Messages and News from John & the Team: Friday 14th October

“Respect…Teamwork…Resilience”  - our school values

Good afternoon, everyone,

Well, it’s properly autumn now, and I hope you’re all well.

It’s a good blog this week, with a lot going on now that the term is in full swing. There are some great lessons to look at – too many to put actually, I’ve had to leave a few out! And there are updates from some of the big priorities and themes that are happening at the minute too. Fabulous stuff on Reading and Personal Development, and some great photos too, as well as some special Stars of the Week, which we are now relating to our School Values too

In terms of attendance, we were up to 86% last week, giving us and average of 85%. Special schools around the country are currently averaging 88%, so we have a little bit of work to do. Given that we of course have some children with health issues, if we can first of all reach that national special school average, I think we will be doing pretty well. Thanks for your support with it all. I appreciate that sometimes the question of attendance can be difficult, and I’m grateful for your support in this joint enterprise

Enjoy the blog; especially the Mental Health Awareness Day, the fish news and the food pictures. See you next week. Have a lovely weekend. J ????

Taster Day

We had another one of those lovely menu tasting days this week – great kitchen staff! – and it was again really nice to be sampling new dishes on the menu. I loved the soup!

Mmmmmm, roast veg, puds and the salad bar…………can see why I have lunch with the children every day


One of our priorities this year!

Here’s an update this week from our Literacy Specialist, Becky

We really enjoyed celebrating Libraries Week and Poetry Day last week, thank you for the support with this. We hope the swapped books have gone down well at home. We’ve got lots more planned to celebrate our Love of Reading through the year!

 As part of this, we’d like to focus on our school library a little bit. A lot of time and effort has gone into the school library over the last few years and if you’ve been into school recently you might have noticed it’s looking rather extensive now! Most students have an opportunity to access the school library as part of their weekly timetable; however we’d like students to be able to share these books with you at home too. From next week students will be able to choose a book from the school library to take home

To help staff and parents understand how best to support students with their reading we are adding stickers to the inside cover of books.

Library books will be marked with this sticker


What does this mean? Love of Reading Books are selected by the students and may not be a book that the student can read by themselves. Students are very welcome to share these books with adults in school and at home, or may enjoy looking at them by themselves, but they should not be expected to read the book independently to practise their reading skills. If the student is following our phonics program, Essential Letters & Sounds, this will be in addition to their Decodable Book, which is matched exactly to the student’s current reading level. There will be more information being sent home to parents on this next week

We feel strongly that we do not wish to limit students to books they are able to read right now, and that we should all be able to enjoy whichever books interest us – with the right support around us! If there are specific books your child really enjoys and you would recommend please let your teams know as we’re always on the look out for new titles to share 

Great stuff, and a perfect example of how home and school can work together. The whole school seems to have gotten behind this really strongly. Cheers all. And nice sticker!

Personal Development

Another one of our priorities this year!

Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) is a key part of Personal Development. Jo is leading on this

We have teamed up with the NSPCC to deliver the “Speak Out Stay Safe” SEN program in some classes next half term, which will complement our “Self Care, Support and Safety” topic in PSHE lessons. Letters will be sent home to participating classes with more information before half term

Teachers are taking part in numerous PSHE training events leading up to Christmas to keep them up to date about important national topics such as addressing puberty, sexual harassment, pornography through the curriculum and how and when to deliver this within our provision. This will ensure our students are receiving the highest quality and up to date teaching while continuing to meet their individual needs

School Values, again from Jo

We have begun to roll out our new School Values across the school this week. Students from the Accreditation Pathway made some lovely and relevant contributions to their assembly about resilience this week. This is their work! It’s really good!

Lovely work…

E-safety is also part of Personal Development, so here is the link for Maria’s e-safety blog. I can recommend it, there are a lot of things that parents, carers and students ask about. And please do contact us if there are aspects that you would like to know about or work on together

Lesson of the Week – Mental Health Awareness Day

It seems quite a long time ago now, but Monday was Mental Health Awareness Day, which is such an important thing to do, and a lot of classes really did some interesting things

The Starlings had such a lovely relaxing afternoon, with the spa activities – can you believe it?

Lesson of the week and class of the week too!

All the classes did something on the day, and Leanne’s had a great time. They decided to make their own ‘Wellbeing boxes’. Each of the students spent time peronalising their boxes and then they started the boxes off with some handmade stress balls and ‘calm’ jars. The students all really enjoyed the day and got so much out of it. It was lovely to see so much smiling, laughter and even some ‘flossing’!

There were certainly more fabulous achievements to add to our class resilience board!! ????

I’ve kept my homemade stress ball and keep it on my desk now! Few pics

More Great Lessons

In Computing the Grouse are currently studying programming. This week they have been learning to use the educational version of Minecraft. They were set the task of creating a tree house in game. Have a look at how they did

Not bad….not bad at all………..!

More Good Lessons (we are a school you know!)

This term some members of Key Stage 4 have been doing Basketball in PE. They generally start with a warmup before having a short skills focus and ending the session with a number of games. They are ably supported by students completing their Sports Leader qualifications

And obviously PE!

PE Department News

Lunch time clubs are up and running starting with girls’ football on a Monday, running club on a Tuesday, Basketball on a Wednesday, Move club on a Thursday and finishing the week with football Friday

Girls’ football resumed at NUFC hub there are more teams in the league this year, so it is going to be a tough one. Three matches played, scores are

  • Hedleys V Hilltop 3-0
  • Hedleys V Southlands 1 – 4
  • Hedleys V Hexham Priory 5 – 3

Two out of three wins good start to the season from the girls

Imogen has been busy: she ran in the ESAA Schools Cross Country Cup. She ran in the senior girls race 3200m – brilliant well done to her. She then went to her running club after school the Elswick Harriers and ran again and managed to run an extra 2 miles!

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

Based on our School Values!!!!!!!!!

ELTBA – Resilience!

This week in Eltba Sarah and the Team would love to give their Star of the Week to Ethan in Woodpeckers.  Ethan has shown great courage recently and been extremely brave by going outside in all weathers with his friends.  This is an amazing achievement!  Ethan is also growing in his confidence in the swimming pool and his team are super impressed.  Huge well-done Ethan, 100% Genuine STAR!!!!!!!!!

ENGAGEMENT – Teamwork!

Our star of the Engagement Pathway this week is Joseph from Albatrosses! Joseph completed the Great North Run at the weekend and has raised over £400. Fantastic work Joseph! Major STAR!!!!!!!!!

Look at Joseph doing all of this! Fantastic job!


Finlay has been amazing this week! He usually is, but despite being so tired, Finlay has been making progress in all of his therapy and move sessions, despite being so tired. Complete STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Makaton Signs of the Week 

Hot and Cold

Here’s the video link to see the signs being produced:

Meanings: Cold, Hot (food or drink), hot.

There are some great Makaton resources online. These are YouTube channels

  • SigningHandsUK
  • Makaton with Lucinda (mum and daughter signing)
  • Mr Tumble and Friends

Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep signing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Garden Bit

Do you remember that Herons were developing a patch of land outside their classroom? Well, Christian is keeping an eye on it all and has given us an update here

What started as a bit of a tidy up has turned into a full garden makeover for Hebron’s Herons. We’ve been hard at work clearing a border along the fence line ready for planting, Ethan and Oscar acted as foremen overseeing the hard work and ensuring that our lovely LSA’s didn’t overdo it. The helpful team at Dobbie’s Garden Centre have very generously supplied us with some plants and trellis panels so watch this space for the next instalment

Hebron’s Herons. Who is doing all the work again? ????

Finally, Fish Tales. Fish…Tails….? Fish News anyway! It is Friday after all!

Post-16 OPT Award (remember this? I’ve talked about it before but I can always refresh) students have been doing a great job looking after the aquarium in the school reception area. The fish population is growing thanks to Maidenhead Aquatics, with the addition of some beautiful Guppies collected today. We’ve had some lovely comments from visitors saying how nice our aquarium looks, so next time you are in take a look for yourself and let us know what you think

Also, Charlie has again been working hard to keep one of the fish tanks clean. Here is his latest aquascape that he put together once the cleaning was complete. He wanted to make a tunnel for the fish and shrimp to be able to hide in

Stop press: the Engagement Pathway Coffee & Catch-up is being held on Thursday 20th October between 2-3pm in the dining hall. Please do come along and chat with Kasia, Tracy and the Team

We’re all really looking forward to seeing you all here at our Coffee & Catch-up sessions, Consultation Afternoons, and other times too, this term. We’ll see you all soon in school hopefully for various things. Take care!


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

from John & the Team