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Corporation Road, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear SR2 8PL

0191 5002999

Valley Road Academy

friday feeling

Get that Friday Feeling ! 

Every Friday Mrs Curle takes the wheel in one of our mini buses and we go and explore our fantastic area.

We travel around our local region and discover the fabulous places  we have right on our doorstep....

Summer 2019

Hendon Art Project

Our Friday Feeling took us to our local beach in Hendon, where we became artists.  Our school has been asked to work alongside a local artist and Ian Graham who is a local conservation ranger, to design a new seat which is going to be a permanent fixture at Hendon Beach.  We are very excited about this project and are looking forward to seeing the finished structure in September/October 2019.

Our first task was to have a good look around the area and talked about what we could see and what animals we thought we would find at the beach.  Colin, who is in charge of the creation of the seat gave us a tile of clay and talked to us about the different ways we could make our design.  Colin was very impressed with our clay work.  Take a look at the photos to see our amazing creations. We are all very excited to see how our art work is going to be represented on the final seat.

Spring 2019


Year 3 wake up the earth, ready for Spring

 8th February 2019

Today on Friday Feeling this week, we made wake up sticks with ‘Y’ sticks that we had collected from Hawthorne Dene.  We threaded bottle tops onto a wire, which we had hammered holes in using nails (safely of course). The bottle tops rattled on our stick, to wake up the earth ready for spring.  We used tape, wool and other materials to decorate our sticks.  Once we were all finished, we used our stick to tap on the earth to wake it up ready for Spring.  We really enjoyed this activity!

Whilst on our walk through the Dene we went on a scavenger hunt and stuck our woodland treasures onto our cards.  We really enjoyed looking for something soft, a sign of Spring and we even collected a leaf print.

When we got back to ‘The Barn’, we enjoyed hot chocolate and warm toast.  We had the most amazing morning and we hope you enjoy looking at some of our photographs.

Year 4 Weave their way at ‘The Barn’

25th January 2019

It was cold, it was wet and it was muddy, but this didn’t stop year 4 enjoying the activities at ‘The Barn’.  Our friend Jyl welcomed us with a roaring wood burning fire as she explained to us what we were going to be doing.  Today we were going to be ‘weaving’. We were each given a ‘Y’ stick and a length of twine.  We wrapped the twine between the ‘Y’ of the stick, which made the stick look like a net.  On our walk through the Dene, we collected woodland treasure and weaved it through the twine on our stick. When we got back to ‘The Barn’ we talked about the different treasures we had found.  Our sticks looked amazing.  We hope you enjoy looking at some of our photographs.

Hawthorn Woods

This week our Friday Feeling took us to The Barn at Hawthorn Woods.   We met our forest school leader Jyl, who lead us on a magical walk through the woods.  Our first task was to make a journey for us to take back to school and tell everyone about our lovely morning in the woods.  Jyl, lead us along the footpath and when we stopped we had to collect a memory and tie it onto our stick.  We could collect leaves, ferns, moss, feather, whatever we could find on the pathways and in the hedgerows.  We really enjoyed making our journey sticks and learning knots to tie on all the treasures we had found on our walk. 

In the deepest part of the wood, Jyl challenged us to make a den for a Pixie or a fairy to live in.  We were allowed to work in small groups and collected sticks and leaves to make our dens.  We all loved this activity. 

Take a look at our photographs and watch out for our next adventure to The Barn on a Friday Feeling.


Autumn 2018

The squishy, sticky, glorious mud!

Our last group of year 4 children from Mrs Pearce’s class, enjoyed jumping in muddy, wet puddles as we walked around Hawthorne Dene.  Well done everyone for bring with them to school a change of clothes!  We listen to the squishing notices that the mud made and questioned why it smelt so bad.

We played hide and seek in the woods, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.  Tyler Davies, was crowned our hiding champion.  He managed to hide behind a very big log and even in the middle of a holy bush.

Our challenge was to make a den to fit each member of your group in.  The children really enjoyed this activity and worked well in their teams.  Each den showed imagination and determination.  Well done to all of the teams.  Take a look at our photographs, to see what an exciting morning we had.

 Year 4 explore Hawthorne Dene

The rain had stopped and the sun was shining, at last, so off we went to explore Hawthorne Dene.  It was very muddy and we had lots of fun splashing in it and making footprints.  We explored the woods and found a nice spot to build dens.

The children split off into team and worked together to build a den for them to play in.  They really enjoyed this activity, have a look at our photographs and see for yourself how exciting our morning was.

We have that Friday Feeling!


This term had seen years six and five, enjoying the adventures of Friday Feeling.  We have worked together with Ian Graham, who is our local Coastal Ranger.  We have explored our local beaches, looking at the coast line rock formation, sea life, pollution, flora and fauna and even discovered that there are wild plants growing at Hendon beach that we can eat! Our children were amazed at how interesting our local beaches actually are.  We took part in a litter pick at Hendon beach and enjoyed creating beach are at the end of our session.


We were also very lucky and enjoyed a great visit to Sunderland Coast guard station.  We met the coast guards, tried on their equipment and even experienced them being called out on a live shout, which was very exciting. To end our session, we visited Roker beach and built WW2 bunkers and explored the beach.  It was a chilly day, but the children really enjoyed being creative and exploring.


Next, we went off to the woods to explore and take part in Forest School activities.  After a short drive to Hawthorne Dene, we followed the woodland path and explored.  We talked about Autumn and how the trees and animals survive our Autumn and Winter months. We discovered that a stick, is actually not a stick.  I can be a wizard’s wand, a medieval axe or even a false leg from a pirate that has sailed into the bay.  Our imaginations were on fire that morning. 


Our Forest School activities saw us building dens for trolls that live in the woods and making Harry Potter broom sticks, which we took back to school and added them to our amazing Harry Potter literacy display.


Wow, haven’t we been busy!   Have a look at our amazing photographs and watch this space for more exciting adventures.