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Principal's Letter - 11th November 2022

Date Published:
Friday 11 November 2022

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.  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’ link.

Celebrating GCSE results success

As you will be aware, we were celebrating in August with our Year 11 students and congratulating them on their outstanding GCSE results.  Although we were incredibly proud of our students’ results, we did not have a confirmed regional or national comparative to see just how well our students had performed. We have had to wait until just before the October half term break, when the DfE published provisional performance data for the summer 2022 results for all schools nationally. 

We are now in a position to share this with you and we are absolutely delighted to inform you that both our Year 11 students’ academic progress and their academic attainment was amongst the highest out of 121 schools in the North East region (Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Northumberland, Sunderland and County Durham). We are also delighted to inform you that we are well above the national average for student progress and attainment. The reason that we are particularly proud of our strong academic progress is because it is a measure of the grades our students achieved compared to their Year 7 starting points. This means that, regardless of background or prior attainment, on average all of our Year 11 students have made more than their expected progress. Indeed, many of our students have achieved significantly more than their expected progress. This, despite the challenges of the pandemic and COVID 19 that all schools faced, reflects the success of our truly comprehensive academy.

We are, of course, aware that the pandemic and the challenges that all schools faced as a result of this will have impacted them in different ways and, as a result, their student outcomes. 

The success of our Year 11 students this year is a testament to the students themselves, the support of their parents and carers, our extremely dedicated teaching and support staff and finally our primary feeder schools for providing the firm foundations that allowed our students to excel at Jesmond Park Academy.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

I have talked previously about how important mental health and wellbeing are and we have put huge resource into the school in terms of supporting children who are struggling with their mental health.  We are committed to maintaining this resource, even though schools are struggling with reduced budgets. If you remember, we opened the Streetwise Hub in March 2022 at the Academy, in order to meet this additional need.   Streetwise have worked with over 500 of our students in the last year, helping in a wide range of areas, with 71 students receiving specialised 1-2-1 work.  We are delighted to announce that the funding has been found to allow this project to continue into the foreseeable future.  If you require further support with regards to Mental Health and Wellbeing, then please contact the relevant year team.

Remembrance Sunday

The whole of Jesmond Park Academy marked Armistice Day with a two-minute silence at 11.00 am.  This was carried out impeccably by the students as was their attention to the assemblies that were delivered.  As a history teacher, it made me proud 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, 13th November to commemorate Remembrance Sunday. The service starts at 9.45am 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. 

Sporting News

We have had a successful term in the realm of sports. Our Boys U14 and U16 Basketball teams have won all of their league matches this season, with the U16 team beating Dame Allens 67-62 in the National Cup.   The Boys Year 8 and 9 Football teams are both through to the Quarter Finals of the City Cup after wins over Walker and RGS.  The Year 7 Boys and Girls teams competed in the City Tournament this week, with the Girls being narrowly defeated in the final.

In terms of other sports, the KS3 Boys and Girls Badminton teams competed at the Newcastle School Games, with the boys finishing Runners up and the Girls placed 4th out of 10 schools.  The Year 10 Netball team finished 3rd place in the Newcastle City Plate tournament and also beat Gosforth school 21-14 last week.  Finally, we had an excellent performance in the Year 7 Northumberland Schools Cross Country competition, with Kasper Pearson finishing 5th and Eliza Palmer finishing 6th.  These students will represent Newcastle in the Northumberland County Championships after Christmas.   You will regularly find photographs from our sporting events on our social media pages if you would like further information.

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend.

Yours sincerely