Academy Newsletter


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Principals Welcome

Dear Parents and Carers

The theme for this newsletter is our academy virtue of Courage. This is a virtue that was demonstrated in the example set by Connor Todd and the inspirational example that he set for us in his life. We have also seen it in his friends and across our community as we have all begun to come to terms with his death. On Remembrance Day this Thursday we will be reflecting on the courage shown by all those who have given their lives so that we might enjoy the freedoms that we have today. Below you can watch the trust video on the virtue of courage as well as read about this in more detail.

As this half terms extra-curricular opportunities get underway please take a moment to look at a couple that have been highlighted in this newsletter. The House Remembrance Day Poetry competition, the Gardening Club, Debating, the Parkrun and our annual Christmas Shoebox Appeal are all currently underway. If there is nothing in that list of activities then the newsletter ends with this weeks selection of recommended reads for students across KS3-5 available from our Library.

Many thanks

Mr Thelwell 

Core Virtues – COURAGE

Our fifth virtue is “Courage.” We recognise the importance of achieving what is worthwhile, even in the face of difficulty. This often takes courage to overcome the barriers in our way or to try something new. We encourage all students and staff to develop and grow this important character trait. Please watch the trust-wide Courage video, featuring students from all of the schools in our ESF family, with Christ’s College Sunderland leading this particular virtue.

In memory of Connor Todd, a much loved member of our Bede Family 2006-2021

On Thursday 4th November, friends and family joined together to pay respect and say farewell to Connor. Connor loved sport and was naturally friendly, being very popular with everybody.  His sense of humour was famous, and he enjoyed the friendship of many.  Those closest to him could not help but admire and respect him, especially when Connor went through such testing and challenging times.  Formerly a fit and health rugby player, over the course of a devastating year he was left reliant on a wheelchair and crutches, as much of his strength was used up battling through treatment. 

In spite of all he went through Connor did not give up, fighting with tremendous courage and fortitude.  He received tremendous support and care from the surgeons, doctors and nurses, alongside the devoted loving care from his family. 

Connor was diagnosed with a Central Nervous System, Medullablastoma brain tumour on the 23rd March 2020 (lockdown day).  This was in the lower part of the brain where muscle coordination, balance and movement are controlled. His cancer had also spread down his spine. In the last year, Connor went from being a very active and fit 13-year-old boy who loves his rugby to losing the use of his lower body for a few months.

However, in spite this Connor did not stop thinking about others experiencing similar trauma.  He wanted to do something to help others going through the same and so he launched a fundraiser – ‘Connor’s-run-4-cancer’.  This was a massive challenge for Connor, but he did not give up and he raised a huge amount of money for his chosen charities: children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent and the The Toon 2 Town charity which supports various North East health causes.  Connor seemed to be on the road to recovery and was determined towards regaining full strength.

Tragically, Connor suffered a relapse and we have lost a most highly valued member of the Bede family.  Words cannot describe the heart-felt sorrow shared by all at Bede and the wider community.  Connor was a real hero, great friend to many and example to us all.

As our community mourns the loss of Connor, we remember fondly all that Connor meant to us, and we take comfort in the sharing of our memories. Students and staff have been encouraged to contribute to a book of remembrance, which will be handed to Connor’s family.  He will forever live on in the memories of those who loved him.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Our support staff – Mrs Johnson

As we revealed previously, the work of our supporting staff members goes under the radar far too often, their efforts providing a backbone for our everyday life here at Bede. While last week we shed the light on the hard work of our head librarian, Mrs Watson, this week we are sharing the important and unknown aspects of what our school careers advisor, Mrs Johnson, does for our community. After beginning her career at Bede in March of last year, Mrs Johnson’s relationships with students has progressed “very positively” with many taking on the feedback they are given around their future. When growing these relationships with students, we learned that the thing found most rewarding by Mrs Johnson is “seeing a student who didn’t know what they wanted to do find further education or a job that interests them”, her extensive work on discovering the future prospects of each student at Bede is paying off and benefiting individuals as it is aimed to do. The final thing, and arguably most important and at the heart of this article, is that Mrs Johnson would like students to know that she is “impartial and will go through every available option with you”, tailoring her work to the preferences of students and allowing them to make their choices with her excellent guidance. Also, it is notable that Mrs Johnson is an asset to our Sixth Form, using her expertise in order to provide our peers with the guidance they need in their final years of school before pursuing the careers she helps us to find and become passionate about, so we would like to thank her for her irreplaceable advice. So, if you are a student questioning your future and needing that extra little bit of help, you can be assured that our careers advisor is exactly the right person to turn to, her direction providing invaluable; and once again, if you are a support member of staff in our community, no matter what position you hold, just know that your efforts do not go unnoticed, and we are unbelievably grateful for the time and effort you put in here at Bede.

Bede Academy needs you!

To join our Parent Focus Group.

The mission of the Parent Focus Group is:  To act as a focused sounding board for future ideas and events and to give constructive feedback.

What is the Parent Focus Group?

This group will meet every term (dates below) and is an additional body that represents the parent voice within Bede Academy.  The meetings are chaired by Mrs Karolyn Thompson.  The main purpose of the group is to provide constructive feedback to Governors and the Academy Senior Leadership Team while acting as a ‘sounding board’ for future decisions on school policy.  Although the Parent Focus Group does not decide school policy it will be consulted and listened to so the Academy has a range of views and feedback before making any policy decisions.

Meetings are scheduled to be held on 11/11/2021, 03/03/22, 16/06/22 at 4:00pm.  The first meeting will be held virtually via TEAMs, but hopefully subsequent meetings will be held in person at Bede North.

If you are interested in being involved, please email Mrs Thompson on:

We look forward to hearing from you.

Harvest Thankfulness

Throughout the year there is a focus on charitable giving at Bede. This is not just a reflection of Bede Academy’s Christian Ethos, but it is also a natural reflection of the generosity of the Bede students, families, staff and the wider community.  Autumn Term has a particularly strong focus on thinking of others, and providing practical support where possible.  Crammed in to the few months to Christmas we have the Harvest Appeal, the Poppy Appeal, Operation Elf and the Shoe-box appeal.  This very much reflects our updated ethos statements which include – ‘Love: We act selflessly, with kindness and compassion, for the good of others.’

However, it is actions that speak louder than words and the full harvest table speaks very much of real action on behalf of others.  Thank you so much for the ongoing kindness and generosity that reflects a community that genuinely cares for others.


By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Bede Academy Blyth Links Parkrun Takeover

Alongside our colleagues from Bede south we are planning a Bede Parkrun Takeover on Saturday 20 November at 9am. This should be a great way of getting us all active.

Here’s a link to the Blyth Links Parkrun course if you would like to take a look-

We are encouraging as many children and families to join the event by walking, jogging or running the 5k route. All children who take part will get points for their Houses as part of our Fitness challenge.

To take part you must be registered with Parkrun. It’s simple to register and you just follow this link-

House Remembrance Day Poetry Competition

As you know on the 11th November every year the UK pays its respects to all those soldiers who have died while serving in the British Army, Navy and RAF.

We are inviting you, as part of a House Competition, to write your own poem remembering and paying respects to all those men and women who have lost their lives fighting wars on behalf of the United Kingdom.

Please submit your poems on your relevant House page on TEAMS or by hand in a written copy to your tutor by Friday the 19th November. The competition begins the 8th November.

I look forward to reading your poems.

Miss Broadway

Garden Club

Calling all you who have green fingers or who love wallowing in mud. From Thursday the 11th November, Gardening Club will start. It is open to all years. It will start at 3.15pm and end at 4.30 pm.

We have been given a HUGE allotment at Briardale House in Cowpen. It is so large we will be able to grow flowers and vegetables. The aim is to eventually grow enough vegetables to supply the Academy’s kitchen.

But first of all, we have been invited by the Rotary Club of Blyth, to plant corms around the Academy’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tree to commemorate the 2022 Platinum Jubilee and at the same time highlight the Rotary campaign to “END POLIO NOW”. The club will provide a plaque to go alongside the tree.

If you interested please sign up for the club in room 208.

Thank you

Miss Broadway

Year 8 Geography – Debate on Fracking

Over this last term Year 8 have been learning in Geography about Living off earth’s Resources. This has involved delving into the issue of water security for the world, land turning to desert in many areas along with investigating different types of energy to replace conventional fossil fuels. Following COP 26 last week in Glasgow, Year 8 Geographers, in their lesson, debated the motion, “This house believes fracking for shale gas should be allowed in the UK”. The students were representing different interest groups from international to local and each got to present their group’s arguments for or against fracking for shale gas.  

The students did a superb job at researching and writing speeches, demonstrating a commitment to arguments with depth and evidence; showing their ability to work together with others. A small groups of students were responsible for running the debate and asking thought-provoking questions to stimulate thought and discussion. And be warned, if you didn’t have answers they didn’t let you off lightly! 

The quality of the debate was outstanding and all took part with enthusiasm and maturity.  

Accelerated Reader

Year 7 Accelerated Reader Program

As we approach the end of our first half term we are getting ready to celebrate our Year 7’s successes in Accelerated Reader (AR). The academy uses AR with Year 7 to increase reading comprehension and promote reading for pleasure.  This programme has been specifically designed to improve students’ reading ability and to encourage a love of reading that will continue into adulthood.

AR works to identify a student’s current reading level, or ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development), which essentially is a selection of books that will challenge students and help develop their vocabulary, without causing frustration.  Students choose a book within their ZPD range, and when they have finished the book, take a short computer generated quiz that assesses their understanding of what they have read.  Each half term we reward those students who have shown a real commitment to their reading, as well as those who have hit their personal reading targets.  We also run an AR House tutor group competition, whereby the tutor group with the highest percentage of correct AR quizzes, win House points.    

All students are given time during DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read) in afternoon registration to read; however, we would ask for your assistance in ensuring your child reads regularly at home to help further improve their literacy skills and it would be beneficial if you could also ask them questions about their AR book.

Some questions to ask:

  • Where did the story take place?
  • Which of the characters did you like best?  Why?
  • What was the main idea or theme?
  • What is the most important point that the author is trying to make?
  • What was your favourite part?  Why?
  • Can you retell the story in sequence order?

Your child has been given an AR Reading Journal to record their reading throughout Year 7.  Students need to read for a minimum of 1 hour 30 minutes each week; we ask that parents or guardians sign their child’s reading journal on a weekly basis to say this has been done.  Your child’s English teacher will check their reading journal regularly and sign it too.  You will find a comments box under each weekly row, please add any comments you may have about your child’s reading that you would like to convey to their teacher. 

At Bede Academy we constantly strive to instil a love of reading in our students by exposing them to wide and varied reading diet, and our well stocked library is the perfect place for students to pop in to for some reading inspiration!  Whether that be the latest fiction must read, a biography of a favourite sporting hero, or an information book to help with their studies; whatever their reading tastes there will always be something for them in the library!

Mrs Watson
Head Librarian

Sixth Form Open Evening

Shoebox Appeal 2021

Recommended Reading

Key Stage 3

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray – Chris WoodingReview
Exposure – Mal PeetReview

Key Stage 4

There will be lies – Nick LakeReview
Bog child – Siobhan DowdReview

Key Stage 5

Ask an astronaut – Tim PeakeReview
My life as a rat – Joyce Carol OatesReview

Lunch Menu