Valley Gardens News

Kindness - Resilience - Respect

April 2022

Message from the Headteacher

Dear Parents/Carers

This has been a fantastic term with the pupils having the chance to take part in all sorts of activities and trips; it has been great to see our pupils enjoying these experiences again after such a long break. I'm sure you are aware that the COVID situation has not necessarily gone away, and the infection rates are rising quite quickly again. It has been a real struggle keeping our school fully staffed so that learning is not interrupted over the last term. Staff absences have been high and the availability of supply teachers is very poor. We expect these pressures to continue into next term.

We will be saying goodbye to three long serving members of staff at the end of the term. Ms Laidler, one of our Teaching Assistants is retiring. We wish her a long and happy retirement and thank her for her many years of service. Mr Wallbank and Miss Horsman are also leaving us to take on new challenges in a different school. Both teachers will be sorely missed by children and colleagues alike. We wish them every success in their new ventures and thank them for everything that they have done for our school community over so many years. Mr Wallbank will be succeeded as Head of Year 8 by Mr May.

We hope you have a great Easter.


David Godfrey


Safeguarding Update

The Safeguarding page of our school website contains a summary of key information about safeguarding and child protection at Valley Gardens Middle School. Please click on the link to browse.

See below a brief outline of some of the key points.

Safer Schools App - Valley Gardens can offer parents access to this app which offers information on issues affecting young people and communities.

Digital/Online Safety - you can find links to useful websites to help parents determine the dangers in unfamiliar apps and online games.

Mental Health Support Pathway - which shows services to support children and young peoples mental health.

If you have any safeguarding concerns you can email our Designated Safeguarding Lead and Deputy Head, Mr Hope,

Upcoming Events, Activities & Holidays

8th April - Teacher Training Day

11th - 22nd April - Easter Holiday

28 April - Active Daily Mile

2nd May - Public Holiday

6th May - Year 5 Skipping Workshop

w/c 9th May - SATS Week for Year 6

9th May - Parent Focus Group

19th May - Instrumental Group Concert 6.30pm

26th May - Year 5&6 Theatre Trip

w/c 30th May - Half Term Holiday

6th June - Jubilee Holiday

19th - 25th June - Germany Trip Year 8

20th - 23rd June - Bikeability Year 5

24th - 26th June - Hawes End Outdoor Activity Trip

27th June - 1st July - High Borrans Adventure Trip Year 6

4th July - Theatre Sans Frontieres in School

5th July - Transition Day

6th July - Transition Day

7th July - Golf Trip to North Berwick

8th July - E Praise Afternoon

14th July - Bastille Day

15th July - Year 8 Leavers Prom

20th July - Leavers Assembly Year 8

21st July - Teacher Training Day

22nd July - 2nd September - Summer Holidays

School Uniform on Sale

Did you know that school uniform is on sale all year round from the school office?

There is also a try and buy night coming up in June (date tbc), arranged by Friends of Valley Gardens, in the Summer Term. We accept cash or cheques (made payable to Friends of Valley Gardens Middle School) or Card Payments in person. The order form is available on our school website.

Friends of Valley Gardens

As we entered the new school year in Sept 2021, the Friends met to discuss the possible calendar of events for the up and coming school year. Sadly COVID has resulted in us having to scale back activities as we try and keep the pupils safe and follow the government guidelines. We’ve still been active and managed to still host;

  • Halloween tuckshop
  • Christmas Movie night
  • Christmas Raffle
  • Disco night and hotdogs for years 5 & 6
  • Serve refreshments at the music soloist concert
  • Easter Egg tombola.

Still to come, so watch out for dates;

  • Second hand uniform shop
  • Valley Gardens take over the Park Run (sponsored run)
  • Tuck shops and ice lolly sales
  • Prom for year 8 leavers Friday 15th July

Please remember all monies raised are invested back into the school to make sure as many pupils as possible benefit from the fundraising activities.

CyberFirst Girls Competition

Earlier this term, four Year 8 girls from Valley Gardens Middle School competed in the North East Final of the CyberFirst Girls Competition run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ. Having qualified through the online round from over ten thousand girls across the UK, the girls were among ten schools who attended the regional final at Teesside University. The university were fantastic hosts for this prestigious event. The girls competed in a morning and afternoon session, tackling logic, cryptography, networking and programming problems. The problems were graded attracting different point values, the object being to accumulate the highest number of points. The results were delivered in reverse order in a fabulous new lecture theatre at the university. The tension built as the results were announced. The girls were stunned when it became apparent that they had emerged victorious. A tremendous achievement when competing against such a talented group of girls from schools across the NE!

Behind CyberFirst are GCHQ and NCA with the objective of encouraging more girls to pursue qualifications and careers in Computer Science and in particular in Cyber Security. If the standard of the girls in this competition is anything to go by, the future is looking bright for the tech sector.

As a result of this achievement the winning teams from across the United Kingdom were invited to the inaugural CyberFirst Awards Dinner at The National Museum for Science and Media in Bradford. They enjoyed a private viewing of the Code Breakers Exhibition, mocktails, a three course dinner and inspirational talks from people from different areas of cyber security. Poppy, Jessie, Beth and Anna should be very proud of their achievement which will hopefully inspire more girls to get involved in cyber opportunities in the future.

Counselling Team New Arrivals

We are pleased to announce new arrivals in the Counselling team, thanks to the amazing knitters and seamstresses at Knit-for-Nowt we have 5 new Worry Monsters. Knit-for-Nowt is a charitable service based in Yorkshire. They knit, crochet, or sew hand puppets and "worry monsters", which are used by therapists to help children deal with a wide range of issues. They are made by a dedicated team of volunteer knitters/makers and then donated to Children's therapists all across the UK. The students love the new additions and have made them feel very welcome in their new home at Valley Gardens!

Debra Coldwell

School Counsellor


Save the Children in Jan raised £507.54.

For Ukraine we have raised £2438.37 but then on top of that 6SBU bake sale raised £370, half of which has been donated to Ukraine (DEC), the other half going to Cancer Research.

Comic Relief raised £638.75.

Bake Sale Success

A group of 6SBU pupils held a highly successful bake sale over two days in March in order to raise money for two very worthwhile causes. The boys involved were James R, Haashir K, Ben W, Finlay W, Charlie J and Max R. They worked extremely well as a team to prepare and organise the event, and were able to furnish their customers with a delicious range of goodies to tempt them to part with their money. Overall, the boys raised over £370 at the sale, with the money raised being split between Cancer Research and the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian appeal. The fundraisers would like to express their thanks to all those who came along and were so generous in their contributions, and all staff who took the time to help with supervision of the event.

Year 7

Year 7 have been very busy. Sports teams have represented the school, they've taken part in residential visits, musicians have played in our assemblies and we also have a prize winning mathematician in our midst. They have taken the change to Key Stage 3 in their stride and are demonstrating wonderful talents across the entire curriculum.

Two visits to High Borrans have allowed the year group to develop their team working skills away from the classroom.

We visited Whitley Bay High School this week for them to participate in transition activities in preparation for their move to High School-you'll be applying for their places in October! They were enthusiastic and engaged in all of the activities. The High School staff commented on how wonderful they all were and how much they enjoyed working with them. It was clear that they were wonderful ambassadors for the school and made a fantastic first impression.

Enjoy a restful Easter break.

Girls Football

Valley Girls footballers have had an extremely successful term with the U11s reaching the Premier League National Finals to be held at Watford FC in May. They made it through qualifying rounds at Cochrane Park and then, on NU Foundations fantastic new rooftop 3G, beating Ovingham Middle 2-0 in the decider.

Later that week the U11s travelled to Liverpool FC Academy for the Northern Finals of the ESFA 6-a-side Cup performing amazingly to qualify as runners up for the forthcoming National Finals.

To cap off a fantastic hat-trick the U11s reached the County Cup Final to be held at the end of April after convincingly beating Highfield Middle School in the semis.

Further to the U11s success the U13 Girls will play in the County Cup Final on the 4th May at Longbenton Sports Grounds after beating Newminster Middle 3-0 in the semis.

The Year 7 Girls reached the Tyne and Wear Finals of the 5-a-side tournament after winning the North Tyneside round and performed well at the Stadium of Light.

British Science Week

This term we were able to celebrate STEAM subjects during British Science week.

The week began with Year 5 experiencing what it would be like to be in an F1 team. Pupils had to plan, design and make working F1 cars that used high pressure air propulsion to launch down a 20 metre track.

Year 6 learnt about structures and how important triangles are in construction and made tasty spaghetti towers - not many marshmallows survived the day.

Year 7 became forensic scientists for the day and had to work through a variety of tasks to help solve the mystery of the crime scene in the hall, they even had a parental expert who gave them an insight into what a forensic Scientist would do to help them be prepared for the day.

Our year 8's became myth busters, coding in computing, making an egg parachute in DT and wondering if dock leaves really do help with nettle stings in Science.

The week was a huge success and all pupils involved embraced the activities with enthusiasm and resilience.

School Council visit the Houses of Parliament - by Logan (8SHI)

Wednesday, April 30th

7:50 - At the very beginning of the trip, all members of the Student Council met at Central Station in Newcastle, prepared to board the train at 8:02. After 3 hours on the train playing games we arrived at Kings Cross Station in London, before walking straight to the London Underground. The Underground took us as far as Victoria Station, where we then walked down to the Houses of Parliament. After we had all eaten lunch, our group entered the Houses of Parliament.

The visit started with a tour around the Houses of Parliament, which led us through the House of Commons, The Main Lobby, and some of the many corridors winding around the building. This tour of the Houses was a very unique experience, as the place is like no other, with intricate mosaics and stained glass windows throughout. When the tour was complete, we went back to the entrance building we passed through to get into the building before. Here, we took part in a workshop detailing how Parliament makes a law, and the processes which are used to make this law. This part of the trip was interesting, involving a debate between all of us for the law of banning smoking. This involved every person who wanted to talk. This debate between us gave some good points, and it was a great way to simulate a real debate. We had a great tour guide who gave us a brilliant tour (and he had a good Boris impression too).

I really enjoyed this trip to the Houses of Parliament. When we did this, we learnt about the stages of making a law, from the idea, the bill, the House of Commons and House of Lords, up to the royal palace and finally as a real law. When we were having our own debate, we took part in ‘Bobbing’, the process of standing up to alert the speaker that you want to talk about something, and I did this and spoke about the effects of smoking on people. Overall, I enjoyed this trip and had a great time in London, learning about the important process of making a law to make the UK a better place.

After we had completed the workshop, our group started walking back to the Underground, after stopping to eat something first. After this, we went back on the underground, switched trains once, and made it back to King’s Cross. Then it was only a 3-hour train ride back to Newcastle and we had returned from the trip, having had an amazing time in the city of London, and back with new knowledge about the way to make laws.

SEND & Kooth Coffee Morning Dates

Kooth Coffee Morning - Friday 6th May at 9am - The Kooth Team will be at school to showcase how parents/carers can support mental health through their service which is aimed at 11-15 year olds. (Please call the office to reserve a space)

SEND Coffee Morning - Tuesday 17th May at 9am - North Tyneside's parent/carer forum will be at school to signpost local groups and services for pupils with additional needs.



Valley Gardens journey towards Artsmark is now back in full swing with activities and displays of wonderful creative work going up all over our school. The standard is truly remarkable for students of this age! Watch out for more Arts-based developments coming up soon as well as more opportunities for students, parents and carers to participate in Arts activities at Valley Gardens.

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Our Year 8 students continue with their own Arts journey through Artsaward at Valley Gardens, which is now a recognised Artsaward Centre. The students are already through their first term and have produced some wonderful artwork to promote the Arts in school. Watch out for their A0 canvases around the school inspired by artist Bob and Roberta Smith...they are fantastic! They are looking forward to a visit to London at the end of May too, where they will explore the wonderful culture our capital city has to offer.

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Year 5 High Borrans Trip

Earlier this term 36 children from Year 5 visited High Borrans in the Lake District for 5 days of fun-filled activity. They canoed on the reservoir, swung from ropes, scrambled up ghylls - getting as wet as possible! - walked up hills and crept through caves and tunnels. It was an amazing week and the children showed endless enthusiasm for the activities. The teamwork was superb as they helped and supported each other as people faced their fears of heights and dark, narrow spaces. Everyone who went had a brilliant time and came back having learnt something new - including how to make their beds and pack their bags! Congratulations to everyone, staff and children, who made this such a memorable week.

Ski Trip to Austria

A huge well done to all pupils and Staff for this Year's Ski Trip to Austria. Despite the COVID hurdles thrown at us , the trip was truly memorable and the pupils were all an absolute credit to their families . We look forward to the next trip for Year 8 to Hawse End in June, and getting the letter out for current Year 6 pupils to visit Austria skiing in 2023.

Valley Gardens Out of School Club

Do You Need Child Care?

Our Out of School Club offers breakfast and after school care where children can enjoy a wide range of indoor/outdoor activities in a happy, safe and caring environment.

We are based within the school in the Music Block and have our own area, designated just for us, which is packed with activities and games for the children to enjoy.

All of our staff are very experienced, appropriately qualified and DBS checked. We are registered and approved by OFSTED.

For more information please contact Jill on 07769037094.


Follow us on twitter to keep up to date with the exciting activities and sporting events that our pupils enjoy all year round.