Light Up The Woods

What can we say? What an amazingly magical evening. All the displays looked absolutely fantastic and were much admired by hundreds of people on the afternoon/evening. This year’s event has been deemed a great success by all involved. There were about 20 different groups and individual displays, singing, refreshments, a hot air balloon, fire display. glow-sticks and perfect weather!

The Made In Clayton West team sent their thanks to the pupils and staff for their hard work in preparing the amazing creations. Additional photos have been added to ‘Made in Clayton West’ & ‘light up the woods’ Facebook pages.


Joseph Norton Academy awarded ‘School Mental Health Award’ – Gold Status.

Mental Health Identifier

We are delighted to confirm that following external verification, Joseph Norton Academy has been awarded the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools ‘School Mental Health Award’ – Gold Status.


This has been a significant piece of work for the school, led by Lee Wardle, and evidences the positive and relentless work the school undertakes to improve emotional health and wellbeing for both staff and pupils. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Lee and the staff who supported him to evidence this outstanding work.

Lee will be representing the school and receiving the award at the Carnegie Centre of Excellence third annual conference next year. We look forward to sharing the photos!

Liz Dawson, Lead Assessor, writes:

The school has presented a wide range of evidence that demonstrates they are excelling across all eight competencies of the School Mental Health Award. The school has used the framework and content of the Award to very good effect to develop their mental health and wellbeing strategies, structures and practices from a strong starting point.

The School Mental Health Award has given the school a framework that has helped leaders to formulate their practice and to co-ordinate what they do. By focusing on the competencies of the award, the school has become more organised, the culture of support for mental health is more embedded and it has become a ‘natural way of thinking’.

The school has presented an extensive body of evidence across all the competencies and the team who have led the award speak with confidence about its impact. Leadership and decision-making are very transparent and values-driven. Leaders are accessible to the pupils and staff. All leaders respond to crisis points for the children and they also model their own health and wellbeing. Leaders report that the mental health and wellbeing of the staff and pupils is not an add-on, it is part of the school’s daily routine; it is everything that they do.

’There is no activity in school that does not have that thought process as part of it. Everyone questions how planning and policies are impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of the children.’

Supporting good mental health and wellbeing is part of the identity of the school and reaches out to families also. Staff stretch themselves in the support of each other and of the pupils. The school takes care of the staff too. MH leads recognise they are not mental health professionals and know where and when to turn as needed. The school has created a safe environment where is comfortable for the pupils to thrive. It is significant to leaders that the pupils always ask for in-school support because they feel safe and well cared for in the school community. Families also turn to the school for support and this is having an impact on the wellbeing of the whole family on a day-to-day level.

Governors take an active role in the school e.g. the chair of governors supports the leadership of the school and understand the difficult decisions that need to be made. Governors understand the direction of travel within the sphere of mental health and wellbeing and advocate for the school to ensure the vision is not lost in other arenas. Governors have a clear understanding of the pupils’ and staff needs. They are more conversant in what a day is like for any staff member and what support needs to be in place so they can carry out their roles effectively.

The school has a wide catalogue of mental health CPD which is also open to other schools. It supports other primary and secondary schools relating to the needs of specific children and general support. The school works towards destigmatising mental health in the community. They offer parenting courses and work with charities such as Barnardos, the NSPCC and the national Autistic Society. They have received positive feedback from a wide range of organisations with which they connect.

Lunchtime Trailblazers!

Two years ago, in response to feedback from our school council, we took the brave step of transforming our school dinner service. We ended our catering contracts, appointed a Hospitality and Catering Instructor and agreed to teach our pupils how to prepare and cook dinner for themselves. Two years on and our pupils offer the most amazing meal service, planning menus, testing new ideas and cooking food for each other. We are so proud of their achievements. They have gained new skills, earned qualifications and given most professional services a run for their money. Check out some of our kitchen photos to see us in action and let us know if you would like to come for dinner!

Introducing Stan!

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This year group 6 have welcomed a very special newcomer to their class and would like to introduce Stan, our therapy dog. Stan is a Shih Tzu and has been selected to work with group 6 because of his happy, loving and calm nature.

A therapy dog is a dog that is trained to provide affection and comfort to people. Studies have shown that the presence of companion animals can improve the well-being of children and lower rates of anxiety, simply by making the environment happier, more enjoyable and less forbidding.

To welcome Stan, group 6 have created a soft bedding area in the classroom and worked really hard with Rob to build him his own kennel. We will provide more updates about Stan’s progress throughout the year.

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Demonstrating Sportsmanship

This week we took part in out first tournament of the year with our KS2 and KS3 football teams joining an inter-school football competition. Our teams had been practicing at lunchtimes and after school so we were ready for the challenge. Both Simon and Scott attended as coaches and supported us to keep calm and focus on doing our best. KS3 were amazing and won their competition. Coby scored some amazing goals - you can see one of them on Twitter. KS2 didn’t win but they were awarded a trophy for best sportsmanship!

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Kicking off our #JNAValues challenge

Throughout 2018-2019 we will be raising money to buy a school defibrillator by demonstrating our school values: respect, cooperation, perseverance, responsibility. You can find out about the money we have raised so far or sponsor us by clicking here

In the meantime, we have practiced demonstrating our values throughout the summer holidays. Whether making responsible choices, cooperating with TV crews and universities, or showing perseverance on the way to Everest Base Camp, our values are evident in everything we do!

Find out more by following us on Twitter or searching for #JNAValues. 

Goodbye 2017-2018. It's been champion!

It's the end of term and to celebrate all our hard work we've handed out a multitude of certificates and created positivitrees! The leaves on these trees share all the things we have enjoyed this year and all the things of which we are proud. Have a great summer everyone.

The Great Yorkshire Show

On Tuesday the 10th July three students from Joseph Norton visited the Great Yorkshire Show.  They were chosen because they have worked tirelessly on the school farm both this year and from its humble beginnings. The weather was fantastic and set a beautiful backdrop for arguably the best agricultural show in the world.

We watched the farrier and sheep shearing competitions then made our way over to the woodland craft and forest skills area. We could see throughout the day that many aspects of the show are just scaled-up versions of the skills learned at school such as selective animal breeding and hands on wood working. The students were amazed by the size of the cows and bulls and how much they loved being jet washed ready for judging. After ordering ourselves an ice cream we watched the show jumping before getting a free ride on a golf buggy back to our mini bus.

All in all, it was a fantastic day and our students did themselves and Joseph Norton proud!

Feeling Enriched


As 2017-2018 draws to a close we are delighted to announce that we have achieved the School Games Bronze Award. The School Games Mark is a Government led award scheme launched in 2012, facilitated by the Youth Sport Trust to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community, and we are delighted to have been recognised for our success.

This year we have taken part in numerous competitions and events with both special and mainstream schools and we are extremely proud of our pupils for their dedication to all aspects of school sport. A special thanks goes to the staff and parents who have volunteered to support after-school matches - without you this could not have happened! We look forward to applying once again in 2019.

Time For Transition!

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Group 6 have been spending time over the last week, getting to know each other, getting to know their new staff and bonding together as a group. We have settled in really well, embedding our class routines and modelling the school's Ways of Working.

We have hit the ground running, following our new timetable and engaging with our Core, Vocational and SEMH lessons. We have completed topical work around the World Cup, researching different countries and comparing the wages of different people in the football industry. We have continued our geometry topic from before transition, continually building on our learning and have even had a go at beating some world records!

Some of our group had the opportunity to go to Alton Towers this week, as a reward for our fantastic attendance! We had a brilliant day, exploring and trying out new experiences!

Although we are having lots of fun we are looking forward to a rest, to get ready for all of our learning and progression next year!

The 2018-2019 #JNAValues Challenge

Over the course of 2018-2019, our school will be undertaking a series of challenges to help raise money for a Heartstart HS1 Semi-Automatic Defibrillator.  

When a heart stops, you're up against the clock. Without action, survival rates fall by 10% every minute, yet using a defibrillator within three minutes can improve a person's chance of survival by as much as 70%. Within the UK, however, there just aren't enough of them and there are currently no defibrillators close to our school.

To raise money, each of our groups is being asked to set themselves a challenge over the course of the year that demonstrates one of our core values: respect, cooperation, perseverance, responsibility. To kick us off, Ruth and Sarah ran the Leeds 10k on Sunday demonstrating #perseverance in 29 degrees of heat.

To help us think about our values during the holidays, our pupils will be waving the Joseph Norton flag when they demonstrate or spot someone demonstrating our values.  Photos of these champions will be shared on Twitter with the hastag #JNAvalues. We'd love you to join in! Click on the photo to the right for more information.

If you would like to sponsor one of our challenges, please click here.