Family Information and FoPHS News 19 May

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Family Liaison Blog!

I start my weekly news early in the week, and try hard to make them interesting, up to date and to inspire you in some small way. Whether this is to do with activities, grants or keeping you up to date with changes in policies or procedures relating to SEND I hope that you find them helpful. I always strive to improve, and to do this effectively, as with school matters need you to communicate with me. I meet some of you, who transport your children to school often. COVID forced all of us to do some things differently when we were not allowed to meet in person. I’ve become more open to TEAMS, zoom etc and prefer the face to face it allows. It helps you too, especially those who live far from school, don’t drive and those who work. I can still meet with parents/carers in school by appointment and can support by phone or email too.

Some of you have asked about uniforms, and we know that there are cost of living implications. We are looking at an alternative uniform provider and this information will be shared once decisions have been made. Remember that uniform at Percy Hedley School is optional. If you or your children prefer uniform, you can simply purchase sweatshirts, polo shirts, hoodies etc in school colours without a logo.

I have met some amazing parents/carers this week, offering a listening ear, coffee and biscuits (they didn’t eat them either) and/or direct support. This is for you.



We know, and some of you may have seen Kate Winslet’s acceptance speech recently just how dangerous the internet can be for everyone. Children, particularly those with a Learning Disability are more vulnerable. A message I will continue to share, as does Maria is the importance of E-Safety. At Percy Hedley School we take this seriously and Maria is up to date with anything relating to the subject. If you haven’t seen the information, do find time to look at the E-Safety section of the school website. You will find the link below. This week’s blog, which can be found at the end of the general news is about “Keeping your child safe and the law”, dated 18/05/2023. Be a step ahead, it will help keep your child, and perhaps even you safer.

Department Coffee Afternoons.

Next week, all departments are holding coffee afternoons, for which you will have received letters. Here is a quick reminder:


Monday 22nd May 14-15.00: ELTBA

Tuesday 23rd May 14-15.00: Engagement

Wednesday 24th May 14-15.00: Post 16

Thursday 25th May 14-15.00: KS4 Accreditation


Thursday 25th May is our next off timetable day where students will engage in activities to support their wellbeing. They may wear home clothes if they wish as always this is optional. See more details on the letter below.





Mencap Seminars:

When I come across or am directed to useful links, I share more than once just in case you’ve missed it. This week I joined the seminar on “Planning for the Future”. This covers wills, trusts, and mainly financial issues you will encounter with your child/young person if they lack or have reduced capacity. My review in one word; Excellent.

When you have as much on as many parents of children or adults with special educational/additional needs and/or a Learning Disability there can be a tendency to leave things until you think you need to know. All I will say, following this seminar is that there are finance related matters which will be better managed with early access to knowledge.

Please do take up the opportunity. There are several of these planned over the next few months.


Decision Making seminar:

This relates to Mental Capacity, and it is important that you understand the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Power of Attorney, and the Court of Protection. There are less frequent seminars, with the next in November.

Mental Health tips for parent carers

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and I saw this on Contact-for families of disabled children’s social media.

If you need practical advice, emotional support, a shoulder to cry on, a safe place to vent, whatever it is — we’re here to help. Talk to one of our parent carers:


Washington Wetlands Centre

Pond dipping with crafts

Dates: Mon 29 and Sat 3 June 2023

Time: 1 – 2.30pm (drop-in sessions – no need to book)

Location: Pondzone

Cost: Included as part of normal admission cost (free for members)

Grab a net and explore the world underwater with our education team during this family-friendly pond dipping session. Visit the interactive Pondzone where you will use our nets to search for pond wildlife such as water snails, water boatman and caddis fly larvae. Learn how to safely catch and ID your finds before carefully releasing them back into the water. Then, head to the Discovery centre for pond-themed arts and crafts.

This is a free activity included as part of normal admission (free to members).

Carers go free. Although there are disabled toilets, there is no mention of a changing place or much about wheelchair accessibility. Let me know if you have been and know more.


May Half term relaxed STEM session for children aged 5-16 years with SEND.

May half term Relaxed family HAF sessions

Free activities @Dame Dorothy Primary school, Sunderland
Tuesdays and Thursdays in the May Holidays 930-130pm as part of Together for Childrens HAF programme.

for children ages 5-16 with a disability and their families!

  • A fun morning of: Science, Lego builders, food science, sport science, crafts and much more…
    includes a hot lunch
  • Siblings and family/carers are welcome to join in the fun!
  • Join us throughout the morning (for as long or little as you want) and pick your favourite activities!


upon booking you consent to be contacted by Science Buddies UK to gather additional booking info.

  1. This is a Sunderland funded HAF session; please check eligibility.


Great North (Hancock) Museum relaxed early opening

TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2023 FROM 09:00-10:00

These relaxed sessions are for autistic visitors, visitors with learning disabilities or sensory and communication disorders, along with their families and carers. Or anyone else who feels they need a quieter experience of the museum. If that’s not you, please visit after 10am.

Enjoy early access to the Great North Museum: Hancock for a quieter, more relaxed experience. You can also enjoy a free 15-minute planetarium show – sign up at the Welcome Desk on the day (limited capacity).

Please note that there is no public parking on site and there are limited blue badge spaces which are available on the day on a first come first served basis.

If you have a blue badge and the spaces are full then we will endeavour to find an alternative parking spot on site.

Free entry, booking required.

Centre for Life

There are new things happening at the Centre for Life. I thought I would share early for those planning half term activities. There is a code on the poster to get 10% off your next visit.

FoPHS News:

This morning at a very busy, animated social coffee morning, we were joined by 3 committee members. We Had Donna, Chair, Hannah, Vice Chair and Tracy, Secretary, with the later 2 popping in towards the end of the morning. My hope is that we grow, with a little help from parents/carers which does not have to be financial. I, in my work with parents am acutely aware of the impact of the cost of living on families with a low income and strive, in whatever way I can to support. We might need an hour of your time for example. So, come along to our next meeting, which you can do in person or online. Stay, as some did this morning for as short or long a time as you have available.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday 20th June from 9.30-11.

I think the message we want to get across is that we understand the demands on parents/carers time. We hope that you value the difference we make and would be delighted if anyone were willing and to undertake an event to support us financially. If there is anything you can do, any ideas you have contact me or Donna.


Facebook page:

This is a closed group for family and friends of Percy Hedley School, where you can share news and updates about school life. It is not for external professionals who may be working with families. To join, you need to answer the question stating your link with school.

Please note: this group is for sharing news and updates about school life and is not intended to discuss any issues around individual students, and as such all comments are moderated. If you have a particular issue or concern, please contact school directly on 0191 216 1811.

Contact details

Eileen Robinson: Family Liaison Officer


Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext. 3260.