Headteacher’s Blog

  • Headteachers Blog January – March 2017 16 March 2017 - Headteachers Blog January – March 2017 It has been another busy half-term, with some students jetting off on the Spanish exchange or the ski trip, whilst others stayed in this country and continued to dazzle. Here is a snap-shot in one month in the life of Park View.   Ski-ing Trip 2017 Lucy Crozier submitted […]

    Headteachers Blog January – March 2017

    It has been another busy half-term, with some students jetting off on the Spanish exchange or the ski trip, whilst others stayed in this country and continued to dazzle. Here is a snap-shot in one month in the life of Park View.


    Ski-ing Trip 2017

    Lucy Crozier submitted this account of a trip which has been described as ‘the best yet!’.

    This year Park View students visited Montgenevre for 7 days, 6 days skiing and 2 days travelling.
    Where we were staying was extremely convenient for the resort – you had to take around a 15 second walk and you were on the slopes! The resort itself had so much to offer!  Various runs in difficulty from greens to blacks that were challenging to many people. There were also many cafes and a medical centre on/around the slopes if anyone gets injured.
    Every night there was some kind of evening entertainment provided. This year we had Mr Robison’s  Quiz, Ice Skating, Bum Boarding and the Luge, all organised by the school and the Equity team.

    The thing that I enjoyed the most were the Skiing lessons. Every year that I’ve skied with the school, I have always had 2 hours worth of lessons in the morning and afternoon, broken between with a lunch provided by the Equity Team who we stayed with. I really like how I can see myself improving as the days go on, encouraged by the constant feedback from the instructors as well as the members of staff.  Depending on the amount of students who go on the trip, we are divided into around 8-9 groups.  Groups 9-7 classed as the “beginners”, who haven’t skied before, and groups 6-1 classed as the “skiers”.  Once we finished our lessons with our instructors, we are given the opportunity to “free ski”.  This is where you go into groups of your choice and ski for another 1 or 2 hours with a member of staff.  I think it is a good idea that the school lets us do this because its lets you be in a group with people who you’d like to spend time with but who are at different abilities.
    All in all, I had a great time again this year. We are all deeply grateful to the adults, many of whom are not teachers, for giving up their time to look after us and particularly to Miss Keighley and Mr Gill, who do all of the organisation and take us to the different places to ski every year.


    Other Sporting Achievements

    Matthew Ward (Year 11) has been selected to join the U15 Academy Player group at Newcastle Falcons.  He has been selected out of the three counties, Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland.  A great achievement by a great young man!

    Each year, the North of England Gymnastics Association presents Honorary Awards to recognise the valuable service that people have given to the region through their involvement in Gymnastics and Trampoline over a number of years.We were delighted to hear that Lauren Husband (Year 10) has been chosen to receive the award of North of England ‘Master Gymnast’, to recognise her outstanding achievements in the sport. A superb accomplishment for one so young.

    Dean Slater (Year 11) continues to wow all in the rowing world. He recently smashed his 2 races in the inter regional trials today and is now off to the National Finals in April. His mum describes herself as ‘proud and emotional’: so are we!!

    I could fill a blog about their respective achievements so continued congratulations to Dominic Ellis, who is still readily giving up his own time to officiate at regional and national events, and his younger sister, Philippa, who continues to dazzle all in the athletic arena at both regional and national level. Great siblings with very proud parents, and rightly so!

    The Under 16 Futsal side (comprised of boys from years 10 and 11) are into the Tyneside Schools Futsal Final – they defeated sides from various schools to go through with a 100% winning record.

    Our Year 11 girls entered a rugby tournament this term for the first time – and won it!!. They were a credit to the school and themselves and came away not only as winners but also as the best sports there. The girls involved were:Hannah Watson, Shannon Swift, Erin Mould, Holly Anderson, Izzy Thompson, Chloe Greensmith, Megan Cowling, Jodie Hand, Laura Geddes and Xsara Burgess.

    Our girls took part in the Tyne and Wear Swimming Gala and came 2nd behind RGS, with some notable wins in each age group, Junior and Intermediate. The team saw off some strong private school teams and are a credit to Park View. The team was Elle Brown, Ellen Haswell, Faye Burns, Grace Maskell, Molly Finley, Emily Dolman, Lily Gardner, Naomi Sheavills, Ella Hall, Olivia Maddison, Isla Smith and Jodie Haswell. In a whole variety of regional and national competitions, Lewis Maxwell (Year 9) continues to excel, collecting Gold medals like they were football stickers. Aaron Beckford (Year 10) competed at County Champs and did really well. He swam in 5 events over one weekend winning gold for his 200 backstroke final for 15 year old’s by 7 seconds. He has now qualified for an international swimming competition in Edinburgh.. Watch out Team GB, both of these superstars,County champions and fine young men, are on their way!


    Performing Arts

    Students from North Lodge have been involved in a professional show at Sunderland Empire Theatre.  Hand Shake Group, an organisation that has been managing, promoting and producing all aspects of live entertainment for 5 decades, contacted Park View School looking for a choir to support their ABBA Mania show. Twenty four Year 7 and 8 students gave up lunch times to rehearse with support from their music teacher, Sheena Flynn. The show features many of the Abba favourites including ‘Fernando’ and ‘I have a Dream’, both of which the students performed in the first half. Mrs  Flynn said: “The students worked very hard preparing for the show and once again didn’t disappoint by delivering an outstanding performance – Im very proud of them!” Well done, all!

    In November Eliza Barker (Year 7)  had the opportunity to play at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music For Youth Proms  and will build upon this achievement on 8th March when she will play at the Primary School Proms being held at the Gala Theatre in Durham.  Incredibly, in June, she will join her mum in playing  for the massed bands at Pegasus Bridge organised by the Cheshire Police band in Normandy for the D-day commemorations, taking part in various marches around the Normandy area between the war graves and holding concerts in the museums at night.  She will be their youngest ever player, a huge honour and a chance of a lifetime to take part in such a prestigious event. Well done, young lady – we think you are fab!


    Health Matters

    The Growing Healthy bus has been travelling the breadth of County Durham for the last few months and most recently in Chester-le-Street at Park View School.  The service ‘on wheels’, run by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and commissioned by Durham County Council, is an extension to the year-round work of the Growing Healthy 5-19 team, which consists of school and community health nurses, the Family Initiative Supporting Children’s Health (FISCH Team) and health administrators.  The team provides a service to all children and young people of school age, and their families, whether or not they are attending school.  They offer advice and assess health needs of children entering school and on transfer to secondary schools. They are the first point of contact for schools when there are concerns about a child’s health and wellbeing.
    Lily-Ella Dawson, Year 7 student, said: “The bus shows you what’s bad for your health and what not to do.”

    The Growing Healthy bus features a private consultation area where hundreds of children and young people across County Durham have been given the chance to speak to specially trained public health nurses. 
    Patricia Bannister, School Nurse, said: “Having met them and seen what great kids they are, I am looking forward to working with the students at Park View School on a weekly basis and supporting them to become healthy adults.”
    Mrs Wilson, Assistant Head at North Lodge, said, “The health bus being on site provides an informal opportunity for our young people to speak to our school nurse and allows them to ask questions which may otherwise go unasked. It has been a great resource”


    The Spanish Exchange – 26th January to 2nd February

    This half-term, a fantastic group of students from years 9, 10 and 12 spent a week in Spain as part of our seven year exchange programme with the school IES Torreón in Ciudad Real. The first five days of the visit were spent staying with the host families where students tried traditional food, adapted to the Spanish lifestyle and, of course, practised their spoken Spanish! During this time we all went on a day trip to the beautiful and historic city of Toledo where we visited the city’s impressive cathedral and saw some paintings by the famous El Greco. In addition, the students spent a day accompanying their exchange partners in school and attending their lessons.
    We also spent two very fun and extremely busy days in Madrid, where we visited the peaceful Retiro park, admired the paintings in the Prado museum, tried churros con chocolate and tapas and went on an historical tour of the city. We look forward to hosting our Spanish exchange partners on Wednesday 29th March where we will repay their very kind hospitality!


    Do know much about Biology

    In January, Megan Cotcher and Katie Gunn (Year 13) took part in the British Biology Olympiad. Megan achieved a silver award and Katie a bronze, both excellent achievements. Year 12 biologists will have opportunity to take part in intermediate Biology Olympiad in the Summer, and Years 9/10 in March. We hope they can all rise to the standards that Megan and Katie have set!


    Google comes to Park View

    The Computing Department organised a cross-curricular visit from Google Technologies on 2nd February for all North Lodge pupils to take part in a Virtual Reality Day. This allowed pupils to study science topics, the Digestive System (Year 7) and Photosynthesis (Year 8), along with other immersive experiences.
    Google brought some of the most cutting edge educational technology to Park View, using state-of-the-art tablets, smartphone integration and brand new VR apps aimed at bringing key subject areas to life, in ways never before used in schools. Learners were paired up and given virtual reality headsets to follow tours of the inside of human intestinal tracts and plant cells respectively.
    Park View staff were given training from Google before the day, then led the sessions with the support of Google Technologies: the school hall was transformed into a high-tech virtual routing matrix.
    As pupils were so receptive and captivated by the new technology and the content being used in the sessions, the representatives of Google Technologies allowed them to trial some brand new virtual learning experiences.

    These included and were not limited to:
    – A tour and walk around all of the rooms in Buckingham Palace.
    – Diving with Great White Sharks.
    – Access to the entire Space Station.
    – Backstage film and TV production.
    – Zoological study.
    – A walk through Google Headquarters in California.

    Google representatives commented on the critical thinking of Park View pupils, their honest, useful and positive feedback, and the levels of engagement witnessed in all classes on the day.
    All pupils who took part in the day, gave an incredibly good impression of Park View and were superb ambassadors for us!


    Civic Pride

    Lee Hitchman went to visit a resident at Picktree care home in Chester le street who turned 100 last week! Arthur, who is a war veteran, had shared his stories of World War 2 with Lee last year during enrichment week. He had a profound impact on Lee, who wanted to go back to visit him again, to wish him a happy birthday and take him a little gift. Lee got the opportunity to see his letter from the Queen, which he was really impressed with. Well done, Lee!


    Careers: What Next?

    As part of the Go Ahead programme, Year 9 participated in a careers carousel activity where they had the opportunity to meet with a range of employers, education and training providers. Students were able to find out about career pathways open to them and try out some practical activities. This event proved to be a great success and excellent preparation for the KS4 option choices. Thanks to the Durham Education Business Partnership for organising the event and to all of the exhibitors involved: Academy of Music and Sound, Accenture, Armed Forces, Beamish Museum, BT Openreach, Durham Constabulary, East Durham College, Gateshead College, Nestle Confectionery, Newcastle College, New College Durham, Newcastle University, NE Raising Aspirations Partnership, Northern Power Grid, Sir Robert McAlpine, Thomas Swan.


    Out and about with English

    Mrs Danby writes: ‘We took 10 students to Gibside to do some outdoor learning.  This visit was based upon English skills, focusing on using our senses when writing a descriptive piece of work.  We spent most of day going around Gibside and learning about the history and the work which goes on there but also spent time writing a about ‘Scarey Gibside.’  The students all had a fantastic day and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  We walked for 6 miles and had great fun too. Well done to all who took part-you were a joy to be with!’


    STEM Robotics at Park View School

    Year 5 Engagement with STEM learning with VEX Robotics
    Mr Nelson has been working with 10 Primary schools with 460 Year 5 students. The rationale for this project is based upon research from Kings College London from their Aspires Project, which basically says that long term embedded engagement within science (STEM) activities help to manage change and develop STEM choices further up in secondary schools. This also is proven to raise confidence and independence within attitude to learning, developing a “can do” attitude to problem solving and engagement within education.

    VEX EDR and VEX IQ
    VEX EDR is the Robotics system introduced to Park View  in 2014/2015 through a Royal Academy of Engineering and Autodesk Grant a Robotic System was loaned to Park View. In the first year, Park View Students qualified to the National Finals with Tanfield. The use of the Robotic system has grown and after a few years of no competition the school entered a team last year. This year Mr Nelson has worked with the team after school and during lunchtimes to enable them to develop a robot that just missed out on qualification during the North East Regional at Nissan, but won the Design Award. The team then went down to Sheffield for their Regional Qualifier and won qualifying for the National Finals at The Big Bang. A small amount of sponsorship has been found too from a local company. The team has had a turbulent few weeks but is now on course to rebuild and modify their robot.