Message from John S and the Team: 1st April 2022

Hi everyone

I can guarantee that there are no April Fools’ jokes in this blog! Honest!

Hope you’re all ok. It’s been an amazing week here, and such a lovely atmosphere. What has really made it has been the fabulous projects that people have been doing: Careers Week which has had so many good visitors, trips, talks and everything – so important for us all – and the latest in our Emotional Resilience days, about Core Self, which has seen the whole school doing amazing things about expressing themselves and learning about themselves and a whole lot more besides. And what with the Covid rules being relaxed and Spring coming in, there have been more trips out too. Thanks for supporting all of these initiatives. They really are what makes the school a good place to be, and the children seem to get so much out of them all. And the guy with the owls was great! Hope you enjoy this read this week, or there is something on it for you somewhere

Achievement & Progress: The Wheel   

So I just want to be clear about The Wheel. This is an easy way of saying how we bring together all the ways we see how our pupils achieve and make progress. I’ve listed the eight Strands below again, in case you’ve missed them previously

  • Therapy
  • EHC Outcomes
  • Curriculum Pathways
  • Wellbeing
  • Case Study Profile Portraits
  • Key Drivers
  • Appropriate Accredited Awards
  • Destinations & Next Steps
The reason we like using The Wheel is because it’s holistic, it fits the lessons we teach, it’s based on the professional judgements of our excellent staff, we can monitor it regularly, and intervene when things aren’t going so well. We want to make sure that the voices of the pupils and Home are threaded right through it

Sharing this with you and discussing it together

It’s been a difficult time with Covid for a long time now, for visits here particularly. There haven’t been the more informal “Coffee Mornings”, which sound like they were really nice. We’re just discussing how best we can get back to doing those things. What we want is for you to be contributing to our assessments, like so many of you have already on the 6.Key Drivers (thanks!) in Annual Reviews, with 8.Next Steps, and in other areas. We’re trying to arrange the first time we share this with you next term, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we have organised the right thing. When we are discussing them all with you properly, then we’ll be taking it to the next level and really starting to do this properly. We’ll get there

The Wheel


Kayden Korner

Great to hear from Kayden. Hope you are doing well, chap. This is very nice, thanks for sending it

Subject Focus – Careers

This is often referred to as Employability within school and is a focus of our teaching.  Career means “path through life” the whole journey from school/college into adult life, retirement and beyond, and may involve many different stages eg college, training, employment, full or part-time work, voluntary work and work at home. This is real learning and a way that a young person is able to glean information to make informed and considered decisions towards future opportunities, in order to realise their individual potential and personal ambition

We want to give our students the best opportunity to reach their potential, inside and outside the classroom. Through a range of programs we want all students to be well informed and equipped with skills for their next steps into society

All pupils within school have access to impartial Careers support when they need it from trained staff in school as well as our LA Connexions service

Pupils from Early Years onwards have access to career and employability throughout the curriculum, as well as through assemblies, community visits, visitors in school and life skills sessions both as a class and within their 1:1 or small group thepray sessions

As they move through school these sessions become more formalalised within their timetables. Pupils have explicit teaching slots for employability on their timetable and this is supplemented with job of the month, assembly themes, options choices to support future transitions and destinations, alongside community visits and challenges which are part of their Therapy and EHC targets.  Specific experiences are also offered to support informed decisions and choices for the futures, which include transition visits, careers support and residential or work experience placements

Speciifc sessions are run throughout the year to ensure that pupil voice is heard throughout these choices, alongside parents voice

More on Careers Week

There have been so many events going on this week for Careers Week

For example, Mathew is currently on a work experience placement at the Hextol Tans Café in Hexham.  The Café is one of the opportunities that The Hextol Foundation provides and is just off the main high street in Hexham

Mathew attends every Wednesday and works in the kitchen helping to prepare meals, baking, cooking, and washing dishes

This week Mathew made shortcrust pastry for a quiche and baked a lemon drizzle cake. Mmmmmm

Matthew doing loads of good work experience in Hexham – well done!

Some other really good things that have taken place this week as part of Careers Week are

  • Talk from local café, and post-16 setting up their own café next week
  • Talk from a respite centre and one of our students who has worked there
  • The Community Police came in
  • A Local photographer
  • An engineering group
  • A company talking about gaming!
  • A local factory

Therapy Focus

The Sensory Room has become a real favourite, and loads of good work goes on in there. There are lovely pictures and stories from it every week now. It’s an amazing experience


Left: Nat using the Qube in the sensory room to turn the room different colours. He kept rolling it until he found the colour he was looking for. Amazing work Nat!

Right: Charlie watched the sensory room lights change colour. She held on to the Qube then pushed it away to roll it. Great job Charlie!

More on Core Self and Expressing Yourself!

Abi, Toby and Wren from Andy’s class are “expressing themselves” using their filters in their MOVE to Learn session. As you can see, they chose highly fashionable accessories alongside their favourite filters to express themselves, all whilst practicing their walking skills! We all had such a giggle!!

Abi, Toby and Wren expressing themselves through cool filters!

Oscar’s 18th!

It is Oscar Armstrong’s 18th birthday tomorrow. We can’t make it to his birthday party on Sunday so the class thought they would have one in class this afternoon. Oscar loves the decorated classroom and enjoyed dancing with his friends and staff at his disco

Happy Birthday, Oscar!!!!!

Class Trip – out at the woods with the Super Starlings!!!!

It’s so great to be getting out and about again, with trips out and everything. I loved reading this, and I thought that you might too…..

“Full of excitement we got off the bus and headed down the bridal way towards the woodland

We had a chance to explore and completed a “spring scavenger hunt” looking for early signs of spring. As we continued our walk around the lake, we looked out for signs of animals and discussed  what animals could be found in the park. Once on to the “Wagonway”, we talked about what a wagonway was, how it was used, as well as the history of the park and how it was previously an old colliery. We stopped for a snack in one of the bird hides and looked at all the different types of birds. After snack we continued the walk through the woodland and looked at all the trees that had fallen due to the storm – Taylor enjoyed counting the tree rings to determine how old some of the trees were!

We then enjoyed a spot of pond watching looking out again for signs of spring, such as tadpoles. Everyone enjoyed walking past the horses at the end and loved how close they could get to them, before getting back on the bus and heading back to school”

There are also some great pictures. Have a look, they’re great. There’s also a bonus one of Taylor at the end of the blogpost!

Lets go down to the woods – today!

Another class trip!

The Magpies have visited Woodhorn Colliery, Tyneside Cinema and the Discovery Museum over the last 2 weeks. Their topic this term has been Newcastle, particularly focusing on mining and ship building in history. Excellent! 

Beating the Odds – Core Self: part of the Resilience Framework

Louise B’s and others organised a brilliant day on Core Self yesterday, part of the Emotional Resilience project, Beating the Odds. The atmosphere was really wonderful, and what’s more important than our pupils taking some time to think about these things about themselves

Some aspects were to

  • instil a sense of hope
  • understand other people’s feelings
  • know and understand yourself
  • take responsibility for yourself
  • find time for your talents
  • support to know how to use existing help and solutions for problems

This is what really contributed to a smashing feeling in the school. We had talent shows where people showcased their talents, and contributed to individual and group work. It was terrific, and truly showcased a lot of individual achievements

Star of the Week

Ameen has returned to school after an op.  He hasn’t complained or moaned about it once, he’s put up with all sorts of stretches whatnot, and generally been his cheerful, happy self.  Hats off to him, and well done for being a total STAR!!!!! 

ELTBA Star of the Week

This week the team would like to give their ELTBA star of the week to Jack in Magpies.  Yesterday, the class were going to the Discovery Museum as part of this term’s topic and Jack was really unsure about it at first.  He showed great resilience yesterday morning and pushed himself to go with his class where he had a fantastic day and enjoyed the experience. Great journey to go on, Jack – 100% STAR!!!!!

Group of the Week!

 4PC – bird name, Parus Major – were doing Mothers’ Day crafts

They used the school bird theme as inspiration for Mother’s Day this year! All the students in the class chose a bird each and then painted their chosen bird on to a wooden template. They then created a birdcage to house it and added a lovely message for their Mums on to the bottom! They all worked extremely hard and the results were phenomenal! The whole class are STARS!!!!!

And an extra little shout-out to Finlay who is thriving in his Hydro sessions, his confidence has grown so much this year and everyone is incredibly proud of all his progress! Well done Finlay – keep up the great work! A STAR within a STAR class


Moving, Learning, Growing Together

Finally…..Ukraine Day next Friday

We are celebrating Ukraine Day next Friday, the 8th April. We’ll be having a Cake Sale and the kitchen will be making Ukrainian desserts! Good stuff

Успіхів, Україно!

Have a lovely weekend whenever it comes for you, and we’ll see you soon hopefully, and certainly your children next week, before the Easter break

All the very best to all of you, from all of us here


John S and the Team


Meet Mr Wilson, the new Deputy Head (OK, that is a joke, a hoot even, although he is actually called Mr Wilson!)

The Wheel

Finally finally…..

Taylor in the woods!