Principal's Letter - 17th February 2023

Date Published:
Friday 17 February 2023

Dear Parent/Carer,

As we reach the end of this half term, I wanted to write to you all to say a big thank you to our school community.  The students have been working extremely hard this year in their lessons and behaviour has been impressive around the school.  This would not happen without the support of students, staff and parents all working together.

Thomas Davidson Hetherington

Many of you will remember that a year ago saw the sad passing away of one of our students: Thomas Davidson Hetherington.  We are proud to have known Thomas, he was a fabulous student with a lovely and infectious smile. He will not be forgotten and both Thomas and his family will remain in our thoughts. The caring nature of our school community always becomes particularly evident during our most challenging times and we all want to thank you for messages of support you have sent into the year group.

Thomas Davidson Hetherington

On Tuesday we held a celebration ceremony for Thomas’ life and this was attended by a selection of students, staff and Thomas’ family. The ceremony was led by Father Jonathan from St Gabriel’s Church in Heaton, and involved staff and students providing readings; a video celebration; the fitting of brass plaques along the tree that was planted and the launch of our “be kind” badge campaign. Everyone in attendance had an opportunity to reflect and light a candle in memory and leave a personal message.


If you think that your child needs additional support in relation to Thomas’ passing, then please contact the relevant year group at the school.


Kim McGuinness visit to Streetwise

We were proud to welcome Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness into school on 14th February.  Kim McGuinness, who is also a candidate to be the Labour North East Mayor, was invited to visit Jesmond Park Academy to learn more about the school’s unique pilot with Streetwise, a regional Charity providing essential support services for young people aged between 11-25 years.

Kim McGuinness

The joint project aims to support students who may be at risk of not attending school regularly due to external factors, or who are struggling with their mental wellbeing.  The project will identify students and take a preventative approach to support them to get the most from their education and can help those who may need specialist support.

This tri-party preventative and support approach, is the first of its kind in schools and an evaluation of the project is being completed by Northumbria University, which will be used to identify key successes and how the project can be developed further and potentially, rolled out to other schools across the region.  We will keep you posted on the projects evaluation and roll-out plans.

The in-school Streetwise Hub also provides an open-door service to any student who may be looking for a quiet space or a friendly face to talk to about any anxieties or issues causing them stress. We would encourage you to discuss this Hub with your child to help us spread the word of this additional support which is available to all students.


National Careers Week

This takes place all week from Monday 6th March until Saturday 11th March.  National Careers Week (NCW) is a one-week celebration of careers guidance across the UK and the aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people develop awareness and excitement about their future pathways.

Careers support continues to be a focus for our school. Jesmond Park Academy now has 14 student Careers Champions, and we are in the process of recruiting staff Careers Champions for each of our departmental areas. Jesmond Park Academy were the first school nationally to launch the National Careers Week Champions programme. The programme is now being scaled nationally with the North East and North West as pilot areas. The initial work of both sets of Careers Champions will be to promote National Careers Week.  Activities during the week will include building resources into form time and lesson time where possible, requests for external employer speakers, completion of NCW resources (such as pledges and career pathway door signs).

On Wednesday 15th February, we took our entire Year 9 student body (340 students) to the, ‘My Future My Choice’ Newcastle City Council Careers Fair. Several Jesmond Park Academy students have been selected to be filmed before, during and after the event. We are holding our own Careers Fair on Friday 24th March for Year 6 students from our primary feeder schools, and all of our Years 10 - 13 students. There will be a variety of business and university sectors represented. All of our Year 10 students and a number of our Year 12 students will be undertaking work experience during the penultimate week of the summer term and we also intend to replicate mock interviews for all of our Year 10 students in the last week of term.

We pride ourselves at JPA at having a substantial Careers package, which involves quality Careers Education and a wide range of Careers based events.

If you think that you can further enrich our student experience and offer support with any of our Careers related events coming up such as being an exhibitor at our Careers Fair, contribute to Careers’ talks to students during National Careers Week, offer work experience placements for our Year 10 or Year 12 students or indeed be available for our Year 10 mock interviews at the end of term please email our Careers Manager Sarah Beeley ( with your details.


Road Safety

As many of you will know, we have been working hard to try and reinstate the school crossing patrol on the Coast Road.  We have had several meetings with Newcastle Council to pursue the issue and they have now agreed a drop in event in order to help generate interest in the post.  At these drop in events they will be answering questions, helping complete application forms and also interviewing there and then for any candidates who wish to do so, in the hope to get the process complete as smoothly as possible for candidates.

The drop in event will be on Thursday 2nd March, 3.00 pm-5.00 pm at The People's Theatre, Stephenson Road, Heaton.  Please can you promote this event to anyone who may be interested in applying for the position.

On a connected note, we have been told that the Council will be working on introducing further school safety measures outside of the school in order to help control inconsiderate parking which puts at risk students and members of the public.


Upcoming Events

In the next half term, we have a couple of important events which are coming up. 

  • Monday 27th February.  Year 7 Parents’ Evening.  This is a hybrid event so you can choose to either make online appointments or come to the school itself.
  • Tuesday 28th February.  Industrial Action.   We will be operating the same plan as we adopted for the previous day of Industrial action.  Years 7, 8 and 9 will not be in school unless individual students are contacted in advance.   Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 will be expected to be in school as normal.
  • Wednesday 22nd March.  Year 12 Parents’ Evening.  Again, this is a hybrid event so you can choose to either make online appointments or come to the school itself.
  • Thursday 30th March. Our second Year 13 Parents’ evening. Again, this is a hybrid event so you can choose to either make online appointments or come to the school itself.

Finally, it only remains for me to wish you all a restful half term break and the opportunity to spend quality time with your friends and family.

Warm regards.


Yours faithfully,