News, Messages & Stars from John & the PHS Team Friday 26th May

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Whole School Blog!

Hello everyone,

Well, we seem to have reached another half term! This one has been so busy, I think partly because of the two bank holidays! It’s been great though. The Joe Wicks thing was really fun, and it was nice to be with some other schools, we also had another Resilience Day on Coping, and there have been some nice lessons, trips and visits too


Who knew for example that there were hippos in Killingworth? Not me!


It’s lovely to hear about the Engagement Coffee & Catch-up session too! Please do have a read of that and the other bits and pieces we have in the blog this week. Also our 2nd ever Prom is fast approaching!


Cheers! Have a great half term together, and we’ll see you soon for the last half term of the year, which is always busy and fun!

John S

😊 from John & the PHS Team 😊

Can you believe we hung out with Joe Wicks?


Personal Development

Joe Wicks!

50 of our students were lucky enough to be randomly chosen to attend a live workout with Joe Wicks himself at the George Stephenson High School, in the field out the back of our school; they’re a school we work with sometimes. The atmosphere was electric and the sun even turned up for us! 5 students then got the chance to attend a smaller question & answer event at the Lakeside Centre. Massive thank you to Catherine Patrick, PE teacher from George Stephenson, for inviting us to this once in a lifetime opportunity! You know you want to see some photos! So here they are – and don’t worry, because Joe is in a few of them!

Access the BBC Radio video report here:


Thank you to everyone who came for a chat with me about PSHE at the coffee afternoons. It was really useful for me to learn more about difficulties students have, to enable us to provide some tailored support to students who find some growing up topics tricky. If you didn’t get the chance to catch me, please feel free to email any time on

Resilience Day!


As part of KS4 and post-16’s Resilience Day they had a wide range of options. Some of them opted to play dodgeball. They started with some warmup games before playing the main sessions. They all seemed to enjoy it. It’s been quite a busy week and there are loads of photos of everything, but here are at least a few to be going on with

In another part of our Resilience Day………


John Joseph absolutely loved the paddling pool! So much so he jumped in at the first opportunity fully clothed!!! Yes!!!!!!

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


Duke of Edinburgh Award – it’s great that we do this!

On Thursday afternoon, students working towards their DofE Bronze Awards who have not completed their expeditions went out for a practice walk. They walked a total of four miles from school to the roundabout near the Rising Sun Country Park. They practiced their navigational skills on the way there. They were tired but happy by the time they returned to school. Great stuff!

Stars of the Week!

That reflect our School Values!


The ELTBA star of the week goes to …

…all the students in the ELTBA pathway!

Ah well, they’ve obviously had a really good half term and everyone is feeling very good about each other! OK, so not a lovely photo of one of our pupils this week, but a nice message at least

Everyone has worked super hard and shown fantastic teamwork! One of the best parts of Percy Hedley School is how everyone works together – that’s what the ELTBA Team said, not me


ENGAGEMENT STAR!!! of the Week!


Our star of the Engagement Pathway this week is… Lysbeth from Pufflings!

Lysbeth has worked extremely hard in MOVE to learn this week! She tolerated all the changes of position brilliantly and was resilient in trying to keep her head up whilst lying on her tummy! Well done Lysbeth!


Love the post-16 STARS!!!!!


Respect and Teamwork

Finley C for being so fantastic and supportive to his peers in PE and working so hard in D of E

Resilience and respect

Shannon for demonstrating BIDMAS so clearly to the whole class

(If you haven’t been in school for a while, that’s a Maths thing guys!)


Owen for being so amazing doing the work out with Joe Wicks


Trip of the Week – Hebron’s Herons

There are Hippos in Killingworth! Who knew?

Have a listen and look and what the Herons have been up to. This is from Anne:

Our class 6CHe went to visit the Killingworth Hippos, we had lots of fun. Oliver loved sitting on the Hippo, he kept petting the hippo on the head!


Info about the Hippos from the north Tyneside council if you need it –

The sculptures have been a feature of Killingworth’s Garth’s estate since the mid-1970s. It is understood that the hippos were installed as part of a local authority housing scheme, however, the designer is, as yet, unknown. It is assumed that they came from the same moulds used by Stan Bonnar for similar hippos in Glenrothes New Town, Fife


Gardening Spot of the Week

This is a lovely thing that Christian’s Herons are doing with the staff at school, but I thought it would be lovely to put it in the blog as well. Have a read:

As a part of our OPT award and Enterprise, 6CHe have been growing tomato plants to sell. We have some that are ready to go (and lots that will hopefully be ready to go after the half-term break). Having your own tomato plant(s) at home is fantastic for many reasons, but mainly because you can pick your own fresh tomatoes from the end(ish) of July and believe me your own home-grown tomato tastes so much better than shop bought. If you have not tried growing them before give it a go – all you will need to do is repot the plant into a larger pot, add a support and wait!! (advice can be given by us). You don’t have to have a greenhouse, they will grow in a conservatory, or in a sunny indoor spot, or an outdoor sheltered area with lots of sun. Growing your own is also a brilliant way to teach your children about the benefits of growing healthy produce

If you would like to buy one or two or as many as you want, they are only £1.50 each (I know!! It’s as if we are giving them away!!) come to 6CHe in Post 16 and buy or put in your order


6CHe OPT group


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

It’s National Doughnut Week 20th-28th May!

An excuse to talk about (and eat) cake!

This week’s signs are:

Doughnut, cake, biscuit, sweets, eat







To Eat

Cheers Julie! Keeeeeee-eeeeeep signing everyone!


Coffee & Catch-ups

Thanks to all who came to these!

It’s great to have you guys in the school. Hear about one of them from Kasia here! It was really good!


The Engagement Pathway held a parents’ afternoon last Tuesday


The event’s focus was to share with families what we offer in our Pathway and share evidence of progress. The themes were: Learning Skills Through Engagement Curriculum, TAC PAC, Rebound, MOVE, Reading, Intensive Interaction, Makaton/TaSSeLs, OPT Award & Preparation for Adulthood


We also provided information about the LPPA and Friends of Percy Hedley School, FoPHS. We wanted to get feedback from our visitors on how we can increase our number of parents/carers/grandparents attending event


Parents said they found the afternoon interesting as they aimed to share information about our Pathway


One of the parents was very interested in the Intensive Interaction approach and decided to use it at home and train carers


Parents feedback that it was helpful to see the assessment and recording tools to understand what their child was doing at school

Some parents reported that they would like to engage in hands-on activities in a school

We listened to all the feedback and will soon come back with some new ideas and hope to welcome more parents and carers

Coffee & Catch-up…Lovely stuff


And finally…..

Jenny is running the Edinburgh Marathon, raising money for the school. Jenny also has family links to the very origins of the school 70 years ago, so I don’t usually put things like this in the blog, but I thought I’d make an exception for this! Cheers Jenny – all the best and good luck!

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