The Royal British Legion’s Theme for 2018

Every year, the Royal British Legion have a theme for Remembrance Day. This year, as it marks 100 years since the war came to an end, the theme is simply ‘Thank You’. It is a simple, but poignant message; the charity want to say ‘Thank you to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world’.

So, in honor of this message, we have decided to create an ode to this in the form of Art. In addition to the ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, artwork students completed yesterday, several students and members of staff have came together to create a poppy collage in the words ‘Thank You’.

As said by one of our contributing students, Callum: “Fellow students here at Joseph Swan have all been very enthusiastic to participate in all Remembrance activities. We are so proud to be given this opportunity to contribute in making something in honor of such an amazing cause!”

This will be center stage in our Art Commemoration Memorial, for everyone to take in and admire. It is a beautiful piece of inspired Art work and one that really showcases our appreciation as both a school and a community to those who lost their lives in the Great War and those who continue to serve and protect to this day.

What we want students to take from this artwork and the entire day in general is that the reason we celebrate Remembrance is to show our appreciation. It is much more than just another day, it is very deeply meaningful and  emotional day for everyone here at Joseph Swan and across the country as a whole. Although the poppy installation can be seen as just a piece of artwork, it has much greater depth and meaning because of the intentions and thoughts behind it and we truly hope it highlights how much important we value Remembrance.

So, on behalf of everyone here at Joseph Swan and our community, we would love to say THANK YOU!

Written by Abbie and Rosie. Edited by Faith

Remembrance Respect Day

Yesterday, we began our Remembrance Day commemorations by hosting the Colours of Remembrance and the Run for Remembrance (in which the students very successfully surpassed the 2,500 km target!). These were both excellent ways of raising both money and awareness at this very important time of year.

Today, we begin the second day of our Remembrance, with many activities spanning across the course of the day. We are delighted to be joined by many amazing guests such as tour guides from Beamish Museum and serving members of the armed forces. It is a brilliant opportunity for students to be able to speak and interact with these guests and have a true perspective of different aspects of service today as well as an understanding of the nature of lives of both civilians, and those in service, in the past.

Regrettably, we often find ourselves getting so caught up in everyday life that it’s possible to forget the true meaning and significance of Remembrance Day.This is why, as we do every year, we have the Academy’s Remembrance service, the predominant part of all our Remembrance commemorations. This is lead by Miss Scott. This is always an emotive service and presents the perfect occasion for us all to truly reflect and honour all those fallen soldiers from past wars, and those still serving today. All members of the Academy also receive a wooden Remembrance cross, which they can dedicate to someone personal to them. The cross is then planted at the end of the Remembrance service in our memorial area within the Academy grounds, as a sign of respect. Respect is the principal reason why Remembrance Day is so widely honoured and here at Joseph Swan Academy; it is our main ambition to pay tribute on this momentous occasion of the Centenary of the Armistice of The Great War.

At the end of this afternoon we will come together as a whole academy to hold our official period of silence together, on The Street (the central area of the Academy).

It is sure to be a fantastic but also deeply emotional day for both staff and students, just as it is every year.

“Forever lost, forever changed. We care, so we remember.”

Written by Rosie
Edited by Faith.

Colours of Remembrance

Over the course of Period One, students watched an interview about an astonishingly emotive film titled ‘They shall not grow old’ made by Director, Peter Jackson, who is most well known as director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises.

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ is a truly incredible commemoration to all the brave soldiers from World War 1; it reminds us all of how we shouldn’t and will never forget the sacrifices they made.

Jackson has taken the old silent, black and white, raw footage of real events from the trenches and brought them to life by colourising them with the remarkable cinematic effects we have today. He used forensic lip readers and voice actors to capture the regional accents particular to each regiment, thus making the film more genuine and authentic and giving us a sense that we can hear those lost voices from the past.

Jackson wanted to portray the real lives of these soldiers, not just tell a generic story about war. His aim was to show that these men, often seen in the grey grainy images of WW1 that are so common to us, were more than just soldiers. These men were sons, fathers, brothers, friends, people– who deserve to be remembered. They were people who found time to enjoy each others’ company and entertain each other with jokes, music and companionship as well as being men who missed their families and their homes and who feared what the next day would bring. Jackson said ‘I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more’.

In our tutor groups we drew inspiration from the film and created our own pieces of art work, inspired by these reinvigorated images. We took black and white photographs of the trenches and soldiers and added colour to them. We shared Jackson’s motivation to reach across the century and breath life into these old images.  We feel this recognition of the individuality and humanity of the soldiers  is a very important and poignant message that people should be aware of. Surely this is the true meaning of Remembrance.

The art pieces will be used to create an artistic  war memorial here at Joseph Swan Academy to signify 100 years since the end of the Great War in 1918.

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ can be seen in cinemas and on BBC2 at 9:30pm on Sunday at 9:30pm.

Written by Rosie,

Edited by Faith.

The Purple Poppy

Generally, Remembrance Day is focused on the commemoration of those who lost their lives fighting on behalf of their country in all wars, past and present. The Red Poppy has become the renowned symbol of our respect to fallen soldiers, however, the impact on the lives of animals is often overlooked.

In 2006, the ‘Purple Poppy’ was designed in order to encourage us to remember the animals who have been victims of war. The animals that did not give their lives willingly to be of service for humans; rather their lives were taken from them.

During the First World War alone, around 8 million horses and donkeys this was in addition to the millions of dogs, cats, pigeons, elephants, oxen, camels and canaries (!) who also died as a result of war.

Those who choose to wear the purple poppy do so to remember these deaths, just as the symbol of the red poppy is used as an image of honor and remembrance of lost human lives.

Written by Emily, Edited by Faith.

Remembrance at Joseph Swan 2018

The much anticipated annual commemoration of Remembrance Day has arrived so it’s a very busy time here at Joseph Swan Academy. Over the next two days, students will take part in many interesting activities that will educate them on the true meaning of why we commemorate Remembrance Day.

Last night, we held the annual Concert for Remembrance; this is a poignant and memorable event where schools come together to Remember through music and song.

Today, students and staff have the opportunity to wear red and black to signify the colours of the poppy for a small donation. Also, we participate in the ‘Run for Remembrance’ where  staff and students will work together to collectively run the length of the trenches – around 2,500 km.

We will be hosting a variety of activities and welcoming a wide range of visitors to the Academy, we will update you with news of events as we move across the two days so keep checking back for further updates.

Last year, we managed to raise an impressive £6,000 for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

As always, it is certain to be an unforgettable experience for everyone in the Academy and is a special way to remember the fallen soldiers who fought in both World Wars and other conflicts across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

We Will Remember Them.

Written by Rosie and Abbie, edited by Faith.

Colours of Remembrance Day

Dear Parent /Carer

Tomorrow is our ‘Colours of Remembrance’ day in the Academy. Students can wear red/black clothing to the Academy for a small donation for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Students are allowed to wear the following red/black clothes:

  • Hooded Tops
  • Black Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Tracksuit Bottoms
  • Trainers Shoes
  • ¾ length shorts
  • Skirts (these must be at least the same length as an Academy skirt)
  • Dresses (these must be at least the same length as an Academy skirt)

Students are not allowed to wear the following clothes:

  • Cropped Tops
  • Vest Tops
  • Hats
  • Short skirts
  • Costumes
  • Items with inappropriate wording or images

We look forward to seeing many of our students participating in this tomorrow.

Yours faithfully

Miss H E Scott
Head Teacher

Year 10 DT Visit To Nissan

As part of their studies in GCSE Design Technology, 48 of our Year 10 students were involved in an Engineering Event at the Nissan Car Plant in Sunderland. They met with students from other schools during the launch of the day and were involved in a series of challenges connected with car manufacture and industrial production lines.

After the challenges, the students were given a guided tour of the Nissan Trim and Chassis line where they saw Nissan Jukes, Qashqais and the all new Nissan electric Leaf model being engineered on the production lines. They saw the cars being created, finished and tested and have learned a lot of key information which will help them with their GCSE studies and future exams.

Remembrance Events at Joseph Swan Academy

Dear Parent/Carer

Due to the success, student engagement and educational value of our Remembrance Respect Day in 2017, this has been even further developed for 2018.

On Wednesday 7th November our Concert for Remembrance will take place in the Academy. The Academy Band, the Band and Bugles of Durham ACF and choirs from Kells Lane Primary School, Harlow Green Primary School, Oakfield Junior School and Kelvin Grove Primary School will be involved. Tickets will be £4 from the Academy Reception. This is always an exceptionally poignant evening.

On Thursday 8th November it will be our Colours of Remembrance Day with students and staff wearing Red and Black for a small donation. Year Teams will also be having events linked with Remembrance during Period 1 focusing on the commemoration of 100 years since the end of the Great War. Some students will also be participating in a Silence for Remembrance during registration and Period 1. In addition students who would like to be involved with their Year Group and can for a small donation be involved in a ‘Run for Remembrance’ during their allocated Year Group period on Thursday 8th November 2018.

Friday 9th November is our Remembrance SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development) Day.
Students will see the work of the Royal British Legion and other welfare organisations. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in additional sessions such as to see military vehicles from past and present, an Anderson shelter exhibition, a Hurricane Hawker MkII, Flying Flea and a Spitfire MK805. There will also be a Battle of Britain exhibition. Students can participate in army climbing activities and undertake a physical training session delivered by the Royal Marines. In addition, we have sessions with the Royal Fusiliers Regiment, the Military Intelligence Team, the Royal Navy, the Army, the British Legion Riders, the Royal Artillery and have input into a Remembrance Art installation. In addition we will have workshops focused on the white and purple poppy, the Peace Pledge and Armistice Day.

Most importantly, students will have the opportunity to plant a dedicated cross/faith symbol in our memorial area within the Academy grounds.

This is a very important day for our Academy and I would like all of our students to participate. I do hope you support us with this. This day will finish with an all Academy Remembrance Service at 2.35pm.

The staff car park will be open to the public from 12.15pm to 1pm to view the military vehicles. If you would like to see these please email or telephone 0191 4422004 to book your place.

I do understand, however, that some parents may wish to withdraw their sons/daughters from the day for a number of different reasons. If you wish to do this, please email the Academy Administration Manager, Mrs Atkinson, at and we will organise alternative arrangements.

I thank you in advance for your continued support.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher

Supporting Year 11 Exam Success

Yesterday the Academy hosted a Year 11 Revision Skills and Motivational Conference. The event was delivered by Positively MAD (Positively Making A Difference), an award winning educational company, who work with Year 11 students in schools and academies nationwide.

Our whole Year 11 cohort was involved in the Conference. The Conference was aimed at developing students’ range of revision strategies and motivating them to achieve their very best in the end of year exams. Year 11 students who attended found the event very useful.

One student described the day as, “Inspirational”, and another student felt that they, “Had picked up a lot of useful tips on how to prepare for the summer exams”.

This event is just one of the many key events and initiatives happening in the Academy this academic year to support and nurture our Year 11 students in the build up to their crucial end of year external exams.

Year 6 Forensic Fun

All Year 6 students from within the local cluster of primaries were recently invited to spend some time in our amazing Science Department here at JSA.

Students became detectives for the day and helped to catch a thief within our midst using Forensic Science techniques. After tins of our favourite biscuits went missing, Year 6 students carried out some forensic analysis on a range of samples to help catch the greedy culprit. Using lab equipment and diagnostic testing, they were able to identify Mr Hays as the staff member with the extra sweet tooth!

100% of the students surveyed agreed that the day was fun and that they had learnt something new and interesting. Primary staff were delighted that students had been given the opportunity to use the superb facilities and labs we have here at the Academy.

Our thanks go to Mr Gates, our Head of Science, and his excellent team of Science staff for the delivery of these activities. Lucky students from each school went away with prizes for asking the best questions of the day.

This event is just one example from our extensive transition and primary links programme. If you would like more information on transition, please do not hesitate to contact our Deputy Head, Mr Bland, at the following email address: or please call: 01914422000 ext 249.