Welcome from Carole Harder, Chief Executive


Percy Hedley School competes in Panathlon Challenge

Panathlon is a national charity which gives thousands of young people with disabilities and special educational needs the opportunity to take part in competitive sport. This year, students at Percy Hedley School have taken part in lots of activities. All the activities are skill-based and feature simplified and varied competitions which will develop confidence and self-belief in every individual.

We’re incredibly proud of our students that have been representing Percy Hedley for the Panathlon challenge.

From target throwing, curling, basketball hoops and tennis… a lot of fun was had, while getting active in competative sport!

See a video roundup:

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The High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear visits Northern Counties School

The High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, David W Bavaird, paid a visit to children at Northern Counties School to teach us all about the history and role of a High Sheriff.

There have been High Sheriffs for at least 1,000 years. The appointment is actually the oldest in our country. The original ‘Shire Reeves’ were Royal Officials appointed to enforce the King’s interests in a County, in particular the collection of revenues and the enforcement of law and order.

Many of the early Sherriff’s of Northumberland came from well know Northumbrian families, Armstrong, Delaval, Percy, Grey, Bewick, and Collingwood.

The children were even able to teach the High Sheriff that our very own Armstrong Department is originally named after the Armstrong family, who made a financial donation to what was Northern Counties School for the Deaf, back in the 1800s. Lord Armstrong of Cragside was a high sheriff in 1899.

The High Sheriff was also able to enjoy a brilliant performance from our Signing Choir!

Nurses’ Day 2022

As part of Nurses’ Day 2022, we’re celebrating the incredible difference nursing staff make to patients’ lives across the UK by sharing our own stories showcasing the very #BestOfNursing.

Despite working through challenging circumstances, nursing staff continue to go above and beyond to deliver highly skilled, safety-critical care every single day. 

Percy Hedley Foundation have an experienced team of Registered Nurses working in our educational services.  They work tirelessly to support their colleagues, students, service users and families throughout the year.  They have been recognised by the NHS for their excellent work, to name a few, in continence advice, sexual health and immunisation services.

Our Foundation Nursing Team provide an outstanding learning environment for Student Nurses and have been awarded a top marks ‘excellent’ score for their support from Northumbria University as well as achieving NHS ‘You’re Welcome’ accreditation.

Here we have:

Lindsay Louise Elliott

Lindsay is Percy Hedley Foundation Lead Nurse who writes and oversees clinical policies and procedures as well as supporting the School Nursing Teams.  Lindsay also supports Hedleys College, Horizons and The Hub.  Lindsay supports Central Services with clinical advice and input and has an interest in streamlining services, service improvement,  nutrition, and health.  Lindsay works with Northumbria University and is a Practice Supervisor and Assessor, including being on the panel for Student Nurse interviews.

Lisa Logan

Lisa is one of the very experienced  Registered Nurses who is a School Nurse at Percy Hedley School.  Lisa has an interest in improving links with the NHS and improving services and has used her extensive experience to support education staff, especially with training and clinical skills.  Lisa has recently been involved with improving links with the regional continence teams and this has resulted in a joint documentation, which has been a huge achievement.  Lisa has recently been involved with medicine administration improvement in School and empowering staff through training, support, and advice.

Karen Loughney

Karen is one of the Registered Nurses who is a School Nurse at Percy Hedley School.  Karen is a very experienced and knowledgeable nurse, who uses her expertise to support education staff care for the children in school.  Karen has an interest in emotional support and health promotion and has taken the nursing service forwards with her service improvement ideas such as working more in the classrooms alongside the education staff. Karen has recently been involved with improving medication administration in School and is working towards a whole new system in September. 

Laura White

Laura is an experienced Registered Nurse who is a School Nurse at Northern Counties School.  Laura uses her experience from working with a wide range of services, in a range of environments, to enhance the long-term health impacts for the children at School.  Laura has an interest in child and adolescent mental health, developing life skills and is a keen advocate for the STOMP campaign.  Laura has recently been working to build up relationships with the NHS and was recently commended by the NHS for her work around immunisations.

Vote for our 2022 Great North Run Shirt Design

The Foundation turns 70 years old in Febraury 2023, and in the lead up to that, we’ve asked our students from Percy Hedley School and Northern Counties School to come up with some fantastic potential designs for our mini and junior Great North Run 2022 shirts.

What better way to create our Great North Run mini and junior t-shirt designs this year, than let our students design it themselves! Please select your favourite for our 2022 Great North Run designs.

Interesting In Becoming Our New Trustee

The Chairperson, Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of The Percy Hedley Foundation are seeking expressions of interest and / or formal applications from people interested in becoming a Trustee of the charity.

The Foundation delivers a wide range of extremely valuable services to children, young people and adults across our community.

This is a great opportunity to join a very proactive Board, particularly as the charity forms its new strategic direction for the next three years. More detailed information about the role of a Trustee and the commitment you’d be making can be found in the information pack.

We welcome applications from anyone motivated to become a dedicated Trustee, but the Chair is seeking to further bolster the Board’s skills in the following areas:

  1. Education and Lifelong Learning – particularly of children and adults with additional and special needs.
  2. Health – particularly related to the health and care of children and adults with additional and special needs.
  3. Employment – people who have experience in human resources, employment law or other ‘people’ related skills or qualifications.

For an informal discussion about joining the Board please contact John Knight, Chief Executive Officer at: Foundation@percyhedley.org.uk

Why I’m a Trustee…

“I wanted to join the Board at Percy Hedley because the work it does is so vital to the health and well-being of children and adults who would struggle to find support elsewhere. I am new to the Board but hope to use my skills as a charity CEO to support the fundraising strategy of the organisation and I have no doubt I will learn a great deal from the team too.”

Lucy, Trustee of The Percy Hedley Foundation

A Message to Parents from CEO John Knight

We’re delighted to announce John Knight officially joined us on Monday 21 March as our new Chief Executive.  John joins us with more than three decades of experience in the charity sector working with many organisations committed to helping children, young people and families.

Here’s a short video from John introducing himself.

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Red Nose Day Fun 2022

Red Nose Day is always a fantastic day to support other charitable causes here at the Foundation, and this year was not disappointing!

Percy Hedley School held some brilliant fun, games and events, including getting to soak teachers and support assistants! What could be better than that?

While residents at Chipchase enjoyed cake decorating and dressing up!

Percy Hedley School Photos:

Chipchase House Photos:

It’s Our Birthday!

Percy Hedley School opened 69 years ago today thanks to the ultimate display of parent power.

How did it all start?

Molly & Stephen Darke alongside their child, Stephen Darke

Molly and Stephen Darke were inspirational people.

They campaigned, with other parents, for a school for children with Cerebral Palsy. Back then, the needs of children with Cerebral Palsy were not fully understood and the Foundation’s formation was met with scepticism by many.

Because of the passion, determination and fundraising of the parents, The Percy Hedley Foundation was founded in 1953, as a special school for children with Cerebral Palsy.

HRH, Duchess of Kent, at the official opening day

It’s hard to imagine in today’s world, a time when disabled children couldn’t access education.  In the 1950s, it was not expected that any more could be done for children with Cerebral Palsy beyond what was already being done, but the parents made it their mission to help their children realise their full potential and live life to the full.

We’ve continued with that mission, and over the years we have extended and developed the work we do to make sure children, young people and adults with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities have equal opportunities in life.

A group of early students from 1957

Although our commitment and passion to helping people develop their abilities, live the life they want and be happy, has not changed; We have grown and the expectations of our members, their families and our employees have progressed significantly.

When the first school opened there were only 12 students, but we now support over 650 members and their families each week through residential care, education, and lifelong learning opportunities.

Stephen Darke on his 80th Birthday

Last year, “little” Stephen Darke turned 80 years old, and now lives at Chipchase House.

Who was Percy Hedley?

Percy Hedley

So, who is Percy Hedley? Well, he passed away before the Foundation was formed and was never personally involved in any way with a project that would bear his name. 

Before his passing in 1941, Percy Hedley decided to create a trust – the Percy Hedley Will Trust – to leave all his money to be used for charitable purposes in the North East.

After a chance meeting between the parents who founded the school and Percy Hedley’s solicitor, we became one of three charities to benefit from the trust.

Percy Hedley never knew how his accumulated wealth would benefit so many or that his name would become so well-known in the region!

Footage from a Northumbria Films King’s College Rag Appeal in 1953, of some Percy Hedley students.

Help us celebrate our 70th birthday

We turn 70 next year and we have some big plans!  We would love to hear your stories about the Percy Hedley Foundation. From your time going here, working here, volunteering for us or supporting one of your friends or relatives we would love to hear your memories.

To complete the form, you need a Google account. Alternatively, please email your stories to communications@percyhedley.org.uk

Working with Employers – Impact Workwear

As part of Percy Hedley School’s Employability sessions, a group of our 16+ students had a visit to Impact Workwear, hosted by Arjan Piet. Arjan gave important Health and Safety information out to students, including how important protective wear is in the workplace.

Students learnt about machinery in the workplace and how Impact Workwear embroider and heat transfer logos and other text or images onto clothing pieces. As well as how to prep and pack the clothing for customers.

Students were then able to see hats embroidered with a Percy Hedley logo, and were given generous gift bags to take home with their new hats. A number of students opened interesting conversations about health and safety in the workplace and expressed an interest in possible work experience opportunities at Impact Workwear, which Arjan was more than happy to discuss.

We’re very excited about our future partnership with Arjan and Impact Workwear to give our students incredible opportunities to learn and grow.

If you’re an employer that is interested in working with The Percy Hedley Foundation on Employability opportunities for students, please get in touch with Dionne Smith, Employment Liason Officer at dionne.smith@percyhedley.org.uk

African Drums at Percy Hedley School

Students at Percy Hedley School enjoyed a drum workshop with Mark Barfoot. Mark was fantastic at engaging students of all abilities in making music and songs using their imagination to create the rhythm.

Mark has been teaching West African drumming rhythms for 12 years and his drumming methods come from Nansady Keita, a djembefola (master) from the village of Sangbarella in the Republic of Guinea.

The rhythms are played on Djembes – hand drums with goatskins and bass drums.


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