Family Information and PTA News 30 September 2022

As September draws to a close, Autumn weather and darker nights are here and the students seem settled into their classes. This week I said I would focus on Benefits, and have included some links to support for those struggling with increasing cost of living.

Thanks to everyone who came along to the social coffee morning yesterday. The unanimous best part from parental perspective was “talking to other parents”. When I set these up it was to bridge the gap created by the wide area from which students come, the fact that most are transported by home to school transport meaning you don’t get to talk in the school grounds at drop off and pick up times. I’m really pleased and, as always want to make them even better. As you will have seen, I don’t get enough time to talk to everyone, but am available to those who want to discuss things at other times.

Free School Meals

A letter will be sent,on Monday regarding Free School Meals.  I need to stress the importance of returning these if your child is eligible for free school meals. I had numerous enquiries last year, where parents heard about the holiday vouchers but had not returned the form.

The letter is below

Free school meals 2022



There is a new post on our E-Safety section on Cybersecurity. The link is here

Maria, our Lead ICT Teacher keeps the E-Safety information up to date, as she does her own training on emerging issues. Please do stay informed about this so that you keep your children/young people safe online. The link to the E-Safety section, which has a wealth of information is here

Ofsted Parent View   

I would like to thank those of you who completed the above over the last few days. Those families who have had children with us for a few years know that I usually promote this in the Spring term, when students are settled and families can answer the questions from experience. It felt too early for our new families, but we appreciate your support. Ofsted do look at these before, and during inspections and John has asked me to encourage families to complete them; he hoped that all families would respond. The link to the form is here



All of the students attending this school will be claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If a reassessment is imminent, or if your child is turning 16 it will be worth a little preparation in advance. I have lots of information but here are a few links which will be worth checking out. It is really important when completing these forms that there is evidence for any statement you make. Your opinion (and day to day knowledge) may be ignored. I can help if you make contact.

You can get help completing forms from a number of places including:

  • Contact-for families of disabled children
  • Disability North
  • Citizen’s Advice Bureau
  • Welfare Rights (differs depending on your Local Authority)

Contact me for further advice, as I may be able to help.

Contact-for families of disabled children benefit and financial advice:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA): 

Link from Contact-for families of disabled children

Link to webinar from Disability North

Personal Independence Payment (PIP):

Link from Contact-for families of disabled children

Link to webinar from Disability North

New Style Employment and Support Allowance:

Changes to this in December 2021 have made it difficult for a young person who remains in education after their 19th birthday to claim this support. Now, for families claiming Child Tax Credits,these will cease on their 20th birthday. So, if they are still in education this could place a financial burden on the family. What Contact-for families of disabled children advise is that a claim for this benefit as credit only should be made on their 16th birthday. This forces a work capability assessment, thus protecting them when they reach their 20th birthday. There is a link below and if it is of interest I can run an information session, or can communicate directly with families by phone, email, TEAMS or face to face. I attended a webinar on this last term run by the Child Poverty Action Group. They are monitoring and would appreciate feedback from those who apply. I’m happy, as a member of this group to raise these on your behalf. As the changes are relatively recent, the more I know, the better placed I am to provide accurate information to families.


Cost of Living help

There is advice and support for those struggling with increasing cost of living. Here is a link from Disability North

Advice from Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Advice from Contact-for families of disabled children


Toby Henderson Trust 

The Toby Henderson Trust (TTHT) is an independently funded charity supporting autistic children, young people and adults, their families and carers in the North East of England.

We provide relevant, appropriate and accessible support for autistic young people from two years into adulthood, whilst also empowering parents, families and carers by sharing knowledge, experience and understanding.  We acknowledge that yours or your child’s situation is unique and we encourage you to contact us to discuss how we can offer individual support.

A recent addition to their offer is the Borrow Bags and Boxes: you can borrow sensory boxes to be collected from one of their bases. Full details here

The link to the website is here


Bad Cat Cafe, Wallsend

Thanks to Helen, a parent who shared this with me. The Bad Cat Cafe recently opened in Wallsend, where cat lovers can come and meet their furry rescue friends. Helen said that staff noticed that when the cafe gets busy, her daughter leaves. They decided to run a “quiet session”, for those with sensory processing needs and Learning disabilities. This occurs every Saturday afternoon between 3pm and 5pm, where they try to keep these sessions as calm and quiet as possible.

Address: 200 High St E, Wallsend NE28 7RP

Friday 11am–5pm
Saturday 9am–5pm
Sunday 10am–4pm
Monday 11am–5pm
Tuesday 11am–5pm
Wednesday 11am–5pm
Thursday 11am–5pm
You can visit their Facebook page for more information and to see some photos of their fur friends:

Smile Through Sport

Waves, Whitley Bay   

They run an SEN swim session 17-18.00 on a Sunday. The link to their website is here

The Links
Whitley Bay
NE26 1TQ

United Kingdom


(0191) 643 2600

Airbox, Cramlington 

An indoor trampoline park, where there is a weekly SEN session

£10 per person This is a calmer session (low music, no flashing lights, smaller numbers on park) 1 carer per child/adult  included in the price

PTA News


True Colours

So impressed were we, staff and students with last year’s work with this local inclusive theatre group, the committee has agreed to fund 2 days in school in the penultimate week before the Christmas holidays.


The committee agreed that we would combine our first meeting with the social coffee morning of each academic year, in an effort to encourage more engagement from families. Unfortunately the Chair who attends virtually all events in school was unable to join us yesterday but my eagle eyes did not miss the fact that we had 4 former Chairs present. We had a visit from the Ofsted Inspector, meaning we didn’t get round to PTA business. the committee will meet imminently as the AGM will be here before we know it.

100 Club

Thank you to those who have joined. In the words of the song “we’re halfway there” with 49 numbers taken and our aim is to reach 100 this year. I know from previous years that reminders are a good prompt, so here is the form again for anyone who needs it. You don’t need to return the form; I am happy to complete these on your behalf. If sending a cheque, please make it payable to Percy Hedley Foundation and on the back write PTA 100 Club.

100 Club Annual Subscriber agreement 2022-23

Facebook Group.

This is open to parents, carers and current staff of Percy Hedley School. The link to join is here

Have a good weekend


Telephone: 0191 2161811 ext 3260