Percy Hedley School - Newcastle

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Percy Hedley School is a non-maintained special school on the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne. We offer a unique approach to teaching pupils with disabilities. Teachers, Educational Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Nursing Services, Conductor-Teachers, Teachers of  Hearing Impairment, a Teacher of Visually Impairment and other specialists work collaboratively offering a high class education, which supports pupils, aged 2- 19, to reach their potential.

Since 2015, we also offer services beyond the age of 19 years old.

In  Ofsted inspections (2013 and 2018) we were judged outstanding in all areas within.

"Even alongside other outstanding schools Percy Hedley stands out as a beacon of excellence".

As a Teaching School we work in collaboration with a range of other schools, outside agencies and both of Newcastle's universities to develop pioneering, best practice outcomes in education.

We offer a range of provision from short break care through to term time residential placements and now a 52 week residential service.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Mrs Sue Fisher
Contact Position
Executive Head Teacher
0191 266 5491 0191 266 5491
Percy Hedley Teaching School Website
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Where to go

Percy Hedley Teaching School
West Lane
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE12 7BH
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Local Offer


We are a non-maintained special school offering a unique approach to teaching pupils with disabilities. We support pupils aged 2- 19 years old and beyond to reach their potential.

We are a non-maintained special school offering a unique approach to teaching pupils with disabilities. We support pupils aged 2- 19 years old and beyond to reach their potential.

Local Offer Age Bands
Pre-Birth - 5 Years
5 -11 Years
11 -16 Years
16 -19 Years
SEN Provision Type

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

All pupils at Percy Hedley school have special educational needs and associated difficulties. On going assessment of pupils by the multi disciplinary team determines the approaches adopted in supporting progress and achievement. These approaches are fluid in nature and are adapted regularly in response to changes in presentation or need. We work within a fully integrated approach with 30 therapists to assess pupil’s needs prior to attendance within school. This baseline information informs target setting and therapeutic approaches

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

All pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum suitably differentiated to meet individual, assessed needs. A personalised approach supports pupils in optimising opportunities to learn. This includes high levels of, direct, therapeutic input.

Pupils with cerebral palsy/neurological impairment access conductive education sessions and this approach pervades the school day to maximise independence.

Pupils with speech, language and/or communication difficulties follow a physically, multi-sensory curriculum involving appropriate therapeutic approaches to ensure best outcomes.

Teachers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and special support assistant’s work together to meet the needs of each pupil to ensure all make progress and achieve well. In line with statutory guidance pupils access collective worship every day and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) is considered a core subject alongside English, Maths, Science and ICT. Detailed and precise assessment underpins pupils’ learning and progress is carefully tracked to enable staff to set challenging targets in partnership with parents/carers.


Three curriculum routes distinguish our personalised approach to pupils learning.

GCSE and level 1 and 2 qualifications,

Entry Level Certificates (ELC) at levels 1, 2 and 3

A p-level curriculum for our pupils with the most severe and complex needs.


We support our curriculum by providing integrated, direct therapy based learning and this includes; CERTS, TEACCH, Sensory Integration, postural management, Halliwick swimming, non aggressive, physical, psychological intervention for the management of behaviour, PAMS (physical and multi-sensory learning.


Integrated Teaching and Therapy

The class teams comprise of a specialist teacher, special support assistants and a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist who jointly plan to meet the teaching and therapy needs of between 5 and 9 pupils. The class teacher and therapists fully collaborate on creating an individualised plan for each pupil within the class group. The integrated team jointly plan the curriculum and assessment for learning to meet the complex and severe difficulties of pupils effectively.


14-19 Curriculum


Pupils follow an accredited route, which includes Asdan, Cope, ECDL, Entry Level and GCSE courses. We teach the Foundation Tier, Functional Skills Curriculum, which supports the generalisation of skills and knowledge. The school offers vocational qualifications and supports some pupils on joint placements with schools, colleges and local businesses.

The Foundations Employability Project works in partnership with over 300 businesses across the region to provide work related/supported learning experiences.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

At Percy Hedley School we have high expectations for all pupils. Parents and carers are involved in supporting assessment and target setting to establish approaches to learning from the onset. This helps school understand the detailed needs of each child in our care.

Pupil profiles are collated to support staff working with pupils and these include specialist equipment, moving and handling techniques, IT, eating and drinking needs, communication and levels of cognition. This level of detail enables us to plan our bespoke provision for each pupil.

We work in partnership with local authorities, health personnel and social services in planning and accounting for our standards and this supports positive individualised outcomes for each pupil enabling them to reach their potential.

Our multi-professional, integrated approach to learning involving therapy, Educational Psychology, medical staff and family support services is unique and supports best practice outcomes.


Teachers and therapists plan activities thoroughly for each individual pupil. All adults make an exceptional contribution to pupil’s outstanding progress.

Ofsted report, 2013)

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for learning involves using assessment in the classroom to raise pupils’ achievement on a lesson by lesson basis. It involves the idea that pupils will improve most if they understand the aim of their learning and self- assess progress where appropriate. At Percy Hedley School teachers and therapists share the aims and the assessment criteria of each lesson with pupils. Learners are supported to take part in assessing their learning and how they will make further progress. Ongoing formative assessment takes a leading role in all of our teaching and therapy and this involves questions and tasks to prompt learners to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills.


As part of our educational provision pupils take part in a range of assessment tasks. If relevant to a child’s cognitive ability some tests are required by law at key points in every child’s school life.  We carry out teacher assessments and provide data for the Department of Education on request.


Home Learning


Additional work to be carried out at home is part of our support to enable pupils to reach their potential. However a high level of homework is not appropriate for all of our pupils and parents views on this will be considered by the class teams to enable best support for learning at home.

Activities may include: reading, spelling, life skills tasks and activities associated with pupils individual targets.

There is an expectation that pupils undertaking accreditation will receive some home based learning tasks. We subscribe to a number of online curriculum resources which pupils have the opportunity to access from home. 

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

At Percy Hedley School we take a multi disciplinary and holistic approach to our pupils’ well being. Our specialist staff work closely across school, home and residential to ensure pupil’s needs are well met. All plans relevant to each individual pupil are shared across all professionals to ensure a consistent approach is adopted particularly in terms of medical care, postural support, moving and handling, communication and behaviour management.

The school has a nursing service, specialists in behaviour management and Educational Psychologists. Any staff member who works with a pupil with particularly complex needs, whether these are medical or behavioural, receives specialist bespoke training and mentoring to enable them to work safely and effectively. Where relevant all pupils have behaviour management, eating and drinking, moving and handling and medical care plans in place.

Speech and Language therapists assess and implement mealtime management programmes, in collaboration with health personnel and they directly input into the assessment and use of Alternative Augmentative Communication-Voice Output Aids. Some speech therapy includes specialist literacy approaches –THRASS, Toe by Toe and social communication. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists assess and implement gross and fine motor skills programmes, sensory diets, postural improvements, switch access, wheelchair provision and attentional and organisational development in order to prioritise targets within a holistic integrated approach. Therapeutic support enables pupils to succeed, which impacts upon positive self- esteem.

We provide high levels of expertise in the management of self- esteem and mental health. This is coordinated by our Educational Psychologists within a pastoral team, which includes Family Liaison Officers, therapists and behavioural specialists. Mental health consultants work in school on a regular basis to provide consistent advice and support.

Close working relationships with parents ensure pupils wellbeing across home and school is supported where possible.

Pupil’s views are a crucial part of our school ethos. We also have three active school/residential, school councils. Staff will advocate for pupils at every opportunity to ensure their rights to communicate, and be listened too, are respected.


This is a priority for pupils at Percy Hedley School as we strive for all in our care to feel safe, secure and happy in their environment. We work hard to provide a caring ethos, developing self esteem and helping pupils to achieve success in all areas of their life including independence. Our pupils are vulnerable and staff work hard to teach them how to stay safe within the context of their needs. This includes ‘e-safety’ as key staff are trained in the management of potential issues with our pupil’s use of social media.


At Percy Hedley School, safeguarding encompasses child protection, safe recruitment, managing allegations and responding to all the needs of the children. It is supported by our approach to managing challenging behaviour, bullying, the PSHCE curriculum, internet policy and the single equality policy.

Throughout our work we have a clear commitment to supporting families and we work hard to establish and maintain partnerships with parents and other agencies.

Key Staff

We have six designated safe guarding officers and a designated Governor for safeguarding within school and residential.


Parents can request a copy of the policy on Safeguarding from the school office.  This has been written and developed in line with North Tyneside Local Safeguarding Board who is involved in annual reviews of policy and procedure. We regularly update parents on safeguarding issues and safety in school and the community via our newsletters.

What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

Conductive Education (CE) is taught to pupils with physical impairment. This is an educational approach, which was developed in Hungary to meet the needs of children with neurological and motor disorders.  At Percy Hedley School we have adapted the principles of pure Conductive Education and integrated them with the requirements of the British educational system and National Curriculum.  All pupils with neurological disorders participate in the traditional task series and work to practise and generalise the motor skills they have learnt during daily targeted activities.


Conductive Education is a child centred, holistic methodology based on developing a problem solving personality and maximising independence. At Percy Hedley we have successfully applied these methods to pupils with a range of physical and cognitive abilities.


As well as offering CE to pupil’s in our school, we also provide a free ‘School for Parents’, from 3 months of age, where we teach conductive education methods to parents to maximise progress with their child within the home.


Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapists (OTs) work as an integral part of the class team and see pupils individually, in small groups, within Task Series (CE) and the classroom setting.

This could be to provide input in any of the following areas:

  • Wheelchair mobility.
  • Seating and 24 hour posture.
  • Personal care.
  • Fine motor and hand skills.
  • Access to the curriculum via the use of specialist technologies.
  • The remediation of any visual perceptual difficulties.
  • Sensory integration
  • Writing programmes and fine motor coordination support.


As pupils mature the OT will implement strategies and assess for specialist equipment to promote and develop skills relating to:

  • Household management
  • Community skills
  • Study and Work related skills.


Speech and language Therapists


Speech and language therapists are responsible for the planning and delivery of individualised and high quality input to promote the communication development of all pupils. This may be through individual sessions, small group work or whole class teaching.

Speech therapists support ;

  • Social communication
  • Voice output technology
  • Access to literacy- THRASS, Toe by Toe, Cued Articulation and other specialist programmes.
  • Eating and drinking
  • Gastrostomy feeding.




The school’s specialist physiotherapists are trained in the assessment and analysis of movement and function relating specifically to neurological conditions. They are responsible for the planning, delivery and evaluation of high quality programmes to promote the physical development and physical management of the pupils.

Physiotherapists support;

  • Conductive Education – daily activities
  • Gross motor programmes- planning and delivery
  • Posture and seating- including liaison with community wheelchair services and occupational therapists.
  • Specialist Physical Education



Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Percy Hedley School operates a Total Communication Approach which means that all methods of communicating are actively encouraged and accepted as being equal. It is recognised that different methods may be acceptable on different occasions.


Some pupils with severe communication difficulties may need an additional means of communicating other than speech. The speech and language therapy team will take the lead on assessing and recommending augmentative systems to support the development of communication in these situations.


Social Communication

 Many of our pupils have significant difficulties in making and keeping friends and with interacting with others appropriately and effectively. Such problems can be the source of considerable stress for them, which can affect their mental health. As part of the overall development of communication skills, speech and language therapists/teachers organise group sessions, in collaboration to support learning and reinforce the skills needed for successful interaction with others. We work with specialist mental health practitioners who support pupil’s positive wellbeing.



 Therapists work closely and collaboratively with teaching staff to plan, deliver and monitor carefully tailored lessons to develop pupil’s literacy skills. Approaches to teaching the necessary phonological awareness skills (the ability to break words down into their individual sounds) include THRASS and Cued Articulation.


Management of Eating and Drinking Difficulties

The Speech and Language Therapy department are responsible for co-ordinating the management of mealtimes for those pupils who have difficulty in eating and drinking safely and efficiently as a result of a neurological condition. A small team of therapists have received specific and accredited training to enable them to assess and plan programmes to improve the safety and quality of mealtimes in collaboration with health personnel including Consultants from the RVI ,Newcastle who carryout weekly clinics on site.

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

All staff receive a comprehensive induction programme, including sessions on safeguarding, moving and handling, eating and drinking, behavioural management, postural management and assessment for learning. This ensures that the correct skills and knowledge are gained and statutory requirements are fulfilled. Each year the school/residential undertakes a number of training days, on which, specific training is delivered either by external providers or school based specialists. Staff are also given bespoke training throughout the year on a weekly basis to meet the needs of the pupils. Training involves engaging with pioneering approaches to therapy and teaching as well as health and safety/management issues such as first aid, gastrostomy training, diabetes management or trachea care, for example.

Continuing professional development is undertaken by all staff and forms part of the performance management programme.

As a Teaching School we develop and support Continued Professional Development opportunities, in collaboration with other education establishments, to ensure staff have access to high quality support. This involves all staff and on all levels i.e.  post graduate and classroom based, enquiry led research.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

Throughout the year, we aim to provide our pupils with a wide range of opportunities to learn and develop independence and a love of life. Pupils may go on various outings linked to the curriculum and we regularly have workshops in school involving the arts, culture, sports and leisure. We access local events and maintain strong links with the community to provide enrichment for all pupils.

As part of our post 16 curriculum, pupils spend time on residential activities to practise functional skills application. These have included trips to Kielder, Yorkshire, Scotland, Spain, London and France.

We provide ‘summer school’, short break care, four night and term time boarding where pupils have opportunities to learn and practice independence skills in a wide range of contexts.

We follow strict guidelines regarding the health and safety of pupils on any out of school activities.

How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?

Residential accommodation is available at the school for children who cannot attend daily on account of the distance between the school and their homes, or for whom education and support in excess of the school day is required. For some young people we offer regular nights in residence to develop independent living skills and training opportunities, which reinforce learning in an alternative environment to the home. We also offer respite care for families on a regular basis with support from social services.

At present the residential provision is within a large house, which is in close proximity to Percy Hedley Upper School on Leybourne Ave.

The residential service operates on a weekly boarding basis for up to17 residents some of whom return home each weekend while others also spend the weekend with us. We also offer weekend respite services which include a range of short break options matched to individual pupil needs.

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

We are aware that changes can be worrying for families so we therefore offer bespoke support and careful planning so all concerned can work together in the best interests of the child. Transition is planned, where appropriate, with the child’s present school, LA, parents/carers.

We recognise transitions occur at varying points within the life of a school and we plan on an individual basis to support continued progress and achievement. In Post 16, some learners attend lessons within other educational establishments in order to aid transition to college when they leave Percy Hedley School.  Transition to next stages of education is planned from year 9, in line with Annual Review requirements. This process also involves our Educational Psychologists, Family Liaison Officers, parents and outside agencies. We work closely with all future education placements to ensure each pupils transition from Percy Hedley School goes as smoothly as possible. All Percy Hedley post 16 pupils go on to attend further education, apprenticeships or training within the community.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Parents/carers can arrange visits to the school at any point within a school year to discuss our provision within the context of individual children’s needs. Parents are allocated a key person from the senior leadership team as their main contact in order to facilitate effective communication between home and school in support of referrals, assessment and transition.

Percy Hedley School provides a free assessment service to local authorities and parent/carers. This includes our residential service if appropriate. We provide detailed recommendations, following assessment, which support LA decisions on provision for pupils with complex special educational needs. Our integrated therapy and teaching assessments are rigorous, detailed and include areas of strength and areas for development. A formal referral for a child suitable for admission to the school can be made through that child's local authority or by the child's parent. Referral normally takes the form of presenting educational, therapeutic and medical reports to the school. These reports are considered and any pupil who we feel might benefit from our approach will be offered an assessment. We will always contact the local authority to inform them of parental assessment requests in order to gather all the information available on the child and their needs.

The Local Authorities are responsible for SEND pupil placements.

Parents play a very important part in the multi professional assessment process. The outcome of the week long assessment is presented to the local authority and parents in the form of a detailed report. Support for parents is made available throughout the whole assessment and admissions process by an appointed key member of the leadership team. Our objective is to ensure that every pupil gets the best possible support to fully meet their needs. Our reports and assessment meetings provide parents and local authorities an opportunity to discuss our independent assessment in order to best determine future provision and placement.

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

Working closely with parents/ carers and families is essential to Percy Hedley School and we strive, at all times, to have open and regular communication between school and home. Our philosophy of education, integrated therapy and care is a holistic twenty four hour approach to optimise potential and support well- being. We are happy to discuss how parents wish to be involved in the life of the school and what information they require to support their child’s progress and achievement.


We aim to communicate regularly with parents and believe a close and consistent approach is paramount to the development and progress of our pupils.


There are various ways to contact staff at school:

  • Email

Your child’s teacher and therapists will share their email addresses with you in the class newsletter.


  • Telephone


Phone calls will not be put through to class during lesson times unless urgent. We request parents leave a message with the office staff and all teacher/therapists will aim to return your call the same day or the following day.


  • Diaries

Some classes in school have home/school diaries. The class team will record information about your child’s day in the diary each day. Please add any information you wish to share with the team in this diary.


  • Face to face contact


We operate an ‘open door with appointment’ policy and aim to meet parents whenever we can to facilitate partnership working.                                                                                                                                                                            

Parents are invited into school for parent visits in line with the Annual Review process and at varying points throughout a school year. If you would like to come into school at any other time please contact your class team to arrange this.


Pupils who are four or seven night boarders at our residential provision will be contacted routinely on a weekly basis by the class team either by phone call or email. This will be to update on the pupils week at school and share any news, successes or concerns.


We have an active Parent Teacher Association, which all parents are welcome to join. Our Parent Liaison Officer works closely with families to support effective partnerships within the PTA and is involved in organising workshops to support the 24 hour curriculum. Communication within the PTA is mainly via meetings in school; but e mail and telephone contact is a vital means of communication for those parents who are unable to attend meetings, but would still like to be involved in the school.


Percy Hedley’s Family Liaison Officer provides objective support to parents and carers in the best interests of the children in school and residential.

Page last reviewed: 25/08/2020


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