New School badge

Hetton School Life

We are adopting a new badge for the school.

Actually the badge is a permutation of the current crest, and closely resembles the lions that used to be on the side of the old building (see picture), so we continue the heritage of the building we inhabited for nearly 50 years.

Our lions are now proper Heraldic lions, depicted in their ‘Passant Guardant’ stance. Because the lions face the viewer it means that the school embraces its duty of being guardians of the futures of our students.

You will see the logo gradually rolled out across everything the school issues.

Old sign New sign

Student Council Meeting


In attendance:           Charli Head, Nathan Willis, Harriet Blake, Alex Tuby, Alesha Greenwood, Maddy Taylor

Questions Year
Is study leave an option for Year11? 11

Study leave was strongly discouraged from 2007 and was fully stopped by the government in 2011.  Students must remain on school roll until 30th June which is effectively end of exam period.  Y11 student timetables will be modified to allow extra revision sessions for appropriate subjects. They will be allowed to go off school site at lunchtime during this period.

Why are the upstairs toilet always closed? 11

Too much damage in the past has been caused to the upstairs toilets mainly in the boys as they are not easily supervised.  This has a cost impact on school having to pay for repairs which takes money away from money that should be spent on students learning.

Aiming from September to re-open upstairs toilets with students made fully aware of the expectations required when using these toilets and consequences for misuse

How do you know staff and students are happy whilst in school? 11

Hopefully we do talk to each other enough.  Do surveys for staff, parents and students

We do have concerns that we do not ask students views enough, which we are keen to do more of.

We want to do more student voice and give more students opportunity to say what is positive about school as well as the negative.

Can we have more of a range of food in canteen – more chips, a variety of sauces, chip butties etc 11

Do have more services, now have the Deli counter which has come about with Y11 staying on site as has brought more money in so able to purchase more.  Questionnaire will be going out this term to students to express what they are happy about and what they would like to change ready to start in September.

Why did you go to China – what was the purpose of the visit? 11

Sunderland Authority has a twin city in China called Harbin where we have a partner school called No.76 Middle School.  The visit was a cultural exchange, helping us learn from each other.  Headteachers from Harbin are coming to us in July and bringing students with them and in 2019 we have plans to take some of our students to Harbin and their students to visit us.  I was invited this year to introduce our links to other Headteachers from Sunderland who did not have a link and wanted to be involved.

How well is overall Attendance throughout the school? Are you impressed? 9

Not happy with Attendance – attended a secondary Headteacher meeting this week and we spent hour discussing this area (no Headteacher is happy with absence rates).  Talked about how many prosecutions schools have put forward, with many parents have been taken to court and with one parent resulting in being arrested.

It is difficult and frustrating dealing with poor attendance – understand some students attendance is due to genuine medical grounds have to ensure we work hard to help these students.

One of the big frustrating area is those students with good attendance but then take 2 weeks holiday time during school time – this has a big impact on progress statistics show missing 10% of lessons results in one grade drop.

What is the behaviour policy within the classroom? 8

Within the classroom – we have a set of expectations that are the same in every classroom – following these expectations and leads to rewards if students chose not to then there are consequences – We have changed system lately and introduced D12 for any student that disrupts a lesson and stops the learning of others. This is still a learning curve for staff and we know all teachers teaching styles are different. We deal with different situations differently.  We are looking at who is using D12 frequently to ensure consistency throughout the school – Some student’s behaviour is exceptional beyond the classroom which then can lead to permanent exclusion – this has happened already for 2 students.

Why are we not allowed to use our mobile phones at break and dinnertime? 8

Safety is the overriding factor. Social media is used a lot for cyber bullying and do not want this to occur in school.

School does not have control over students phones so cannot risk anyone accessing inappropriate sites during school.

Aware that it could be used as an educational tool so that is why some schools allow student to allow usage, but we do have a large amount of computers around school for students to access.

If we struggle with a subject is there any extra support? 8

Staff monitor student progress from assessments that are taken – this tells us who is struggling and what specific areas help is needed – would like to think students are using the Monday night sessions if are requiring extra support.  Up to teachers to recognise where intervention is needed, where under achieving is occurring.  

Is there a school councillor? 8

Yes, Elaine Thompson, she works 2 days a week and can be accessed through HoH/DHoH or Mr Willson.

Why are lessons 50 minutes here and in other schools an hour?  

Around 6 years ago when looking at lessons and the amount of work getting done was felt the pace of lessons was not enough – thought could achieve more in shorter lessons – increase the pace, forcing the teacher to make students work quicker.  There has been a considerable improvement in this area so we have had a re-think for September and we will be reverting back to hour lessons – will have 24, 1 hour lessons a week.    We feel the pace in lessons now has massively improved so moving back to move back to hour lessons. We will be removing afternoon registration and adding 10mins to morning registration.  Another change will be no PD lesson. PD will be delivered during morning registration time – 15 mins each morning.

Why is this school designed like it is? 7

Took a long time to design it. 

Government only allocated so much amount of money – and we were only given so much floor space so had to design a school with enough classrooms – school was built for 900 students so when up to capacity will be very busy – especially dining area so in time will have to eventually extended space for dining hall and go to split lunch.

WE also had to ensure we had certain amount of Science and Technology rooms also needed space for Language unit.  This was the simplest design that provided all our needs and fitted the shape of the site.  Our design was the lead design for 11 other schools

Why do we not learn Spanish until Year 8? 7

Made a decision few years ago to offer only French as most primary schools were doing French and our teachers in school were French specialists 

Why don’t we get woodwork and Art? 7

Students do get the opportunity to cover these subjects but over the course of 3 years – will get opportunity to do everything but not enough time or staff to allow you to do it all of the time.

Why do we do three separate assessments in Science? 8

Due to three separate subjects within Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics – allows teachers to identify topic areas student may struggle – and from Y9 most students will study separate sciences.



Mr Knowles asked:

What is Good and what feels good?

Environment feels much better which has an impact on leaning

D12 is good introduction especially in lessons as it stops our teachers who are subject leaders being pulled out of lesson and having to deal with problems from other students from other classes.

What do you think of Hetton Honours and how it is working?  Is it rewarding the right things?  Is it publicised enough?  Adding platinum badge to it?

Need a bigger push and bigger reason to participate as a lot of students don’t.

Section on trips – don’t think it is a priority or a true reflection of how you doing in school. Should be more focussed on what we learn from experiences.

Need to be doing more within the Community, e.g. becoming involved in annual Hetton Festival.

Idea of a Platinum Badge – something to strive for that would be hard to achieve

 Who would be interested in a trip to China?

In a couple of weeks there will be an assembly on China – launching trip for students to go.  Also in the process of developing a partner school in France to have an exchange link there – but very early stages at the moment.

Hetton Welcomes the Lions


On Monday, Hetton School hosted a special event with 133 Year 5 students from their partner primary schools of Hetton Primary, Eppleton Academy Primary, Hetton Lyons Primary, East Rainton Primary, and Easington Lane Primary School.

Hetton School was delighted to welcome the Lions of Zululand – a talented group of singers and dancers from South Africa. The performers enjoyed promoting the culture of South Africa and having a great time with the students. The group performed and demonstrated their unique culture through dance and music to the delight of pupils, staff, parents and governors. The atmosphere was electric as the ‘Lions’ rushed into the hall screaming, singing, dancing, playing the drums and waving shields and sticks.


The pupils then had the opportunity to spend the day with the ‘Lions’ who put on workshops celebrating the similarities and differences between British and Zulu culture. The children worked in small groups to learn about Zulu language and culture, Zulu art, songs and dance.


They learned how to greet each other using the Zulu language and discovered facts about how the people live in traditional ways. At the end of the day the students came together again to show what they had learned as they sang and danced together with the Lions of Zululand for one last performance in front of parents.


The students said it was a wonderful day and that they had a brilliant time. All the schools involved are very grateful to the ‘Lions’ team. Hetton School Headteacher, Craig Knowles, said “The whole event really opened everyone’s eyes to the culture and diversity of others in the world, but also to the similarities we all share. The day will stay in the minds of the students for a long time.”


More information on Hetton School can be found on our website or via our Facebook page.


More information on the Lions of Zululand can be found at



IMG_9989 v2



Beacon of Light


The Beacon of Light is Sunderland’s newest elite sports venue, as part of the fundraising and backing the Beacon with the light up wristbands. Available to purchase at the School Reception for £3!

Beacon of Light bandsBeacon of Light is Sunderland’s most innovative sports and education facility and the first of its kind in the UK. Found next to the Sunderland Aquatic Centre and Stadium of Light, this exciting new venue is set to open in summer 2018 and will become an iconic addition to the north-east skyline.

The facility will feature five stories of sports halls, football pitches, informal learning spaces and state-of-the-art education suites designed to facilitate four interactive zones — Education, Health and Wellbeing, Sport and Play, and World of Work. These areas have been carefully designed to deal with our region’s biggest challenges, and will create life-changing opportunities for local people to re-energise our communities.

Inclusive and easily accessible, Beacon of Light will welcome around 6,000 people a week and act as a community hub for everyone who wants to take part in exciting programmes to improve their lives and prospects. Focused on motivating people and providing life-changing skills and qualifications at a time when public services are dwindling, Beacon of Light is destined to be a centre of support for locals of all ages and abilities.

The Beacon will include high-quality sports facilities available to local people of all levels and abilities. Whether you’re looking for a kickabout with friends or a first-class training venue for your club.


•5-a-side 3G floodlit outdoor pitches

•7-a-side 4g indoor pitch

•3 indoor sports hall courts for netball, basketball and futsal

•12 badminton courts

Headteacher visits Harbin

Harbin 2018

This week Headteacher, Mr Knowles has been representing our school and Sunderland on an educational visit to Harbin in China. Below is the first of a number of posts from Mr Knowles showing some of his activities and the reasons for the visit:

Children in one of Sunderland’s linked primaries showcase their talents.

Children in one of Sunderland’s linked primaries showcase their talents.

In 2009 the cities of Sunderland and Harbin signed a partnership agreement to promote cultural understanding and friendship between schools. One of the results of this agreement was our international partnership with No.76 Middle School in Harbin. In 2012 Miss Paget and I led a student visit to Harbin (and Beijing) for 17 students. In 2019 on the 10th anniversary of the original agreement we aim to take another group with a group from Harbin returning in exchange.

Students in Harbin Experimental School in their Electronics and Robotics class

Students in Harbin Experimental School in their Electronics and Robotics class

During this visit I have been visiting a number of primaries assiting Sunderland Headteachers who have either not visited before or are establishing new partnerships. The trip will culminate with a visit to No76 Middle School and a formal banquet with the Harbin Director of Education. At this and a number of other formal occasions I have and will be delivering speeches, presentations and toasts about the partnership and showcasing the history, culture and bright future of Hetton, Sunderland and Hetton School.

One of the many formal banquets

One of the many formal banquets

On Sunday before the school visits began, I had the chance for a bit of sightseeing and visited some of the areas we will take students in 2019.

Harbin Tiger Reserve - This is a type of Safari Park conserving the Siberian Tiger

Harbin Tiger Reserve – This is a type of Safari Park conserving the Siberian Tiger

Harbin Grand Theatre - Yes it did climb the 330 steps to the top!

Harbin Grand Theatre – Yes I did climb the 330 steps to the top!

The pedestrianised Main Street of Harbin

The pedestrianised Main Street of Harbin

In our first two school visits we were treated to some amazing performances by the students (and teachers). This included, skipping, drumming, dancing, singing, poetry, matrial arts, Hover Polo and many more.

Hover Polo - practicing their skills. Image Hockey on Hovver boards!

Hover Polo – practicing their skills. Image Hockey on Hovver boards!

Martial Arts class in PE

Martial Arts class in PE

Below is a link to a short clip of a young student playing the Guzheng


The teachers got in on the act showing their drumming skills


I will post again in a couple of days including my visit to our partner school. After Easter Miss Paget and I will launch the 2019 trip and invite interested students from Yr7.

Fairtrade Coffee Morning

Hetton School Life

On Thursday 15th March students from Key Stage three baked Fairtrade muffins, cakes, breakfast bars and cookies to serve to staff the following day.

On Friday 16th March, members of the Interact Club served these products to staff with Fairtrade coffee from Starbucks in order to raise money for the Fairtrade charity. The Interact Club raised £79.50 for the Fairtrade charity which helped them to complete their worldwide service project and keep Hetton School’s FairAchiever award.

Fairtrade 2018