Spelling Bee Has Pupils Buzzing

Hundreds of primary pupils at the Northumberland Church of England Academy went head-to-head in the search to crown the school’s first spelling bee champions.

All children across the five primary campuses took part, with two winners from each class going on to compete in the grand final at the Josephine Butler Campus.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from local housing group Bernicia, the finalists were awarded a specially-made rosette, with the winners taking home their own Spelling Bee mascot ‘Bernie Bee’ and a spelling dictionary.

After a nail-biting finish, which saw children tackle challenging words from beyond their age groups, the winners were Chloe, Y2, Lachlan, Y4 and Sian, Y6.

Sian said: “I feel really happy and proud to win. Making spellings into a competition made it fun and I’ve really enjoyed taking part. I was nervous at first, but once I’d done my first word, I felt a lot better.”

The contest is the latest cross-campus initiative that has helped drive a rapid rise in standards across the primaries. In the summer, the Academy recorded its best primary results and progress scores at the end of Key Stage 2 were in the top 10% nationally in both reading and maths and in the top 20% for writing.

The Great NCEA Spelling Bee was organised by Mrs Cole and Mrs Weatheritt.

Mrs Cole, deputy head of the Josephine Butler Primary Campus, said: “Learning their spellings can sometimes seem a bit dull for children and so we really wanted to bring them to life and create a bit of excitement around it.

“We came up with the idea of the spelling bee and the feedback has been fantastic and has really raised the profile of spellings around the campuses.

“All classes had their own mini spelling bees and the winning boy and girl were then selected to compete in the grand final.

“We are so proud of how hard everyone has tried to learn their words and it has been wonderful to see the children have the confidence to stand up in front of their friends too.”

Mrs Weatheritt added: “We are very grateful to Bernicia for sponsoring the initiative, as it enabled us to give all the winners some fantastic prizes in recognition of their hard work.

“We now hope this will become an annual event and be even bigger and better next year.”

Steve Burke, team leader for customer involvement at Bernicia, said: “We are delighted to be supporting such an inspiring event that has clearly generated so much enthusiasm amongst pupils and created a real buzz about the importance of spellings.

“As an organisation, we are committed to providing support, advice and guidance to help our tenants and residents of the local communities and it is a honour that the official mascot ‘Bernie Bee’ has been named after Bernicia.”

Primaries Achieve Best Ever Results

Congratulations to our primary pupils and staff for achieving the Academy’s best set of results.

Progress levels at the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6) were in the top 10% nationally in both reading and maths and in the top 20% for writing. In Northumberland, the Academy was placed third in maths and fifth in reading.

In reading, 77% of pupils reached the benchmark standard set by the Government compared to a national average of 71%.

In Maths, 79% achieved the expected standard, higher than the national average of 75%. At greater depth, reading and maths were above the national average and 66% of pupils achieved expected standard in all areas compared to a national average of 61%.

 

Across the primary phases, all results were above the national average, including Good Levels of Development (GLD) in Reception and phonics test results in Key Stage 1.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

  • 73% of children in Reception achieved at a Good Level of Development benchmark, for the second year in a row above the national average of 70%.

At Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

  • In Year 1, 83% achieved the phonics test and over 90% achieved it in Year 2. In both cases this exceeded the national average.
  • In Year 2, in the annual assessments, 76% (National Average 76%) achieved expected standard in Reading, 68% (68%) in Writing, and 74% (75%) in mathematics. At greater depth reading and mathematics were above the national average.

Primary Director, Mrs Hinson, said: “These fantastic results have not happened overnight, but are the result of long-term hard work and dedication from pupils and staff, alongside vital parental support.

“It really has been a whole team effort that involves instilling the children with a tenacity and desire to learn and not to give up when the going gets tough.

“Introducing higher level reading areas with additional quality books, specialist speech and language therapy, Easter Schools  and the support of the Learner Welfare team are just a few of the many initiatives we have at the Academy that are contributing to the success of our pupils.”

More information about our results can be found HERE.

 

MP’s Praise for Young Comics

After the success of last year’s Voice Box competition, we decided to get the laughter started and take part again.

Each campus held their own contest with the winners going head-to-head at the inter-campus final at the Thomas Bewick Campus – home to last year’s winner Jesse Webb, who travelled to Westminster to tell his joke in the Houses of Parliament. 

Miss Carr, the Academy’s Speech and Language Therapist, said: “It was a lovely afternoon and I am really proud of all the children who took part. I’ve received lots of positive feedback from staff about the increase in the children’s confidence and how much they enjoyed it.

“Some of the parents also commented on how proud they were seeing their children telling jokes in front of a large audience.”

 

Ian Lavery MP, who judged the event said: “Myself and my fellow judges had a great time hearing some very original jokes and handing out the prizes to runners-up and winners. Well done to all involved.

“The work done by Julie Carr and the team across their many campuses at NCEA is really impressive and I look forward to seeing this work continuing into the future to help build self confidence amongst all our local children.”

Skye Edgar from the Josephine Butler Primary Campus was the overall winner and will be entered into the national competition.

 

Skye Edgar Y1

Josephine Butler

Why can’t Elsa hold on to a balloon?

Because she will let it go.

Mason Hope – Y6

William Leech

Why was the laptop cold?

Because it didn’t close its windows!

Zach Robinson – Y6

James Knott

Knock Knock, who’s there? Britney Spears

Knock knock, who’s there?… oops I did it again!

Ben Pepper – Y5

Thomas Bewick

What do you call a tall man in Scotland with a burger for a hat? A big mac
Joe Emery – Y6

Grace Darling

There has been an explosion at a cheese factory. Now there is deBRIE everywhere

 

Pupils Impress in Maths Challenge

Well done to all primary pupils who took part in the Young Mathematician Award, with special mention to the Thomas Bewick Campus who reached the second round. The team worked superbly together, their systematic approach to the problems were noted by the judges.

All campuses have also been involved in Mathletes where representatives from each campus compete for the top spot on the Mathletes league table (currently occupied by the Grace Darling Campus).

Merry Christmas from NCEA Primary

From wonderful Nativity plays, to Christmas dinners, charity fundraising and carol singing, our primary campuses have been brimming Christmas spirit over the last few weeks.

Thank you to everyone who has joined in and given their support.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

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Pupils Get Creative at Primary STEM Week

From firing rockets to racing cars, mixing chemicals and cooking up a storm in the kitchen, children from across the campuses took part in the Academy’s Primary STEM Week.

The extravaganza enabled all our Y5 pupils to get creative, with plenty of hands-on activities celebrating the best of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The aim of the week is for children to understand how STEM subjects impact on their daily lives through many different practical activities and investigations.

“The sweet and sour chicken was so tasty!”

“I’ve enjoyed it, as it was really creative.”

“I liked making the propeller cars”

 

The Duchess of Northumberland helped to celebrate the very best in community and voluntary environmental work across the county at a special LOVE Northumberland awards event.

Nineteen groups, organisations, schools and individuals were honoured with winner, runner-up or highly commended awards across eight categories.

The award for the Best Children’s Project was won by the Josephine Butler Primary Campus for ‘Let Your Light Shine’ and the Grace Darling Campus won the category for the Best School Recycling Project.

Representatives of all shortlisted entries attended the event at The Alnwick Garden, which was hosted by local historian and TV presenter John Grundy. The annual awards were developed by Northumberland County Council through its LOVE Northumberland campaign, with the aim of promoting the work of the council and its many partner organisations, community groups and volunteers who all help to preserve and enhance the environment in the county.


Councillor Anthony Murray, civic head of Northumberland County Council, welcomed everyone to the awards evening, saying:  “All of the shortlisted entries should be very proud of their work and I sincerely hope that they enjoyed this event, in the inspirational setting of The Alnwick Garden.

“The LOVE Northumberland awards are all about celebrating the work that individuals and groups do, largely in a voluntary capacity, to keep their local areas green and clean right across Northumberland day in and day out.”

Each winning entry received a £250 prize, each runner-up £100 and highly commended finalists £50, with the money to go towards their project or other work within the local community.
Best School Recycling Project

Rewarding achievements in school recycling and waste minimisation

Winner: Grace Darling Campus of the Northumberland Church of England Academy

Children from Grace Darling Campus have been very busy working on a range of waste minimisation and recycling initiatives for their entry to the Best Recycling project. Following a whole school assembly delivered by Northumberland County Council and workshops in Y3, the school council met and discussed the range of activities and strategies which could be completed around school.

Each member of the school council then completed waste audits around school identifying the main waste items both inside the school and in the school grounds. Findings from this were then shared with the rest of the school and recommendations to minimise waste were made.

Each class from Nursery – Year 6 then completed activities to raise awareness and share information with others to increase the understanding of the learners.

Here’s a taster of some of the things Grace Darling Campus have done:

  • Nursery read the story Big Bear, Little Bear by David Bedford and Jane Chapman and the children made icebergs and bear caves for bears from recycled materials.
  • Recycling stations have been created  in the classrooms
  • Posters were displayed to encourage less food waste in the school canteen area
  • Children have learnt about Earth Day and its meaning and completed personal pledges
  • A new area called ‘be whatever you want to be’ has been created which is completely made of recycled materials.
  • The school now use old and unused exercise books at break times in the yard, allowing children the opportunity to draw and colour and minimising the waste caused by old books.
  • Following a clear out of the school archives and loft space, unwanted books and resources were donated to the Sri Lankan schools projects.
  • Children have completed litter picks within the school grounds and on the paths which lead into school. Some of the children also assisted in the Great British Spring Clean with St. Bartholomew’s Church.

 

Best Children’s Project

Winner:  Josephine Butler Primary Academy – Let Your Light Shine!

By focussing on the mental and emotional well-being of the children the school have created a number of areas in the school grounds.

The children have built and planted a raised bed in the yard. The bed is planted with herbs and vegetables that parents can help themselves to as they pass.  The area also has a lighthouse and deckchair linked to their ethos of ‘Let Your Light Shine’.

This is celebrated further in the Primary Drop off zone; the children and parents have worked together to design and make a giant stone representation of the NCEA emblem.  Using local stone and learning new skills the area has been cut, and the stone placed and cemented and the school are planting plants and flowers around it in the Academy colours.  They are hoping to enhance it with a daffodil island and a primrose path ready for next Spring.

As a community they have also built a new rabbit hutch and pen using recycled materials donated by local families.  This houses two rescue rabbits, Luna and Honeycomb.  They are used as “reading rabbits” in school and are petted by the children while reading, to alleviate any stress or anxiety related to reading aloud.

The children have raised money to fund these projects by selling artefacts and plants that they have made using recycled materials.  They set up a mini enterprise at The Grainger Market in Newcastle and sold items in the school’s Christmas Fayre and the Easter Fayre.

By looking at ways to enhance the environment and benefit the community the children are truly letting their Lights Shine in an innovative and creative way.
Read more about the awards in The Chronicle

Reading Buddies at the Grace Darling Campus

Since September, Y6 children have been meeting up with their reading buddies in Y1 every Wednesday afternoon.
The younger children read their books first, then the Y6 children read to Y1 with both groups encouraged to talk about their books together.
It has been a huge success as a means of building up confidence and enjoyment in reading as well as creating friendships across the campus.
Read more about literacy across our primary campuses here

Team GB Stars Present NCEASport Awards 2017

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

Inspiring tales of chasing dreams, hard work and resilience were on the agenda at the annual NCEASport Awards.

Olympic gymnast, Craig Heap, and British triathlete, Calum Johnson, handed out awards to NCEA’s own sporting champions.

NCEASport Awards

 

Now in its second year, the awards ceremony is a fantastic way to celebrate the many talents of our students in primary, secondary and The Centre across a wide range of disciplines.

A retired Commonwealth Games Gold medal winning gymnast, Craig has represented his country over 100 times in various international gymnastic competitions, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

He also appeared as a judge on the BBC celebrity gymnastics show, Tumble.

Newcastle-born athlete, Calum Johnson, 22, is a member of the GB Triathlon team and trains alongside the record-breaking Brownlee Brothers.

One of the nation’s most promising young sportsmen, Calum gained his first GB vest in 2012 and overcame a cycling accident in 2015 to be awarded his first senior vest at the start of 2016.

NCEASport director, Mr Blight, said: “Thank you to everyone who came along to join us in recognising our sportsmen and women and to Craig and Calum for their inspiring words. It was fabulous to see so many in attendance.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to the staff team for their efforts throughout the year.

“Calum and Craig mentioned several key points in their speech which we should all embrace. Calum referred to hard work and resilience and overcoming setbacks, whilst Craig mentioned raising the bar and chasing your dreams.I hope you were all inspired and wish to strive to keep improving!”

Craig added: “It was great to be part of and celebrating the sporting success of all the NCEA students. Sport is more than being fit it’s about gaining skills for life.”

Follow the link below to see more pictures and a full list of NCEASport Awards Winners 2017: NCEASport Awards 2017