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  • Headteachers Blog March 2018 26 March 2018

    Spring Term Blog

    Another action-packed blog captures the amazing things our students have been upto this term. Well worth reading as you chomp on your Easter eggs!


    Seeing Stars
    Funding from the Institute of Physics enabled Park View School to bring 6 local primary schools onsite to experience Centre for Life’s Mobile Planetarium.  Over 2 days, the Planetarium provided children in Year 5 from Bournmoor Primary, Red Rose Primary, Cestria Primary, Lumley Juniors, Woodlea Primary and Chester-le-Street Church of England Primary with an exciting and immersive learning space with Life’s Science Explainers. They took children on a tour of a stunning night sky, exploring stars, constellations, the planets and the moon. Shows were presented live, so were tailored to the student interests and covered parts of the curriculum relevant to what they are learning in their own schools. There were opportunities for students to share their knowledge and ask any burning questions they had about space.
    Jonathan Walker, Year 5 teacher from Cestria, said off the experience, “The planetarium was a fantastic experience for all of the children from Cestria who visited. They were able to learn more about near space as well as exploring parts of the universe which they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to. The design of the planetarium also allowed the children to not only visualise but to actually travel to and then experience what each part of the universe is like. The nature of the planetarium also meant that, as the children’s discussions took different routes, the staff organising the event were able to tailor their experience and move around the solar system in order to answer each of their questions.”


    A Better Internet for All
    Safer Internet Day 2018 was celebrated globally today on Tuesday 6th February 2018 with the slogan “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”.
    North Lodge students were visited by staff from the Digital Investigation Intelligence team at Durham Constabulary. They spoke to students about being safe, with a focus on being positive online.
    Throughout the day, students took part in various activities, including Online Pledges to improve the internet such as ‘Delete anyone you do not actually know’ and ‘Post something positive that may inspire others’. Students, parents and staff also signed up to a Digital Detox, which included not using social media for a period of time, limiting the amount of videos viewed and putting phones away at meal times. Parents were invited to attend a Digital Parenting session after school delivered by Durham Constabulary covering current trends, privacy settings and how to keep themselves and their family safe online.
    Mr Bishop, ICT teacher, said: “Having delivered E-safety sessions with both year 7 and 8 today, I am really proud of how knowledgeable the students are. They were able to show me how to improve their privacy settings on various social media platforms and talked in depth about how they stay safe online.”


    Students at North Lodge have been creating Schultüten (school cone) in their German lessons, a tradition which has existed in Germany since 1810. Family members present children with a large cardboard cone, attractively decorated and filled with toys, sweets, school supplies, and various other special treats on their first day at school to make the anxiously awaited day a little sweeter.
    Students in Year 7 have been making Schultüten for younger brothers, sisters or cousins. They made the cones and carefully decorated them with things of interest to the person who would receive it. Each cone was filled with sweets and gifts, including small toys and school stationery. Mrs Wilson, Assistant Head Teacher at North Lodge and German teacher, said:” We have been learning about schools in Germany- things like this are such novel traditions and we love making them.  It makes learning about another culture come alive when you get involved practically. I am sure there will be lots of little brothers, sisters and cousins delighted to receive their unusual gift. The kindness of the year 7 students was fantastic!”


    Ski Trip 2018
    This year saw 99 students heading to the resort of Risoul in France for a week of Skiing. The resort was familiar to Park View School because we had visited it two years previously when the weather was poor and the snow questionable; all were hoping for better things this year. Students and staff were delighted to have 5 days of blue skies and 1 day of snow, meaning the following day was a powder wonderland.
    Risoul boasts a range of slopes, catering for beginners, intermediate skiers and advanced. With lots of off piste runs through trees for those advanced skiers as well two snowparks, the students enjoyed the resort and lots of fun was had by all.
    The group was split into nine ski groups, put together to match ability and experience of skiing on snow. Groups were made up of all year groups and students mixed really well with everyone helping each other to make progress each day and have fun. In the afternoons students enjoyed some ‘free skiing’ when they were allowed to ski with their friends and a member of staff. Students reported that this was the most enjoyable part of their week as they got to have fun with all of their friends as well as showing off new skills learnt. In the evenings students enjoyed a variety of entertainment such as ice skating, bum boarding, a pool competition and general socialising.
    At the end of the week the ski instructors presented students with their ESF ski school qualification and the member of staff who was the leader of the ski group gave an award to each student. Each group also had a ‘best skier’ award presented and a ‘most improved’ skier.
    Miss Keighley, accompanying member of staff, said: “All 99 students were an absolute pleasure to spend a week with, they were a credit to the school and their families and the staff that came away with us said exactly the same thing.”


    Ghastly Trip
    Year 8 historians went on a terrifying trip to York Dungeon as part of their Crime and Punishment history unit. They met some Vikings, were scared by ghosts, stopped by a highwayman, and petrified by the Medieval torturer. They even saw one of their teachers being burnt at the stake as a witch! It was both frightening and fun at the same time!!  Mr Lee, looking a little charred, described the trip as “educational, interesting and terrifying!”


    Arts Awards
    Eleven students received their Arts Award qualification at either Bronze, Silver or Gold level. For the Bronze award, students had to learn a new Arts skill, review an Arts event, research their Arts Inspiration and share their skills with others. The following Year 9 students successfully achieved this award: Kieran Dickinson, Erin Harris, Jessica Irving, Mila Jowett, Abigail Murphy, Flynn McQueen, Jack McNeill and Luke Robinson.
    For Silver and Gold, students undertook an individual arts challenge, researched arts practitioners and reviewed events. In addition to this, they took responsibility for leading a Drama project over a three month period. Lucy Francis and Lilly Thompson in Year 10 achieved their Silver award, whilst Kate Grimwood in Year 13 was successful at Gold level.
    All students produced excellent portfolios, which were testimony to their hard work and commitment during the various projects. Kate speaks for all the students involved when she says, “Arts Award has been a rewarding but challenging experience. It has enabled me to work more independently, develop my confidence and explore more fully the subject that I love.”


    Primary Story Tellers
    Year 7 students have been doing a fantastic job of story telling at various local primary schools. Not only have they led the story times, they have also encouraged participation from the audience as well as demonstrating some fantastic animal impressions!
    Mrs Gibson, who was lucky enough to accompany them in one of their outings, said “It’s brilliant to see our students developing their Oracy skills by presenting to the younger pupils. They did extremely well and the primary school children thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Hopefully it will inspire them even more in their love of reading. Thank you to everyone at the primary schools for being so welcoming from all of us at Park View. We look forward to working with you all again soon.”


    Time for Reflection
    Working in partnership with St Mary and St Cuthbert’s Church, a Prayer Space was created on the North Lodge stage. Prayer Spaces in Schools enable children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore life questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and interactive way.
    Over 3 days, students at North Lodge had an opportunity to spend 30 minutes in the area working on a range of creative activities that encourage personal reflection on major issues before going back to discuss these in a wider forum in their classrooms.  A year 7 student captured the effect of the experience well when she said, “It made me have a lot of respect for myself and others, and realise how much I have to be thankful for”


    Business in Action
    Year 12 and 13 A Level students visited the Komatsu site at Birtley to get an insight into  the operations side of the business and how it has adapted and changed over the years.
    Students received a presentation about Komatsu’s development into a worldwide brand. They also had a tour of site and were able to see the whole production process in practice.
    This visit gave students a great business example to relate to when covering topics such as production, international business, quality control, technology and much more.
    Students found it interesting to hear how the site has developed from starting out being “Birtley Iron Works”, through to producing armoured vehicles in WWII, to Caterpillar taking over the site in the 60’s right through to Komatsu recognising the sites potential with the skilled labour force available in the North East and developing the site into what it is today – a global engineering business with over 47,000 employees.


    Cultural Music Links
    A successful funding bid to EMI Music Sound Foundation enabled the music department to purchase 15 African djembe drums. These fascinating world music instruments will be used in multicultural music teaching at North Lodge. A new scheme of work has been written which will enable students to play genuine African instruments, understand the complex rhythms that African musicians play as part of their community music making and ultimately to write their own African styled music. In addition, an extra-curricular group has been set up by Mr Williams to encourage students to experience the infectious nature of African djembe playing. We look forward to hearing them in a live performance later in the year!


    Reading Matters
    Keen readers in Year 9 have been meeting in the library with Miss Hogg, Reading Coach, every Monday lunchtime, to do what they do best: talk about books over food! It started as a general book club, with members meeting to talk about what books they like and what they’re currently reading. Now, book club is part of something much bigger: the Carnegie Book Awards, a nation-wide award with librarians and the pupils themselves picking the best Young Adult Book of the Year. Park View’s book club are shadowing the awards, reading, swapping, and discussing the shortlisted books to see if they agree with the judges’ picks.
    Since the nominated books were announced, members of book club have watched author interviews, defended their favourites in fierce debates and created their own shadowing website. Their contributions to the shadowing scheme will be entered into a competition to win a place at the award ceremony in London. Miss Hogg said, “Anything that gets the voices of Park View students heard and gets books in their hands is already a winning combination!”


    Hair & Beauty Regional Competition
    Mollie McCann, Year 11 student studying Hair & Beauty Therapy, took part in the Association of Hairdressers and Therapists Regional Competition putting her skills against 14 other Schools and Colleges from the North East. Competing in the 14+ Natural Makeup category, Mollies work was of impeccable standard and she achieved 2nd place, with Lucy Ellison as her model. Her achievement secured her a place in the National finals at Winter Gardens, Blackpool to compete against students from all around the country. At the competition, Mollies’ work was once again first class and she was awarded 4th place overall. Ms Van-Hoof, Subject Leader, said: “We are very proud of Mollie’s achievement and wish her every success in her future.”


    A Night at the Museum
    In February, five Year 8 students enjoyed a residential experience with Newcastle University. During the day they had a taste of university life by doing a building hunt as well as attending seminars on Maths and Geography and lectures led by university students and lecturers.  The sleepover was at the Great North Museum and was full of fun. On the evening, students were treated to activities including circus skills, magic tricks, an amphibian show and a street music session. They then slept next to the all the amazing artefacts, the girls next to the Hadrian’s Wall section and the boys were next to the Egyptian: even on a night like this, they could not be separated from their mummies!


    Building the Past 
    As part of the investigation into medieval life, Year 7 have been busy building their own model Motte Bailey style castles to stone fortes. They have also been writing newspaper articles and drawing their own versions of the Bayeux Tapestry. The time and effort put in has been superb and the finished models are amazing!!




    The Year 7 Basketball team have been crowned Chester le Street champions after completing 6 rounds of fixtures against local schools. The team have progressed into the County Championship play offs to be held at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre. This achievement is just reward for the excellent numbers that attended extra curricular training on a weekly basis before and throughout the competition. The commitment from students allowed a squad rotation system to be implemented, enabling a range of players to experience competitive fixtures for the first time. Each player represented the school in a flawless manner, whether the fixtures were on site or being hosted by local rivals. Mr Christie, Head of PE, said: “If the same attitude and effort is demonstrated at the County Championships, the players will do the school proud!”


    Swimmers Triumph in Tyneside
    The Year 7 and 8 Boys swimming team went into the Tyneside Schools gala held at Royal Grammar School, Newcastle with high hopes and they didn’t disappoint! The team, made up of Jacob Davison and Thomas Maskell from Year 7 and Morgan Swirles and Matthew Cairns from Year 8 competed against other boys from across the region and performed brilliantly, winning every race.
    Jacob Davison edged a tight 50m Freestyle race by 100th of a second whilst Morgan was challenged in the first 25m before stamping his authority on the latter half of his breaststroke race. Thomas and Matthew blew the opposition away in their Butterfly and Backstroke races before they all got together and strolled to victory in the two relays. They competed in six races and won all six.   The following week, the Year 9 and 10 boys went to a similar event at the same venue and again swept the board, winning 5 out of their 6 races.  The team was led home by Lewis Maxwell and comprised also of Josh Savage, Thomas Adamson, Chris Coulson, Ben Ward, Flynn McQueen, James Davison and James Wise.
    Mrs Finley, Deputy Headteacher, said: “These four boys work really hard in training for their clubs and represent the school with great pride. It is fantastic to offer them a platform to perform and we hope that they can go from strength to strength as they come through the school.”


    Netball Triumph
    Building upon the successes of last season, the Year 8 Netball team have one again had a strong season. They are often able to field 2 teams and commitment to training and games has been excellent. The final league standings saw the girls finish 5th out of 9. At the end of the season there is always a tournament with all 9 teams competing for a trophy and a plate. The girls were expected to do okay but went along mostly for the enjoyment. They totally stepped up their game and were awesome, winning the plate and beating a number of teams who they had lost to in the league. Miss Keighley, PE Teacher, said: “ I have high hopes for this group of girls as they go into the new season. I am really looking forward to seeing what they are capable of!”


    More Cross Country Success
    Park View Cross Country runners have had another successful season, winning all but one of the age groups at the Washington and Chester le Street district competition. Many of our students then progressed to represent the area at the County Competition on a very  snowy morning at Barnard Castle, with Chris Perkins finishing 2nd place in the Junior boys event. Due to their success Chris Perkins, Chris Coulson, Eva Hardy and Ollie Barrett were selected for the County team in Leeds. Good luck to them all!


    North Lodge Rugby Team 
    The Year 8 Rugby team have been working on their core skills and training consistently on a weekly basis. Their hard work has paid off and they have been unbeaten at the Houghton RFC all schools fixture tournament. Having competed at the tournament on 4 occasions throughout the year and not conceded a try, they are now the Houghton RFC All Schools Fixture’s Champions. They lso won the U14 cup, destroying all in their path.  The future is bright for this team with three players going onto trials for Durham County.


    Elite Sports Update
    Philippa Ellis went up to Scotland to compete in the Scottish Nationals in January in 60m hurdles. After an intense season of training at her athletics club, Gateshead Harriers,  and a member of the Elite Sports Academy, she is now the U17 Scottish National Hurdles Champion as well as North Eastern Regional Hurdles Champion.
    Bobbi-Lee Forster has been awarded a rowing scholarship at the University of Tulsa
    Lewis Maxwell and Aaron Beckford have qualified for the British Swimming Championships in Edinburgh
    Chris Perkins took part in the National Cross Country Championships in London, competing against 650 other athletes. Despite some recent illness, Chris performed amazingly well and came away with a bronze medal. His performance is equivalent to an England vest because he is too young to progress any further. He then competed at the English Schools, racing against students in year 8 and 9 from across the country, some who were nearly three years older than Chris.  He was not expected to place within the top 50 due to the strong field which sees Britain’s top young athletes running for their counties; amazingly, he came 13th!
    Joel Kirby continues to impress in the ice skating world and has high hopes of qualifying for the Novice B Men’s British Championship which takes place in December.


    Park View Post 16 Academy of Sport

    New Academies
    Over the last year, discussions have been taking place with local clubs and key stakeholders with a view to establishing new sports academies to start in September 2018. We are delighted to confirm the following sports have expressed an interest in forming new sports academies with Park View Academy of Sport – Athletics, Boxing, Golf, Swimming, Women’s, Football, Rowing and Rugby.
    Students in Year 11 interested in further education linked to sport are welcomed to express an interest in the academies by contacting

    Nike Partnership
    Though the Academy’s relationship with Nike UK we are able to offer our academy players unrivalled opportunities to showcase the latest Nike kit and receive exclusive discounts. Players will have access to attend exclusive Nike events such as launch days with professional teams and players as well as receive large discounts on footwear, in particular Nike Boots.

    Men’s Football
    The U18s teams are competing across 4 fronts, being in the final of the county cup, the league cup and the TSSA Cup, whilst also occupying first position in the Durham County U19 League, with two games remaining.  The squad will now seek to emulate the squad of 1971, our last 6th form team to win the county cup.



    Individual Mentions
    Scott Robson, who played for Waldridge Park JFC, has been selected to represent Durham County in their recent inter counties cup competition. Scott scored and set up two goals during his debut against North Riding FA. He will now form part of the squad to play in the semi finals of the county cup.
    Max Coombes, who joined us from the Traill International School in Thailand was selected for Morpeth Town in the Northern League. At only 18 years old, Max made his debut with the league leaders and kept a clean sheet throughout the season. Max will now be in the squad for the senior cup final to be played at St James Park. Max is beginning to fulfil his potential and this exposure will serve him well as he seeks to break into senior football.
    Warren Hart has been named the 5th fittest in Europe at the recent European Championships for Functional Fitness in Colchester. Qualifying 6th for the championships, Warren worked his way through 5 tough events competing against some of the fittest teenagers in Europe before qualifying for the final, finishing 2nd to secure a 5th place finish overall in the competition.
    Despite the tough workouts, Warren was really pleased with his performance in his first individual competition. “I was over the moon. It was a gruelling day of competition, but I was really pleased with how I did in the end. It was an awesome experience and it has given me the drive to do even better next year.” His achievements are even more impressive considering he only took up the sport 12 months ago. His rise has been rapid and credit to his CrossFit Chester-le-Street coaches, Sam Marshall and Ash Balfour, who noticed his potential within a couple of months of starting CrossFit. Sam Marshall said; “We could see that he had a lot of potential and had the right attitude to learn. The gym is based on the same site as Park View School and Warren often gave up his lunchtimes to practice his weaknesses. In the last 6 months we have really turned it up and the hard work has paid off. It’s amazing for him to achieve what he has, competing against athletes up to 3 years older than him. Well done Warren, we are so proud!”