Recently unearthed documents provide a glimpse into Hernhill’s past

Recently unearthed documents relating to the village were on display in Hernhill Church last Saturday, affording a fascinating glimpse into the village’s history. Stored in a steel chest, to which the key had gone missing, the key recently came to light, and the treasure-trove of maps, letters, invoices and photographs was set out for visitors to examine.

There’s always something rather magical about coming into contact with archive documents, a physical, tangible manifestation of moments in history; artefacts which would have been touched, handled by people lost to memory, and the collection represented a brief moment for these lives to step out of the pages of history and into the light.

As expected for an area rooted in agriculture, there were documents relating to tithes and land ownership, included details from August, 1840, and a map of the area from 1913.

A map of the area, dated 11 October, 1918

There were plenty of letters relating to the village school, including a receipt for an insurance premium from 1935 for the princely sum of £2 11 shillings;

From the Second World War, letters to the then Headmaster, Mr S.B. Pritchard confirming the acceptance of the post of Divisional Commander to a Sea Cadet Camp in 1943; and most fascinatingly, details about the closure of the school for the wonderfully-named Whitsun and Fruiting Holiday period that same year.

There were also glimpses of mundane, pragmatic concerns that make up daily life, including a quote for cleaning and maintenance of the church clock in 1937.

There was also a wonderful Book of Common Prayer from 1785.

Also on display was the rather endearing Our Homes, a copy of an address given by the Rev W.D. Springett, former Rector of Pluckley and Rural Dean of East Charing and (at the time) formerly of Hernhill, which included photographs of the church,  given at the church in the afternoon of Sunday 12 December in 1915; a possible morale-boosting community event during the dark days of the Great War.

Memorial Church showing entrance: from 1915
Addition to churchyard: from 1915

All in all, the event was a marvellous look through a tiny window into the history of Hernhill and its people; thank you to all those who both organised the exhibition and who ran the event itself. Let’s hope these documents are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Hernhill School Frost Fair

28th November 6.00-9.00pm at Hernhill School.

Get your Christmas Presents at the Frost Fair. Lots of unique stalls plus the Book People, Avon, Hercules wine and Mrs W Cider. Music from Cloud Nine Jazz.

Prices are £2.50 in advance, £3 on the evening, this includes a glass of wine and a mince pie.

Wine and mince pies will be available throughout the evening

Please note – this is an Adult Only event.

Please contact the school PTFA for tickets.

Grammar Schools: Debate on Radio 4 at 12.15 today

Home Secretary Theresa May has backed plans for an expansion of a grammar school in her constituency and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson says scrapping the grammar school system was a “tragedy” because they boost social mobility. What do you think?

Were you helped up the ladder by a grammar school? Or are poor bright pupils locked out by better off children with tutors? Might they be better helped by bursaries to the fee-paying independent schools whose members dominate workplace elites?

Tell You and Yours your stories – email them at uk
Phone lines open – 03700 100 444


Listen Live


Primary Concerns

Choosing a Primary School

I have been thinking about all you parents who will be visiting and choosing primary schools over the next few months. I’m sure it’s hard to believe that your little ones will be off into the big wide world of school next year and you may be trying not to think about it, but I wanted to give you the benefit of my experience before you go and look around your local schools and make your choice:

1. Look beyond the Year R teacher and classroom; remember that your tiny titch will be a teenager, (well, look like one), by the time they leave.

2. If you hope to support your child’s learning at home, look for a school that welcomes you as well as your child. Find out what information and support the school provides for parents, in an ideal world this should include the following:

  • An informative website
  • A Regular Newsletter for parents – some schools provide weekly newsletters, others termly
  • Regular letters/texts/emails about school activities and events (letters can usually be found on the school website – read some to get a feel of the tone and content)
  • Termly year-group letters telling you what topics and other teaching areas the children are covering that term, (these should also be on the website)
  • Phonics and Maths (and possibly other) information workshops for parents
  • Effective policy for dealing with parent concerns, including approachable and available teachers/ SENco/head-teacher 
  • After-school/breakfast clubs/child-care
  • A supportive, approachable and available governing body
  • A strong, supportive PTA that fosters the school community

3. Don’t put all your faith in Ofsted reports, or SATs results, but trust your instincts. If you feel welcome and relaxed, that’s a good sign. If you aren’t sure, hang about in the school playground at the beginning and end of the day, talk to as many parents as you can, including those with older children, or visit the local play park at school pick-up time and see how relaxed and friendly the parents are and find out what they are talking about.

Schools vary enormously and the culture and ethos of the school depends on the priorities and effectiveness of the people running it. No school is perfect, they are like small empires run by benign dictators, so do your research and find the spot that is best for you. Remember, you know your child best, you were their first teacher: Find a school that you trust to continue your work in the way that suits you and your child best, but make sure that it is one that will keep you informed, respect your opinion and respond to any concerns quickly and sensitively.

You do have a choice and if at first you don’t succeed, put your child on a waiting list for as long as it takes.

Good luck!

Top Tips on Being Teacher’s Pet

The School Run asked teachers to share their top 12 parenting peeves, along with the things that parents can do at school and at home to make their job easier. This list includes:

  • Don’t ambush the teacher during the morning rush
  • Don’t be tight with school trips
  • Do except that your child may be different at school

Find out more here:



Secondary Schools: Open Days calendar

With the round of Open Days at secondary schools coming up over the next several weeks, we’ve compiled a calendar of several of the dates for local schools, which we hope relevant parents will find helpful.

We do recommend that people check the appropriate school websites to confirm that the times & dates are current and correct.

By all means do contact the Forum if you can give us updates or dates of any others local secondary school open days which we might add to the Calendar: thank you!

The Calendar will also feature as a Widget on the right-hand side of the home-page during the relevant period.


Welcome Year R Parents!

“Research shows that reading is the single most important thing you can do to help your child’s education”

Confused by Phonics? Not sure how to help with reading at home? You need:


A Guide to Understanding & Reinforcing School Teaching Methods at Home

This guide has been written by a parent for anybody who has children in Reception or Infant Classes at school. It includes an introduction to helping your child to read, an outline of methods of teaching reading in primary schools and suggestions of ways to reinforce these methods at home.

There are also Department for Education Guides on this subject:

and help from the BBC:

Phonics International have a free resource including videos of how to pronounce phonemes:

or find lots more useful stuff in our Literacy section:

and remember:

“Make it fun and if they aren’t enjoying it, try something else”

Happy Reading!