Mr Carr - Headteacher

Wednesday 13th November 2019

I am pleased to provide you with an update as to the progress and events in school now that students have returned to begin the second half of the first school term. I must begin by stressing that our new Year 7 students have made a hugely positive start to their education at Benfield.

Our largest ever cohort of 219 students have settled very well into school life and are demonstrating attitudes towards learning and efforts in their lessons that are fully meeting Benfield’s high expectations. Likewise, students who have entered into Year 12 have also very quickly become acclimatized to their education at Post 16 level and are hugely valued members of the school, setting a good example and acting as positive role models for students in our lower year groups.

The standard of school uniform remains high in the majority of cases and I would like to thank parents and guardians for your ongoing support with this. In the small number of cases where footwear, skirts and trousers/leggings are being worn by some students that do not meet school uniform expectations, pastoral staff will be contacting home to request support with this.

I wrote to you before the summer holiday and informed you that Newcastle Bridges School was departing the third floor of the school building. Since this departure we have made very appropriate use of this newly gained space which was required due to the large increase on student numbers on roll since September. The Humanities department has now relocated to this area within school and we are currently working with students to see how we can best make use of the remaining space.

In September, we launched a new student entrance which has proved hugely successful in increasing the number of entrances and exits for students who access the building and Breakfast Club. Additionally, this has also significantly reduced congestion and helps ensure we fully conform to health and safety requirements given the larger number of students we have now on site. As with any new system, it takes a short period of time to become familiar with it and I would like to thank parents and guardians for your understanding in making use of all three car parks on the school site. I would like to please request that parent and guardians that do enter the car parks adhere to the new signage indicating the flow of the one way system. All students within the Cherrywood Centre are now collected at the end of each day in the internal quad park.

As well as new students to the school, we have welcomed number of new staff who have also made highly successful impacts in their roles. New teaching and support staff appointed for September in a number of curriculum areas have enhanced the high quality of our effective classroom practitioners who deliver quality first education to our students.

We are currently reviewing our curriculum offer with a view to expanding and increasing the number of subjects available to students who will enter Y10 and Y12 in September 2020.

Benfield has also continued to be involved with the wider community and so far this term we have had a number of our students visiting Downing Street where they received a tour of the Prime Minister’s residence before meeting Boris Johnson himself. Benfield students will also once again be contributing to the Shakespeare in Schools festival with a number of students performing at Northern Stage. Within school, we have also expanded our offer of a wide range of extra-curricular activities which all student have free access to before, during and after the school day.

Benfield continues to promote the importance of equality and diversity and support staff and students in this area in a range of different ways. Our school nurse and school counsellor allow students access to their services during school time. We continue to expand our links with community services and partners such as Newcastle United Foundation, in order to further develop our curriculum and offer the highest levels of guidance and care.

I would like to inform the parents and guardians of Y11 and Y13 students of the up coming Parents’ evening due to take place on Wednesday 11th December. Further information will be coming out nearer this date.

Once again we will be gifting Christmas hampers to families in our community this year. Donations of food items, toiletries and Christmas treats would be appreciated.

I look forward to writing to you at the end of this half-term as we head towards the Christmas holiday and providing you with further updates as to future successes and developments here in school.

I hope that you enjoy this edition of the Blog.

Richard Carr



Pupils have been having Remembrance assemblies over the past week and a number of students have been making poppies for the display at the front of the school for all those that have fallen in combat since the First World War. The full school marked this significant event with a moment of silence here in Benfield at 11:00am

Lest we Forget.

Benfield Remembers



Last month, students and staff celebrated the enormous contribution black Britons have made, and continue to make to our vibrant and diverse society.

Benfield library is continuing to feature books by minority ethnic and black authors, books featuring black characters or about the historical black experience.

If you have read any other good others, Ms Chadwick always welcomes suggestions for books. Our culture is enriched and our society is made stronger because of the people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK.


Benfield was invited to take 25 students for a tour of No.10 Downing Street last month, followed by students receiving an inspirational careers talk. The panel compromised of the speech writer for the Prime Minister, the Head of Policy and a degree apprentice who is currently working as assistant to the PM’s office.

The panel were all state school educated and surprisingly none were interested in politics as teenagers but all became involved in activities outside and inside school and gave examples to our students of these along with a pen picture of their own career journey.

Benfield students were also asked to raise the issues which they felt were important to them and these included the Northern Powerhouse and how can we close the north/south gap, civil rights, lowering the voting age and engaging young people in politics. Students were encouraged to be pro-active in order to make progress in their future pathways.

"Noone is going to knock on your door. You have to find opportunities. Don’t let NO put you off, try somewhere else. Be prepared to learn something new everyday. Don’t aim too high too quickly and be willing to take positions with little responsibility and prove you can do so before you work your way up. Read a newspaper every day so you know what’s going on in the world and always have things to talk about when you meet people." Panel member

Despite a very tiring day and a very long journey, the students who were selected to go on the visit can now say that they have been into the Prime Minister's office.... something they will remember for the rest of their lives.


Late September saw Benfield open its doors to students in Year's 5 and 6 who are being asked to consider which school they would like to attend to complete their secondary education.

Once again a huge turnout to the event saw large numbers of parents and guardians with students from our feeder primary schools and beyond, come through the front door and experience first hand just what makes Benfield the school of choice for students in the East End of Newcastle.

Students were able to have all of their questions answered by speaking to students and staff on the night, as well as see for themselves how lessons take place across all subjects. Visitors were also able to sample examples of our healthy food menu.

We look forward to seeing many of those who attended the event next September when they begin the next phase of their education here in Benfield.

'Lies We Tell Ourselves' by Robin Talley

(Ms Chadwick - Librarian)

One of my favourite Young Adult books at the moment is Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, which I love because it gives me an insight into the lives of people very different from myself, and shows how courageous and determined people can be.

This book tells the story of Sarah, a black girl living in the southern states of America in the 1950s who can now go to the same school as white children for the first time. Before this, segregation laws meant black and white people had to use different facilities for many things. Sarah is paired with a white girl, Linda, to complete a school project. As they work together their mutual mistrust slowly changes as they both have to re-evaluate what they have been taught about race and their places in the world. They both learn truths about themselves and slowly begin to fall in love. This of course brings with it a whole lot of other problems. It made me think about racism from both sides which I think is important. It is a fictional account of a real moment in history, but is full of truths and relevant to today’s world and the problems we still face in understanding and accepting each other.


My Favourite Invention - Mr R. Carr, Headteacher

The Light Bulb

The History of the light bulb

In 1809, the first incandescent light bulb was created by an English chemist Sir Humphry Davy by connecting wires and a piece of carbon to a battery. The carbon glowed and thus light was produced. Thomas Alva Edison improved the bulb after lots of experiments with different filaments in 1879 and produced a bulb that could glow for over 1500 hours.

How does the light bulb work?

Electricity flows through the filament that is inside the bulb; the filament has resistance to the electricity; the resistance makes the filament heat to a high temperature; the heated filament then radiates light. All incandescent lamps work by using a physical filament.

Types of light bulb


The incandescent light bulb turns electricity into light by sending the electric current through a thin wire called a filament. Filaments are made up mostly of tungsten, a metal. The resistance of the filament heats the bulb up. Eventually the filament gets so hot that it glows, producing light.

The filament needs to be protected from oxygen in the air, so it is inside the bulb, and the air in the bulb is either removed (a vacuum) or more often, replaced with a gas that doesn't affect anything, like neon or argon. Only about 3% of the energy that goes into an incandescent light bulb actually makes light, the rest makes heat. That's one of the reasons LED's are more efficient.

This is the type of light bulb that Thomas Edison spent so much time on in the 1870s. It was the first light bulb that could be used in houses - it did not cost too much, and it worked well. For the first time, people did not have to burn something (candles, oil lamps, kerosene lamps, etc.) to make light. It was bright enough that people could read easily at night or do work. It was used to light stores and streets, and people could travel around after dark. This started the common use of electricity in homes and businesses. Tungsten filaments, developed in the 1900s, last longer and make a brighter light. They quickly replaced carbon ones.

Fluorescent light bulbs

Fluorescent lamps are efficient, and only give off ¼ the amount of heat of an incandescent. They also last longer than incandescent but until recently were much bigger and did not fit into sockets for small overhead lights and lamps like an incandescent could.

A fluorescent bulb is a glass tube usually filled with argon gas and a little bit of mercury. When turned on, the cathode heats up and sends out electrons. These hit the argon gas and the mercury. The argon gas makes a plasma which lets the electrons move around better. When the electrons hit a mercury atom it puts the molecule into a state where it has a lot of energy (stores the energy). The energetic state doesn't last very long, and when the energy is released, it lets out a photon. Photons from mercury are not visible like some other photons; they are ultraviolet. So there's a phosphor coating on the wall of the bulb. When the photon hits a phosphor molecule, it in turn puts that molecule into an excited state. When this phosphor releases energy, it lets out a photon that we can see, and light is made. Changing the type of phosphor can change the color we see, but usually fluorescent light bulbs are whiter than incandescent light bulbs, which are slightly yellow.


An LED is made like electronics. It is a chip of semiconducting material, usually silicon. LED bulbs are more efficient and last much longer than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Unlike fluorescent bulbs, LEDs do not use mercury, which is toxic. Until recently LED bulbs were not as bright as the other kinds of lights, and cost more too.


Most light bulbs fit into a socket. If the socket is turned on, there is electricity there, even if the bulb is out, so there is danger of electric shock. Most bulbs get very hot when they are turned on, and take some time to cool off. Most light bulbs are made of glass, which means that they can break easily. Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, if they break, be careful to not breathe the mercury vapor. With all light bulbs , the filament will eventually break and the bulb will need to be replaced.



Once again, Benfield school will be holding its Christmas Dance Festival next month on Wednesday 18th December. Plans are already in place for organising the night and staff and students are working hard to prepare.

Further information regarding ticket sales will be made available soon but we look forward to hopefully seeing you at what is one of the largest events in the school calendar.


At the end of last month Benfield hosted the first of what will be an on-going number of debates supporting Northern Pride who are staging discussion based panel Q&A's across the year where significant educational and social topics can be the focus for people coming together to discuss.

In the most recent event, a wide range of professionals, members of the local community and members of staff discussed and debated the newly proposed SRE curriculum and the impact that this will have for all stakeholders.

Future events will be advertised via the school website so please keep checking for updates.

The debate and discussion in full flow.


As part of a project with Northumbria Police Community Engagement team, Benfield were visited by Smajo Beso from Newcastle University who delivered an amazing assembly to students on his personal experience of fleeing war torn Bosnia in the 1990’s and coming to Newcastle as a refugee from Bosnia.

Smajo also delivered a workshop with our Year 12 students who were interviewed about their views by BBC radio Newcastle. The programme aired on national radio on Sunday 20th October.



Katelyn after her success.

We’re delighted to announce that CNGA Team Gym gymnast Katelyn has been selected as a permanent member on the GB Team Gym national squad for 2019/2020.

Congratulations Katelyn we’re very proud of you!


Pre-school, lunch-times and after school, every day, every week.


Karen during her motivational speech and with Mr Carr and Chair of Governors Michael White (right.)

October saw our annual celebration event 'PRIDE CHAMPIONS' which sees the school rewarding the successes of students across a range of categories for achievements in the previous school year.

This year saw the ceremony moved to an earlier afternoon slot and Benfield was delighted to have Karen Wight of 'Steve & Karen's Breakfast Show' on METRO Radio as our guest presenter who issued certificates and prizes to our worthy winners. Karen also delivered an aspirational and motivational speech to the audience, with the message of working hard and having ambition in order to be successful and achieve your goals. Benfield is grateful to Karen for both her support and time and we have had very positive feedback from parents and guardians about the successful event.


Well done to our Transition Team who were all presented with Headteacher Awards for their efforts in visiting our Primary feeder schools and delivering assemblies abut Benfield and moving to secondary school to every Year 5 and 6 student. Every winner receives an engraved Headteacher Award pen.

The photograph to the left shows Grace Cowell and Darcy Johnson receiving their awards.

Thomas Armstrong receiving his award from Mr Carr.
Hollie Atkinson receives her award.

Miss Reay - Assistant Headteacher (KS4 & Curriculum)

What do you do at Benfield?

I am Assistant Headteacher in charge of Key Stage 4 and whole school curriculum but I also am an experienced Spanish teacher having led the Spanish department over the past 2 years.

Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?

Mrs Armstrong was my favourite teacher when I was at school. I remember her being so passionate about what she taught, excellent in the classroom as a teacher and gave me lots of opportunities to work with universities.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I socialise with friends, listen to music, going to the cinema and baking. My favourite band are Foo Fighters and my favourite Christmas film of all time is ELF and the greatest of all time is The Goonies.

What's the best thing about Benfield School?

I think the students are far and away the greatest thing about Benfield. They are so compassionate, empathetic towards one another and very keen to learn.

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

Family. They just keep me grounded and help me keep some realism in my life!


Elijah Parsons and Lily Ketteringham completed a Children’s Triathlon on 29th September.

'Reason To Children’s Disability Triathlon' is a fantastic inclusive event which takes place at the David Lloyd Centre in Newcastle each year.

Well done to Lily and Elijah who completed all the activities (swimming, running and a multi sports section) so very enthusiastically and were a real credit to themselves, their families and the school.



Students in Years 7 to 10 were recently an active audience with Transform DJ’s from the UK and America.

They have been looking at ‘Identity’ as part of the engaging work with the transform team and the event proved a huge success with student feedback highly positive and high levels of student engagement in the session too.



Benfield's new punctuality protocol started on Monday 4th November:

• Any student who arrives late to registration after 08.50am – 09.05am will be required to complete a 15 minute after school detention.

• Any student who arrives to school from 09.05am – 09.20am will be required to complete a 30 minute after school detention.

• Any student who arrives to school from 09.20am – onwards; will be required to complete a 60 minute after school detention

Over the first half-term of the current academic year, the Student Council have continued to monitor life in school and gather and seek the views of their peers which they have then fed back to senior leaders here in school across three key strands.

The focus of these councils' three key areas in school remain:

a) Health

b) Culture

c) Change

Look out for the next issue of the Blog where an interview with a number of our Council representatives will feature.




A huge well done to our confident and talented members of our primary Transition Team who have now been in to all of our feeder Primary schools to speak to students in Year's 5 and 6 in order to tell them all about the move to Benfield from Year 6, offer advice and most importantly, answer every question put to them from out future Year 7 students.



As part of the National Hate Crime Awareness Week, some of our students took part in a Walk of Solidarity.

Standing united together.

They were walking with other participants who had been victims of hate crime. This was a chance for us to work with services who support positive messages in our community and something which Benfield remains keen to demonstrate solidarity with.


Some of our Girl Kind Project group.

Twenty-one of our girls have been working in partnership with Northumbria University and the Girl Kind project. This work involved looking at women in the North East, what it’s like to be a girl here with challenges, opportunities and empowerment.

The girls have been involved in a series of workshops and showcased their work at the University on Saturday 12th October.

The group of students then proudly showed off their work in the library back here in school.


Following on from the success of our Sixth Form Football Academy, this September saw the launch of our brand new key stage 3 Benfield ELITE Football Academy.

Over twenty students in Year's 7 and 8 have opted to work on this new curriculum opportunity with fully qualified coaches who are educating the group on all aspects of the footballing industry from rules, health and nutrition as well as the physical side of playing and conditioning.

The Academy also has a team which is taking part in competitions this season against others.

Look out for updates on the outcomes of fixtures as well as regular interviews with members of ELITE in the next issue of the Blog.

Some of our ELITE students at the start of a session.




Students receiving their safety talk from our visitors from the Fire Service.

At this time of year the emergency services can see an increase in their requirements to attend fire related incidents and unfortunately, young people can sometimes be present where fire related accidents can be a possible risk.

Halloween and Bonfire Night are annual events in the calendar and here in school we have been working very closely with the Fire Service in order to update all students about the dangers of fire and of risk taking behaviour.

All students have received a talk and presentation on these topics as well as receiving curriculum lessons also with a view to providing correct guidance and keeping everyone safe.


Students enjoying their Halloween biscuits as made in Spanish.

Once again, across the school year, students and staff will be continuing with our very successful charity fundraising efforts for a range of charities. Chosen charities are all decided by our students themselves. Above is an example of the cake bake held here in school to raise funds from Halloween activities this week will see the full school joining the nation in collecting for Children in Need.

We look forward to updating you regularly on how much and for whom Benfiled raises funds for across the school year.

Created By
R Carr