News, Messages & Stars from John & the PHS Team Friday 12th May

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Whole School Blog!

Our School Values! With Mr PHS, Allen!

Hi everyone,

Josh came to visit us at the Friends Of PHS meeting this morning and did a fantastic job! Friends of PHS is official! Lovely to see, nice one Josh – after Sunderland getting into the play-offs, that’s the second good thing to happen for him this week! Good guy!


Friends of PHS – FoPHS!

Go FoPHS! This is from Hannah!

We were delighted to welcome Josh to the ‘Friends of Percy Hedley’ meeting this morning.  As the Chair of Student Council, he spoke very articulately about what they have been doing across the school to gather information on what our students would like to spend some money on.  The Friends of Percy Hedley has pledged £1000 for School Council to spend in two lots of £500, and council members are keen to make sure that any money spent is for the benefit of everyone.  So far, the students have had some excellent ideas, and we are excited to find out what they eventually decide to spend it on!  Josh was also able to speak to Trish from the Foundation Fundraising Team. She is keen to support the students in some ‘blue sky thinking’ about what they would like to spend some money on and can help them to apply for grants to get their ideas off the ground. Josh is going to report back to Student Council and we’re sure they’ll make some fantastic plans to make school an even more exciting place to be


If you would like to support the Friends of Percy Hedley, please feel come along to our next meeting on Tuesday, 20th June 9.30 – 11am.  If you can’t come along in person, there is an option to join the meeting online. Alternatively, we are always looking for volunteers for events!  If you can offer any support, please contact Eileen Robinson at in the first instance




And hi again

I hope you had a great long weekend again! Not sure what I’m going to do come Monday – I’m out of the habit of working then now! They’re funny these short weeks, but it’s been great here, with the amazing True Colours in, some great PE and Sport, trips out and nice weather. Elsewhere, please do see if you can some to one of the Coffee & Catch up sessions this month, and there are some serious messages about safeguarding and attendance too

But first, our catering team have been at it again: Coronation Celebrations at PHS, what a fabulous day enjoyed by all


They also do Taster Days, Menu Reviews and use student feedback – they’re great!

Enjoy this week’s news and stars, and we hope to see you later in the month!

Oh, and don’t forget Maria’s online safety blog – which is very interesting this week – and Eileen’s Family Liaison blog, which always has good stuff in it……



😊 …from John & the PHS Team 😊



Great that we are doing this, and the FoPHS are part of it!




I’m sending out a letter today about attendance, so I thought it would be helpful to reproduce it here. We’ve also amended the policy on the website


Requests for leave of absence during term time

As you may be aware, amendments to The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 make it clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances, and that Headteachers should determine the number of days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted. Some circumstances are of course exceptional, and we are happy to support these in whichever way we can.

Thank you for working with us on this matter; the attendance situation at our school has slightly improved but we need to continue to try and address some areas of concern moving forwards.

We are currently receiving a significant number of holiday requests that do not fit the definition of exceptional circumstances; these will continue to be unauthorised going forward, as they have been recently. However, despite the fact that these requests not being authorised, we are still seeing a significant number of pupils being taken out of school.

Exceptional circumstances are, for example, weddings, family graduations, significant one-off events, bereavements, religious observances, some forces leave, respite on occasions, or unexpected family crises – for just a day or two. Leave is at the Headteacher’s discretion.

We want our students to maximise the time that they are in school to best prepare them for their next steps and adulthood. We also have a duty to support the placements of students in school in relation to our agreements with local authorities who support their places here.  We know that pupils make more progress when they are in school and it is therefore important that they attend whenever they possibly can.

The government document, ‘Working Together to Improve School Attendance’, to which our policy refers, has been in place since September 2022. This guidance is very clear about persistent and severe absence, and the routes available to schools to address concerns, including legal intervention.

Because of this I’m letting you know that from September 2023 we will seriously consider using more means available to us than we are using now for unauthorised holidays in term time. Up until now, in conjunction with the local authority, we have mainly been using supportive methods. However, if the situation persists then we will consider, in certain cases everything, up to and including fines and further legal action, as per the national guidance.

I appreciate this letter may cause concern amongst some of you and may require you to reconsider plans moving forward.  We have tried to be sensitive to the needs of the families of our students and have taken a gradual approach to this issue. I have referred to it many times and written about it here in the school blog.

We are committed to improving attendance to ensure that more of our students make the best possible progress. As I said at the start, thank you for the support of an overwhelming number of you – it means a great deal – and I do appreciate how difficult this issue is for some. I hope we can continue to work together constructively on this for everyone’s benefit.

I hope this makes things clear for everyone


Reading & Literacy

Now then, what have the Literacy Squad been up to this week? Aha, that coronation!

With all of the activities going on around the Coronation Celebration, it was wonderful to see the students enjoying themselves (and everyone enjoying the long weekend).

It is great to take these opportunities to promote reading, and regardless of how people feel about the royal family, the theme of ‘Kings and Queens’ can be really exciting!

Our students had the chance to read non-fiction texts; finding out facts about the monarchy and better understanding the royal family here in Britain

They took part in coronation themed English lessons. With some classes in KS4 completing word puzzles, with Key Vocabulary like MonarchCoronation & Palace (I like the word Curtsy), and other classes in Post 16 analysing how fictional kings and queens are introduced in stories (I particularly like The White Queen Jadis from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)


Last weeks’ blog made mention of some brilliant sensory props to support our students with visual impairments. Being able to run your hands across the designs of St Edward’s Crown and the new King Charles III postage stamp (with access to an audio description as well), is absolutely amazing!


Emma sourced these fantastic resources from the Living Paintings library


Great stuff, Literacy Squad, and many thanks to you, as always

Cycling Session of the Week – Ethan on a bike!

Ethan from Hebron’s Herons loved getting involved in cycling activities during a OPT (Our Personal Transition) physical, social and emotional wellbeing session. Ethan thinks that Nicole is a very good driver! Is she, Ethan? 😊

Safeguarding Update

Rebecca is our excellent Safeguarding Lead. Here’s an update from her. Rebecca and that team also send out termly Safeguarding Updates to keep everyone up to date, which is great. Maria online safety blog is also about safeguarding really too, so please do have a look at all of those things too when you have the time


We have been working with our student council to update our pupil friendly versions of our policies for both Safeguarding’ and Anti Bullying.  The safeguarding team have worked with the students to get their opinions and design new versions to support all pupils in school. We have also designed posters for in our personal care areas and for our engagement pathway to support communication around choices of yes, no and stop, enabling pupils with the signs, symbols or words to support where this is appropriate.


We have added the finished versions to the website in our safeguarding section and have begun to use them around school to support understanding of safeguarding and who to come to for support.

You can see the first set of designs below; a further symbol version is in the process of being finished to add to these to further support all of our pathways.


Personal Development with Jo

The team are in the process of making a guide for parents and visitors to showcase our display boards that are looking amazing, but here are some that are looking a lot more finished…

The PD team completed a learning walk on Thursday to observe how the 5 strands (PSHE/RSHE, Wellbeing, Careers, E-Safety and SMSC/British Values/Citizenship & RE) are embedded within our school culture. We are so grateful to everyone for working so hard to raise the profile of these topic areas within school and we will share some more information and pictures on this soon

There is lots of fantastic learning going on across the school with a focus on puberty this half term

KS2 – are learning about scientific names of body parts and the changes they are about to experience as they approach the age puberty could begin for them

KS3/4 – continue to learn about the puberty they are experiencing, recapping scientific names of body parts, preparing for changes they will continue to experience as their body prepares to become an adult

Post 16 – are working together to prepare for National School Diversity week, which is on 26th – 30th June. They will be covering changing and growing next half term

I will be around at all of the pathway coffee afternoons to show the resources we’re using to support the curriculum and you can ask me any questions you may have. Looking forward to seeing you

Loving this – Personal Development is some of the best work that we do. Do try and get along to see Jo at those Coffee & Catch-up mornings. Always good to talk these things through. PD is the best!


And Now…..

Stars of the Week!

That reflect our School Values!


The ELTBA star of the week goes to …


…from the Woodpigeons!



Joe has done fantastic teamwork in Outdoor Learning. Joe (seen in the middle) has been working with his friends to improve the Outdoor Learning area. Joe and his friends were moving the wood chippings to form the path. Great stuff, Joe! STAR!!!!!


ENGAGEMENT STAR!!! of the Week!


Our STAR of the Engagement Pathway is…


From Pufflings!

Our star of the Engagement Pathway this week is Alex from Pufflings. Alex has been extremely resilient in sensory stories, exploring the different resources which he usually finds difficult to explore new textures. As you can see from the photo, he was very proud of himself! Well done Alex!



Lots to read and admire here!

Here are the ⭐ STARS!!!!! ⭐ of the week for Key Stage 4 Accreditation:



Jak and Owen for resilience, they have tried new foods during the taster day



Harrison respectful to kitchen staff and checking in on them



Mohammed or being a team player, interacting and socialising with peers and ensuring assessment students are doing well

Kacey for teamwork, she has helped a new student within the class to make sure they feel welcomed and part of the new class



Sport! We Heart Sport


I’ve got some results and photos from Helen – it’s not a proper blog without some sport in it is it? Well done to all, this really is heart-warning!

Wanderers Badminton 

Six students from our lower school took part in a fun badminton festival at John Spence High School last Thursday 4th May

There were competing against other schools from around the area taking part in activity stations to gain points. When all the stations were complete the points were added up and Percy Hedley came in first place🏆

PE STARS!!!!! of the week for their resilience at the girl’s football league they were amazing up against the toughest team in the league, but it did not stop them from attacking and superb defending from Casey. First time out in the Percy Hedley team and Robyn scored well – I remember a definite three but then I lost count. Fantastic performance from all the girls






Have a look at some photos

Our Second Prom! – RSVP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are drawing ever closer to the Prom!  If anyone has not sent their RSVP to school, please can this be done as soon as possible

A reminder should have come out to you from our parent mail for all pupils in our Upper School.  We need to start planning for food and drinks very soon, so an idea of numbers is really important!  Many thanks!


Our second prom, following last year’s inaugural one, will be a combined celebration of our 70th birthday celebrations as well as celebrating our leavers and achievers


Formal invitations and further information will be winging their way to all upper school students to allow for us to have RSVPs well enough in advance to book tables and buffet for the right number of students. It will be a great night, and anyone who attended last year’s Prom will agree how much fun the students had!


Any questions please contact Rebecca at


Makaton Signs of the Week

Deaf Awareness Week! Perfect Choice!

Deaf/hearing impaired, hear, listen, hearing aid, cochlear implant

Last week was Deaf Awareness Week (1st – 7th May) but got a little lost amidst the Coronation! Here are some useful signs around hearing and hearing impairment


To hear

To listen

Hearing Aid

Cochlear Implant

Keeeeeee-eeeeeep signing everyone!


Dates for the diary!

Coffee & Catch-up afternoons with Kasia, Sarah, Rebecca and Claire!

Please do come to one of these if you possibly can! I think you’ll enjoy it!

These are terrific! Please do come along!

  • The ELTBA Coffee & Catch-up morning is planned for Monday May 22nd2-3pm
  • The Engagement one is on Tuesday 23rd from 2.15 – 3
  • Post-16 on the Wednesday 24th
  • KS4 on the Thursday 25th


There’ll be loads of stands with exciting, interesting and relevant things on them, and the staff will all be there! There are letters about them, and Eileen also mentions them on her blog

These are great, and really important for keeping in touch. Please do come along if you at all can


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

Fab sports crew