Headteacher’s Blog

  • Head Teachers Blog – Easter 2017 22 May 2017 - EASTER BLOG 2017 As a late Easter Egg, please read about the exploits of Park View’s finest in the second half-term. You will be amazed at how much has been going on both in school and out.   SPORT CROSS COUNTRY Our girls took part in the 2017 Durham Individual Schools Cross Country Cup at […]

    EASTER BLOG 2017

    As a late Easter Egg, please read about the exploits of Park View’s finest in the second half-term. You will be amazed at how much has been going on both in school and out.




    School Cross Country CupOur girls took part in the 2017 Durham Individual Schools Cross Country Cup at Emmanuel College, really pushing themselves to compete for the top spot but narrowly missing out to Durham Johnson by just 2 points. However, Eva Hardie stole the show by taking the lead from the start and then went on to win the race. She was closely followed by her sister, Lily Hardie, in 3rd place. Eve Southern and Ellen Haswell gave strong individual performances, finishing in 6th and 11th respectively. It was great to see Abbie Sheavills return to cross country after a long-term injury and Jasmin Gill was a superb new addition to the team! Onwards and upwards for our runners as we then went to the annual Ashbrook road relay in Sunderland, with Yr7-13 runners for both boys and girls, and won both competitions! Well done, all!

    Great stuff from our Y7 Boys and Girls in the Indoor County Athletics competition, with the former Boys second and the girls third.



    Year 7 – Mr Hindmarch’s boys endured a tough season where they faced all of the league’s best sides early on and had to wait until the last few weeks of the season to secure some well-deserved points.  As seen with our current Y9 and Y11 sides especially, a disappointing Y7 campaign can be the catalyst for success in future years and there are certainly enough good footballers in the year-group to make this happen.

    Year 8 – Mr Finley’s boys enjoyed a very encouraging season: runners up in the League Cup final held at Newcastle United’s Training Academy and a mid-table league finish give the team something to aim towards topping next year.  5 boys successfully came through District trials to represent the Association in County and National competitions and impressed in doing so.

    Year 9 – Mr Christie’s side had previously won a total of 2 league games throughout their entire time in Years 7 and 8 but this season they developed into title-challengers; losing only twice on their way to a joint 2nd place finish in the District league.  New starter Charlie Bishop added some much needed fire-power up front and in Harry Archer, Park View surely have the best goalkeeper in District for this age group.

    Year 10 – Two County Cup Quarter finals from Mr Wilson’s side and 5th place in the league, the most competitive of all the five age-groups.  Mr Wilson remains hopeful of securing a first trophy next season with a side that on their day have beaten some of the best sides in the County.

    End of an EraYear 11 – Another side that have gone from strength to strength after a tough start in Years 7 and 8, the boys will finish 2nd or 3rd in an extremely competitive league.  Mr Gill is extremely proud of the team-spirit and progress made by this group of young men, several of whom will be staying on with the school next year in VI Form and in the new Park View Post 16 Academy of Sport program running at the Riverside

    Mr Gill commented: ‘Two years ago, (ably assisted by Ross Kirkpatrick, now Y13), I took over the (then) Y9 football team who had just finished the season losing 7 out of their 9 league games. Despite this, the lads seemed upbeat and we began the Y10 season with a large squad of enthusiastic players. They finished mid table that year. We end the Y11 season losing only once & hoping to finish 2nd, though it is out of our hands and we have to hope results play out in our favour. It’s been a really enjoyable 2 years with this squad and I’ll genuinely miss them all next year (yes, even the singing and chanting in the minibus on the way back to Park View #awaydays. The lads have always shown a great team ethos and work hard for each other for the good of the team. They are a superb set of young men who have done themselves proud and I wish them all the best for the future!’

    Any players or parents interested in following the progress of our various sides can do so at

    www.washingtonschoolsfa.co.uk where Mr Wilson collates up to date results and standings.  The District Association also tweets from the handle @CLSWDSFA.



    We spotted this post on Langley Park Hotspurs Facebook about Matthew Ward:

    ‘A note of recognition for our U-15 Cobras player Matthew Ward who not only plays football for the Hotspurs but also plays Rugby on a Sunday. A huge congratulations to Matty who has recently worked his way into the Newcastle Falcons rugby academy system and we wish him all the luck he deserves.

    Two years ago he played football on a Saturday at a different club to us but his team decided to play on a Sunday the following season which clashed with his rugby so he needed to find a Saturday football team. His dad rang us and we invited him along to training but the level our team at the time we felt would have been a little uncomfortable for him to play at. We explained this and offered to let him train with us whilst we helped to find a more suitable team. After a few weeks of training he told us he didn’t want to play anywhere else other than with us as he enjoyed the training as well as the lads. The group really took to him and as coaches we couldn’t ignore his attitude, work ethic, willingness to learn and improve so we offered him a registration form. He had a good first season and an even better one this season showing an improvement that has taken him to a level on par with the rest of the team.

    Matty’s attitude to being a better player along with a great desire to improve is an inspiration to any young player that may feel like giving in when things are going against them.

    Being a good player isn’t just about your ability but how you apply it, resilience as well as work ethic is an equally important quality to have if you want to maximise your potential as a sports person.’

    Well done Matt – richly deserved!


    Sponsored Read – In the week beginning 13th February the  North Lodge held a sponsored read in conjunction with Usborne Books. All students pledged to read more over the course of the week and many of them collected sponsors for doing so.
    In total we raised a fantastic  £2750.40, which included approximately £1700 from students’ sponsorship and an extra 60% from Usborne as a reward for doing so well. This is an amazing amount of money to spend on books and we are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to boost our library stocks.
    We will soon be awarding certificates  for all who took part in the extra reading and have some special prizes for the students who read the most over the course of the week.
    We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported this event – we really appreciate the efforts and generosity of both students and parents.

    Book Fair EventVIP Golden ticket Book Fair event – Mrs Gibson, Miss Baillie and Miss Smith had the pleasure in welcoming VIP guests from year 7, who had received ‘golden tickets’, and their parents, along to a special opening of our book fair.
    The night was a huge success and it was wonderful to see students choosing books and enjoying food and a presentation from Learning Performance. Some students also joined Chester le Street Library and were given lots of information by the two lovely ladies who kindly offered to come along.
    Thank you to everyone who attended. As I said on the evening, a child’s first teachers are and continue to be their parents and we very much value working with you to make sure that all our children come to love learning and love reading.

    Park View came fourth out of fifteen schools in the prestigious RSC Y12 analytical chemistry competition, with the team of Kat Dubov, Jack Wright and Katy Wallace doing the school proud!

    The German class from 8-5 recorded their very own fashion show as part of their current topic – everyone took part either as a model or a presenter, some very classy moves thrown on the catwalk!!
    Meanwhile, Year 7 French students were enjoying sampling a variety of French delicacies as part of their “manger et boire” unit. Crusty baguettes were popular….. some very ripe camembert less so!!


    Our Year 10 RE set up the classroom as a Sikh Langar  (community kitchen) to mark the study of the second religion on the new GCSE.  They contributed vegetarian Punjabi cuisine, many following recipes from scratch, so the class could sample authentic tastes and immerse themselves in traditional Sikh culture.  We invited staff and some unsuspecting Year 13 students to have a free meal, just like the Langar in any Sikh Gurdwara. Students wore head coverings that they had designed; they will also wear these at a visit to Newcastle Gurdwara next term. It was a great afternoon, with students gaining a cultural insight and gaining a love of Steph Murphy’s samosas!


    On Thursday 23rd March, 8 students from Year 11 and 12 represented Park View at the European Youth Council Forum at Durham Old Hall. Debating politically relevant and complex topics and competing against schools across the North East, our team comprised of Jack Dent, Lee Foggart, Shaun Rowland (all Year 12), Matthew Elliott, David Moule, Nathan Turnbull, Louis Veitch and Heather Wilkinson (Year 11). The students had spent a number of weeks preparing for the debates, researching economic, political and historical facts and developing intelligent, precise arguments and speeches.
    Unlike other schools represented, this was the first time these students had participated in such an event, yet they were far from overawed and from the beginning showed great perception and confidence in their arguments. After winning their initial debate, the students played an important part in the later exchanges. Unfortunately the experience of the other teams won over and our students were not selected to go through to the national forum. The team were a great credit to Park View and learned a great deal from this experience; I’m sure this will be the first of many such competitive debates.
    We received this email from the organisers:

    ‘We are just writing to say thank you very much to you and your team for all your hard work and preparation that went into yesterday’s session.
    We were very impressed by the superb performance that your team displayed. They were very engaged with the debate and really enthusiastic which was great to see. It is unfortunate that the high standard and competitiveness of the session meant that the team was not selected – the jury emphasised to us how difficult the decision making was.’

    A big thanks goes to Mr Hodes for giving up his lunchtimes to support the Debate Club. New members are always welcome – come along to room 105 on Thursday lunchtimes.



    • Blooming North LodgeWell done to Sophie Carmody who won the poster competition run by the parish council to promote North Lodge in Bloom. The North Lodge gardeners are now busy designing a new flowerbed at the entrance to school; they recently delivered spring flower pots to residents on lombard drive.
    • This half term has welcomed the introduction of the Park View Sister In order to give our Year 9, 10 and 11 students some additional support, we have paired them up with Sixth Form “sisters”.  This means that if they are stressed about school, exams or anything else, they have someone to talk to: a “Park View sister” they can go to for advice or just to lend an ear.  On Wednesday 22nd March, all sisters were invited to afternoon tea in the conference room.  This gave sisters a chance to chat, swap phone numbers and get to know each other a little.  It was a great success and the atmosphere was fantastic: it was lovely to see girls helping other girls and young women coming together to support one another.  The future of Park View Sisters is positive: we hope to organise subsequent events to raise money for charity and celebrate the female heroes of today.
    • We had a compliments day throughout school – to promote a good feeling around school and encourages the use of positive language. The peer supporters in North Lodge and students in Church Chare gave out stickers to pupils who they heard giving lovely compliments to their friends. It was a lovely way to put a spring into all of our steps!



    A group of students studying German in Years 12-13 took the opportunity earlier this month to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the ever-changing metropolis of Berlin.
    The group visited many of the main tourist attractions of a city so steeped in history. This included Hitler’s Bunker, the Berlin Wall, DDR Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial.  In addition to visiting the main sites, the students were also gripped by a guided tour of Hohenschönhausen, a former Stasi prison, in the East of the city.
    The students relished daily trips to the supermarket Lidl to stock up on typical German food and thoroughly enjoyed sampling traditional German dishes in restaurants.  Another highlight was the novelty of going to “das Kino” to watch a film in German. A really entertaining evening, especially with a bucket of popcorn!
    The group was extremely keen to explore Berlin, taking countless photos of the artefacts, monuments, signposts and famous landmarks.  Breath-taking views, by day from the top of the TV Tower and at sunset from the glass dome at the top of the Bundestag parliament building, proved to be perfect photo opportunities.  This wonderful team of students adopted various roles, from deciphering the Berlin underground system, to ordering tickets and food, to interviewing the locals all in German.  The students were such an asset to Park View School, full of passion and enthusiasm for the German language and culture.

    Spanish Exchange 2017
    In January a group of year 9, 10 and 12 students spent a memorable week in Spain as part of the Spanish Exchange. They stayed with their Spanish exchange partners in Ciudad Real for five days and then spent two extremely enjoyable days in Madrid.
    On March the 27th, as the second part of the exchange programme, the Spanish students and staff arrived into Chester-le-Street to stay with their partners for a week and experience British life! They spent a day in lessons at Park View and then were accompanied by their exchange partners out on day trips. Highlights included a trip to York dungeons followed by a historical tour of the city, a tour of Durham cathedral where they were excited to see where Harry Potter was filmed and a visit to St James’ Park. The Spanish students all had a fantastic time and have thanked the hard work that students and families have put into making sure they had a great stay.



    • There is high excitement in Year 9 with our 2 expedition weekends for Duke of Edinburgh coming up soon! The group is currently preparing routes for their hikes, and developing the team skills needed to be self sufficient out in the wilds of our local countryside. Watch this space….”
    • Robotics have definitely geared up this year. Both the Year 8 VEX IQ and theKS4 VEX EDR team represented the North East at the National Finals at The Big Bang in Birmingham. The teams did exceptionally well but unfortunately we will have to wait for another year to qualify to the VEX World Finals in Kentucky USA! The Nationals Finals were seriously tough, with 80 other teams and more than 400 students competing.  Mr Nelson was extremely impressed with the way that our students were equipped and raised their game. A special mention also is needed for the Year 8 girls who entered the STEM Research Challenge: they presented their research of robotics used to help in special needs as a news report. The judges said it was refreshing and admired their innovative approach to presentation.
    • The Performing Arts showcase was completely sold out this year, with a fantastic audience enjoying a wide variety of acts. As well as the musical items, there was a performance of an original piece of drama by Year 8 students, which has been devised under the direction of Kate Grimwood in Year 12 as part of her Arts Award. This project had been created in collaboration with Durham Police about cyberbullying. Since the show, there have been many requests from primary schools to ‘take it on tour’. Well done all for a superb night!



    • The Holocaust Remembered

    On a hot Friday afternoon, over 200 Year 9 students sat mesmerised in our  theatre, listening to a 90year old man talk about the horror of the Holocaust.  Mr Marc Schatberger kindly gave up his time to visit Park View to relate the experiences of himself and his family – Austrian Jews – during the Nazi era. His personal testimony brought home to the students the reality of this terrible event, and brought to a conclusion their investigation into the Holocaust. His key message was, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. It was exceptionally moving, with not a dry eye in the house at the end of the presentation. An amazing afternoon!

    • Year 9 Airline Masterclass

    As part of the Go Ahead programme Year 9 took part in an Airline Masterclass activity.
    Teams of ten were challenged to develop their business and enterprise skills by using a virtual £200 million budget to set up and run their own airline.
    The challenge allowed students to decide roles and responsibilities, select destinations, create a flight plan, develop the brand, put together a budget, sell their seats to travel agents and finally present their business plan to a panel of judges.
    Thanks to Denise Chapman and her team at Young Enterprise for organising the event and to the volunteers from the DWP, HMRC and Sage Accounts who gave up their valuable time to support on the day and judge the students’ business plans.

    • Career Travel to WorkCareer Travel to Work

    Duncan Flint, Year 13, writes: When I first given the brief to cover the Career Travel to Work project, I wasn’t too sure what the project was all about (other than it was up to 6/7 weeks and was being organised by Mr Patterson). However, when I arrived at the Main Site car park where the students were getting ready to leave on their first ride,  the team leaders Dave (who has been cycling for over 30 years) and Paddy (a known member of the local band, “Diddley Squat”) explained that  Bike4Health and the Go Smarter Project was aimed at encouraging young people in the North East to take alternative ways of travelling rather than using cars (preferably bikes) as well as making them aware of the benefits of cycling (such as exercise and traffic improvement) for  when they leave school.
    While talking with David and Paddy, I learned that he plans for Bike4Health to expand over time, becoming a national and eventually international organisation, supporting a bike riding system similar to those used in the Netherlands (having been to Amsterdam, I know that the Dutch are avid cyclists).
    Many of the Year 10 students who took part in this project had previous cycling experience from the Year 9 Enrichment Week.
    The Year 10’s were each given a high-viz jacket and a bike, with the plan being to ride to the Rainton Bridge Business Park in Houghton-Le-Spring, along with Mr Patterson, David and Paddy. As they left, I heard one of the Year 10s most important concerns being voiced: “Will we stop for a McDonald’s?”.
    When I caught up with the group later on and found out what they had been doing in Rainton, I was told what they had learned while there. The group had gone to the Evolve Business Centre in Rainton, where they had learned about the specifics of working there. This included working hours, salary and CV-enhancing skills. In addition to this, the Centre is in easy travelling distance by bike, making it accessible as a potential job. This showed that a well paid and interesting job can be reached by a cost effective form of transport, as well as being a better option environmentally.
    Next, the group cycled to Durham County Hall, where they were told about the aspects of working there and how it could be accessed by various cycling paths. However, I was informed by David that these paths are located in awkward areas for cyclists, ones which were close to roads with cars and other vehicles, which could be potentially dangerous to cyclists who will use the paths regularly to go to work. This showed the Year 10’s that there were changes that they could make themselves if they worked for the County Hall, such as making cycling paths in better areas, where there could be fewer problems from other vehicles and pedestrians.
    The Year 10’s really enjoyed the day and we’re looking forward to the next one. Although the date isn’t finalised, the day will include riding to Newcastle and will involve looking around the law firm, Muckle (which overlooks St.James’s Park, which caused a great amount of enthusiasm from the Newcastle Fans amongst them). From what I’ve seen, Bikes4Health is a very worthwhile project, which certainly encourages a “healthier” form of travel and could only have a good impact on the lives of young people in the local area (and even worldwide if their plans are successful) in the future.

    • Girls Cyber Security Challenge 2017

    Eight girls from Year 9 took part in the inaugural cyber security challenge run by the National Cyber Security Centre. The aim of the competition was to encourage more girls to take up cyber security related careers by enhancing their flair from problem solving and code cracking. So it was that in 2 teams the girls spent seven days – calculating binary codes, cracking decipher codes, analysing website IP addresses to find locations of websites. In all, they complete 75% of all the challenges from beginner to advanced, and even had discussions with the Head of Mathematics and Computer Science at Yale University to seek support and advice.
    What was encouraging as the tenacity and the desire of the girls to work as a team, showing off a wide range of Park View learning habits that have been instilled in them to see a challenge through to completion. Whilst they weren’t quite lucky enough to make the top ten schools in the country, there efforts were exemplary. The leader of the event commented several times that in over 100 times of undertaking the challenge he had never seen a group complete the challenges with such speed and ability level, such was their amazing abilities they completed the challenge and some extra challenges 1 hour earlier than any preceding group. He was so dazzled he was trying to sign them up to careers in National Cyber Security right then and there!  Ironically, we didn’t quite win the competition as a teacher from another school, who had previously done the event, told his group the password seconds before our girls cracked it!
    The team, comprising of Lucy Bell, Aisha Bell, Ariana Dubov, Fohla Hepburn and Lucy Francis, will receive a Competition Award trophy later in the year at awards night, as well as going on to represent the school and a County competition in early April.

    • Top Gear

    Go Ahead in March found 20 Gifted and Talented students from Year 10 creating rock cars! Along with Mr Bell, Mr Richardson and Mr Main, the students went through a process of shaping blocks of blue foam into streamline shapes, testing and adjusting their designs as they progressed. They learnt about the principles of aerodynamics, thrust, acceleration and drag, combining all the ideas to build the perfect car. One week later we took our cars to a race day at King James’ I Academy in Bishop Auckland, and they were fitted with rockets…unfortunately, the army rocketeers had left them in the rain and they failed to launch! Still, the cars built are an excellent demonstration of the talent our pupils possess.



    Conner Rimington and the Stirling clansmen won the British National Championship against Durham Saints and their American imports 10-7 in a hard fought game.
    Conner made the Great Britain senior squad before Christmas and both accomplishments have now seen him being offered a place over the the USA in July .He was selected from across Europe, where the best 16-20 year olds have been competing for places.
    Former head coaches from the NFL will run the camp with a scrimmage game organised on the last day where NFL and college scouts will be in attendance. Good luck, big lad-we are all rooting for you!