Welcome Message


Welcome to Penkford School.

Penkford is a day maintained special school for children with social, emotional and mental health issues in the borough of St Helens, Merseyside. We cater for 55 young people from Year 4 to Year 11.

We are a highly innovative establishment. We believe Penkford is a beacon of best practice for behaviour management, pastoral care and teaching and learning.

OFSTED Feb 2016 judged us as Good in all areas and noted that our SEF was “accurate and honest.” Inspectors recognised that we are on a journey to outstanding. Our report was extremely positive and gave particular praise to senior leaders and governors’ decisiveness, our action plan and its implementation and evaluation processes. These have continued to drive our improvement forward at a pace.

Historical challenges that we have successfully overcome, or are improving markedly, include:
• Establishing our core business as teaching and learning rather than behaviour.
• Ensuring systems for recording progress are more robust.
• Recognising that literacy is a huge issue and driving forward improvements in this area.
• Overhauling our systems for managing behaviour.
• Embedding a school improvement cycle so that the SDP/SEF and staff appraisal are interlinked.
• Recruiting Governors with the appropriate skill sets and experience to provide challenge and support.
• Creating bespoke arrangements for the “Curriculum Around the Child” to better meet the needs of 10 very challenging pupils deemed at risk of lengthy exclusion (Red Flag Cohort).
• Continuing to invest in bespoke arrangements for KS4 pupils utilising our Vocational Centre – Building Futures.

There are several values and principles which underpin everything we do at Penkford.
• We are consistent in how we approach issues and problems.
• We are open and transparent about everything we do.
• We are flexible in our approach because we recognise that every pupil is an individual.
• We know we are accountable and that our parents and carers have high expectations of us.

We have a holistic approach to education at Penkford and we believe that looking after the emotional health and well being of our pupils is very important, and sits alongside pupils’ academic learning and them learning to control their behaviour. We have employed our own counsellor who is on site every day to help any of our pupils who are in crisis or who simply wish to talk to someone in a “safe” environment. This initiative has proved to be very successful so far. From September 2014 we have launched holistic therapies alongside the Counselling Service.

I am delighted that last academic year the ADHD Foundation has held an ADHD Clinic here at Penkford every half term. Our parents/carers and our pupils have really benefitted from this. Other support included pupil self-management courses Qb testing and support for parents. We have also launched half termly Team Around the School Meetings where Multi Agencies come together to offer support to Penkford. Both initiatives continue to run and continue to have impact.

For some years, we have had our own SSPO. Her role is to help pupils and to do preventative work. She delivers timetabled sessions on Crime Prevention. She also helps and supports parents and carers who may need some advice or guidance. This arrangement proved most beneficial and will continue in 2016-17.

We have invested in our own Outdoor Education Instructor. There are planned programmes for each class which take place during the year and the focus is on teamwork, raising self esteem and building self confidence. These have been very successful and have a demonstrably positive impact on our pupils’ development. Penkford is the lead school for The Ardeche Challenge (Extreme Classroom) July 2016.

A successful lottery bid has led to the launch of “A Quiet Place” project from January 2016.

A brand new initiative, our own half termly Mental Health Clinic, launched January 2016. We have also commissioned a Military Mentor to give 1:1 support to our Red Flag cohort. This is a group of pupils who require intensive support. This support will continue for 2016-17 when the Military Mentor joins our team of School Learning Mentors.

Our Whole School Priorities 2016-17

Below are our priorities for this current school year. These are the key drivers for moving us forward.

Effectiveness of Leadership & Management

a) Further embed the culture of distributed Leadership and Management at all levels.
b) Skill up all teachers and support staff in additional literacy needs.
c) Enhance the provision for Design Technology and Computing.

Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare

a) To continue to improve pupil attendance.
b) To develop pupil resilience and to promote character education and emotional wellbeing.

Quality of Teaching, Learning & Assessment

a) Ensure that all teachers and support staff plan lessons in all subjects to consistently take full account of pupils with additional needs.
b) Encourage progression and engagement in learning by providing high quality arts and cultural experiences.


Continue to improve functional literacy and numeracy so that pupils make consistently strong progress from their individual starting points.

We are confident that we have moved forward in our journey of school improvement, and we judge ourselves as ‘Good’ in all areas.

Julie Johnson


Penkford School. Wharf Road, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside WA12 9XZ

Tel: 01744 678745 | Fax: 01744 678748 | Email: penkford@sthelens.org.uk