Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Duo Well Schooled in Aiding Disabled

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Duo Well Schooled in Aiding Disabled

Article excerpt

Byline: By Cathy Spencer

Out of potential disaster, new hope for generations of deaf children has emerged.

Instead of closing, the Northern Counties School now has a bright future, thanks to a unique partnership.

When the Percy Hedley Foundation read in the Chronicle that the school may close, it decided to intervene.

After lengthy discussions, the two organisations decided to join forces to provide first-class facilities for children and young people with communication difficulties and disabilities.

In the new year, Northern's head, Frances Taylor, said the school could close in 18 months due to falling rolls.

The school, in Jesmond, Newcastle, blamed Government policy of putting more disabled children into mainstream schools for the fall in the numbers of children being referred to them.

In January the Chronicle launched a campaign to save the school, its valuable resources and the expert teachers there.

Yesterday, we revealed the school had been saved, thanks to a unique partnership between Northern Counties and the Percy Hedley Foundation.

Parents and teachers at Northern Counties have thanked the Chronicle for our support and commitment to the local community

Jim Ferris, chief executive of the Percy Hedley Foundation, said: "When we read the school may close we approached the governors and entered into lengthy discussions with them.

"The key objective was to ensure that Northern Counties didn't close and the children and their parents could keep their school.

"We hope to keep the separate identities of the schools and the Percy Hedley Foundation, but there are huge benefits by joining forces.

"There are a lot of similarities between the two groups and we realised there was quite a big overlap.

"By sharing facilities we can create a huge organisation dedicated to providing specialist education and care to hundreds of children and young people.

"We work with children, young people and adults and Northern Counties will expand to work with young people who, at 18 and 19 years old, have complex needs which would benefit from continued education and first-class services. …

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