Messages and News from John and the Team: Friday 16th September

Friday 16th September

Hello there, again – hope everyone is well,

It’s been good to have a full week back, but the first thing I need to do is to remind everyone that we will be closed on Monday, for the funeral, so we’ll see everyone again on Tuesday. Don’t want to turn up and be the only one! I hope that Monday goes well in your family

Back here we have been settling in and establishing the new classes, timetables, changes to the buildings, and other things like that, including all the new pupils and staff. It’s been great to see faces that are familiar and that are new

Some things are going to really take off even more this year, things like Reading, Careers and other aspects of Personal Development, and some particular subjects have either got new people or a new approach

I hope your son or daughter has had a lovely week, and a really enjoyable and sustaining year, that will help them now and far into the future



Just to revisit something that we’ve got off the ground again fairly recently: 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 (MOVE) 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

It’s for families with young children with neurological and motor disorders (such as cerebral palsy), who may also have associated speech, language & communication difficulties. Children are welcome to attend from the age of 3 months to preschool

During this school year, sessions will run on Friday mornings during term time from 9.45am until 11.15am at Percy Hedley School in Killingworth. I’ve just popped down there and peeked in, and there’s a lovely little session taking place as I’m typing this

If you do want to know any more about this group, or register your interest, please contact our Carla at


Outdoor Learning

There’s been even more great work on this from the team. It’s all so good. The shelter is now fully operational and looking great! The kids are loving it and there’s been some lovely feedback from the staff who’ve been out there with them too. The Outdoor Learning area is now home to a wonderful new PRISM shelter!  It’s a great addition to the area and one that will be very well used, especially over the coming months! This area continues to go from strength to strength – I hear they are getting some hedges next! Have a look at the Prism shelter

Class of the Week! Kingfishers! Also to do with Outdoor Learning – that’s how good it is!

From Kingfisher Class!

Having settled back into school, brilliantly, Class 4HF have been enjoying a spot of outdoor exploration this week. Everybody was happy to help Hannah find out where all the best places for enjoying the Great Outdoors were.  It was exciting to see the wooden teepee and investigate the mud kitchen, and we all enjoyed a spot of ‘forest bathing’.  Being outdoors is known to have huge health & wellbeing benefits, and we certainly felt very calm after listening to the wind rustling in the trees and feeling the cool breeze on our skin.  Some of the students spotted the birdhouses and bug hotels that they made last year, and we wondered what creatures might live inside them.  We can’t wait to find out what interesting activities Emma has lined up for us in our Friday outdoor learning sessions!

Kingfisher folk in the Prism!

STARS!!! of the Week!!!!!


Too many wonderful things have been seen in school since the children came back that this week we would like to give the ELTBA Star of the week to ALL of the children in those classes.  They have come back from the summer break and made such a huge effort to settle back in and become familiar with their new classes and routines. They all have huge smiles on their faces and are very happy to be back.  They are all ready to learn! It’s wonderful!


Jack for engagement STAR!!! this week. He has come back to school full of smiles and laughter and has been very engaged all week! He is very happy in his new class, with his new peers. Great stuff, Jack! Here he is!

Makaton Signs of the Week

Here are this week’s Makaton signs and, as usual, Julie has made them relevant to the week And what’s happening around us all


Translations: Queen (Crown and Woman), E (Elizabeth), Second, C (Charles,) Third (3), Funeral, and Dead (Died)

The Queen

Jo and the PSHE Team have been developing teaching materials and opportunities this week

They’ve been started a 2-week responsive curriculum within PSHE lessons to be delivered this week and next. They are doing some teaching around the queen, who she was/what her job was and her achievements, and then some teaching around the new king, who he is and the changes that will take place

Our students are being exposed to language in the news and at home, and so we have taken a key vocabulary approach, as we often do, and hope that that will be beneficial. Here are some of the words used

  • monarch
  • head of state
  • reign
  • coronation
  • sovereign
  • commonwealth
  • state funeral
  • Queen consort
  • state funeral

We’ll be discussing practical changes such as the change to the national anthem, flags at half mast, the upcoming bank holiday, where we see images of the Queen in everyday life (stamps, money, etc) and how this will change over time. British life and the course of history and changed

There are a lot of resources being used. Here are the ones from last week, and some more


There’ll be a display in tribute to the queen where students will be able to leave messages, etc. The Wellbeing Team are also available as ever if any students need extra support managing their feelings around this. We’re also very lucky to have Louise B who has extensive knowledge of bereavement support. In fact, Louise B has recommended this website

which she thinks is the best for online resources covering the areas of bereavement and loss. It’s also the only agency that has attempted to address the needs in this area for pupils with SEND including those with significant communication and complex needs

There are some links in respect of the Queen’s passing which may be of assistance in answering questions that the children may ask and there is also some info for preparing children who may watch the funeral with their families so the resource may be helpful at home as well as at school. I think it’s very reasonable to say that The Queen’s passing is perhaps far more relevant to many children and young people than it may have once been as most schools participated in wide ranging Jubilee celebrations back in May 2022 and saw all the national partying. Children may not ask in lessons but in other locations and during other activities, and sometimes little questions can seem hard to answer

This responsive teaching and learning, and Educational Psychologist support, around British Values, changes that happen in life, and addressing the future, within PSHE over the next two weeks will mean that we are there for our children & students at this tim 

Finally: Food!

One very nice thing that happened last year was all the improvements that we made to the catering. These fine young people from the Student Council, for example, helped us see that we needed a salad bar (behind them), which has proved to be really really popular!

And this was what one of the Taster Days looked like, when they were trying out all sorts – puddings on this occasion, I think!

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

We are all really looking forward to seeing you all here at our Coffee & Catch-up sessions, Consultation Afternoons, and other times too, this term. We’re still settling into the term with this week being our first full week, but things are starting to get moving

We’ll see you all on Tuesday