School blog

June 17th - Group 4 residential

Following a day of preparation (Thursday), including putting the tents up on the school field, we visited the Splash Park at Huddersfield Leisure Centre.  As it was quiet, pupils and staff managed lots of turns on the water slides, with Russell 'Torpedo' Stickney setting a slide time record of 7.14 seconds!  

After this, the group returned to school for an evening barbecue and camp fire in the woods.  The weather was perfect and everyone managed a good night's sleep.

On Friday, we visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, seeing lions, tigers and giraffes and more.

The staff involved are incredibly proud of how well the pupils conducted themselves throughout the residential.

June 13th - 'Superheroes'

A new term meant that we were changing from 'Superheroes' but before we moved on we awarded our prize for the most improved time on the training circuit.  Everyone had an initial lap time and then the person who won was the one who most improved on their own time.

The winner was KYE.

This week we have started a new topic area all about 'Carnivals'.  We have looked at what a carnival is and where they are held.  A carnival is like a street party and everyone dresses up and you sing and dance and celebrate together.  One of the most famous carnivals is held at Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.

We are going to have our own carnival party at the end of term and celebrate the end of the school year.  We have started this week making some masks - it was quite tricky but we were pleased with the results.

We have also been practicing our forward rolls and are very good at them.  Some of the carnival films we have seen have acrobats and the clowns were doing forward rolls just like us.  

We have had a good week!

Group 1BS


June 11th 2016 - Honley Show

I was extremely proud to join staff, pupils and parent on our craft stall at Honley Show on Saturday. This was the second time our school has been represented at the event. This year, produce for sale included colourful bird boxes, bug houses, sweet trees, children's toys and tomato plants all of which had been made or grown by our pupils over the last half term. The stall looked fantastic. We also had a second table in the exhibition tent sharing the work pupils undertook earlier in the year as part of the Living Eggs Project, which was sponsored by the show's organisers.

We are extremely grateful to Honley Show for the support they offer our school. Attending the show helps to bring our enterprise curriculum to life and enables pupils to practice a range of skills including communication, negotiation, decision making, creativity and leadership.  I can confirm that when it comes to selling, some of our pupils are extremely good negotiators. Many thanks to everyone who supported our school and the event as a whole.  More pictures of the day can be found in the website Gallery. 

Sarah Wilson


June 10th 2016 - GCSE exams and Duke of Edinburgh Award

In the last few weeks we have been revising for and sitting our GCSE exams.  So far we have done three science papers, one maths paper, one English paper (2 hours and 15 minutes!!) and one PE exam.  Yesterday was our final exam, which was the maths calculator paper. 

We have also been getting all our equipment prepared for our Duke of Edinburgh expedition.  We are going to be hiking and camping overnight.  We have been busy organising our bags and making sure we have everything we need.  We have also been shopping for all the essential items such as burgers, noodles and drinks... staff have also told us we need waterproofs, walking boots and a sleeping bag.  Along with Group 6, we will be hiking and then camping overnight with staff members Heather, Russ, Carl and John... they are very brave.  This is for our Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

Group 8


June 7th 2016 - Preparing for change

As a school, we recognise that the transition from primary to secondary school and, indeed, from one class to another is an important time in the lives of children and their families.  For this reason, we have modified our transition arrangements to ensure a more robust system that aims to reduce anxiety about change prior to September.  This year our transition will include a welcome letter, two transition days and a pre-September move into new groups as follows: 

22nd June - All pupils to receive welcome letters from their new staff team.  Pupils will spend the day taking part in team building activities with their new groups.

29th June - Pupils will spend the day in their new groups.

4th July – 18th July - Pupils will join their new groups on a full time basis.

There will also be an opportunity for you to meet members of your child’s new staff team at our upcoming parents’ afternoons on 7th July (current KS2 pupils) and 14th July (current KS3 pupils).  You will receive an invitation to these meetings at the start of July.  The parents and carers of pupils in year 10 will be contacted separately.

Unfortunately, as is always the case at the end of the year, some staff will be moving on and we will be welcoming new staff members to the School in September.  This means that not everyone will be in post to support this transition.   Each group, however, will be working with members of staff that they know and will include at least one representative from their new staff team.

If you require any more information at this time, please get in touch.


May 17th 2016 - Exam Timetables

Please be aware that GCSE exams start today and pupils in year 10 and 11 are now working on personalised group timetables. If you require any more information please speak to Lydia Harrison.


April 29th 2016 - GCSE Exams

This term we are preparing for our GCSE exams that start in three school days.  Our first exam is Biology on the 17th May.  We have been working hard to prepare completing practice papers.

We have successfully completed our five GCSE English Controlled Assessments which included two creative writing pieces on; Of Mice and Men and Romeo and Juliet, we finally studied WW1 poetry.

A couple of the group are completing the Duke of Edinburgh Volunteering at a local bowling club by painting, cleaning and making outdoor benches. Others have been litter picking in the local area.

We are also preparing for our Duke of Edinburgh Expedition and will be setting off on the 23rd June for our two day residential practice.

Group 6


April 21st 2016 - The British Red Cross

This week in Key Stage 4 we welcomed Courtlin from The British Red Cross. Courtlin ran a short workshop which challenged some of the stereotypes and negative media surrounding refugees and encouraged our young people to look at this complex issue independently and come to their own conclusions. The session was fun and interactive and we hope to build on this with further sessions later in the school year. 


April 21st 2016 - Enterprise Project

Group 5 have been involved in an enterprise project over the last couple of weeks.  As part of the project we have designed and built sweet trees that we have sold at Dewsbury Market. Jaheim was the expert salesman and used his persuasive skills to sell several sweet trees to passers-by.  We took a break from all the lollypop art to make fajitas for lunch, which all the pupils thought were super spicy!

We have also started our growing project and have begun weeding the raised beds ready to start growing some of our own food.

In Maths we have been looking at how percentages work and calculating the rise and fall of stocks to try and make a virtual profit.  In English we have looked at persuasive text and have looked at diary writing by studying Adrian Mole. Some of our pupils have been working on motorbike maintenance and road safety: trial bikes and motorbikes.

The staff and pupils have been glad of the amazing sunshine this week and have used it to take our Social Use of Language lessons outside.


April 19th 2016 - What it means to be British

To celebrate the Queen's birthday, pupils in KS2 have been writing cards to the Queen explaining why they are proud to be British. Kavannah wrote the following great paragraph in his English lesson yesterday:

What it means to me to be British...

I love to be British because I have a Sunday dinner every Sunday. I have roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with lots of gravy. I also think having a royal family makes me feel more British, because I have a wonderful family and I care for all of my elders and my youngers. And, I have a lovely little puppy and it makes me happy and makes me feel British as a lot of British families have pets.


April 15th 2016 - Birthday celebration and project work

Pupils settled back in quickly following their Easter Break, and we began the term by celebrating Lee's 13th birthday down in the woods. Pupils cooked him two beef burgers using the barbeque which he requested as his treat.  Lee was served his meal with a candle in the bun, with the group staff and pupils singing him happy birthday. The group's cooking skills were tested as the barbecue lost heat and a camping stove was used to ensure they could all enjoy a meaty breakfast.

Back in class, pupils have continued with project work looking at identity, covering biographies in English, parts of the body in science and the temperatures of countries with indigenous people in maths.  In the afternoon, pupils have continued with the outdoor survival project, including building a cob oven using materials found on site, that they can hopefully cook pizzas in - if successful.  Wish us luck!

Group 4 

April 12th 2016 - Summer term updates

Parent/Carer Survey

We would like to thank everyone who was able to complete and return our annual parent/carer survey. Your responses have been sent away for analysis and will help provide valuable information about the strengths of our school and also the areas we need to develop.

Honley Show

After an extremely successful day last year, we will be returning to Honley Show on Saturday 11th June when pupils will be selling products they have made as part of their ASDAN and Enterprise programmes. The show is held at Farnley Tyas and includes a range of activities, agricultural events, stands and displays. 

We are running the stand with our pupils from 08:00 until 16:00 and would very much welcome support from parent and carer volunteers. Representatives from our Governing Body are also hoping to join us and would welcome the opportunity to meet you. The school will reimburse the cost of entrance tickets for any volunteers who are able to support us. Monies raised will go towards our ‘Engaging Families Fund’. For more details, please contact your child’s group leader or call the school and ask for Liz Morritt.

Nortonthorpe’s Three Peaks Challenge

We would also like to invite you to join our Nortonthorpe Hall School ‘Three Peaks Challenge’, which will take place on Friday May 6th. This is a whole school enrichment day on which we will be jointly completing three different outdoor walks. The school building will be closed on this day as we will all be keeping fit, supporting each other and enjoying the Great Outdoors.  Our ‘Three Peaks’ include the following:

  • Hill walk – a higher level of fitness is required
  • Waterfall walk – a medium level of fitness is required
  • Nature walk – a basic level of fitness is required

There will be an information briefing for parents and carers who would like to attend on Tuesday 3rd May at 15:30.  If you are interested in joining us or would like more information, please contact Ryan Gladwin before Friday 29th April.  

Nortonthorpe chickens

One final update: Bev from KS2 has sent in this fantastic picture of the chicks we hatched last term - look how much they have grown! We hope they will rejoin us later this term when our hen house arrives.


April 12th 2016 - Call for evidence

Young person led review of child and adolescent emotional health and wellbeing and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Kirklees

Jane Held has been appointed as an independent person to chair a review of how well Emotional Health and Well-Being and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services work in Kirklees. The review panel includes family representatives and children and young people who have used or are still using services to help their own emotional health. The panel seeks contributions, views and evidence from as many people as possible about both emotional health and wellbeing services and CAMHS in the area to inform the review. In particular, the panel would like to hear from children and their families.

They are particularly interested in:

  • The views and experiences on children and young people when they feel they need help to meet their needs in terms of their emotional health and wellbeing
  • The views and experiences of children and young people when they are getting ill and trying to access help
  • The experiences of families when they are asking for advice, support and help to meet the needs of their children in terms of early help to improve their emotional health and wellbeing or when they know they need help because their child is ill
  • The views of those children, young people who currently use or who have used CAMHS services in the last three years about the accessibility, responsiveness, flexibility and openness of the services, what worked well and why and what worked less well
  • The views of any respondent about what a really outstanding service could and should look like in the 21st century (withrestricted resources)

We would encourage as many people as possible to respond.  Your thoughts and comments should be sent to by 24th April 2016.

Please remember this is an open email so do not use individual’s names or any personal details that could compromise confidentiality The review cannot respond to queries or concerns about individual casework matters not can it help with providing access to services. 


April 11th - Summer Term

Welcome to the summer term! Just a quick reminder that our Mobile Phone Policy comes into force today and pupils are now expected to hand in their phones at the gate.  Please speak to your Pastoral Leader if you have any questions about this. 

The KS2 topic for this half term is Superheroes.  Please find homework tasks here.

KS3 are continuing to work on ID and should complete any outstanding tasks from this unit.


March 22nd - Homework projects

Ashley from 1BS has completed some fantastic homework this weekend. The birds in his garden loved the feeders he made - great job Ashley!

Ashley's mum said 'They went down a treat as after we hung them at the rear of the garden the birds got a bit over zealous and they have been pecked off onto the floor'.


March 18th - In the garden

It has been a good week in 1BS as we have been able to spend some time outside in the garden taking advantage of the good weather.

We have used the time to move some of the raspberry canes up into Wheatley Hill garden.  Everyone in the class loves fruit so it will be good to grow some of our own.

Paws, claws and whiskers topic has seen us investigating vertebrates and invertebrates which led to another excursion into the garden to examine habitats.  Whilst we were there we were challenged to a worm charming event by staff!

To worm charm you have to encourage the worms to come to the surface and the winner is the one with the most worms.  The National Worm Charming Championships are in June and the record is 513 worms in 30 minutes.  People use all kinds of techniques to 'charm' the worms but mostly it is hitting or tapping the ground.  Elliott sung to them and it must have worked because he and his partner Ashley raised the most invertebrates!

We finished our week with a Sports Relief event led by some of the KS4 boys who are becoming sports leaders as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award work.  It was a good morning and everyone enjoyed the sports.


March 11th - Paws, claws and whiskers

The pupils have been busy with the new topic, paws, claws and whiskers.  This half term we have been looking at animals and exploring what we already know about them and the different habitats that suit different animals.  To aid them with their understanding of certain animals the boys paid a visit to the Pet Warehouse in Huddersfield to look at and hold certain animals they have recently learnt about.  Some of the animals such as the spiders were terrifying and Dominic would not walk past the live insects as he said they looked creepy.  They were almost as creepy as the parrot who would not stop screaming!

This week in English the class have been looking at classic Fables and have been trying to create their own story with a moral.  Some fantastic writing has been done by the boys with good morals and we look forward to our exciting times ahead.

Class 1CY


March 4th - Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award

The last couple of weeks have been busy in group 8.  In particular we have made some good progress towards our Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. Last Thursday several members of the group completed their first two hour expedition and walked around Lancet Reservoir on the edge of the Peak District. In our skills sessions some of the group have moved on from learning sign language and have now started to learn Spanish 'muy bien'! We have also completed our first volunteering session, 'Guerrilla' litter picking around Castle Hill (where we were thanked for our good work by a member of the public).

In KS4 we have held mock interviews, where, people from industry have come in to help our young people identify their own strengths and areas for development. It was a little nerve wracking, but those who took part did very well and received some excellent feedback from our visitors.

With GCSE exams only weeks away we have started to look through revision guides and discussed different strategies that we can use to revise. Only 8 teaching weeks to go!

Group 8


March 1st - Homework projects

Pupils in group 1BS completed some fantastic homework this week.  We loved reading about Kye's Grandma's Persian cat and Ashley's pets including Tiger who is ginger and purrs all the time. Kye also made a fantastic cat mask. Well done boys - we are really proud of you and you definitely deserve 50 extra WOWs! 


February 26th - Living Eggs Hatching Programme sponsored by Honley Show

Oh my goodness!  We have 11 chicks 6 boys and 5 girls - Frank, Geoffrey, KFC, Ahmed, Eric, Josh, Daisy, Lulu, Flower, Lottie and Florence.  They have fluffed up and are chirping.

We have set up their new home, the brooder box.  This is where they will live for the next 10 days.  They have a special light in the box to keep them warm as they are very fragile.  We have weighed them all and they seem very happy.

The chicks are going home with Mrs Snart for the weekend, and we are keen to see how they get on and how much they will grow.

You can watch a short video of the chicks in their brooder box by clicking here.

Group 7


February 26th - Post-School Activities

Over the last few weeks, a number of parents have asked if we can send more work home with their children. As a consequence, we will be writing to you today to share a number of post-school activities that your child can complete on their own or with your help. All of these activities are linked to the topics pupils are studying in class.  Additional maths and English work can be supplied - please contact our group leaders if you would like to discuss this in more detail. Letters have gone out to the parents and carers of children in KS2 and KS3 today - KS4 will follow shortly. Copies of the letters can be accessed below:

KS2 Post-School Activities - Spring Two

KS3 Post-School Activities - Spring Two


February 25th - And then there were 8!

Group seven are pleased to introduce Geoffrey, Frank, KFC, Daisy, Lulu, Ahmed, Flower and Lottie.


February 24th - Mock Interviews

The students in key stage four were offered the chance to take part in some employability skills workshops at school this week. As part of this they looked at some job vacancies and discussed how employers demonstrate what they are looking for in a new employee. We then talked about how they can identify the skills that they have and whether they fit with the vacancy. They then looked at how to advertise themselves on an application form. They even tackled the formidable personal statement, and did a fantastic job! They now have a copy of a form and statement they can refer to next time they have a real application form to complete or CV to write.

After this the students sat a mock interview with an outside person from industry. According to his feedback the students did themselves proud. In his words “The students were all really brave to try something like this and put themselves outside of their comfort zone and they should feel really proud of themselves. All of them came across as really mature and they had clearly put a lot of thought into the process. Both the application forms they produced and the interviews themselves showed how much they have to offer an employer.  I wish them all the best with the future”.

Megan (Careers Advisor)


February 24th - New admissions :)

We are very excited to welcome a number of new admissions to our school this week - although they haven't actually hatched yet!  Group 1 and Group 7 are currently monitoring the progress of our living eggs and we are expecting their arrival very soon.  We will keep you updated.


February 22nd - Imaginative Play

KS2 loved taking part in their project on the emergency services.  As part of the project they got to sit in a fire-engine and ride in a police car, finding out about the jobs of lots of interesting people.  It ended before the holidays with some imaginative play and theatre work


February 12th - Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award

This half term we have been working towards our Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.  We have been walking at Dove Stones with large rucksacks practising for our expedition.   We had a choice of Skills to improve: British Sign Language, Cooking and Event Management and we have been working on these Monday afternoons.  The Physical section was a choice of football, golf or the gym.

We have completed our English GCSE controlled assessment on World War 1 Poetry successfully and have started working on Of Mice and Men.  In Science we have been looking at renewable and non-renewable energy including wind, hydroelectric, solar and wave.

We enjoyed our trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see their poppy display and learn more about World War 1.

We are looking forward to World Food Day and will be cooking fajitas on Friday and researching Mexican foods and culture.

Enjoy the half term break.

Group 6


February 5th - World Wars

Group 5 have been looking at World Wars from different angles so far this half term.

In art and history we have looked at propaganda posters and how they used the English language to persuade people to help the war effort.  We also studied Picasso's anti-war work Guernica and produced our own exaggerated images of emotions as well as produced pencil shaded drawings of the weapons that were used during the wars.

The Tolson museum had a visit from us as we explored the war relics and the history of Huddersfield's contribution to the protection of our country.

In English we have been studying the effects of war on a fourteen year old boy left alone in the UK while reading 'Refugee Boy'.  We have been able to study the text and extract the author's intentions using Point Evidence Explain paragraphs.


January 29th - World War I

It has been an active week for Group 4 as we are currently learning about World War 1 both in and out of the classroom.

In maths we have calculated and drawn the area of trenches, using chalk to mark this on the concrete.  Next, we will use mental calculations to work out ration allowances and which were the best guns to use at the time.  We have reached the end of 'Refugee Boy', a story about a young asylum seeker called Alem, and will now study the book and film 'Warhorse'.

Out of the classroom, we have been clearing some of our woodland to make a World War 1 survival area.  Then we will erect a shelter (we had plenty of practice last week in a visit to Cliffe House) and build a cob oven for outdoor cooking, using recycled bottles and clay.  On Friday, we collected the clay from a local stream.  This was an extremely enjoyable activity (and messy one!).  You can see a picture of Nathan emptying his wellies if you look under the tab 'Awe and Wonder.'  On Thursday, we visited the war memorial in Shepley and some war graves in Shelley.  This was a moving experience as we found out that many of the soldiers were related, and the youngest victim was only just 18.

Next week we will discover who is the best pizza chef in our group.

Bye for now!


January 22nd - Bake Sale

Look at our amazing chef's hats!

This week KS2 hosted a bake sale as part of their project based on the Great Fire of London.  As part of the event, the boys built a replica bakery and helped to bake cakes, buns and biscuits to sell.  They even made their own currency, which they shared with staff and pupils - because money was very different in the 1600s.  This meant everyone could practice their maths skills and customer service.  

Class 1BS and 1CY


January 15th - The Diary of Samuel Pepys

We have been exploring the wonderful city of London in English and creating fact files on this about major landmarks.  The topic that we also found fascinating is looking at events that happened in the great fire of London and the decade surrounding it.  Samuel Pepys has been a very popular talking point as he lived through the plague and the great fire of London and wrote about both events in his diary.  We could not believe his luck! Samuel Pepys created the diary from 1660 but wrote it in much shorter English language.  We also loved the fact he hid cheese!

Class 1CY


January 8th - Great Fire of London and the Emergency Services

This week we moved into our new classroom.  It is very big and we have a lot more room to work and move around - though our desk looks like it has got smaller!  Ashley has joined our class and is now one of us.

Our topic this term is The Great Fire of London and the Emergency Services.  Until the fire in 1666 there was no Fire Service.  The fire started in Pudding Lane on the same day of the year as Alfie's birthday. We have made some salt dough bread models to sell in our Bakers shop. They had to cook for four hours but we did not set the fire alarm off! We also researched on the internet what the money was like when Charles II was in charge. There was only cash.

The biggest surprise this week was in the playground where there is now some new play and exercise equipment for us to use. It is really good but a bit muddy at the moment because of all the rain but it has not stopped us - we just wear our wellies!

Class 1BS


December 18th - Positive steps to post 16

As the end of the first term draws near we have reflected on the progress we have made, the relationships we have started to build and the positive steps we are making towards post 16.

This half term we have completed a controlled assessment in English on Romeo and Juliet and some have even completed the course work for our science GCSE, which counts for 25% of our final mark.  We have played badminton as part of our PE GCSE and tried new sports such as wrestling and boxing.

In this last week we are getting ready for Christmas, we have decorated our classroom and all chosen a present for another member of the group in a 'Secret Santa' activity.  We are looking forward to our Christmas dinner on Thursday with all the staff and students from Key Stage 4.

We would like to wish all the staff, students, parents and carers a merry Christmas and a happy new year.  See you in 2016!

Anthony, Cameron N, Cameron T, Dylan, Joe, Ryan, Lydia and Kathryn


December 11th - First World War

Lots has been happening for Group 7 since our last school blog, we have been studying First World War poetry as part of our English controlled assessment.  It has been very interesting to see how a soldier lived and fought in the trenches.  We also visited the Tolson Museum to see their exhibition, we saw weapons and items of uniform from the war as well as watching videos of dramatisations of diary extracts.  

In outdoor education we have been power kiting which has been fantastic! Especially as we have had very windy weather.

We have also enjoyed the outdoors and locating local geo caches, which is lots of fun, but we have to be careful when replacing the hidden caches as we don't want 'muggles' to find them.

We have also been making our own Christmas decorations and decorating our classroom.  We have a paper chain which reaches all the way around our classroom.

Anthony, Coby Zoe and Carole


December 10th - Our future astronauts 

I very much enjoy visiting classrooms throughout the school day to speak to pupils and find out what they are learning. This week, pupils in KS4 have been concentrating on the completion of GCSE coursework and KS3 pupils have enjoyed finding out about Eritrea and Ethiopia, two of the countries in Benjamin Zephaniah's book 'Refugee Boy.' This book has supported group 4 to consider the reasons that some people leave their country of birth and make the perilous journey to Europe and to safety.  

In another group, pupils have been testing out their skills as arctic explorers, getting into sleeping bags and putting up tents without removing their mittens, which prevent them from getting frost bite! After school, pupils have successfully taken part in week 4 of our Developing Our Potential for Excellence project, more about which can be found here. Tomorrow, pupils who are taking part in Fantastic Friday will be representing the school at a football fixture against Southfield Grange Academy in Bradford.

Visiting classrooms always reminds me how hard our staff work to nurture the artists, musicians, scientists, technicians and sportsman we have at our school.  As well as supporting academic progress, the many activities that take place also support pupils in developing confidence and patience, tolerance and perseverance, as they develop into happy and successful citizens.

My favourite picture of our pupils this week comes from KS2 where pupils have used their artistic and technical skills to create the most fantastic astronaut helmets - potential future NASA employees, I'm sure you'll agree.


December 3rd - Duke of Edinburgh Award

This half term Group 6 have started working towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  The award consists of four sections: Skills, Physical, Volunteering and Expedition training.  We are currently working on our map reading skills and learning the symbols found on maps.

On Tuesday we cook are own lunches - this involves choosing a healthy eating option, then planning, budgeting, going shopping to a local supermarket and working together to prepare the meal.

We have successfully completed our first controlled assessment in English on Romeo and Juliet and have started studying World War 1 poetry.  We will be visiting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see their WW1 and Poppy display before the Christmas break.

We are enjoying the lead up to the festive period.  We have decorated our classroom and have a great 6ft Christmas tree.  We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Jake, Jack, Lewis, Callum, Paul, Suraj, Heather, Stephen and Gina


November 27th - Explorers around the world

This half term we have been investigating explorers: the first people to travel around the world and the first people in space.

It was difficult to imagine a world without coffee or potatoes, although most of the class agreed we could do without tobacco!  One discussion we had revolved around exploring during a zombie apocalypse.  This led to us using the ipads to create our own short animation movies.

Our core subjects have also taken an exploring theme: using the theme of 'finding the unknown', we explored the use of letters in maths by studying algebra and some of the class were able to begin factorising quadratics, a skill usually used at top level GCSE and A-Level! 

We have also looked at a classic story 'The Iron Man' to see how the author explores different emotions during the story and have related these to our own emotions.  In science we are beginning to look at how gravity would effect our weight on different planets.

Finally, we have challenged the classes in Key Stage 4 to a Christmas Decoration Competition which we are ho-ho-hoping to win!

Group 5 - Jaheim, Joshua, Harley, Marcus, Rhys, Tom, Tyler


November 20th - Explorers in Space

Group 4 have been learning about explorers in space, including Laika and Yuri Gargarin, the first dog and human to orbit the Earth (although not at the same time!).  Sadly the group found out that Laika never returned to Earth.

Laika inspired our English lessons, where we were writing to argue about how brilliant (or not) dogs are.  The pupils each finished the week with a piece of extended writing.  Other space themed English lessons included writing advice for astronauts about to embark on a exploration of space, and comprehension around famous space explorers.

Science lessons have included mapping the Solar System and using mnemonics to remember the order of planets from the sun.  Following this, a specific investigation took place to find out if Neil Armstrong really did land on the moon.  After long debate, pupils generally decided it was all a fake! They were able to back up their explanations with evidence.

We have used lots of space data to inspire maths lessons.  We used this to make a clay model of the solar system using fractions and scale.  This was messy, but a good way to see how small Pluto is compared to Jupiter, and how far away it is.  All of this has been consolidated during the afternoons through space project work.

We will continue the space theme next week, including having our first taste of space food!

Ethan, Jak, Jake F, Jake R, Kayden, Kian, Lee, Nathan


November 13th - Celebrating 50 years!

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the families who joined us to celebrate our 50th anniversary and help raise money for Children in Need. We raised a whopping £183 (and are still counting).  It was fantastic to see so many of you and also meet pupils' aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. For those of you who were unable to attend you can find pictures in our gallery. We are particularly proud of the pupils who stood up to speak in front of so many visitors to tell us about the school and what they think makes it special. We definitely have some future public speakers in our midst! Below you can listen to Will telling us about the history of the school.


November 13th - 'The Iron Man'

It has been a very busy week in Group 3.  In our Literacy lessons this week, we have continued to study 'The Iron Man' by Ted Hughes.  We have thought about the terrible things that the Iron Man did in chapter 2 and created wanted posters to help catch him.  We have also looked into different types of food and created a suitable menu for the Iron Man.

In our Numeracy lessons we have spent the week thinking about data handling.  As a group we have collected different types of data across school and presented this in hand drawn graphs and also used ICT to create graphs.

We have spent some ICT time learning how to use Microsoft Excel.  We are now superstars at writing formulas to add data in cells together.

As part of Nortonthorpe Hall School's 50th birthday celebrations, we used our design and technology skills to make a 'Pull the String' game.  We loved using the tools, but cutting, tying and sliding over 200 pieces of string was a nightmare!  It was well worth it as our game was a big success and we raised lots of money for Children In Need.

We also won the award for the best group attendance. Well done us!


November 6th - Firework Safety

The new half term has started with a BANG down in Wheatley Hill.  We have spent the week thinking about fireworks and Bonfire night.  We have created some amazing work on firework safety so if any of you want to know how to keep safe around fireworks, just ask us and we will be glad to help!

We have also started our brand new project on Space! We have already made a model solar system.  Did you know the sun is about 109 times larger than the earth.  That's huge!

We are really looking forward to the term ahead and to learning more about our Solar System.

Ashley, Kayden, Ruben, JK, Becky and Alex


October 23rd - Volcanoes

We have had a fantastic first half-term.  We have looked at how a volcano works and created some amazing volcanoes and mountains from mudrock.  We also created dinosaur landscapes.  We were all very excited by the baking soda and vinegar reaction, and wanted the volcano to explode as a real volcano would as that would be very scary!

It was perfect timing that the last week of term was so close to Halloween, we carved pumpkins and took part in the fun activities planned for fancy dress on Friday.  

Chavez, Dominic, Harry-Jo, James, Kavannah


October 16th - Gang culture and knife crime theatre project

Last week we welcomed the team from Collingwood Learning into our school to deliver their new Gang Culture and Knife Crime Theatre-in-Education project. The project, shared with our pupils in year 9, 10 and 11, was funded by Kirklees Council. ‘Ten Years’ told the story of Mac who gets involved in a gang from a young age to escape family troubles and gain status. Jade is going out with a guy in a rival gang, but when Mac and Jade get together the gangs don’t like it and both characters become entangled in a feud. It culminates in Mac carrying a knife for an ‘Elder’ but when a fight kicks off Mac finds himself involved in a stabbing, earning himself ‘Ten Years’. We fast forward ten years and see the two characters meeting, now with vastly different lives, and questioning their actions back then.

In the workshop, students were able to interview the characters and get under the skin of why they made the decisions they did at the time, and what they would change if they had the chance. Ppuils then re-wrote the story and changed the decisions Mac and Jade made so that they both ended up safe from harm, and gangs.

The ‘Ten Years’ project is part of the Kirklees Gang Strategy, and a partnership of youth workers, teachers and the police will help follow up the initiative with young people in a range of settings.  Our pupils had a fantastic afternoon and particularly enjoyed talking to the characters after the performance. Pupils will be completing more work about the issues raised in the session over the coming few weeks.


October 16th - Mexican Meal

Last week group 8 researched foods from different countries and cultures and as a group decided to cook beef burritos.

We looked on the internet for recipes and then went to the supermarket for the ingredients.

Back at school we started to cook our burritos; we also made guacamole; prepared salad, tortilla chips and dips and assembled our fruit salad for afters. Jemma brought in some Jalapeno Pretzels which were tasty but hot.  Our Mexican themed meal was a success!!

Lydia, Kathryn, Jemma, Ryan, Joe, Dylan, Cameron T, Cameron N, Anthony


October 9th 2015 - Romeo and Juliet

Welcome to River Dearne College and Group 6’s school blog. We are over half way through the first term and we have been settling into our new environment with new staff.

In English, we have been studying Romeo and Juliet and working towards our first GCSE controlled assessment. In Outdoor Education, we have visited Digley Reservoir where we did some cooking on a camp fire. We have also enjoyed cycling, visiting the gym and playing snooker.

This term, we have been organising and making our own lunches for days we go out. This includes budgeting and shopping for our own ingredients. We are excited about the new subjects we are learning including ‘Leisure and Tourism’ and ‘GCSE PE’.

We are all working hard to earn points to spend in the WOW shop.

Suraj, Jake, Lewis, Paul, Callum, Heather, Stephen and Gina


September 25th 2015 - Our lives as movies

We would like to welcome you to the Stables. Group 3 are very lucky as we have access to 3 rooms now. We have the classroom, the dinning / ICT area and the upstairs nurture area.

This week we had our first Outdoor Education experience at Doncaster Dome. Unfortunately not all the slides were open, but we still had a fun time. In the morning, before we left, we all made our own dinner. We had sandwiches and also made Rocky Road pudding. It was delicious!

In part of our learning, we have created our lives as a movie. We have used computer editing to design the front cover of our own DVD case and written a movie blurb to describe our lives. We have also started some very good Maths, Literacy and ICT learning and are looking forward to a very successful year.

Many thanks, Jaden, Jamie, Ross, Alex, Adam, Liam, Will, Alfie, James, Lisa and Gareth.


September 22nd 2015 - Brand new website to support parents

The government has recently launched a brand new website to support parents. The website has been developed with ParentZone and CEOP, the police command responsible for child exploitation and online protection.

Parent Info is a collection of articles, tips, expert advice and resources designed to help parents keep up with what their children are doing on-line. For example, the site currently includes information about staying safe on minecraft, mental health, and building online resilience.


September 18th 2015 - Dinosaurs and fossils

Key stage 2 are in the middle of an exciting project involving dinosaurs and fossils! We have had a go at being archaeologists searching for fossils in our role play area. We have then made our own fossils out of play doh. They're very realistic! We also had a go at excavating dinosaur skeletons from soft rock, which was such good fun.  We made new dinosaur rocks ourselves from plaster of Paris and excavated them all over again. This week we used the dinosaur skeletons to recreate whole dinosaurs, building from the skeleton up. 

Later this term we will be making dinosaur models so if anyone has empty boxes, bottles and packaging please send them in to Key Stage 2 for us to junk model with.


September 4th 2015 - A welcome return

At Wheatley Hill we have enjoyed a busy week. It was good to be back and we have had lots of new pupils and staff to meet.

We also had the arrival of the WORMS for the new wormery.  We set up their new home and put the bedding and food in. They were very wiggly. They like vegetables but not meat! We need to feed them every day with food we have left from lunch.

We also did some baking. The bun recipe is for ‘Bomb Proof Buns’. Teachers say they work every time!  Ours were very nice but the icing was sticky.


September 4th 2015 - Letter to parents

Dear parents and carers,

Welcome back! We hope you had a restful break and enjoyed the best of our British summer.  We have enjoyed hearing about all the holidays, trips and visits you have been on over the last six weeks. We would like to offer a very warm welcome to all the new parents and carers whose children have joined us this September. Unlike previous years, a number of new pupils completed the admission process at the end of July, which means the school is almost at capacity.

While our teaching team have been having a good rest, our premises team have been extremely busy over the summer.  As some of you will already know, the main school building has been reroofed and the school gym has been relocated to create a new teaching and learning space for some of our pupils in year 10 and 11.  This new provision, called The Loft, is located in the Stable Block and provides a different environment for those who are also attending college. Sadly, we have also had to make some alterations due to ongoing issues with trespassers coming on to the school site during holidays and at weekends.  New deterrents include an additional fence that makes it more difficult for intruders to access the side and back of the school and the use of anti-climb paint above gates and around vulnerable areas.  Please remind your children that while it washes off hands, anti-climb paint will not come out of clothing and they should not swing or climb on the fence, roof or bridge areas.  Our use of anti-climb paint is well-signposted in line with legislation and the school cannot be held responsible for stains that might appear on school uniform if pupils do not use the premises appropriately. 

I am delighted at this stage of the year to introduce the new members of staff who have joined our team over the summer. New teachers include, Rebecca Rudy at key stage 2 and Lydia Harrison, Heather Green and John Guymer in key stage 4. New support staff include Kate Gaunt, who is our Designated Safeguarding Lead; Scott Turner, in key stage 3 and Gina Smith.  The following list shows the teams who are working directly with your children:    

  • Group One and Two: Rebecca Rudy, Bev Shaw, Chavez Younas, Katie Naden
  • Group Three: Gareth Rees, James Keen, Lisa Hill
  • Group Four: Mark Kelly, Marcus Nixey, Sam Forster
  • Group Five: Lee Wardle, Jane Hinchliffe, Graeme Alston
  • Group Six: Heather Green, Gina Smith, Stephen Lee
  • Group Seven: Zoe Snart, Carole Scott
  • Group Nine: John Guymer, Carl Peel, Martin Crossland

Our new staff structure brings about some changes in responsibility and the development of a new pastoral team, which includes a Pastoral Manager and three Pastoral Leaders.  The purpose of this team is to work more directly with you around issues such as attendance, behaviour and safeguarding.  It means you have a direct number to call if you have any questions or concerns and that you can also send a text message without needing to contact the main school office.  The Pastoral Leaders can be contacted as follows:

  • Jackie Ellis – group 1, 2, 9 – 07719979131
  • Scott Turner – group 3, 4, 5 – 07719979127
  • Darryl Jones – group 7, 8, 9 – 07719979128

I am also extremely pleased to introduce the new professionals who will be joining PC Liz Lockwood as part of our new multi-agency team.  Team members include:

  • Eleanor Wright - CAMHS
  • Megan Paskin - Careers
  • Claire Gray-Sharpe -  School Nurse

If you would like any further information about the service this team is able to offer, please get in touch with the relevant pastoral leader.



Please note that due to new guidance, where children take medication in school we are no longer able to adjust their dosage without written permission from a doctor.  If you have any questions about medication, please contact Jackie Ellis.

 School lunches

As explained before the holidays, our school lunches are now provided by Shelley College. Shelley have developed a three week menu that provides nutritionally balanced meals in line with government and NHS guidance. This does mean, however, that pupils need to take responsibility for engaging with the ordering process as there are no hot food facilities on site.  We are fortunate that, at present, we are still able to provide every pupil with a free school meal; however, we can no longer facilitate additional helpings, alternatives or extras at other times of the day. Toast is available between 09:00 and 09:30 and a reasonable amount of fruit is available at key times in the day.  If you would like any additional information about our meals speak to Liz Morritt. If pupils would like to bring a packed lunch they are free to do so but food should not require microwaves or hot water.  NHS guidance states that a balanced packed lunch should contain:

  • starchy foods – these are bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and others
  • protein foods – including meat, fish, eggs, beans and others
  • a dairy item – this could be cheese or a yoghurt
  • vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit

Please let us know if you would like further guidance. We continue to ask that you do not allow pupils to bring energy drinks, pop or sweets and chocolate into school.

School policies

A number of our school policies have been updated during the summer months. These include the school’s Behaviour for Learning Policy and the school’s Safeguarding Policy. Both policies are available on our school website; however, if you would like a hard copy, please get in touch with the school office. Please remember that pupil searches may be carried out where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a pupil may have a prohibited item and that any prohibited items found as the result of a search cannot be returned to the pupil.  

Weekly reports

In response to your feedback we are trying to ensure that you receive more structured information about your child’s progress and behaviour every week.  For this reason, you will shortly be receiving new weekly reports, which are slip into three sections. The first section shows how many WOWs your child has earned. Pupils can earn WOWs in every lesson for following our Ways of Working and making good progress.  Pupils can also earn bonus WOWs for going ‘above and beyond.’ The second part gives you a very clear overview of any incidents that have occurred during the week and the third section includes a daily comment from a member of staff who is working with your child.  Finally, and importantly, the report includes your child’s attendance. 

Dates for our diary this term include the following:

  • Overnight adventures on Thursday 1st October
  • The school will be closed for an INSET day on Friday 2nd October
  • Halloween fun on Friday 23rd October
  • Nortonthorpe’s 50th Birthday party on 12th November – invitations to follow
  • Reward trip on 17th December
  • Christmas dinner and pantomime on 18th December

Thank you for your continued support.

Sarah Wilson


September 1st 2015 - Welcome back!

A very warm welcome back to all of our pupils and their families.  Our website is currently being updated; however, we will be back soon with new blog updates letting you know about the work we have been doing over the summer and our plans for 2015-2016!