New CCF and Arts Pathways at JBVI

From September 2017, the Academy’s sixth form, JBVI, will be offering two new pathways to give students a head start in their careers.

The bespoke pathways in Expressive Arts and the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) are specially designed for students who have a strong interest in pursuing a career in the arts or uniformed services.

Steve Gibson, Principal Director of the Academy’s Josephine Butler Secondary Campus, said: “We believe that by combining excellent teaching with first-class enrichment opportunities, we are offering students new education pathways that are unique in the area.

“While academic achievement is of course important, taking part in music and drama performances and joining our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) will ensure our students are well-prepared for life beyond school and are able to gain the best possible start in their chosen career.”

With a tailored programme of activities, students will not only gain excellent grades, but also a wealth of skills and experiences to ensure they stand out from the crowd in any future university, apprenticeship or job application.

These may include Rock School Awards, instrumental tuition, pipes and drums, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and skills at arms training.

Mr Thompson, Director of Performing Arts, said: “I’m delighted that this Performance pathway has been created, allowing students the opportunity to not have to make a choice between one performance subject or another.

“This allows for students to take a multi-disciplined course of study, and to complement one with the other. This is a really exciting development and I’m really looking forward to leading and teaching on this pathway”.


JBVI is offering two pathways for students wishing to progress into the uniformed services:

  • The CCF Pathway for those wanting to join the ranks of one of the armed forces.
  • The Leadership Pathway for those wishing to focus on preparing for a leadership role in one of the uniformed services.

Maj Parker, Contingent Commander NCEA CCF, said: “Students will be able to develop their understanding of the world of sport and fitness through a double qualification, the equivalent of two A-levels,  in BTEC Sport alongside the Public Services Qualification which introduces students to the world of the uniformed service.

“Running alongside these qualifications will be a comprehensive faculty enrichment programme consisting of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, SQCF Piping and Drumming Awards, and CVQO Teamwork and Personal Development.  There will also be numerous trip opportunities.”

Rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted inspectors, JBVI was praised for its strong focus on raising aspiration.

Sixth Form results have improved every year for the last five years, achieving record student outcomes in summer 2016.

Find out more:

General Election Hustings 2017

NCEA was proud to host an election hustings event for the Wansbeck constituency.

Each candidate took to the floor in the Sixth Form Common Room to explain their party’s policies and take questions from the audience.

Students from JBVI and NCEA staff grilled the candidates on how they would tackle issues including Brexit, terror attacks, funding the NHS, school cuts and university tuition fees.

Voting rights for 16 and 17-year-olds were also on the agenda.


Joan Tebbutt (Liberal Democrats)


Chris Galley (Conservatives)

Steven Leyland (Green Party)

Ian Lavery (Labour)

NCEA Chaplain, Sally Milner, said: “Thank you to all the candidates who came along today.

“It has been a great opportunity for students to discuss issues affecting them and to find out more about the important role that politics plays in everyday life.”

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





JBVI Students Get a Taste for Enterprise


JBVI Sri Lanka

Students from JBVI attended an enterprise fair with Sage and Sage Foundation to help raise funds towards their volunteer trip to Sri Lanka.

Joining over 50 young entrepreneurs from across the North East, they set up a tasty tuck shop to sell products to Sage employees at the firm’s Newcastle HQ.

The fair was a great success, with lots of young people being able to develop their sales and communication skills, whilst getting a real taste of what it’s like to be a true entrepreneur.

Mr Fox, NCEA Careers and Employability Manager, said: “Having the opportunity to visit Sage and sell their products to employees at such an amazing venue was a fantastic experience for the students.

“This was an important part of the enterprise process since having come up with their product ideas, costed and purchased raw materials, prepared the products for sale and finally boxed everything up to take along to the market they now had to engage with the public to try to sell their merchandise.

“All group members felt a growth in confidence at the end of this project.”

To support Team Sri Lanka with their fundraising visit Team Sri Lanka

Sports Leaders Coach Teams to Finals


Well done to our JBVI Sports Leaders who coached our Y4 football teams to success in the Northumberland School Games event at Ashington High School.NCEA had two teams competing in two separate leagues. Our team, pictured in red, finished a very close second. Our team, pictured in yellow, were unbeaten in all of their matches and will proceed to represent Ashington in the School Games finals in June in Cramlington.

All teams in the competition were commended by the organiser for their sportsmanship and FairPlay.

Cadets Go for Gold at Easter Camp

Easter Camp 2017


It has been an action-packed Easter for our Academy cadets.

Members of our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) took part in a three-day canoeing and cycling residential with outdoor activity specialists Thrills and Skills for Life (TASFL).

As well as pushing themselves to new limits and discovering hidden talents, they also gained qualifications that will count towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).

Cadets working towards their Gold DofE also joined a four-day canoeing practice expedition with Jason Carroll of Tweed Tours.

NCEA CCF contingent commander, Maj Parker, said: “We had a fantastic adventure with Thrills and Skills for Life (TASFL) and our cadets have come away with both life experiences and qualifications.

“Importantly, friends have also been made, breaking down barriers between year groups. This bonding increases the resilience of students and gives them more confidence to go away more and try new things with their new friends.”

Easter Camp 2017


Chris Hall, founder of TASFL, said: “It’s not about learning to canoe or cycle or anything else. Although that’s good – it’s about learning a skill you could not do before, conquering fears and facing challenges.

“If you thought you could not do it this time, then did, how much more can you achieve next time further on in your life?

“I was also impressed by how the cadets brought their ability to pipe and dance with them. They were genuinely lovely kids.”


“I loved the kayaking and even though I got wet several times, it was brilliant. I also enjoyed going up on Hadrian’s Wall on the evening with my friends.” Cdt Mia Key.
 “It was a new experience and our instructor Jason was great. I now feel ready to take on my expedition and I am looking forward to spending that quality time with my friends on the River Tweed but knowing that I am heading towards completion of my Gold DofE.” Cdt Sgt Maj Leah Brown.

Find out more about NCEA CCF

JBVI Next Stop: Sri Lanka

Fundraising is well underway for the next annual JVBI volunteer trip abroad.

Following on from previous adventures in Kenya and Botswana, this year, a group of sixth formers are planning to travel to Sri Lanka. There they will work with charities to make a difference to local communities.

The hard work will not only be in Sri Lanka. As part of the challenge, they must raise a total of £50,000 to cover the cost of flights, injections, food and accommodation. They will also be making donations to the charities involved.

Events so far include a 24-hour sportathon, washing cars and, tuck shops and organising an Easter Fair.

Mrs Towers, Head of JBVI, said: “This annual trip abroad is a life-changing experience for students, enabling them to learn new skills and give them an insight into different cultures.”

Last year nine intrepid Y13 students from JBVI took part in a life-changing expedition to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

After hitting their target £15,000 fundraising target, they travelled to Gaborone, in the Academy’s link Diocese of Botswana to volunteer with community projects. The group visited St Peter’s Day Care Centre and worked with orphans and children suffering from HIV and Aids. They also cleared a playground damaged in storms and bought equipment for the school.

Working in 41oC heat they helped prepare the garden at Holy Cross Pre-School and supported patients at Holy Cross Hospice, clearing a fallen tree that had damaged patients’ rooms and tackling a bees’ nest.

Team Botswana member, Skye Grant, Y13, said: “Through meeting the teachers and children, many of whom are from hugely disadvantaged backgrounds, we came to appreciate the bigger picture of what life is like in Botswana and how people cope and thrive in the face of adversity.”

“This was the first time I’d ever been to Africa and it met all expectations. I had the best time with the best people and wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”

We visited:
Table Mountain and Robben Island
Game drives in Chobe National Park Botswana
Victoria Falls in Zambia
White-water rafting in the Zambezi

“A once in a lifetime trip!!! We all had the best time of our lives. Working in the day care centres with the children was an unforgettable experience!”

If you would like to help our students to raise money to get to Sri Lanka, or have suggestions as to how they could raise money, please get in touch Miss Naunton at

To support their fundraising visit Sri Lanka 2017


Catapult Work Placement

Students from JBVI have completed an engineering project with Blyth-based Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult as part of a week-long work experience programme.

The three sixth form students, Josh McKay, Nathan Lee and Reece Crate undertook a project to design a new enclosure for a drive train test rig at ORE Catapult, the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for wind, wave and tidal energy.

Jonathan Hughes, a research engineer at ORE Catapult who helped the students during their placement, said: “The project required the students to consider a wide range of factors, including materials, cost, design, dimensions and how the enclosure might perform under live test conditions.

“It was all about problem-solving, something engineers face on a daily basis. I was really impressed with how the students developed their ideas so quickly during the week.

Josh said: “The week has opened my eyes to how challenging an engineering role can be. I realise how exciting a project can be when you begin to find solutions.”

Nathan added: “I feel it really developed my problem-solving skills, which is what engineering is all about.”

The work experience week is part of a wider approach from ORE Catapult to support and encourage young people to consider a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) through local partnerships, such as the one with NCEA.

Mr Mark Fox, NCEA’s Careers and Employability Manager, said: “The Academy’s links with ORE Catapult have gone from strength to strength. Work experience enables students to make clear links between what they are studying and how they can use it in their future career.”