Principal's Letter - 12th November 2021

Date Published:
Friday 12 November 2021

12th November 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

We’ve had a great start to the new half term with students firing on all cylinders, both inside and outside of the classroom. A lovely piece of news came in to end the week, with the Year 7 Girls’ Football Team winning the Newcastle Schools FA Girls 5 a Side Cup. In a strong field with over 10 schools represented, Jesmond Park Academy defeated Sacred Heart 3-1 in the final, with Georgia Buttrick scoring a hat-trick in the match. Well done to the rest of the winning squad; Zahra Gani, Dhalia Khalil, Caitlin Costello, Lilly Costello, Maria Rouf and Imogen Alderson, and to Mrs Gray who managed them so well.

In the classroom, students are continuing to work hard and are showing a real commitment to their studies. Year 11 students are now attending ‘Period 7’ in order to prepare themselves for their important mock exams in January. You can find details of all assessment weeks, parents’ evenings and other information evenings for all year groups on our website, in the ‘Key Information and Updates’ section, and then by clicking on the ‘Key Dates and Contacts’ booklet link.


Mental Health and Wellbeing

I have talked previously about how important mental health and wellbeing is and recent research shows that children around the world are struggling with their mental health at record levels. We need to do whatever we can to help support our youngsters to deal with these uncertain times and to invest in their future. On this note, I am delighted to announce that we are increasing significantly, the resources that we are putting into this area. Working in partnership with Streetwise, an organisation dedicated to helping children with their mental health and well-being, we will shortly be opening a Streetwise Hub at Jesmond Park Academy to support youngsters and families, both in term time and the school holidays. In practical terms, this means that we will have two youth workers based on site, an Early Help youth drop- in service, additional counsellor capacity, a mental health and wellbeing practitioner and two mental health and emotional well-being group workers. We are excited about this new intervention and feel that this will enable us to identify and provide support to youngsters and families who are struggling with their mental health.


Covid-19 Update

The number of cases at Jesmond Park Academy has fallen recently, but it is quite clear that Covid-19 has not left us. Thankfully, staff cases have also dropped significantly and those teachers are also able to be back with their classes. As I mentioned before half term, we will ask students to take the following actions so that we can continue to keep everyone safe:

  • Continue to use lateral flow testing, twice a week
  • Not attend school with Coronavirus symptoms
  • Wear a clean face covering on arrival, in corridors and communal areas, and when leaving the site. Students may wear face coverings in lessons, but this will not be an expectation
  • Continue to use regular handwashing and hand sanitiser throughout the day


Vaccination Update

It was unfortunate that the Schools Immunisation Service could only bring 400 vaccines for our vaccination date last week, as a considerable amount of staff time had been invested in organising the logistics of the day. Over 60% of our parents had signed consent forms and I completely understand why many parents felt angry and upset that a vaccine was unable to be administered. I have brought this to the attention of the Immunisation Team and they have agreed to put on another clinic on 22nd November. We will make you aware of further details and arrangements as we receive them.


Summer Examinations and Gradings

Ofqual confirmed yesterday that their plans for examinations have passed consultation.

The main outcomes were:

  • Subject Adaptations: there will be optional topics and content in GCSE English Literature, History and Geography
  • Practical work in GCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Combined Science may be delivered via demonstration if necessary. For Jesmond Park Academy, we are trying to ensure students have those key practical skills to progress but can use this flexibility should it be required
  • GCSE and A Level Art will be assessed only on portfolios
  • Pupils will be given a formulae sheet for GCSE Mathematics as well as a revised formulae sheet for GCSE Physics and Combined Science
  • Exam Boards will provide information about the focus of the content of their exams for all GCSE, AS and A Level exams (except GCSE English Literature, History and Geography) by 7th February 2022
  • Results for exams next year will return to their normal format, with AS and A Levels being released on 18th August, and GCSEs on 25th August. VTQs used to progress in a similar way will be issued on or before the same days, and other VTQ results will continue to be issued throughout the year

Ofsted’s Chief regulator, Dr Jo Saxon, has written a letter to students explaining the regulations and the letter and further details for parents can be found here.



There are additions to the Enrichment programme each week. There is now a Key Stage 3 Art Club every Wednesday at 2.40pm. It is held in TE2. The club is open to anyone interested in the following:

  1. Drawing for relaxation and wellbeing
  2. Completing Art homework
  3. Student Voice - discussing Art and Art exhibitions at JPA
  4.  Working on larger scale projects
  5. Taking part in the 'Big Draw' project

If you are interested, then please encourage your child to attend.

Remembrance Sunday

The whole of Jesmond Park Academy marked Armistice Day yesterday with a two-minute silence at 11.00 am on 11th November, which was observed impeccably by the students. Their attention to, and respect for, the assemblies that were delivered was outstanding. As a History teacher, it made me proud to see how seriously the students conducted themselves. At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month – we will remember them.

On that note, Father Jonathan wanted me to pass on this invitation to the community today. Staff, pupils and pupils’ families and friends are invited to St. Gabriel’s Church, Heaton on Sunday, 14th November to commemorate Remembrance Sunday. The service starts at 9.45 am and concludes with an Act of Remembrance at 11.00 am as we join the nation in commemorating those who have died in war. At St. Gabriel’,s the names of all those who have died from Heaton, in both World Wars, will be read out as part of the service. All are welcome at St. Gabriel’s.

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend.

Warm regards


Yours sincerely