Newcastle Bridges School is a 2-19 academy within Prosper Learning Trust. It serves children in the city of Newcastle, but also those children and young people referred to medical services and CYPS provisions from regional and national services and therefore has a transient pupil population. Newcastle Bridges School believes that all children have a right to education and exists to provide educational opportunities of a high standard to students whose education has been interrupted by mental or physical ill-health, anxiety or vulnerability. The school recognises the benefit of helping pupils reach their educational potential not only in preparing them for adult life, but in the therapeutic process of intellectual and emotional development and/or recovery. We endeavour to ensure that educational disadvantage is minimised by providing structured and appropriate education, in liaison with home schools where appropriate, in a caring environment.
The school is made up of a diverse range of departments some of which are within NHS settings. These units are widely recognised for the expertise they provide both regionally and nationally; staff at Newcastle Bridges School work in partnership with staff from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust within these settings:
- The Great North Children’s Hospital/Freeman Hospital: pupils whose education is interrupted by regular stays, or a long term stay, in hospital are taught by a team of teachers in the different specialist paediatric wards
- Alnwood at St. Nicholas’ Hospital a forensic mental health clinical setting with 7 commissioned beds for 12-18 year olds with mental health needs and 7 for those with an additional learning disability
- Ferndene Hospital at Prudhoe a 29 bed purpose built inpatient centre which provides inpatient assessment and treatment for 12 to 18 year olds with complex health, behavioural and emotional needs including those with a learning disability
- Complex Neuro-developmental Disorder Service at Walkergate Park a specialist second opinion service for nursery or primary school aged children who may have autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other complex communication/mental health/neuro-developmental problems
- Newcastle Bridges School in Kenton an educational setting for students aged 11-16 who suffer from social, emotional and mental health difficulties
Newcastle Bridges School in Kenton
The NBS Kenton Provision caters for pupils who have long standing problems at mainstream schools due to anxiety/vulnerability who are considered by CYPS, Educational Psychology or their home school to be unable to access mainstream education.
The provision aims to provide a caring and nurturing environment for pupils at a particularly difficult time in their lives whilst allowing them to continue with their education. There is a high level of staffing which enables this to happen. Emphasis is placed on bridging gaps in learning as many pupils have missed large amounts of education.
The curriculum follows the National Curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4 with a small range of option subjects offered to Key Stage 4 pupils. Pupils are entered for a range of qualifications including GCSE, Functional Skills, Entry Level, COPE, ASDAN short courses etc. Bespoke curriculum packages, including alternative provision are also available.
Pupils receive support from our Family Support Worker and Keyworkers within the school. They are also supported by a variety of external agencies e.g. CYPS, Educational Psychology, Community Paediatrics, Health Visitors, Surestart, Connexions etc. They also have the opportunity to access mentoring and counselling services from other providers.
Pupils are well supported and well prepared for leaving school, working with our dedicated Transition Worker. As a result the overwhelming majority of our pupils progress successfully to further education, training or employment.
Key Stage 3
Pupils in Years 7-9 follow a curriculum that is closely matched to both the statutory demands of the National Curriculum and the academic needs of the individual. The following subjects are offered in Key Stage 3: English Language and Literature, Maths, Science, ICT, History, Geography, Art, RE, PSHE, PE, Design Technology and Music. Specialist intervention is offered in literacy and numeracy in order to support pupils to make the necessary progress and consolidate their learning.
Pupils are offered opportunities to visit a wide variety of workplaces and operations, including Kirkley Hall, Seven Stories and Ouseburn Farm.
The central feature of the Enrichment programme in Key Stage 3 is the school’s involvement in a Forest School project, in which pupils engage in outdoor learning on a twice-weekly basis. The sessions are designed to develop confidence and resilience though a hands-on learning experience in a woodland or natural setting.
Some pupils have also been involved in two phases of the Inspire Project, a multi-media arts initiative involving music, song–writing and animation run by the NHS in conjunction with staff from the Sage in Gateshead.
There are also regular opportunities to engage in sporting activities such as football coaching, climbing wall and swimming lessons.
Key Stage 4
In addition to statutory courses in PE and PHSE, students in Years 10 and 11 study a core curriculum of English, Maths, Science and ICT, gaining accreditation at a variety of levels from Entry Level to GCSE in relation to the ability level of the individual. This is supplemented by a range of additional subjects, which are offered either within the core offer or as option subjects; the current subjects on offer are Additional Science, History, Art, Child Development, iMedia, Business Studies, Sports Leaders and Drama. Community Education
All pupils are referred on medical grounds and a bespoke package of education is tailored around their individual needs. The hours of learning students are deemed well enough to access is agreed and reviewed by the medical referee each half term.
In the summer term of Year 10, all pupils are offered the opportunity to complete a one-week work experience placement, organised in conjunction with Connexions. Further vocational providers also support our Key Stage 4 pupils, such as NACRO, Ouseburn Farm, NE1Can, Department of Work and Pensions and Food Nation by offering a variety of opportunities, such as helping students develop work-related skills, preparing job applications, conducting mock interviews and supporting individuals in finding part-time employment.
In Year 10, we aim to give pupils a broad and varied experience, which encompasses a wide range of social, artistic, cultural and sporting activities designed to enhance the classroom – based learning we offer. We work closely with partners, including the Newcastle United Foundation, the British Red Cross, the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society, Northumbria University and ‘Show Racism the Red Card’, to offer a range of programmes to develop the whole young person and provide opportunities to build the ‘cultural capital’ our pupils can draw upon.
In Year 11, the main focus of the Enrichment programme is supporting pupils in both achieving qualifications at the end of Key Stage 4 and in making the transition to the next stage of their education or employment training. We work closely with partner organisations, such as Newcastle College, to offer opportunities for pupils to experience what different education and training providers have to offer by facilitating visits to open events, organising visits to a variety of sites and departments, arranging interviews etc. We also support with dealing with the pressures of exam stress, offer a study skills and revision programme and offer additional study opportunities in the lead up to the end of their Key Stage 4 studies.
Key Stage 1-4
For pupils who expect to return to their home schools, work is sourced from the home school to ensure continuity of learning. Maths and English is always prioritised and additional subjects are taught as appropriate. Close liaison between the home school and NBS ensures continuity of learning is maintained.
For pupils who are working towards integration into the Kenton provision, the community team work closely with NBS subject co-ordinators to prepare students for transition into the appropriate nurture classes. 1-1 teaching sessions will then be moved from a community setting to a 1-1 school setting while pupils are slowly introduced to key staff and peers. Pupils will then be supported into class based learning and time in school will be increased as appropriate to their bespoke needs but he aim will always be to work back towards full time education.
Key Stage 4 students accessing community education are offered work experience with a variety of training providers as appropriate. Pupils have recently attended placements in nurseries, primary schools, care homes and NACRO but all training providers used by NBS are open to community education pupils.
Enrichment is often used as part of the engagement process and activities can be tailored to the individual needs of the pupil to support the development of their social and emotional well-being.
The majority of pupils have no educational provision outside of Alnwood and many have missed significant amounts of education in the past and require basic skills.
The education staff at Alnwood deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that is tailored to the needs of individual pupils. Appropriate accreditation (in the form of GCSEs/Entry Level awards/Functional Skills qualifications/Unit Awards/P Levels is offered in the following subjects: English; English Literature; Maths; Science; Art; ICT; Design and Technology; Food Technology; Music; PE; Horticulture. In addition to the academic curriculum, daily physical activity linked to the PE curriculum in conjunction with Health and exercise therapy staff.
In house opportunities based around vocational subjects e.g. design & technology, horticulture, ASDAN Few work-based placements are offered, due to the nature of pupils’ difficulties and the risk they pose to the public and/or themselves. If pupils can access Section 17 leave, then education staff work closely with the team around the child to facilitate educational leaves. A key event at Alnwood is ‘Takeover Day’ – a national initiative where in-patients are given the opportunity to take on the role of a member of staff for the day.
Curriculum enrichment is delivered in conjunction with health professionals and tailored to the needs of the young people. The following providers and agencies have been involved in offering support: INSPIRE project, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ‘Social Eyes’ programme ‘Keeping it Real’ programme – pupils sharing views (pupil council), Healthy tuck shop, a hedgehog project with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Virgin Money project – ‘make your £5 grow’, regular charity events, including Macmillan Coffee Morning, Children in Need etc , termly musical performance, workshops at Newcastle University’s Hatton Gallery, music enrichment, basketball and cricket coaching, Zoo Lab, sports days, achievement assemblies, visits to Tyne and Wear museums and Living Eggs.
Pupils cover the full age range, all have mental health difficulties. Some remain on the roll of home schools therefore work towards agreed targets. Others have no educational provision outside of Ferndene, many have missed significant amounts of education in the past.
Ferndene delivers a broad and balanced curriculum tailored to individuals needs. GCSE/BTEC/Functional Skills/Entry Level/P Levels in: English; Maths; Science; Art; ICT; Design and Technology; Food Technology; Music; Horticulture; Drama. AQA unit awards are offered in a wide variety of subjects, as are Arts Awards.
In-house opportunities are based around vocational subjects e.g. Technology, Horticulture and ASDAN courses.
Pupils are also offered practical accreditation e.g. First Aid and Food Hygiene certificates.
Few work based placements are offered due to the nature of the pupils difficulties.
Other examples of vocational opportunities include
- ‘Takeover Day’ – a national initiative where in-patients are given the opportunity to take on the role of a member of staff for the day
- Kirkley Hall – weekly visits, including animal care
- Job shop – pupils apply for internal posts within Ferndene
- Keyfund – enterprise projects
There is also a team of dedicated transition workers who support pupils in accessing education at Ferndene, as well as well as helping to facilitate their return to school, college or alternative provision.
Curriculum enrichment is delivered in conjunction with health professionals and tailored to the needs of the young people such as: the INSPIRE project , Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Social Skills programme, SUCE meetings (Pupil Council), Healthy tuck shop at break times, termly performance and celebration, National Trust visits, Hatton Gallery workshops, external library visits, charity events, music enrichment, zoo lab, whole-school sports events, sports days on a termly basis, achievers assemblies, Gem Arts – cultural workshops (Chinese new year, Clog dancers), art exhibitions – also held at the Muse Community School in Prudhoe.
Great North Children’s Hospital
Newcastle Bridges School aims to maintain the continuity of education for those pupils unable to attend their home school due to illness by providing education in hospital. Pupils are taught from reception to Year 11, unless they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), where education can be provided for a wider age range. We provide a high quality education whilst overcoming barriers to learning posed by a variety of medical conditions. This is achieved this through careful assessment and the planning and delivery of personalised lessons enabling access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Early contact is made with home schools. Where possible staff work closely with home schools to ensure that pupils are able follow their schemes of work and planning.
Vocational opportunities for pupils at remain the responsibility of home schools.
Wider curriculum opportunities include weekly visits from both an Art and a Music teacher and food technology sessions. Enrichment activities delivered by outside providers include fortnightly visits from a curator from the Great North Museum, Read For Good visits from a story teller and book trolley and art therapy sessions. Pupils have also recently participated in initiatives such as producing art work around an ‘NHS Superhero’ theme to be displayed in the Freeman Hospital and working with a From August – November 2019, Tyne and Wear will welcome a spectacular art trail which will be tons of fun! Elmer’s Great North Parade will feature over fifty individually designed Elmer the Patchwork Elephant sculptures. The art trail will be our second, following the wonderfully colourful and joyous world of Great North Snowdogs in 2016. Local artist to come up with ideas for designs to be used to paint the GNCH’s Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.