Family Information and PTA news 23 September 2022
I hope that students and families are now feeling more settled into the new academic year. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing information on activities, benefits, grants etc. Some of you will know of many or even all of them, but as I research, there may be updates or new information so do have a look. This week I’ll start with activities!
I know that not all parents/carers can get to school and there are different reasons why this is the case including: work, distance, childcare, appointments and not all our parents drive. I really want to find ways to involve those who wish to have more contact. Your suggestions will help but I thought that a TEAMS coffee event might work. Let me know your thoughts.
Coffee morning/PTA introduction
Thank you to all who have responded to my invitation to the coffee morning/PTA introduction to be held next Thursday 29th September from 09.30-11.00. If you haven’t replied, there is still time and this can be done by email or by completing the form below
Just to say that you can arrive or depart at any time between 9.30 and 11. I know some drop other children off, others live a distance from school or may have other commitments. There will be an easy sign in process on arrival. On the Inventry system, on the left of the screen will be a box labelled “Coffee morning”. If I know you are coming your name will be on the list.
On the day I will have 100 club forms for anyone who wishes to join. I also have some Radar Keys (also called NKS keys) for sale at £3 each; these allow access to locked disabled toilets in the UK. If you aren’t coming to the coffee morning and wish to purchase one, just send money to me via class teams (ideally let me know by email so that I know to expect it).
The Little Falcon.
A heartwarming book written by Tracey Horner, mum to Toby who is a student at our school.
A story of kindness, friendship and a little bird who couldn’t fly. I have copies of this book in school which cost £6.99 and will have some at the coffee morning for anyone who would like to have a look. It is also available on Amazon.
As part of my role I assist families applying for DLA (Disability Living Allowance)and/or PIP.(Personal Independence Payment) I will share information on these in the coming weeks but just wanted to make initial contact with those who have children who will turn 16 in the next year or so. I invite you to make contact with me, so that I can provide some guidance, signposting and support on changing from DLA to PIP which will happen when, or soon after your child turns 16. Parents have told me that this has been very helpful in the past.
Help with Energy Costs
The Family Fund
has produced a short course (yes it’s free) online which helps with understanding the energy costs, rising costs, offers some suggestions for saving energy, information on help available and advice on where to go if you are/will struggle to pay your energy bills.
The link is here
I have been asked to share the 2 flyers below with Newcastle families. These are relating to:
Focus group to shape SEND Strategy (in association with the Council for Disabled Children)
Discounts for those with additional needs and carers.
When planning a visit to anywhere which incurs an entrance charge, there may be discounts available to those with disabilities and/or carers. Visit the website and search “accessibility”, which will also give information on other access arrangements. This could include special queues ( dare I mention queue jumping this week? ), accessible toilets, “changing place”, and discounts. You may find discounts on the link for tickets. Check also what evidence is required. It may be worth keeping a copy of your child’s DLA or PIP award with you.
Cinema Exhibitors CARD (CEA card).
The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed for UK cinemas by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA).
The Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.
The Card is also one way for cinemas to make sure they look after their disabled guests. If you require an adjustment to visit a cinema because of your disability, cinema staff should make them for you whether you have a CEA Card or not.
There has been a recent change to eligibility; it is now available to children from the age of 5 years with a disability. Eligibility criterion here
You will need a photo, proof of disability and it costs £6 for a year and enables 1 carer to attend free of charge.
“The Max Card is the UK’s leading discount card for cared for and looked after children. Families can use their Max Card at venues across the UK to get free or discounted admission.”
These are not available in all areas, and in areas where they are provided there are different ways the Local Authority manage them. If you would like to check your area, you can do so here
Smile Through Sport.
SMILE Through Sport was founded by Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE, a former Percy Hedley School student (I had to add) to create increased awareness, opportunity and enjoyment in disability sport throughout the North East of England.
They run the Boccia club at Percy Hedley School in term time and sporting activities for those with disabilities in Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Durham, some weekly sessions and a range of holiday activities.
I will share information as I receive it, and you can visit their website here
Durham and District Leisure Group: DADLG.
We are a registered charity that provides year-round opportunities for disabled children, adults and their families to get together, meet new people, try new things and above all, have fun. This is open to families in the Durham and district areas; you do not have to live in Durham. I love their aim which is:
‘To provide sports, leisure and social opportunities for children and young people with disabilities living within Durham and surrounding areas.’
They organise holiday activities: examples from their current Newsletter:
- Halloween pottery painting
- Chinese buffet
- Soft play
- Pantomime…BSL performance (how good is that?)
- Christmas market visit
- Visit to Santa
- Christmas Party
- Christmas disco, buffet with Santa in attendance.
They also arrange weekly clubs. They request a voluntary annual family contribution of £20 to help with costs. There are costs for the activities, but these are not exorbitant. For more information and to register please visit their website here
True Colours Theatre Group
We are a Charity that offers performing arts classes to children and young people of all abilities. True Colours Theatre provides a caring, warm and welcoming environment, a place of acceptance and inclusion where our members can grow in confidence without fear of judgement or stigma. Together we shine to make a beautiful rainbow! ????”
We had the pleasure of this group in school last year. My Thursday afternoons were the best, as I listened to the songs and saw them work with our students.
If you would like further information, details of classes etc the link to their website is here
Tim Lamb Centre: Pathways 4 All.
The Tim Lamb Centre is a specialist play and leisure provision, situated in the picturesque surroundings of the Rising Sun Country Park. Facilities at the Tim Lamb Centre include soft play, indoor trampolines, sensory room, ICT suite, café and more. The Centre also benefits from a fully enclosed play-garden, which includes a range of inclusive play and sensory equipment.
Pathways 4 All is a parent-led charity, providing play and leisure services for disabled children and young people. We support hundreds of disabled children/ young people and their families from across Tyne & Wear, Northumberland and Country Durham. As knowledge of our charity has increased, so has our reach, with families from both Cumbria and Teesside accessing our services. To access the centre, you will need to join. A family membership is £20 per year, with a charge per child accessing the centre. Full details are on their website. I have seen this centre grow over the years, with fantastic indoor and outdoor accessible areas and a changing place! The link to their website is here
Our AGM is due to be held on Tuesday 15th November from 09.30-11.00. We would love to have a good representation from across the school so please join us if you can. More details will be sent out very soon. However, if you are interested in more information about the PTA, committee positions etc you will find it here
PTA 100 Club
Thank you to those who have subscribed already. With 37 numbers already taken, and a few forms with me awaiting payment we are over 30% to our ambitious target of 100 this year. The number to beat is 78, from 2019. Please consider sharing with friends and family too. The form is on the link below; paper copies available from me and I will have them at the coffee morning on Thursday.
Our closed facebook group is open to parents/carers of current students and current staff. Following some concerns, we have taken the decision not to accept students on the page. This is because I, the main moderator for the page would not be aware of reasons why some students access to social media is curtailed. Parents/carers can share content with them and respond or interact on their behalf. This is what I do with my 24 year old son, as I know it safeguards him…and others!
We use it in school to share information, signpost to other agencies, charities and events. We invite parents/carers to use it to share photos, ideas and tips. I truly believe in the power of parent/carer local knowledge. The link to join the page is here
I thought I would share again this lovely poem written by Tracey Horner. It was my introduction to this talented author . Written from Toby’s perspective:
I wonder what they see when they’re looking at me
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext 3260