News & Stars from John & the PHS Team Friday 20th January

Welcome to Percy Hedley School's Whole School Blog!

Hi there again everyone,

How are you all? Good I hope. We have settled into the term now, which is great, and lots of things are underway for this 6-week half, which of course can be a difficult half with the weather

So do take a look at the fabulous stars we have this week, some Outdoor Learning, Storytelling Week, excellent Makaton things, and the menu for Chinese New Year!

One serious thing that’s been happening in PSHE has been some quite serious sessions about social media influencers and how to recognise some of their techniques, particularly some of the unpleasant ones that have been in the news recently. Here’s a link to a letter that Jo has written about the most high-profile case that, in general terms, we’ve been doing some assemblies and sessions on. It’s all part of e-safety and equipping our students to be as safe as they can be in the modern world. Serious stuff

Industrial Action

You may have seen reports in the press that the NEU (National Education Union) has announced a number of strike dates for teachers in maintained state schools and academies in England and Wales. As a non-maintained special school, our teachers are not eligible for strike action and therefore our schools will remain open.

Although employees at our school will not be part of any strike action, please be aware there may well be an impact on our staff due to the wider industrial action which may in turn affect staffing levels in school., this may then affect your child’s team and/or how their school day looks.  If this is the case we will be sure to contact those affected as soon as we have further information.


All the best for a lovely weekend when it arrives for you, and thanks for your continued support

John & the PHS Team



Next on Reading, a very nice thing. See what the Literacy group have been working on, and let’s see what Becky is saying about it

Our Literacy Steering Group have been getting their heads together this week to plan the events for the rest of the academic year, as we continue to celebrate our Love of Reading.

There’s lots of lovely things in the calendar, the next of which will be us celebrating ‘National Storytelling Week’ from 30th Jan – 3rd Feb; that’s Monday next week.

National Storytelling Week takes place every year and is a celebration of the power of sharing stories. Stories teach us about the world, they allow us to step into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy, they help us to relax and escape and they can help develop essential literacy skills.

We encourage families to think about their favourite stories, whether they are something you’ve read, or a family story passed around each Christmas – is there anything your student would want to share with their class in this week?

More information coming on how we’re celebrating this in the coming weeks!


As you know, there have been some national changes with regard to how pupil absences from school are regarded and dealt with, and these changes are going to be on-going until September. In fact, we’ve been having the first sets of meetings with the LA Attendance Officer, as per the ways things are now

I’ve talked about attendance quite a bit in the past few months, and I’m re-producing some bits of the draft policy here again. This really is still a journey for all of us, and some of it is quite difficult

This is from the draft policy on the website, and the link’s included

Parental Responsibility

Significant adults have a primary role in ensuring the attendance of pupils. Good examples of attendance and timekeeping provide role models for pupils. Parents and carers are notified via the school blog, and parent meetings about the importance of attendance and timekeeping, and their responsibility in ensuring regular attendance and the importance of reporting absences to school.

Parents and carers have a responsibility to notify the school if their child is going to be absent. This may be via:

  • Email or a note in the school diary if the absence is known in advance (e.g. medical appointment)
  • A telephone call to the school office before 9.30 on the first day of absence if the absence was unplanned (e.g. illness)

Parents and carers have a responsibility to engage constructively with school staff to support the child to attend school. Where a pupil is transported to school by parents and there is a pattern of consistently late arrival school staff will discuss this with parents and seek to offer support to resolve it. Please note, the register closes at 9.45. Anyone who arrives after this time will be marked as unauthorised absence. This will have an impact on their overall attendance.

If parents and carers would like to request leave of absence for a pupil to have time off during term time they should complete a Leave of Absence form available from the school office and submit at least 5 working days prior to the date of requested leave

The headteacher will only authorise leave of absence during term time in exceptional circumstances. If the headteacher grants a leave request the head teacher to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school. Leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday as a norm.

School Procedures and Responsibilities

Morning registers close at 9.30am except on days of particularly inclement weather, when the Head teacher will declare when the school register should close. Afternoon registers close 5 minutes after the start of the afternoon session. The register will be completed by the class teacher or delegated to a specific member of the class team. Class teachers and leaders will carry out ongoing monitoring of both attendance and punctuality. If a child is absent from school with no reason given, or if a pupil does not return when expected to, the following procedure will apply: Issue date: November 2022 Version No: V1.0 Status: Approved Review date: November 2023 Page 9 of 12 On the first day:

  1. A member of the class team will contact the office to check if a call and reason has been received. If no contact has been made a call parents or carers will be made to seek an explanation.
  2. If no contact can be made by 12.00, the emergency contacts will be called. If no contact can be made with any emergency contacts by 1.30, staff will visit the home. They may knock on neighbours. If staff are unable to get a reply from the home the child will be reported as missing from education and a DSL will inform social services and the local authority.

Where a reason for absence is sought and given, the register will be amended to reflect this. However, a late arrival after the register has closed will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

If a child returns to school where no contact has been able to have been made during the absence, the parents or carers will receive a letter from the Headteacher reiterating the school procedures for pupil absence.

If a parent contacts the school to say a child is ill and will be off for 4 days or more the school will do a “Safe and Well” check after the third day. This may be via telephone, video call or home visit. Where possible staff will communicate directly with the child.

Here is the full Attendance Policy:

Outdoor Learning Excellent Lesson of the Week! With the Blackbirds!

Now for the return of my favourite – Outdoor Learning! It’s so good to see the pupils doing these activities, and Hannah T has been at it again with some great activities. Great stuff, guys – and Hannah! Have a look at these lovely wintery photos and then read what Hannah says about it all below. Plus, birds are a real theme in our school too, so it all works!

This week we have been making homemade “fat balls” bird feeders in Outdoor Learning, in preparation for the “RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch” which takes place NEXT weekend, 27-29 January

Here are Lucas and Brandon from the Blackbirds with their finished product, They both loved the feel on the seeds and lard as they squished it all together before hanging them out on the trees to see what birds we can attract

Here’s a link to the RSPB Bird watch by the way, if you’re into it.

Parent Partnership

There’ll be some new things to say on this soon, but in the meantime, thanks for filling out the questionnaires and sending in responses

It’s all very helpful and will help us create the best action plan we can do. We’ll talk about this at the Coffee & Catch-up mornings and other times like that

Tracy and the team will get back to us all on this in due course!


Class of the Week – the marvellous Australian Robins!

The pupils in the Australian Robins have been very busy this week. They have been exploring water as part of their topic. They have been in lots of different postural positions and worked really hard! They particularly enjoyed their ‘sensory cookery’ session and their water themed Move to Learn and hydrotherapy sessions. They may have got a bit wet one or two times…woops!! Stay warm and dry everyone!

Here are a few lovely photos – check them out and see what you think!

Stars of the Week!


With added School Values!


OK, so……………


The ELTBA Star of the Week is…..Olivia from the Woodpigeons!

For respect and lots of other things too


Olivia is respectful, kind and thoughtful to her peers. She is always polite and has friends across the school. Olivia is a genuine, 100%, complete STAR!!! and I hope she has a lovely weekend. Well done, Olivia!

The Woodpigeons are a great class too – all of em!

Accreditation Stars of the Week!


Noah has gone out of his way this week to make a new student feel welcome – that really is a fabulous thing to do


Aoife has been volunteering for her Duke of Edinburgh Award helping with jobs such as photocopying


Daniel has worked really hard on his targets


All of KS4 and Post-16 learned about social media influencers and unkind comments this week. Students demonstrated how respectful they were by giving though provoking answers when given statements about equality between men and women. This is great and important stuff, and we’re really proud of the discussions on this difficult and sometimes unpleasant topic. Here are some of the things they were looking at, and how they tackled them. This is kind of like topic of the week in lessons for these guys as well, and forms part of our PSHE program. Good work all round, people!


Social Media Influencers try to persuade you to do and say certain things.


People should be treated equally and fairly, our school values are below:

ENGAGEMENT Star of the Week! Teamwork with Megan!

STAR!!! Megan! Nice to get out on a trip. And a great hat too!

Megan was brilliant out shopping, working on communication, interaction and various other aspects of things you do when you’re out shopping. This was some really good work, Megan, and working well with others is a really important skill, as well as a value of the school. Congratulations, and thanks for being a complete STAR!!!


Therapy Star of the Week!


Love having a Therapy Star of the Week! Especially if it’s Lola!


Lola has been working hard during her SaLT and OT sessions this week. Here she is enjoying one of her favourite songs, working on communication and all sorts of other things! Lola always tries her very best and the staff team are so proud of her. Well done Lola! Therapy STAR!!!!!!!!!

Makaton Signs of the Week

It’s Chinese New Year on Sunday (by the way, the lunch menu for Chinese New Year looks great too!) It’s the Year of the Rabbit!

Julie always relates the Signs of the Week to what’s happening in the world, so Here are the signs if you are celebrating or discussing this event.

I’m putting links to the video in each week now too. Here it is

Thanks Julie!


And finally…..


Our fabulous Catering Team are at it again with their special Taster Days. This time it’s for Chinese New Year – and some of the dishes sound amazing! I can’t wait! And they have veggie versions of all these too. Huge thanks to Sue, Mark, Blanche and the team. Where would we be without our nice school dinners? 😊


Anyway, have a little peek at the menu…..mmm, dim sum…………………

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

from John & the Team here at PHS