Message from John S, Headteacher: 4th March 2022

Hi everyone,

I do hope your half term break was a happy one. It’s lovely to be back and to see everyone again, from taxi times, to lessons, lunch, trips out which are slowly starting again and everything in-between. Boy, it has been a busy one though, what with everything getting going again, World Book Day, stuff from Art Week still being used, people being allowed on some trips, and the weather being better too

The second half of the school year is lighter and warmer and just always seems like you reap the benefits from having done lots of hard work earlier in the year. So full steam ahead for the second half. All the best everyone, I hope there’s something for you in this week’s message from the school. I can assure you that everyone here is working very hard for the children, and we’re very grateful for your support. All the best

Achievement & Progress: 6.Key Drivers

So, picking this up again, so far we’ve had, in this series of how we measure the progress of the young people in our school: 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes, 3.Curriculum Pathway Assessments, 4.Wellbeing, 5.Case Study Profile Portraits, so now it’s time for something that I’ve already talked about a fair bit – 6.Key Drivers

The three Key Drivers are the broad concepts that our school is based on: Communication, Wellbeing and Independence. This has been the case for quite some time, and sums up quite neatly the overall intent that we have for the pupils in our school. The Mission of the school, and its curriculum, are based on these concepts. They’re fairly self-explanatory I think, although may mean slightly different things for each pupil in practice and reality

What we thought was that because those three concepts are so important, that we should find a way of measuring progress against them, so this is what we are doing about it

At the same time, as you know, we are trying very hard to liaise and communicate better with parents, carers and home in general as equal partners in our work. And to make sure that Pupil Voice is in all of our progress measures. So it seemed like a good opportunity to put the voice of Home right at the heart of our planning, classroom delivery and reporting. We want parents and carers to have Voice & Influence, just as we do our pupils

That’s why we’ve asked teachers to put the Key Drivers into their teaching plans. And that’s why we’ve been asking you to give us both your thoughts and your feedback on the topics being taught in school, your thoughts on the upcoming ones, and the ones just gone. The fact that you are doing this under the headings of the three Key Drivers (Communication, Wellbeing, Independence!) means that we are measuring progress against something we think is important; that your voice is at the heart of our assessment planning and reporting; and that teachers will have good information to write end-of-year reports on them in July

It’s a plan anyway, and it will probably take a good year to get it right. But when we do it will be worth it. And as I’ve said before, thanks for taking part

To recap: 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes, 3.Curriculum Pathways, 4.Wellbeing, 5.Case Studies, 6.Key Drivers. Next week, something a little more traditional – 7.Appropriate Accredited Awards

Therapy Focus 1: Sensory Umbrellas

Who knew umbrellas could be so much fun?

George, Jack and Millie from Kasia’s class enjoyed this week’s magic carpet sensory room activity. Each student had their own umbrella which created “mini planetarium style” experiences: Jack was great! Millie enjoyed the disco themed music and lighting. George enjoyed his umbrella, and the poppies and leaves

Therapy Focus 2: Messy MOVE

Antony’s class joined a ‘Messy Move’ session this morning with their physio and S&LT. It looked completely great! Everyone worked on moving in a way to access the sensory trays of cornflakes, custard, water beads and rice. They also worked on communication targets using symbols and signing

PE Trip with Helen!

Last term we were contacted by AK Teaching based in Sunderland and given the opportunity for some of our students who are SAFC fans, to represent the school as SCHOOL OF THE GAME at the Sunderland v MK Dons match on 19th Feb

The experience included some of the children being flagbearers on the pitch before kick-off; a cool ticket for the game in the padded seating area; photos on the pitch; activities in the Beacon of Light/Fanzone area and other activities

So we said “Absolutely, yes please!” went along, and they all had a fantastic time! Have a look at the photos. We are now waiting for the school flag to be delivered to us as a reminder of the game and also for some professional photos of the day itself

Who are these guys? Finlay and Philip, that’s who!!!!!

And who is that with Finley?

On the pitch!

Two football fans from Claire’s class! Kristian and Santi!

And finally, a bit of inside information the new manager for Sunderland…..

(ssssh, it’s Michael……)

Subject Focus – Art Week

It seems like quite a while ago now, but there was a lovely Art Week before half term. Every class did something wonderful with displays, messy art, or something creative!

Grace in Kat’s class for example was using fabrics to create the water section of their Tudor display. This is where they put their sunken Mary Rose ship

Hang on, is that Finley again in the background?

 Elsewhere in Art Week, Jo’s class have been learning about the Anglo-Saxons through the medium of all things arts and crafts! Saxon England was made up of seven kingdoms, each with its own king. They created scriptures to inform their friends about them. The Saxons were skilled metal workers, making beautiful belt buckles and broaches – and the class weren’t too bad at making replicas! Lindisfarne had a beautiful monastery, so they made stained glass windows in a nod to their local ancestry. The class even had a go at mimicking Saxon stone carving. And of course there was the peasant bread….brilliant stuff

Leanne’s class was transformed into a Victorian setting, which was great fun! As I say, everyone did something. It’s so nice to have these special days and weeks, and to celebrate particular subjects and styles of work and learning

Relationship, Sex, Health Education (RSHE)

Guys, this is an important area, and here’s a message from the RSHE Steering Group, who are leading on this whole topic

RSHE Parent Forums

Thank you for all the responses we had from the surveys. We value your opinions and these are helping to shape our new Percy Hedley RSHE policy, which we will share with you as soon as it’s ready.

In order to address some of the feedback that came from the surveys, we would love for you to attend an online parent forum. There will be 2 separate online forums taking place for primary and secondary to allow for us to discuss the valid points raised that are most relevant to your child.

The online events will take place via Teams on the 17th of March beginning at 4pm. We would like for you to indicate your attendance, as well as submitting further questions or comments, by completing our pre-forum surveys.

Primary Link (Y1Y6):

Secondary Link (Y7 – P16):

Please ensure you submit the pre-forum surveys before Friday 11th March. Alternatively you may email your child’s class teacher with a maximum of 2 questions for the event.

Once you have completed your pre-forum survey, we will then send you the link to the Teams event.

Hope to see you there.

RSHE Steering Group

Stars of the Week

And Group of the Week!

  Russell’s class, like others, has been doing a lot to encourage resilience. They have a shining example of that characteristic in Shae, who has been in hospital for a while and, this week, met up with his classmates and staff by means of a video call. Shae was full of smiles and used his VOCA to listen to news from the class, answer questions and demonstrate his wicked sense of humour. Shae is definitely a star!

  Lots of former classmates and staff also lined up to greet Shae and wish him well. This was yet another example of the super community ethos that permeates that class and our school. Everyone’s a star!

Massive Star!!! 

ELTBA STAR of the Week

This week the ELTBA star of the week goes to Toby in Parrots.  Things have been different for Toby in class this week and he has adapted really well to this and still worked super hard.  Toby visited a different class to join in with their activities and actively joined in whilst using his voice and “getting stuck in” with what they were doing. This was a super achievement as some of the children and class he was mixing with were unfamiliar to Toby.  And that’s not even to mention the fact that he has been amazing at Powerchair Football! Which he is! Total STAR!!!


STAR!! 1 and STAR!!! 2


Some of our students have been asking about the situation in Ukraine. Young people’s exposure to news is very different to a generation ago

Louise B, our Educational Psychologist, has looked at some websites, which I’ve put links to below, which may be useful for parents if the subject comes up in conversation. Coming after two years of Covid, we may have children feeling some degree of uncertainty and that the world is not a safe place for them. How we all manage this is key to how children appraise both the information and any perceived threat about the impact of this for themselves and their own family unit

Here are the links. I hope your chats go as well as possible if you have them


It was so lovely to have my first in-person Governors Meeting at the school this week, in a classroom no less. It was particularly good to have three governors who are who have been parents as well. Thanks for coming everyone, I feel very optimistic about this area going forward. Here are our two parent and two staff governors in front of the lovely tree in the dining room

World Book Day!

Another great thing that everyone dressing up for is World Book Day. On a serious note, we really do want to improve reading right across the school, and are doing to loads in this. But right now, let’s not be serious and just look at some pictures. One of the loveliest things about our school is how people get into these gorgeous things, and really commit and go for it, staff and students. Thanks for making today and bright and beautiful one!

PS, let’s do lots of reading!

Our Tree!

I really love this tree, and I’m very grateful to everyone who has had anything to do with it, from the people who had the concept, to the talented artists who did it, to all the amazing contributions from the pupils, with their hands, fingers and feet. It’s really fun to look at, and there are plans to go on to the pillars in the room next, so let’s watch this space…..

Learning, Growing, Moving Together


Comic Relief is coming up on the 18th March! Woohoo!

It’s good to be back. Have a lovely weekend.

John S