Message from John S, Headteacher: 11th February 2022

Afternoon everyone

It would usually be half term now, but for some reason some parts of the country are going on for another week! Best make it a good one then! This week has been busy, even although some of our staff ad pupils have been off with Covid. We really do hope that everyone is well and testing negative as soon as possible. Perhaps we are looking at the beginning of the end, who knows?

So this week we have more on our Emotional Resilience Project, there has been some great work

Assessment & Progress: 4.Wellbeing

After 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes and 3.Curriculum Pathway Assessments, this week is one of our favourite topics, 4.Wellbeing

Well. Wellbeing is probably the single most important thing for our school, simply because it covers everything – safety, health, happiness – on a large and also smaller scale. So we felt that because it was so important – it’s also one of the Key Drivers after all – that we should find a way of working out how our pupils were doing with regard to it

One of the ways is that we’ve decided to ask you what you think, because this enterprise of ours needs to be a partnership, and we need to improve how we engage with home. This seems a good point to thank you for sending back the Key Drivers forms. Please do send them back if you haven’t done already – we’re collating them all now, and we want to hear your voices through them

Another way is that we have a well-qualified Wellbeing Team, who think about the children in these terms throughout the year and have a caseload to that effect. The Team also become engaged in staff training, the mental health arena, and have Wellbeing Champions amongst the staff. They also organise events such as the year-long Emotional Resilience Project Beating the Odds that I seem to talk about a lot (because it’s great!)

So we are thinking all the time about how to measure wellbeing, and how to improve it. Some aspects of it are quite obvious, and some are much harder. We’re certainly developing our thoughts and practice in this area, and we need to, constantly, because as I say it kind of trumps everything else

To recap: 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes, 3.Curriculum Pathways, 4.Wellbeing. Next time it will be 5.Case Studies. These are those individual profile portraits that some of you have already contributed to. I’ll talk about them in more detail

You said, we listened

This is the part of the blog where we are trying to improve our school community by listening and making changes where we sensibly can

Fun one: we had a lovely pony in today, called Marley, obviously, like the singer! Whereas this went down very well, not everyone got a go, so lots of staff and pupils let us know how they felt about that! ???? ???????? Rest assured, those who missed Marley today will have a chance to meet him next week.   In fact, I want us to look at a few equine-based things going forward. We have some staff who are really good and experienced in that area, and so many of our children have expressed an interest in horse-related things

More serious one: we have been looking at your replies on the Key Drivers forms, and what has happened is exactly what we hope, so thanks very much for doing those. We are learning what you are thinking about some of these and the topics, and already discussing making changes. That’s what that system is for. Please do help us let you know what you think through these; I know we’ve only just started it, but we can get a really good dialogue going I think through them, and improve the school

On-going one: let us know what you want to cover in the e-safety and safeguarding training sessions, and we will do our best to deliver sessions on these. Philip, Claire and people have a plan already, but they will incorporate the aspects that you want

Kayden Korner

OK, another one of these riddles from Kayden. Are you ready?

What fills up a room but takes up no space?

Answer down below


Subject Focus – Emotional Resilience: Coping

Here’s a message on this from our Educational Psychologist, Louise B

This week our half termly Wellbeing day is focusing on the Coping strand within the Resilience Framework. This link shows how they are set out in quite a clear way that makes sense to many of our pupils

As you can see, there are five strands and this is a research-based framework which is supporting one aspect of our work in the Beating The Odds project which is happening this school year. We have lots of ideas for taking this forward next year too and are pretty excited about it generally!! We hope that over time it will become an integral part of daily life at Percy Hedley and we know it complements what we already do to support our pupils. It would be great if you could look at the Resilience Framework and perhaps share this with your child and check in about the things they did today. We like this one that was developed from the original as the icons can be appealing for our students

It has been a pretty difficult time in society really with lockdown and other perhaps more political things that continue to exert an influence on our daily lives. We appreciate our relationships with yourselves at home and know you frequently bring concerns to us. There is an increased awareness generally about supporting mental health as well as physical health and this week is Children’s Mental Health Week. The Place 2 Be is a very reputable agency and they have lots of excellent resources about supporting your child’s mental health and wellbeing. They also have some excellent advice for parents who may have a number of very common worries about their child’s development. You may wish to look at this link in case a worry of yours can get answered

I also thought that with our Outdoor Learning curricular emphasis and with spring on the horizon that you may want to think about how plants can be a benefit

Thanks Louise! Great to have you around and doing all this work with us!


Subject Focus – Safe Internet Week

Safer internet week was this week. This is something that’s really crucial for our students, for now and for later in life. It comes through in lots of lessons, and in staff training, and in the parent sessions that Philip has just started. The safe internet people have got links on the website for us all to use. Please do have a look – there are some links below

It’s hard for all of us to keep up with this, but it’s so important, so if it’s something that interests you in any way, then do see what you think, and dial into Philip’s sessions, or just make contact with us and we can approach this huge issue together

Please do look out for more of the e-safety sessions that Philip is putting on – or even better, get in touch and let him know what it is that you would like to know about. The team are more than happy to tailor their sessions to what is on the minds of our parents/carers. We’re all playing catch-up all the time! They do them with staff too. If you can’t make the time that they are on, they’re all recorded. They’re on Teams at the moment

Claire will also be organising regular short safeguarding sessions on various topics – also on Teams and also recorded, so let Claire know too what it is that you would like to talk about they’ll all have time and space for questions and discussion

Leanne’s class were working on Safe Internet posters as well. Do you want to see them? Of course you do!

Really well done – great work,  Grace, Thomas, Jack and Jake  – loving this stuff on this topic, thank you!

Group of the Week

Philip’s class, the Parus Major’s had a lovely trip out to St Mary’s lighthouse this week, and saw seals and all sorts of nice birds and things. How we’ve missed school trips and nice things like this! Apparently they had a great time (totally jealous, I love it round there)

Another Group of the Week 

Monday Powerchair Club. What a name for a group – it sounds totally hardcore! Anyway, what a group. This week Toby, Jamie, Jay, Logan and Grace had a fantastic session developing their driving skills. Julie was amazed and impressed at the progress they’ve made, and made a point of coming to tell me about it, and I’m so glad that she did. The Newcastle United coaches were just blown away with these five students. This group are so skilled! We need to hear from them more often I think, and see how they are doing. Well done to them. They do sound cool


This week’s ELTBA star of the week is Josh in 3JS (The Magpies).  Josh has shown great resilience this week.  The team and department are very proud of his achievements.


And the stars of the week from the Engagement Pathway goes to:

Lola for amazing communication while using the trampoline.  Lola demonstrated a great deal of persistence during this session.

Matthew for conspicuous smiling and general cheerfulness whilst carrying out a whole range of jobs about school – even beaming at his Broccoli taster. A lovely, sociable lad all round.


Josh Wales – recognising and using strategies to support his progress in lessons.  Well done Josh you star!


You know, our wellbeing theme this half term is Coping, and this guy is a hero for how he’s coped with some bad news this past few days. It’s a hard thing for any young people, coping with the world around them and coming to terms with their place in it. But this is just what Jake has done, and everyone in post-16 is so proud of him and impressed with how he’s done that. Jake, that’s a great piece of maturity perspective and preparation for adulthood right there. 

Well done, fella

Now for another special one. You know Charlie, who told us jokes every week for a while? Well, one of the reasons he hasn’t had time for that recently is because he’s been playing the keyboard. I was called from my office this week to see him play Skipper, and he got it totally right. Whatever he’s doing, Charlie has made such progress since coming here, and we’re all very proud of him. It’s good to have you around, Charlie, you’re a total STAR!!!


The Beat…boxers

And from one piece of music to another, have a look and listen to this, it’s really good. The students here can be so creative in so many subjects, and this is just a simple, quite cool example. Well done to Gracey, Finlay, Jake and Harvey!!!!!


Bird Watch

Winter will be over soon and we can do more of this sort of thing, but John’s class, the magpies, are going to be using this to seek out local wildlife! Excellent! John’s class is a great class, they’re always doing something exciting when I pop in there!

The Magpies



Beating the Odds: Coping is having a special timetable collapse day today, as Louise B writes about above. Louise B is also doing some staff training on this whole topic throughout the year, developing resources for staff to use in class, and planning on how to build on this work year-on-year. Coinciding with Children’s Mental Health Week, it’s about building resilience. These are the elements of the Coping strand of the resilience framework

 Understanding right from wrong

 Being brave

 Solving problems

 Focussing in the good things in life

 Finding time for your interests

 Calming down and making yourself feel better

 Remembering tomorrow is another day

 Leaning on others when necessary

 Having a laugh


Finally finally….

Thought you might like this. A lot of the staff here do

Proper actually finally, really…

There is a very nice project going on whereby the pupils will be creating T-shirt designs for the Mini and Junior Great North Run. We at PHS will be completing the design for one side of the T-shirt and our sister school, NCS, completing the other, with the finished shirts being provided to all Mini and Junior runners. No doubt there’ll be something on the socials about it as well ????. The theme for our side of the t-shirt would be Newcastle – it’s basically a big heart in which the pupils can draw anything they like on that theme. I had a go, and mine is brilliant, obviously. There’s a link to it below (not mine, the actual heart shape). They’ll be giving it a go in classes, so that should create some lovely work

[link: can’t get it off the pdf]


No, really, properly, finally, definitely this time…..

The guys are making up a worksheet based on this as there is a lovely Star Count thing to do (a bit like bird-spotting!). So lucky to live in an area where this is possible. If it’s your kind of thing, enjoy! I know a lot of the students like it

All the best everyone and take care. Fingers crossed for all the covid stuff

John S


Kayden Korner Riddle: the answer is light!

A good riddle to go with the Dark Skies topic above