment week was had where everyone joined in the “FUN HOUSE” games on the field – we really don’t know who had more fun staff or students!!!!!!!

Our students have returned after a lovely Easter break eager to learn.

This term our topic focus is Alice in wonderland. We have been developing sentence building by describing pictures and making some lovely art work linked to the topic with lots of fun to  support our learning. 

January 2019

Annmarie’s Class

This term our topic is “Popular Culture” and we have been exploring a sensory story for The Gruffalo. Students have been watching and listening to the story on Youtube whilst exploring different sensory items that represent different parts of the story. The photograph shows Matthew exploring some sequin material for the Gruffalo’s scales! The session aims to improve engagement, turn taking, shared exploration and interaction. Everyone has a favourite sensory item  – Matthew’s is the chattering teeth!

Peter’s Class  

Peters class are investigating electricity this term. We are carrying out experiments which involve measuring, sorting and cutting different materials and observing if these materials can be moved using static electricity.

We are practicing making predictions and commenting on our findings using speech, VOCA, sign and symbols to identify and record our findings.


Ashleigh’s Class

Over the last year Michael has been progressing in his employability skills. He has completed an internal interview for ‘Karima’s Kaf’ and has completed a weekly work experience placement at Jesmond Community Allotment. This week Michael had an interview with Cherie from Hextol for a new work experience placement as a gardener. Michael was required to fill in an application before his interview with Hextol, and he prepared questions that he would like to ask about the placement. In the interview Michael was able to answer all questions confidently and even thought of another question he would like to ask while he was there. Cherie was really impressed with Michael during the interview and has arranged an upcoming trial.

Michelle’s Class 

Last week our class visited the Science Maze at the Discovery museum in Newcastle. Following on from making our own shadow puppets we went to explore the shadow wall. We all enjoyed making different shapes with our shadows and exploring how they move.

Our topic for this term is electricity and there were lots of interesting activities to try. Over the next few weeks we are looking forward to conducting our own electrical experiments and focusing on observing and recording what happens.

Jess’s Class

In Jess’ class we have been learning about teamwork.The children have ventured to The Tim Lamb centre on a weekly basis to concentrate on building friendships and communicating with each other.

All children’s targets have been set around relationship building and communication skills.The children have had an amazing time at The Tim Lamb centre and have engaged really well with all the activities set.


Jen’s Class

Once a week our class visit the local Starbucks. We practice our road safety skills on the way to the café; walking calmly along the pavement, stopping at the kerb and identifying when it is safe to cross using visual and verbal support.

In the café we use our preferred communication method (PECS, VOCA, communication board, sign and / or vocalisations) to choose a snack, and are developing our money skills to pay for our chosen items, working towards identifying different denominations of coins.


Carol’s Class

As part of our topic work this term we have been familiarising ourselves with the story of ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory’. The pupils have been enjoying a variety of tasks involving making chocolate gloop, melted crayon canvas pictures and photo booth TV’s as well as developing their individual literacy skills in describing characters and commenting on pictures.

Rebecca and Ruth’s Class

During the autumn term, Ruth and Rebecca’s class learnt about special places for our topic in RE.

As part of our community visits, this learning was enhanced through the children having the opportunity to visit a range of different places. Throughout the first half term, we visited places which may be considered as special within Newcastle and its wider areas. Some examples of the places we visited are the Angel of the North, Segedunum and Jesmond Dene.

Within the next half term, we visited specific special places linked to various cultures and faiths, for example a local mosque, Sikh temple and St. Nicholas’ Cathedral.