News Blog

Kings Priory School 01 FC Porto Football Trip A report on the fantastic trip to Porto in the summer

20th December, 2017

FC Porto Football Trip

FC Porto Football trip

October 2017

We are delighted to announce that the recent football development trip to Portugal was an excellent success. The trip involved 32 students travelling to Porto, Portugal to train with the club’s academy and play against 2 of their development squads. Below is a summary of the trip:

Day 1

It was an early start for the tour party with staff, parents and students meeting at Polam Hall for a 5am start. The first destination was Liverpool airport with the group due to arrive in Porto for 2.30pm approx. Both the coach journey and the flight to Portugal included a large amount of excitement and anticipation and we were greeted with a refreshing 20+ degrees Celsius temperature. Once we had arrived in Portugal it was straight off to Vitalis Park, the Porto football training centre in central Porto. After a well needed lunch the players went straight into the first of their 4 training sessions. Training in the Porto training kit seemed to increase the intensity level somewhat and was an excellent touch from the Porto staff. After training it was check-in at the hotel. A wonderful spot in Fao, with room balconies overlooking the sea and a very tranquil swimming pool area.

Day 2

Day 2 was another action packed day and started with a wonderful breakfast overlooking the ocean. It was then off to Vitalis Park for the second training session. Both the U16 and U14 squads were beginning to get up to match intensity with the games coming up on Wednesday. After training we enjoyed a tour around Porto city centre before attending the Porto vs. Leixoes match at the Estadio do Dragao (the FC Porto stadium). Even though the game finished 0-0, there was a fantastic atmosphere and seeing the FC Porto team play a game was an amazing experience.

Highlight of Day 2 = joining in with the Portuguese football chants at the FC Porto match!

Day 3

Wednesday was all about preparing for the games on the evening. Both the Under 14s and the Under 16s were scheduled to play against two Porto development sides who would be extremely well trained and organized. The morning training session moved to the venue of the game, Fao FC’s stadium. When we arrived we were told that Benfica had recently played on the pitch that the U16’s were due to play on. Training was excellent!

After some relaxation time at the hotel and a team talk over dinner we travelled to the venue of the game. The Under 14’s played first and put on a magnificent display going down only by 2 goals to 1 against an extremely talented Porto side. Ciaran Dixon captained the side extremely well and Daniel Buckle scored an outstanding goal. Something that he will remember for a lifetime. Well done U14’s. The under 16s played next and put in a fantastic team performance to make it hard for the Porto development team. Cameron Gornall was excellent in the middle of the park whilst Harry Haloui worked his socks off playing from left wing. Ben Swindale skippered the side and led by example. Even though the game ended in defeat the fact that the side battled extremely well against excellent opposition shows how much progress they had made.

Day 4

Thursday morning gave everybody a bit of time to wind down after the events of Wednesday night. It was then off to training again for our final training session with the coaches. The mood was excellent given the results from last night. The players had now fully bought into the FC Porto philosophy and were beginning to demonstrate skills and tactical awareness that they never knew they had.

After training we got the chance to visit the FC Porto stadium for lunch in a VIP box, a tour of the stadium and museum and then a trip to the club shop.Lunch included an awards ceremony where all players received a medal and a certificate as well as a speech from Raul, the lead coach of the FC Porto academy squads.

Day 5

Unfortunately we had to go home at some point and Friday was that day. The flight home was excellent, although it was tough to say goodbye to our lifelong friend – Portuguese Joh.

It’s fair to say that everybody came back a better player and with an increased understanding of the how the beautiful game should be played and how it can teach us a lot about life and how we can achieve big things.

Mr Joel Galley, PE Teacher and one very proud school football coach!


Kings Priory School 02 Record number of pupils participate in Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme A record number of pupils have taken part in Duke of Edinburgh this year.

21st July, 2017

Record number of pupils participate in Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

A record number of Polam Hall students have taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme this year and pupils have completed successful expeditions and assessments in Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Our scheme leaders in School are Mrs Jill Garvey and Mis Flora Booth who have provided this update for parents:


Gold participants this year have been Krisada, Ellie and Nicole, all of whom are Boarders, plus day students Jenny and Kavalee. Jenny was Head Student and Ellie Head Boarder. They are all very close to completing their entire Gold Award, having already completed Bronze and Silver. Jenny is following in the footsteps of elder sister Pippa who has just completed all aspects of her Gold and they are hoping to go to St James' Palace together to receive their awards.

The 4-day expedition was based around Edale in the Peak District. They started on Saddleworth Moor in VERY low cloud and mist, which certainly tested their compass-work! The next day the weather picked up which made the walking easier going, but they were caught out by the sun and wind and got a little more suntanned than they would have liked. A little light rain marred the next two days, but it not enough to deter this very strong group. A big thank you to Keith (from the Central Expeditions team of DofE) who assessed our students and described them as 'an excellent team', and also to our former head, Mr Moreland, who helped supervise on 2 of the 4 days.


The Silver Group was Agnes and Justine (Boarders) along with Lancia, Annabella, Abbi and Rana. They did their 3-day expedition around the North York Moors and apart from rain on the first morning were extremely lucky with the weather. The Silver group proved to be an excellent close-knit team who more than rose to the challenge. They started at Scaling Reservoir and took in Goathland and Grosmont before finishing near Whitby where they enjoyed some well-deserved fish and chips! Agnes and Rana have now completed all aspects of their Silver, while most of the rest have already completed Bronze.

Big thanks to Miss Caitlin who helped supervise and to Mrs Ryan who assessed the group.


With such high levels of interest in joining Polam's DofE scheme there were two bronze expedition weekends this year. Both groups brought out the sun - alongside some excellent teamwork - and battled with the heat; espeically group one who faced the hottest weekend of the year. In total, 41 students completed assessed expeditions at Bronze level. Well done to all in L5 and M5 who have gained invaluable skills; not to mention endured being pushed well beyond their comfort zones!


Kings Priory School 03 Children become 'super-heroes' at official opening Reception children enjoy the official opening of their new outside learning area.

10th June, 2017

Children become 'super-heroes' at official opening

Reception pupils became their own imaginary 'super heroes' and enjoyed hand-decorated biscuits at the official opening of their new Early Years outdoor learning area.

The all-weather outdoor space, which benefits from an awning-style roof to give protection against the elements, was thoroughly put to the test as Mr Fleewood and our 48 reception pupils took shelter during a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. Parents came along for the occasion and joined the children afterwards for refreshments and a tour of the facilities.

The outdoor learning facility has been built with the support of a £10K Awards for All National Lottery grant to provide a safe and exciting outdoor learning space as part of the School’s Early Years learning provision. The School offers a child-led ‘free flow’ approach to learning in the early years with flexible open plan classroom space. The additional outside area develops the concept further giving the children instant access to the outdoors.

‘Some children naturally prefer to be outside and we can now facilitate this in all weathers,’ said Junior Head, Miss Cate Lawton. ‘We are delighted to be able to offer this all-weather provision and activities such as the crawl-through tunnel and large sand pit will provide both physical and explorative stimuli.’

Older pupils and community groups will also be invited to use the space with the Brownie pack that meets weekly in the Junior School gym and those pupils offered after-school care being among the first to benefit.

Each child also wore their own personalised ‘superhero’ masks and shields made especially for the occasion.



Kings Priory School 04 Sporting achievements celebrated at award ceremony This year's annual Senior Sports Awards welcomed our former Headmaster and two professional cricketers.

28th May, 2017

Sporting achievements celebrated at award ceremony

This year's Senior Sports Awards was a fantastic celebration of all students, parents and staff. We were particularly spoilt with three very special guests. These were Danielle Hazel (England Cricketer) and Marsha Davies (Welsh Cricketer) who both answered questions from the floor, and our former Headmaster, John Moreland, who talked about commitment to training as a Senior Athlete.

Our new Games Captains and Vice Captains, Millie Peacock, James Dawson and Mia Borley, spoke about how they intended to fulfil their roles next year. Everyone participated in a Question of Sport quiz and enjoyed yet another unique and spectacular dance performance from Lillie Coates in Y7. 

Special awards went to:

Team of the year: Macie Bisicker-Peacock, Hannah Raw, Priya Kaur and Anna Robinson as the KS4 Girls Badminton Team for reaching the National Finals for the second time.

Sports Personality of the YearKrisada Piyanawin U6, who also won Coach of the Year

FootballPlayer of the Year, Nathan Dixon; Most improved, Sam Bamlet

NetballPlayer of the Year, Hannah Raw; Most improved, Niamh Bourne

RugbyPlayer of the Year, Adam Harker; Most improved, Sean Chidanyika

BasketballPlayer of the Year, Pak long Yam; Most improved, Brandon Kowalak

TennisPlayer of the year, Emma Moreno-Parades; Most improved, Dan Buckle

Long Distance Runners of the yearStella Jones (girls) and Izaak Taylor (boys); Most improved, Millie Ward

Athletics: Athlete of the year, Matthew Cheung (who got a new town record for Long Jump and won the Hurdles at Town Sports); Most improved, Caitlin Minns

BadmintonPlayer of the year, Krisada Piyanawin; Most improved, Cherry Cheng

Cricket: Player of the year, Ben Swindale; Most improved, Oliver Shields-Porterfield

Kings Priory School 05 Italian Badminton Tour a huge success Read about our badminton players' recent trip to Italy

9th May, 2017

Italian Badminton Tour a huge success

Months of hard work fundraising proved to be well worth for eight Polam pupils, who used the funds to help pay for an action packed badminton tour in Italy.

Many thanks to Ally Sanderson (parent and resident first-aider on the trip) for sharing her real-time write-up of events and for the photographs:

The whole group of 27 set off bright and early from Durham and Tees Valley airport on Sunday 9th April to Rome with 8 Polam senior school students; Katie Bell, Megan Dean, Freya Homes, Thomas Jewkes, Caitlin Minns, James Pickford, Mack Sanderson and Nadeane Sewell and myself as team's nurse!

Travelling via Amsterdam, we arrived in Rome at midday, and were transferred to Hotel Lirico in the heart of the city. A quaint and authentic hotel, which was a great base for our 3 nights here. Quickly unpacked and then off to explore Rome, before a meal; bruschetta, pizza & lasagne followed by Tiramisu, all overlooking the Pantheon.

Day 2, Monday, off to Bracciano to play badminton, before the matches, we met the mayor’s representative and were treated to an amazing lunch and huge pizza’s. Amazing the players could move after all that food! The evening was in a beautiful lake side restaurant, again being hosted by the badminton group and representatives of Bracciano. A very friendly and hospitable group.

Day 3, Tuesday, No badminton today….so up and off on our walking tour of Rome. We saw the outside of colosseum (as the queues were 3 hours long!); Vatican; Sistine chapel; St. Peter’s; Trevi fountain; Spanish steps; Pantheon, plus so many more sights. We all had a packed lunch overlooking the city in the shade, as we were blessed with sunshine all day. The group took the metro back to hotel as our feet were sore and it was a busy as London peak hours! Lovely evening meal just across the road from hotel, relaxing after our busy day.

Day 4, Wednesday, a small group got up very early to avoid queues and return to colosseum. 8 girls (3 being leaders) set off and were exploring inside the colosseum by 9am, then time for shopping, gelato and cappuccino, before returning to meet the rest of the group to travel to venue near Vesivius to play badminton with the Cercola group. We then enjoyed another meal at a local restaurant before setting off to Naples, arriving late at the sweet sleep B&B. Up 6 flights of stairs and settled into rooms….relax after another packed day!

Day 5; Thursday and off to Herculaneum, with our guide Pina. A very enthusiastic and informative lady. Maybe too much information for some, plus it was very warm again. Meeting the local mayor and then a quick lunch then off to play badminton against Cercola again, they were all playing well and improving their communication skills with the Italian players.

Day 6, Good Friday; lets climb Vesuvius….a steady and steep incline, which many of them sprinted up! Amazing scenery, but thankfully no signs of activity apart from odour of sulphur. Then off for badminton near Sorrento playing against Picentia badminton club.

Day 7; Easter Saturday, Travelled to Ischia; a beautiful island off the Amalfi coast. A great ferry trip, which stunning scenery. Met the mayor, and badminton against Ischia club, in an amazing venue. We found a lovely local pizza place for evening meal, and dash to get Ferry back to main land, followed by a slightly earlier night.

Day 8; Easter Sunday; the amazing Pompeii with Pina, our guide from Herculaneum. So interesting and well preserved. Then off to play badminton, whilst the female leaders were tasked with finding a location for our last evening meal in Naples. We found ‘I Re di Napoli’, overlooking the bay of Naples. A great last evening, then back to pack and get organised for early start on Monday.

Day 9; Monday, travel to Paris, then Amsterdam; a 4 hour coach trip to see the sights and get our gelato points, with free ice creams. Then back to the airport to catch our flights back to Teesside.

An amazing trip, the children were excellent and really enjoyed the whole experience of Italy and playing badminton with many different groups.




Kings Priory School 06 School gets into character on World Book Day

3rd March, 2017

School gets into character on World Book Day

World Book Day was celebrated this year with the help of Mrs Cyndi Hughes, a councillor with Darlington Borough Council, who has special responsibility for policies affecting young people across the region as well as an obvious passion for reading.

Mrs Hughes met with children from Years 7-11 and congratulated all of them on their well thought out costumes. Dressed herself as a visiting Professor from Harry Potter's famous Hogwarts, she asked the children what their own favourite literary characters were and why.

'World Book Day is a celebration of reading,' she told the children. 'I would argue that books are probably one of the best ways to learn about life. These days we read about the world in little snippets, and usually online via the Internet, whereas with a book you can get fully immersed in a story.'

The children agreed with her, saying that they had all experienced the disappointment of seeing a story they have read depicted in film with characters changed and details left out. They also discussed the special feel and smell of books; something that can't be experienced when reading online.

Councillor Hughes, who handles the Children and Young People portfolio within Darlington Council's Cabinet, said she enjoyed her visit to Polam Hall and was reassured to see so many articulate young people enjoying reading.

'It was heart warming and inspiring to talk to the children and a real pleasure to visit the School,' she said.


Councillor Hughes, front row middle, is photographed in the School Library with Head of English Mrs Rachel Jarvis (back row far right) and pupils Elly Adam, Elle Winter, Daniel Dixon, Alexander Penketh, Jared Barrett-Bell and Aerina Hamasaeed

Kings Priory School 07 Polam Hall to join Woodard Academies Trust The Governing Body of Polam Hall School is pleased to announce its plans for the school to join the Woodard Academies Tr...

28th February, 2017

Polam Hall to join Woodard Academies Trust

The Governing Body of Polam Hall School is pleased to announce its plans for the school to join the Woodard Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust, at the end of the spring term 2017.

The Woodard Academies Trust (WAT) is sponsored by the Woodard Corporation, the largest group of Church of England independent day and boarding schools in the country. The Trust currently has 5 schools within its MAT, including Kings Priory School in Tynemouth.

Kings Priory was formed in September 2013 upon the merger of The Kings School, an all-through independent school, and the Priory, a maintained primary school. This summer their students achieved the best “5+ GCSE inc Eng and Maths” results in the North East with 92% of their students attaining this benchmark.

The Governing Body believe that joining WAT will bring opportunities and benefits that are currently not available to Polam Hall as a stand-alone school. This in turn will help Polam to deliver the best possible education to pupils. These include:

  • Economic advantages including enhanced opportunities to bid for capital investment, economies of scale and greater flexibility to focus funds where they are most needed
  • Greater financial stability at a time when funding for education is decreasing in real terms and stand-alone academies are being encouraged to consider joining a MAT
  • Sharing best practice with staff at Polam Hall working closely with colleagues at Kings Priory to help embed the changes required to drive up standards, improve results and ensure that Polam thrives as an Ofsted inspected state school
  • Access to WAT’s expertise in all support functions including finance, HR, systems policies and procedures
  • Polam Hall will be joining a family of schools with a similar ethos, vision and values. Woodard schools offer a 21stcentury education routed in the vision of Nathanial Woodard, a vision which challenges the belief that education is simply a matter of teaching and learning certain skills.  The education of the whole person, to foster the unique potential of each individual is the ‘Woodard way’. It has long been the Polam Hall way too.

The Woodard Academies Trust is therefore uniquely placed amongst MATs to understand Polam Hall School, the journey we have been on and what still needs to be done to deliver on our vision as a free school.

The proposal for Polam Hall School to join the Woodard Academies Trust has been approved and welcomed by the Boards of both the Woodard Academies Trust and the Woodard Corporation.


Kings Priory School 08 Two years of fundraising comes to fruition Pupils, staff, parents and old scholars are seeing the rewards of a two-year fundraising campaign with the arrival of tw...

28th February, 2017

Two years of fundraising comes to fruition


Pupils, staff, parents and old scholars are seeing the rewards of a two-year fundraising campaign with the arrival of two brand new minibuses.

Members of the our Parents Association (PHPA) have been raising money for the last two years to acquire a new minibus for the School. They have worked tirelessly to host our school balls, organise race nights, hold annual Christmas Fairs, and organise numerous cake stalls and a music concert – all in a bid to raise sufficient funds to afford a more spacious 17-seater bus. The bus will be used by pupils throughput the school from Reception to Sixth Form and will also be used at weekends for daily excursions for the School’s full-time boarders.

At the same time, the School has also taken delivery of a second minibus-bus, a 15-seater vehicle generously funded by Polam Hall Old Scholars Association (PHOSA).

Both buses will have a positive impact on school life allowing pupils to participate in more sports fixtures on a regular basis and allowing two separate groups of children to be off the premises at any one time. Previously, staff had to organise the hiring of buses on a daily basis which was both time-consuming and costly.

Chair of the Parents Association, Mrs Catherine Hart, said it was an absolute pleasure to see the children looking so excited about their new bus: ‘It is very rewarding to see our fundraising efforts come to fruition in this way. We set out expecting it to take three years to raise the money when in fact it has only taken two. It has been hard work but also great fun and we can’t thank our supporting families and staff enough for attending all our fundraising events and entering into the spirit of them all!’

Head of PE, Craig Wilkinson, said that the School had now doubled its capacity to transport children: ‘We are hugely grateful to PHPA for their kindness and hard work. Parents identified this as something the School would benefit from and they’ve worked so hard together organising some fantastic fund-raising events with energy and commitment. PHOSA have also been extremely generous in funding a second minibus. Both vehicles will be used and appreciated on a daily basis.’



Kings Priory School 9 More than £1,000 raised for badminton trip Parents and pupils have been working hard to raise money for the School’s badminton to Italy later in the year.

27th February, 2017

More than £1,000 raised for badminton trip


Parents and pupils have been working hard to raise money for the School’s badminton to Italy later in the year. As well as cakes stalls and other events, they recently organised a Pie and Pea Supper with live music in School – and the evening was so well attended they raised £1027.86p towards the trip.

Parent and one of the organisers, Ally Sanderson, said the evening was a huge success with music from Gigfear, a raffle, a tuck shop and even a quiz.

‘It is fair to say that the School dining hall literally rocked that night and we’d like to thank everyone for their help, especially Clare, from the School’s catering staff, and Taylors for kindly providing all the pies.’

The trip to Italy takes place in April this year.

Pictures below show, top one left to right: Thomas & Rachel Jewkes, Megan & Lesley Dean, Mack & Ally Sanderson, Michelle & Nadeane Sewell, Katie & Vicki Jewell and below that Gigfear in action on the night.

Kings Priory School 10 Shoebox appeal a huge success The Junior and Senior Schools have worked together to create a total of 80 shoe boxes for the Samaritans Purse appeal wh...

26th February, 2017

Shoebox appeal a huge success


The Junior and Senior Schools have worked together to create a total of 80 shoe boxes for the Samaritans Purse appeal which is just fantastic for a school our size!

The generosity of the students and parents has been truly heart warming and overwhelming. The appeal was ran by the school Interact club and through various posters, readings, correspondence home and use of the drop box in Liddiard, there was a fantastic response for the appeal in all year groups.

The shoe boxes will be collected by Samaritans Purse and will be distributed to children across Eastern Europe, Africa and America some of which we are able to track their progress through the Samaritans purse website. Sixth form students also helped carry and transport the 80 boxes down to ShoeZone in town this afternoon where they will be collected, which couldn’t have been possible without their help.

A very proud moment for Polam Hall School, well done everyone!

Kings Priory School 11 Christmas cheer spans the generations at Jack Frost Party Christmas celebrations were enjoyed across the generations at a festive tea party held in School.

20th December, 2016

Christmas cheer spans the generations at Jack Frost Party


Christmas celebrations were enjoyed across the generations at a festive tea party held in School.

Sixth formers and younger pupils entertained a dining hall full of elderly visitors at our Jack Frost Party, an annual event held especially for friends of the Town Mission.

While some pupils prepared and served tea, others sat among their elderly visitors talking to them about their lives and memories. As well as chatting, they enjoyed sausage rolls, sandwiches and mince pies made by the children, sang Christmas songs together and took part in a Christmas quiz. Each visitor returned home with a surprise Christmas gift organised and gift-wrapped by pupils.

The event was run by Head student, Jennifer Hirst, and Deputy Head Student, Charlotte Allison. They were helped by other Sixth Formers as part of the School’s enrichment programme designed to encourage responsible citizenship and leadership skills.

‘It has been lovely to see the younger children mixing so well with the older folk,’ said Jennifer. ‘I thought they may have found it a bit awkward thinking of what to say but they’ve been brilliant.’

Darin Hamasaeed, Y7, sat with retired teacher Mrs Brenda Brown: ‘She told me all about her grandchildren and great-grandchildren,’ he said. ‘She was very interesting and I told her I wanted to be an architect. The funniest thing was that she couldn’t remember if she was 95 or 96!’


Festive duties: Event organisers Head student, Jennifer Hirst, (above, top left) and Deputy Head student, Charlotte Allison, (top right) serve tea to John Skipsy who sat with Y7 pupil Maya Watson (front left) and Sixth Former Lancia Lee-Deckard.



Cake and chat: Darin Hamasaeed, Y7, enjoyed chatting to Friend of the Town Mission Mrs Brenda Brown.