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Northern Counties School Teacher Finalist for Unique Art Awards

The Unique Art Awards are looking to recognise the work done by teachers in the arts in special education and would like to offer an award to highlight excellence in this field which includes Art, Drama and Music.

Our very own Lauren Tate is a finalist in these awards and will be off to Middlesex in September with a chance of winning £2,000 in vouchers.

Lauren is an Art Teacher at Northern Counties school. Lauren took a learning support role at school initially, to learn more about our very complex young people.  When the opportunity arose to apply for the art teacher role, she was able to step into the role naturally. Lauren did need to learn how to teach using British Sign Language (to Level 2 standard), to enable her to teach in our Deaf department and so she gave up her own time after school, in order to attend classes in BSL.  She also works very closely with our therapy team (Speech Therapists and Occupational Therapists) to ensure she incorporates the right level of structure and correct equipment into her lessons for young people with autism and complex needs.  She has attended a vast amount of additional training in PECS, Autism, Teaching pupils with Visual Impairments, PMLD and Sensory Integration to equip her with many additional skills.

Lauren works across the whole of school and ensures that art is accessible for all.  Some of our young people, who say they ‘don’t like art’, don’t realise they are actually doing art through Lauren’s skills and techniques.  When pupils are unable to transition to her own art room, she takes her lesson and art resources to the child, supporting them to learn where they feel most comfortable and safe.  She is often seen around the school, transporting all her art materials in a trolley!  We see her teaching outside, in school corridors, in the Forest School and she is able to adapt her lessons to the needs of every single young person in school.  She effectively models how to make art accessible to our 200 support staff.  One of the ways in which Lauren goes above and beyond, is working as our sole art teacher, yet having such a large impact with so many staff. Being able to manage such a large number of staff, is way over and above what most teachers need to do. Some of our classes have 15 staff members to coordinate, manage and develop. 

Lauren plans her work and uses teaching styles to engage our young people.  Her methods need to involve a high level of differentiation, choice (for our pupils with Pathological Demand Avoidance) and individualization.  She uses a variety of medias and celebrates each pupil’s achievements through floor books, accreditation and sharing with parents on our social media platforms. Lauren plans for communication, science and numeracy skills across learning tasks and builds up each young person’s self esteem through their art. 

As we were unable to hold our Christmas performance this year, due to Covid measures in place.  Lauren filmed our young people taking part in their own version of Shrek-The Musical, which was broadcast to parents and carers.  This was a huge project, in terms of costume design, sets, use of computing and green screen technology. Mollie’s parents have said that they have never seen Mollie take part in anything like that before and they were thrilled to see her engagement and enjoyment.

Jan, one of our complex non-verbal young people, with autism and OCD, will often just take himself up to Lauren’s art room and sit.  It is the only classroom in school where he will specifically choose to go to complete ‘work’.  He designed his own way of taking part in Shrek, blowing tissue paper flames through a tube to become the dragon.  Lauren edited the film in such a way that all the pupils took part and felt a sense of purpose and pride in their work.

Lauren also gives up her lunch break, once a week, to run the school art club.  She plans a series of fun sessions, which is open to everyone in school.  Another example of how Lauren goes above and beyond.

We wish Lauren every success in her trip to the Unique Art Awards finals in September!

Percy Hedley School competes in Panathlon Challenge

Panathlon is a national charity which gives thousands of young people with disabilities and special educational needs the opportunity to take part in competitive sport. This year, students at Percy Hedley School have taken part in lots of activities. All the activities are skill-based and feature simplified and varied competitions which will develop confidence and self-belief in every individual.

We’re incredibly proud of our students that have been representing Percy Hedley for the Panathlon challenge.

From target throwing, curling, basketball hoops and tennis… a lot of fun was had, while getting active in competative sport!

See a video roundup:

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Please see our full gallery below:

Lloyds Bank Volunteer Day at Chipchase House

A group of staff from Lloyds Commerical Bank in Newcastle City Centre came along to Chipchase House to volunteer their time to transform an unused area of the grounds into the perfect garden space for growing plants.

The day was spent cleaning the space, refreshing the walls with paint after sanding old paintwork, and building a mini greenhouse. The volunteers even went to the effort of buying some seeds and new plants with their own funds.

A huge thank you to Graham Lowes, Elaine Gill, Rosalind Hetherington, Lisa Hay, Stuart Harper and Tom Hibbard for your efforts and kindess.

Staff and Residents at Chipchase are overjoyed with the newly transformed space, and plan on using it as a new activities zone.

The High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear visits Northern Counties School

The High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, David W Bavaird, paid a visit to children at Northern Counties School to teach us all about the history and role of a High Sheriff.

There have been High Sheriffs for at least 1,000 years. The appointment is actually the oldest in our country. The original ‘Shire Reeves’ were Royal Officials appointed to enforce the King’s interests in a County, in particular the collection of revenues and the enforcement of law and order.

Many of the early Sherriff’s of Northumberland came from well know Northumbrian families, Armstrong, Delaval, Percy, Grey, Bewick, and Collingwood.

The children were even able to teach the High Sheriff that our very own Armstrong Department is originally named after the Armstrong family, who made a financial donation to what was Northern Counties School for the Deaf, back in the 1800s. Lord Armstrong of Cragside was a high sheriff in 1899.

The High Sheriff was also able to enjoy a brilliant performance from our Signing Choir!

Nurses’ Day 2022

As part of Nurses’ Day 2022, we’re celebrating the incredible difference nursing staff make to patients’ lives across the UK by sharing our own stories showcasing the very #BestOfNursing.

Despite working through challenging circumstances, nursing staff continue to go above and beyond to deliver highly skilled, safety-critical care every single day. 

Percy Hedley Foundation have an experienced team of Registered Nurses working in our educational services.  They work tirelessly to support their colleagues, students, service users and families throughout the year.  They have been recognised by the NHS for their excellent work, to name a few, in continence advice, sexual health and immunisation services.

Our Foundation Nursing Team provide an outstanding learning environment for Student Nurses and have been awarded a top marks ‘excellent’ score for their support from Northumbria University as well as achieving NHS ‘You’re Welcome’ accreditation.

Here we have:

Lindsay Louise Elliott

Lindsay is Percy Hedley Foundation Lead Nurse who writes and oversees clinical policies and procedures as well as supporting the School Nursing Teams.  Lindsay also supports Hedleys College, Horizons and The Hub.  Lindsay supports Central Services with clinical advice and input and has an interest in streamlining services, service improvement,  nutrition, and health.  Lindsay works with Northumbria University and is a Practice Supervisor and Assessor, including being on the panel for Student Nurse interviews.

Lisa Logan

Lisa is one of the very experienced  Registered Nurses who is a School Nurse at Percy Hedley School.  Lisa has an interest in improving links with the NHS and improving services and has used her extensive experience to support education staff, especially with training and clinical skills.  Lisa has recently been involved with improving links with the regional continence teams and this has resulted in a joint documentation, which has been a huge achievement.  Lisa has recently been involved with medicine administration improvement in School and empowering staff through training, support, and advice.

Karen Loughney

Karen is one of the Registered Nurses who is a School Nurse at Percy Hedley School.  Karen is a very experienced and knowledgeable nurse, who uses her expertise to support education staff care for the children in school.  Karen has an interest in emotional support and health promotion and has taken the nursing service forwards with her service improvement ideas such as working more in the classrooms alongside the education staff. Karen has recently been involved with improving medication administration in School and is working towards a whole new system in September. 

Laura White

Laura is an experienced Registered Nurse who is a School Nurse at Northern Counties School.  Laura uses her experience from working with a wide range of services, in a range of environments, to enhance the long-term health impacts for the children at School.  Laura has an interest in child and adolescent mental health, developing life skills and is a keen advocate for the STOMP campaign.  Laura has recently been working to build up relationships with the NHS and was recently commended by the NHS for her work around immunisations.

Local Business Leaders Learn BSL at Northern Counties School

As part of Deaf Awareness Week and our students’ study programme, Northern Counties School hosted a Networking and Signing Session where CEO’s from local businesses attended to learn lots of British Sign Language basics from our students.

Our students not only got to raise awareness for BSL, in light of the recent BSL Act 2022 campaign from the British Deaf Association to give legal recognition to British Sign Language but they gained important experience as part of their ASDAN qualification.

We were delighted to see so many local business leaders come to support our students. They learned useful signs ranging from the alphabet and numbers, to daily phrases like family member terms and colours. Everyone learned a performance which they delivered in groups to the song “I Can Sign A Rainbow” which was given very enthusiastically!

To finish the session, the Northern Counties Signing Choir gave an emotional performance of The Greatest Showmans “This Is Me” and “A Million Dreams” which guests agreed was empowering to see. The choir haven’t been able to do an in person performance for over 2 years due to the pandemic, and students were ecstatic to be able to perform for an audience again.

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The session was a hit, and we’re looking forward to be able to host more events like this. A huge thank you to all of those that attended!

John Knight – CEO, Percy Hedley Foundation
Hugh Welch – Senior Partner, Muckle LLP
Mark Bryce – Director, Agilico
Paul Szomoru – Director of Business Events, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative
Marc Cranston –  Director, Inspired Group
Olivia Macgill – Commercial Director, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead
Karen Emerson – Leadership Trust Executive Coach
Susan Jopling – Trustee, Percy Hedley Foundation
Louise Horsefield – Communications and Business Development, Percy Hedley Foundation
Kate Hellens – Managing Director, Hellens Group
Rachel Conroy – CEO, HLF Group
Annabelle Jones and Erin Bryce – 6th Form Students, Newcastle High School for Girls                                                                 

Here is a roundup of the day

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You can see a full gallery of the day below

The Active Mile at Percy Hedley School

Each year pupils and staff across North Tyneside come together and take part in The Active Mile as part of the North Tyneside PE and Sport Team. This is part of “The Daily Mile” as supported by INEOS.

This year students at Percy Hedley School joined in by doing laps around the yard.

10 laps of the yard equate to 1 mile and students either walked, ran, or wheeled around in the lovely sunshine to build up their miles. The Active Mile is a social physical activity, with children running, jogging or wheeling– at their own pace – in the fresh air with friends. 

The aim of The Active Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and well-being of children.

In total, our students covered 150 miles! What an achievement!

National Careers Week 2022

Last week we did our (slightly delayed) Careers Week which is about linking students with the world of work.  Students from our schools and college have been meeting with a wide range of employers and learning about lots of different careers. 

We kicked off Careers Week on Monday with TeenyWeenyVR who gave a demonstration with VR headsets and how they help children and young people with SEND.

On Tuesday, students also had a talk from Newcastle United Foundation, about their workplace, including a virtual tour of St James’ Part and a video about Club Manager Eddie Howe and player Matt Targett. There was also a presentation from Atomhawk, an art and design studio that provides animation and interactive design in the gaming industry; They spoke about roles within the industry. 

On Wednesday, Students and Members had an interactive visit from Newcastle Castle, where they dressed in Medieval clothing and made gingerbread with a 1400s recipe.

On Thursday, Impact Workwear visited to discuss Health and Safety in the workplace, with former student, James Piet, who discussed what he does for work there. 

On Friday morning, some students visited Eldon Square to help with an accessibility review of the centre with their Community & Events Coordinator, which helped them learn more about accessibility in the workplace. 

Students have had a very enriching week learning from a range of different employers, discussing careers and opening up their future opportunities.

Get in touch with the form below if you would like to be involved with any future employability programme events:

Please see our full gallery below of the full week.

A Message to Parents from CEO John Knight

We’re delighted to announce John Knight officially joined us on Monday 21 March as our new Chief Executive.  John joins us with more than three decades of experience in the charity sector working with many organisations committed to helping children, young people and families.

Here’s a short video from John introducing himself.

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Hellens Group pledges to raise £50,000 for The Percy Hedley Foundation

In 2023, The Percy Hedley Foundation turns 70 years old, and Hellens Group, a North East-based property and construction firm, is turning 50. As part of their celebrations, they wanted to raise an incredibly generous £50,000 in aid of our Foundation.

Over the next year, in the lead-up to their 50th birthday, the team at Hellens Group will be working on a series of fundraising activities to hit or exceed their target.

Kate Hellens, managing director of Hellens Residential said:

“We are enormously excited to be approaching our 50th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate than by setting ourselves a stretching target of raising £50,000 to support the invaluable work of The Percy Hedley Foundation. We have already kicked off our fundraising, and we hope the amazing North East business community and our development partners will all get stuck in over the next twelve months.”

We’re incredibly excited to see what the team at Hellens Group have planned over the next year, and we’re very grateful they have chosen to support our charity.

John Knight, chief executive here at The Percy Hedley Foundation said:

“We are delighted that our fantastic supporters Hellens Residential have chosen to fundraise for us during this special anniversary year, both for them and for us as we approach our 70th anniversary. After a very difficult two years which have had a significant impact on our ability to raise vital funds, the money raised will make a huge difference to the children and young people we support.”

If you would like to help The Percy Hedley Foundation celebrate our 70th Birthday in 2023 by becoming a partner in fundraising, or having us as your Charity of the Year. Get in touch!