Family Information and PTA News Friday 24th March 2023
Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Family Liaison Blog!
Isn’t it lovely to see signs of spring now in terms of warmer weather? School, following a very successful residential trip for Post 16’s to Calvert Trust in Keswick last week has returned to “normal”! Bad weather did not stop fun and by all accounts they had the usual fantastic time. A welcome break for some parents too; I know from experience.
This week too students were Eggcited to MOVE with an Easter theme. The PTA supports these events, and it is great to see some resources purchased which can be used throughout the year. This time there was a giant Kerplunk! How amazing?
School event reminders:
You are Unique: Tuesday 28th March
Off timetable day. Non uniform if students wish. No theme. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. The letter below has been sent home.
Social Coffee morning: Wednesday 29th March 9.30-11
Come and chat to other parents; you have told me you value these. The letter below has been sent home.
Outdoor Learning Area.
There are plans to further develop this area. I have been asked if anyone has contacts who might be able to provide some topsoil and wood chippings, ideally free. If so, please get in touch with me.
Toby Henderson Trust:
There are a series of interesting webinars coming up which will be of interest to some families. You can find full details on the link below:
Next week is World Autism Acceptance week!
To celebrate, we are hosting two iPad workshops to support families raising a child with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), or similar.
Sign up to a free one-hour workshop for parents and carers, to find out how you can use your iPad to create a personalised social story for your child or young person.
During the workshop we will show you how to make a simple social story, for example about a trip to the shops, using a free app called clips. You’ll then have the skills to recreate as many stories as you like!
Book your place for Tuesday 28 March at 7:30pm https://bit.ly/3F0obsv
Book your place for Wednesday 30 March at 10:30am https://bit.ly/3ZLFrtE
We can’t wait to see you there!
This charity has online seminars which will be relevant to many families, especially as your children get older. They also have online information on their website. I have shared this before, but these issues are in the top 2 of queries I get from families. I can’t recommend places, given that there are legal implications, and I would not want the responsibility of potentially giving the wrong information. However, MENCAP is a National Specialist Charity in this field. The seminars are being repeated over the next few months. I know some parents have booked or attended and I would welcome your feedback.
I have already had a parent contact me to say that she attended both seminars which were “very well presented; there were different solicitors presenting each one. The information was clear, jargon free and I asked questions on both presentations which were answered clearly”
Their website is here:
Planning for the Future:
Wills and Trusts
Gateshead SEND News Newsletter
Gateshead families may be interested in this; it was received in the school mailbox.
Haystax Inclusive farm experiences and lodges:
There is an open day this Sunday 26th March. A wonderful opportunity to see what is on offer and learn what is planned. Here is what is on offer on Sunday, in their words:
“We have all been busy bees this week preparing for our open day on Sunday. We can’t wait to open the gates and give you all a sneaky peak at what is to come in the near future. For one day only, we will be bringing up a few of our animals, opening up the lodges so you can have a nosey around and opening the hub to offer a range of craft activities.
We are also delighted to say we will be joined by a few of our friends.
Noo Noo’s will be running drop in forest schools sessions in the woodland by the entrance all day
Dark Sky Sleepovers will be showcasing one of their sensory tents in one of our sensory rooms from 12 til 4.
Coco Kids will be in the hub doing a slime workshop between 11 and 12.
The Biking Vikings North East will be performing between 11 and 4.
Then in Cherry Lodges, there will be an opportunity to find out more about some of the organisations we have been working with. You can pop in and find out more about DurhamEnable Learning for Life and Rotary Club of Consett .
We will also have Infinity Photographic Studios Ltd onsite taking photos throughout the morning. We will be running an opt in procedure for photographic consent. Those happy to be photographed can make themselves know in the coffee shop and they will be given a lanyard.
A huge thank you to everyone involved.”
Here is the link to their website:
They have a Facebook group too if you’d like to follow:
Tim Lamb Centre:
Please see below their Easter holiday programme and opening hours.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to increasing numbers, they are strictly limiting holiday access to member families only. They will be unable to accept member-guest sign-ins during the school holidays.
CLOSED EASTER WEEKEND – Friday 7 April – Monday 10th April
Kids eat free or for £1 during school holidays.
School holidays can be very expensive as you try to entertain your children so savings on eating out may help. I know I’m early with this tip, but if you like planning ahead it may make it easier too. Check out the link below on Money Saving Central which will be updated as and when new offers appear.
Alnwick Garden: Alnwick Ahoy!
Any would be pirates out there? This looks right up your street.
AHOY MATEY! This Easter we aren’t hunting for eggs, we’re hunting for treasure!
You’re shipwrecked and need to find your precious cargo which is now scattered around The Garden. Gather your swashbucklers and scallywags and complete this treacherous trail!
Celebrate Easter in style as pirate attire is encouraged and welcomed!
This Trail is FREE with Garden Entry!
North Tyneside residents:
I have been asked to share this information with NT residents who are eligible for free school meals. This is based on household income, so not for everyone. Contact me if you need further information on eligibility criteria.
All activities funded through the Holiday Activities and Food Programme for Easter are now available to book on our new online system.
Could you please share the below information and attached flyer with parents who are eligible for income-related free school meals only:
You can now register online for ease INTO Easter and book a wide range of fun and enriching activities for your children, including sports, arts and crafts, cooking, science and more.
You can find out more about the programme, and register for an account, by clicking here.
You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
I have contacted NT for more specific information on activities which may be suitable for our students. Here is what I have been told:
For the ease INTO activities we’ve tried our best to identify and classify providers for their SEND provision. So we have devised a SEND key where providers can select which one their provision falls into. The SEND specific are providers that will only offer places to children with SEND needs and have trained and experienced staff.
For Easter the SEND Specific providers are:
- True Colours who are running sessions for children from all different backgrounds. They are an award-winning charity where children and young adults can grow in confidence without and stigma or difference. Children will have opportunities to learn new skills, make friends and have fun. Their activities include days at the Alan Shearer Centre, Little Bay Café for role play, Ace Playce soft play and Tik Tok Dance Workshop.
- Sensactivity are a smaller centre with smaller groups, for children who are not comfortable with bigger groups. Offering a variety of sensory orientated activities, trips, and cooking. Our sessions offer a variety of arts and crafts, storytelling/role plays, mini sports, music and movement, cooking, trips outside. We have a variety of resources to enable everyone to enjoy their time and enable them to be included and make choices.
- Quadrant Leisure (SEN Cookery Club) are exclusively for children and young people aged 8 to 12 years of age who identify with special, additional, learning needs, autism and mild to moderate disabilities. Activities will be tactile and sensory lead opportunities to explore fun new textures, flavours, smells and tastes of a range of food. The sessions are very interactive, practical, and hands-on. The SEN Cookery Club will introduce children to the fundamentals of food preparation, healthy eating, and cookery skills.
- North Tyneside Disability Forum are running sessions are gardening to food prep, cooking, and eating together, making healthy choices and learning about nutrition, couch to 5k, kurling, boccia and tennis skills. They have spaces for 5- to 18-year-olds who can access sessions independently, don’t require care, but just need a bit of support. But children aged 9 years and under they MUST be accompanied by a parent/carer to attend the activity.
- Pathways 4 All are running different activities over the course of the Easter holidays. I need to get more information from them.
So primarily ease INTO activities are for those children who are eligible for benefit related free school meals, and all bookings needs to happen on the ease INTO booking system where parents need to register and create a profile for their child/ren. However, children who have SEN needs and are not FSM eligible, they can access provision under the 15% criteria, there are fewer places for 15% children due to the nature of the funding. But there are still places out there with provides. Again, parents will need to register on the booking system, but would need to get approval from ourselves to gain access to the site.
Great North Museum: Hancock
The Great North Museum: Hancock is preparing for the opening of a brand-new interactive exhibition – an original fantasy adventure in which the visitor becomes the hero.
You can find more information here:
Durham Area Disability and Leisure Group: dadlg
I have shared this group before, but they are offering new activities. There is a cricket taster session and 2 focus groups to get some information on how to support young people access their activities. They are open to those with special educational needs who live in Durham and neighbouring authorities.
There is an annual membership fee of £20, although it is voluntary.
Over the years I have seen some wonderful weekly groups and holiday trips so if it is accessible, do have a look at their website here: https://www.dadlg.org/
Take a look at our e-safety information here: https://www.percyhedley.org.uk/percy-hedley-school/e-safety/
Our next meeting will be on Thursday 11th May and we will continue with hybrid, which is working well. It’s important to the committee that we engage with parents/carers. We have discussed the advantages of changing from a PTA to Friends of Percy Hedley School to widen our reach for support. We would appreciate your thoughts and expect this to be ratified at the meeting. We look forward to welcoming the Chair of the Student Council, who will join us for part of the meeting. COVID has much to answer for, one of the many challenges was engaging with people face to face and keeping students safe!
The link to join via TEAMS is here:
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.
One more week and I have yet to see one of these. Perhaps this weekend.