News, Messages & Stars from John & the PHS Team Friday 19th May

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Whole School Blog!

Hello everyone, lovely weather at last!

It’s been a full, five-day week here! But it’s been an excellent one, with lots happening and a few nice days even, which makes such a difference to trips out, Outdoor Learning, PE and the genera feel of things! I hope you’re all well

In the blog this week, there’s a wide range of items, from some great stars and heroes, lovely trips out and lessons, and some dates for the diary, with news about Coffee & Catch-up sessions, the Prom and lots of other bits and pieces. I hope you enjoy it or at the very least that there is something for you. Please don’t miss the drone pictures at the end! They were part of an orienteering lesson, so that’s good in itself, but it’s been a while since I put any drone pictures in. Yes, you’ll have to read to the end! 😊

And don’t forget Maria and Eileen’s blogs too, they’re great! All the best!

Cheers! Happy Friday


😊 from John & the PHS Team 😊


School Council and Safeguarding Update!

Now some news of a very important piece of work with the pupils that’s really very good indeed! The School Council are all the Heroes of the Week, for this Safety Map described below and for helping us all year with interviews for people who come for jobs here. This is excellent

This week the student council have been working with Rebecca and Corin from the Safeguarding group, looking at the school site and identifying any areas of school where they feel nervous or anxious, and working with the group to decide how they could make this better for all pupils within the school.  They worked really hard to explain their decisions and come up with a coding system to ensure that all areas of school were covered

Some of their ideas included covering the outside fence to stop people being able to look into the playground, thinking about areas that can be dark and could make people nervous, and thinking about the noise in the dining hall when it is busy and how this could affect some of the students in school

We will be completing this work with the council regularly to look at any further changes that would make the environment better for them


Friends of PHS – FoPHS!


If you would like to support the Friends of Percy Hedley, please feel come along to the 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, the Friends are always looking for volunteers for events!  If you can offer any support, please contact Eileen at





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



This is the letter that I sent out last week about attendance, by post and blogged out here. I’m just trying to make sure that everybody’s seen it. We’ve also amended the draft policy on the website. Thanks for your co-operation with it all

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


Reading & Literacy, with The Literacy Squad

Now then, what have The Squad been up to this week? Philip’s going to tell us…

In addition to so many wonderful events going on at the moment, it is fantastic to recognise that in the world of reading, this month is National Share a Story Month!

This month sees a celebration of stories in all their forms (something that we try to do here all year round), whether they be fiction or non-fiction… books or comics or pictures… audiobooks or sensory books…

A story’s ability to transport us to other places and teach us about ourselves and the world around us is an amazing thing, and well worth sharing.

There are plenty of stories out there and lots of different resources to help celebrate the month. Check out what there is on offer or share some of your favourite stories with the younger generation!

The Literacy Squad

Art Lesson of the Week!

In Art, Rock Ptarmigans have been studying Keith Haring’s Pop Art. They created chalk drawings in the style of his work. Next time out, they’ll will be making 3D sculptures

Michael said, “Keith Haring’s artwork is very good, I love it. Seeing his subway artworks, where he started his career, inspired me to make my own.”

Harrison said, “I’m looking forward to making my own 3D stuff!”

Safeguarding Update

Here’s Rebecca’s update from last week again

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 above; a further symbol version is in the process of being finished to add to these to further support all of our pathways


Another Lovely Menu Tasting Day from the Kitchen

It’s really great when the kitchen team organise a tasting day when the menu changes. Not only do they make nice food, they take great photos of them too!


And Now…..

Stars of the Week!

That reflect our School Values!


The ELTBA star of the week goes to …


Zakaria has shown super teamwork when playing football. He was supporting his friends and cheering them on throughout the game. Great work Zakaria!

Teamwork! In the gym!



ENGAGEMENT STAR!!! of the Week!


Our STAR of the Engagement Pathway is… Oscar from the Herons! He has been an absolute star in music therapy, building and demonstrating resilience and persistence skills over the past few weeks. He now plays percussion in the boys’ band! Well done Oscar!

Resilient STAR!!! Oscar!

Hero of the Week!

It’s Finn!

Hero of the Week! Recently, Finn did some litter-picking at home!
It was all Finn’s idea, he asked at home to be taken to places he’s seen where he thinks there’s a lot of rubbish lying around as he wants to make a difference. He went with his mum (also a Hero of course!) a number of times in the Easter hols and in the photo above he is outside the allotments he goes to with us every Wednesday afternoon
Finn was doing such a good job he was spoken to on a number of occasions by passers-by. Congratulating him on doing such a wonderful job! He loved this! Even getting a thumbs up from a passing bin lorry!




Lots to read and admire here!


Respect and Resilience

Benjamin for being so helpful and polite to a peer.  Also for retelling stories so well in Performing Arts.  So interesting!



Imogen for being spot on with her spelling.  Well done!!!



Grace and Finny for working together to research protected characteristics. They produced a lovely article. Very informative



Shannon for being a great sports leader and directing an excellent PE lesson



Jensen for using his symbols, and for being amazing at transferring out of his chair



Santi! For doing an awesome ELS assessment



Therapy STAR!!! Of the week


Jack, for Sensory Social Communication

Jack made a very clear choice between two objects to tell the team that he really likes the rainbow light-up umbrella and song, so much so he chose it twice! He was also able to use facial expressions to let us know that he really didn’t like the prickly leaves in the flower song and smiled when they were removed. Impressive communication Jack!


Drama Group!

On Friday lunchtimes there is a lovely drama group, who have spent some time making up stories and tales.  They started with ‘Once Upon a Time………’ and each member of the group added a new sentence. The latest story from Ella and Faith is:

Once upon a time, there was a man called King Ed who lived in a castle with his pet fish called Tim. There was a giant plant growing out of the ceiling of the castle, and it had eaten Ella and her sister. King Ed  wanted to take over the world, so he watered the plant to make it grow and eat all the villages. However, Tim the fish had other plans. He called Ed Sheeran , he stopped the plant by singing “Eyes Closed” and the song put the plant to sleep

Unfortunately, the plant had eaten King Ed so Tim the Fish ruled the world

Sport! We Heart Sport!


Four students from lower school took part in a Swim Discovery Gala at Jarrow Community Pool on Tuesday. Isaac, Joshua, Cayden and Connor took part in five fun activities: a treasure hunt; ferry travel; popcorn; a raft race and a freestyle race, along with five other schools. They had a great time and finished in 3rd place winning six lovely little ducks for our Hydro pool and some swim goggles. Great fun was had by all!

Fun in the pool!


Trip of the Week – Hannah and the Kingfishers!

This is from Hannah

This week, the Kingfishers have been on the move!  We have really enjoyed accessing the adapted bikes at school and whizzing around the yard.  It’s great fun to go fast.  Of course, we made sure all of the safety precautions were in place with our bike helmets firmly on!  We’ve also been moving at the Tim Lamb Centre – the wheelchair swing was a huge hit.  We loved exploring the outdoor area,  and particularly enjoyed spinning around on the wheelchair roundabout.  It is exciting to experience so many different forms of movement, as it stimulates our senses, including our vestibular (movement and balance) system. We can’t wait to see where our next trip moves us!


True Colours

True Colours have done some really lovely work with the pupils at this school, and it’s always great to see them. They actually just this week won a National Award from the Department for Education for their holiday activity scheme (HAF) so you might want to check this out for the summer if it’s your child’s kind of thing. If you don’t know them they’re great

But don’t take my word for it! Have a read of what Kayden – who often has things published in this blog – says about them himself. Terrific stuff, Kayden, thanks! I think you’ll like this, guys!

True Colours Theatre Group are coming into our school weekly this term. The theme for their activities is ‘Emotions’. For the past four weeks they have been helping KS2 and KS3 students further their knowledge about theatre talents with fun and exciting activities, such as saying the same sentence with different types of emotions. Another way we implemented emotions into an activity is by moving around a circle using different types of mannerisms like ‘sad’ or ‘happy’. A similar activity is when we got ribbons and were told to move the ribbon to the emotion that got shouted out. We also sing and sign, and my personal role is as peer support, taking photographs and encouraging other students to join in with the activities.

I asked some of the students what they thought about their time with True Colours.

Quotes from some of the students:

Callum – “I like the parachute. I am becoming more confident.”

Patrick – “It’s good, I like dancing.”

Ayaan – “It’s good, dancing and singing.”

Sadie – “I enjoy it, I like singing and signing.”

Delaney – “I like it because it’s funny and it makes me smile” J

Shaye – “I think it’s good because I join in everything.”

Edward – “It is good all of the time. I like dancing. The people are nice.”

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

Signs for National Numeracy Day 17th May – another great choice of topic by Julie

Number, How Many, Numbers 0-10


Keeeeeee-eeeeeep signing everyone!


Dates for the diary! These are next week now!

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 morningis 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


Finally – Drone picture of the week!

Now, we haven’t had any drone pictures for a while, but they’re pretty spectacular when we do. Have a look at these and see if you can work out what’s what….cheers for this, David

Some students did some orienteering on Thursday based on these pictures. So I’m actually doing something that’s like Lesson of the  Week, rather than just putting cool pictures in the blog! Orienteering – cool Outdoor Learning Lesson!

All of it! I can actually see my car here…..

Our great yard! With cool markings!

Teletubbyland! (Which isn’t what it’s really called, but never mind…..)

The lovely Outdoor Learning area – my favourite bit!


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