Family Liaison and PTA blog. 21 January 2022

This week I have started contacting parents of our new starters and look forward to completing these over the next week. This is really an opportunity for me to explain a little about my role and see if there are any questions I can answer. I have spoken to a few, answering calls but this is a more proactive way for me to welcome our new families.

I am very anxious to get parental views on what we can offer in the way of workshops, online meetings and anything else you would find helpful. The last 2 years have been a real challenge; I have missed regular face to face contact with families. Please phone or email me if you have any suggestions.



Further detail on this virtual workshop for parents will be shared next week:

It will be held on

Monday 7th February from 10-11.30 There will be a presentation and an opportunity for questions and discussion.


Free Webinar on Wills and Trusts:

I have seen an advert for a free webinar on the “Contact-for families of disabled children” website. It is being run by Contact (Wales) and Irwin Mitchell. This will be on 27th January. If it is of interest, please check their website and ask if this is restricted to families living in Wales. If this subject is important to you, please contact me and I will see if there are other opportunities.



Sense holidays for children with disabilities

The attached information was sent to me via the school mailbox. There are some venues in the North of England. I attach their brochure. From reading, these holidays cost £2500, but they ask for a contribution of £800. There is a means tested grant available if it is of interest. If you would like further information please contact me.

Sense Holidays 2022 brochure web (002)


Scotswood Art and Music Garden.

Smile through Sport free taster session

Percy Hedley Foundation Fundraising Events:

Great North Swim – Take on A Challenge This Summer

The Great North Swim is a fantastic weekend of open water swimming in the stunning Lake District surroundings. The event offers a family friendly atmosphere, spectacular swimming action and an unbeatable sense of achievement as you step out of the water and cross the finish line.

Take on the challenge and you can swim anywhere from 250m to 10km!

Sign up or read more HERE

Here is a picture of some parents and staff taking part in the 2019 Great North Swim!



Our next meeting will be held next Thursday, 27th January from 10.00-11.00.

Please join via the link below. I know that I speak on behalf of the committee when I say that we appreciate all the support you give, but  we would really value some new faces attending meetings. If you wish to add anything to the agenda please send to me or to the Chair Donna Jones. Contact me if you would like her email address.

Click here to join the meeting

Online Productions:

The PTA has agreed to fund 2 further online productions from Theatre Online. We had some lovely feedback from students who have seen the other 3 we funded.

The first is:

‘How Are You?’ – A Wellbeing Production Exploring the Theme of Mental Health

This has been agreed by teacher/s and the wellbeing team as being suitable for many of our classes to support Children’s Mental Health Week 7th-13th February although the production will be available to classes for the month of February.

The second is a summer production of

‘The Wind in The Willows’ 

This one will be available throughout the month of June

PTA Facebook page


Have a good weekend

My contact details are:

Eileen Robinson

Family Liaison Officer


Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext 3260


Message from John S, Headteacher: 21st January 2022

Hi there everyone

I hope that January is treating you well, and that the winter and Covid aren’t having too much of a negative effect on whatever you’re doing. The week’s gone really quickly in school, which I think is probably a good sign! It means that it was probably quite a nice week, and properly busy. Covid is still very much with us of course, and many of you and we are making compromises, so thank you for that. On the other hand we have had a lot of lovely things happening, from Outdoor Learning, to using the new Accessible Roundabout, welcoming a few new staff, and pressing ahead with lots of school-type things. I hope this week’s blog gives you a flavour of some of those. Cheers

Assessment & Progress: 1.Therapy

I said last week that I would talk for a few weeks about all the different ways that Progress is measured in the school, and the first and most obvious one is therapy

Before I do, a quick thanks for sending back the Key Drivers forms – we’re really excited about involving you more in these discussions about Assessment and Progress

So: Therapy is the first way that it’s obvious that our pupils here make progress. It’s why many of you, I’m sure, sent your son or daughter here, and it’s the thing that makes us different to many other schools of our type. It isn’t just that we have one or two, but we have a whole army of great physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech & Language Therapists who work here, and it’s fantastic. It’s one of the reasons that I came here too, because it really is quite different. We’re also lucky to have a counsellor and part-time Educational Psychologist, as well as a Nursing Team

All the therapists are making assessments all the time, and in a variety of ways. It’s actually quite inspiring to see them working with teachers and support staff. Their assessments begin when we are looking at children who have been referred here with the initial assessments that they do, and then continue with deciding on Therapy Outcome Measures, writing ETCH Reports, Annual Reviews, creating Therapy targets, writing Case Notes, and all sorts of other measurements and assessments, some of which are complex and profound. Their work is very important. They are the central part of our work here in making a difference to our pupils’ lives, and we’re very lucky to have them

The Class Team is the key group here and although difficulties always arise in the course of our work, the Class Team is the single best way that children make progress, because everyone works together. They are constantly monitoring each child’s progress in therapy, and always intervening when necessary to ensure pupils continue to make progress as we would expect, or better!

Next week, I’ll briefly talk about EHC Outcomes. I hope it’s helpful and interesting to hear about assessment measures in this way

 You said, we listened: Office Hours Opening

We would like to start a “You said, we listened” part of the blog, to show that we are trying to listen to parents/carers and pupils, to consult, and to try and improve our school community by listening to everyone

The first one in this section then is the hours that our school office is going to be open. When I became the Head in February the hours were 8.30 – 4.30, and 4pm on Fridays. Talking to some of you – and thanks very much if you have helped us with this decision – we can see that it may be more supportive sometimes if you were able to make contact with the office more often than that, so we have now got staffing in place and arranged it so that from the 1st February the office’s hours will be 8-5 Monday to Friday. Hopefully that will give anyone the chance to ring even if their child gets back late, or to phone earlier if that suits. We understand that many of our parents are very busy, and that contact of this kind is important

Thanks to all who helped this happen

We can’t do everything that everybody wants of course, and often people want different things, but we can listen, and we’re committed to finding more ways of doing so

Parent Governor

And a reminder about the voting for Parent Governor. Thanks for voting already if you have done. You have until 4pm next Friday, the 28th Jan.  We’ll get a few spares printed, as there usually a few late ones to come and we don’t want to run out! It will be good to get this sorted


Obviously things are happening across the country and in the news with Covid

There is a national relaxation of face coverings that is happening right now everywhere, it seems. This includes a relaxation of face coverings in classrooms. However, we’ll support pupils if they want to keep wearing them, and we’ll be continuing our current measures for staff due to us being in outbreak, as agreed with the Director of North Tyneside Public Health team. Different people have differing thoughts on this topic, it’s quite sensitive and even a bit controversial, but we will continue to take advice, and to do our best to do whatever seems in the best interests of our pupils and staff. Yet again, thanks for your support with this approach generally. I think this is another moment to cross our fingers with regard to the virus and hope that we have turned a corner

Bird Watch

With Christmas and whatnot, we’ve done a bit less on our Annual School Bird Project recently – we’ll get back to it more in the Spring and Summer

Aidan and Finlay in Philip’s class have created bird feeders this week in their project session by adding sticks and moss to a recycled bottle. The class had already researched the importance of feeding the birds during the winter months, and next week they’ll be finding a suitable place for the feeder in our Outdoor Learning area. We’ll be observing the success of the feeders by filming them over the course of a day using a GoPro. Fingers crossed we get some visitors! Here they are!

Aidan and Finlay keeping an eye on the birds in the winter months

Subject Focus – STEM again

Here are some of the things that the students said about the STEM project. It’s good when we get the students’ direct voices into anything

Kristian: I liked the murder part

Tatiana: I enjoyed making the trip to catch a vampire. I liked making my shooter

Faith: My favourite part was the Woolly Mammoth

Ella-Rose: I liked meeting new friends

[different classes were put together]

Brian: I liked space!!!!!

Sid: I liked the jungles, space, and the shapes!

Santi: I liked the monsters!

Some of these comments are great too! 


David has taken some lovely pictures of the school. Enjoy

What everyone calls Teletubbyland!

The Quad, looking a bit wet

Nice view of things

A nice, wider view of things

The latest state of the Outdoor Garden


Accessible Roundabout

The students seem to have really enjoyed playing on the accessible roundabout. Thanks again to those responsible for us getting it! In fact a few of them this week have absolutely loved it, like Antony’s class, where Amelia wasn’t too pleased when it achieved ‘Bat Out of Hell’ speed. ML……RIP. Have a look at them playing on it

Jay                                                                  Benjamin

Amelia                                                John                                                  Joseph

What a great class!!!!

Kayden Korner

That Kayden is a multi-talented chap, you know. Sometimes it’s poems, sometimes it’s jokes. But today, it’s a fun fact. Here it is:

Most Axolotl have very poor eyesight they often end up eating each other

They are still very cute though


This week the ELTBA Star of the Week goes… the lovely…Zacharia in Skylarks.  He has been working super hard both at home and school on his adding and counting on from a given number and the class team are extremely proud of him and his perseverance. Wow, Zach, that’s fabulous, great work. Clearly a STAR!!!

In Engagement, it’s…………………Ameen!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Class Team are really proud of Ameen, who as well as being a great guy has shown great resilience and bravery in a lot of things he’s been doing this week. These are great things to say about someone, Ameen, so huge congratulations for being this week’s big old STAR!!!

In terms of all of those students in Key Stage 4, we were all so proud of them when they were doing STEM Week last week that we wanted to nominate them all. STEM subjects are great for our students, and most seemed to really enjoy themselves, which is lovely to see. The extra preparations and all that the staff had put in were all well worth it, and so we wanted to say a big well done to all of those five classes, making them all STEM STARS!!!


The Wellbeing Project, Beating the Odds, that involves staff training, linking with other organisations & such-like, input from Louise B the Ed Psych and special timetable collapse days, is having its next special day on the 11th February. The sub-topic will be ‘Coping’, and it coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week which is perfect for our aim for the project which is to build resilience. People have been planning it this week

Finally finally….

Have a lovely weekend. I thought it was ging to be terrible weather in the winter when I moved to the North-East (jk!) but it’s really very mild and really nice most of the time it seems. Hope I haven’t jinxed it. Also hope you can make the most of it, and we’ll get back on the school train next week


John S

Family Liaison and PTA information 14th January 2022

The weather may be colder, but this week seeing the installation of our fully accessible roundabout made me smile. It will be a wonderful addition to our outside play area and I hope the children enjoy using it. As I was showing a visitor around staff told me how much the children welcomed this rather expensive, but oh so worth it play equipment. There are pictures on our social media and on the school blog.

New/recent starters:

Is your child new to school? Would you like me to call to introduce myself to you, tell you a little about my role in school and give you the chance to pick my brains and see if there is anything I can offer? If so, please get in touch. My contact details are at the end of the page.

Workshops for parents/carers. 

Prior to the pandemic, we were able to welcome parents/families into school for coffee mornings, class events and workshops. Clearly, things have not moved forward as we would have hoped. Could you please get in touch with me if you feel there is anything with which we could help? Our students are at the heart of what we do at PHS, and involving parents/carers as part of the team around the child is so important. After all, they spend more time with you. Did you attend any workshops here or elsewhere and if so which ones were most helpful?

DLA/PIP and Preparation for Adulthood

I have lots of information on these topics. I have held Teams meetings, had telephone and/or email contact with a number of families. Feedback has been positive. Would a group session help? I can organise these if there is a good level of interest. If not, I can offer 1:1 support.


Contact NE and North Cumbria Family Support Pilot – further funding until March 2022

I’ve been asked to share information with you as follows:

Shona Chambers is a Senior Parent Adviser with Contact – based in the North East Region. She is a trained Sleep Practitioner, hold a PGCERT in Positive Behavioural Support , Makaton Regional Tutor, Toileting Trained /Adviser, and with lots more other relevant training.  She has been a Parent Adviser for several years with lots of personal and professional experience to draw upon.

She got in touch to let us know that Contact has secured more funding for a new phase of Family Support for the North East and North Cumbria.  As part of the work they can offer 1;1 Listening Ear Call Backs at a time that is convenient for you and also  places on their extremely popular ‘Understanding Sensory Processing’ Workshops.

I have added the links below to the Workshops – which must be pre booked via Eventbrite – just follow the links

Tuesday 4th February 10:00-12:00: 

Friday 11th March 10:00-12:00:

Tuesday 29th March: Webinar 10:00-12:00:

You can contact Shona on the email below but she has asked that you let her know that I put you in touch with her. There are some other opportunities for parents/carers of those who attend Great North Children’s’ Hospital on “Encouraging positive behaviour” and “Managing your child’s sleep”.

Shona Chambers –

Some other information one of our Leadership team asked me to share; it may be of interest to some of you:

5 week Nurturing children with ADHD programme

5 week programme for parents/professionals is £49.99

The Nurturing ADHD Programme


Out of My Mind” – Help find the lead actor for the movie version!

The book Out of My Mind is being turned into a movie and the producers are looking for someone who’s right for the lead role of Melody, a young female, aged 11-14, who has cerebral palsy.

The movie is being produced by people who have made some wonderful movies and given them heart, elegance, and insight. You will certainly know some of them.

Are you interested?

Send a recent photo(s) along with your name, age and contact information to Paul Schnee: and Rachel Goldman:

Dreams Come True:

This charity supports children aged 5-18 with severe or life limiting conditions to fulfil a wish. It is for children living in the most deprived areas of the UK, so it really depends on your home postcode. Referrals can only be made by professionals; they do not accept them from parents/carers.

To be eligible your child must be in receipt of medium or high rate care component of DLA with diagnosis of Autism or high rate with Cerebral Palsy. For PIP this would be the enhanced rate care component.

The funding covers a wide range of things, although equipment which should be funded through the NHS/Local Authority is not included. In addition, if you have received funding from another “wish” charity, it is less likely to be successful. I attach their catalogue. If you think this may benefit you please get in touch. I can do the postcode check and discuss with your child’s class team.

DP_AM36 Dreams Inspiration

Walk The Wall – February Challenge

Calling all dog walkers, runners, hikers and coffee strollers…

❄️ Get outside this winter

🚶🏽 Walk, run, wheel or hike the length of Hadrian’s Wall – 84 miles, throughout February

📍 A challenge you can do from home

👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 As a personal goal or with friends & family

Sign up to Walk The Wall for Percy Hedley and share pictures of your challenge with us. Sign up to take part in Walk The Wall HERE

The Poverty Commission.

I have been asked to share the flyer below with our families.

Your voice matters in the fight against poverty. The Poverty Truth Commission has
been set up to listen to your experiences of financial hardship and to develop actions to
help others in our region.

PTC Community Recruitment Flyer 2.0 (1)

PTA News

PTA Meeting: We are holding our next meeting via Teams on Thursday 27th January from 10.00-11.00. We would love to see you there.

Click here to join the meeting

Have you joined or is it on your “to do” list? The link is below:

100 Club Annual Subscriber agreement 2021-22


If you haven’t done so, have a look on the PTA section of the website. All parents/carers and staff are members by default. If you’re not ready or able to take on a committee role we would welcome as many as possible to attend the AGM and see what we do. I will send links in the next few weeks. It will be held on Thursday 10th March

PTA Facebook group

Join here


Best wishes

Eileen Robinson

Family Liaison Officer


Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext 3260

Message from John S:, Headteacher: 14th January 2022

Hello there everyone

How is the new year going for you all? The holiday period seems like quite a long time ago already, but to be honest I always prefer it when we have got stuck into the term, rather than at the beginning or end, and we are underway with all the things we want to be doing in the school. I hope things are going well for you in January, which can be a challenging month….. 😊

Obviously we’ve had a busy time with Covid this week, with all the positive tests and close contacts, but it’s important for us not to focus too much on that to the detriment of real school stuff – we need to be a proper school as well. I think we’ve done that this week with loads of good lessons & projects, some new staff starting, and lots of exciting developments in literacy, therapies and other areas. I’ll get around to talking about all of them in time


Please do try and find the time to have a look at the Key Drivers form that we’ve sent out. This is about involving you more in our assessments and our curriculum, and us doing more consulting & listening. I’m pretty sure that the best schools have parents & carers as strong partners, and we really want to get better at that

For example, thinking about all the assessments that happen here, by therapists and teachers and others, we want to get to a place where we are reporting all of these to you every term, and getting your feedback on some of them, like the Key Drivers or those Case Studies that you have been contributing to (thank for those by the way, they are great, and we are going to keep on making them better). We’re going to blog more information about all of our assessments; we’re going to put some better stuff on the website about our curriculum; we’re going to get our curriculum leaders to organise either in-person or Teams sessions to explain things well, from Therapy to Exams. In short, we just want to communicate better with you about all the things we do in school particularly when it comes to the progress of our pupils

Parent Governor

We’ve sent out the voting papers for this today, so hopefully you’ve got them by now. Thanks to those who’ve put their names forward for this. It’s quite a commitment being a governor, so we’re very grateful to anyone who wants to make that commitment. We already have one very good parent governor, and it would be great to have another. Good schools have good governing bodies, and we’re looking forward to working with a full governing body, so thank you

Please do vote!


Thank you for being understanding and flexible with us over Covid. It’s difficult, and we are going to have to hold on during the winter whilst lots of people are getting positive tests and being named as close contacts. We’re meeting every day to work out the best way to deploy staff, and to work out what we can do to keep things safe and high quality. But we can’t do that without you, and we’re grateful that you’re being understanding during this time. Fingers crossed for the spring

Subject Focus – STEM Week

So we said last week about how STEM is on the Government agenda, and designed to address skill shortages in engineering, and how we want to work on this with our students with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills and approaches. It’s been great this week to see the KS4 students doing this in various topics such as: planning to go and live on Mars; talking about defrosting woolly mammoths; capturing vampires!!!!!!!!!!! and being detectives on murder mysteries (yes, it was me who was murdered; can’t imagine why the teachers thought of that…..)

It really was quite inspiring, well done to all the students, especially those for whom this isn’t their favourite subject – I always admire that – and a big thank you to all the staff who worked really hard preparing this

Have a look at these pictures, they’re grouped by the topics they did during the week

“Capture the Beast!”

Environmental Bio-Chemistry

Crime Scene


erm, some staff………

Accessible Roundabout

Well, we finally got our accessible roundabout in. This feels like it has been a bit of a saga, and certainly predates me (!) but as far as I can tell, thanks to the fantastic fund-raising efforts of a few parents, such as the ones of the fabulous Milly and Jack shown here, and other efforts by several other people to actually get it, we have after various delays got this installed. Huge huge thanks to all involved. I think some children will really enjoy being on it. It’s a nice thing to have here in the playground – especially on a sunny day like today! Cheers again to all on this

Watch the Video here

You spin me round: Milly and Jack!

Kayden Korner

Great to have Kayden Korner up and running again this year. I seem to remember that we had a joke from the man himself last week, but this week we’ve gone back to one of his specialities, another of his poems. Kayden even emails these to me himself, so cheers Kayden. Here it is. Great stuff


This week our ELTBA star of the week is Owen in Magpies.  Owen has had a really calm and positive week in the class and has contributed confidently in class discussions and listened to other people’s ideas.  He has been amazing! Wow, Owen, that is definitely STAR!!! stuff, congratulations!

Nieve has been amazing since coming back, in all sorts of ways, with loads of smiles, giggles and lots of excellent sensory work. Lovely to have her back, and Nieve is clearly a complete STAR!!!

Aidan has worked super-hard this week, developing his independence and safety skills – and can make stuff on his own! (Goodness me, I couldn’t at that age). Aidan was very proud and told all his friends about his achievements! Aidan’s parents, therapists and the class team are very proud of him! That’s a perfect STAR!!! right there! Well done!

Also a Star of the Week!

Another STAR!!! now, Bobbie – and how brilliantly is he doing in the school generally? (Answer: brilliantly)

Bobbie has been asking to ride one of the school bikes. Helen eventually got it sorted and look! We have one happy boy


You remember our Wellbeing Project, Beating the Odds? Well the next special day for this is on 11th February, and the topic will be ‘Coping’ which will be great and something to look out for and look forward to. It coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week which you can read about here’s%20Mental%20Health%20Week%20is,take%20part%20in%20the%20week. and is perfect for our aim for the project which is to build resilience. I’ll talk about it as time goes on

Finally finally….

Came across this, looks like it might be kind of fun…..


Good luck!

All the best for the weekend. Good Health!

John S

Family Liaison and PTA 7 January 2022

Happy New year to all; and I would like especially to extend a welcome to the families of the new students who joined us this week, or are starting imminently. Some have already had blips with transport with places being confirmed as everyone was heading off for the Christmas break. To introduce myself to new families, I am the Family Liaison Officer and my role is to offer support, signposting and provide information on non-school related things. I can provide information, some support and signposting for those applying for DLA/PIP.

As COVID continues to affect our ability to meet face to face I would like some suggestions as to how we can meet. Would Teams coffee mornings be of interest? Would you like discussion groups on specific topics? I’d very much appreciate your thoughts.

I am heavily involved with the PTA, as founder member when I held the dual role of parent/staff and was the first Chair. You will find me encouraging families to join us. If I can be of assistance, please contact me. My email address is at the end of this blog.For new families, have a look back over previous blogs where you will be sure to find something of interest.



This is just a “save the date” for a planned online workshops for parents.

Monday 7th February 10:00 – 11:00 presentation then 11:00 – 11:30 questions.

The plan is to record the session, so that people can view it afterwards. I will meet with Maria and Philip, who will deliver the workshop with me in attendance in January to discuss further. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this session.

Wood Hub cic

For those families with young people approaching 18 years the following may be of interest. I often recommend to families that they look into services in their area. Although I don’t know much about this one, I know there are a few others around the North East.


Smile through Sport. 

Message below from Jenni. Smile through Sport perates in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside and Durham, offering sport for people who are differently abled. I have heard very positive reports from families. The sessions they offer are inclusive but require children/young people to be escorted and supported throughout the sessions. They are NOT drop off.

Happy New Year, hope you’re well and had a nice festive period.

Smile are ready and raring to go with a number of sport and physical activity sessions for disabled children, young people, adults and their families across the North East. We kick start the year with our first family session this Saturday 8th January at Blyth Sport Centre.

Please see below information and posters about our community sessions, to book visit

Family Sessions

  • 1st Sunday of the month 11am-12.30pm at Sporting Club Cramlington
  • 2nd Saturday of the month 1.30-3pm at Blyth Sports Centre
  • 3rd Sunday of the month 2-3.30pm at Prudhoe Community High School
  • 4th Saturday of the month 1.30-3pm at Jarrow Focus

5-10 years Session

  • Every Tuesday 4-5pm at Eagles Basketball Arena, Newcastle (book through Eagles Community Foundation)

10-19 years Sessions

  • Every Tuesday 5-6pm at Eagles Basketball Arena, Newcastle (book through Eagles Community Foundation)
  • Every Wednesday 5.30-6.30pm at Cramlington Sporting Club
  • Every Thursday 6.30-7.30pm at The Louisa Centre, Stanley

Adult Session

  • Every Wednesday 10.30-11.30am at The Parks Sport Centre, North Shields

We are also available to deliver sport and physical activity sessions to organisations such as schools, colleges, day centres, day services and more, please get in touch to book in.

We look forward to a healthy and positive year.



Jenni Wade-Rudin

Sport and Activity Manager 

SMILE Through Sport

16C Moorland Way

Nelson Industrial Estate


NE23 1WE

Office: 01670 457 757

Mobile: 07710 891 741

New Superworm Trail at Hamsterley Forest 

From the creators of The Gruffalo, the hugely popular children’s picture book Superworm returns to Hamsterley Forest in January 2022 with a brand-new family activity trail.

Launching on 5 January 2022, the new Superworm trails follow the premiere of the animated special from Magic Light Pictures, which aired on BBC One on Christmas Day.

 In the latest exciting partnership between Forestry England and Magic Light Pictures, the Superworm trail showcases the unsung heroes of the forest.

Based on the children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the trail highlights the small but mighty creatures in the Superworm story, such as toad, beetle and Wizard Lizard, and shows their amazing abilities as they make their home in the forest.

The Superworm activity trail can be found at 26 of the nation’s forests across England and with lots of fun activities to complete, the new self-led trail will encourage children to become superheroes of the forest themselves.

Special Superworm trail packs are available to buy from the visitor centre for £3.50 with additional activities, including stickers, a superhero mask, creature fact cards, at-home activity sheet, pencil and crayon.

Titanic in Lego

One of our Post 16 students James is a massive fan of transport, especially the Titanic and of Lego. Here is his latest creation. I’m reliably informed the dining room table was out of action throughout construction! A neighbour helped.



Mini and Junior Great North Run – Represent Team Percy Hedley

Take on the challenge of the Junior or Mini Great North Run this year and proudly represent The Percy Hedley Foundation. Sign up here

Great North Run spaces go on sale on Monday 10th January, so check out the different races and routes around Newcastle quayside here.


Just a reminder that the AGM will take place on Thursday 10th March 2022 , details to follow. In the meantime, I thought, especially for our new families that I would provide a little information on our PTA. Full details are on the school website under the heading “parents and families”; select PTA from the dropdown menu.

The PTA was set up in 2013 and supports school, enhancing the school experience for students by funding non curricular/educational items. In the past year we funded resources for Winter Wonderland, 3 online pantomimes, a Circus skills day, picnic benches, funfair rides for the Autumn fayre, resources for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. We also fund annual school memberships for The National Trust, Tim Lamb Centre and pay annual membership of Parentkind, the organisation which keeps the PTA operating legally. We arranged in school events including Circus skills, Magic Show and African Drumming. We depend on the support of families and appreciate all you do to help.

Our committee is:
Chair: Donna Jones (parent)

Vice Chair: Sarah Warwick (parent)

Treasurer: Ros Holden (parent)

Secretary: Chris Fewster (parent)

Family Liaison: Eileen Robinson (school, role specific appointment to assist with logistics) (staff)

Media and Events: Jo Thomas (staff)

School (Teacher) and Council link: Claire Hayden (staff)


Fund-raising: Maria Hallett

School Council: The Chair of Student Council.

We are usually joined at meetings by John Steward, Head Teacher and Kate Cordwell Smith, parent governor.

We hold our PTA meetings virtually at the moment but hope to return to face to face when allowed. These are half termly. As we approach the AGM it would be great to have more parents/carers involved. Meetings normally last an hour and we plan to offer the virtual option when face to face resumes, allowing those who live a distance from school or do not drive to join. If you are interested in joining the committee, please get in touch with me or with the Chair (email me and I will forward)

PTA Meeting

We have had to delay our PTA Meeting, scheduled for next week until Thursday 27th January at 10.00. Full details and time will be included in next weeks blog. Save the date if you can; we would love to see you.

True Colours Theatre Group. 

Unfortunately, due to the numbers of people affected by COVID at present, we have postponed the 2 day whole school workshops which were due next week. We will advise when they are rescheduled.

PTA 100 Club.

We run a 100 club each year, with 50% of takings coming to the PTA and the other 50% given out in prizes. Although the draws are monthly, we draw them twice and the first 7 draws will be done during the AGM. The form to join is below. For those who have already subscribed, thank you. You are still in and don’t need to join again.

100 Club Annual Subscriber agreement 2021-22

PTA Facebook page.

This is a closed group for parents,carers, students over the age of 13 and staff.  We sometimes share images of students who do not want them shared widely so please do not share any of these.Join HERE

If there is anything you’d like to discuss/raise please contact me.

Best wishes,

Eileen Robinson

Family Liaison Officer


Telephone: 0191 2161811.

New Year Message from John S: 7th January 2022

Hello there everyone

Happy New Year. I hope that 2022 brings you what you wish for, and is better than 2021! Thanks for your support last term, especially as had to make so many changes because of Covid ☹ We’re hoping that things will start to get better this year, although it’s been a very difficult start

It’s good to be back. This year will be a big year for many of our pupils, if they may be taking exams, or leaving us, or passing some kind of milestone, and we’ll be thinking a great deal about what’s best for them as they enter the next phase of their life. One of the most important things for us to think about for every young person here is their Preparation for Adulthood, and we’ll be doing a lot of work on that for the rest of the year to make sure that whenever our students move on, that they’ve had as much helpful input and as many helpful sessions as possible to prepare them for what comes next

Well, obviously not so much to actually show you in terms of work this week, so a shorter blog, but some things to talk about anyway, which are hopefully interesting to you

It was brilliant to see some of you logging in to the Quizmas, thanks for doing that. I’ve got everything crossed that we can do more and better things this year

Our Key Drivers: Wellbeing, Communication, Independence

I know that I’ve gone on about this a few times now, but I would appreciate it if you could have another quick read of the post on Key Drivers that we did a few days ago

It’s basically asking you guys to be actively involved in assessment in the school, and in discussions around the topics that we do. I think that if we can be better at directly involving you all with our classroom work here, then we’ll be a better school as a result. Let’s see how it goes anyway

We’ll send things out early next week on this to make a start. Thanks

Parents/Carers Views: Our Key Drivers: Wellbeing, Communication, Independence

Parent Governor

Thanks to those who’ve put their names forward for this. We’ll send out the ballot papers next week. We’re really looking forward to working with a full governing body, and this will help, so it’s great news

Please do look out for the papers, and vote!


I hope you’re all as well as you can be from a Covid point of view; it’s hard at the moment for everyone, isn’t it? Infection rates are very high across the country and I think that rates amongst our staff are going to go up before they go down. We do understand how difficult this all is at home for you, and we’re very sorry about that. We are trying all the time to organise staff and classes to minimise disruption and to make things as good as they can be, but we do appreciate how frustrating many things are at this time. We’re being as flexible as we can, and we’re grateful that you are too. I think we’re just going to have to get through the winter as best we can, and then hope that things get better again, this time for good! We’ll stay open and be as much of a proper school as we can be

To that end, Rebecca and Claire have organised a nice week for some of the secondary students, and that serves very nicely as our subject focus for next week. Often doing these kinds of different timetable arrangements actually help with staffing too, so hopefully we can do something good that also makes things better!

Subject Focus – STEM Week

STEM is high on the Government’s agenda for schools, to address a current skills shortage in the engineering industry. Skilled trade workers, engineers and technicians are the most sought-after jobs globally currently, and we would like to prepare our students for this by beginning to develop these skills within school

STEM is made up of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills, brought together to support independence and communication skills within pupils, and allow for them to plan, do, review, and evaluate their own thinking and working, as well as developing group work skills

Next week Key Stage 4 will work together to complete a STEM week comprising several challenges and work projects, focusing on different skills bases, and developing their independent thinking.  This will involve staff from Key Stage 4 and Post-16 supporting project-based learning and using skills-based thinking to guide pupils through challenges

We will create a blogpost next week showing what we have learnt, developed, and created during the week, and will hopefully role this out to other areas of school during the school year – there are some KS3 pupils for example that I think would love this approach!

Subject Focus for the last week of half term beginning 14th February – Art Week, specifically Humanities through Art

We do have Art Week every year – last week it was Literacy and Art – and this year it will be Humanities through Art. Another nice thing to look forward to, and something to help us with the winter blues at the same time. That’ll produce a fair few nice photos

Love to MVE

And thinking of things that are going to be coming up…….we’ve had MOVE to Spook, and we’ve had MOVing in a Winter Wonderland……….well the one for this half term with be Love to M❤VE!!!!!!! Something to look forward to…..

So looking forward to that!

Jay with Tine during the MOVing in a Winter Wonderland version in December

What have the team got in store for February?

Lower School Assembly

That other John S, John Strachan, took the first Lower School Assembly today, on New Year. Assemblies are great for our students, a really good way of sharing work and messages, of coming together, and for developing confidence and conversations. Well done to all the pupils who take part! All those who take part in these are definitely STARs!!!, but here are a few more

 Stars of the Week

We have Harry attached from Woodpeckers. Harry has been doing an excellent job keeping the lower school quad area clean and tidy from leaves. He was so excited to show staff his new sweeping brush. What a lovely thing to make you STAR!!! of the week, Harry, well done!

Also a Star of the Week!

Another star of the week is Nikhit in Blackbirds.  He has been working super hard in mental maths adding up 2, 2-digit numbers crossing 100 with no visual support at all. His team are extremely proud of him. Wow, proper Maths, and great work, Nikhit, that’s proper STAR!!! quality

  Kayden’s korner 

This is a great one to start the year with

What did the triangle say to the circle?

You’re pointless!


We have several new pupils starting this week, which is lovely! It’s so good to see especially younger ones coming to us, and we do truly hope that their time with us is fruitful, beneficial and happy, for them and their families; you are all very welcome. That means that as of today we have 173 pupils in the school – which I think is a lot! We still have a lot of families wanting to send their children here, and obviously that’s difficult for us right now with the numbers we have, but things change all the time

If you’re new, you may want to join our marvellous PTA! They are terrific, and the only thing that would make them better would be if more people were involved!!!!!!!!!

As I said at the top, have a lovely 2022. The very best of luck for the whole year, and I hope that we can move forward together and do good work which benefits the children. Thanks for your support in 2021

John S

COVID-19 update – Monday 3 January 2022

Dear Parents and Carers

A very Happy New Year to you all, and I do hope that the whole holiday has been a lovely one for you!

You will be aware that a lot has happened in the past few weeks with regard to Covid and that cases are rising a great deal locally. New guidance was issued very recently.

In school we will be continuing with bubbles and with staff wearing masks and face coverings. We will also be ventilating inside areas wherever we can. The government now advises that secondary aged children should wear a mask or face covering in lessons, so please let your Class Teacher know if you want us to support your child in doing this. We’ll continue to have a strong focus on hands, face & space and will update our school risk assessment once we’ve fully digested the DfE guidance

The government have asked us to support LFD testing of secondary aged children as they return to school. We’ll send out a form on Googledocs about this very soon.

We recommend that those who can take an LFD test prior to their return to school. Staff will also be participating in these regularly to detect and minimise the spread. We will continue in-school student testing where we have been.

Our position is that we go with guidance, but with all the necessary flexibility that our children need, and where things are recommendations, we try and work out what on balance is best for our pupils.

Staffing, as you may expect, is already under pressure with various confirmed and suspected positive cases. We are still being informed of positive cases, so please keep a watch out for any additional communications from us. We don’t know exactly how things will develop.

In order to protect our pupils and staff, please don’t send your child to school if they are poorly in any way. If they have any Covid or cold-like symptom then they should remain at home.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support of the school – it means a great deal. Please let us know of any positive tests or cases as this supports our efforts to track.

With best wishes for the new year and the new school term, which we will of course still be pressing on with!

Kind regards

John S


Family Liaison and PTA updates. 17 December 2021

I would like to start by wishing all of our families a Merry Christmas and Happy 2022. It was a great start to the academic year seeing the vast majority of students back, and the buzz that goes along with it. However, the end of term has seen some disruption and we really hope that 2022 is a better one.

I invite parents/carers to continue sharing photographs of your holiday activities on our PTA Facebook page. I also ask that parents do not screenshot/share images of students which are on the Facebook page; we have permission to share some within the group but not publicly. In addition, share anything you feel would be of interest to other families. I will continue to share anything I find over the holidays.

Remember that school re-opens to students on Tuesday 4th January as Monday is a Bank holiday.. Now put that on your calendar so that you aren’t panicking at the last minute




This is just a “save the date” for a planned online workshops for parents.

Monday 7th February 10:00 – 11:00 presentation then 11:00 – 11:30 questions.

The plan is to record the session, so that people can view it afterwards. I will meet with Maria and Philip, who will deliver the workshop with me in attendance in January to discuss further. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this session.

DLA and PIP:

I have helped a few families with the PIP forms recently. At or around their 16th birthday DLA applicants are “invited” to apply for PIP. Please don’t ignore this invite, or your child’s DLA will cease. My advice to parents/carers is to prepare early. I have lots of information so please get in touch if this is imminent. I also have some new information on DLA.

As a parent to an adult who claims PIP, I know how I felt completing these forms. They ask about “how your disability affects you”, so the key is that they need to know about challenges and not what your young person can do. It goes against pretty much everything we do to celebrate our young people’s achievements but sticking to what they need to know is key. I am happy to talk to parents. If you feel an online discussion with other parents would help, please let me know and I will arrange it.

Contact-for families with disabled children

are offering a free 12 week course “Healthy Parent Carers Programme, starting on 7th January 2022. See details below. You can sign up via Eventbrite


Go North East Santa bus is back

Please see link below for details:

Trainmaster; Tyne and Wear

Great Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE13 9, United Kingdom

Have an event on Saturday 18th December between 13.15-15.30. You can find full details on their Facebook page where they have created an event. They suggest that anyone with additional needs contacts them. Tickets are £7 per child with 1 free escorting adult and a sibling discount is available.

Winter Wonderland at Newcastle Racecourse.

This has extended opening hours over the Christmas holidays. I spoke with a knowledgeable family member  who has been about access and here is what she said:

“Challenging for wheelchairs as it is very muddy. It is very busy and queues are long. There are rides for younger children and  small rollercoaster but they are not wheelchair accessible. However, it may be suitable for some!”

They offer a discount to disabled adults/children and their carer of £2.50 per disabled adult/child & carer, when paying on arrival with, the relevant identification. Failure to provide this will result in full admission fee. There is disabled parking but is very limited.


Sunderland Ice Rink.

🙏 Enjoy the rink together in a more relaxed atmosphere with NO music & NO flashing lights
⛸ We have skating aids for hire at the rink
⛸ A team of staff who are there to support whatever you need
🚨 Don’t forget that we have another session which will be inclusive for children with special needs on 19/12/21




Aladdin: The online Pantomime has been watched by some classes this week and I was pleased that, as other events had to be postponed/cancelled that we had something to offer. I had some lovely feedback from a KS4 Class as follows:

I really enjoyed it  my favourite part was the washing machines

It was really good and I liked it my favourite part was all of it

I really enjoyed it, it was really fun my favourite part was the songs and the genie rap!

It was the best video I watched since the beginning of my life!

it was very good, different from the original story my favourite part was when Aladdin got

kissed by Jasmine.

MY FAVOURITE PART WAS THE JOKES, it had the best story line

The Panto was funny throughout except for Aladdin being trapped

Another said it was good.

It was very enthusiastic and the staff even joined in with the singing, dancing and clapping 😊

True Colours theatre group:

The 2 day in school event has been postponed until January. This will be funded by the PTA.

PTA Meeting: 

our next PTA meeting will be on Thursday 13th January 2022 from 13.30-14.30

Link to join was sent last week and will do so again on return to school.


Thanks to everyone who bought tickets for the raffle. We raised £222! Isn’t that amazing?

Winners are:

  1. Trish Marr. £100 photo shoot voucher
  2. Lewis Youngman. Hamper
  3. Amelie Holden Wine and gift bag
  4. Kelly Ford Wallet and chocolates
  5. Michael Curtis Wine and gift bag
  6. Chris Taylor Wine and gift bag
  7. Sid Cuthbertson Chocolates and candles
  8. Suzie Lockey Christmas wreath
  9. Jackie Martin Christmas wreath

PTA 100 club

We have almost reached the half-way mark, with a few more promises to join. The link is below

100 Club Annual Subscriber agreement 2021-22

All that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks to everyone who supports us; it is greatly appreciated and definitely benefits the students.

My contact details are:




Hydro Closure

Due to our current outbreak status, Public Health have advised that we do all we can to minimise the transmission of Covid-19. We have therefore taken the decision to close the hydrotherapy pool this week due to the extreme proximity between staff and students in these sessions. We apologise for this, but please be reassured that the students will participate in an alternative land based physio session to ensure they have opportunities to engage in changes of position and motor development. Please contact your child’s physiotherapist if you have any questions.

Enterprise Group: Christmas products for sale

Our Enterprise group have been making Christmas goodies which are available to purchase for any last minute Christmas gifts.

If you would like to purchase any of the items please send a note with your child along with payment and we will ensure they are sent home to you by the end of the week.