Principal's Letter - 21st January 2022

Date Published:
Friday 21 January 2022
Dear Parent/Carer

Happy New Year to the Jesmond Park Academy community and I hope you all have a fantastic year ahead! 

I write this newsletter having listened to the Prime Minister in respect to changes in advice with regard to face coverings.  As you may already have heard, face coverings are no longer required in classrooms but at this time, they are still asking students to wear face coverings in communal areas around the school.  With cases in the North East being extremely high at the moment, the Public Health team in the city have endorsed this position and will review their guidance at the end of next week.


Covid-19 Vaccination 28th January (2nd dose)

The school immunisation team are returning to school on 28th January to administer the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.  Although many of our students have already received the second dose via alternative routes, there will still be over 500 students receiving the vaccine on 28th January.  Year 7 students who have turned 12 years of age will also be receiving their first dose of the vaccine.   There will also be the opportunity for first doses for any students who were absent from school during the first vaccines.


Exams 2022

There seems to be an absolute commitment from the government to move ahead with GCSE and A Level exams this summer.  Headteachers continue to make representation with regards to the disruption caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on students, but at this point it seems likely they will go ahead.  In previous newsletters, I have gone through the adaptations that exam boards have made in terms of content in numerous subjects.  The advance information for GCSE and AS and A levels will be published no later than 7th February 2022.

Whilst the government is firmly committed to exams going ahead in Summer 2022, they have contingency plans in place for the unlikely event that exams have to be cancelled again because of the pandemic.  If exams are cancelled in Summer 2022, students’ grades will instead be determined by their teachers by using a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) approach similar to that used in Summer 2021.  TAGs are based on teachers’ assessment of their students’ work.  We have already started this process at Jesmond Park Academy, with Year 11 and Year 13 students having completed their Mock Exams.


Key Stage 4 Options Process

At Jesmond Park Academy, we take pride in ensuring that students get the best advice and guidance with regards to future pathways.  We have finalised the details of our options procedures for our Year 9 students and they are listed below.  Unfortunately, as certain Covid-19 control measures in school continue most of our information and advice will be online, however there will be the opportunity for telephone calls, email or - if appropriate - face to face discussion.

The following is a timeline that will commence the week beginning Monday 31st January 2022:

  • Year 9 option information and their options booklets will be distributed to students during registration this week alongside a TEAMS assembly in school
  • A live TEAMS presentation to parents/carers on Wednesday 2nd February 2022 at 5:00pm. We will email all parents/carers & students the link to this presentation week beginning Monday 24.1.22
  • Year 9 narrated PowerPoints for subject specific information available to view on our website. These will be available from Wednesday 2nd February 2022 at 5:00pm.
  • Year 9 Virtual Careers’ Fair available to view online - we will send out a link to this when it is available
  • Wednesday 9th February 2022 is the date for our Year 9 Parent/Carer Consultation Session via Schoolcloud.  You will have already received your invitation to this along with your unique Schoolcloud login information


Further support:

  • Opportunities for questions during the live TEAMS presentation
  • You can request telephone (or face to face COVID-19 permitting) appointments with a member of the Year 9 team and/or members of the Senior Leadership team to discuss options and the option choices for your child
  • Opportunities for an email conversation with your child’s subject teacher if you have a subject specific option query. This would be in addition to opportunities for discussion during the Schoolcloud meeting
  • All other information (including deadlines for submission of the option forms) will be detailed in the options booklet


6th Form Options Evening – 14th Feb 2022

We are delighted to inform you that we will have a Sixth Form week for students to offer further information about the transition to Sixth Form.  Over the course of the week, all Year 11 students will receive presentations regarding our Sixth Form A Level and BTEC subjects.

The Year 11 Sixth Form week is an excellent opportunity to obtain more information about the subjects we intend to offer in 2022-23.  It offers the chance to talk to teaching staff from across all subject areas and to find out about the student support we have in place to support student success in Sixth Form.  In addition, copies of the new Sixth Form prospectus will be made available at the end of the week.

There will also be a meeting for parents hosted by Mr Campbell and Mr Costello. They will give an overview of our Sixth Form and there will be the opportunity to ask questions: this will be an online event on Wednesday 16 February at 5.30pm.  Please look out in the coming weeks for an email from school which will contain a link to join the meeting.

We will then begin the process of interviewing our Year 11 students and enrolling them into Sixth Form. This will take place in March; students and parents will receive more detailed information nearer the time, including their appointment date and time.


Reading Projects

Improving literacy is one of our main priorities this year and we have a wide range of projects underway.  A group of Year 8 and Year 9 students have just graduated from our very own ‘Skills Academy’!  Working in collaboration with Jesmond Park Academy and the NUFC Foundation, the students who took part have improved their reading ages by as much as 1 year and 7 months!  The students worked with energy and enthusiasm for eight weeks and were rewarded with football coaching each week as well as a VIP visit to St. James’s Park on 5th January.  Well done!


Celebratory Ethos

As we emerge from the Pandemic, we are putting a particular focus on celebrating good news stories, reflecting on the success of our students and their wonderful achievements.   If you follow our Twitter account you will have seen in recent weeks how well our Year 9 students have fared in their mock exams, a student who finished runner up in a national translation competition and how well our U14 and U16 students have fared in the Schools’ National Basketball competition. 

Please follow our Twitter/Facebook account @JesmondPark or our Instagram account @JesmondParkAcademy to get weekly updates and success stories.


School Trips and Enrichment

As we emerge from the Pandemic, we are looking to relaunch our school trips, so please keep an eye out for future developments.  We have already undertaken school day drips within the UK but over the next 18 months we will be looking to have trips abroad, including a trip to Paris in 2023 (current Year 9s), a Ski Trip to Austria in 2023 (current Year 8s) and there are more in the pipeline!  On top of this, we will run our full Duke of Edinburgh Award programme for Key Stages 4 and 5.

Opportunities such as these and general enrichment are a core part of a student’s journey through school.  Please see our offer of our enrichment clubs and activities for the Spring Term. We really would encourage all of our learners to attend an extracurricular activity to broaden their skills, hobbies and interests and to widen their school experience.

There will be changing activities term by term, and we will keep you regularly updated on these. You can find the live version of the programme on our website in Curriculum/Period7.


Spring 22 Enrichment

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend.


Warm regards,