- Head Teachers Blog – October 2017 21 November 2017
Welcome to an extended blog, intended to capture everything which has been happening at Park View since the beginning of term. I hope you are well nourished as this will be exhausting!!
PARK VIEW PRATTLE
Students Lead the Way
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 of our 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.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that our House Winners for 2016-17 are Wilberforce. Since our House structure was formed in 2015, Wilberforce have taken the honours in both years and it was richly deserved on this occasion as they produced notable victories in the Charity competition as well as in Sport and Headteacher Challenges . Well done Wilberforce, ably led by Mr Horn and Mrs Clancey-Maley.
In 2017-18, the following members of staff and students will lead our Houses:
Darwin- Mr Hobbs, Daniel Pails, Claire Mawhinney, Jackson Ward, Katie Wall, Joseph Willis and Erin Askew
Franklin- Mr Glass, Jack Dent, Eleanor Cathrine, Faye Burns, Aaron Trotter, Mia Openshaw and Cameron Harvey
Newton- Mr Christie, James Hunter, Grace Oliver, Katie Bell, Matthew Whiting, Chris Perkins and Hope Lilley
Wilberforce- Mr Horn and Mrs Clancey-Maley, Shaun Rolands, Grace Routledge, Sophie Travers, Brandon Millichap, Nathan Affleck and Madeleine Glen
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 we remember, and give thanks to, those who have fallen to preserve our liberty. We were represented by our staff, student and parent body, our wreath a fitting reminder that the school sits at the heart of the community and has lost ex-students in all wars from 1911 onwards.
NORTH LODGE NATTER
Miss Smith writes: ‘On Thursday 2nd Nov I took a group of year 8 gifted & talented pupils to the Tyneside Pop up film school in Newcastle. We took part in a Shakespeare adaptation workshop. The pupils worked in groups to create new and original versions of three key scenes from Macbeth. We had a fantastic day- learning new skills in film making & editing, inspiring a new generation of directors! The students also enjoyed choosing costumes, props and settings, as well as acting out scenes that they had studied at school. Watch out for your invitation to the premiere screening!’
Mr Proudfoot writes, ‘Times Table Rockstars has launched at North Lodge – this is a computer programme where students can compete against each other and students around the country to improve speed and accuracy in their multiplication and division. The students are already playing against each other at home – and we are looking at launching competitions (including against the teachers) in the next few weeks!’
Mrs Shield writes, ‘There were a number of year 8 students who completed sections of the North Lodge Award last year (mini DofE). Michael Hubbick, Hannah Shepperd, and Harvir Matharoo completed the full award and we’re presented with special pins! A great achievement by all.’
Miss Gibson writes, ‘Debate Night has started on Thursday nights at North Lodge with lots of interest from students. Over 20 year 8s have signed up already and we will be working towards competing in the Up for Debate competitions in York in the Spring term. With so many talented speakers and debaters, we are sure they will do an amazing job.’
Mrs Moore writes, ‘Four of our students put their oracy skills to test by speaking at the launch event for Tyne and Wear Citizens at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House. They all delivered passionate and eloquent speeches to an audience made up of 1,000 people from various backgrounds across the region. Our students took their place as active citizens by tackling issues surrounding Free School Meals, highlighting the struggles of some of our poorest communities whilst also tackling, what they referred to as being, the ‘grossly immoral’ behaviour some capitalist companies. They gave stunning presentations, ones which moved a large audience. Well done to all!’
Church Chare Chatter
Mr Griffiths writes, ‘Sophie Kilker, Jen Robson and Libby Wilkinson of our upper school play regularly with the Durham County Youth Orchestra and were three of 15 students chosen from the orchestra to play in Durham Cathedral with the local Cobwebs Orchestra and a visiting choir called Semiseria from Germany. They performed various short movements and the whole of Mozart’s Requiem. Previous collaborations through the County Youth Orchestra have included playing with the Halle Orchestra, Buxtehude Youth Symphony Orchestra from Germany and the Orchestra of Age of Enlightenment.They are performing the score to “The Snowman” for the third year in a row this December at Ushaw College.’
Mr Glass writes of a recent Go Ahead day entitled ‘Prison me? No way’: ‘I’ve just witnessed a child with tears in her eyes in one of my classes. She’s a lovely young lady and someone who always has a smile on her face and a friendly hello for me when I see her in school. Similarly, in another session, I’ve just witnessed a fourteen year old lad, usually brave and bold beyond his years, visibly cringing at what he was being told.
This isn’t an ordinary occurrence at Park View – it’s usually a lovely, calm, happy place, but today we’ve been visited by Prison, me! No way! for a crime and safety awareness day. They’re a charitable organisation who deliver hard-hitting, informative and engaging workshops about various aspects of crime, prison life and safety awareness.
We’ve been treated to an invasion of 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.
The young girl in tears in the opening paragraph was listening to the personal story of an ex-alcoholic, someone who had volunteered to come and share their story of despair, worry and alcoholism. She welled up when the man told her that he had attempted suicide four times because of alcoholism and depression. As a society we’re told stories like this through the media, but having a grown man, someone who looked much like one of their grandparents, tell her stories of living on the streets, wetting himself and being beaten up due to his problems with drink made a real connection. A lady’s tales of a family ripped apart through drink and drug abuse had a similar effect upon teachers and students alike. 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 didn’t expect two young women who could have been an older sister or maybe their mother, to be “criminals” serving long sentences for serious crimes. Their first-hand explanations of prison, showing that it wasn’t ‘cushy’ or ‘easy’ as the media sometimes portrays it to be, were moving and passionate.
Our students were also treated to 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 explanation that prisoners have no privacy, none at all, from their cellmate made some turn away in disgust. The size and claustrophobic nature of the cell also made some feel decidedly uncomfortable.
Another session was led by two PCSOs from the local area and was centred on gun, knife and violent crime, and the consequences of actions surrounding knives and anti-social behaviour. The vast array of knives, the utterly gruesome pictures of the wounds inflicted by everyday kitchen objects and the explanation of the types of sentences handed out for these crimes made a lot of the students ask some very thoughtful questions of the PCSOs.
Perhaps the most entertaining workshop of the day was the ‘Street Scene’ where a pair of ex-prison officers directed our students in a role play of anti-social and drunken behaviour. The main message of the role-play was that, while having a drunken and loud laugh with your mates might feel good to you, if you’re causing harm, annoyance or distress to others, then you’re in danger of getting in serious trouble.
The students learnt a lot throughout the day; some extremely difficult and thought-provoking issues were sensibly and maturely discussed and the team remarked on how engaged and interested our students were.’
The external organiser of the event then wrote the following to the school: ’First of all may I say that the Crime and Safety Awareness Day yesterday was very satisfying and fulfilling for me for a number of reasons.
We, as a charitable organisation, pride ourselves on the quality and effectiveness of what we provide to our customers. However, we could not have the same impact without the cooperation of the schools and partner agencies involved. This event highlighted to me the professionalism of all concerned included in which I refer to all the teaching staff, site managers, IT, catering staff and cleaning staff who all rallied round to make the day such a success. As you know this was our first event of the new academic year and thanks to everyone we could not have wished for a better start than this.
The students in Years 9 were a credit to themselves as well as the school and it was good to see all abilities rewarded in the closing session, which just goes to show that with a little encouragement and a unique approach, everyone can benefit. Let’s hope that some future difficult choices and decisions the students will invariably have to make have been made just a little bit easier knowing the consequences that could await them.
Thank you for all your help behind the scenes in preparation for the event especially at such short notice as I know that it is just a part of the many activities you are involved in. I found your planning and attention to detail so refreshing and made my job so much easier on the day.
Please pass on my sincere thanks to Mr. Veitch for supporting the work of our charity once again, hopefully we can continue to deliver the vital messages to the youngsters at Park View School so that subsequent year groups can make informed decisions whilst still enjoying their lives as young people should.’
A great charity doing superb work; they will be welcome back at Park View any time!
Miss Robertson writes, ’Every Wednesday lunch time, students have been exploring a range of different cultural traditions through sampling local food, clothing, languages, music, art, sports and festivals. So far, our students have explored the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Korea. Students have learned to write their names in a range of languages and have tried different foods from around the world. Jessica Henshaw prepared her own fantastic culture club session all about Korea, through which she spoke confidently about her favourite K-Pop groups, movies and taught us all how to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in Korean. If you have not been yet, come along-you will love it!’
She also writes, ‘Year 9 Business Studies students have been working exceptionally hard to set up their own ‘personalised mug’ business. Students have raised almost £100 for the North East Autism Society so far, and will continue to raise money for their chosen charity until Christmas. A special thank you to Wilkinson’s Chester-le-Street for donating supplies to the Year 9 Business students and helping us to raise money for this incredibly important charity.’
Mrs Heslop writes, ‘In September , twenty year 9 and 10 students spent the morning working with students from Oxford University to consider the Big Question “ Would you want to live forever?” The visit was part for the launch of the “Oxplore” programme, through which the University is aiming to challenge and support more young people to engage with “ big thinking”. There was heated debate among our groups as the question was considered on more and more levels. Everyone who took part made an impressive contribution and learned the importance of considering situations from a wide range of perspectives. The group leaders from Oxford were highly impressed by our student’s creativity ,conviction and sense of fun . Park View’s ideas and opinions were represented at the national launch in the form of a poster; a great achievement!’
Mrs Thoms writes, ‘Inspiring Minds Mentoring Scheme coordinated with Newcastle University is coming to its final year of a 3 year program. This year the program will kick off with a visit to Newcastle University for subject taster sessions, working in teams and problem solving. This will be followed by weekly sessions designed around students’ GCSE exam year, focusing on managing stress and wellbeing, revision. psychology of learning and preparing for exams. It is great to see how these students have come along from year 9 to year 11, growing in confidence, being more sure of their future and some even looking to going onto Higher Education in the future.’
Mr Good writes, ‘21 year 10 students of Spanish enjoyed a cultural event at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. We saw the 2016 film ‘El olivo’ (The Olive Tree) about Alma, a 20 year old farmer, who goes in search of her grandfather’s beloved olive tree which was sold many years before. The students shone in a range of cultural and linguistic activities, with particular mention to Logan Aitchison who read out in Spanish in front over 100 students from other schools. ¡Nos lo pasamos bien! A great day all round!’
Mrs Heslop writes, ‘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 work an academic specialist from the university during the completion of their Extended Project Qualification. Year 13 will entail more specific subject based challenge and immersion as students make decisions about their future university applications.
As an introduction, groups of the successful students have already visited St. Chad’s to take part in whole college debates on themes such as “Millennial Snowflakes”. Both Mr Veitch and myself were extremely proud of the contributions made by Park View students – to speak and share their opinions with conviction in front of over one hundred members of the college ( from professors to undergraduate students) demonstrated immediately that they are prepared to “ get out of their comfort zones” and make the most of the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead of them. Students in year groups below should watch this space – this is a partnership which will run and evolve each year.’
Travelling far afield
Tanzania Summer 2017
In the Summer, we had a small group of students, led by Mr Stothard, who undertook a four week expedition in Tanzania. I received the following from the organiser:
‘After the safe return of Mr Stothard and your students, we would like to take this opportunity to give you a very brief overview of some of the highlights of their summer.
What a blast! Through the sheer sweat (and sometimes) tears, your students have made a huge and lasting positive impact on the lives of many rural communities. They have hand mixed cement, plastered, painted and helped improve facilities for the local students, as well as being involved in environmental projects which will have a far reaching and lasting effect for years to come.
Not only have they worked hard at improving the lives of villagers, they have been getting their hands dirty with elephant dung, making paper for villagers to decorate and sell to tourists. They’ve helped to rebalance the wildlife v human conflict by digging watering holes and erecting elephant deterrent fences, which keeps animals away from crops, as well as having the amazing experience of seeing these wonderful animals in their natural habitat.
Interacting with the local children is always a highlight of all our expeditions, whether it be playing volleyball or football or sitting quietly, platting hair, singing songs and holding very animated ‘hand’ conversations with young students who are desperate to learn our language in order to improve their lives and future employment opportunities.
Being pushed to your limits and forced out of your comfort zone is not something we usually enjoy, but your students did both of these! They slept on mattresses in tents and banda’s, washed in cold water, shared their living spaces with bugs, spiders and survived. They have eaten enough ugali and chapatis to last them a lifetime and still came back for more. They then participated in a challenging 4-5 day trek up Mount Meru which saw them being pushed even further to their limits, but once again, they faced each day with determination and good spirits and took on every challenge given to them. We are so proud of them.
Living in or close to the local communities has enabled your students to really appreciate how tough daily life can be, but at the same time, how resilient and strong the human spirit is in order to overcome the adversities that life throws at us. We hope they have learnt many lessons from this and will carry them in their hearts, to pull out, dust down and use whenever they may need them in the future.
From the deepest core of everything Camps International stand for, we would sincerely like to thank you, Park View School, Neal and your students for their incredible hard work, dedication, joyous spirits and a whole bunch of great laughs and mind-blowing memories.
Julie Lax, Schools Support Coordinator, Camps International Group
We are very proud of all that our students achieved on what proved to be a life-changing visit!
We have just launched the next Camps International expedition to Tanzania for 2019 and the sign ups for have been absolutely fantastic – we have 30 who have already paid the deposit (over 3 times the previous amount) and the fundraising has already started! It looks like we are set for another amazing adventure.
The French students are just back from their annual visit to Paris. Rachel Miller, Year 12, has written the following: ‘We had been looking forward to going to Paris since we were told about it and we couldn’t wait to get there. I think what we were all most looking forward to was a chance to actually use what we had been learning in school in a French-speaking country. When we finally got to Paris, after the long bus journey, we dropped our bags at the hostel and got straight to exploring the city. The first place we went was Sacré-Coeur (a cathedral); after walking up what seemed like hundreds of steps we reached it, and we can all agree that it was definitely worth the climb. Not only was the building amazing but the view it gave of Paris was even more so. We then got food in Montmartre, and later got to see Paris at night, which was incredible. The next day was probably the busiest and most exciting. We started the day off by going to the Champs-Élysées, where we did quite a bit of shopping, then went to the Arc De Triomphe , Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre. Once we had finished looking around, we got back on the bus and headed to our boat tour where we saw many famous sites like Notre Dame. This was a relaxing way to break up the day. Following the boat tour we went for food at Le Chartier, and we all tried snails, with mixed responses. After, we were all very excited to be going to the Eiffel Tower. On the third day we went to Disneyland and had a great time exploring the two parks. When we got back, we went to Notre Dame and then to the Quartier Latin to get some food, before heading back to the hostel. On the last day we went to the Musée d’Orsay, where we looked at work by artists like Monet and Van Gogh. We were all sad to be leaving Paris, as we had all had such a great time there, and had been able to develop our French, making us feel a lot more confident. We can’t thank Mr Davison, Mrs Goad and Mr Brown enough for truly giving us an experience of a lifetime.’
Well done to our boys for a superb performance in the Junior Regional Cross Country Finals, with the team finishing seventh overall and, amazingly, Chris Perkins winning the race. He is a natural athlete who is destined for greatness!
The Y7 Football side have made an amazing start to the season – winning the first trophy of the season; the John Brown Trophy held this evening at Consett Academy.
The boys played fantastically and represented the school with the levels of character and sportsmanship that we would all hope for.
The side were unbeaten all night and defeated Biddick in the final. It is the first time Park View have won this competition since 2006, and bodes extremely well for the season ahead.
Quick football round-up at the half-way point of the season
Y7: Currently third in the League and looking forward to a 3rd Round County Cup tie with Boldon School this month. Lots of players being rotated in a squad of around 25 boys. Five boys successful at District Trials and have been selected to represent Chester le Street, Washington and Derwentside SFA.
Y8:Performing well and looking forward to the 2nd half of the season, having ended with a 6-1 victory over Hermitage in Derby Week.
Y9:Currently second in the league and hopeful of going one step higher.
Y10:Third in the league and have been involved in some hugely entertaining and high scoring fixtures this season.
Y11:Top of the League and progressing well in the County Competition. Benefiting from high level coaching at the PV Academy of Sport with Mr Gamble and the team are looking like they may finish their school career with some silverware.
The Junior Boys qualified 12th and Intermediate Boys finished 13th nationally in Freestyle Relay and 4th and 10th respectively in the Medley! Brilliant!
ESSA Secondary Championships 2017
In 2017 we 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 our swimmers enjoyed another successful competition. Our Junior Boys retained their “Champions” status for the 3rd year in a row with stunning performances in both the Medley and Freestyle relays. Our Inter Boys also did incredibly well picking up two Silver medals for their efforts. Our 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!
We walked away as the most successful team at the gala and we are delighted that our Junior and Inter Boys teams have qualified handsomely for the National Finals in London in November with realistic medal chances.
Special thanks to Emblematic for their generous sponsorship of team kit and to the coaches of local swimming clubs who put a lot of time and dedication into the development of swimmers from the school. Our school pulls in talent from Chester-Le-Street, Derwentside, Durham, Gateshead and Whickham and Hetton Swimming Clubs and without their support, we would not perform as well as we do.
Team Event v Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
In November, our swimming took on a very strong RGS Newcastle Team at their swimming pool. The event was designed to be fun and friendly yet competitive. The programme consisted of individual events as well as relays including mixed age and gender relays that were fast and frantic to say the least. Park View entered a strong squad of Junior and Intermediate swimmers and performed well throughout. Our girls competed admirably against their very strong teams and managed to take points off them in a few areas. Our boys dominated nearly all their events to make the overall competition very close.
The overall winners came down to a nail-biting 8 x 1 length mixed age and gender relay. The winner of this race would win the competition overall. As the race unfolded, it could not have been closer and after 7 lengths the two teams touched the wall level. The team’s hopes rested with Lewis Maxwell winning the final length and he did not let us down, storming down the pool to take the spoils for Park View in a very entertaining gala that finished RGS-125 Points: Park View 126 Points. Thanks to RGS for hosting the gala and competing so well. We wish them luck in London as their girls represent the North East alongside our boys.
We hosted the round 1 of the primary school indoor at athletics festival; there were over 100 students from a section of our feeder schools. The atmosphere was excellent with all students playing a full and competitive part in the competition. We had 20 of our GCSE students officiating and assisting with the running of the event. They conducted themselves brilliantly throughout and were a credit to the school.
Lily Gardner (Year 9) is a competitive swimmer for Derwentside ASC and has been invited to an intensive one week training camp in Torremolinos Spain. She will be attending with 20 or so of her team mates and 3 coaches from the club. Lily is currently the fastest girl for all strokes in her age group at her club and her coach feels that taking part in this training camp will help her develop as an athlete and give her valuable experience for when she is able to compete at a higher level in other countries.One to watch in the future!
Katerina and Tatiana Dubov both competed in the Acrobatic British Championships in July this year and got the Bronze Medal.
Lauren Husband (Year 11) is currently 5th in the country in her event in British gymnastics and will compete in British Championships
Dean Slater (Year 12) has been nominated for ‘Sport and PA Achievement of the Year Award’.
Oliver Lovell (Year 8) qualified for Europeans at 7th in age group and 40th in under 18’s.He will be one of 14 sailors training with the GBR Olympic coach Charlie Baillie-Strong who trained our sailors for London and Rio.
And this is not to mention in detail…
Erin Nicholson/Y9 – Football, England training camp
Sasa Paterson/Y9 – Judo, competing at British and European level
Lewis Maxwell/Y10 – Swimming, English champion, British medalist (400m freestyle, backstroke)
Aaron Beckford/Y11 – Swimming, British finalist, backstroke, GB talent programme
Harry Archer/Y10 – Football, Sunderland Academy/GK
Philippa Ellis/Y10- Athletics, England programme, pentathlon