Residential & Educational Visits

We offer a number of residential opportunities for students in school.
These range from Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions, trip to Derwent Hill, Football trip to Manchester, theatre trip to London, ski trip to Italy and camping trip to Holland.
These residential opportunities develop independence, life skill , emotional intelligence and resilience.

In addition to this, our curriculum offers vast opportunities for or students to take part in a wide range of educational visits.

Please see below to find out what we have been up to.


Derwent Hill 2019

14 students visited Derwent Hill in October as part of a multi outdoor activity week developing independence, resilience and teamwork. The highlights of the week were canoeing, hill walking, climbing, death swing, night walks around Derwent Water and Castlerigg stone circle. The students were brilliant; their behaviour, manners, independence skills and can-do attitude were a credit to themselves, their families and BPA. We had mixed weather, however the staff at Derwent Hill commented on how positive and resilient our students are and that we as a school embrace the benefits of outdoor learning for our students’ health and well-being. Well done all!





Duke of Edinburgh expeditions 2019

Bronze Expedition 25th – 26th June 2019, East Durham Coastal Path

Eleven students completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. They  walked seven miles from Seaham to the campsite at the Barn near Hawthorn Dene, then five and a half miles the next day for the return journey. The teams set up camp, cooked a meal, and relaxed around the camp site in the beautiful setting overlooking the woodland and coast. We had nesting swallows visiting us throughout the night feeding their chicks! The students demonstrated bucket loads of resilience and teamwork. Well done all!


Silver Expedition 2nd – 4th July 2019, Northumberland Coastal Walk


Another brilliant effort from our 6th formers completing their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, eleven students in total. The weather was fantastic. The group were based at Budle Bay taking in sections of the Northumberland coastal path, highlights being day one High Newton to Beadnal, day two camp to Seahouses via Bamburgh and day three circumnavigation of Holy Island. Fantastic team effort walking, navigating, setting up camp and cooking meals. Buzz words are resilience, patience, teamwork and fun demonstrated in abundance!

Well done all we should have a strong team for Gold next year!


Gold Expedition 8th July – 11th July 2019, How Town to Threlkeld in Lake District

Five year 14 students completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award from the 8th to 11th July. We had great weather and their journey in the Lake District took them from Howtown, Patterdale, St Johns in Vale, Walna Crag, Ashness Bridge, Braithwaite finishing in Threlkeld. Each camp site is different but our favourite is at Low Bridge Farm where we camped in a fantastic eco friendly farm in meadows and brooks with animals around and peaceful tranquility.

The students buzz words for the week were resilience, patience, teamwork and fun.

They all passed with flying colours and a were credit to themselves and Barbara Priestman.

Duke of Edinburgh expeditions 2018

What a summer we have had for our expeditions! Sixth form students have been out and about completing their various Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Bronze Expedition Sixteen students completed their Bronze expedition on the East Durham Coast, camping at The Barn, near Hawthorn Dene, over two days.


Silver Expedition Eight students complete their Silver Award in Northumberland, over three days, from Holy Island to Low Newton.


Gold Expedition Four students complete Gold award in the Lake District, from Howtown Ullswater to Threlkeld via Thirlmere and Derwent Water, in four days.

Brilliant effort by all and we had the most amazing weather. Well done!

Disney 2018

Early in the morning (4:30 am) on the 14th May we set off on our adventure to Disneyland Paris.

The students and staff were both so excited to finally be on their way to the place where magic lives!

Once we arrived it was quickly into bed as everyone was exhausted from travelling for so long, and so that there would be plenty of energy for exploring the park the following morning. There was something for everyone including a Lego shop, big rollercoasters and It’s A Small World. Some people overcame their personal fears and went on rides they did not think they could manage such as the Tower of Terror.

Everyone was kind and willing to compromise on what would happen next in a courteous manner. The students were fantastic representatives of Barbara Priestman Academy over the two days we were in the parks and during the other days we spent travelling.



Ski Trip 2018

The annual Barbara Priestman ski residential this year comprised of 11 students from BPA, 10 from Portland and 3 from Hopewood.

We returned to the Aosta Valley in Italy to the town of Courmayeur at the foot of Monte Bianco!

The students had an amazing week skiing developing physical, social,emotional, personal and cognitive skills.

Also après ski activities included bowling night, pizza night, ice cream night and awards ceremony. Brilliant progress was made by everyone and lots of new friends were made.

Derwent Hill 2018

12 students completed a week of adventurous activities at Derwent Hill outdoor centre developing emotional intelligence, resilience and independence. The group were made up of year 9 and 10 students and three 6th formers completing the residential section of their Duke of Edinburgh Award as mentors.

It was a wet and windy week however this did not deter the students from pushing themselves out of their comfort zone taking part and excelling in the many activities offered. The group completed a gyll walk, low and high ropes course incorporating high swing, canoe expedition, mine exploration, night walk on Castle Rigg stone circle, team challenges and games around the grounds. As usual we were all fed well and the staff at Derwent Hill looked after us. A fantastic week was had by all and the students were awesome!

Visit to the New Wear bridge – 20th September 2017

Lucky students from year 9 and sixth form had a visit to the new wear bridge which will be opening in Spring!

Ski Trip 2017

Fourteen 6th form students and staff from Barbara Priestman Academy and HopeWood Academy are going to Courmayeur, Italy 18th March – 26th March 2017 for our annual Ski trip.

As part of the City of Sunderland’s celebrations to commemorate 1300th anniversary of the departure of the Codex from St. Peter’s Monastery on June 4th 716, a new Codex was created using contributions of all significant texts from every school in Sunderland and Jarrow.codex certificate

Nathan wrote a wonderful story about the night Angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her that she was going to have a baby, which was then illustrated by Megan.

our codex


Our school was chosen as one of the few to take the new ‘Codex 1300’ to Westminster to be signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dominic was given the privilege of travelling to London to represent our school. The Codex then made its way to the Pope in the Vatican City, Rome, where it will now remain as a commemoration of the original Codex sent by Ceolfrith 1300 years ago.

There have been two extra copies made, which remain in both St. Peter’s Church in Monkwearmouth and St. Paul’s Church in Jarrow.

The whole project provided an excellent opportunity for our students to take a closer look at a document that will hopefully be as momentous as the original was 1300 years ago! We are lucky enough to have a replica in school, please feel free to ask if you would like to take a look.

A big thank you goes to Nathan and Megan, who produced our contribution.



What was the Codex like?

The scale of the Codex is huge, unlike anything else made at the time. Its pages are approximately half a metre in height and two thirds of a metre across when the book is open. It is approximately quarter of a metre thick when shut and was once described as weighing approximately the same as a female Great Dane!

The Codex pages were made from vellum, which is prepared hides of sheep, cows or goats. They are so large that each double page would have required one whole animal hide. The whole book has over 2000 pages! The fact that Wearmouth-Jarrow was able to obtain this quantity of animal hides, for just one project, shows how well resourced the monastery was.

Analysis of the manuscript shows that it was the work of about six scribes. It shows that the monastic scriptorium was highly organised and very skilled. Other’s who worked in the scriptorium would be mixing and creating inks and preparing illustrations.



Ceolfrith had intended to dedicate the Codex to Pope Gregory I in Rome, where he also planned to spend his last days. Ceolfrith knew that he was coming to the end of his life, unfortunately he died en route, in Langres monastery in France on 29th September 716. Some of his followers then took the Codex on to Rome, and presented it to the Pope to fulfill Ceolfrith’s wishes.

If you would like to read more about the Codex and Ceolfrith, you can click here.

This Monday 16th May we had nine excited students and four staff setting off for Derwent Hill.

Derwent Hill is an outdoor education centre in the heart of the Lake District National Park and overlooks Derwent Water and Borrowdale, which is widely regarded as being the most beautiful of the Lakeland valleys.
It is a powerful learning experience which helps young people to be ready for the challenges of school, work and life.  Young people develop confidence, resilience, personal and social skills and teamwork.  They widen their horizons, develop their character, and take away a reservoir of experience from which they draw back at home and school.

Should you have any questions you can take a look at the Derwent Hill website by clicking here.


After our journey down to Derwent Hill we were ready to jump straight into the action, starting off with an afternoon on the low ropes, followed by a night time walk in Hope Park, Keswick.

Tuesday we spent the day canoeing, first of all learning basic skills on the lake, before putting them into practice on the Derwent river.

Wednesday a gorge walk put us through the paces, followed by climbing ‘Catbells’ on Thursday. The perfect end to the night was a rave, complete with neon glowsticks!

On Friday we faced the terrifying death swing!

We hope you enjoy some of the snaps from our week!


Euro Disney 2016

On 17th October a group of excited students and staff set off on an extra special journey to an extra special place.


A fantastic time was had by all, the students (and staff) displayed excellent behavior and were a real credit to the academy.

We hope you enjoy our photos taken from a wonderful time at the magical Disneyland Paris.



Liverpool Residentials

Liverpool Residential 11th-12th April 2016

In April we took a group of students down to Liverpool, on an overnight arts residential. Whilst there, we visited ‘The Beatles Story’. This was a fantastic learning experience, where we found out information about the Beatles from their early days in Hamburg, all the way through to their solo careers. We also watched a performance of ‘Thriller Live’ at Liverpool Empire Theatre and participated in a visit to the Cavern Club. We all had a fantastic time, seeing so many famous sights in a short space of time.


Liverpool Residential 26th-27th April 2017

On 26th April a group of staff and students travelled down to Liverpool for a two day arts/theatre trip. Whilst there they visited the world famous Cavern Club, discovered all about the Fab Four at ‘The Beatles Story’ exhibition, watched ‘How Sweet it is – Motown’s Greatest Hits’ at Liverpool Empire Theatre and explored Penny Lane Community Centre. In between all of this they managed to fit in eating at two restaurants and visiting two Beatles memorabilia shops! Everyone enjoyed the two fun-packed days and are looking forward to next year already. Thanks to everyone involved, especially Ken Johnston for volunteering to drive the mini-bus for us and for acting as a tour guide!

Manchester Residentials

On 13th February 2017 a group of staff and students will be travelling down to Manchester for an exciting two day sports trip!


They have a range of fantastic opportunities to look forward to such as; A tour of the National Football Museum, a visit to Sport City, a visit to Lancashire County Cricket Ground, and a tour of Manchester United including an educational work shop.


2016 Trip

On 8th February a small group of 6th form students headed to Manchester for a 1 night football residential. On day 1 students had the opportunity to visit the world famous football museum in the city centre where they took part in various footballing activities. Well done Jack for beating Richard at the penalty shootout competition. On the evening students went to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United u21’s V Norwich u21’s. The group thoroughly enjoyed cheering all of the goals as United won 7-0. Students stayed at the Salford Quays Travel Lodge and enjoyed a mighty breakfast before heading to a tour of Old Trafford Where we had the opportunity to walk out onto the pitch and sit in the dugout. Following the tour, the group had a Q&A session with a MUFC teacher and had the opportunity to try on some players’ shirts and boots.



The students represented Barbara Priestman Academy with maturity and demonstrated excellent behaviour throughout this residential. Richie and I look forward to running this event again next year.