Dunston News – 14.07.23

Jul 14, 2023Dunston News

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves”

Steven Spielberg

Message From Mr Sutherland

So we reach the penultimate week of the academic term and our last newsletter of the year.

Today you will be receiving your child’s report and any relevant individual results for your child’s year group.  Firstly, I have read every single report across the school personally and want to express how proud I am of all the children for the tremendous attitude and work ethic they have demonstrated throughout the year.  All the reports evidence how hard children have worked to achieve at their subjects – those that they love but also those they find more difficult.  They have tried their best in the core subjects of Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Science but also excelled in areas of our wider curriculum.  They have fully embraced our “Ready, Respect, Kind” ethos and looked after their friends and any new children in their classes wonderfully.  I am very proud of all of them; they are a credit to you, our school and the community.

In my last newsletter, I promised that we would seek the views of parents and carers, children and staff before the year end and you will be receiving a letter home today with a request that you please find a few minutes to complete our survey.  It is important as a school that we self-evaluate what we offer to parents and carers, what works well and how we might improve further.  I have said many times before that mistakes will happen and sometimes we can all reflect on how we have approached a certain issue.  The key is not to repeat the mistakes and how we deal with those issues, whether we can learn from them and subsequently improve.  Just so that you are aware, I am also seeking the views of children though a different survey and those of staff.  The results of your survey and that of your children will be anonymised and shared with you at the start of the new academic year.

Next week is a busy week for our Year 6 cohort as, this time next Friday, they will be preparing to leave us.  I hope they have a fabulous residential at Ford Castle and I am looking forward to joining some of you for our Leavers’ Celebration next Thursday.  Again, I would like to say how proud of our Year 6 children I am and I would like to thank them for their contribution to school life over the past 7 years or so.  I wish them every success and happiness in the future.  For those parents and carers who have no more children in our school and are therefore “leaving us” also, may I thank you whole-heartedly for your support and commitment over the years.  When school and parents are able to work together, the evidence tells us that outcomes across the board are improved.

Once again, this has been a very busy year with lots and lots to celebrate.  I hope your children have had fun and been inspired  along the way.  My thanks, as always, go to the staff team right across the school for their hard work, dedication and tireless enthusiasm for delivering the very best education we possibly can for your children.

I hope to see some of you on the yard next week but, in case I don’t, may I wish you a safe and happy summer break with family and friends.  I look forward to seeing you back at the start of our new academic year 2023-24 on Tuesday, September 5th.

Have a great summer!


 Whole School Information


Transition is thoroughly planned at Dunston Hill and all class teachers have been to visit their new class to meet them in their current setting. They have done a thorough handover with the class teacher so they are familiar with all the children ready for September. On Thursday, all children visited their new classroom for the day and spent the day with the new staff. Seeing our new Reception children enjoy their visit and go home with their Dunston Bear was lovely. Our current Reception children loved being in the ‘big yard’ and had lots of fun. We hope this helps them feel ready and prepared for their return in September.

Children’s Workbooks

During the final week, your child will be bringing home their books from this year and last year for you to keep should you wish.

Keep Safe Online over the Summer

As the summer is fast approaching, during the holidays some of our children may spend longer online be it gaming, using social media or accessing the internet. The following guide shares useful tips with regard to your child’s well-being when online and reminds us of the importance of going tech-free before going to bed; avoiding comparisons with others and thinking carefully before they post.

Free E-Safety Guide | Looking After Wellbeing Online (

Growing Healthy Gateshead App

Growing Healthy Gateshead App is an excellent (free) resource where you can access resources relating to areas such as sleep, routines, and toileting for your child. Monday-Friday 8am-5pm you can also live chat with a school nurse should you wish.

Diversity Week

What fun we had during Diversity Week this half term! We explored lots of lovely new books that showed differences in our lives, including our families and beliefs. It helped us recognise how special and unique we all are. Rainbow day saw the culmination of all of the lovely work we had completed and gave us the opportunity to celebrate this. Dunston really is a rainbow of diversity!


School attendance is essential. If your child has attendance less than 90%, they are classed as persistent absentees and their attendance in school is monitored and targets set. Next week you will receive a letter if your child is persistently absent or late for school advising you of steps that will be put in place for September if improvements are not made.  School attendance is so important, and Mrs Cox, our Family Support Worker, is always ready and willing to help any families that need additional support. If you have concerns re: attendance, please get in touch with her.

On Friday, our children with 100% attendance for the whole year will receive a special certificate in assembly.

A REMINDER holidays taken during term time are not permitted and will be unauthorised.


Family Learning

Family Learning has been a real success this year. In September, we are launching a new Family Learning Workshop aimed at Years 1-6 with the theme being ‘Family Scrap-booking’. More details to follow in September.

Toddlers will continue from Wednesday 6 September: every Wednesday 8.50am-9.45am. We would love to see you there.

This week, we had our final Family Forest session. We had a fabulous time den building and enjoying our picnics. Don’t forget to sign up in September if you have not already attended with your child.

In September, we will be electing our new School Council representatives, which we can’t wait for.

School Lunch

The menu for the week commencing Tuesday 5 September 2023 is Week 1.  School lunch cost £2.60 per day payable in advance using the school app Schoolgateway.

As part of our Healthy Schools programme, we ask that children not bring crisps, chocolate or fizzy drinks in their packed lunches.

Due to allergies, please ensure that no peanuts or items containing nuts are brought into school, including in the form of Snickers, chocolate spread or peanut butter sandwiches.  This is especially important to remember for children bringing in packed lunches or snacks.

UNIVERSAL INFANT FREE SCHOOL MEALS (UIFSM) are applicable for all children in reception and years 1 and 2 (KS1).  However for pupils currently in year 2, in order for the free school meal to continue when they commence year 3 in September 2023, parents will need to apply to the means-tested scheme and can do so via Gateshead Council’s website at Free school meals – Gateshead Council , by telephoning 0191 4333729 or by completing the free school meals application form.


Forest School from September

Children should come to school dressed in clothing suitable to the weather, a warm coat, gloves and a hat when cold.  On their bottom half, they should wear black trousers you are happy for them to get dirty in, a school hoodie and a white T-shirt. They should bring their wellies to leave in a plastic carrier bag.

Reception – Friday

Year 1 – Thursday

Year 2 – Tuesday

Year 4 – Wednesday

Year 5 – Monday

Years 3 and 6 will not have Forest school this term.


PE from September

PE for all year groups starts on the 1st week back from Wednesday 6th September.   Children should come to school dressed in their PE kit; school hoodie, white t-shirt, navy or black shorts/tracksuit joggers and trainers for the full day. Information on PE days will be shared in September.



Year 5 children will swim every Monday from Monday 11 September 2023.

Year 4 children will  swim every Wednesday from Wednesday 13 September 2023.

Goodbye Year 6

We would like to take this opportunity to bid our Year 6 children a fond farewell and the best of luck as they embark on the next chapter of their education. We have our Leavers’ Celebration 5- 6pm on Thursday 20 July and look forward to welcoming parents to see their children share their memories and sing to you as part of their final goodbye. Please see the letter – emailed 11.7.23 – for full details of this event.

Good Luck Year 6 – remember all you have learnt and our school values of Ready, Respect and Kind as you take your next steps.


Reading over the summer…

Congratulations to all our children who have achieved their Accelerated Reader Points Target this half term! To allow us to set up ready for next year, the children can no longer quiz; however we strongly encourage everyone to keep reading over the summer: stories, listening to audio books, magazines and tourist brochures when you are out and about. You can even put the subtitles on when watching a film together!

The children may continue to access Reading Plus until Friday 21 July.

We ask that all reading books are returned to school by Wednesday 19 July in order for us to audit them ready for September.

Thank you for all of your support this year – reading with and to your child is invaluable.

Cultural Capital Arts Week

This year, our Cultural Capital Arts week went hand in hand with our Dunston Cup! We had a great time using our art skills to design and decorate our t-shirts using a variety of techniques including tie-dye and fabric spray painting as well as some year groups using their computing skills to create artworks for the front of their shirts. We investigated the history of local football across different year groups and discussed the cultural implications of the sport too.

ECO Council

We are delighted to announce that our Eco Council will take on the new name ‘Climate Crew‘ following our whole-school vote. There was an overwhelming majority in favour of this name and we feel that it gives a clear message towards our goals for the next year and beyond. Our ‘Climate Crew‘ will be made up of new school council members in the next academic year and we can’t wait to get started on the next phase of our journey!

Sports News

Year 6 Rounders

Recently, some of our Year 6 pupils enjoyed a Rounders Tournament at Kingsmeadow Community School.  Split into 6 teams with other neighbouring primary schools, we recapped the rules then got straight into the games. Overall, team 3 won although everyone played well and demonstrated great sportsmanship. Well done to all!

Athletics Festival

Wow!  What a successful day at Gateshead Stadium!  Our athletics team have been working hard during training sessions and they were ready to show off their skills.  All children performed exceptionally and they each showed great sportsmanship throughout the day

The team were lucky enough to win many medals in the following events:

1st place – Y3/4 3 spring jumps

1st place – Y5/6 3 spring jumps

3rd place – Y3/4 boy’s relay

2nd place – Y5/6 girl’s vortex throw

2nd place – Y5/6 girl’s long jump

1st place – Y5/6 boy’s long jump

1st place – Y3/4 boy’s 50m sprint

2nd place – Y5/6 girl’s hurdles

3rd place – Y5/6 girl’s 600m run

1st place – Y3/4 boy’s long jump

Year 5/6 Girl’s Football

We are delighted to share that the winners of the Blaydon and District Cup are our fantastic girls team!  Recently we attended the finals of the league, where we watched some very impressive football played by our girls, including some top goals, super saves by our goalie and defence, and excellent team work.  The girls each were awarded with a trophy and they made us super proud!

Year 5 Girl’s Cricket

Recently, our Year 5 girls enjoyed a fantastic day at Whickham Cricket Club, in an inter-school cricket competition.  The girls worked incredibly hard in soaring temperatures and showed true grit throughout the day. We entered two teams, one of which came third and received bronze medals. Our second team came in fourth place, just a few points behind. A brilliant day all-round. Well done girls!

5 Bridges Challenge

Well done to our school councillors who recently completed the ‘5 Bridges Challenge’.  The children started at The Centre For Life and made their way down to The Baltic where they each received a bag of treats and a certificate.

A big thank you to the parents/family members who joined us!

We hope that we managed to raise awareness of the fantastic charity ‘Daft As A Brush’.

Reception – Ball Skills

Lately, some of our Reception children enjoyed a morning of Ball Skills at Kingsmeadow, run by some of the Year 10 and 12 sports leaders.  All of our children worked hard, pushed themselves to improve and most importantly had fun.  We were so proud of their behaviour and attitude all the way through.

Change 4 life

Just this week, some of our KS2 children attended the ‘Change 4 Life’ event at Gibside.  The children looked at healthy choices which we can make in life, and there were many opportunities for them to put their teamwork skills to the test.  All of the children were excellent role models and they had a fantastic day!

Dunston Cup

This half-term, we launched our ‘Dunston Cup’ tournament which involved everyone in school.  In the build up to the tournament, the children were involved in researching the history of football, they were able to create their own team name and logo, and every child received a t-shirt which they decorated to wear for the tournament.  When the tournament came, all children were keen to get involved and show off their skills which they have been practising throughout the year.  We had some very competitive games and some extremely close scores but what was lovely to see was our children and parents cheering everyone on, and congratulating them after each game.  To view our Dunston Cup highlights, please click the following link: (2) The Dunston Cup 2023 – YouTube

Sports Day

We have had a busy fortnight running many sports days.  It was great to see the children engaging in many different activities and cheering on their team mates.  During each sports day the scores were totalled up and within Reception, the Red team came 1st place, during the Key Stage 1 sports day, the Blue team were the winning team and for Key Stage 2, it was the Orange team – Well done everyone!

Maths for Summer

Throughout the year we have had lots of fun in maths and it has been a pleasure to see our children enjoying their maths lessons.  Numbots (Y1) and Times Table Rockstars (Y2-Y6) will be accessible over the summer break so please encourage your children to login and keep rocking out! Our children know that Maths is all around us and needed in everyday life so whilst out and about you could look out for numbers to support with number recognition, find different shapes and patterns in the environment, measure items when cooking or select the correct coins when shopping.


To support our children with the transition into their next class, you will find social stories (by the end of next week) on the Curriculum News section of our website under SEND and Inclusion. Rest assured that all information has been shared with your child’s new class teacher to support with SEND and nurture needs so that they have the appropriate support and provision in place for September 2023.

Over the Summer, you may find some of the activities suggested by Kalmer Counselling to be of support to your child: