Principal's Letter - 1st October 2021

Date Published:
Friday 01 October 2021


Dear Parents/Carers

We are well into the school year now and students are continuing to work hard and put effort into their studies. We are seeing a record number of PRAISE stamps in planners and it reflects the positive start that the vast majority of students have made this year. Please take time to look in your child’s planner to see how well they are doing and to see if there are any Planner Comments as well. All homework should be recorded in the planner so you should have a good picture as to how much is being set to be completed at home.


How to Support your Child Information Evenings

We had two successful virtual information events this week, aimed at providing information on how to support your child in Years 8 & 9 and also in Years 10 & 11. We all know that success for children rely on schools, parents and students all working successfully together. If you missed the evening, then the presentations and other materials are available on our website. Many thanks to all the parents who contributed through the chat function.


Upcoming Events

We also have a few important events coming up in the next month:


Year 6 Open Evening - Wednesday 6th October 5.00pm -7.30pm (surnames A-M arrive at 4.50pm, surnames and N-Z arrive at 6.00pm).

Please help promote this event if you know others who are thinking of applying to Jesmond Park Academy. I am particularly proud that we have so many of our current students who have volunteered to help at the event and take parents around our school. All of our presentations are online, however, to avoid mass gatherings inside our main hall. You can find our presentations and further information in the Open Evening link on the home page of our website.


Staff Training Day – Thursday 7th October.

A reminder that no students are in school on this day.


Year 13 Parent/Carer Consultation Evening – Wednesday 13th October.

This is obviously a vitally important evening for parents/carers due to the lost learning and the lack of information evenings in the Covid-19 Years. Due to the current situation, we are holding these virtually. You should have already received the information regarding School Cloud and your appointments. If you have any concerns, then please contact Mr. Costello at the school.


Year 7 Meet the Form Tutor Evening – Tuesday 19th October.

This is an important event in terms of parents/carers meeting their child’s tutor for the first time. Due to the current situation, we are holding these meetings virtually. You should have already received the information regarding School Cloud and your appointments. If you have any concerns, then please contact Mr Holmes at the school.


Proposed Changes to the Assessment of GCSEs, AS and A Levels

As an academy, we appreciate how unsettling and stressful it has been for students, parents and teachers, with the uncertainty surrounding how grades will be assessed this summer. The long awaited consultation from Ofsted has just been published on the 30th of September and can be found here. We will write to all Year 11 and 13 parents in more detail in the coming weeks, but broadly speaking the suggested plan is for examinations to happen in the summer, with a combination of mitigations in place, such as: reduced content in some subjects and advance information about the focus of the content of some examination papers. As an academy we will work hard to ensure that students are supported in the run up to their examinations and we will keep parents informed.


Covid-19 Update

Schools across the city are reporting a rise in cases, in line with community transmission and it is a timely reminder that Covid-19 has not gone away and will continue to be an issue for some time to come. We had a meeting with Public Health on Wednesday to discuss our recent cases. They are happy with the wide range of controls that we have in place and appreciate how we still make efforts to keep year groups separate at social times etc. They have suggested the wearing of masks in corridors, stairwells and communal areas as an additional measure and this seems sensible at this time. Public Health have also asked us to remind parents that if there are any large gatherings outside of school, such as parties, happening then it may be sensible to do a lateral flow test beforehand to make sure your child is not positive.


Vaccination Update

I am aware that a couple of secondary schools in the city have had the schools vaccination teams in to start the programme. At this time, neither Public Health nor the School Age Immunisation Service, have provided us with a date for Jesmond Park Academy. I will provide further information as soon as we receive it but be rest assured only students who have a valid consent form will be given the vaccine at school. You can find further information about the vaccine programme on the Key Information and Updates page on our school website.


Harvest Festival

I would just like to take the time to promote the Harvest Festival at St Gabriel’s Church on Sunday 3rd October, with an all age Eucharist taking place at 9.45am. The church will be open during the week leading up to Harvest, with boxes to receive donations of tinned or dried food. These will be split between the People’s Kitchen and the Walker Foodbank:

“I am conscious that the last eighteen months have been very tough for many people. From toilet rolls to petrol we have been prompted to be afraid of scarcity in a world that has so much. But some people have so little, and many have been pushed into poverty. At St. Gabriel’s we are very aware of this, and if you can support our appeal this Harvest, we would be really grateful. St. Gabriel’s is a church open to all and concerned for all." Father Jonathan - Vicar.


After School Clubs

There is more to school than just timetabled lessons and last year I talked about there not being enough of the enrichment and creativity in the last 18 months in all schools across the country. In my last newsletter, I talked about the large number of students who have been attending the after school sporting clubs this year. As a result, even more have attended and this is fantastic. I have attached the following again for your information.


Year Group









Years 7, 8 and 9

Sports Hall






Sports Hall





Year 7

North Field


Year 8

South Astroturf


Year 9

North Astroturf


Year 10

North Astroturf






Sports Hall






Fitness Suite


However, I would also like to promote other creative clubs that are on after school. Our full Period 7 programme will be published by the end of October, but in the meantime, the following clubs are up and running after school:

  • Tuesday Period 7 – Choir (all age groups)
  • Tuesday Period 7 – Year 10 and 11 Drama Group
  • Wednesday Period 7 – Year 7, 8 and 9 Drama Group
  • Thursday Period 7 – Folk Marmalade (Folk music group)

Our steel band groups and orchestra will be coming soon.

Finally, I wish that you all have a restful weekend.


Yours sincerely