Principal's Letter - 31st March 2023

Date Published:
Friday 31 March 2023

Dear Parent/Carer,

Happy Friday everyone – with the sun shining it feels like there is a bit more optimism in the air and something to look forward to in the coming weeks.


Jesmond Park Academy Careers Fair

We held our annual Careers Fair on Friday 24th March. We were delighted to welcome 35 exhibitors into our school from a wide range of businesses and education sectors both locally and nationally. 1000 students from Year 6, Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 attended the event. Our Fair is a key part of our Careers strategy and provides a great opportunity for our students to meet and talk with adults from a wide variety of sectors. Conversations ranged from the simple 'what is your job' and 'do you enjoy it' to discussing pragmatic approaches to next steps after Year 11 and Year 13 and onto discussions around aspirations for higher education and careers beyond university. Once more this was a great showcase for JPA as our students were a real credit to our school. Quotes from our exhibitors included 'This is the best Careers Fair that I have attended', 'Student behaviour was excellent throughout' and 'They asked very relevant questions and seemed genuinely interested in the providers, they have done the school proud'. There are further photos from our Careers Fair in the next edition of 'Parklife'. Our Careers Fair is one of a number of key Careers events that we hold through the year. In the summer term we have mock interviews for our Year 10 and 12 students. If you think that you could support us with the interviews or indeed would like to be an exhibitor at our Careers Fair next year please contact our Careers Manager, Sarah Beeley.


Year 11 Updates

Hopefully, many of you will have attended the live Teams event last Tuesday which gave practical advice about how to support your child in the run up to their final GCSE exams in the summer.  We realise that this forthcoming period can be a stressful time for both students and parents, but there are plenty of strategies that can help.

The recent mock examinations ran smoothly and we are pleased with the results.  The students have now gone through several mock examinations through their time at Key Stage 4 and they know how they have to prepare if they want to be successful.  Feedback from students was generally along the lines of, “for the subjects that I revised well for, the exam went well”.  So they all know what they need to do.   A couple of quotes in a recent assembly seem to be quite apt:

“If you are happy with your current results, keep working the same way.  If you want to improve in anything you must change something”.

“Revision is not sitting silently in your room with your books, or doing the same thing over and over again. Try as many other techniques as you can”.

You will also have received your child’s Year 11 report recently and this gives further information about areas they will need to prioritise.

After Easter, there will be three Period 7 sessions per week, taking place on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday beginning on Monday 17th April until Thursday 11th May.   The 4 week programme of compulsory Period 7 revision sessions will be a mixture of subject specific support, led by a subject teacher and some guided independent revision and study, where students are expected to bring in their own study materials.  Students are expected to attend all Period 7s allocated and on these days, school will not finish until 3:30pm.  The Period 7 sessions take place in a range of classrooms and spaces across the school depending upon the type of Period 7.  It is planned that students will have their timetables prior to the Easter break.   Our Period 7 sessions have proved very successful in the past, particularly in terms of ethos, attitude to learning, and preparation for examinations and we feel that it is the ideal preparation for the exam season.

We will continue to write to you in the lead up to our GCSE examinations to keep you fully informed of all of the intervention and support planned for our Year 11 students.  Please be reassured that academic support and health and wellbeing support for your child are as equally important to us.

If you would like any further information regarding how to support your child, then please contact one of our Year 11 team in school:


•          Mr C Mason – Head of Key Stage 4 (

•          Mrs H Hooker – Head of Year 11 (

•          Mrs L Henderson - Year Manager (

•          Mr G Henderson - Year Manager (


Admissions for September 2023

Some good news in terms of our Year 7 offers for next year.  We had a record number of applications with 879 parents naming Jesmond Park Academy on their application forms. We have offered 360 places and have a huge waiting list of 192 for Year 7, which is good, but does bring issues with dozens of appeals already being made.  Our official Pupil Admission Number is only 310, but we have offered more places to help Newcastle Council out with a shortage of school places.

What is more important than the actual headline numbers is that 304 of those 360 named Jesmond Park Academy as their first choice, which again is a record for the school. Furthermore, 313 of those offered are from our seven local feeder schools.  This is superb news in terms of winning back the hearts and minds of our local catchment.  Thank you to all those parents who have supported the school and helped restore its reputation.


Reading at JPA

This year at JPA, we have continued to develop reading and literacy, as these are the cornerstone of all learning.  Key Stage 3 have discreet reading lessons to improve their reading fluency and comprehension, but also by encouraging students to read on a regular basis, we will support them to develop a lifelong love of reading.  Research shows that students who read for pleasure will do better at school, no matter what age as reading regularly creates ’word rich’ students.  A student who reads for 20 minutes a day will read nearly 2 million words a year.  Many of those new words which will help them develop their vocabulary.

There are many things you can do at home to support your child’s reading:

Read yourself!  It does not matter what it is as reading is reading and it is all worthwhile. It will help send the message to your child that you value reading and reading is importance to your child’s success at school.

Make books a part of family life – always have books around at home. That way you and your children are ready to get reading, even if it is only for ten minutes.  

Read with your child - ask questions as you do to keep them interested in the story, ask your child questions as you read.  Start with, “where did we get to last time?”, “can you remember what’s happened so far?” and “what do you think will happen next?”   

Read whenever you get the chance – take books with you for any time your child has to wait, like at the doctor’s or the dentist.

In school, in addition to reading lessons, we have introduced ‘Read and Rise’ to help support some students with their reading during registration. The progress the students have made has been amazing with the help of Mr Brown, our Librarian, and our brilliant Learning Support Assistants.

Our Sixth Formers continue to do an amazing job supporting readers in lessons and even some Year 10 volunteers are helping out with paired reading in the morning.

We have also introduced, ‘Read out Loud’ registration sessions where all Key Stage 3 tutors are reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman out loud to their tutor groups. The impact of listening to an adult read out loud fluently, and at pace, has been shown to have a significant impact on students reading fluency.  Additionally watching some tutors tackling some of the unusual vocabulary together has been really interesting, e.g. Ginnungagap, Yggdrasil and Svartalfaheim.

During parents’ evenings, we have been gifting books to all Year 7 and Year 8 families so they can enjoy the transformative powers of books at home.  We hope to keep this scheme running every year and are always happy to receive any donations of preloved books to main reception from members of our school community and beyond.


Wellbeing support in school

JPA has had a strong wellbeing focus for over 12 years with a School Counsellor (Mr Hardaker), CBT worker (Miss Hutchinson) and Wellbeing Manager (Mrs Earle), who individually deliver bespoke programmes to students.   Young people can now access further social, emotional and wellbeing support at school, thanks to JPA’s partnerships with Streetwise and NUFC.

Streetwise has been working with JPA for 13 months.  The services provided by Streetwise are mainly delivered from the dedicated Streetwise Hub on the school site.  The students at JPA are supported in various ways by Streetwise.

The Youth Workers deliver impactful and tailored interventions to students within school.  These interventions range from healthy relationship large group interventions, to small group community or drugs based interventions, to 1:1 interventions around friendship or sexual health.  The Streetwise Youth Workers have formed excellent relationships with vulnerable students in school and helped to advise them and support them through some incredibly difficult times.  The Youth Workers are highly visible and have delivered whole year group interventions.  They are truly integrated within the school community.

Students at JPA are also supported by the mental health professionals employed by Streetwise.  Counselling and CBT sessions are delivered from the Streetwise HUB for students ranging from Years 7-11.  Wellbeing workers deliver mentoring sessions within the school building to younger students as a proactive intervention to equip students with strategies to allow them to be more resilient to mental health issues in later years.  Liaison with CYPS as well as the School’s own Counsellor is strong, providing an enhanced delivery of mental health support in school.

Furthermore, alongside the Streetwise interventions, the school is supported with bespoke interventions delivered by NUFC.  Inspiring and educational classroom sessions on topics such as team and confidence building skills and enhanced social interaction, has allowed numerous students to benefit from the interventions.  In addition, JPA also benefits from a NUFC liaison officer who proactively engages students in the wider school setting.

It is hoped that early support will reduce student mental health deteriorating to levels where significant interventions are needed.  The students who receive the majority of the programmes are selected using a range of pastoral information, however, students can access the Streetwise Hub via a drop-in at 2.40pm on a Tuesday.  From the drop-in, appointments can be made with Streetwise staff for the following week. 

Furthermore, information for parents can also be found on the school website:


Teenage Mental Health

Kooth - is your online mental wellbeing community. Access free, safe and anonymous support.  A Handy Guide for Parents and Carers.  Top tips on how to talk to your children about their feelings

The site can signpost parents to a wealth of information and advice, as well as providing support and advice for parents and families.  For example, parents can refer their child for mental health support by contacting the Single Point of Access team (SPA) via this number 0303 123 1147 or email: Their opening times are weekdays 8am to 8pm and weekends 10am to 6pm. 


Sporting Success

The PE department and associated staff continue to ensure that a comprehensive programme of inclusive and competitive sport continues to take place beyond the school day. This year has achieved record numbers of children participating in sporting activity, which is lovely to see.  On the competitive side of sport, the school has entered competition at local, regional and national level, having particular success in football, indoor athletics, netball, cross-country, basketball and girls’ cricket.  As we move into the summer term, please ensure that your child is aware of the different enrichment opportunities that are available for the summer sports.

Finally, I wanted to wish our skiers from Year 8 and Year 9 the best of luck as they head out to Austria over Easter.  I hope everyone has a superb time and come home safe and intact!  For the remainder of the students, I hope they have a restful break over the next two weeks.  


Thanks to everyone for making it a great term!


Yours faithfully,