Principal's Letter - 13th May 2022

Date Published:
Friday 13 May 2022
Dear Parents/Carers,

The sun is shining and the new term has started well at Jesmond Park Academy.  The busiest time of year for schools as they prepare Year 11 and Year 13 students for their end of Key Stage exams, but our students are responding fantastically to the challenge.


Year 11 Final Arrangements – Summer Examinations 2022 

It goes without saying what a difficult and challenging year our Year 11 students have experienced. However, we have persevered with resilience; our Year 11 GCSE examinations have now started and a number of our students have already completed their MFL Speaking tests. The examinations continue from Monday 16 May. Our Year 11 students have been working very hard in preparing for and completing their contingency assessments and their final GCSE examinations and are responding well to support and intervention from their teachers. We remain very optimistic for them in their forthcoming examinations and are proud of their efforts!

Mr Holmes has written to all Year 11 parents/carers regarding the organisation and support in place for our Year 11 students in the lead up to and duration of the examinations. Please be reassured that our priorities for Year 11 students is their health and wellbeing throughout the examinations and that they are as fully prepared as they can be for the challenges of the next few weeks.

You can access a copy of the letter and the overview of support by clicking on the link to our website below:


Year 13 Final Arrangements

We are really proud of our Year 13 students. They have shown terrific determination and resilience to get this far and are now preparing for the final big push into their exams. Some exams, such as MFL speaking tests, have already started. The majority of A Level exams will begin on w/b 23rd May, and continue through to the last week in June. The vast majority of our Year 13 have worked hard throughout this school year and have been well prepared and supported by some very dedicated staff. We expect the students to do well in their exams, and hopefully put themselves in a position to access their chosen future plans.

Our website contains the most recent information from the DfE regarding the examinations and this has not, at the time of writing, changed since we last communicated with you. If there are any updates to the examination process before or after the examinations then we will communicate this with you. The most important aspect regarding the examinations that we have stressed to our students is that the contingency assessments have not replaced the A Level and Vocational examinations. The contingency assessments were in place in case the A Level examinations could not go ahead. Again, at the time of writing, it is looking certain that the examinations will go ahead as planned.

We will continue to support our Year 13 students all the way through the exam period. This week we had our final assembly and reminded them of the need to look after their physical and mental health; it’s really important that our students take care of themselves. Happily, our Year 13 also have some activities to look forward to. They will be back in school on 29th June for their Leavers’ Assembly and Leavers’ Lunch, and then they can formally say goodbye to JPA at their Leavers’ Ball on 1st July at the Vermont hotel. This will hopefully give our students the exciting and enjoyable send-off they deserve.



We continue to emphasise the importance of reading with our students and staff as it continues to be widely shown that students who read more widely will do better at school.  We also want to ensure students develop a love of reading that will last into later life.  We have a number of strategies to support students who find reading more difficult: listening to a story in their reading lessons, reading with a Sixth Form student or adult to increase their reading fluency and comprehension or doing our weekly First News Reading quiz.  The quiz is coordinated by our NUFC school lead, who has helped to develop the NUFC Skills Academy and Champions Read Programme, alongside our MAT Literacy Leader. These programmes are designed to boost students’ reading comprehension to ready them for the next stage in their curriculum journey.  The improvements the students have made in terms of increasing their reading age have been outstanding. 

As a reward, the students who graduate this programme are invited to visit St James’ Park and Waterstones (to select a book of their choice).  Unbelievably, the next graduates will get to play a game on the hallowed turf! 

We hope that you are able to support your child at home by setting aside time every week to read with your children (especially at Key Stage 3), to listen to them read or even just ask them about what they are reading. These small things can make a huge difference.



We began developing our curriculum almost 4 years ago and we are currently implementing and embedding it across the whole school.  The work that the staff and students are doing to support this development has been fantastic and we are hugely proud of what we have achieved despite being derailed a little due to the pandemic.  A full outline of our whole school and departmental approach to the curriculum are all shared on the website, down to what new Tier 3 Vocabulary will be learned at each point in the students' 7-year curriculum journey.  The work we have done is based on the widest research and our philosophy can be summarised as: teaching knowledge so it is remembered; using knowledge to develop subject specific skills and enriching the curriculum so students can see links to other areas of study and the outside world.  Students will have a curriculum outline in their planner if you would like to see the key elements.



School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age and it is a priority to ensure that as many children as possible regularly attend school. Of course, we are fully aware and sympathetic that in the current climate attendance can look a little different to the norm but as a school we continue to follow any DfE guidance.

Strong attendance is particularly vital for the next few weeks as our Year 11 and Year 13 students enter into the final stages of their examinations. Year 10 will also be starting their preparation for their summer mock exams. (We will write to Year 10 parents/carers separately regarding this). As we approach the final stages of this academic year and we look towards our new school year in September we are making the importance of high levels of attendance a big focus. We will be communicating with all parents/carers via email letter their child’s current % attendance for the academic year. This is also routinely included in our grade cards.

In addition to this, as part of our ongoing commitment to promoting high levels of attendance at Jesmond Park Academy our website details our policies and procedures in relation to tracking and supporting pupils whose attendance is lower than we would hope. In the front of the main school student planner you will see the Attendance Pyramid, which shows if students fall below 90% they are in the red zone and classed as a persistent absentee. At this point attendance can be legally monitored by the Local Authority and grades will be affected. The stark reality is that, with below 90% attendance, students have less than 50% chance of achieving Grades 9-4 compared to their peers of similar ability.

Having said that, we are extremely proud of all that our students achieve, particularly those students who have overcome with resilience high levels of adversity and difficulty throughout the COVID19 pandemic. By encouraging high levels of attendance, we are determined to work together to ensure every child reaches their full potential by being present in school for as much time as possible.


Safeguarding update - Peer on Peer Abuse

It is important to recognise that abuse isn’t always perpetrated by adults; children can abuse other children too. This is referred to as peer-on-peer abuse and can include:

  • Bullying (including online/cyberbullying)
  • Sexual violence and sexual harassment (including online)
  • Physical abuse (such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting etc.)
  • ‘Sexting’ (also known as ‘youth produced/involved sexual imagery’ or sharing ‘nude or semi-nude’ imagery)
  • Initiations, hazing type violence and social rituals

You can be assured that Jesmond Park Academy will not tolerate any form of peer on peer abuse. This behaviour will never be normalised and will always be challenged.  Issues such as these are addressed through our pastoral programme and within curriculum areas such as Citizenship (Key Stage 3) and Personal Development (Key Stage 4).  The pastoral programme and our curriculum equips pupils with the knowledge and understanding of what is right and wrong, how to keep themselves safe and how to report incidents.  Our staff have been trained to a high standard by providers such as the NSPCC, to identify these types of behaviours and to support students who are victim to these behaviours.

If you believe your child to be a victim of peer on peer abuse, please contact the school and ask to speak to a Designated Safeguarding Lead: Mr Aitken, Mr Merrifield, Mr Costello or Mrs Munro.

After a report is made, the safeguarding leads will inform you of the next part of the process so that you can make the decision that is right for you and your child. This may include the school sanctioning students for inappropriate behaviour and working with local safeguarding partners to support students within school.  Peer on peer abuse incidents are very rare in school due to our robust systems and procedures, however, it is important that we signpost parents to where they can find support if they need it.



Please find outlined below, the enrichment programme for the summer term, which can also be found on our website.  We currently have over 600 students attending enrichment activities across the school each week, which is fantastic.  The purpose of enrichment activities is to provide students the opportunity to study concepts with greater depth, breadth and complexity, while also helping students to pursue their own areas of interest and strengths.  We are very proud of the school’s current offer following the rules around Covid this academic year and look to extend our offer next academic year.  If your child has not taken part before, why not encourage them to start this summer!

Whole School Enrichment Summer 2022


Celebrating Student Success

It is one of my priorities to celebrate the success of our students.  You will hopefully have read our latest Parklife edition which is packed with stories of celebration from our student body.  Please also follow our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts, which will show updates from competitions and other achievements.  However, this does not cover all that we are proud of.  Our main appreciation is for the students who try hard in their lessons consistently.  You will see in your child’s planner the number of stamps they receive and this is a reflection of their efforts.  However, I would like to share a part of an email that we received from a member of public the other day about a couple of our students who helped in a medical emergency:

“I was walking with my 1 year old son when an elderly woman collapsed in front of me.  As I was giving first aid, two of your students, Freddy and Alfie, came to help.  They followed my instructions by sourcing water for the woman and a chair which they went away to find.  They assisted me by passing wipes as I was cleaning the lady up and they then looked after my son so I could administer first aid.  The boys remained calm despite the lady being quite badly injured and bleeding heavily. Both boys were a real credit to the school and I wanted to call to ensure that this was recognised.”

This was a real highlight to receive and we want to recognise the efforts of those students who contribute outside of the school gates.  Please feel free to pass onto our year teams any other stories of students contributing to their community and we can then pass on our congratulations as well.


Parental Survey

Finally, following on from our creation of a Parents’ Forum, we would like to harness the views of the parental body as a whole through a parental survey.  This will help us to:

  • Find out what we’re doing well and where we could improve
  • Decide which areas to prioritise when developing our school improvement plan
  • Make sure we’re meeting the needs of your children

We will be sending out a link to a survey in the next couple of weeks – it should only take around 5-10 minutes to respond so please take the time if you can.


Warm regards.


Yours faithfully