Family Information and PTA News 20 January 2023

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Family Liaison Blog!

What a start to the week it was seeing the snow falling on Monday? For those of us living in rural areas it was quite a challenge. It was lovely to speak with parents of our new starters last week and I hope your young people are settling into school well.

The photo below is mine! It wasn’t quite that bad this week.


We have had some issues with links between the school administration system and the text service we use, whereby updates haven’t been regular. This has just been updated today so if you are NOT receiving texts/emails, please get in touch.


Informal PTA coffee morning this Tuesday 24th January 9.30-11.00 See under PTA for details.

Departmental Coffee afternoon dates on the Pathway information below.


Industrial Action

You may have seen reports in the press that the NEU (National Education Union) has announced a number of strike dates for teachers in maintained state schools and academies in England and Wales. As a non-maintained special school, our teachers are not eligible for strike action and therefore our schools will remain open.

Although employees at our school will not be part of any strike action, please be aware there may well be an impact on our staff due to the wider industrial action which may in turn affect staffing levels in school., this may then affect your child’s team and/or how their school day looks.  If this is the case we will be sure to contact those affected as soon as we have further information.


Events in school information.

Last week, I provided some guidance and said I would include class specific information this week. It is below.

The departmental coffee afternoons are arranged but I thought it might help if I include the details here too.

Pathways: Classes


Hannah Williams (HW), Beth Edwards/Tracy Smithson (BE/TS), Andy Hall (AH), Kasia Sillars (KS), Hannah Fuller (HF) and Christian Hebron/Tracy Smithson (CHe/TS)

Coffee afternoon: Tuesday 14th February: 14-15:00



Rahme Curcur (RC), Lizzie Lee (LL), Helen Robson/Sarah Hamlin (HR/SH), Harriett Barrie (HB), Rebecca Meredith (RM), Terry West/Oliver Barker (TW/OB) and John Strachan (JS).

Coffee afternoon: Wednesday 15th February: 14 – 15:00


Appropriate Accreditation: KS4 or Post 16

KS4: Russell Runnacles (RR), Antony James/Jayne Humphries (AJ/JH), Claire Hayden (Cha), Kat Rumney/Tara Jewell (KR/TJ), Jo Ferguson (JF), Chris Taylor/Louise Finlay (CT/LF) and Joel Hall (JH)

Coffee afternoon: Thursday 16th February: 14 – 15:00


Post 16: Leanne Daley (LD), Nathalie Campbell (NC), Lena Webster-Costella (LWC) and Phillip Hedworth (PH)

Coffee afternoon: Monday 13th February 14 – 15.00



Skills for People.

A charity called Skills for People, which has supported disabled people and their families mainly living in Newcastle since 1983  and is based the North East.  “We are working together with the North East and Cumbria Learning Disability Network, and have created a brand new and very exciting, ’Live Well social media project’, called ‘Skills to Wellbeing’. The project is going to be delivered by people with lived experience, which will be launched on 16th January 2023 at 10am.

The Live Well project will ensure that people with a learning disability and autistic people have a social media presence across the North East and Cumbria.  This social media presence will connect people with a learning disability and or autism and families and carers, to share ideas and stories; and promote the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities and or autism, to live happier, healthier lives.

We will be raising awareness via a large variety of content and posts on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We want to promote lots of organisations throughout the North East and Cumbria who work with people with a learning disability and autistic people!”

This went live on 16th January and may be of interest to families.

Follow us on:

Contact details for Skills for People are below. Emily does not work full time, so if you contact them, leave a message.

Skills for People

4 Glendale Terrace


Newcastle upon Tyne



Telephone 0191 281 8737

Mobile 07792 032 969


Website –

Facebook – @skillsforpeople

Twitter – @skillsforpeople

YouTube – Skills for People


Toby Henderson Trust.

This local charity offers a lot, from loans of sensory equipment, support groups, free webinars and activities, I thought it worth sharing the link to their website.

North East Autism Society

Support For Families

Our Family Development Team have released new dates for their free support services this year.

Zoom Webinars

– Introduction To Supporting Autistic Children: 9th March 1pm – 3pm

– Supporting The Emotional Wellbeing Of Autistic Children: 9th February & 13th April 1pm – 3pm.

Autism Workshop: North Tyneside

In these sessions, we will cover: worries and action planning, common misconceptions, differences in autistic children and practical strategies to use in everyday life. Various dates throughout 2023.

Autism Support Hubs: Newcastle

In these sessions, we will cover: worries and action planning, common misconceptions, differences in autistic children and practical strategies to use in everyday life. Various dates throughout 2023.


Hydrotherapy request

Please could anyone who knows of places where families can hire places suitable for Hydrotherapy share information with me? It needs to be:

  • Available for private hire
  • Have suitable changing facilities; ideally with hoist (Changing place or equivalent)

I am aware that the Alan Shearer Centre has one but am told it is very difficult to secure a booking. However, I am sharing the link as I know it meets the above criteria

From a personal perspective, we used the Alan Shearer Activity Centre a lot when our son was younger. He loved the garden, play area, sensory cave and we held birthday parties there too. I recommend it. Membership is free; but you do need to register with them.

A Million Blankets

Thanks to parent Sarah for sharing. It may be of interest to some of our families.

Aspire to Play at Quadrant Leisure Centre: 16-25 year olds

4.30-6.30pm Wednesdays at Ray Gray Centre, Stotts Road, Walkergate, Newcastle, NE6 4UH.

Indoor games, arts and crafts, chill zone, socialise and make new friends, and so much more.

Exclusively for young people with additional needs.

All participants must register prior to the first session. To register visit the website, the link of which is below.

Pantomime anyone?

Peter Pan Pantomime: Kingdom Life Church

I don’t have any information on accessibility but, as it is a church in Heaton, I expect it is limited and would suggest you contact them directly if you need anything specific. Very reasonable prices, so thought it worth sharing.
Did someone say Pantomime? Oh no, they didn’t, Oh yes, they did!!!! It’s going to be an excellent event for all ages, and we are doing two dates!! You can book your tickets using the links below!!

PTA News

Open Meeting: On Tuesday 24th January we are holding an informal meeting to gather your thoughts and ideas about the PTA. This is replacing the formal meeting planned for that evening.  We want to get your thoughts on the PTA to ensure its continuing success. You can drop in between 9.30 and 11 or join via TEAMS. You don’t need to stay for the whole time; I simply wanted sufficient time for everyone who wants to contribute to have the opportunity to do so. We know that you value the PTA and the difference it makes to your children. There is no expectation of parents taking on time consuming roles and know that many of you support in whatever way you can.

The link to join via TEAMS is below, as well as a poster for the meeting on the 24th January.


The AGM will take place on Thursday 9th February from 9.30-11.00.

This is another chance to come along in person or join on TEAMS. We want your ideas and involvement, and you can stay for as long, or short a time as you have available. I will share the link separately, as I know from experience that too many links’ causes confusion.


The PTA was delighted to support the Jolablokaflod in school in December.

As part of the school’s promotion of reading the PTA funded the purchase of books for each student. These were first shared in classes, then a suitable (as best they could) book was chosen for each student as a Christmas gift from the PTA. Feedback from classes was positive and I rather like the photo from Christian’s class.

Huge thanks to Becky who led on this venture and gave me the following feedback:

“Classes really made an effort and students were generally pleased. The staff have reported it was a lovely afternoon anyway! There were classes that brought pyjamas to change into, had sleeping bags/ blankets and took turns one a time to open and share their book. We have one student who has loved their book so much (despite saying he hates books and refusing to read any other books on offer) that we are ordering more of the series for the school library as he is incredibly motivated.”

I know that, despite best efforts to ensure that books were appropriate to student ability, visual impairments, sensory/tactile needs it won’t have been perfect. What I do know is that a lot of time and effort went in to getting it right and I would love individual quotes to share with the PTA. As a bonus, we had more books than students, so the school library has some new books too.  


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My contact details

Eileen Robinson Family Liaison Officer


Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext 3260