Family Information and PTA News 18 November 2022

We’re beginning to think about Christmas, as Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and by the time this goes out Children in Need will be well underway. As I am talking to staff about the in school PTA funded sessions from True Colours I am hearing lots of other plans. Do scroll down to the PTA section, which is probably the most important section of this week’s news from me.

Social Coffee morning:

You will have received an invite to a parent/carer coffee morning on Wednesday 30th November from 9.30-11.00. Do let me know if you plan to attend. So far, I’ve had 6 replies. In case you haven’t received or have misplaced the letter it is on the link below. This is an opportunity to meet with and chat to other parents and me and is intended to bridge the gap created by the wide area our school covers and the fact that most students come by home to school transport, so you don’t meet other parents in the school grounds. The last one was well attended and I look forward to seeing more of you on the 30th.

I’m open to using these as information events from school too, so let me know if you think of something we could include.

Social Coffee morning. 301122

You will have received a letter about this form but in case your child was off you will find it HERE

We received lots of communication from parents about issues with this form when it was first sent out; all of which have been addressed. As a parent of more than 1 child who had Special Educational Needs (they are no longer in education, which is why I say had), I completely understand the frustration when asked to complete yet another form. It is a professionals responsibility to inform everyone involved with a child with additional needs when they move on, yet my experience is that they do not leaving it to weary parents to do it for them. This form, which you only need to complete from scratch once means all the medical related information to support your child in school is on one document. The form has been set so that it can be updated, so you will be asked on an annual basis to make any changes. Before you submit the form there is a tab at the end to request a copy of what you have submitted for your own records. You may find this useful for other purposes.

I am more than happy to complete these with you by phone or, if you are in school for any reason ask to see me.

16-19  Bursary:

Thanks to those who have returned the form sent out to all Post 16 students. I think that I am missing a few, from last year’s application list. I have had 14 of 38 forms returned. If you have not returned the form, for whatever reason please do so or contact me and I will add you to the list. I will be hosting a TEAMS meeting on Wednesday 23rd November from 10-11.00 to explain more. I plan to record this meeting for those who are not able to join. Links have been sent to all Post 16 parents.

Next week I will be working on the application form, sending these out. I will be working with therapists, class teachers and parents to advise on specific requests. Last year the discretionary bursary covered the family contribution to the residential trip. However, there is scope for it to do more to help with the additional cost of Post 16 education for your child.

Link to eligibility on the government website is HERE


Universal Credits; Credit only application for students aged 16+

In the last academic year I shared information about a change within the DWP which will affect students who progress to college, whose parent/carer is claiming Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit. Prior to November 2021, on reaching 20 students would claim the Education and Support (ESA) element of Universal Credit UC). The change which was brought in stipulates that to be eligible the claim, and subsequent Work Capability Assessment MUST be carried out BEFORE the course begins. The charity Contact-for families of disabled children recommends that on turning 16, an application is made to the DWP for a “credit only” benefit. What this means is that the DWP are contacted by the young person, if they have capacity or the DWP Appointee and asked to process the claim. What I found was that people were being refused, put off or given wrong information. A credit only claim means that those claiming Child tax Credits and Child Benefit do not lose these, so it doesn’t come with additional funds.

The link below is from Contact and gives more information. Scroll to item 3

3. Young people who remain in full-time non-advanced education beyond the August after their 19th birthday

Would you like me to run a session either in school or on TEAMS to explain further? If so, please get in touch with me.

Toby Henderson Autism Hub webinar

The countdown to Christmas is on and we are repeating our webinar which explores ways to prepare for this occasion to help your autistic child. We recently delivered this session, and we were thrilled to hear that so many families benefited from this support and took loads of strategies and tips away ????????
If you’d like to join our last Christmas webinar for the year, then make sure to register by completing a booking form on our website:…/preparing-for-christmas-with…/.
May be an image of ‎text that says "‎The Toby Henderson Trust Preparing for Christmas with your Autistio Child Webinar WEDNESDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2022 01:00PM-02:30PM loved it. very informative and helpful. Thank you". "Thank you so much, really really insightful, have made lots of notes" "I've got a lot of great ideas". ﷺ "As always learnt some amazing things today, will be trying a lot of thems".‎"‎

Caudwell Children: Autism Sensory Packs:

A word of warning before you get too excited: Applications accepted from low income families; household income less than £45,000 per annum not including benefits. The child must be 0-18 years old and application completed before their 19th birthday. I’ve read their page and not everyone will be successful. The contents look amazing though.

We are still accepting applications for our new Autism Sensory Pack!????

Processing everyday sensory information can be extremely difficult for children with Autism, any of their senses can become over or under-stimulated by the environment around them.????
We have been mindful that the pack must be fun, educational, durable, and safe. Many of the items in the pack are compact, so they are suitable for travel or to take to school. ????
The pack is worth £112.80, but we ask families to contribute just 20% which is £22.????
There are only 2,000 packs currently available, so please send all your documents off as quickly as possible. Due to popular demand, it may take longer to process applications. However, we will contact families at every stage of the application process to give updates.????

Everyone can: Charity

A former parent has alerted me to this charity, which is supported by Children in Need. This is what they do:


We help people of all age ranges and disabilities improve their quality of life through the power of technology.



What the parent has told me is that

They travel to see people but would be after Christmas now for face to face appts.

They don’t sell anything but assess and recommend the most suitable options and are keen to work with therapists where available to get the best information around the needs of the young person/ range of movement etc.

There is no charge to parents, for the consultations (funded by Children in Need).

Parents would need to buy/ apply for funding etc for gaming equipment but it cuts out all expensive mistakes.

The link to their website is HERE


Beacon Film Academy:

Starting in January 2023, the film academy will take place over 8 workshops, on Sundays up to and including the February half term holiday.

Is your child aged 16-25 with a passion for film?

They have 9 free places available so you will need to be quick.

Access and travel bursaries are available

Flyers available from Post 16.

The link for more information is HERE

Visit their website at

SPARCS Christmas Fair: Saturday 26th November

May be an image of text that says "OUPPORTING AUTISTC OEOPL THEIR HOSE WITH OTHER GELATED CONDITIONO ம SPARCS Christmas Fair Saturday 26th November 26/11/22 At The Whitley Bay Big Local 158 Whitley Road 2-4pm Whitley Bay NE26 2LY Free Entry whitley All welcome email charity number"

Newcastle United Foundation: Disability Programme – Weekly Clubs 2022

Please see the document below; lots of free activities from the Foundation. If you would like a hard copy, send an email and I will send it home

Newcastle United Foundation – Disability Programme – Weekly Clubs – 2022

Centre for Life

I saw this, and thought it would be good for quite a few of our students.

✨ As we’re all feeling the pinch right now, here’s a little something to brighten up your day! ✨
All tickets to the science centre over the festive period (both adults and kids) will cost only £5!
T&Cs apply.

May be an image of 2 people, tree and text that says "wvvMNAw Festive fun for a fiver! Until 8 January 2023 T&C's apply."

Christmas in the Woods

Sunday 20 November from 12 to 6pm and Sunday 18 December from 12 to 6pm
NotePlease remember to bring cash

There will be a Santa, its £3 to meet him, kids receive a selection box and rest goes to charity ‘North East Hearts with goals’ There will be a post box to send a letter to Santa, its free to post a letter but if children would like a reply its £1. There will be roughly 20 stalls selling all different types of crafts such as hand made soap, Jewlery, dog treats, Xmas crafts etc.

The cafe will be open doing deluxe hot chocolates, pork stuffing sandwiches, homemade broth, and cakes.
There will be food vendors too.

Remember to bring sensible footwear as it may be muddy due to the amount of rain that we’ve had.

Parking is available at the main entrance by the visitor centre. The following parking charges apply: 

  • First hour – free
  • Up to two hours – £2
  • Over two hours – £4
  • An annual permit is also available for regular visitors at a cost of £50. Annual permits run from 1 July to 30 June each year.

Parking is free for Blue Badge holders, this is the case whether parked in a disabled bay or not, please display your Blue Badge.

???? We have some large events coming up that we’re very excited to announce, and as always, FREE OF CHARGE to enjoy!
???? To also celebrate the week before Christmas we have some more fantastic events each night around our late-night shopping.
3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th December ???? Santa @ Royal Quays Garden World
10th December- ???? Reindeer parade- 12pm
Late-night shopping week:
19th December- ????Santa meet and greet – 6pm- 8pm
19th December- ???? Alpaca petting zoo- 4pm- 8pm
20th December- ???? Flaming Lily Circus Christmas light show- 5.30pm- 7.45pm
21st December- ???? The Official Gruffalo- meet and greet- 3.30pm- 8pm
22nd December- ⛄️ The Official Snowman and the Snowdog- 3.30pm- 8pm
23rd December- ❄️ Activities with the Frozen Sisters 3.30pm- 8pm
Who is excited about these events??? ????


Let me use this week to talk about the AGM which didn’t happen. The PTA was set up in 2013 and in order to ensure that we are operating legally we joined Parentkind, an organisation that supports PTA’s nationally. Indeed, I have been asked by the odd parent over the years about this; so this means we have a constitution, insurance cover for events, a member forum and a place to ask questions. To hold an AGM, we have to have a quorum, basically minimum numbers representing both school and parents/carers. The AGM has to be advertised 6 weeks in advance and I know that this happened as that rests with me. My position on the committee is a role specific school appointed. In short I am not elected. On Tuesday we had the Chair, a teacher who is not on the committee and me turn up. Other committee members had valid reasons why they couldn’t be present but had sent apologies and contributions. We simply couldn’t proceed with the AGM. Donna, our Chair is the only parent member of the current committee who doesn’t work full time meaning she has taken the lead on in school jobs with me. Committee members do not have to attend every meeting and we have been very lucky to have on our committee someone I can only refer to as the Mary Poppins of the group. We have had 2 parent governors too, and all our committee parents have given up time to support us. This year, 2 advised in advance of the meeting that they would be stepping back from officer roles. I know you value the PTA, which has funded so much, from in school activities, supporting the MOVE events, the outdoor learning space, memberships, online pantomimes and more. Being an officer does not have to take up much time. As part of my role, I support in school and have stepped in to deputise for the Chair, Secretary and helping the Treasurer with fund information. I know how tiring, exhausting and stressful life is for many of our parents; I am one of you. I know some don’t drive, work full time, have other caring responsibilities, need a break as when their child/ren is/are at school and for some that is your only respite. I know some live quite a distance; the Chair lives near Darlington. I hope that you understand now why the AGM had to be abandoned but we used the time to make an action plan.

Thanks to all who took the time on our Facebook page to comment.  I know you want the PTA to continue, as do I. We listen; when you told us you would attend online meetings in the evening we set them up. We had 5 parents + the committee at the first, 1 + committee at the 2nd and just the committee  at the last one. We could chat informally about this at the Social Coffee morning planned for 30th November for those who are attending; we want to hear your voices. Mostly, we want the work of the PTA to continue to make life at school for your children even better. It is why I, some staff and several of you and your families gave up your time to run an autumn and summer fayre on a Saturday. John Steward is extremely supportive and appreciative of all that we do; he too turned up on both days to help with the fayre, meet families and open and lock up the school for the fayre to take place.

As soon as we have a plan, hopefully by next week I will share it with you.

PTA 100 Club

There is still time to join the 100 Club; the form is below

100 Club Annual Subscriber agreement 2022-23

Percy Hedley School PTA Facebook page

The link to join the Facebook page is HERE

Have a lovely weekend. My contact details are:

Eileen Robinson. Family Liaison Officer

Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext 3260. Email: