River Mill Primary School

Head Teacher's Blog

People Who Help Us

In Reception this term, both Apple and Cherry Class have been learning about 'People Who Help Us' and what they do in our community to help the public. We were very lucky to have had visitors in from a local Nurse and two Community Police Officers, Lauren and Mel where the children were able to see a Police car in person, talk about what these special people do to help us and ask any questions they might have had.

All of the children really enjoyed it and can now tell you a bit about what these jobs do for us here in Dartford!



 The children had a great time dressing up as superhero's and raising money for Comic Relief!




 Below are some pictures of the amazing costumes from World Book Day


 Below are some pictures of the school in the snow.


We had a fantastic superhero and space entry point day and around the world entry point day, below are a few pictures from the day!


We were very fortunate to have a visit from Santa and his elves yesterday.  The children had a fantastic time!


We have decided to hold virtual Teams meetings for families interested in a place in the River Mill Reception class of 2021.  This will give people further opportunity to ask questions about the school and the reception experience at River Mill.


They will be held on the following dates:


Tuesday 8th December at 2pm

Monday 14th December 3.30pm

Thursday 17th December at 9.30am

Tuesday 12th January at 4pm

 If you are interested in attending one of these meetings please email headteacher@rivermillprimaryschool.co.uk

If possible could you also list any questions you might want to ask. 

We are limited to 10 families per meeting. Please be aware that we may not be able to give you a preferred meeting date, however we will try our best.

Applying for Reception September 2021

If you are thinking about sending your child to River Mill in September 2021.  Please watch our EYFS Virtual Meeting video below.  The application process is handled by Kent County Council, for further information on how to apply for your child's place in Reception please use the following link https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/school-places/primary-school-places#tab-2


Welcome to River Mill



Year 1 - Half Term Work

We were very impressed with all the amazing work the children have done during half term.  We loved it so much that we creating a display to showcase their work and have uploaded a picture below.

Miss Aubert and Mrs Ponton



All the staff at River Mill worked so hard over the summer break to ensure that when the children returned to school in September into the new building that they felt happy and excited to learn.

I think that everyone was a bit apprehensive about returning to school, but we needn’t have been!

The children have settled back into school life with ease.  They were delighted to be reunited with their friends and old and new teachers and support staff. 

Thank you so much to the parents for supporting us in the measures that we are taking, ensuring that children remain safe in school including using different entrances, maintaining appropriate social distancing when on site and making sure that you are off site as promptly as possible.

We are sending home some activities for the children over half term.   They are a mixture of things that the children can do independently or that you can do together as a family.  The children will be given the opportunity when they return on Monday 2nd November to share what they have been doing over the half- term break.

We are all so glad to be back together again after such a long time and we look forward to seeing you back again after half term.



Y1 Pirate Day

On Monday Beech Class had their Pirate Day to mark the start of our new topic. The children did many different activities on that day. They learned how to talk and chant like a pirate, they designed their own treasure maps, created stick puppets for role play. We read pirates story books and they had to follow a circuit pirate trail in order to find the treasure.

We all had a lot of fun!


It has been wonderful welcoming all our children back to school.  We are so impressed with how well they settled into school after being away for such a long time.   We finally had the opportunity to share our wonderful new building with the children – they had the opportunity to see the whole school and ask their teacher lots of questions about what was happening in each room and meet all our new staff.


We have uploaded some videos on to the website – this will give you the opportunity to see inside the school and ask the children lots of questions about the different classrooms and spaces in the new school.  We would really like to have the opportunity to show everyone around and we are looking at doing this later on in the year. 



We hope you have had a great summer and are looking forward to welcoming you back to school on:

Wednesday 2nd September

This letter provides updated information about how we are taking proportionate measures and minimizing risks to enable all pupils to return to school.   Our latest return to school risk assessment is on our school and Trust website and provides more detailed information.

What parents will need to do:

  • Take your child’s temperature before they come to school – if the temperature is raised do not bring the child to school
  • If parents need to contact the school we ask in the first instance if they can email or phone the school rather than come into the school. If you need to talk directly to the headteacher of class teacher you will need to phone the school to make an appointment first.
  • Your class teacher will inform you when your child’s PE lesson is – they will need to come into school wearing their PE kit on that day. PE takes places outside, weather permitting.
  • Children will not be wearing PPE in school, however should you choose to wear masks to school children can either dispose of the masks in bins outside of the classroom, or put them in their school bags if they are wearing them home.
  • We ask that children not bring toys from home.

Year 1 and Year 2 – Beech and Maple Classes

Each class has its own classroom, set of toilets and playground area.

Drop-off and collection

  • We ask that Maple and Beech classes use the pedestrian gate nearest to the school.
  • Our ‘soft start’ opening time in the morning is between 40-9.00am. Beech and Maple classrooms are located around the back of the school.  
  • There will be staff and signing to show you how to access the classrooms.
  • We ask that only one parent or carer accompanies the child and waits outside the wooden fenced playground.
  • Collection in the afternoon is from 3pm. You will meet your children from outside the wooden fenced area outside your classroom.   Parents and children will need to be offsite by 25pm.


  • When the children arrive in class they will either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available in all classrooms and around the school.
  • All pupils will need named waterproof coats, rucksacks or backpacks and water bottles with them. They will be able to fill up them water bottles from dispensers in the classroom. Water fountains are not in use.
  • All desks will face forward.
  • All children will have their own set of resources to use in school, these are in a named pencil case that the school will provide. Children will also have their own trays in the classroom. Reading books will be sent home when they are returned they will be cleaned and set aside for 48 hours.
  • Children will be taught in an appropriate way about the school hygiene rules and be reminded throughout the day of school hygiene rules and the ‘Catch-it, Kill-it, Bin-it’ message. All classrooms have lidded bins.
  • All toilets have sensor taps so the children do not need to touch them, we will also be using hand towels rather than hand driers for the foreseeable future.

Break and Lunchtime

  • Break times and lunchtimes are staggered and children will have lunch in the main hall.
  • Children will stay in their own class group and not mix with other classes during break or lunchtime.
  • Each class will have their own outdoor resources.


  • The school is cleaned throughout the day and thoroughly at the end of every day.

Speech Therapist

  • Our speech therapist will continue direct work with individual pupils. She will have her own office and be able to maintain appropriate social distancing at all times.


It is vital for all pupils to return to school to minimize as far are possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, well-being and wider development.  School attendance will be mandatory from the beginning of the Autumn Term. This means the usual rules on school attendance will apply. We will work closely with our families to ensure that parents have confidence in the measures that River Mill has put in place to minimize the risk of infection.

Breakfast and Afterschool Clubs

  • Our breakfast and afterschool clubs start on Wednesday 2nd September.
  • The clubs are based in their own dedicated room with their own resources and outdoor areas.

Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on admin@rivermillprimaryschool.co.uk should you have any further queries.





This has been such a challenging time for everyone, everywhere.  I know that all the staff at River Mill are so proud of all that you are achieving at home with your families.


I wanted to share the latest building photographs with you to show you that the school is almost complete, the contractors have been working very hard to finish the building. The classrooms are decorated and now have fixed furniture in them.  The hall is nearly finished and they are going to start work on the playground soon.  It is so exciting to see our school nearing completion, especially under such difficult circumstances.


We look forward to seeing you all again soon.


Please click here to see the latest pictures of the building works.



More pictures of activities that staff have been doing to keep well and active...

During these challenging times, it is so important to maintain a healthy well-being and ensure that not only your body but your mind is healthy. Every day, myself and the people within my house have been going for a stroll in the woods, taking in fresh air and watching fish in the stream. It’s surprising how calming it can be just to listen to the water running down the stream. 


I hope, as a family you continue to maintain a healthy well-being and that you grab every opportunity there is to spend time doing the things you don’t get to do every day. Appreciate the little things in life.


Keep smiling,


Miss Carley

More pictures of activities that staff have been doing to keep well and active...

Being active has many health benefits, both physically and mentally.  Please try to do a small amount of exercise daily.  Here is a picture of Mr Jordan going for a run on Sunday morning.  Although the first 5 minutes were tough, after finishing the run it left him feeling invigorated and positive about the day ahead. 

We've been thinking about different activities that you could try while you're safely learning from home.  


We are sharing some of the things we have been doing.  We would love to see anything you've been making on your own or with your families.  

Please share them with your teacher through either:




We will try and upload as many as possible to the website.   This is Ms Leader's rainbow drawing.

Class Caterpillars

Update on the River Mill Caterpillars: The Caterpillars are safe and at home with Miss Carley. They have been growing continuously in her front room where they have now progressed to the next stage of their life cycle.... Chrysalides! Miss Carley will put the Chrysalides into the butterfly cage this week and care for them until they hatch out in the next 7-14 days. Keep checking back for more updates.

During this very challenging time for everyone, I wanted to show you that the new school was still on schedule, by putting up some more pictures to show you the progress being made.

Hopefully when we are all back together again, it will be in the new building.

Mr Jordan and Miss Carley  and all the staff are working very hard to make sure there are lots of different learning activities available to you every day.


Although it is not the way we would have wanted to end the Spring term, myself and the River Mill team have had an amazing time working with the children and their families!  We are proud of everything that you have accomplished whilst you have been at River Mill.  We know that you will continue to work at home as hard as you do at school.

We hope that you and your families are safe and well over this period and we look forward to seeing you back as soon as possible so that we can carry on achieving amazing things at River Mill.

Every week we will be setting work for the children, there will be a range of different activities that will reflect what the children would have been learning in class.  You will be able to contact the class teachers directly by email and you can send work back to the teachers for them to review.

Ms Leader and the River Mill Team

Sports Relief

The children all had fantastic days joining in with Sports Relief, there are some photographs below. 

We raised an amazing £98 for Sports Relief, so thank you for all your donations!

Visiting the new school

 We had the opportunity to visit the site again and take lots of pictures.  They have started to put the toilets in, fix all the radiators to the walls and start to put the door frames and doors in.   They will begin to lay the flooring over the next two weeks.  The painting upstairs is almost finished.

 When the weather is warmer and the site less muddy we will hopefully be able to walk small groups of children down to walk around the new building so they can see for themselves what is happening.

World Book Day 2020 at River Mill

We have had an absolutely fantastic World Book Day - even the weather didn't dampen the fun!

We've spent the day reading together and sharing stories, telling stories and being creative.

The children have been so excited talking about their costumes and why they chose them.  We think they look brilliant!


I hope you all had a happy and restful half-term.  The children have returned to school with lots of energy and such positive attitudes towards their learning. 

I have had the opportunity today to walk over the new school building and I'm attaching some videos for you to look at, we will also share these with the children.  The roof is on, sealed and waterproof.  The  contractors have been working very hard inside the building, with the top floor being painted and the doors and fixed furniture starting to go in upstairs.  On the first and ground floor all the pipework and electrical cabling is being installed, the next thing to go in are the toilets and sinks. 


We have seen some wonderful traditional clothes as the children have come to school dressed in outfits from around the world to celebrate all the books we have read from different countries.  They all looked amazing!

What a fantastic week for River Mill! 

As you have seen they have started to bring in the modular classrooms and they will be finished this Saturday.  We have made a video of the progress.  The children are super excited and can't stop talking about it! 

The next phase will see the builders working inside the school to connect all the wires and pipes.  We are hoping to take some videos from inside the building over the next few weeks to show you  how they are progressing. 


River Mill had a fantastic day on Christmas Jumper Day on 13 December we raised an amazing £96 for Save the Children.  We wore lots of lovely colourful jumpers.

As we approach the end of the first half term, just a few photos to show how things are progressing on site...

The build is coming along very well and we are still on schedule to move in during May.  The hall building now has a roof and flooring and the crane will arrive on site in December.  They are doing extensive ground work to make the playground and football pitch ready, we will post more pictures after our site meeting next week. 


Thank you to all those who donated to Children in Need.  We raised a fantastic £134.46 which has been sent off.  The children all looked fantastic in their colorful clothing. 


We still have three more open sessions for parents of children looking for admission to Reception in 2020:

27 November at 2.15 p.m.

11 December at 9.15 a.m.

8 January at 2.15 p.m.

Please let the school office know if you wish to attend.

We are a nut free school so please continue to be aware that snacks should not contain traces of any nuts.  Could we also remind parents that for the safety of all parents and pupils that you do not block the entrance to Elliotts construction site, and ensure that children are supervised making their way up to the school entrance.


Just a reminder that parent Maths Workshop is on Monday 25 November 6.00-7.00 p.m.





Below is a selection of photographs of sections of the modular build for the new site being constructed off site and to be delivered to us very soon.

We are coming towards the end of a great first half term.  Below are some images of the building works taking place.  The hall foundations and concrete flooring for the ground floor are currently being laid.  The reception children even had a visit from the site manager!


We have some open morning and afternoon sessions taking place for parents looking for places for children starting in reception in 2020.  These are taking place on the following dates/times:

30 October at 9.15 a.m.

27 November at 2.15 p.m.

11 December at 9.15 a.m.

8 January at 2.15 p.m.

People Who Help Us Topic

Reception children have been looking at 'People Who Help Us'.  Here are just a few of the pictures of their recent visitors, we will have more visitors over the next few weeks and we will update this with some more pictures when these take place.


First Term

What a start to the beginning of our first term at River Mill.  The children have settled well into their learning and are enjoying the topics that we are covering in Reception and Year 1.  The Year 1 children are really enjoying learning about pirates and the Reception children have lots of visitors coming in over the next few weeks for our topic 'People who hep us', including nurses, paramedics, police and fire officers.  We are planning to visit the building works before half term. 

Click here to see the most recent pictures of the progress being made with building works onsite.


End of First Week

We have taken some pictures of the school and will keep updating the blog regularly so you can see how we are growing.



September 2019

We hope you had a fantastic summer and you are all looking forward to coming to River Mill. 

The work on site is progressing well.   The  foundations have been laid and you should start to see the modular classrooms being delivered from the end of October. 

We are looking forward to welcoming our Year 1 pupils on Wednesday 4 September.

The Reception children have set appointments with Miss Carley this week where you will meet both her and her teaching assistant.   The reception children will start school on Monday 9th September at 8.40am. 


School Times

The gates open at 8.40am for a soft start, with registration at 8.55am.  Gates open at 7.30am for Breakfast Club.  Please remember to bring with you on the first day your water bottle and your PE kit which should be named.  Please ensure that all uniform is clearly named.  If you have any medication please come to the school office to complete the necessary forms and leave the medication with us.

The school finishes at  3.10pm.  The gates will open at 3pm, you are welcome to wait in the playground. The gates will close at 3.30pm.   

After School Club finishes at 6pm.   


Mr Jordan, the Year 1 teacher, would like to meet with  parents after school on Wednesday 4th September at 3.10pm.    This will only be a short meeting.  If you are not able to attend, all the information will be put into next week's bulletin. 


June 2019

 We’ve had our first River Mill Induction afternoon, where the Year 1 pupils/children had the opportunity to meet their teacher.  It was really exciting to meet you all, and we cannot wait to see you in September.

The second induction meeting is for Reception parents and is on 10th July.  You will have received emails giving each family a timed slot to meet their teacher, Miss Carley.

The construction company have now been on site for over two months.   Work is progressing incredibly well, and we have attached some pictures which we will update form time to time.

The photographs below show the foundations for the temporary classrooms, the road leading up to the classrooms and the wall is next to the main football pitch. 

April 2019

Yesterday was National Offer Day, and we have sent out our offers to the successful applicants for Reception and Year 1.   Applications for Reception hugely outnumbered the available spaces, so offers were made based on the over-subscription criteria in our Admissions Policy.

I am very excited that we are now moving into the next phase of the school opening, and I hope to be able to meet with many of you in the coming months prior to the children starting at River Mill.   We have meetings planned over the coming months where you will be able to meet with members of the River Mill team.   The dates and times are:

Date Time
Wednesday 24 April 9.30 a.m. - 11.00 a.m.
Wednesday 15 May 6.00 p.m.  - 7.30 p.m.
Wednesday 12 June 3.30 p.m. - 5.00 p.m.
Wednesday 10 July

3.30 p.m. - 5.00 p.m.

These meetings will be held at the Living Well Centre at St Edmund's Church.   The meetings in April and May will be focused on administration, and will give parents the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have and also to bring in any documentation needed to support your application.   We will also be able to help you if you need to make an application for free school meals.

The meetings in June and July will be an opportunity for the children to meet their new teacher, and their new classmates.    Parents will be asked to stay with the children for these meetings.

Finally, if you have received an offer, please confirm your acceptance as soon as possible, and by 30 April at the latest.   We will be holding a waiting list for places which we will offer out to other children if we do not receive your written acceptance and supporting documentation.

March 2019

Offer day, 16 April, is fast approaching so I thought I would share with all applicants how we will be dealing with this at River Mill.   Reception applicants will also have made an application through Kent, and will receive a separate offer letter from the Admissions Team there.   This will be separate from anything you receive from River Mill.

We plan to mirror the process which Kent will use, and will send out e-mails to everyone who has applied for Reception and Year 1 after 4.00 p.m. on 16 April.   This e-mail will confirm whether or not your application has been successful.   On that date, we will also send out via Royal Mail welcome packs to successful applicants.

We are at a very exciting point with the permanent and temporary buildings, and will share plans with you a little later, in April, when we finalise the layout.

January 2019

I hope that you have had a relaxing and peaceful start to 2019.   We are preparing for the opening of River Mill Primary School in September 2019, and I will now be updating my blog regularly to inform you of all new developments.

The application process through the Borough has now closed, and whilst this is also the case for River Mill, we are still prepared to accept applications, although these will be classified as late when it comes to the offer stage of the process.   

We are currently working on the River Mill uniform to ensure that we are able to offer the best value for money, and we hope to be able to update you soon about a start date for the building work.   In the meantime, I have been working  closely with the construction company and the architects on the interior design of the school and the outdoor facilities which we will be able to offer.

We will start to include more images of the site as it develops, and we will be running more parent engagement events later in the year.


It has been an exciting couple of weeks at River Mill!   We have been to see the construction company who will be building our school - please look under the "Our School" tab to see videos of the process, and here are some pictures which we took when we were there.

It was fascinating to see the process from start to finish.   We were able to visit a school which was being built and which will look almost exactly the same as River Mill.

It is lovely to see that there is a lot of interest in the new school, and we are running some presentation sessions to give you a better feel for what we will be delivering at River Mill.   These sessions are open to all; please see the Drop In Sessions under the "Consultation Brochure" tab.   These sessions are in addition to the Early Education programme which we are also offering - again, there is further information under the "More" tab.


Welcome!  My name is Suzanne Leader, and I am the Head Teacher of River Mill Primary School.   I am very pleased to be able to share with you the news that River Mill Primary is scheduled to open in September 2019.  Work will shortly commence on site, and we will update you regularly on progress with the build.

Our prospectus will shortly be available and will give you a taste of what our fantastic new school has to offer and we hope this will inspire you to join us as we move forward to our opening in September 2019.  You may also like to visit www.connectschoolsacademytrust.com to see the Trust's inspirational approach to education.  We also have a Facebook page, River Mill Primary School and we are on Twitter, @RiverMillSchool.   Please keep checking these pages for all the latest news.

I am very excited at the prospect of welcoming your children to my school.