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  • Christmas Bog 2017 19 December 2017


    Welcome to my last blog of the calendar year: once again, we have had a busy half-term so be prepared for a set of articles as joyous as anything you will find in Santa’s sack! Enjoy the ride and all the very best for Christmas and New Year!


    The Sage Christmas Concert
    Bigger and more popular than ever, The Learning Alliance Concert returned to The Sage on the evening of December 11th, with students from Park View and Ponteland High, ably supported by their primary school partners, performing to a sell out audience.
    Amongst the highlights from a superb evening of music were three carols performed with energy and enthusiasm by a choir made up of Pelton Community Primary School, Beamish Primary, Cestria Primary School, Chester-le-Street C of E Primary School, Red Rose Primary,Woodlea Primary, their beautiful voices soaring in the auditorium. The Park View orchestra, chamber choir and junior choir all starred whilst Jenny Robson and Emily Smith played and sang solos of the highest possible quality. The evening was compered with great skill by Tiffany Williams and Jodie McCrae: a female Ant and Dec have been found!
    Even in a concert hall as magnificent as The Sage, a stage is just a block of wood until it is graced by talented individuals and then it becomes a truly magical place:remarkable students of all ages dancing, singing and playing instruments at a level which professional companies would be proud of provided exactly that sense of magic.  At a time when the Arts are under attack in many schools, they provided a salient reminder that it is the performing arts which touch our minds and souls and remind us what it is to be human.
    The evening was followed by the North Lodge Christmas Concert, where our musicians and actors played superbly on their ‘home ground’, and the piece de resistance of our festive celebrations, the festival of nine carols and lessons at St Cuthbert’s Church.
    We are very proud of all who have taken part-we could not have had a better start to Christmas!


    Cinema Screenings
    In the lead up to Christmas, almost 2000 children from the local primary schools descended upon Church Chare site for a Christmas treat. All schools in the local area had the opportunity to bring a class, a year group or the whole school to watch a film in the school theatre. Working in partnership with The Pictures Chester-le-Street, a community-led initiative by Park View Community Centre, children were given a real cinema experience complete with surround sound and lots of popcorn! Judging by the smiles on their face as they left, and the excitement in the air, they loved it!


    Students Lead the Way
    It is very important to recognise the achievement of young people as, too often in today’s society, we look to find evidence of where they fall short or have made errors: this is deeply unfair. One way in which Park View seeks to redress the balance is to reward students who are consistently impressive in their behaviour, attitude and outlook. For the last few years, this has been made into a formal process resulting in the awards of student leadership. Head Boy and Girl are selected via interview, whereas other student leaders are nominated by their teachers and peers.
    Mr Finley, Deputy Head Teacher, said: “I am delighted to be able to inform you that Jack Wright and Hannah Cathrine have been selected, after a tough interview process, as Head Boy and Head Girl. They will be ably deputised by Shaun Rowlands and Hannah Linton. In addition, Dillon Openshaw and Libby Wilkinson will support them by leading the Upper School alongside their deputies, Jackson Ward and Lauren Hirst. Leaders at Lower School are Matthew Reay and Monique Ellithorn with their deputies, Chris Perkins and Tatiana Dubov.”
    All student leaders are fine young people and deserve recognition for their behaviour as role models in the school over the last few years. They are simply stunning individuals who represent all that is good in Park View. These students will continue to lead the school via the school council and some of their responsibilities will include being a voice in teacher recruitment and representing the school at open evenings and other school and community events.


    Park View in the community

    Tough Mudder
    A group of teachers, led by the incredibly unfit Mr Veitch, took on a Tough Mudder challenge in support of If U Care Share. The 5 miles of mud and 13 obstacles were a test to teamwork and toughness. The obstacles were certainly muddier this year and there was plenty of mayhem too: Mr Finley split his shorts, left the course in tatters and received a bump to the head; Mrs Moore was so cold she shamefully avoided the ice bath and I seemed intent on splitting myself in two on an iron railing challenge. All in all, the team were tested to their limits but emerged unbroken if not unscathed, raising over £1,000 for the charity. Set up in memory of an ex-student Daniel O’Hare, If You Care Share works to combat the real issue of young people taking their own lives. Based in Great Lumley, the charity delivers such amazing work that it now has a national reach, working with schools and other organisations, including the Premier League.
    Huge thank you to all those who supported us in raising £1040 for this wonderful cause. It was an exhausting experience and some of us found ourselves literally crawling towards the finish but luckily we had the two springer spaniels, Mr Cooper and Proudfoot, to guide us home!




    Children in Need 2017
    This year, Children in Need was a huge success, raising £5995 through the kind generosity of the students and the general public in Durham, Chester-le-Street and Newcastle. Children in Need activities and events across both school sites are organised by the sixth form student council in the lead up to the day. Events in the run up included a Bush Tucker Trial, which saw student and staff dining on fish eyes, cat food and worms.  On the day itself, Sixth Form showed their usual flair for fancy dress: red Teletubbies searching for ‘tubby custard’, a yellow brick road, Super Mario Brothers, Harry Potter, the Mexican Gang, a unicorn and dragon, countless superheroes and the genius of a Human rollercoaster all starred. The total was an improvement on previous years,keeping us in the top 20% of fundraising schools in the country and reflecting the commitment of students to doing work in the wider community.  Mr Cooper, Director of Sixth Form, said; “Once again, our students have stepped up and have demonstrated just how brightly they shine. I’m extremely proud of all the efforts leading up to and during this day. An awesome achievement, well done to all involved!!”


    Giving Back to Our Community
    Year 7 students have been supporting the DCP food bank in Chester-le-Street throughout the Autumn term. Each tutor group at North Lodge nominated two “ambassadors” to lead the project. These met with Miss Smith and a representative from the food bank to learn about this worthy cause and how they could help. The students took on the role of encouraging their peers to bring in donations by delivering a presentation, handing out “shopping lists” of suitable goods and collecting the items each morning in registration. It soon become quite a competition between the tutor groups to see who could gather the most donated food. The ambassadors also spent an afternoon in Tesco, Chester-le-Street, to help with their food drive by speaking to shoppers and packing goods that were donated by kind members of the public. The food bank collection ran until December 22nd and the ambassadors will be visiting the food bank warehouse in January to see what happens to their donations.

    Shoebox Appeal
    Naomi Shevels, Year 11, writes, ‘As one of our pledges for The Edge program, we took part in the shoebox appeal as a class. This meant we had to fill a shoebox with lovely gifts which the children who receive them will love! The first part of this task meant doing a bake sale to raise money to then buy the gifts to put into the shoebox. The bake sale was successful and every group believed they had enough money to buy the lovely gifts to put into the shoebox. The next week meant using our Edge Lesson to go shopping on Chester-Le-Street front street. We used the whole hour and when we met back up at the end of the lesson, everyone believed they had bought enough gifts to put in the shoebox. After that, we then needed to decorate the shoe boxes with wrapping paper so that they looked pretty when the children receive them. We were nearly at the end of making our shoeboxes now and we had had so much fun, so much so we even inspired Miss to make her own shoebox as well. The only thing left to do was to put all of the lovely gifts into the shoebox and send them away. To send them away, we went back to Chester-Le-Street front street and handed them into shoezone who then send them to the factory where they then get checked and then sent away to the children. We all believe that completing this task was a great experience and as a class we made a total of 9 shoeboxes.’
    An amazing effort! I was incredibly impressed with how the students conducted themselves throughout. They sowed a great deal of empathy for those less fortunate which helped motivate them to produce very sensitive and relevant shoebox gifts. They demonstrated many skills to contribute towards the Pixl Edge Pledges including organisation, communication and resilience. They should be very proud of their achievements. Nine more children will be receiving a Christmas gift this year that otherwise would have gone without. A big thank you to Naomi who was particularly helpful due to her involvement organising the Shoebox appeal at the local Samaritan Purse Centre.


    Remembrance Day parade
    It was with real pride that Park View took its place in the Remembrance Day parade and subsequent memorial service on November 12th. This is such an important occasion, one on which all remember, and give thanks to, those who have fallen to preserve liberty. The school was represented by staff, students and parents, presenting a wreath as fitting reminder that we sit at the heart of the community and lost ex-students in all wars from 1911 onwards.


    An Exciting Partnership for the Future
    Numerous meetings over the summer came to fruition in October with the beginning of a unique and prestigious partnership between Park View and St. Chad’s College, Durham University. Following a rigorous and highly competitive application process, involving letter writing and group interview tasks, twenty-five Year 12 students have won places on the programme which will run throughout their time in sixth form. Aimed at de-mystifying life at an elite university, while providing real academic challenge, the programme requires the students to visit the university three times each term to take part in a wide range of activities with both academics and students – all designed to develop soft skills such as communication, collaboration, leadership, strategic thinking and researching. Each student will also have access to the university library and the support of academic specialists from the university during the completion of their Extended Project Qualification. Year 13 will entail more specific subject based challenges and immersion as students make decisions about their future university applications.
    Students in year groups below should watch this space – this is a partnership which will run and evolve each year.


    The Naked Truth
    Some incredibly talented Sixth Form and Year 11 students have been taking part in life drawing workshops with artist Bernadette Koranteng. At her studio in Tantobie, she creates her own figurative paints and is used to inviting groups into her space for life drawing workshops. On this occasion, she came to Park View to deliver energetic and challenging life drawing activities.
    Bernadette commented; “When I first arrived at Park View I immediately got the feeling that Art is important here: quality artwork everywhere, vibrant art department. I had the pleasure of running  Life Drawing workshops and was really impressed with the quality of work and maturity of students. The majority had no previous experience of Life Drawing but approached it with an open mind, responding creatively to everything I asked them to do. ”
    Students thoroughly enjoyed the workshops and are eager to work with Bernadette in the future. Rebecca Lowes, Year 13 student, said; “It really pushed me out of my comfort zone, making me draw from a live model rather than photos and doing quick two minute drawings… I loved the experience!”


    All different, all equal roadshow
    The newly recruited Year 7 Peer Supporters delivered an Anti-bullying roadshow at North Lodge over two lunchtime periods during November.
    There were a variety of stalls, giving the students the opportunity to participate in hands on activities to explore all facets of the issue. There were prizes for the best entry in every category and all students who participated received an anti-bullying wristband.
    Mrs Scott, Guidance Manager, said: “Doing these types of activities based on equality and diversity not only increases awareness of anti-bullying within school in a fun way, it also means that we are re-enforcing positivity, and raising the profile of the Peer Supporters.”


    Prison, me! No way!
    Park View School was recently  invaded by current and ex-prison officers, Northern Power Grid operatives, Police Officers, Alcoholics Anonymous members, CEOPs staff and two current prisoners, both currently serving custodial sentences. This is not an ordinary occurrence – the school is usually a lovely, calm, happy place – but it was the hugely anticipated, annual Prison, me! No way! crime and safety awareness day. The charitable organisation deliver hard-hitting, informative and engaging workshops about various aspects of crime, prison life and safety awareness. Year 9 students listened to the personal accounts of ex-alcoholics, who had volunteered to come and share their stories of despair, worry and alcoholism. Students welled up when a man told of how he had attempted suicide four times because of alcoholism and depression and a lady’s tale of her family being ripped apart through drink and drug abuse melted every heart. Thankfully, the two volunteers were able to share their stories of success at combating their addictions and rebuilding their lives with the help of family and friends. Similarly, the stories of the current prisoners, brought in to explain the realities of prison life, hit home with the students. The ‘reveal’ of the two ladies’ identities halfway through the session led to stunned silence – the students obviously had not expected two young women who could have been an older sister or maybe their mother, to be “criminals” serving long sentences for serious crimes. Students also visited the ‘Prison Van’; a lifesize cell created in the back of a truck – 2.5m by 3.5m, complete with toilet, bunks and table. The size and claustrophobic nature of the cell made some feel decidedly uncomfortable.
    Mr Glass, Citizenship Coordinator said; “It was a very moving day for students and staff alike. Some extremely difficult and thought-provoking issues were sensibly and maturely discussed and the team remarked on how engaged and interested our students were.”


    Park View students take starring role at BBC
    With gloomy, wintery weather outside, the Year 7 and 8 students had their day brightened up with a fantastic morning spent inside BBC Newcastle.
    The tour allowed the children to see first-hand just how live radio shows are conducted each day, before adding sound effects to their very own radio drama. They also brought out their inner news reporters when  presenting the weather, the sport and the news itself, before meeting a real news reporter and local legend Colin Briggs. He gave the students lots of tips and advice on how he does his job so effectively and how things work at BBC Newcastle.
    From learning how to use an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter, to stepping onto the real set of period drama ‘Hetty Feather’, students really gained an insight into how things run in a functioning broadcasting company.


    They’ve Got a Ticket to Ride
    A successful Big Lottery funding bid allowed the school to purchase a fleet of mountain bikes and  the Park View Cycling Club was launched.
    There has been great enthusiasm, interest and participation from Year 9 and older veterans of past ‘Enrichment Week’ cycling trips. There are some very keen cyclists in the school and this brilliant development will provide the facilities for this new exciting extra-curricular option to grow – amongst many things promoting health and well being.
    During the first rides, students cycled through the local lanes of Durham, taking in the beautiful countryside which incredibly is  only a few miles from the school gates. All enjoyed getting out and about in the fresh air, exercising and having fun. A particular highlight was cycling through Finchale Abbey, which for some was a first. The dark nights have put a temporary halt on outings for 2017 but next year there will be regular events once the lighter nights return, visits to Hamsterley Forest, all culminating in an end of year four day cycle tour to Amsterdam.


    Park View Bloggers
    The Park View Writing Blog has been created to promote and publicise the fabulous writers in school at the moment. The quality of the creative and analytical pieces that the students are producing needed to have a platform on which to showcase skills. All blogs will be shared on the school website but here is a sample of what you will find there.
    Piece written by Nathan Unsworth, Year 10, in response to a stimulus image:
    The car: its battered door strewn open and its dirty, old windshield smashed. The grimy window obscured your view into the car; the only way to peer through was through the rather large hole in the centre of the windscreen. Scratched and battered, the door hung ajar; its hinges rusted so much that it was frozen in one position. Unfortunately, no remnants of the paintwork were left, leaving the car a blank canvas to rust, dirt and moss. All of these seemed to bleed out of the sleek curves of the car, making it look like an apocalyptic and abandoned cluster of debris.
    Follow the Writing Blog by visiting:


    Living History
    A group of year 9 students took part in a new workshop ‘The Philosophy of War’ at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle last week. They got to visit the new gallery, handle historical artefacts including an old shell casing that had been decorated in the trenches and an evacuee’s teddy bear, whilst developing their questioning skills. They were superb ambassadors for our school and were complimented on their behaviour and work in the session. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

    Our group of our year 12 and 13 pupils visited the Humanities Department at Northumbria University today where they attended a series of mini lectures from the American Studies team. These ranged from learning about the American West to the Black Pathers to the Impact of the Vietnam war on America. Our pupils were brilliant and asked and answered some great questions whilst getting a taste of university study.


    Business Banter

    Visit to Nissan
    Ms Hardy writes, ‘Mrs Vaudrey and I went to Nissan today with the idea to find out about specific topic areas for yr12 C-Tec business exam pre-release brief.
    The visit involved tour of the site and a presentation on the topic areas relating to Nissan. The staff were very accommodating and the presentation was excellent – totally linked to what we wanted to know.  This will be invaluable for our students as they prepare for the exam.  They discussed apprenticeship opportunities in a multitude of areas in Nissan from accountancy to engineering with a big focus on trying to recruit more females into engineering.  They are even going to run a special one week programme for female applicants to help them with the application process.
    The Nissan site is huge and we only saw one part of the production process but, it was amazing to see how they taken efficiency to extreme to save costs and improve productivity. Special thanks to Ian Green Senior Controller – Global Training Centre and Nissan Skills Foundation at Nissan Motor UK who put together the presentation and visit.

    Bee My Home
    Yr12 A level students went to visit Victoria Valentine, the owner and director of Bee My Home, the new estate agents on Chester le Street high street to find out about running a business and being an entrepreneur.  Victoria shared her entrepreneur story with the students and discussed what it took to run a business. Her estate agency has a USP of being a mix of online and shop based with the shop having a child friendly zone with TV. It was a fascinating visit, giving an insight into the skills of one of the region’s entrepreneurs.



    Pitch Perfect
    The Under 14 Girls Football team have started their season incredibly strongly.  The girls fiercely fought off competition against The Hermitage, beating them by an impressive 11-0 and then Belmont Community School also 11-0. This is especially striking as half of the team is made up of Year 8 students. The girls are a strong team with extraordinary scoring skills from Erin Nicholson and Ella Minns, but equally impressive defensive skills from Frayer Fletcher, Abigail Bell and Lucy Brown. Mrs Whiting, PE Teacher, said, ‘ I am very proud with how the girls have started the season, hopefully it will continue and they will gain the success they deserve.’

    This season, the Year 11 boys football team have been taken over by Mr Gamble, Park View Academy of Sport Coach.  The boys have started well in the first half of the season, remaining unbeaten despite playing some of the most difficult teams in the league. They have shown a very positive attitude to the changes Mr Gamble has made which seem to be paying off with brilliant results so far.  The team spirit is high and the boys are confident that they can continue as they have started and maybe win the league in their final year as a team. The next half of the season starts in February: watch this space for the lads hopefully lifting the trophy!!

    At the halfway stage of the league, the Year 9 boys are currently sitting in 2nd place, one point behind the leaders. The team have scored an impressive 17 goals in 4 games, with their finest win so far being 8-3 over The Hermitage. Sam Tudor is proving to be an amazing striker, already into double figures in his personal goal tally. Dedication and commitment to training have helped the lads achieve their place in the league and they strive to be at the top by the end of the season.  

    Elite Sport Academy Update
    Park View Elite Sports Academy kicked off the autumn term with students being allocated their own Elite Sports kit kindly sponsored by Education Network, a company who specialise in education recruitment. This unique sports development programme, designed for gifted and talented young athletes who are County level standard or above, provides students with world class mentoring, bespoke education and access to services that nurture talent and improve chances of sporting success.
    The students who are part of the Elite Sports Academy take part in additional sessions beyond school which include Leadership in Sport, Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition and Fitness, Sports Psychology, Motivation and Target Setting. The first session of the term was provided by local nutrition company Natural Nutrients who discussed the importance of a healthy diet and what to eat to perform better in sports.
    Highlights for the some athletes so far this term include Bobbi Forster finishing 3rd in the World Junior 18 Rowing Championships and breaking the J17 & J18 record at the Boston Marathon;  Philippa Ellis being a semi-finalist in the English National Athletics Championships and Sasa Paterson competing at the European Judo Championships.
    Students pictured with Michelle Olsen-Giles, Partnership Manager at Education Network.

    ESSA Secondary Championships 2017
    In 2017, Park View were proud to enter the biggest squad out of all other schools in the North East with Junior, Intermediate and Senior Boys and Girls teams as well as B Teams for the Senior Girls and Inter Girls and Boys. As well as depth of talent, there was no shortage of quality on show from Team PV as swimmers enjoyed another successful competition. Junior Boys retained their “Champions” status for the 3rd year in a row, with stunning performances in both the Medley and Freestyle relays. Inter Boys also did incredibly well, picking up two Silver medals for their efforts. Senior Boys and Girls chipped in too, with Bronze Medals for both teams. Special note should be made to the Inter Girls team who did incredibly well in the face of very stiff competition in this group, beating many Senior Girls performances!
    Park View walked away as the most successful team at the gala and were delighted the Junior and Inter Boys teams qualified handsomely for the National Finals in London in November.
    Mr Finley gave this account of their performance there:
    Once again, Park View’s swimming team have excelled in the pool at the English Schools Swimming Championships held at the Olympic London Aquatic Centre. We had two teams that qualified this year as our Intermediate Girls, two time finalists in 2015 and 2016 narrowly missed out. One of our qualifying teams was our Junior Boys team which was made up of Matthew Cairns and Morgan Swirles in Year 8 as well as Jacob Davison and Thomas Maskell in Year 7. The other was our Inter Boys teams which had Lewis Maxwell and James Davison in Year 10 and Joshua Savage and Thomas Adamson in Year 9. Both teams made the finals in Medley and Freestyle relays.
    The day was a tremendous amount of fun and competitive racing featuring the best swimmers in England. Our boys didn’t disappoint with some exceptional performances as individuals and as teams. We are delighted to report that both teams made the finals in the Medley relay with our Junior Boys finishing 6th and Inter Boys 10th fastest in England. This also made both teams the fastest school swimming teams in the North of England, an honour they should be rightly proud of.
    A similar pattern emerged in the Freestyle finals where the Inter Boys finished 11th and Junior Boys 18th and were once again the highest ranked teams in the North of England.
    We were delighted with the attitude of the swimmers as they faced many private school teams with selective entry, swimming scholarships and their own, often mightily impressive school swimming pools. The boys did well and the future looks bright for even more success in 2018.
    Many thanks to our fantastic parents for supporting us all weekend as well as Emblematic for sponsoring the kit that the swimmers wore with pride. Also, thanks to Heather Wilkinson in Year 12 and Molly Finley in Year 9 who took on roles as Junior Coaches and chief cheerleaders!”

    Primary Superstars
    The Primary School Indoor Athletics Competition was hosted at Church Chare, which over 150 students competed from 8 local schools. The atmosphere throughout day was extremely positive with the correct competitive element. The major contributing factor towards this was the endless effort and “can do” attitude of the participants, staff and volunteers. A special mention has to be made to congratulate Park View students on a flawless display in officiating, assisting and coaching within the running of the event. Without this,  the competition could not have been staged and the input was much valued and appreciated by the School Sports Partnership and Primary Schools involved.      

    Park View Academy of Sport 
    Since Park View Academy of Sport launched in September, as an elite sports scholarship programme for students in the age range of sixteen to nineteen, looking to combine full-time education with five days per week training, things have gone from strength to strength.
    The Academy began the year impressively, recruiting strongly to the first year football programme. In addition to this, it began the season by providing students with the fantastic opportunity of a trip to St. George’s Park, to compete in the PGMOL tournament, a truly brilliant experience for everyone involved. The group stayed in a luxury hotel and got to compete against at a fantastic standard, which more than prepared them for a tough season which included competing in the National Football Youth League and the FA Youth Cup.
    Under the guidance of fantastic coaching staff, the group has continued to improve on the pitch, which has led to some brilliant victories, particularly in the National Football Youth League against professional clubs, such as Burnley FC and Birmingham City FC.
    This improvement also showed itself in a second visit to St George’s Park, during which the team gave an even better account of themselves than they did the first time round.
    The Academy is now looking to recruit learners for the start of the next academic year, in September 2018, when, in addition to running a football programme, we are  aiming to launch several more academies, including boxing, swimming, golf, cricket and athletics.
    We are all excited to be venturing into new pathways and we are more than confident that each of our academies will go on to meet the exceptionally high standards that have been set by our first year football players.

    Judo Joe
    Joe Bygate won gold twice this year at the British National Judo Championships. He won Gold in May, which was the open Championships and also won Gold in in November which was closed for BJC members only. To win both open and closed is a real achievement especially as Joe went up into the next weight category