Admission to Northern Counties School

Northern Counties School supports children aged 3 – 19 years with autism, profound and multiple learning difficulties and children who are deaf.  The range and severity of the educational needs of children at Northern Counties varies from those who require intensive work to help them learn basic foundation skills such as moving, looking and listening to engage in learning activities, to those who are able to attain more highly but would benefit from our trans-disciplinary approach. We provide a Total Communication environment and can support those children who are struggling with the expectations or pace of the mainstream classroom or  specialist environments and require a more individualised approach to learning.

Our integrated educational programmes are highly specialised and appropriate for:

  • Deaf / hearing impaired children who would benefit from British Sign Language (BSL) and Deaf role models
  • Children with complex needs including those with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), genetic disorders and/or sensory impairments
  • Autistic children who may be non-verbal or have significant communication difficulties, sensory integration difficulties and / or challenging behaviours

How are children referred to Northern Counties School?

We are able to receive referrals directly from a child’s parent or family member, and also from other bodies or agencies; for example:

  • NHS professionals
  • Children’s Services
  • Education authorities
  • Voluntary agencies
  • Parent partnership services

How we respond

All enquiries taken by telephone or by email will be responded to as follows:

The person enquiring should provide the basic details of the child and his or her needs. Where the child is currently educated (if of school age), why a place is being sought, whether the child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

These details will be passed to a senior leader who will call the parent / carer or person making the referral within three working days.

If appropriate an appointment will be made for one of our assessment team to visit the child in their current setting or at home. The family may be invited to visit Northern Counties School for a look around the school and a more in depth discussion about the child’s needs.

Information about Northern Counties School’s services, practice, policies and procedures will be available to prospective parents during this visit.

If staff feel it is suitable an assessment period may be offered. This assessment may be up to four days and is an opportunity for the team to assess the child and their suitability for a place at Northern Counties School. A teacher,  occupational therapist and speech and language therapist as appropriate, will assess the child. Where appropriate, an NHS physiotherapist will also support this assessment.

After the assessment period, parents will receive feedback of the assessment findings and confirmation of whether a place has been offered. A written version of the findings will be shared within ten working days. The local education authority will also be invited to attend the feedback meeting.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our admissions process has been interrupted and some assessments have been delayed. However we endeavour to work with families / carers and all agencies to process all referrals in a timely manner.

If a place is not immediately available in an appropriate class, the child’s name will be placed on a waiting list for admission. Parents and carers will be kept informed about when a place becomes available for their child.

Access legal advice and support on the IPSEA website (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) to aid your application for non-maintained special schools such as Northern Counties School.

if you are interested in an assessment for your child please contact:

Lauren Stephenson on 0191 281 5821