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

 

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”

Bags of Help for New James Knott Garden

Children at the James Knott Campus celebrated the grand opening of their new outdoor area with a traditional summer garden party.

Thanks to the public vote, the school was awarded £12,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme.

Designed by pupils, the ‘Making Outdoors Matter’ project features weaved willow domes and tunnels, bug hotels, wildflower areas and allotment beds.  The imaginative space will provide a wide range of exciting opportunities for outdoor learning and adventure.

Following months of hard work, the garden was officially opened by Ashington gardener, Sean Murray, winner of a nationwide TV competition to design a garden at Chelsea Flower Show.

Sean, a former nurse who launched a career as a professional garden designer following his win, was impressed with the results.

 He said: “It is fantastic how this area has been transformed into a creative space that I am sure will fire young people’s imaginations.

 “I believe it is important to inspire the next generation of gardeners and schemes like this that enable schools to offer outdoor learning  environments are a great idea.”

Caroline Mullen, headteacher at the James Knott Campus, said: “The children have been involved throughout the whole project, from design through to completion.

 “We are delighted with the results and it will make a real difference to life at the school, providing lots of opportunities for outdoor learning and to discover more about our environment.

 “We would like to thank everyone who has made this possible.”

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the second round of its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects.

 Millions of shoppers voted in stores up and down the country, with the James Knott Garden winning the top prize.

 Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”

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