Messages and News from John & the Team: Friday 7th October

Poetry! And more fish!

Hi there everyone, how are you all?

Lots going on! We have updates from Wellbeing, Literacy and Personal Development, as well as some lovely lessons, Stars of the week and fish news! It’s great to be in a place that’s so lively and so busy, even in just the first half term of the year!

As well as Reading and Personal Development, we are trying very hard to get attendance right, so thank you for working with us on that. Our attendance last week was 83%, giving us 84% for the year so far. In special schools around the country, it’s currently at 89%, so that’s our target at the moment. Our pupils face many obstacles to their attendance, and sometimes attendance is very hard to achieve for very obvious reasons, such as health, taxis and many more, so we just need to get it as right as we can, as often as we can. As I say, thanks for working in partnership with us over this

Outdoor Learning – combined with DT!

As you know we have been combining DT and Outdoor Learning this half term. Hannah explains it here, doing some work with the Blackbirds

Last week’s project was to create some bunting to go up in the new shelter. This is now complete and ready to be placed. So this week we have been looking at using clay to create “Tree Spirits” to protect our trees over the Autumn and Winter so that they grow back in Spring. We used a range of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, conkers and berries to create the features of the clay faces and used different tools to create textures within the faces. The finished products really resembled their plans and the students were really enthusiastic and engaged throughout the process

Have a look at the class’s designs and finished products

Blackbirds – great work!

Still on Outdoor Learning, of course because it’s great, we had some official tree-planting this week as well. Lovely pictures, have a look

Well done, Magpies!


One of our real priorities this year!

Well. This week we’ve had National Libraries Week, our school Book Swap and National Poetry Day! It’s all happening! Our students brought some lovely books in from home that they thought might be good to share with others. They then swapped their books with one that appealed to them. The ‘Percy Hedley Book Swap’ has a been a great way for students to share some of their well-read and much enjoyed books with others, and opens the door to new reading experiences

In honour of National Poetry Day, our students have been reading, listening to, and creating their own poetry throughout the week. There have been some wonderful poems composed in the style of Haikus, Cinquains, Rhymes, Acrostics… and just good old fashioned nonsense. Our ‘Poetree’ (yep!) is in full bloom. It has been a brilliant way for our students to express themselves, their thoughts, and their feelings on all sorts of different themes. Section ‘821’ in the library has been popular this week, as staff and students check out our library’s selection of poetry. Philip’s taken some great pictures and been doing all of this, have a look

Personal Development

Another one of our priorities this year!

School Values 

So last week we said that we had been voting for values that we think represent our school and pupils the most and the results are in….. drumroll please…..

The results are…..

These feel right as these are values that our students are going to need for their progression through the school and to prepare them for their future lives. Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing these to the students, one at a time, alongside some explicit teaching of how to demonstrate these. We’ll also be holding a competition giving students the opportunity to design a lovely visual to represent our new school values

E-safety is also part of Personal Development, so here is the link for Maria’s e-safety blog. I can recommend it

There was a really good assembly this week for some older students about positive relationships too. Please do tell us what kind of thing you would like to see in the e-safety blog, and what you’d like to know about

Wellbeing Update from Louise B

The update from our Wellbeing Team this week is about optimism and positive mindsets. This has gone up around school

Lesson of the Week – Oobleck! (That’s a real word by the way! Google it! I’d never heard of it!)

Kingfishers making oobleck! This is from Hannah

The Kingfishers have been making oobleck with cornflour and water, adding colour and smells for that extra-special sensory experience!  Some of our students used symbols to say which ingredients we needed, and it was great to see fantastic Makaton signing for bowlmixing and more, and some good attempts at flour and water.  Other students enjoyed using their hands or even their feet to experience the strange sensation of the gloopy mixture.  Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid – it can be picked up like a solid, but then turns runny like a liquid.  Some students showed anticipation as the oobleck ran through their fingers, and persistence as they tried to pick it up; others simply enjoyed the feeling of the oobleck coating their hands.  If you would like to make oobleck at home, mix a couple of heaped tablespoons of cornflour with a trickle of water.  It will be hard to stir at first, but can quickly become too runny, so play with the quantities until it is just right.  Remember – used oobleck must go in the bin, not the sink, as it can block pipes!  Have fun experimenting!

Look at George, the Oobleck King!

  STARS!!! of the Week!!!!!


This week in the Eltba Pathway we would like the Star of the week to go to Joe in the Woodpigeons for agreeing to take part in all sorts of learning activities, tasks and challenges. We are all so proud of his resilient attitude. Well done, Joe, total STAR!!!!!


Ellie-Mai from Woodpeckers is the Engagement Pathway Star of the Week! Well done, Ellie-Mai, who did some amazing work on the trampoline, reaching for the bubbles and tracking them. Well done! 100% STAR!!!

Makaton Signs of the Week

Question words – What Who Where Which


There are so many great Makaton resources online. These are YouTube channels

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

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


The Albatrosses have been in Hydro this week! Have a look at some of these pictures!

Some brilliant Hydro targets there!

Fish! Everyone’s into fish now!

Now, I told you everyone was into fish, and Charlie is no exception. He wrote this with David

I have to clean the fish tank, this involves sucking out some water whilst cleaning the gravel. I also wash out the filter sponges to keep the tank clear and clean the sides of the tank as well as the light covers. Next up, I refill the tank with water which I put something in to get rid of the chlorine. I’m looking forward to getting some more fish for the tank

Excellent stuff. You know, as well as a STAR of the Week, we should have a fish award as well – Starfish of the Week maybe? No? They’re all shaking their heads at me about that one……OK….

Whatever. Well done, Charlie, and here are some pictures

Excellent work, Charlie – pure STAR fish!!! (sorry, couldn’t resist!)


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

John & 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!