Friday 17th July 2020

As we prepare to say goodbye to the children for the summer holidays I want to extend my thanks (and I’m sure yours) for the phenomenal response and resilience that the staff have shown in supporting us to stay open throughout the pandemic.

I know that this has been a particularly challenging time for all our parents and carers – especially those who have been shielding at home. We have been working hard to develop and review our risk assessments in response to all the guidance (issued daily) from the DfE and to the health advice proffered by our healthcare colleagues.

We have welcomed at least 65% of our children back into school: some for just for a few days and others who have attended full time since the start of lockdown. It has truly been a delight to have them in school.

I have prepared a short film to explain our current plans for September – please click on the link below to watch this.

NCS September 2020

If there are any changes these will be sent out on ParentMail and emails, so please watch out for these. If you need to contact school for any reason at all through the holidays, remember to also copy in as this mailbox is manned by a number of colleagues.

I hope you have a good summer and we look forward to the return of all children at our usual times (9.00am – 3.30pm) from Wednesday 2nd September.

Best wishes


Jo Allen



Updated Sunday 17th May 2020

“Our plan to rebuild NCS” Letter from Jo Allen, Head Teacher:

Hello everyone

I hope that you and your families are all keeping well during these challenging times. The staff have kept me informed about how the children in school and at home are getting on and I am incredibly proud of the dedication and care that whole staff team have shown. They have really pulled out all the stops to support them and you as their parents and carers and a considerable number of you have affirmed this in emails to them and me. Thank you for this – it really does make a difference to know we have your support!

As you are aware we have remained open to children whose parents are key workers and for those children who have needed us the most. We have operated with a reduced staff in school and those staff who are able to work from home have been supporting our other children remotely. Through this time we developed systems in school to support us through the period of sustained transmission, when guidance from the government for education was non-existent.

Last week the government “urged” all children in the vulnerable category (those with an EHCP or social worker) to attend school. This creates a significant issue for us, as all of our 100 pupils have an EHCP… As such we are working to develop systems to support as many of our children as we can, whilst adhering to guidance which is now available. Most  importantly we will do everything we can to keep everyone safe.

We will be offering places to everyone who has requested them, although this may be on a part time basis initially (either Monday / Tuesday or Thursday/Friday). This helps us to minimise the number of people our staff and students come into contact with at any one time and keep numbers in school low. We have reduced the class sizes down to a maximum of four and we are trying to ensure students stay as much as possible in a particular area. We are also reducing the staff in school to those working directly with the children and a skeleton team of other support.

Since this began, we have been taking children’s temperatures in school each day. New guidance has told us not to do this, but I would ask that you continue to check your child’s temperature before sending them into school, and I will be advising staff to do the same.

We took a belt and braces approach to PPE, but guidance states that PPE is not needed in schools, and indeed if PPE is not used correctly, this causes a higher chance of transmission. As such staff will wear PPE during personal care tasks and when assisting children to eat/drink- this will be gloves, apron and facemask. They will also wear PPE and a face visor with those children that are known aerosol producers. Staff will also wear face masks if children become symptomatic.

We will ensure all staff and pupils regularly wash their hands. We will ensure all staff adhere to the 2m social distancing rule where possible, and will encourage children to do so as much as we are able. However, as you can imagine this brings unique challenges with any children and an increased challenge for a lot of our pupils.

Thank you for those people who have responded to the questionnaire sent out requesting for information about places, this is not intended to cause any pressure to send your child to school, indeed it is entirely your choice- and there will be no penalties of any sort for non-attendance.  Also please feel free to change your mind at any time – there is no right answer to this and we all find ourselves as parents with exceedingly challenging decisions to make.

If you do decide to send your child back to school, please be reassured that I will do everything I can to ensure all children and staff are as safe as possible. But I must also follow direction of the government guidance. If you do not choose to send your child to school, we will continue with the home learning/therapy tasks as currently.

For those parents who have confirmed they would like their child to return to school, we will be confirming places for the following week via email, please only send your child to school if you have received this weekly email confirmation.  We will also be advising the local authority transport department who will be attending on a weekly basis, it would be useful if you could also confirm with them whether you intend accepting the school place.

If you have any concerns or queries please get in touch with a member of the senior leadership team, or the class team. As ever the email for any questions or information is

We all miss the children greatly and I look forward to welcoming them all back to school, once this is over.

Take care, stay safe


Jo Allen

Head Teacher


Updated Saturday 21st March 2020

At this very unsettling time please be assured we are doing everything we can to keep the pupils and staff safe. This includes following all government and Public Health England advice.

The latest information from the Percy Hedley Foundation can be found on the PHF website:

Each week we will aim to open the school for as many children as we can safely manage with the staff available to us. We also have teachers and therapists arranging work for pupils to do at home. Due to the unprecedented high level of staff absence, where staff members are either ill or following advice to self-isolate and socially distance themselves, our capacity is much lower than demand and sadly will reduce further.

You will receive an email on Wednesday that includes an online form to complete where you can request a place in the following week. We must have this form returned by midday Thursday in order to arrange staffing. You will receive an email each week to say what we hope to be able to offer in the following week. All arrangements are liable to change at any time. Any pupil or staff member who develops symptoms will be isolated and sent home.

If you have any questions please email this mailbox which is monitored by the school leadership team:

Please try to not email individuals about school closures and availability as we don’t know who will be well over the coming weeks. Teachers and therapist will contact you separately about school work.

Keep an eye on ParentMail, Facebook and the Foundation and school websites for updates.

Look after yourselves, my thoughts and those of the team are with you.






If, after browsing our website, you believe we could be the right school for your child, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to show you more of the work we do.

Please contact Kasia Johnson on 0191 2815821

Queries about current pupils in school can either be directed to the class teacher via your child’s home – school diary, email or phone, or to the Head of School.

Behaviour Intervention Team

The Behaviour Intervention Team is a group that meets at least fortnightly in order to support the work that the class teams do to increase positive behaviours in all our students.

The team includes: teachers, therapists , Family Support Worker, Behaviour Support Worker and NAPPI (Non-Aggressive Psychological and Physical Interventions) trainers.

Students from any part of school can be referred into this team if there is a change in their presentation or if families, or the residential / school team working with the student, want to find out what is causing or driving a particular behaviour.

Once a referral is received the team will seek to gather data then produce a report if appropriate and offer advice or training to the family or staff involved. Reports created by the team can take a variety of formats, including such as: Behavioural Analysis Report, Functional Behavioural Assessment, Formulation of Sexualised Behaviour, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Formulation or a 5 Ps Formulation that investigates issues around the behaviour.

The team also takes a lead in the production of each pupil’s Behaviour Support Plan. This is a document that describes typical behaviours on good days as well as what can happen when the child becomes agitated, disruptive, destructive or dangerous. The school’s philosophy is that challenging behaviours are often communicative in intent or demonstrate that he / she needs a change in environment, sensory diet or may need a medical referral or review.

National Autistic Society Autism Accreditation


The NAS Autism Accreditation programme provides autism-specific quality assurance for hundreds of organisations throughout the UK and across the world. By providing a unified standard of excellence and a systematic framework for continuous self-examination and development, we aim to continuously improve the quality of service provision for autistic people.Autism Accreditation is an internationally-recognised process of support and development for all those providing services to autistic people.

Northern Counties School first achieved Autism Accreditation in  November 2013 and we were reaccredited in January 2017. Our Lead Practitioner for Teaching – Autism is also an assessor so visits other schools on behalf of the National Autistic Society.

Please click on the link below to see our latest accreditation report:

Northern Counties School Accreditation Award Panel Report 2017