Archived Whole School Events

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Archived whole School events 2022-2023

Stanhope Barrington welcomes our very own hens! – This week (commencing 12th June 2023) we welcome four little brown hens to join our school. The hens are on loan from our Chair of Academy Council (Dr Sarah Haynes). We are going to trial caring for the hens for this half term and if all goes well, we’ll get some of our own next year.

The hens have settled in really quickly and have delivered four eggs already in the first couple of days.

The children will be involved in feeding, cleaning them out, ensuring they have enough water and meeting their basic care needs. In return, we hope the hens will give us lots of cuddles and lots of laughs!

Climate Change Exhibition – During the week commencing 5th June 2023, our whole spent the week learning about Climate Change. We worked closely with OASES (Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists) who delivered workshops on Climate Change to all children across the school.

Amethyst created Climate Change Superheroes while Sapphire  looked at the effect of climate change on animals. The Ruby Learning Zone learnt about Carbon footprints and how we can all take action to reduce our own carbon footprint. Emerald and Diamond did a joint workshop to design an Eco School.

Children also completed lessons within their Learning Zones.

On Monday 12th June 2023, we invited parents/carers to visit our Climate Change exhibition in the school hall where there were displays of children’s work along with a range of different information videos created by the Diamond Learning Zone.

Feedback from parents was fantastic and they particularly enjoyed watching the videos.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported our school.

The Great British Bake-Off – The children had an amazing week researching and making their chosen cake.  We have mixed, whisked, sieved and iced our cakes and the results were fantastic.  A through judgement was carried out by our in house judges Prue and Zoe Hollywood with the top prize going to the Diamond Learning Zone for their spectacular Rainbow Cake.

Stanhope’s Got Talent – Our children held their annual talent show for Red Nose Day.  They surpassed all expectations and showed such confidence displaying their chosen talent.  Everyone was blown away by their performances, which included dancing, singing (even in French!), joke telling, martial arts and more! Well done to the deserved winners and we are all looking forward to Season 3 of Stanhope’s Got Talent.

Celebrating STEM Week – This week (commencing 6th March 2023) is our annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) week in school.

In celebration of the work the children have completed in school and also to showcase our competition winners we held a Science Exhibition in the school hall.

The exhibition was really well attended with lots parents & carers coming along to join in the fun. Some of our science competition entrants were on hand to demonstrate how their experiments worked.

Our youngest children had created ‘Community Connections’ while Year 3 displayed their X-ray artwork. Year 5 had created a Cloud In A Jar which was very effective whilst the Ruby Learning Zone had created a way to transport a cream egg down a zipwire without breaking it! There was a huge range of different science experiments on show.

Our competition entries included a wide range of things such as: how to create perfume; spinning jelly using kinetic energy; using cups to increase the volume of music using vibration and much much more.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this fantastic event.

World Book Day 2023: Encouraging a love of reading – We have all had a fantastic day in school today (Friday 3rd March 2023). There were some amazing costumes which seem to get bigger and better each year. Our World Book Day activities have included:

Fancy Dress Competition –This year we held a competition for children to dress up to reflect their favourite books and the winners will be given a gift voucher. Our winners are: Kit (EYFS); Charlie R (KS1), and Layla (KS2). Well done, everyone!

Book Sale – Mrs Norman and our Librarians organised a book sale at the beginning and end of the school day. Thank you to everyone who either donated books or bought a new book for 50p. In addition, every child was allowed to choose a free book from the book stall.

Lunchtime at Hogwarts –At lunchtime our school hall turned into Hogwarts and the children sat at tables depending upon their ‘house’ either on the Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Hugglepuff table. The hall was decorated with cobwebs, spiders and floating candles. Our amazing catering team (Lynn and Zoe), as usual, joined in the fun by dressing up too. The Harry Potter theme tune played creating a wonderful atmosphere.

Storytime –After lunch each adult in school read a story from their favourite book and the children across the whole school could choose which story they wanted to listen to at different reading stations across the school.

The Gift of Reading –Last year it came to our attention that some of our children don’t have books at home and this is why we decided to give each child a free book from the Book Stall but in addition, every child in the school was asked to choose a reading book before the half term holiday and we have used £13.60 to buy every child their own brand-new book to take home today. This has been possible due to our excellent relationship with an independent bookshop (Drakes) who we work with on a regular basis. We are extremely grateful to Drakes for doing us such a great deal to enable us to do this for our children.

Our children will also be taking home a book token which can be used at most book retailers towards the cost of a book.

Children’s Mental Health Week – This week (6th-10th February) in school we have been celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week. The Happiness Heroes launched the week in Collective Worship on Monday. The theme this year is ‘Let’s Connect.’

The children have been partaking in activities to show how we are connected to others all over the world. Activities have been in class, Breakfast club, lunchtime and After school club. We finished the week by a Dress to Express Day.

The children have had a great time and are keen to suggest ways to help heir mental health.

Engaging Parents & Carers in War Week – On Monday 14th November 2022, we welcomed parents, carers, grandparents and our wider school community to come along to the school hall to share in the work our children did during War Week.

The exhibition was really well attended with lots of really lovely feedback. One grandparent was in tears having read the acrostic poems written by the Emerald Learning Zone which were so emotive.

Our very youngest children had made wreaths and giant poppies and learnt a poem about remembrance day which they had performed in Collective Worship. The children in the Amethyst Learning Zone learnt about evacuees and thought about what they would pack in their suitcase if they were in that position. This was a really good activity to help to build their empathy skills.

In the Sapphire Learning Zone the children learnt all about rationing and how that impacted on our country. They had to design menus and meals based on real rationing restrictions.

Children in the Ruby Learning Zone learnt about the build up and outbreak of war and created a timeline of events leading up to the war. They learnt about the role of women during wartime and designed propaganda posters too. Ruby were very lucky to take part in a zoom call with a great-grandparent of two of our children who lived in the Netherlands during wartime and she shared her experiences with them. This had a huge impact on the children who are still talking about this amazing woman now!

Emerald focussed on the Blitz, designing and making war planes and role playing an air raid. The siren could be heard from their Learning Zone all around the school! The children created some incredibly moving acrostic poems about Remembrance Day which they recorded and parents could listen to during the exhibition.

Our oldest children in Diamond learnt about the Holocaust and researched what life was life for Jewish people before the war and during the war to compare and contrast. They created a timeline for the Kindertransport and read the Diary of Anne Frank.

Thank you to everyone who came along to the exhibition to celebrate the children’s work.

Gav Cross: Fun & Laughter at Stanhope Barrington – On Friday 7th October 2022, Gav Cross returned to our school to deliver his amazing workshop Tell Tale Twit to the Emerald and Diamond Learning Zone. As always, Gav’s workshop was riotous, thoroughly engaging and entertaining. The children all had an amazing time learning through drama and really expressing themselves.

Gav commented:

“What an absolute joy to return to Stanhope Barrington this morning. I had such a fabulous time last year on the previous tour. It genuinely inspired me to create elements of this year’s tour show, simply because your young people and colleagues are so open and creative.

As a performer and storyteller, I actively encourage conversation, contribution and chaos. All of this combines to make my style of work and workshop. This morning was wonderfully playful and joyful. I had the children on their feet and joining in for the whole session, wanting to take part, to perform and engage. They were nurturing, encouraging and celebrating each other throughout.

That doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s an uplifting experience for me as a creative.

Children obviously feel safe to be themselves at your school as there was no fear or judgement – just joy and fun which was also role modelled by your team all joining in and taking part too.

Long may the joy and enthusiasm for learning, performing and creativity reign. When I saw I was returning to your school, I smiled immediately, because I knew it would be a fantastic experience again, and hopefully for them too! And this certainly turned out to be very true!”

Feedback from our children:

“It was amazing how he could use the tone and pitch of his voice to build up tension or excitement” Ava

“I loved how he used his face to tell the stories.” Jayden

“He used really expressive language which was great fun.” Arran

Riley was impressed with a piece of advice: “He told us that if we feel really angry to just tell it out in a story.”

Archived whole School events 2021-2022

Pride Flag

The whole school came together to celebrate pride colours day by recreating a giant pride flag.  We understand the importance of celebrating differences and working together to protect the rights of others.  We really enjoyed celebrating Pride month and showing that we care.

How can we stay safe around our community?

It is very exciting to hear that the Weardale Railway has opened back up creating valuable opportunities for our local community. To ensure all of our children are safe near the railways we had a visit from Chris and Jamie from Durham Police, who were accompanied by Clare from the Auckland Project. The team delivered an interactive session which allowed the children to understand the dangers trains and rail lines can have. The children have been challenged to create posters to help spread the message of how we can stay safe around the rail lines which will be accessible in the community in the coming weeks.

Pride Colour Run

What an amazing afternoon the whole school had.  We invited parents to join us our messy fun by taking part in a colour run to raise money to improve our collection of diversity books.

Drake’s the Book Shop visit         

We welcomed Richard from Drake’s book shop to bring us a box of brand-new books for our Library.  The children were very excited to get their hands on the new books and they were all gone by the end of second play time!

Richard also did some work with the Emerald and Ruby class about Refugees as it is National Refugee Week this week.  We looked at the book called The Day War Came.  This generated amazing discussions with the children about what it might be like to be a Refugee and their experiences moving to a new country.  The children then made their own giant chair, which is a reference from the story.  It was a fantastic session and we look forward to welcoming Richard back to school again in the future.

Celebrating the Jubilee

We all enjoyed a big party to celebrate the Queens Jubilee.  Children gathered outside to listen to our brass players perform and to be greeted by ‘The Queen’ herself! We had so many food donations which were enjoyed by all of our children! A real success!

Durham Cathedral Leavers’ Service

The year 6 children attended their leavers service at Durham Cathedral on Thursday 9th of June.  They did the school proud as they carried our banner down the aisle. They enjoyed taking part in a range of activities in the Cathedral and enjoyed listening to the songs.  The day was rounded of with a picnic by the riverside.

Oliver Twist at Stanhope Barrington

On Tuesday 24th May 2022, M&M Productions came into school to deliver a theatre performance of Oliver Twist.

The whole school watched this amazing spectacle. The scenery was fantastic and the actors played numerous roles within the story. The children joined in with ‘panto’ style chants and also with singing familiar songs such as ‘Consider Yourself One of Us’.

Feedback from our children:

“I loved it” said Jack.

“It was really, really good” said Olly.

“My favourite character was Mr Bumble” said Micah.

“I liked joining in and having to shout: Strawberry Jam!” said Ella.

“I just loved every single thing!” said Ryan

The  children were all talking about their favourite part of the story and who their favourite characters were and why during lunchtime – which was lovely to hear.

The performance of Oliver Twist was fully funded through a donation from Mrs Neasham (Honorary President of our PTA). We are extremely grateful for her ongoing support.

Showing Support for Ukraine

During the last week of the Spring term, our children have taken part in creating flags to show their support for the children and families in Ukraine.

Our very youngest children in Amethyst used chalk to create an enormous flag on their playground.

The older children decorated flags and wrote messages of support which have been sent to Durham Cathedral to join a huge display which the Cathedral Learning Engagement Team are putting together.

Letters from our Local MP

In Spring term, the KS2 children wrote to our local MP Richard Holden about The Fight That Unites campaign which is designed to keep up the momentum on climate change after COP26.  The children were delighted to receive a personalised letter back from Mr Holden in agreement with the importance of highlighting the current climate crisis.  We are so proud of the social action the children in KS2 have taken and the positive impact they are having locally.

Exploring other cultures through Bread Making

This half term in DT lessons, our whole school have taken part in the Great British Bread Off. The children have researched different bread from different cultures, written instructions and lists of ingredients, baked their own bread and then reflected on how they could improve their creations.

Each Learning Zone then entered an example of their unique bread into a competition which was judged by Tony Humphries (former baker) and Sarah Stancliffe (author of the Christian Aid book of Bread) from Bread Church (St. Thomas’).

Judging took place on 25th March which was a poignant day as it is known as Lady’s Day in the Christian calendar and is the day the angel appeared to Mary (9 months before the birth of Jesus). In old English the word ‘lady’ means kneader of bread. We also learnt that the word ‘companion’ means to break bread together with ‘pan’ meaning bread and com meaning ‘together’.

There was a huge range of different breads for our judges to consider ranging from Zopf to soda bread and from Bannock Bread to flat bread. The judges had an incredibly difficult job but eventually announced the winner as being the Sapphire Learning Zone for their Soda bread! Everyone in the Learning Zone won a prize.

The judges commented that they were incredibly impressed with the variety of different breads and that some Learning Zones had been very bold in their choice of bread.

Tony Humphries said: “We were in the company of such competent bread makers.”

The children thoroughly enjoyed the event, learnt a lot about other cultures and the process of bread making and we have had quite a few requests for the recipes!

Red Nose Day 2022

This year we celebrated Red Nose Day by holding ‘Stanhope’s got Talent’.  The school gathered in the hall to watch the spectacular show, showcasing a range of talents from dancing, singing, jokes, taekwondo to our very own band! The children who took part showed amazing talent and resilience but most importantly everyone had a lot of fun!

Each child in the school also made their own superhero capes which was linked to their Learning Zone’s superpower and they added their own unique details to their designs.  We had a fantastic day and raised an amazing £500 for Read Nose Day! Well done everyone.

A visit from Team GB Charlie Myers

On Thursday 17th March 2022 we were visited by a Team GB pole vaulter Charlie Myers.  Children from right across the school got to meet Charlie and he put everyone through their paces with an afternoon of non-stop circuits.

Charlie then held a special assembly where he showed us the different types of poles, discussed how he got into the sport and surprised us all with the height he could jump (a two storey building!).  Needless to say, all of the children enjoyed their afternoon with Charlie and he inspired the children to give this exciting sport a try!

Celebrating World Book Day – We Love Books!

On Friday 4th March 2022, we celebrated World Book Day. Our children came into school dressed as their favourite character from a book and we had some amazing costumes!

Mrs Norman (Academy Councillor and Link Councillor for Literacy) set up and ran a ‘book shop’ with the support of our school Librarians and her after school reading club.

Thank you to everyone who donated books for the sale – we had some really lovely books which were very popular and we raised £92.67 which will be used to buy more books for our school library.

Children paid 20p per book and quite a few bought an armful of books to take home. The children were extremely enthusiastic about the book sale and there was a real sense of excitement about books and reading.

In the Learning Zones there were some lovely activities including quizzes and drama based on books.

Even Taylor Shaw staff got in on the act and not only dressed up too but also made World Book Day cakes for everyone!

Mrs Norman (Academy Councillor) – “World Book Day has been fantastic. I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and interest from the children and how carefully they chose their books.”

Mrs Cross (Head Teacher) – “It was lovely to see books everywhere in school today, children were reading outside, in the hall, at lunchtime and really enjoyed showing staff which books they had bought. This event has really showcased our children’s love of reading.”

Jessica (Shadow Leadership Team) – “It has been a really fun day because we have done a quiz about books using Kahoot.”

Mr Storey (Early Reading Lead Teacher) – “Our children have really enjoyed dressing up and accessing the book sale. Please see our fantastic photos on the windows of the EYFS Unit.”

Jet and Ben visit our school

On Thursday 16th September 2021, Durham Police brought Jet and Ben, their safety dogs, into our school to meet the children. Their handler (Claire) was joined by our local PCSO Jamie and they spoke to the children about the role of the police, road safety, playing outside safely and online safety.

Everyone was extremely excited to meet the two Labradors! The children sat so quietly and calmly waiting for the arrival of the dogs. Jet (the black lab) was really excited to come into the hall and meet everyone! Claire explained what dogs are used for by the police and then every child had the opportunity to stroke the dogs as they left the hall.

After assembly, Jet and Ben escorted Claire and Jamie down to the Opal and Amethyst Learning Zones where they spent time with our very youngest children answering lots of questions about what they had learnt in assembly.

We look forward to welcoming Jet and Ben back to school later in the year.

Feedback from our children:

“They both feel so soft and cuddly.”

“It was really fun having Jet and Ben in the school hall.”

“ I was a bit nervous but I used my superpower of courage and gave the yellow one a little stroke.”

Feedback from our team:

“It was fantastic to see the children participating with visitors allowed back in school.”

Feedback from our Academy Councillor:

“The PSCO’s were very friendly and informative about safety both inside and outside of school. They were extremely engaging with the children. It would be lovely to see them back in school later in the year so that we can reinforce confidence.”

For more information check out the Jet and Ben website for lots of great activities!

Film Stars in the Making

On Tuesday 19th October 2021, 8 children whose names had been pulled out of a hat for having 100% attendance visited Killhope Lead Mine with Mrs Cross. Annie, Aimee, David, Cooper, Ava, Jayden, Willow and Alexander were the lucky children drawn out of the hat.

Killhope were making a promotional film to advertise and encourage visitors for next Spring and Summer and needed some children to appear in the background as extras and also to take part in an interview about Killhope.

Our visit began with a trip down the mine, which was a bit scary but all of the children were incredibly brave and had a go showing excellent resilience even though they were a bit anxious.

David, Aimee and Cooper then took part in an interview all about the Killhope experience. They were very professional and were a real credit to the school.

We then continued the tour and visited various areas within Killhope. The children were horrified to discover that children as young as 9 were sent to work down the mines! The visit ended with us all working on the Washing Floor looking for galena and fluorspar. The children experienced all of the jobs children would have done on the Washing Floor and everyone was lucky enough to find some treasure to take home.

As a thank you for taking part in the filming each child was given a goody bag. The children had a great time and Ava even said : “ This is the best day ever!”

We will let parents know the dates the film is being released.

Twisted Tales for Terrible Children Drama Workshop

On Thursday 21st October 2021, we welcomed Gav Cross into school to deliver a drama workshop for our children. The workshop was organised as part of the Highlights Tour and was very kindly funded by St. Thomas’ Church Hall. Later that day, Gav also gave a performance in the Church Hall.

The workshop was split into three groups with our younger children from Amethyst and Sapphire working together, Ruby had their own session and then in the afternoon Emerald and Diamond joined together for a fantastic session.

Gav was extremely enthusiastic, dynamic and engaging. His storytelling was exceptional and he held the children spell-bound. The workshops involved the children using drama to retell familiar and unfamiliar stories. They really enjoyed using physical movement to convey different feelings and emotions.

The workshops not only gave our children the opportunity to experience story telling through drama, it also inspired them and embedded a love of stories. Our teaching teams used this experience as a stimulus for writing and for further drama to across a range of curriculum areas.

Enjoying Halloween

As Halloween occurred during the half term holiday we decided to celebrate on Friday 22nd October (the day we broke up).

The children came into school wearing Halloween costumes or non-uniform if they preferred.

Our catering team from Taylor Shaw outdid themselves in decorating the hall for lunchtime, dressing up and making a spooky Halloween lunch. Even children who normally have a packed lunch participated and enjoyed their ‘Frightening Fish Fingers’!

Thank you so much to everyone who joined in and many thanks to Lynn and Jamie-Leigh from Taylor Shaw for all their hard work in creating a fantastic atmosphere and experience for our children.

Archived Whole School Events 2020-2021

Ultimate Frisbee

On Friday 18th June 2021 we welcomed SportsCool into our school. They are a company who specialise in the provision of sports clubs for Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs.

Each one of our Learning Zones had the opportunity to try out their skills with a Frisbee. They were taught age appropriate core skills and lots of really fun games. The children all had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the challenges set for them.

We would love to book SportsCool to help us to provide After School Clubs from September once the parent questionnaires are all in and counted and a decision can be made by the Academy Council on whether or not to appoint an After School Supervisor. Watch this space!

Applying our skipping skills to raise money for charity!

As you know our children have taken part in a range of skipping workshops as part of Durham County Council’s Skip Into Spring Project. The children were so enthusiastic about skipping that we thought it would be a great activity for them to do to raise money for WIN (Women In Need): a charity run by two of our parents which supports women in India.

Just before half term we held a ‘Skip-a-thon’ and asked for donations for WIN. The children had a great time and at the same time made a significant difference to the lives of others who are less fortunate. We raised approximately £100 and Leah & Usha commented: “Thank you so much to everyone, this will really make a significant difference.”

Our amazing educational visits to The Weardale Outdoor Education Centre

As part of our ‘Return to School Plan’, over the last two weeks every child in our school has attended a whole day session at the Weardale Outdoor Education Centre. The purpose was to give children the time and space to rebuild friendships, to embed their Learning Zone’s Super Power, to have fun and to benefit their emotional well-being and mental health following lockdown.

We are planning a second visit which we had hoped to do in July, however, by the time our funding was secured we had missed the boat and the dates are now booked for September and October.

In order to avoid putting additional financial pressure on parents at this challenging time, we have funded the trips by fundraising and asking for donations from local businesses and organisations.

We were totally blown away by the generosity of William Cook (the foundry in Stanhope) who fully funded half of the total amount required for the two trips. We are also extremely grateful to Stanhope Methodist Church, St. Thomas’ PCC, Eastgate Church Committee, RE Lighting and Stone Valley Interiors. There were also a number of other businesses who kindly supported our project but who have asked to remain anonymous – we thank you all.

We have had tremendous feedback from children, parents and from the centre staff too. In fact, the children are still talking about their adventures!

We have a fantastic video available on our website along with photos and quotes for you to enjoy.

We all look forward to our next visit.

Mrs D Cross

Head Teacher

Opal Learning Zone

Ruby-Bec – “It was so much fun. I loved the fishy and shark game.”

Freddie – “We had cake for my birthday, and we had a fire. It was good.”

Amethyst Learning Zone

Lana – “I loved the obstacle course because we had to climb through all of the muddy tyres.”

Jack K – “It was the best trip ever. I hope we can go again soon.”


Sapphire Learning Zone

Ella – ‘My favourite activity was the nightline because it was challenging and fun because you were blindfolded, but you had a rope to follow.’

Tommie – ‘I worked the hardest at the planks because we worked together moving the planks along.’

Scarlett – ‘I used my superpowers on the scavenger hunt. I found the different animals by listening to others and working together.’

Ruby Learning Zone

Aimee – “The trip taught me how to use good fellowship and help others.”

Imogen – “The trip was really great and you got to try things you didn’t think you would try, like climbing up the slippery log!”

Poppy – “I built up my confidence about doing stuff because everyone was there for me.”

Leo – “I liked when we had to place the board across using our superpower and it felt very nice when we did it together.”

Henry – “I learned that even if you do badly at something it doesn’t matter as long as you tried.”

Freddie – “The trip was amazing. It feels good to know there is always someone there for you.”

Emerald Learning Zone

Harry – “I thought it was very nice when everyone encouraged me to climb up the log for the high ropes activity.”

Joseph –  “The canoeing was a bit tricky but I used my resilience to keep trying and eventually I succeeded.”

Diamond Learning Zone

Lucy – “I really liked going to the adventure centre because of all of the fun activities. I especially liked canoeing because I enjoyed doing it with my friends and I’d never done it before. We did an activity called a spiderweb and it was all about teamwork.”

Olivia – “I love canoeing because I liked trying to go in the right direction with my friends. I also loved it when I had to swim over to the bush to get the leaf.”

Harley – “I liked doing the spiderweb because we were doing teamwork. I liked it where you had to stack the crates up and canoe in the lake. I liked it where you had to tip over, that was fun.”


Last week we held our annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) week which was awesome.

Every Learning Zone took part in some amazing ‘hands on’ science experiments and our visiting scientist and engineers really brought their topics alive for the children.

The sessions were really inspiring and helped to raise the profile of STEM subjects in school and STEM careers for the children to aim for.

This fantastic week was topped off with a visit from Zoo Lab (who we welcome back every year). These science sessions had an age appropriate focus ranging from mini-beasts to habitats to endangered species.

See our Have You Heard? section for the amazing feedback we have received from our visitors about our children’s behaviour and attitude to learning.

Our children said:

“I really enjoyed charging the car with solar power and measuring the voltage to ensure it could complete its journey.”

“Working on the Mars Rover project was excellent.”

“I loved using magnets to move the iron filings around.”

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