Headteacher's Blog #2 January 2019 SHOWCASING STUDENT SUCCESS

Mr Carr - Headteacher

Monday 14th January 2019

Students returned back to school after the Christmas break at a time when people reflect on the past and make new resolutions for the new year ahead. Here in Benfield, we have also carried this out with our learners, asking them to reflect on how their own performance and achievements were in Term 1 since last September, and also asking them to give thought as to how they can approach the remainder of the academic year differently in order to further develop and make even more progress in all aspects of their school lives.

On a personal level, I have now completed my first term as Headteacher here at Benfield. This is a hugely bright, vibrant school with vastly talented students and staff, very well supported by our parents and carers, as well as our local community.

This has been a term in which many changes have taken place and I have spent lots of time looking at every area of the school, speaking to and listening to a wide range of students, parents, guardians and staff in order to plan for the school moving forward and improving further. Over this term I will be communicating with all stakeholders of the school more regularly and I also intend to gather your views on the school through the first of what I plan to be an annual survey.

Here we celebrate the achievement and successes of our students, staff and the school over recent weeks.

I hope that you enjoy this edition of the Blog.

Richard Carr



Our Year 11 Drama group made an exciting visit to take in the hugely popular festive pantomime of 'Goldilocks & the Three Bears' at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle in december. Students then did a follow up workshop which included a tour around the stage and alsoa very informative talk about the production side of pantomime.

Our Year 11 Performing Artists


Dance Festival - Our annual Christmas Dance festival took place in December with over 130 pupils performing, with an afternoon performance for our NEAT primary schools and an evening performance for the local community. The efforts of all the pupils involved is commendable. Their energy and enthusiasm for Dance is infectious - Mr Carr even got up for a dance in the finale. A big thank you must go out to our Year 12 pupil - Ben Studholme who managed the light and sound desk for the event.

Try a new sport - Our new extra-curricular timetable has been published so get yourself along to the school website to see what’s on offer.

For all updates, fixtures and competition results please visit our school website.

Girls' Future - Last term Benfield School hosted or regions Girl Future event. The event was created to inspire girls in sport and PE and to help them gain an insight into the sports industry and sporting pathway opportunities. The event was a huge success with 20 schools in attendance and over 250 pupils taking part. Katy Storie (England Rugby Player and GB Weightlifter) opened the event with an inspirational talk on her journey to success. A range of activities were then on offer for the pupils including; Sprinting with Laura Weightman (Team GB 1500m runner), clubbercise and Nutritional advice, all with the aim of reinforcing the role of exercise as a part of an active and healthy lifestyle. Three of our year 10 Sports Leaders helped organise the event; Abbey Brooks, Tia Jenkinson and Jessica Crystal.


Benfield once again took part in Amnesty International’s annual 'Write for Rights' campaign which appeals for equal justice and equality.

Pupils learned about human rights in assembly before discussing the specific cases of people who have suffered human rights abuses featured in the campaign.

Pupils then wrote appeal letters, messages of support and made cards which were posted off during the holidays and some took online action by writing to their MP or sending texts via the Amnesty International website.

Altogether, we took over 190 actions, a few of which you can see in the photo.

Thanks to everyone, students and staff, who took part and made this one of our best years since we began taking part in 2005.


Acknowledging students who overcome great challenges

Sienna Leigh Ferguson - Benfield Year 7

Unfortunately, at the age of 4 Sienna fell seriously ill and was only minutes from death. Since then she has strived to do well and beat the odds of the doctors who treat her.

Sienna was just a child when she first dreamed of becoming a professional gymnast but doctors told her "no!"...So after a few years Sienna and her family thought 'Why shouldn’t she do it?'

Ever determined and never willing to give up on the dream and sport she loved, Sienna sacrificed much, enduring times of challenge and hardship, in order to reach the pinnacle of the athletic world.

Sienna with fellow Year 7 students Freya and Ebony.

Since then Sienna has really pushed herself, she undertook recreational gymnastics for two years to then be asked by her coach to open trial for #Teamgym CNGA where she was accepted and has since competed in Newcastle Teamgym Opens 2018, with her team coming in 6th place, she has taken part in Christmas displays which were tiring and very hard work, but she did it! Sienna also has a competition coming up in which she will show that diabetics can do gymnastics and she will always tell you she will prove to the doctors and everyone else she will not be stopped.

Sienna has worked through injury and pain, sweat and even tears and will; always tell us that she will always strive to achieve.

Sienna trains at youth level 4 CNGA (City of Newcastle gymnastics academy) mainly concentrating on Vault, Trampette and Tumble to a very high standard. Although she does Floor on occasions with her full #Teamgym, Sienna's favourite apparatus is Tumble and she tells us she’ll strive to achieve the skills that she has her heart set on mastering. She’s not about failing... she fails she gets back up again and again until she gets it right.

Sienna injuried herself in December but battled through in order to keep her team and coach on track with performance dates, performing 4 hours per day but overall, spending 6 hours per day at the gymnasium.

Before Christmas she took part in a lot of activities (dance, cheer, trampolining, and of course gymnastics!) As well as keeping up her grades at school!

Here at Benfield we applaud a very brave, intelligent and driven young lady who will no doubt go on to achieve her dream!

Sienna's overall goal in life is to go to the Olympics in gymnastics and show the world what she’s all about and show everyone...... child or adult that it can be achieved... even with an illness !!!

We praise Sienna for what she has already achieved in overcoming her own personal challenges and we look forward to her future success.

If you would like a Benfield student celebrated in a future edition of the blog, please conatct the school via e-mail with details and a photograph.

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (Mr Carr- Headteacher)

I first read this when I was 14 and I have loved it ever since. At that age I wanted to read about adventure and this book has it all…… an unsuspecting hero, caught up in an evil plan of espionage, and his run in’s with spies, femme fatales, chases, fist-fights, gun-fights and a real cliffhanger ending! What more could you want? A real boy’s own adventure.

Go on…. Take your first step into Chapter 1 of this terrific novel.

"Thank You NBS"

Benfield School would like to extend our warmest thanks to NBS for the ongoing support we are receiving from as a school and Helen Whitfield (Chief Operating Officer). They have played a huge part in our SSIF project/bid along with gifts to offer incentives for attendance. They have recently donated a laptop and are continuing to help engage our hard to reach families, supporting their understanding in the importance of education.

What is NBS' mission?

"To lead the built environment with powerfully connected knowledge and services around the world."

My Favourite Invention - Mr Robinson, Head of Resistant Materials/STEM


Well done to the students of our Year 9 football team who have succeeded in making it through to the National Cup Quarter-Finals!

The boys managed to beat Hull Collegiate 4 - 2, with goals from Brannon (2), Jake and Non.

Overall, a superb team performance and they are all looking forward to the next round.


We are proud to recognise Macey Messenger, Year 8, who has been selected to represent Newcastle Benfield Juniors U14 girls on 26th – 29th April in Skegness. This is a full weekend of football where Macey will be educated on team skills and bonding, as well as play in the tournament for which she has been selected.


A huge well done to the year 7 rugby team. They took part in a rugby festival (Sky Try Event) just before Christmas at Kingston Park and played against 4 other schools. They played outstandingly well and won all 4 games. With 100% win rate we look forward to see what they can achieve in 2019.


Four Benfield pupils represented the school at the Young person’s conference on December 17th. They put forward views on what services should be available to young people in Newcastle and how young people would like their views collected.

Reagan Blair YR 11

Tyler Fletcher YR 11

Adam Bell YR 8

Sabarina Lojan YR 8


Here at Benfield, we were pleased to introduce to our students Ned, a Cockapoo, NEAT Trust's very own reading dog last month

Working with Mr Wardle (Year 7 Year Leader) and Mrs Rickard and Mrs Parkes, Ned is the newest addition to our school reading intervention group which takes place every Wednesday in the Library.

When children read to him, Ned does not criticise or correct their pronunciation. He just nods and pricks up an ear, although sometimes he closes his eyes and appears not to be listening.

NED is a furry friend and a novel way of encouraging pupils at Benfield School in to read aloud. A "listening dog", he derives from a scheme that originated in the United States called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (Read).

Ned, enjoying storytime!

The event was marked with a coffee morning in the Library in which students and their parents/guardians were able to meet our new canine friend.

Moving forward, Ned will be working with our Cherrywood students for the rest of the school year..

Mrs Nairne-White - Assistant Headteacher

What do you do at Benfield?

I am currently seconded to Benfield in a School Improvement capacity. I mostly support the SLT and middle leaders to ensure that Benfield continues to make progress. I also teach Science to Year 10 and 11.

Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?

My favourite teacher at school was Ms Needham my Biology Teacher. She had an absolute love pf biology and whilst she may not have stuck to the prescribed curriculum, she inspired me and believed in me. I frequently went back to my old school to ‘catch up’ with her.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love reading and spending time with my family.

I read every day and cannot imagine a world in which I live in that does not have books. I also spend a lot of time at weekends going out with my family and this time is precious to me.

Who is your favourite musical artist or band?

oooh, difficult one as I have a very eclectic taste in music. I love a range of artists from Bruce Springtseen, Imagine Dragons, Little Mix and Dolly Parton!

What's the best thing about Benfield School?

The students and staff.

The students have been polite and I feel I have built up a relationship with a lot of them.

The staff are so eager to know how best they can support the students and are so happy to offer chocolate and coffee when I need it – thank you

What's the one thing you could never be without?

My books and my family ( I know that’s 2!)



The event was to work on the scholars’ resilience and problem solving skills, giving them an insight into maths and how it can be used in day to day life.

Our year 10 Villiers Park Tyneside STEM scholars were challenged to use maths in a variety of different ways across three sessions with guest speakers at the masterclass from The Great North Maths Hub who “help raise standards in maths and inspire a passion for the subject.”

The first session had them looking at sequences and spotting patterns and included them standing up holding numbers to work out unique sequences. Then they looked at Fermi Estimation and one lucky group worked out a formula to guess the number of sweets in a jar, winning the sweets in the end.

In the afternoon, brains were really tested in 'Modelling the Gherkin' based on the London building. Scholars were given cocktail sticks and midget gems to build structures to evaluate which of them were stronger in turn looking at the maths relating to this. This led onto them using Pythagoras Theorem to workout lots of algebraic formula to show how the Gherkin was built.

The scholars felt this was an extremely challenging event highlighting a different perspective on maths where others were able to identify how maths was used in architecture. #STEM #VilliersPark


As part of our initiative to promote student involvement in all aspects of the school, a range of students in Key Stage 3 have taken part in some student led learning walks around the school site, designed to allow students to evaluate, investigate and contribute towards discussion with members of staff and senior leaders leading to the planning in how the school moves forwards in a number of different areas. Feedback from the students involved has been very positive and informative and based on the success of the first learning walks, we plan to continue this, with catering and refreshments in school being the next area of focus.

Emily Bell, Lily-Jayde Buchanan and Leah Armstrong (all Yr8) pictured.

Further updates will follow.


Well done Leia!

Congratulations to our first Word Millionaire of 2019, Leia Johnson. Our promotion of literacy skills across the school has led us to launch this very popular scheme.

"Who Wants to be a Word Millionaire?" is a short-term reading intervention that challenges a class group of students to engage in recreational reading and to collectively read over one million words within a reasonable timeframe (usually six weeks). The initiative can be planned and implemented as a homebased or as a school-based project. When designed as a home-based project, the students read individually at home and their parents/carers monitor and record their progress. Parents support and encourage the students’ reading through the use of the "pause, prompt, praise" strategy. The total of "words read” is communicated to the school on a regular basis throughout the initiative. In school, the collective “running totals” of the class is recorded and charted.

Once the target of one million words has been reached, the student or class group is rewarded and their achievements celebrated.


Congratulations to our new Year 7 student council members.

The focus of these councils target three key areas in school:

a) Health

b) Culture

c) Change

Students apply for their position and several meetings take place with senior leaders to discuss how as a school, we can develop facilities and provision linked to the three areas to bring further improvement and a better experience for everyone here in school.

In the next edition of the blog, some of the council reps will be providing a report on their progress and their work.


As part of the Year 7 Learn2Learn Programme, students undertake a number of Edge challenges. One of the challenges is to fundraise for a national charity. Some of the events are organised for the whole school and some specifically for Year 7.

So far this year, our Y7 students have raised:

£265 for International Smile Day, organised by 7N and 7S

£512 for Children in Need, organised by 7E and 7D

£162 for Save The Children, Christmas Jumper Day, organised by 7B and 7L

Good luck to 7C and 7F as they prepare to fundraise for the British Heart Foundation by organising a sponsored skipathon for staff and Y7 students (January 2019).


Benfield School is keen for every student to attend every day. Over last term a range of incentives were brought in in order to encourage this. Every student who attends every day over a half-term is entered in to a prize draw to win an ipad. The winner for last half-term was Carol Moyo (Yr7).

In the two week run up to Christmas, every day of the final ten days of half-term, every student who was in school had the chance to win either a pair of Newcastle United match-day tickets for the home fixture against Fulham or a £10 voucher to be spent at INTU, Eldon Square. For students in every day of the final two weeks of school up until Christmas, a draw was made for a £50 INTU voucher.

This scheme has been very well received by our students and it will continue in full once again this term, witha further two ipads waiting to be won by our 100% attenders. Every student with 100% attendance for Term 1 has now received their bronze badge which they are wearing with pride on their blazer.

Mr Carr with Half-Term 2's winner of an ipad, Carol Moyo Yr7, based on 100% attendance for the half-term.


Today we delivered food and gift hampers to some families to ensure they have essential supplies or receive at least one gift on Christmas Day.

We would like to thank everyone who donated and we were lucky enough to have been successful in our application to the Cash for Kids ‘Mission Christmas’ appeal and received many toys to wrap up for these families.

The families we help at Christmas are always extremely grateful and tell us that it does make a huge difference to their Christmas.



Mr Carr with students receiving their PRIDE awards in a celebration assembly.

Congratulations to our pride winners who received awards from myself during the final week of last term. These awards are issued to students who receive the highest number of PRIDE points acroiss each term. Points are linked to attendance, attitude towards learning and for pareticipation in extra-curricular activities as well as standard of work and homework. Every member of staff in school awards points and student success is celebrated in the award ceremony every term.


Created By
R Carr

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.