Still time to apply for sixth form

Principal's Letter - 14th October 2022

Date Published:
Friday 14 October 2022

Dear Parent/Carer,

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.  Students should record all homework in their planner in addition to the assignments being set on Frog by their teachers. This should provide you with a good picture as to how much homework is to be completed. Effective homework routines will stand students in good stead for future studies and there has been some interesting research suggesting that these good routines for homework can also support student wellbeing.

One homework assignment that might not be recorded in planners, but is nonetheless an expectation of ours, is for students to read each week. For most KS3 students we expect them to read for at least an hour a week using their AR books. This is something we encourage parents to get involved with in addition to signing students’ reading records in their planners every week. However, even in KS4 and KS5 independent reading has been shown to correlate positively with student attainment. Put simply, students who read more, will understand more and will perform better in exams. A student who reads 20 minutes a day could read up to 1.8 million words a year and, on average, will achieve in the top 10% of students nationally.

All our lessons are initially centred on acquiring knowledge and vocabulary so subject specific skills can be built on firm foundations. Where possible can you ask your children about the knowledge and vocabulary they have learned in their lessons; this process of students retrieving and recalling their learning will help to reinforce and consolidate their long-term memory.

How to Support your Child Information Evenings

We have had successful virtual information events in recent weeks, 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, making it an interactive event.

The Year 7 ‘Meet the Form Tutor Evening’ is in a slightly different format this year and will take place physically in school on Tuesday 18th October for the first time in two years. The evening starts at 5.00pm with a presentation in the main hall followed by a group session with your child’s form tutor.  We expect to finish by 6.30pm.  This is an important event in terms of parents/carers meeting their child’s tutor for the first time and we will also be discussing how best to support your child whilst in school.  When meeting your child’s tutor, you will also receive their first grade card, see their planner and some of their work from subject areas.  We are looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday.

Yesterday, we had our Year 13 Parent/Carer Consultation evening and this was hosted in a ‘hybrid’ fashion, offering both physical and online appointments through School Cloud.  This was a really good evening, with good attendance, and it was great to hear how well our students are progressing through their final year.  We are going to evaluate how the ‘hybrid’  system worked and whether this will be possible for our bigger year groups at the school but I will say that it was really nice to meet so many parents face to face for the first time.

Enrichment and After School Clubs

There is more to school than just timetabled lessons and last year I talked about my desire to add even more enrichment and creativity into our extended school curriculum at Jesmond Park Academy.  The link below takes you to our current list of enrichment activities and clubs for the Autumn term on our website. We have already sent a text link to all parent/carers too.

We are particularly pleased with our offer of over 40 clubs, and we are sure that every student will be able to find something that sparks their interest. We are particularly proud that our Performing Arts clubs are proving extremely popular again this year. We aim to really build upon our students’ experiences in primary school in particular. Our Performing Arts teachers have contacted a number of parents and carers directly with regard to informing and encouraging their children to attend clubs such as the orchestra and choir.  If you require any further information regarding any of our enrichment activities or clubs listed, it is best to contact the staff member named directly via email. We update our list of clubs and activities fairly regularly and we will message parent and carers by text when we do this.  Please encourage your child to attend any one of our activities if you think they will be keen. If, as a parent/carer you think that you may be able to support our extended enrichment curriculum at Jesmond Park Academy in any way, then please contact Nigel Holmes ( who oversees our enrichment programme and will be happy to discuss how you could help.

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

Yours sincerely