A lengthy blog to mark what will be my final half-term at Park View.  I cannot believe that 28 years have passed since I came to the school to be interviewed a Head of English, such has been my enjoyment in all of the posts I have held during my time here. It has been a delight to serve our wonderful students in all capacities and to see so many grow into simply fantastic adults.  I would take this opportunity to thank you as parents/carers for your unremitting support of me during my time in office and particularly those who sent such kind messages when they heard I was to leave the school.

So, here we go for one last time: strap yourself in because there has been a lot going on!


Twelve year 8 students entered the UKMT Junior Maths Challenge and two won prizes, ahead of a national field of over 800 entries. Patrick Thompson (8V2) achieved a merit and Charlie Burdon (8V1) amazingly achieved a distinction and a special commendation prize for getting 100%.

Twenty-four students from years 10 and 11 sat the Intermediate UKMT Maths Challenge. Five students achieved bronze certificates, seven students achieved silver certificates and there were two gold certificates for Tom Anderson and Jennifer Noble. Tom achieved the highest mark in the school and both students have qualified for the next round of the challenge.


Modern Foreign Languages
In order to discover the importance of Fasching, a traditional carnival in Germany, cultural lessons were delivered to Year 7 and 8 German classes at the start of March. As well as exploring reasons for these celebrations and extending their vocabulary knowledge through varied activities, pupils got creative and designed their own carnival masks to help scare the winter spirits away. The enthusiasm and creativity displayed by North Lodge language learners made this a real success, showing once more how Modern Foreign Languages help open our eyes on the world and bring enjoyment and a desire to explore other cultures.
Well done to all involved and … Karneval Alaaf!!!

Hello or Nǐ hǎo! Two groups of Y9 MFL students recently enjoyed a session on Chinese culture and language from a visiting teacher from Shanghai. Our students were interested to find out about the origins of the characters in Mandarin and how many look like the word they represent. We learnt how to say our birthdays in Chinese, as well as introducing ourselves and saying how we are feeling. I think many of us will want to continue practising the intricate art of writing Chinese symbols! Thank you or Xièxiè to Zao Zhang for coming to work with us!

This year we had 5 teams of 4 from across A level and Ctec business take part in the Student Investor Challenge. The teams invested virtual money in a set of stocks and other investment instruments and created two portfolios, one for every day trading and the other more strategic where limited trades per month were allowed and encouraged long term thinking.  Each team had £100,000 to invest in each portfolio.
One team was successful and made it through to round two, well done to Jackson Ward, Miles Fox, Ben Milburn and Ben Ramsey. A special mention for Ben Milburn who seemed to take the lead in this challenge.

We had the author Karen Langtree visiting North Lodge to deliver a talk and writing workshop to some of our able and talented Year 8 students. This was inspirational and gave many great ideas on how to get started to our budding authors. It was supported by the North Lodge book fair, a week long event open to all students.



80 girls in Year 8 took part in a girls only STEM event called ‘People Like Me’. They looked at all the many positive adjectives that could be used  to describe themselves. From this they discovered what sort of professional person suited them – for example an explorer, manager, trainer, communicator, investigator, entrepreneur etc.The girls were so positive about this event and they were keen to fight for their place in future careers that suited them and their natural traits; breaking down any gender barriers.

60 Year 8 students took part in a marine engineering workshop learning all about the many roles of a marine engineer and the skills that they can develop through this or similar careers. It was a fun, hands-on experience for all and our students worked very well in groups to build boats to hold over 200 marbles without sinking!

Oxford University visited school to work with Year 7 to 12 students, reaching 100 in total. In each year group, the session was tailored to their age range. It was great to see young students enthused about their future and feeling excited about what opportunities are on the horizon. The sessions were as below:

YR7-9 Raising Aspirations: Thinking About University (and Oxford)
YR7-9 Raising Aspirations: Thinking About University (and Oxford)
YR10 Introduction to University/ Oxford & The Super Curriculum
YR11 A Level Options & University Courses: An introduction to University/ Oxford
YR12 Oxford & The Application Process

On Friday 1st March, the BBC Bitesize Careers Tour visited Church Chare to inform Year 10 students about the range of job opportunities at the BBC and in the wider media and creative industries. The event was hosted by Nick Bright, BBC Radio One and involved career insights from Georgia Stanway – BBC Children’s Researcher, Mikey Smith – Ambassadors Theatre Group Technical Manager and Anthony Thompson – SSD Concerts Head of Supports and Artist Consultancy. Thanks to all involved, including the excellent production team working behind the scenes, for a superb session.

As part of Edge Day on Friday 15th March, Year 8 took part in a Career Speed Networking activity where students had the opportunity to develop their communication skills by interviewing several representatives from a variety of employers. Students were able to find out about jobs and career paths, the skills and qualities required and make links to their curriculum subjects. Thanks to all of the volunteers for giving up their valuable time to support our students:

Lesley Smith – HMRC
Alex Nelson – National Rail Bishop Auckland
Alison Schreiber – HR Dept
Gary Cassidy – Northern Powergrid
Amy Hawkins – EY
Francesca Jones – Durham County Council IT
Chris Ballantyne – Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP
Elaine Young – DWP
Lisa Hollick – PII
Louise Parriera – Bank of England
Trevor Wilkinson – Careers at Sea
Daniel Pitt – DWP
Yusuf Muchla – Sunderland Hospital
Christine Spencer – HMRC

We received the following feedback from one of the activity leaders:

‘Just wanted to say thank you for the invitation to assist last Friday. As students regularly get criticised I thought I would take the chance to let you know that once again, your pupils were a credit to you. Challenging questions were posed on occasion but that is all to the good – at least they were engaged and not afraid to ask and offer their own opinions!
I am not sure how easy it is for you to pass on my compliments to all those involved but I thought I would say it nevertheless.
Additionally can I express my admiration to you and the rest of the staff who do this on a regular basis. We were all exhausted after our half day so goodness knows how you all manage this day after day.’



  • Caitlin Hedley competed in the James Hetherington Music Competition this year, performing a mixture of grade 8 cornet and vocal repertoire.
  • Faye Burns achieved grade 6 Violin with Merit.
  • Alyssa Rowell  achieved Grade 3 Singing with Merit.
  • Erin Malik achieved Grade 3 Singing with Distinction.

Other results are in the pipeline!

There was a lot to be proud of at the hugely impressive Performing Arts Showcase with some terrific talent on show in both ensemble and individual pieces: the blend of classical and contemporary music, tragedy and comedy and young and older performers was truly inspirational. As ever, the event was marked by a certain sadness as we said goodbye to our Year 13 participants, many of whom had been stalwarts of the faculty since Year 7. The roll call of honour: Lucy Crozier, Kat Rayner, Ryan Emmerson, Alx Carrick, Jack Charters, James Moody, Luke Naunton, Will Baxter, Holly Anderson, Kate bRinton, Caitlin Hedley, Alice Johnson, Arran Kirby, Kate Walmsley.
At the event, as my farewell speech, I made the following plea:

‘It is amazing to think that when I came to the school in January 1992, there were no drama or music departments, no drama studio, no productions and no sense of the arts as a living and breathing entity. My first appointment was to bring Sue Moore in, not only as second in English but also as head of drama, with the brief of introducing the subject to the curriculum – so everything we have seen and heard from this stage since, and there have been some absolutely stunning nights, have in some shape or form always been connected to her. Very personal thanks to her for being instrumental in banging the drum for the performing arts and, through them, changing the ethos of the school.
It is said we should learn from the past – and so, as I leave the school, my plea to you all is to not let the Arts fade – last year Music and Drama did not run at A-level, at GCSE numbers are falling as we feel the impact of the government’s focus on EBAC subjects and one has only to look at the massive hole which Year 13 will leave to understand that the feed in to nights like this is in danger of drying up – and if we know anything, it is that once something is gone, it is a damn sight harder to get back than it is to protect in the first place. I may be preaching to the converted but, for one final time, I will say this – the performing arts should sit alongside the creative arts and sport as the heartbeat of a school, they are the place where memories are made and lives are changed so please, please do whatever you can to get the message out and to protect what we have built over the last quarter century – you will not know how important it has been until it is no longer there.’


The Post 16 Sports Academy has surpassed our every expectation, with players and coaches giving their all throughout the season and achieving at the highest level.  There have been numerous highlights throughout the year, including a tour in Thailand at the invitation of the new king, but we would want to pick out for special praise our U17 team, who won the National Football Youth League, wrapped up the title with a huge 17-0 victory over Crystal Palace, and our U19 team, who went one better by not only becoming the National Football Youth League U19 Premier Division champions but also then completing the double by also winning the cup, beating a strong Barnsley side only two days after dispatching Newcastle United in the semi-final.  I am so proud of our team of staff, our students and everyone associated with the programme and look forward to hearing of its continued success and growth.

Pre 16 saw success at County level: Year 10 boys were league and cup double winners; Year 8 finished second, Year 7 finished third and Year 9 finished 4th in their respective leagues and the mixed gender Year 7 team were winners of the Centenary Cup, the Captains Dan Robinson and Charlotte Hall emulating the success that day of Ben Blackburn and Emma Wright in 2011, the inaugural year of the competition. Both Year 7 and 8 boys’ teams were also beaten semi-finalists in the County Cup.

In terms of local rivalry, we also completed a clean sweep against The Hermitage, our Year 7 team winning 3-2; our Year 8 team winning 4-2; our Year 10 team winning 7-2 and our Year 11 team winning 3-1.

The Year 7 girls represented Chester Le Street this term in the School Games Indoor Athletics Regional Final. The girls achieved some good individual and team performances and also got the chance to meet Olympian Craig Heap. Well done to Laura Anderson, Lucy Bainbridge, Emily Rowbottom, Cele Nelson, Maisie Husband, Susanna Youlton, Huda Tuzlaw and Maddie Downing.

There was a great performance from our Year 8 Rugby team with back-to-back wins in the Durham All Schools Finals, making them overall winners for the second year in a row.  Their achievement was matched by the Year 9 rugby team. Well done to all!

A mixed age team represented the school in the pool in the Tyneside Schools Swimming Competition. They swam incredibly well, with the boys winning nearly every race against 8 other schools and the girls acquitting themselves admirably.



Alana Carlile, Ciera Gamble and Erin Mould achieved the gold Duke of Edinburgh Award

Incredible success for Thomas Maskell (Y8) at the North East Regional Swimming Championships in Leeds. He swam 9 Events, then qualified for 9 Finals and won 9 medals! 5 x Gold – 50,100 & 200, Backstroke; 50 & 100 Butterfly, 3 x Silver – 200 Butterfly; 50 & 100 Freestyle, 1 x Bronze- 200 Freestyle. He has Qualified for the British Swimming Championships being held at Tollcross Glasgow in the 100 Backstroke and also qualified for 5 events; 50, 200 Backstroke; 50, 100 & 200 Butterfly at the English Nationals being held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. This is a fantastic achievement for him at 13 as the age group category to qualify/compete in is 13/14 years old.

Elena Porter, Katie McNeill, Erin Malik, at bronze level, and Kate Brinton, at gold level, have all been successful within the Arts Award, a national scheme which recognises commitment and ability within the creative and performing arts.

Harry Archer was part of the County Schools Football side that narrowly lost the Northern Counties final 4-3 last week to Cleveland.

Jenny Lawson and her two teammates have become U20 English National Champions in Acrobatic Gymnastics.  They are now aiming for British Championships at the end of July and hoping to be selected for European trials

Kieran Jervis has been selected to play for the Newcastle Falcons at elite level and has also made the Scottish nation team.

Fraser Young, James Corrass and Matthew Whiting have completed his football refereeing qualifications.

James Hughes, Charlie Loveday, Scott Bailey, Dan Robinson and Sol Burton were chosen for the District Football squad (made up of the best footballers across the 14 member schools) which won their National Trophy semi-final against East Riding.  The boys can now look forward to an extremely rare National Final against the best District side from the South of the Country, to be held at Stoke City FC’s ground.

Sunderland AFC who have offered Ryan Wombwell a 2 year contract with the club.

Chris Perkins was selected to run for England in Dublin.   He had a very hard race and it didn’t go to plan due to him falling ill with tonsillitis on Friday. It was probably the hardest race he’s ever had both physically and mentally. He had to watch as people he knew he could normally beat run past him. He didn’t give in and pushed so hard that he collapsed through the line to finish 6th and still secured his vest.

Thomas Maskell has qualified to represent the North East of England (Swimming) at the English Schools Regional Competition in London on the weekend of 23rd/24th March.

Joe Bygate competed in the England National Judo Championships in Sheffield.  He won his first match was unfortunate to draw an opponent in the 2nd round that would beat Joe and go on to claim the Gold Medal overall.  Joe travelled to Germany in April to compete in the European Championships, this time winning gold for his club.

James Crowther is currently fundraising for, and training towards completing the Junior Great North Swim and Junior Great North Run.

Eva Hardy, Eve Southern and Oly Barrett represented County Durham at the English Schools National Cross Country Championships.

Lewis Maxwell spent 1 week of his Easter holidays competing at the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow. This was the qualifying event for the British team to be picked for the World Championships being held in South Korea in the summer so all the top names were there including Adam Peaty, James Guy and Amy Wilmott to name just a few. He qualified for 7 events which was a great achievement as a Junior swimmer and raced from Tuesday to Sunday with just 1 day off. He had a great week and achieved a number of PB’s but the highlight was making the Junior final (18 & under) in his 200 IM where he finished the 2nd fastest 16 year old.
May took him to the Swim England, North East  Regional Senior Championships in Sheffield. He reached a number of Senior finals and won the bronze  medal in his 100 back in the Open age category. However  the highlight of the weekend were the relays. The Derwentside 14-16 mens team included Joshua Savage from year 10 and the team came away with 1 gold and 2 silvers in their 3 events.  The team have since had confirmation that they have qualified for the British Summer Championships in all 3 of their relay events so they will be competing at Tollcross pool in Glasgow in July hoping for more medal success.
The end of May Lewis was back  for the Glasgow International meet – the last chance to gain qualifying times for the British Summer Championships and a short break from his GCSE revision. He had a great weekend gaining lots of PB’s as well as reaching a number of Senior & Junior finals – his highlight though was winning the Junior final in the 100fly
Lewis has now been invited to compete in 9 individual events at the British Summer Championships so along with the relay’s he will have a very busy week – followed by another week in Sheffield where he has been invited to race in 3 events at the Swim England Summer Nationals.

Jonny Fox has a trial with German Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin

Tom Alderson has won the ‘Mr North Tyneside’ Body Building Competition

Grace Brown and Lucy Young represented Park View brilliantly at the British School Gymnastics National Finals, coming 14th. There is an amazing video here: https://twitter.com/BrownSfbrown14/status/1127629224519585794). To her credit, Grace also gives up her own time to support gymnasts younger than herself, an amazing commitment to her sport!

Philippa and Lexi Ellis: Philippa enjoyed great success at the North East Counties Athletics Championships in May with Gold medals in the 80m Hurdles and the Long Jump with a Silver medal in the Shot Put and a Bronze medal in the 100m.  She also achieved three new personal best performances in the 80m Hurdles with a time of 11.55 seconds, 12.03m in the Shot Put and 12.36 seconds for the 100m.  Her performance in the Hurdles gave her the English Schools National Standard, plus her performance in the 100m gave Philippa her 4th qualification standard for English Schools with the other three coming in the 80m Hurdles, Long Jump and Shot Put. Philippa is currently ranked 5th in the UK for 80m Hurdles and is aiming to compete at English Schools Championships & English National Championships in this event and also at the English National Combined Events Championships in August, having come 8th at the indoor version of the competition earlier in the year.
Lexie also had a great weekend at the North East Counties Athletics Championships with a Bronze medal in the Shot Putt and a 4th place finish in the Hammer competition.  Her Shot Put was a new personal best performance of 10.11m and she is now ranked in the top 40 in the UK which is a great achievement as she’s moved up an age group to be an U15 athlete. She is hoping to get picked for the English Schools national squad as the highest ranked Durham athlete for her age.


The Citizenship Super Curriculum

A brilliant race night was held to raise funds for the imminent Camps International visit to Tanzania. hosted by James Davison, Eve Swirles, Lucy Cairns and Sophie Beeston.

We ran a really successful ‘Prayer Space for Schools’ project with the youth team from St. Mary’s and St. Cuthbert’s Church in January at Church Chare.  Students were invited to spend an hour in the installation and had an opportunity to explore the purpose of prayer, and how it can play a part in people’s lives in a functional and spiritual way, while working through a series of reflective stations.  Grudges fizzing away to nothing, self identity in a sequence of mirrors, and a chance to consider loss were popular stations that our students spent time in. The volunteers engaged our students in discussion of their role in supporting others, the power of kind words and global issues of human trafficking among other stations that each provoked self reflection.  Student feedback was overwhelmingly excellent and the youth group now offer a discussion group every Monday at Church Chare to follow up issues that our students want to discuss.

As Charlie Armin’s time at Park View is coming to an end, we wanted to recognise all he has done outside of school to raise money for charity. Charlie has completed four Junior Great North Runs and raised in excess of £3500 for The Tomma Fund, after a family friend’s lost their son to cancer aged 12, The Sick Children’s Trust, after Charlie himself was critically ill and treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and this year he will be running for If U Care Share Foundation for the 3rd time, supporting his dear friends Dean, Shirley, Matthew and Ben Smith and their fantastic team. Every year Charlie says the same thing when reminded of the date he is running: “One day out of my life to help someone else is nothing really is it.” An amazing young man, we wish him well!


Zoe Neasham left Park View Sixth Form and, after taking a gap year to work in the NHS, she went to Glasgow University to study Medicine. Zoe graduated as a Dr of Medicine and Surgery in 2016. She has since completed her foundation years and is now heading into her second year of her GP training.
Sophie Neasham enrolled straight into Nottingham University when she left sixth form and after transferring back to her hometown, graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) in Animal Sciences in 2015. However, Sophie’s dream was always to become a vet and she then embarked upon her second degree at the Kosice University of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in Slovakia. She has spent the last 4 years travelling between the UK and Slovakia and was recently  officially declared as a Dr in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. She graduates on 26 June and starts her dream job as an Equine Vet at the end of September. Mrs Neasham, mum to the girls, writes:

‘My two amazing daughters have worked their socks off to achieve their dreams. We are definitely not from a privileged background so I see them both as a true inspiration to all of the kids who aren’t born with trust funds or even savings accounts. If the dream is strong enough, the will can always find a way to get there.’

This belief sits at the heart of our school: we are incredibly proud of all that the girls have achieved and look forward to hearing of even greater fetes in the future!

Matt Ward (would be Y12) now at Gosforth Academy, scored a hatrick in his England development squad game versus Scotland at Kingston Park.

Conner Rimmington is the first American football player to win the premiership national title twice with two different universities – Stirling and Leeds Beckett. He has just finished his degree and had offers from Newcastle , UWE and Durham for his master. He has now secured a professional contract to play American Football in Germany.