Family Information and PTA News 3 February 2023

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Family Liaison Blog!

It has been rather windy this week; better than snow when you live in a rural area where gritting is not a priority. I’m actively looking for Snowdrops and Crocuses in the hope that Spring is on the way.

The PTA AGM is imminent; next Thursday 9th February and I hope that some of you will join us. It is especially important, as was discussed at the open meeting that we recruit parents/carers of students in Lower School. I would be very happy to chat informally with anyone who is interested and am sure Donna our current Chair would also be happy to do so. Many hands make light work and as part of my role in school is supporting the PTA, it doesn’t need to be very onerous.


Random Act of Kindness Day

The next off timetable day is scheduled for 16th February. A letter has/will be sent home with all students.


Coffee afternoons:

A reminder of the dates and times:
Monday 13th February 14-15.00. Post 16

Tuesday 14th February 14-15.00. Engagement

Wednesday 15th February 14-15.00. ELTBA

Thursday 16th February 14-15.00. KS4 Appropriate accreditation

Tracy Smithson, one of our Lead Teachers will be joining parents’ coffee afternoons to share information about the Leading Parent Partnership Award (LPPA).

She will have some handouts and a few questions, which would require parents’ input/responses.


Usborne Book Fayre

There is a book fayre planned for the last week of this half term.




Claiming Universal Credit for disabled students.

Contact – for families of disabled children held an online Q&A session recently. This is a real challenge, since changes to it were brought in by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in December 2021, making it more difficult for students to claim the Employment and Support Allowance element of Universal Credit (ESA/UC).

The link below is to the session; it’s an hour long, so get that kettle on first!

And don’t be put off by DWP staff who say no. I’ve had contact from the parent of a former student to say they were successful.


Watch: How parent carers can claim Universal Credit for a disabled student

Our Family Finance adviser Derek Sinclair recently hosted a Facebook Live Q&A where parent carers could ask questions and get advice on their children’s Universal Credit claims.

Online Workshops

Contact-for families of disabled children has a range of online workshops coming up. They have had some funding to provide these free of charge and will be delivered via zoom. For those parents/carers who struggle, for many reasons to get to venues for workshops these bridge the gap. Have a look at what’s on offer below:

Over 6 weeks, covering different issues, but you could attend individual sessions.

There are others planned, including Money Matters, Support for your child’s anxiety, toilet training, helping your child sleep and wellbeing for parents/carers of young children with additional needs.

I have attended numerous workshops, support groups and more over the last 20 years as a parent of more than 1 child with additional/special educational needs. Some are better than others and I attended with the “if I can get 1 idea which may work for me/mine, it’s worth the time”.

If you have attended any of the online workshops from Contact or others, I’d appreciate your feedback. Personally, I prefer to be in a room with other parent/carers


Welfare Rights Support.

This is more than likely for families living in Newcastle only. It is the Newcastle Welfare Rights team, from what I can establish.

Clothes Labels.

Please see the leaflet below if you are interested in clothing, footwear labels. The clothing ones can be sew-on, iron-on or sticker form.



East Boldon Riding Centre

East Boldon Riding and 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗽𝘆 Centre are looking for families with children and young adults who they feel could benefit from the incorporation of Equine Therapy sessions into their weekly routines.

We are offering six weeks worth of free weekly therapy sessions to four families who are willing to let us share and follow their experience of Equine therapy by means of providing reviews and feedback and (where appropriate) authorising the use of imagery/video within the sessions.

Could we ask any families who may be interested in enriching their child’s journey with this experience please contact us via our email:

Or text us on

07904 814764

With your contact number and a brief explanation of your situation so we can assess if we feel our various therapy sessions, we have to offer could benefit you.

The practice of incorporating horses into a therapeutic programme is proven to aid emotional growth, learning and healing and has proven success in helping children and adults overcome challenges including (but not limited to) learning and sensory impairments such as Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD, Down’s syndrome, emotional and behavioural difficulties, depression, and anxiety.

Benefits of equestrian therapy can include, Strengthening and developing emotional bonds and self-esteem through learning to care for the horses.

Horse riding improves motor skills, muscle development, improved co-ordination and increased strength and balance.

Sensory processing issues can benefit through working in environments where all aspects of the senses are impacted. Children who may struggle to engage in traditional therapy and classroom settings but thrive in the inclusive outdoor setting of our stables.

Sessions have a positive impact on improving mood and lessening irritability focusing on tasks in-hand which are proven to control hyperactivity and restore calmness, focus and concentration.

Improving language skills and word fluency through engaging in fun tasks where children and adults are given the opportunity to communicate both verbally and giving the horses direct instruction through riding and care.

Many thanks,


Triple C Photography – Carl Carson Captures

North-East Barbarians Wheelchair Rugby:

Check out this new club in Blyth.

The sessions are on from 6.00 – 7.00 Tuesday evenings at Blyth sports (NE24 5BT). Everyone is welcome (as long as they can move their own chair) also if any chairs are free siblings can join in, but parents must stay either in the hall or just outside in the breakout area (there is a coffee shop) All they need to bring is some water and be ready for fun.

Find their website and social media channels below. They are also on TikTok at Newcastlerugby

Haystax: Inclusive farm Experience Centre and Lodges

At Haystax, we are passionate about providing a truly inclusive environment where everyone feels at home. Our farm and woodland setting is small and quiet by design. Much of the site is wheelchair accessible (with plans to extend this to the whole site). We offer adaptions such as a Changing Places toilet in an environment that is warm and friendly and feels like any other family day out. A place where you can just be you.

We are so excited that we are starting to open. It will happen in phases.

Phase one (February 2023) – We open our first two accessible lodges, a coffee shop, three sensory rooms, a Changing Places toilet, and Haystax Hub CIC.

Phase Two (Easter 2023) – Noo Noo’s Forest School opens.

Phase Three – Our pets’ corner opens.

Phase Four – We open our animal paddocks, nature trail, and sensory woodland.

Based near Consett, Co Durham.

Visit their website for more information here


Disco for those aged 16+.

I have had positive feedback from some families about these discos.

See a poster about them below:

PTA News:


The AGM will be held next week; Thursday 9th February from 9.30 – 11.00 in school or you can join via TEAMS.

The link to join is below as well as a poster.

We would appreciate and welcome as many as possible joining the meeting; there is no expectation that anyone take on onerous officer roles

PTA 100 club

We will be drawing the first 6 of 12 100 Club draws during the meeting. We currently have 80 numbers taken: a record. This means that we have raised £480 for the PTA and winners will receive £40 per draw. Our communications team has shared this on social media, so we may have more joining.

The form is below:

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.