Family Information and FOPHS News Friday 1st December 2023

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Family Liaison Blog!

Christmas Countdown

We are officially on the countdown to Christmas holidays and the end of the Autumn term.

It’s an extremely busy time of year and I hope the events calendar is helping you keep up to date.  Here is the updated version; this is added to regularly:

Events Calendar

This week I held a social coffee morning on Wednesday. As promised, there was cake and feedback from all was positive. Every one of you said that the best part of it was the opportunity to talk with other parents/carers and, as this is the main purpose that was good to hear. There were some heartwarming comments about staff and the one that stood out to me, echoed by more than one person was that you feel staff really care for your children/young people. It was good to have a mix of parents/carers who have been here a long time with one who is new to school.

A few of you raised your worries about the future when your child/young person moves on. This is something I regularly refer to in signposting. Look in the information section below for more information.

We were joined for part of the session by Tracy Smithson who is leading on the LPPA, Leading Parent Partnership Award. She has sent surveys out, would appreciate more of your responses and I have emailed it to you yesterday.

Please take the opportunity to engage with school and share your thoughts. If you’ve missed the email the link to the survey is here: Please return to Tracy on

16-19 Bursary

With a few challenges getting the recorded session I held ready to share this was sent out to those who asked for it. If you would like it sent and haven’t requested it, please let me know. The 16-19 bursary is beneficial for those who are eligible, and we are constantly working to see how we can make best use of it to help students.

Here is a link to the government information:

Online Safety

The link to the Online safety information can be found on the school website under the heading “Parent and carers area”, then “online safety” from the dropdown menu.

Information: Personal Assistants

Do you, or are you planning to employ a personal Assistant for your child/young person? If you do and they haven’t much experience this free course offered by Disability North may be helpful. The dates and links are below and here is a testimonial shared by Angie, who runs the courses:

“This course is so informative. I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t ever considered being a PA, this course might just change your mind”.

Wednesday 6th December – Newcastle College

Friday 12th January – Disability North

Wednesday 13th December – Disability North

Tuesday 16th January 2024 – Virtual PA Training – Zoom

Friday 19th January 2024 – Virtual PA Training – Zoom

Tuesday 30th January 2024 – Disability North

Preparation for Adulthood

There is a Preparation for Adulthood Steering Group at school. I think the main point for parents/carers is to understand, as most of you do that an EHCP is an Education led plan which can but does not always continue until the person is 25 years old. If they have reached their education/training objectives the Local Authority may cease the plan. This rarely happens before the young person is 18/19 years of age and most students move on to a further education establishment, college etc. It is why, in conversations with parents I emphasise the importance of involving social services as when an EHCP ceases, if the young person will still need support, it is social services and possibly the NHS, for those eligible for continuing healthcare funding who will pay for services.

The important thing for parents is to think ahead; you know your child/young person best and having a general plan is important.

I’ve shared the next part many times, but my motto is best to tell people twice than not at all. In this case, its in case you’ve missed it.

Preparing for the future

Mencap has good information and free webinars for parents/carers thinking about their young person’s future. The 2 webinars cover slightly different things:

  • Planning for the future is mainly thinking about wills and trusts.
  • Decision making is to do with making decisions for people with limited/reduced mental capacity.

The link to the booking page for the online webinars is below:

Online Webinars

Here is a link to a free download on wills and trusts. You will need to provide your details and it will be emailed to you.

Project Choice: Gateshead: SEN Open Event

This may be of interest to Post 16 families. Louise Finlay has offered to go along to support anyone interested if this would help. You can contact her at

We’d like to let you know about our upcoming Project Choice Open Event on Monday 18th December starting at 3.30pm at our Baltic Campus. Project Choice is an award-winning programme which gives young people with additional needs the employment edge and the skills and experience needed to prepare for work and adult life.

The aim of our event is to give parents/carers an opportunity to meet our Project Choice staff and attend a short presentation about our courses for those with SEN (Special Educational Needs).

We would appreciate it if you could circulate this invite to any parent/carers you are aware of that have young people who would be interested in finding out more information about Project Choice.

They can sign up for the event by clicking below or to find out more click here.

Toby Henderson Trust: Autism Hub Open Day.

I had some positive feedback from a parent about The Hub which will be hosting a drop-in open day giving everyone the opportunity to come along and meet the team and enjoy some festive treats.  The drop-in session is to welcome anyone who would like to meet the team and learn more about what we do and what is available.  Join us on Wednesday 6th December from 10am – 2pm.  The hub is also collecting for Hope and Hospitality Food Bank.  If you would like to donate, items can be left at the Hub up to 6th December. (Please see attached posters).

The Hub runs regular events in South Shields that are specifically for our families in South Tyneside.   Check out the Autism Hub events page

For post diagnostic families of autistic children living in Northumberland

We are excited to launch our face-to-face monthly post [1] diagnostic support groups at Toby House.  Please be aware that these groups are for parents/carers only and places will need to be booked to attend.

We have dates for the Northumberland Cuppa & cake group for 2024.

4 – 11 years –   Wednesday 17th January – 10am to 11.30am

11- 18 years   – Wednesday 24th January – 10am to 11.30am

To book your place please email: or alternatively telephone: 0300 365 3055


Appropriate Accreditation Christmas Dates – View Calendar Here

Metrocentre: There are a few things, winter/Christmas related going on at the Metrocentre. I have shared some but here are the links to all:

Arctic Experience: a small, synthetic ice rink where they request a donation to the Gateshead Food bank but is free of charge.

Winter Wonderscape: a “journey to the North Pole” experience: It is not free of charge and there is an option to visit Santa too. There are also SEND sessions:

Toby Henderson Trust: They have a list of activities and events taking place across the NorthEast which I have shared before, but as they are adding to it as they get more information, I thought it worth another share:HERE

FoPHS News:

AGM reminder: You can expect lots of reminders that our AGM will take place on Thursday 25th January 2024 from 9.30-11.00. It will be hybrid, but I will set this up nearer the time. Please, please come along or join if you can and even more so if you feel the work FoPHS does has a positive impact on your families.


A message from Becky and Sarah below: FoPHS is funding this for the whole school.

“As it’s the first of December we wanted to let you know that our literacy team are once again hard at work planning a festive treat for our students – ‘Jolabokaflod’ is returning, but on a slightly smaller scale! For those of you who are new to the school or missed this last year, ‘Jolabokaflod’ translates as ‘Christmas book flood’ and is an Icelandic Christmas tradition. Books are gifted to friends and family on Christmas Eve, then opened immediately and enjoyed together curled up by the fire with a hot drink!

As part of our ‘Year of Reading’ last year, students were gifted a book to enjoy in class and then take home, whereas this year we will focus more on the experience within school. We are planning a special afternoon of cozy book sharing in our classrooms, once again funded by The Friends of Percy Hedley School. Last year we had fireplace scenes on the class whiteboards, twinkly lights and lots of festive story fun, which we can’t wait to replicate for our students again.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about Jolabokaflod it’s worth a little read here:

As always, if your pupil has a favourite festive book that they would like to bring in and share with their class please do send it in and let the team know!”

We would welcome support from parents/carers with a few things leading up to Christmas;

MOVEing in a Winter Wonderland:

This will happen across 2 days in school, with many or the resources used funded by the FoPHS. The students thoroughly enjoy it and we are fortunate to have such a creative therapy team bring it to life, and make therapy fun. FoPHS is all about the fun.

FoPHS 100 club

We have a QR code or a link to click; some of you have asked for an easier way to join the 100 club which could raise £600, or even more if we get more than 100 people to join.

If you click the link below; you have the option to set the contribution to just giving to £0, let me know and I’ll ensure you are added to the draws, the first of which will take place at the AGM.

Ending with this week’s thoughts and a festive start to the month

Contact details

Eileen Robinson: Family Liaison Officer


Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext. 3260.