Group 4 Spring into action!

Ethel Barge

We can't believe that the spring term is here already and just how much we have covered since January. We have been busy learning about science, nature and most importantly ourselves.

A firm favourite was our trip to the Eureka science museum. Having the freedom to move around the space and explore was a great opportunity. Using the riddles in the museum bank to find jewels and gold was great fun and helped us build on our team skills.

In science we have written about space, space travel and how we would survive on missions to far off planets. To really inspire our writing we have made real rocket engines in class. Using vaporising fuel to make miniature rocket engines, we learnt how huge rockets are propelled into the air.

Learning about ourselves is very important to us in group 4. To open our minds to new ways of learning and how we can support ourselves and others we have adopted a growth mind-set. We are changing the way we look upon challenge and finding ways to tackle our reservations and become the best learners and classmates we can be. Please ask us about this as we are keen for others to try this too.

With our growth mind-sets and ambition to succeed we visited the Victoria quays in Sheffield. We explored ways of working well with others and travelled down the canal on a huge barge. We were able to learn about how barges operate, help travel safely through the water and even steer the barge!

We are looking forward to the warmer weather and are planning new adventures together as a class.

Sporting Challenges


Since returning back to school after Christmas we have taken part in lots of fun and challenging activities in our P.E lessons. All our pupils have worked extremely hard to develop their skills in football, handball, dodgeball and volleyball along with their communication and team work skills.

In our health related fitness sessions we have learned about the muscular and cardiovascular system and how to improve health and fitness through exercise. We have taken part in circuit training, Kick Boxing and resistance training in the school gym and also visited other gyms in the local area. 

We have been very busy in our extra-curricular fixtures taking part in a number of events and winning the Football tournament at The Zone!!

Grand Designs by Group 5

Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about self-regulation and how we can better design our classroom to support our needs.   To help us when we are feeling stressed or anxious, we decided to turn a storage cupboard into a calming space.  So far we have removed shelving, tables and chairs, filled and painted the room.   We are very pleased with the results and now use the room successfully if we begin to struggle.

Our topic this half term is Time and Space.  In English we began looking at different genres, especially what makes a science fiction story.  In maths we have begun to look at probability and have been able to connect our previous learning on fractions to make quick progress.  As part of the SEMH curriculum, we have begun looking at our future: careers, accommodation etc. and have looked at how to keep fit in space as part of health and wellbeing. 


Group 6 Have Been Busy This Week !

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We have just moved on to our Himalayas project under our Asia topic and have been excited to learn all about mountain life! We have spent time reading and researching, to produce a piece of creative writing in the form of a travel blog. All the children worked really hard and have produced some fantastic pieces of work.  We thought it would be fun to adventure out in to the local countryside to try map reading and orienteering - we might not be ready to climb Mount Everest yet, but we did have lots of fun in the outdoors.

We are also working hard in maths, interpreting different types of data and graphs. All the children have progressed well, meeting their targets!

On Tuesday we took a trip to The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in Sheffield. Group staff were so proud of the mature and polite behaviour shown by the children when they were out in the community. The outing allowed the children to build on their SEMH development, as well as researching Asian animals and their habitats, for our topic work.

It's Our Wonderful Parents' Turn to Shine


As much as we rave about all the brilliant work our children do within school, we must not forget our wonderful parents! This week marked the second session of our latest Family Thrive course.

We have 8 parents who have joined us to learn about the Thrive Approach and how we use it with the children in school. The course teaches us about brain development and how children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties need extra support to build solid connections in their brain. 

One of our parents already completed the course last year but has kindly volunteered to attend as a parent champion to share her experiences and support other parents. 

So far we have learnt about different stages of development and some strategies that staff use in school to support children to move through these stages. We have also started to discuss what school staff do to support pupil's when they are in crisis and also how we start to promote self regulation. Parents are evaluating ways that we can work more closely together to ensure the greatest consistency between school and home. 


This is not your typical parenting course where we teach about boundaries and rewards charts, but instead we are looking at the children's SEN needs and starting to understand why they behave in certain ways and what we can do as trusted adults to support their development.

In this photo, parents are mapping out their family tree. Our parents are inspirational and it is great to have the opportunity to share some of our work in school with them each week!"


Joseph Norton in the National Press

As you will know, we are very proud of our approach to behaviour and our use of restorative practice.  Over the last few years, our restorative approach has helped us to dramatically reduce our use of exclusions with only 6 incidents of exclusion last year and none so far in 2017-2018!  

Restorative practice helps our pupils reflect on and take responsibility for their actions, rebuild relationships when they break down and make amends for harm caused.  Indeed, it has a very important role in daily school life.

In December, our work in this area was featured in the Guardian newspaper.  In the article Chris Straker from the Restorative Justice Council describes how restorative practice can be used to foster good relationships and resolve conflicts in a way that enhances insight and understanding in pupils and shapes better future behaviour. You can access the article in full by clicking here.

More importantly, the Restorative Practice Council has recently released three three short films to promote the use of restorative practice in schools and one of these films features our very own Jaheim - a school leader in year 11!

We are very proud of Jaheim, who has improved his own behaviour through the use of restorative practice and is now supporting other pupils to do the same.  You can watch the video below:

Happy New Year !

Group 3A have had an amazing start to 2018 in their first week back at school. We have all been sharing what we have been up to over Christmas and we have been thinking about goals for 2018, working together using chatterboxes.

We have jumped straight into working on our new topic, Asia. We have thought about what Asian animals need to survive and have had fun making models of habitats for snakes, elephants, and rhinos to name a few. We showed just how creative we can be


On a similar note, as part of our SEMH curriculum, we have also been thinking about what we, as people need to survive and thrive.  We had a great discussion about things that we need, e.g. food, water and shelter, and things that we want, e.g. computers, phones and designer clothes, and how sometimes there is a conflict between what we want and actually need.


In outdoor education this week we all enjoyed archery and low ropes. We had a great day and our aim improved as the day went on. We are looking forward to going climbing and bouldering next week.

A huge congratulations goes to Dominic. He has given us a reason to celebrate this week as he is the first person in school to achieve 4500 WOW points! An amazing achievement. Well done, Dominic. He has been presented with a certificate and an Avengers themed prize of his choosing to recognise this.

Indeed, all of our boys have had a great start to the new year. They have come back to school being friendly, helpful and cooperative. Keep it up boys!

A Week of Festive Fare

In the words of Andy Williams, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Here at Joseph Norton the pupils really have had a wonderful week; enjoying Christmas Dinner complete with all the trimmings each and every day.  Gammon, turkey, pork and beef have adorned the plates on different days accompanied by broccoli, roast parsnips, carrots, peas, pigs in blankets, stuffing, lashings of gravy and either, roast, new or mash potato.  On Thursday we even snuck a cheeky Yorkshire pudding.

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Here at Joseph Norton our pupils have the unique opportunity to help prepare, cook and serve the school dinners. Working alongside the Hospitality & Catering Instructor and group staff, pupils in KS3 & KS4 take turns every day to ensure dinners are served to the best standard and are tasty and nutritious. With all groups showing promise in the kitchen and working hard over the autumn terms it seemed unfair to allow only one group the honour, pleasure and responsibility of preparing the Christmas Dinner. The decision was made early on to allow all groups the opportunity to cook a delicious festive feast.


Pupils worked hard and pulled together to achieve something that I’m sure most of you would agree is astounding. As enjoyable as a Christmas Dinner is, most of us would not wish to make it four days in a row. This has only been possible because of the effort pupils have put in over the last months, learning how to use the kitchen equipment safely.

Today the final group will prepare a festive buffet for pupils to enjoy before breaking for the Christmas Holidays. I look forward to the New Year when pupils return and continue to develop their skills in the school kitchen. We have some new tasty dishes joining the menu in January that I know they are keen to try.

In a week when many things begin to ‘wind down’ the pupils of Joseph Norton have gone against the grain and absolutely smashed it!

Merry Christmas!

Group 1AM investigating What Owls Eat

Owl Pellet Dissection

Last half term Group 2 studied predators and Tom from Group 4 kindly brought us some owl pellets to dissect!


At first the boys thought it was disgusting and smelly but quickly realised how interesting and exciting it was. The boys worked well to break up the pellets and discovered different bones from various small mammals. Some boys even managed to try and re-create the mice that they had found! Dillon managed to find 3 skulls in one pellet. That's one greedy owl!

The boys learnt about food chains and what owls eat. They learnt how owls digest food and regurgitate the owl pellets. Group 1 even got in on the action!


Positive feedback

We love receiving feedback when people spot us out and about.  Please find below a lovely email we received recently regarding Josh in year 8.  Well done, Josh!  We are very proud of you.

Hi there, I’m sending this email to let you know about a really positive experience I had when I bumped into some people from your school.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Huddersfield shopping with a friend. We were in the butchers when a young lad walked in and waited really patiently to be served. He asked if he could buy a pheasant and was so well mannered when asking the butcher questions about it. I then asked the boy questions about what he was going to do with it, and he told us how he would butcher it himself and then cook something with it. He was really lovely to talk to! I could see a couple of other boys of a similar age waiting just outside with two adults. I recognised the logo on their tops. When the boy left the shop, the other customers and the staff were talking about how impressive the boy's passion was. The younger member of staff was told to watch out or his job could be taken!!

I think it’s fantastic that the young people are being given the opportunity and are being encouraged to build on the skills they are passionate about or naturally gifted in. The boys and staff I met, are a credit to the school and you should be extremely proud of the great work you are doing, taking the time and making the effort to look for, and draw out the gold in these young people!!

Kind regards, Charlene

Group 9 - Preparing for Adult Life

This term has seen a big focus on independence and work skills for our Group 9 students. There are two areas of their regular timetable that they have really excelled at.

Firstly, they have been attending Leeds College of Building one day a week to learn construction skills, working towards a Diploma in Construction. So far they have done half a term on brickwork, and are now a few weeks into learning joinery.

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Group 9 have done a great job helping Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club move to their new gym in Milnsbridge. From moving equipment, to painting and finishing, and learning how the club works. When the work is done, they work even harder in the fitness training sessions.


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Team JNA

The KS2 children have been participating in Football for their P.E lessons with the end goal to attend a tournament at the end of term. The boys worked endlessly going above and beyond, practising at break times, lunch times and after school during enrichment.

Due to their commitments and efforts they were entered into an Under 11’s Football tournament at The Zone Huddersfield which was also attended by All Hallows, Oak, Rowley Lane and Dalton. Each game the boys dug deep showing fantastic team spirit and after all games were played Joseph Norton Academy were rightly crowned the winners, winning every game!

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