THIRTY pots of tea, ten jugs of coffee and an array of decorated Easter cakes helped to put a spring in the step of local residents as a Northumberland academy staged a seasonal teatime treat.

Year 11 Bede Academy student Adam Swalwell, 16, serves up a treat for Jim and June Skinner, of Blyth

Year 11 Bede Academy student Jack Beall, 15, with invited guest Marjorie Russell, 81, of Blyth


Bede Academy, Blyth, extended a warm welcome to dozens of members of the local community for a Spring selection of musical entertainment and afternoon tea.

On tables decorated with vases of fresh cut daffodils, the 36 residents, invited from local churches, care homes and those living close to the academy, enjoyed finger sandwiches, chicken stickletts, sausage rolls and mini savoury tartlets, followed by banana and sultana cream scones, chocolate butterfly cakes and mini Easter nests.

Co-ordinator of community and ethos at Bede Academy, Graeme Murray, said: “Each term we extend an invitation for people to come into the academy, to meet our students and enjoy a lovely afternoon tea made by our fabulous catering team.

“This has become a regular tradition over the years, thanks to the fantastic organisation of Mrs Thompson in our school office, and we now have a small number of local residents who attend all of our tea parties and also support the academy by coming to many of our other events.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to give people living nearby a chance to see what goes on inside school and it is great that the academy has such regular contact with the wider community.”

The visitors were entertained by Year 11 students Adam Swallwell, 16, singing Love Walked in by George Gershwin, solo pianists Jack Beall, 15 and Alice Germany, 15 playing recitals by Mozart and Bach, Jake Watson, 15, singing Total Eclipse and Isabelle Pedley, 16, playing I Have Dreamed from The King and I. 

Jake Watson, 15, of Blyth, said: “I have performed at one of the academy tea parties before and it is very enjoyable to play before such an appreciative audience.

“It is also a great opportunity for us all to practice for our GCSE ensemble pieces in front of so many people.”

Local resident Marjorie Russell, 81, of Blyth added: “I have been coming to all of the tea-parties at Bede since they started. The food is delicious and the service is wonderful.

“I love the atmosphere and it’s so nice to hear the students singing and playing the piano.”


Students from Bede Academy in Blyth prepare for their first gorge-walk duing a residential trip to the Lake District

Bede Academy stduents Anabelle McPheil (left) and Abigail Herron triumphant after their gorge-walking experience


Students got a taste of the great outdoors on a residential expedition to the Lake District.

The group from Bede Academy, in Blyth, swapped coast for lakeside when they spent four days at  Howtown Outward Bound Centre on the shores of Ullswater.

The 48 students from Years 8 and 9, accompanied by five staff, embarked on a host of outdoor activities from canoeing and camping to gorge-walking, sailing and an obstacle course.

Blessed with sunny spring weather, they began the trip with ‘jog and dip’, a run around the centre grounds followed by plunging in the lake.

Expedition leader Jenny Taylor, who is head of business and ICT at Bede Academy, said: “Residentials like this allow the students to challenge themselves in a way that draws on their understanding of the academy’s core values, including determination, courage and honourable purpose.

“They work in groups which helps them develop communication and teamwork skills, and it also helps boost their self confidence and independence. Some have to tackle their fears and others achieve things which they didn’t they were capable of, so it’s a really rewarding experience.”

The group stayed at the Howtown centre except for one night which they spent under canvas and had to cook their own meals using supplies.

Abigail Herron, 12, said: “When we were told we had the chance to come I thought ‘why not?’, you only live once. It’s all been a new experience for me and I’ve loved it.”

Anabelle McPheil, 13, added: “It really helps build your confidence and it’s good having to help and encourage each other.”