Headteachers Blog – Winter Half Term


It has been a really busy half term so there is a lot here for you to catch up on. The last term ended with the appointment of Mr Finley as Park View’s new headteacher, a great result for the school which will allow me to leave sure that the school is in safe hands. The last week of term saw a fantastic performance by our choirs, orchestra and soloists at The Sage, where they were joined by 6 of our partner primary schools and an audience of over 1,000. We then held one of my favourite nights of the year, the North Lodge Christmas Concert, which was simply stunning, and then our carol service at the church, a triumphant end to December.


This term has started with the annual ski-trip to Serre Chevalier, which proved to be another fantastic experience for all who took part.  I received this email from one of the helpers, Mrs Harrison, which I think sums up the feelings of all:

Dear Iain

I feel highly honoured to have been part of the Park View Ski Trip. The pupils were a credit to the school, and I was delighted to see them progress not only as skiers, but also as young people and team members. They were polite, respectful, helpful and considerate towards each other as well as staff. They were an absolute pleasure to spend a week with.

I also cannot praise Miss Keighley more highly. She is extremely well organised, thorough and professional. In all activities, safety was paramount and as a parent I would be completely happy knowing that my child was in safe hands. The pupils had the maximum opportunity to ski, whether in a lesson with the instructor or with careful and safety conscious Park View staff. They have benefitted from a most enriching experience that I am sure will stay with them for life.

Many thanks for letting me be part of such a wonderful group of people and sharing your amazing school!



Our swimmers go from strength to strength

On an individual level, whilst Lewis and Aaron continue to shine, we have a new superstar! Matthew Cairns competed in the regional swimming championships in Sheffield and had a successful weekend – 12 events, 10 medals (4 of them gold).

Park View’s Sensational Swimmers Park View’s amazing record in the English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) Secondary School gala held at the stunning Olympic Pool in London continued this year. Three boy’s teams qualified for the event by swimming brilliantly at the regional competition held in October with two girl’s teams narrowly missing out. Our Junior team of Thomas Maskell, Jacob Davison, Jamie McCormick and Luke Turnbull qualified for the 4 × 50m Medley event and did not disappoint as they finished 16th in the country and one of the best teams in the North of England. With two Year 7 swimmers in the team, this is a fantastic result and experience which bodes well for the future. The Intermediate Boy’s team made up of Matthew Cairns, Morgan Swirles, Flynn McQueen, Josh Savage and Thomas Adamson qualified for both the Freestyle and Medley events and were delighted to make the final and finish in 4th place in the Medley relay. This was a sensational performance against many schools with private pools and competitive programmes. This made them the fastest team we have ever had and quickest in the North of England- no mean feat! Finally, our Senior Boys consisting of James Davison, Aaron Beckford, Lewis Maxwell and Oliver Wallace could be hugely proud of their efforts by finishing 11th fastest in the Medley relay and 13th fastest in the Freestyle relay. All swum very well against international standard athletes and come back to Church Chare with their heads held high as the best northern swimmers in the land and most successful Senior team the school has ever had.

The whole event was incredibly well supported by parents and wider families, our school administration team who arranged the logistics, local swimming clubs who prepare the swimmers so well and Emblematic, our kit sponsors. Mr Finley, Deputy Head and proud “coach” said “The performances of our swimmers on the national stage over the last few years is nothing short of exceptional and 2018 was no different. Like so many of our students, all of our swimmers represented themselves, their school and their region with a tremendous amount of pride and it was great to be involved and part of their success again. The future of swimming at Park View looks bright and we cannot wait to continue to build on our achievements in the next few years with some exciting plans for a Swimming Academy and centre of excellence. I am a very proud teacher today.”


Y8 Football team

I am delighted to report that the Y8’s won their County Cup Quarter Final against St Johns – a 4-3 success after extra time.  Scott Bailey scored the winner with only two minutes left and the prospect of a penalty shoot-out looming. Great team performance against a very strong school.  Semi Final to look forward to after half term.

Cross Country is thriving

On an individual level, Chris Perkins continues to stun all. In the Scottish National Short Course Cross Country Championships, he was not favourite to win as he is the younger end of the age group. Chris ran with grit and determination to win individual gold as well as team gold. Chris ran 5.57 for 2km which also meant he is the first u15 to have broken the 6 minutes for the 2km race in all its race history.

In January several Park View students were invited to take part in the English Schools County Cross Country Championships at Barnard Castle after qualifying in the district competition before Christmas. This included Emily Rowbottom, Luke Turnbull, Joe Starke, Hannah Griffiths, Christopher Perkins, George Beavers, Scott Bailey, Dan Robinson, Jordy Armstrong, Naomi Sheavills, Chris Coulson, Robbie Mumford, Fraser Young. There were a number of notable performances on the day including Chris Perkins who won the junior boys’ race and Eva Hardie who finished 2nd in the Senior girls’ race. Well done to all!

The Year 7 Netballers have brought lots of enthusiasm to their training and have also shown great determination and spirit when facing tough competition throughout the season. ‘Players of the match’ have so far included team captains Emily Rowbottom and Alisha Avci, in addition to Olivia Hutchinson, Olivia Baxter, Lucy Bainbridge, Kate Blackbird, Esther Bennett and Teegan Smith.

The Year 8 netballers have proven to be real contenders in a high-quality netball league, winning some of their matches and narrowly missing victories in others. Their team camaraderie and support of one another is simply wonderful and part of the reason they have performed so well throughout the season.


Park View Academy of Sport Update

Carlisle United

The relationship with Carlisle United football club is flourishing. 4 players have signed registration forms with the academy and play regularly every Saturday. This is truly unique, no other programme in the country is creating opportunities for players from schools to play full time in a professional academy. The four players are Jackson Ward, Liam Paul, Ryan Wombwell and Logan Fawcett.  In addition, two players have been identified to train with the first team on a Monday which gives them the opportunity to impress with a view to signing professional playing contracts. They are Josh King and Alex Sakerlopolous

Cup Success

The Carlisle United PV squad are through to the semi-finals of the National Football Youth League Cup after beating West Ham, Rochdale, Tottenham and Crystal Palace, the latter tough away trips to London. Winning this competition would see our academy crowned as the number 1 under 19 team in the country.

New Sports

We are establishing new academies for the forthcoming academic year. We are very excited about our Netball Academy with England Rose Leah Kennedy as the coach, The Rowing Academy, with Holly Young as the coach, as well as committing to build on the Swimming and Cricket programmes.


Learning from the past

Holocaust Survivor Day

Year 9 & 10 Historians took part in Holocaust Memorial event witnessing testimony from survivor Harry Spiro interviewed by Robert Rinder.  The experience was incredibly moving, as testified to by the following emails sent by students to Mr Lee after the event:

“I believe it’s important to hear a survivors testimony because we are able to be told a first-hand account of the atrocities of the Holocaust and how it has affected his life, Hearing  Harry’s testimony I couldn’t help but feel with the utmost empathy towards him and everyone else who suffered. Harry told us an important life lesson a one which I will never forget, “Why hate one another, It achieves nothing” Josh Wyborg

“Survivors testimony is so important because it’s much more personal and memorable than the history and Harry’s story is something I’ll remember far longer than the things I learn in school. What he experienced made me feel heartbroken but I was happy he’s lived a happy life after the traumatic events he’s been through and I learned that hating people hurts you more than them which is such an important lesson in life.” Olivia Maddison

“I believe that survivor testimony is important for us as learners to engage in their personal stories so that we can understand just how traumatic their pasts were. However, despite the abuse and cruelty children like him received, Harry escaped and now lives a happy life in freedom- A true inspiration.”  Penny Grieveson


Year 10 boys visited New College Durham on the 22nd January to have a taste of course available. Pupils got to see what kind of skills would be taught at level 1,2 and 3 Painting and Plumbing apprenticeships, as well as attempt some of the first skills taught if they were to go to the college. The highlight was when they were shown how to cut and connect the copper pipe, each bringing home with them the product of their hard work. All boys got stuck into the activities and college staff said how their attitude was impressive. All in all, a great day out and on which could prove valuable to the boys.  The plumbing course leader talked about how his son, at the age of 23, is now running his own solo business making more than £50k a year, having gone through the college system as an apprentice himself. With the government committing to funding 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 since 2010, it seems a great next step after leaving school.”


Year 9 Careers Day was a massive success on the Church Chare site. All students took part and had the opportunity to listen to talks from the following: All-Stars Cricket, Beamish Museum, Bond Dickinson, County Durham Fire and Rescue, Darlington College, Dogs Trust, Durham Constabulary, Durham County Council – Savers, Durham County Council – ICT Services, Dyer Engineering, East Durham College, Gateshead College, Locomotion Museum, Newcastle College, New College Durham, Northumbrian Water, Raising Aspiration Partnership, Sir Robert McAlpine and Thomas Swan and Co. Many thanks to the organisers of the event, DEBP, and to all who sent representatives to talk to our students. The feedback was universally fantastic..  


Visiting EasiLiving

After years of making fictitious assignment briefs for students on the BTEC Extended Diploma Level 3 Web Development unit, Mr Bishop decided this year he wanted a real client. Contacting a few local companies, Easiliving in Jesmond an estate agent responded and agreed to help the students get a true understanding of what was required in ‘real life web development’

Upon arrival at the Easiliving shop, we discussed with the owner and other staff members what the website requirements actually were, finding out loads of essential information and hearing why the website currently needed updating.

After asking all of the questions, we took a trip to some of the student properties to take primary photos and videos to use on the website. This helped greatly as it meant we had primary images rather than stock photos which don’t always paint the true picture of the properties advertised or meet the required target audience.

Adam Kane, the MD of Easiliving, was really impressed with the students saying, “I was really happy to welcome the students from Park View School into our Jesmond office. They impressed me with their knowledge and the depth of the research that had clearly been done. It was also a great learning curve for us as an established company, hearing the criticism of our current website from essentially our target audience. I’m really looking forward to seeing some finished products, we may even need a new website developed in the future – we would certainly know who to contact.”


The students look forward to returning to Easiliving in a few weeks with their prototype websites to gain some real-life feedback. Hopefully, they will like them as much as we have enjoyed making them.




The first meeting of the Park View Pride Youth Network took place in January. The group aims to involve LGBTQ+ students and their allies in raising awareness of issues and taking steps to address these. It is a safe, inclusive space. Members of the group have already put forward interesting thoughts and fantastic ideas for future initiatives.

We have made an amazing £379.34 for the NSPCC from the book sale which Mrs Shield organised.

8 pupils from Year 9 helped out at our local Tesco branch to collect donations for Chester-le-Street food bank.   Both the staff at Tesco & the food bank volunteers were very impressed with their skills in talking to the public, organising the donations and going above & beyond when customers needed help. It was a pleasure to see them working so effectively, and demonstrating so much initiative, outside of the school environment.


Year 8 are currently working with Newcastle University and National Heritage on a project to produce a website landing page detailing the history of places in the Newcastle. The page has been designed by an artist and the students are creating work linked to places in the area – both written and spoken – that will feature on the landing page. So far, they have visited the university and special collections, taken a heritage tour of Newcastle, visited Newcastle Castle, Beamish Museum and have participated in Drama with an outside instructor. We look forward to seeing the finished product.


Ciatlin Birleson, Mia Openshaw and Julie have been selected to become Send My Friend to School Campaign Champions for 2019! Their enthusiasm for campaigning for universal education was very evident throughout the application process and judges said that it was great to hear all their fantastic ideas for how to raise awareness of the campaign across the school and community. All the applications received this year were of a very high quality, so the girls should feel as proud of themselves as we are of them.  


Mr Glass’s beard was up for auction across the houses, a fund-raising effort which raised   £200 and led to him having to dye it purple in tribute to the winning house, Franklin, of which, luckily, he is the Head.  



24 intrepid students from years 9 and 10 have signed up for the World Challenge Expedition to Borne in 2020.  They are meeting up soon to finalise their itinerary ( including jungle hiking and zip wire, climbing Mount Kinabalu, spotting orangutans, community projects and lazy beach time) and to organise their training expedition to the Lake District in September, a very different environment to that which they will find themselves plunged into.



Science Ambassadors  – Year 7 and 8 Girls undertook a training event run by the Institute of Physics to support them in their interest and confidence in science. The aim is for them to run sessions in Science Club in the future and to link with our primary schools to raise the profile of an interest in science & physics. The ultimate aim to increase the uptake of students to physics (especially girls) into A level time.


Oliver Barrett, Sophie Kilker, Dylan Nicholson and Matthew Whiting in Yr 12 applied and were selected to take part in Oxnet – Ordered Universe project. This includes a series of academic workshops and seminars followed by Easter School in Durham and Summer School at Oxford Uni. It is aimed at developing understanding in the process of academic research on the life and theories of Robert Grosseteste c.1117-1253, and thus to explore links between medieval belief and scientific reasoning and modern understanding of the universe, as well as giving the experience of university life.

A group of 17 Y7 students went on a trip to Newcastle University for two public lectures on Elements to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table. Our students participated in helping to demonstrate some exciting experiments and chemical reactions, as well as having the courage to answer questions in front of a lecture theatre of strangers. The students found in interesting and engaging and it gave them a taste for chemistry at university and in the real world.

You’re Hired!

Ewan Hudson, Dan Keating, Michael Pilarinos and Fraser Young can hold their heads high after competing in a strong group of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge Semi-Finals at John Smith’s Stadium Huddersfield. The judges said that it had been a close run thing but the boys had just missed out on first place. The boys later said they were so pleased they took part in this challenge as they have gained so many new and different skills.  They said they have all become more confident in themselves, which in turn has helped them in their learning in the classroom and school. They have enjoyed working as a team collaborating on their ideas as well as finding their voice in public speaking. We are so proud of them as they flew the flag high for themselves, Sunderland AFC and Park View School. The Boys have been invited by SAFC to watch the Wimbledon game on the 2nd February with photos on the pitch at half time, and a meeting with the players after the game. They are preparing for their futures as young entrepreneurs  


Religious Revision

The RE students in years 9-11 attended a revision conference at Newcastle Cathedral on Friday 25th Jan.  It was hosted by Dr Peter Vardy, a British theologian and author/co-author of 18 books about religion and ethics.  The students were involved in lectures on the place for God in the scientific creation, discussion over the sanctity of life issues and were invited to take part in an environmental debate on the support of Christians towards green taxes.  Students were stretched in their thinking and gained invaluable insight into the demands of essay questions on the new RS GCSE.