Head Teachers Blog – Autumn 2018

Welcome to the first blog of the new academic year. We finished last year on a high note, having, perhaps, our best Enrichment Week yet and continued with that vein of optimism during the holidays, with Year 11 and 13 both performing as hoped in the new examinations. The first half-term this year has been busy: here is a snap-shot of some of the events so far.


Examination Superstar

Libby Wilkinson became one of only 700 students nationally who achieved Grade 9 in all of her GCSE examinations, a truly remarkable feat when one considers that this figure includes those from independent as well as state schools. Superb in all subjects, she simply dazzled in chemistry, where she was not only in the top 0.1% of the 100,000 students sitting the exam but actually scored the second highest mark. Well done, Libby!


Amazing Attendees


A great picture of students of year 7 (now year 8) celebrating last years 100% attendance. they had an invitation to attend a lunch party with free food and music hosted by myself, Mrs Danby and Mrs Scott.



Sporting Superstars

Chris Perkins continues to dazzle at Cross Country, achieving glory in local and national events, gaining Gold in not only the County Pentathlon Championships but also in the National Championships.


Sensational Swimmers

Mr Finley writes: ‘I am delighted to be able to let you know that the school swimming team has had more success in the annual Regional English Schools Swimming relays held last week’

We had the largest team in the North East with teams entered in all age groups and both male and female.

The Junior Boys team of Thomas Maskell, Jacob Davison, Jamie McCormick and Luke Turnbull came 1st in the Medley relay and 2nd in the Freestyle Relay. They qualify 5th in the country in the Medley Relay.

The Junior Girls team of Lydia Hall, Lauren Rowlands, Emily Maxwell and Maddie Finley did well and set some
pb’s but no medals.

The Inter Boys won both their races qualifying 12th in the country in Freestyle and 6th in the Medley. The team is Josh Savage, Flynn McQueen, Thomas Adamson, Matthew Cairns and Morgan Swirles.

The Inter Girls of Lily Gardner, Molly Finley, Naomi Sheavills and Ella Hall got two silvers in both relays but just missed out on the Nationals.

The Senior Boys (Olly Wallace, Aaron Beckford, Lewis Maxwell and James Davison) won both races by a massive margin and qualify 8th and 11th for the ESSA Finals.

The Senior Girls of Faye Burns, Elle Brown, Ellen Haswell and Grace Maskell got two silvers but just missed out on nationals.

These results make us the most successful school in the North in terms of qualification with some chance of National medals.


Team Titans

Year 7

Some great individual football performances for Park View Year 7’s against tough opposition. In particular, George Jennings (GK) for his general attitude and his resilience in lifting the team when facing defeat. Also, Jacob Wilson has been an incredible asset to the team, showing his versatility in any position he is given to play. We look forward to more fixtures after the Christmas break.

Year 8

Boys Football team are into the County Cup Third Round after a comfortable win versus Kepier – they will play Hurworth at North Lodge next week. Several boys continue to excel at District Level, representing Chester le Street, Washington and Derwentside SFA in their pursuit of County and National success.

Boys Rugby – attended All Schools Games at Houghton RFC, took part in 4 matches, conceding 0 tries. Flynn Bolton scored 10 tries / Lucas Cox scored 4 tries / Charlie Lawson played up a year group and scored 3 tries.

Year 9

Football – After a shaky start to the season the team have progressed well. They picked up 7 points out of their final 3 games. Matthew Lewis scored 8 goals within this good run. When the mid-season break is over and the season restarts in February the squad can be full of confidence.

Boys Rugby – attended All Schools Games at Houghton RFC, took part in 4 matches winning all and scoring 13 tries in the process – Cameron Harvey (4) and Kieran Hall (3).

Netball – Started the league well with some fabulous performances, lots of new faces and some huge progress in skill levels – hoping to be victorious vs Durham High on Thursday

Cross Country – Mia Openshaw and Chris Perkins stand out Cross Country runners this season – Chris Setting a course record at Emmanuel Invitational. Individual competition is in 2 weeks time, we are hoping for world domination from Chris and are confident a number of our students will go on to represent the district and the county.

Year 10

Boys football team have started the year really well. They are currently undefeated in the league (averaging 5 goals a game and have only conceded the 1), have qualified for the league cup final and are awaiting opponents in the quarter-final of the County Cup.

Netball – Started the league well with some fabulous performances, victorious against Durham Johnson and played hugely competitive games vs Leonards before half term – next up Durham High

6th Form

The 6th Form has been enjoying some regular recreational dodgeball fixtures amongst themselves and ended the half term with a match against the staff – a match that they were comfortably defeated in!

Giving Back to Sport

Some Y9/10 students acted as young leaders refereeing primary school rugby festivals every Friday night at NL throughout October – they did a superb job.

Academy High-flyers

The partnership with Carlisle United has seen 4 students train with Carlisle in Budapest as part of the pre-season tour.

The new year 12 travelled to St George’s Park to participate in the under 19 Premier League VAR tournament, finishing runners-up and gaining invaluable experience of working with technology in sport.

A further 5 players have signed contract terms with Carlisle United Academy playing in the EFL Youth Alliance league on a Saturday.

The start to the season has been excellent with the Under 17 and Under 19 teams being unbeaten in the National Football Youth League Championship and Premier Division.

Outside of football, we have been delighted with the success of Aaron Beckford who performed exceptionally well during the summer in the National Swimming Championships, winning a national title.


Students Out and About

Year 7 Entrepreneurs Rewarded

Year 7 pupils recently completed their very first Enterprise Edge Day at North Lodge.

As part of the day, we were lucky enough to have Business Durham representatives with us all day, who split Year 7 into teams and set a series of challenges based around planning, designing and advertising a brand new product. Our winning team came up with an innovative new temperature controlled pillow, that allowed users to stay cool at night in the summer and warm up in the winter. Gary Chaplin, the Enterprise Development Manager for Durham County Council, explained that he chose the winning team because of the initiative they showed in identifying a need for a new invention, then working and communicating perfectly as a team to capitalise on this and develop the idea into a real business proposal. Mr Chaplin was so impressed with the team’s efforts that he returned to North Lodge with Mr Hobbs to present the team of pupils with a substantial set of gift vouchers as a financial reward.

Business Durham representatives explained to pupils in Year 7 that there will be opportunities to be involved in the Future Business Magnates competition next year, which allows Year 8 pupils to compete against similar groups in other schools to find the best young business talents in our region. From the standard of commitment and innovative thinking shown from our Year 7 pupils this year, it is clear to see that Park View could give our rival schools a real run for their money in Year 8!


Year 8

Year 8 are involved in a project working with ourselves, English Heritage and Newcastle University. It is to build an interactive website to be used by schools, drawing on the inspiration of the local landscape. An artist is drawing the landing page and users will be able to click on landmarks to access writing and recordings done by students reflecting places and people of the region across time. As part of the project, they will visit the Newcastle University library, The Discovery Museum and Beamish and will also participate in a Heritage walk through Newcastle. The school will be awarded Heritage status once the project is complete.


Celebrating PiXL Edge Achievement (Years 7, 8 & 9)

Mr Hobbs and Mr Glass had the privilege of taking ten of our incredible pupils, nominated by staff for their excellence in studying for their PiXL Edge Qualifications, to Horbury Academy in Wakefield for the Northern Awards Celebration, where they represented our school brilliantly, amongst star pupils from six other schools.

All of our students were presented with their awards from key PiXL representatives and keynote speakers, Kadeem Harrigan and Kieran Audsley. The day included some inspirational talks, orchestral performances and time to swap experiences and projects ideas with peers from other schools.

After the event, Erin Malik and Mr Hobbs even had a surprise interview with the Capital FM Radio Station about their trip to Wakefield and the pride pupils had in their achievements.

“The PiXL Edge program of study and suite of nationally accredited qualifications at Park View, allows students to develop attitudes, attributes and skills essential for employability and life. This year, 297 of our pupils achieved their Apprentice Certification; I wonder if we can beat this score next academic year!” Mr Hobbs


Year 10 Careers Event at Metro Radio Arena

Year 10 attended the Careers Fayre at the Metro Radio Arena and proved to be
an absolute credit to the school.


Year 10 Historians

Year 10 Historians were also out at Beamish where they were involved in two investigations; one was why the Georgian Squire died at Pockerly Hall and the other was what caused the death of Milly from Diptheria in 1916. They thoroughly enjoyed exploring and talking to various people from the past!


Year 10 6 day Trip to Kreis Wesel, Germany

During the first week of October, twenty Year 10 students accompanied by Mrs Goad and Mr Good, embarked on a 6-day visit to the area of Kreis Wesel in the north east of Germany. Our students spoken German came on massively as they chatted with German pupils about the differences between life in the UK and Germany during visits to three different partner schools.

An afternoon spent bowling with students from one of the schools, followed by a visit to the local ice cream cafe, was a particular highlight! We are really looking forward to welcoming one of our partner schools to Chester-le-Street in November when they will participate in a WWI remembrance project with us. We also visited local industries, with one group going to a waste recycling plant and the other to a coal mine. Each group then presented in German what they had discovered. The trip also really highlighted the importance of looking further afield for university study as we had an interesting tour of a local university, as well as their futuristic 3D printing lab, which delivers degree courses in English. The whole group had lots of fun spending a day on the rollercoasters at Movie Park – Mr Good is extremely grateful to the Y10s who took him on the rides with them! The group were a testament to our school and were a pleasure to spend a week with.


Year 10 & 11 Paris Trip


Our Paris Trip ran at the end of the October and 30 keen linguists from Year 10 and Year 11 had the opportunity to put their French into practice and get themselves ready for summer exams. Students broadened their horizons when visiting the ‘greatest hits’ of Paris: museums, monuments, restaurants and sightseeing. Feedback from the students has been extremely positive and we were really proud of how they conducted themselves – they did Park View proud!




Year 11 Newcastle University Transition Day

Year 11 visited Newcastle University to take part in a transition day.

They took part in three taster lectures on renewable energy, law and clinical psychology; as well as planning degree options and career paths; and having a full tour of the university.

The students were an absolute credit to Park View, with the event organiser saying that they were the best and most engaged and enthusiastic school of the whole week!


Year 11 Historians


Year 11 Historians were out at the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds, where they visited an early 19th Century street and identified many of the major public health issues of the period.



6th Form Sunderland University Open Day


The 6th Form took part in a Sunderland University open day event based around Marketing and Communication. This was a great opportunity for our 6th Form A level Business students to see what university life could be like.  They got to sample 2 different lectures, find out about business-related courses and get a tour of the campus.  It goes without saying that they involved themselves fully and were a credit to the school.




And finally…

An interesting piece by Mrs Gibson, our Whole School Oracy and Literacy Lead, which was published during the Summer:


‘I read with some unease in the news this week about a school that is imposing complete silence on its pupils at points during the school day. Don’t get me wrong, I understand at times that silence is needed – we need some silence to reflect, to pause and to give us space to think. And these are some of the reasons that this school gave to explain its new rules. So why so uneasy?


Whilst I know that there is a place, and even a need, for some silence in the often busy and frenetic lives we lead, for me school is a place to talk and through talking to learn, to build connections and create a community. At this time, during our six week pause, when I venture into school to tidy my classroom or to begin to get ready for the year ahead, school is a strange place to be. It doesn’t feel like school because it is too quiet. Our school is our students and without their voices, it is simply a building.


In the last two years, our school has built on the notion that developing and encouraging our students’ ability to use their voices effectively is critical. There are so many reasons why we believe this to be the case, perhaps too many to list. This year, our students have used their voices to tell of their own dreams for themselves and for the world. I have watched students from Syria speak about their wish for a world filled with kindness and others speak about their desire for equality and for change. For me, at the centre, is the belief that we all have something worth saying and that to develop Oracy is to develop individuals who know and understand their own worth and that of others, to create collaborative and empathetic individuals who understand and invest in the importance of community and who can use their voices for the good of themselves and others.


Importantly, in an age where we are seeing more and more stories about the poor mental health of students, Oracy is crucial in that it develops confidence and self-esteem. I have watched students barely have the courage to introduce themselves at the start of the year transformed by the end as they proudly give speeches on issues that they are passionate about. I have watched students reflect on how much they have changed and on how much they have grown as a result of Oracy.


Oracy is also at the centre of learning. For if we can’t say it, how can we think it? To articulate something is to know it. Oracy too is the bridge to literacy. It is an opportunity to practise ideas before committing them to paper. It is an opportunity for a reticent child to gain confidence in their thoughts and for the more self-assured child to develop their reasoning. Oracy is also the connection between students who can learn so much from each other and it is also the connection between students and teachers, where meaning is made and relationships are formed. It is through talk that we as teachers gauge – at the moment – what is understood and what is yet to be comprehended. For me, Oracy is at the heart of my classroom. It is the buzz of learning and I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.


And let’s not forget, Oracy opens doors. All of our students have the potential to succeed, but they will not do so until they believe it for themselves. Finding their voice, knowing their worth and having the ability to learn is vital. Oracy is the key to communicating to a university interviewer their desire to study a particular course or to a future employer their suitability for a particular job. More importantly, it shows them how to live well in a world with others. As my Syrian students eloquently, to my mind, put it ‘in a world filled with kindness.’


It is believed the phrase ‘silence is golden’ has its origins in ancient Egypt and that the poet  Thomas Carlyle, translated it into English remarking that  “Silence is golden, speech is silver,’ suggesting that silence is preferable to speaking. But I rather prefer the words of Paul Simon who sang ‘Fools, said I, you do not know, Silence like a cancer grows, Hear my words that I might teach you, Take my arms that I might reach you.’


For now, whilst both students and teachers may appreciate the pause and relative silence that the six week holiday brings, come September we will look forward once again to the buzz of learning. To the sound of voices. And not to the sound of silence.’