Message from the John S, Headteacher: 11th March 2022

Hi everyone,

There has been an amazing residential trip in Keswick all week for our post-16 students here if you want to check it out. It’s the first for three years, because of Covid, and I couldn’t be more delighted. I’m such a huge fan of these kinds of residential trips, and so grateful to all the staff who go on them. They really aren’t possible without everyone volunteering to go! It takes a lot of courage for many of our students to go on these and do some of the activities, but the benefits are amazing: doing new activities, getting away with peers, being outdoors, having to be brave! I think that these are the things you remember years later, and it’s so good that we are able to do these things again. Thanks so much to everyone

The pool at the Calvert Trust, Keswick

It’s very nice there

 They’ll be lots of nice-looking materials going home, like photos and reflections, so I hope that those will be enjoyable to look at. As I’m writing this they are still there, so I’ll put some more stuff in about it next week. But it really is superb to be doing this again, and to be doing it at all. Thanks to everyone who supported it, at home and school

Good food too

Achievement & Progress: 7.Appropriate Accredited Awards

To recap, in this series of how we measure the progress of the young people in our school, we’ve had: 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes, 3.Curriculum Pathway Assessments, 4.Wellbeing, 5.Case Study Profile Portraits, and 6.Key Drivers. This week it’s something a little more traditional in some ways – 7.Appropriate Accredited Awards, or what most people might refer to as exams, or passing specific courses of some kind. There are eight in this series of progress measures, by the way, so next week will be the last one of that eight, although I’ll talk after that about how we are fitting them all together, and after that some related aspects too, like Reading, Attendance and Safeguarding

The most important thing for #7, for this way of measuring progress, is that whatever we do suits each student; that we’re not just putting people in for exams without a lot of thought and discussion, or against their strongly-held wishes, but that we’re helping everyone to achieve their goals or plans, and get what they need for their next steps. What this aspect is really about is the plans and ambitions for each student, and all of these courses are about showing everyone what our students can do, as well as their self-confidence & esteem, pride in their achievements, extending their knowledge, employment prospects & cv, college placements, general interest, and all of these kinds of good, constructive and helpful things

We’re not about narrowing down their experiences, and don’t just teach purely to each course – that would be reductive. The students are engaging in learning all the time with whatever they are doing, and the courses come along as part of and a consequence of that, rather than being the be-all and end-all

Their Voice is really important in all of this, and there is on-going dialogue with each student about what kind of courses they like to study – like linear (exams at the end) or modular (on-going coursework) for example – and what their plans for the future are. If they need four GCSEs to get into college to do Computing for example, then we will help them to do just that

We want all courses studied to be appropriate and helpful for each student taking them, and of course everyone is different, so like everything else it needs to be done on an individual basis

Some of the staff here even are able to write their own units, and that often works very well as they can tailor them to our students

So to start looking at all eight together, we have: 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes, 3.Curriculum Pathways, 4.Wellbeing, 5.Case Studies, 6.Key Drivers, 7.Appropriate Accredited Awards and next week the last one of the eight – 8.Destinations/Next Steps. I’ll explain number eight next time, and then start to bring them all together

Rebecca will be sending out a questionnaire later in the year to see if any of you guys would like to attend training sessions or have any other information related to this whole area.

On a related note, the following might be useful for parents with students doing GCSEs. Their stuff is usually very good. They’re called Eedi


Hello everyone
I hope you are well.
I am delighted to announce the next in our popular series of free webinars: Exam Stress: Tips and techniques for reducing stress and performing at your best!
In this interactive session we’ll cover how to make a revision plan, our top revision strategies, help with motivation, methods to reduce anxiety and techniques for once you’re in the exam. 
This session is aimed at students, but parents and teachers are welcome to join. The session will be recorded so you can join in live and then share with your child/students at a later time.
This free webinar takes place on Monday 14th March at 8pm
The following link is for students and parents. You can sign up if you like


Therapy Focus – Making a Splash in Hydro!

Owen and Allen!

Aidan! In the pool!

Most of our students in the MOVE & Learn department access Hydrotherapy weekly. This is a great way for our children to integrate their therapy needs within a relaxing, and sensory rich environment. The warmth of the water has a positive impact on muscle relaxation and enables the students to move more freely in the water. Moving against the resistance of the water also helps to develop their strength and improve cardiovascular fitness in an engaging and fun way! So good to have Steph and the team to drive all of this


Therapy Focus 2 – Rebound!

Sensory explorations using Rebound Therapy!

Rebound Therapy, if you haven’t come across it yet, is a fabulous method whereby trampolines are used to help movement. There are some staff here that are really great at it, and one day perhaps we’ll have a huge room specially for it…..for now though some of our students get a lot out of it, and we really want to build on that


Subject Focus – MOVErs & Explorers

MOVErs & Explorers is what some of you may remember as School for Parents. Some of you may be interested in this. We’re really pleased to be getting this going again, and we’re very lucky to have some people who can run this, like Kerry. We’ve answered a few questions about it below, and hopefully this can be a real strength of the school again. Just get in touch if you want to chat about it. Great logo too!


What is MOVErs & Explorers? 

MOVErs & Explorers is a free pre-school support group at Percy Hedley School providing a range of fun, nurturing, sensory-based programs. It utilises Movement Opportunities Via Education and aims to work in partnership with parents to provide high quality early years education to develop their child’s physical, cognitive, social and communication skills via explorative play

Who is it for?

Families with young children with neurological and motor disorders, and for those with speech, language and communication difficulties such as autism from age 3-months to preschool

When and where? 

Sessions will run on a Monday morning during term-time from 9.45am until 11.15am at the school

How do I find out more information? 

For more information and to register your interest in this group, please contact our School Business Manager Carla Maley on 0191 2161811 or via email


Repeat: Relationship, Sex & Health Education (RSHE)

I thought I would leave this in for another week, because it’s something we want to get right. This is the message from the RSHE Steering Group. Please do get back to them!

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

Star of the Week

Megan in Christian’s class has had a brilliant week!!

 Megan has been working with some people that are new to her, and has coped very well with this different environment. We are all very proud of her, and incredibly impressed. Well done Megan, we all knew this anyway, but now it’s official – you are a total STAR!!!!

ELTBA Star of the Week

and also Group of the Week!

This week the team would like to give the ELTBA star of the week to the fabulous Taylor in Starlings. The class topic is ‘WW2 & Newcastle’ and the children were tasked with a piece of homework to talk to their family members about the war and see if they could find anything out……..Taylor went above and beyond the call of duty and brought in lots of memorabilia including a helmet which was worn during the war and had actual bullet marks on! I tried it on too! The children and staff couldn’t believe how heavy it was and how hard it must have been to wear it all the time.  He also shared war medals and written accounts by his family of times they remember! The whole class was engaged and wanting to know more


     Starlings are a great class, and have coped so well with all sorts of things this term. They work really hard, and should be the Class of the Week, as well as having Taylor as the Star!!!

Various Starlings

 Also Group of the Week!   

A few pics from this week from Kat’s group who were at the Discovery Museum to check out some historic timelines to do with Percy Hedley

They spent Friday morning baking to send a little basket of goodies down to the first ever student of Percy Hedley who the students interview via Teams along with some of our other long standing staff

There is a pic of the lovely Stephen Darke on his 80ththis year as well as Milly interviewing him live

Daniel, Harvey, Milly and Jack!


This is a link for a fundraiser to do with children in the Ukraine with SEND. The person who told me about it said that they were children like those at our school, so I thought I’d include it here

I’m putting some of Louise B’s bit in again from last week too

Some of our students are still asking about the situation in Ukraine

I’m printing again those websites that Louise B, our Educational Psychologist, has sourced. They may be useful for you 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

Our Communi-Tree!

Still love looking at the tree and talking about with all sorts of people, and looking at all the different parts of it. Can’t wait until they move on to the pillars…..

Learning, Growing, Moving Together



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

Lots of things have already been planned, and it’s one of those really nice days here. Here’s a flavour


What’s on?

The Blind Maze challenge – an accessible floor maze set up in the hall by one of our sports leaders – 1pm, 6 tickets to enter with a prize for the best time

Sponge the teachers – it’s in the name, and likely the face. Set up in the yard at lunch time – 12:45, 3 tickets for 2 sponge throws

Guess how many jelly beans in the jar? – we’ll have the jar(s) sent around the different bubbles during the day or week, for students/staff to take a guess at – 3 tickets to enter with a prize to be won, probably the jelly beans or a beanie toy

Baby Teachers (please can we have as many staff, not just teachers, forward us a baby photo of yourself. Thank you kindly if you have already.) –  once on display students will have a go at matching the photo to the staff members name – 6 tickets to enter with a prize to be won

Should be a good one! Have a lovely weekend whenever it comes for you

Very best from all of us

John S