Kieran is a member of our Northern Counties Post-14 class in the Hillcrest Centre, and has recently been awarded his Duke of Edinburgh, bronze award.

He has worked exceptionally hard to achieve this award, and was even lucky enough to have it presented to him by wilderness expert, Ray Mears!

 For his Physical, Section Kieran developed his rock climbing, and he can now climb routes containing overhangs. For his Skills Section, he worked on his cooking skills, helping to make the family meal as well as cakes and desserts. For the volunteering section (along with the support of his class) he worked in the orchard at the neighbouring graveyard.


Earlier this month Kieran even trekked from Keswick to near Penrith with a full backpack over a two day period. He cooked his meals and helped put up his tent, and slept in a tent for the very first time.


We’re all so very proud of his achievement, well done Keiran!

Northern Counties School – Remembrance Day

Pupils at Northern Counties School have been learning about Remembrance Day this week and thinking of ways they can remember the fallen. The Deaf Department got together Thursday morning and have been making a poppy wreath to show their respects.

Hillcrest pupils have also been busy this week. Jen’s class created some beautiful poppy prints, using hands and poppies. They also used their Forest School lesson to learn how to make poppies inspired by nature.

Annmarie’s class have made their own poppy window display.

Northern Counties School 2021 NASS Outstanding Impact Award – Nomination

The Percy Hedley Foundation are delighted to announce that Northern Counties School has been shortlisted for the prestigious National Association of Independent Schools & Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS) Awards.

The school has been shortlisted for the 2021 NASS Award for Outstanding Impact in recognition of the work that Northern Counties are doing around Positive Behaviour Support, which leads to improved quality of life outcomes for our young people. 

Northern Counties School, based in Jesmond, is a school that sets out to make a difference to the learning, wellbeing and future life chances of over 100 children and young people with significant additional needs. 

Teachers, therapists and special support assistants work together in trans-disciplinary teams to meet the individual needs of every pupil and help them succeed. 

This Outstanding Impact award focuses on the work that has profoundly impacted the outcomes for children and young people. It recognises a continued excellence over an extended period of time, while delivering innovation, imagination, and outstanding good practice. 

Jo Allen, Head Teacher of Northern Counties School commented: 

“I must say I am absolutely thrilled that we, at Northern Counties School, have been shortlisted for the 2021 NASS Outstanding Impact Award. I am so proud of the whole staff team here, they are deeply committed to all the children and young people, always going above and beyond to ensure all our pupils achieve the best possible outcomes. This award nominate really is a fantastic recognition of everyone single member of staff’s hard work and dedication.” 

D’Arcy Myers, The Percy Hedley Foundation Interim CEO added: 

“The nomination for this award is just another example of our schools being recognised for the brilliant work the staff do every day, in what has been an extremely challenging period within education. Best of luck at the awards and hopefully they can bring back the trophy to the North East.”  

The winners will be announced at the 2021 NASS Annual Conference being held on the 12 & 13 October at The Principal Hotel, York.  

Northern Counties School retains Healthy School Status

We are delighted to announce that Northern Counties School has continued to meet the requirements of Newcastle Healthy School Status, and has successfully retained Newcastle Healthy School Status for a further 2 years. Congratulations!


Newcastle Council said “Northern Counties School continues to meet the requirements of Newcastle Healthy School Status and is maintaining and improving practice in relation to supporting pupil wellbeing. Some excellent and outstanding health promoting practice is evident, with some key areas for development identified to support continuous improvement.”

Huge congratulations to everybody involved!

NCFE Helps Northern Counties School

A massive thanks to the team at NCFE for coming along to Northern Counties School to help improve our outdoor space.

Philip Le Feuvre, Kim Pattison, Mary Pooley, Janine Oliver, and Dawn Baker all rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into the work at the school. They spent their time cleaning, tidying, sweeping, painting… all with a big smile on their face!

Jo Allen, Headteacher at Northern Counties School, had lots of jobs for the NCFE volunteers to complete to help refurbish and tidy up the playground. The team had a busy day transforming rusty railings into bright blue bolts along the pathway, staining the rollercoaster fencing, and painting Percy’s bench. 

Dawn Baker, Director of Innovation and Investments, started fighting the foliage and completely converted the overgrown borders of the playground by lopping and cropping ivy, tree branches, and weeds! 

“It was a pleasure to be able to lend a hand”
– Philip Le Feuvre, NCFE Chief Strategy Officer

Philip Le Feuvre, Chief Strategy Officer, commented: “After many months of working remotely, it was a real pleasure to get together as a team in person and focus our physical efforts on a great cause. Whilst some of our (my) DIY skills left a lot to be desired, we felt very proud to be able to improve the school and social environments of young people in the local area. The Northern Counties School plays a vital role in the local and regional community and forms an essential part of the education ecosystem. It was our pleasure and privilege to be able to lend a hand.” 

“We’re really grateful to the volunteers from NCFE for their time and effort, which has made a huge difference to our playground area. This will benefit the learners at our school greatly”
– Jo Allen, North Counties School Headteacher