News and Stars from John & the PHS Team Friday 10th March

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Whole School Blog!

Hi everyone,

Sorry the blog was late last week – some gremlins in the posting department there! Anyway, we’re back on track now hopefully, and it’s been another lovely week with a lot going on in all areas: International Women’s Day being celebrated, lovely cooking and  other lessons, musical visitors, and even the Newcastle Falcons! We have the residential trip coming up and lots of exciting activity

I hope there’s something for you to enjoy or be interested in this week, and there are a lot of other things coming up soon, including Easter!

Have a good weekend when it arrives for you, and I do hope to see you in the school sometime soon


Here’s a nice one to start!

During careers week James and Shaye went along to the talk from The Newcastle Aviation Academy. They were even allowed to work on an aircraft engine!


We had some marvellous musical visitors in school this week as another part of this project, and they were great. Louise B was there, watching and being impressed! This is how Louise saw it:

After our collapsible day in relation to offering acts of kindness to others in school – linked to Belonging in our Resilience Framework – we had our final set of visitors.

This time it was school’s Act of Kindness to all our Engagement students. Two charming and talented musicians known as the Andrelli Duo played a delightful selection of songs with their violin and cello. Pupils and staff alike all seemed to enjoy some of the following music

  • Frozen’s Let it Go
  • The spring part of Vivaldi’s Four seasons
  • Madness’ It Must be Love
  • Fly me to the Moon
  • Twinkle Twinkle
  • The Sleeping Beauty Waltz
  • The Jungle Book’s Bare Necessities and
  • Morecambe and Wise’s Bring Me Sunshine 

I was told by her teacher, that Millie in Hannah’s class “had a fantastic time at the concert by the Andrelli Duo.  She particularly loved the Vivaldi and listened very carefully.  She had a huge smile on her face throughout the performance and loved listening to the instruments, and really liked the high notes played on the violin.”


This is a bit different to some of the visitors we have, and it was great. Loving the Madness song (originally by Labi Siffre of course, but you knew that). Thanks to all concerned, and let’s have them back, Louise!

And just as a reminder, this is what Louise B said last week about BELONGING, and specifically about the drama part of it

On the last afternoon of the half term, some students enjoyed a surprise hour’s comedy show. This was school’s Act of Kindness in connection with our recent collapsible day, focusing on thinking about others as part of the ‘Belonging’ strand in the Resilience Framework. The show was called Dip’N’Dab and the premise of the show was that two painter and decorators were suddenly having the standard of their work inspected. A lot of slapstick fun and mayhem ensued!!!! There was audience participation with students and staff taking part and volunteering to be up at the front of a large audience takes some bravery and resilience. It was great seeing most of the students laugh and have fun. A member of staff commented later that one student who rarely smiles had laughed all the way through.

The performance was sourced from Bigfoot Arts Education and came highly recommended; certainly our research paid off as the two very talented actors had everyone laughing in the show from the word go. They were skilled at responding to the students’ communication styles and contributions and with great props and an energetic show, they had everyone’s interest throughout!

Drama last week, and music this week. It’s great that such a profound and serious subject like Belonging can be explored and celebrated with such enjoyable artistic approaches as well as perhaps more predictable one. Cheers all!



Here’s our weekly update from The Literacy Squad

In honour of International Women’s Day this week, KS4 and Post 16 were part of a wonderful assembly highlighting the achievements of women across the globe.

To support this occasion we’ve been thinking about some brilliant stories featuring strong female protagonists.

4KR/TJ have been reading about Lilly in Cogheart, a student in 6LWC recently finished reading about the amazing Matilda in Matilda, 6CHe are being read to, all about Andy in The Suitcase Kid.

Charlotte’s WebThe Gruffalo’s ChildThe Magic Finger…. There are so many fabulous stories out there.

As always we’re eager to build up our collection of diverse reading materials, so the students and staff can look forward to seeing some new non-fiction texts celebrating women around the world!

Many thanks

The Literacy Squad


Got to love The Literacy Squad!



The draft policy is still on the website, so do please have a look at that.

One of the main differences across the country that there is going forward is that fewer requests for absence are going to be authorised, most often when they are for holidays. The reason I’ve been mentioning this and other related matters, in the blog each week is so that everyone understands why we are doing this, and what it means. We now work with an Attendance Officer from North Tyneside, who I know has met some parents already. Our attendance is still a little lower than the average of special schools nationwide, so we just need to be following the same rules as everyone else

Our form teachers have been a very big help in keeping the registers properly and keeping in touch with home, and we’d very much like to thank you all at home for your understanding and co-operation



International Women’s Day

Wednesday was International Women’s day and we used it to mark the beginning of Women’s History Month. The theme this year is #EmbraceEquity

“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.”

This included some lovely reading across school

Accreditation pathway students got involved in a lively assembly where they learned about the “Bechdel Test” , which first appeared in a comic strip in 1985 mocking the lack of gender equality in films. The test is as follows:

  1. The film must have at least two female characters
  2. They both must have names
  3. They must talk to each other about something other than a man

Students watched clips from animated movies and you’ll be pleased to know Frozen passed the test!

Students have been thinking about women that inspire them in their own life, whether at home or related to their own areas of interest.

Lesson of the Week – Cooking with the Rock Ptarmigans!

The amazing Rock Ptarmigans have been working on a range of different methods of cooking and preparing food as they work towards their Entry Level. This week they baked some sausage rolls or vegetable sausage rolls. We’ve also recently made Toad in the Hole and Tomato pasta.

Logan says that he finds cookery lessons entertaining. Harrison prefers it when we make sweet dishes, like crumble. I say…..mmmmmm……vegetarian sausage rolls………………


Fine Motor Skills with Kian and Gracey!

Kian and Gracey had a fantastic time practising their fine motor skills yesterday afternoon.  They used tongs and pipettes to pick up objects and transfer them from one dish to the other.  They had to use a wide range of skills to complete these tasks successfully:  looking carefully; keeping their attention; using their hand strength and pincer grip throughout.  Gracey said the names of the colours she was using very clearly, choosing the ones she wanted to create a reaction in the little dish. Kian was highly engaged and you can see the look of concentration on both of their faces!  Well done to both of them for some excellent work

Marvellous work!

More fabulous lessons! This time in Andy’s class

Andy’s class worked really hard in their Social Communication session yesterday!

The class theme is ‘Water’ and the pupils have to spin THE WHEEL to choose from different forms of water. Firm favourites in our class are ICE (feeling ice and listening to ‘Ice Ice Baby’) and STORM (where we bang drums for thunder and have flashing lights for lightning)

The pupils were in different positions and used photos of their friends to choose who would have the next turn and were able to say whether they ‘liked’ or ‘didn’t like’ each sensory experience. There were some happy (if a bit soggy!) pupils after the session……..sounds brilliant, especially Vanilla Ice…..

JJ’s Café

One thing I really want to tell you about is JJ’s Tuck Shop

It’s been opened by two fabulous chaps, Joe and Jack in Harriet’s class – hence JJ’s – and has healthy things in it as well as treats and is very aware of allergies. They are very responsible about how they’ve done it, and are very good at all the things they need to run a successful business, including maths, customer service and a whole load of other things

Well done guys, really impressed with what you’ve done, and I’ll show you the logo when it’s finished too. JJ’s!


Therapy! – EGGcited to MOVE!!!!!!

One to look out for here – coming soon!

We are looking to hold our EGGcited to MOVE day on Tuesday 21st March. This will be a one- day event held around school as per last year. This will involve the same set up with an Easter Egg Hunt and varied activities throughout the school. Classes will be given a timetabled slot to start the Hunt approx. every 20 minutes, and this can take as long or as short as required

More on this later! Easter is coming!

Music Therapy

We’ve been really lucky to secure a Music Therapist, Chris, to come in and spend some time in the school. He’s great and I’d like to share with you of the things he’s been doing over time. We’re going to try and get some more from him for the rest of this year and next, because a lot of the pupils are getting so much out of him and the company he is working for

This is exactly the kind of enriching thing that makes a difference to the pupils’ time here, and makes all our lives just that bit better. Here are a few pictures taken very much in the moment!




And Now…..

Stars of the Week!

That reflect our School Values!

And this week it’s all about Teamwork!


The ELTBA Star of the Week is……Jessica! For Teamwork!

Yes, Jessica in Terry’s class is a brilliant STAR!!! of the week for her football skills playing in the Percy Panthers team – well done Jessica! A future Lioness! Like Jill! STAR!!!!!

Jill Scott, Lioness from Sunderland and Queen of the Jungle!


ENGAGEMENT Star of the Week!

Leroy for Teamwork!

The Hebron’s would like to nominate Leroy for Star of the Week! He had an amazing music therapy session, was very vocal through and engaged in verbal turn-taking with Chris the music therapist. The staff were very happy, but not as happy as Leroy! Well done Leroy!


Accreditation Pathways STARS of the Week! All the values displayed here!

Callum for showing resilience and being kind when his cuddly rabbit Linda was left at home

Brian for being respectful and helping his friend with his chair and VOCA

A student from 4JH for showing great teamwork during football and always willing to help staff and students.

Aiden for being resilience by persevering and finishing a task in class


Sporting Lessons of the Week – Tag Rugby in KS4!

This half term, some KS4 students have been doing tag rugby in the PE sessions. The Newcastle Falcons kindly agreed to run some extra sessions for us to enable more of our students to participate. Sessions start with a warm-up before a skills focus

This week it was passing and defending, and then ending with a game. The students have been enjoying the sessions. Here are some comments from students who have been participating:

Jayden: 10 out of 10

Tom: The sessions are good

Harrison: I enjoy having a good run around


Good comments. And here are some photos

Great stuff – and ps, Go Falcons!


Makaton Signs of the Week

As usual, Julie manages to tap into what is happening in the world – thanks Julie and all the Makaton Team of people who do it!

International Women’s Day 8th March

woman – girl – mother – grandmother – daughter – aunt – sister


Here is the video:








Good one, Julie – thanks! Great topic!

Keeeeeeep signing everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And finally…..

  • The Keswick Residential is coming up
  • We are going to have lovely Irish dishes to eat on St Patrick’s Day!
  • We had a fabulous Careers Week which we put out in a separate blog last week, but it’s the sort of thing that I will end up talking about again I should think – it’s such an important part of the school!


All the very best to all of you at home, from all of us here at the school – we’re pushing on now with the second half of the school year, with the weather getting a bit better as well, and hopefully seeing you here some time at Consultation Evenings, Coffee & Catch-up afternoons, or other funky events

from John & the Team here at PHS