Elemore Hall is a Durham County Council Day and Residential Special School for approximately 186 secondary aged pupils who have found it difficult to achieve success in mainstream education due to their social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Since September 2021 the school has been split over three sites – the original Elemore Hall site, the Windlestone site at Chilton and PACC (Personalised Alternative Curriculum Centre).
Elemore Hall itself has a fabulous location, wit is based in an 18th Century Manor House (with additional more modern buildings) set in extensive grounds in the open countryside east of the city of Durham between the villages of Pittington and Easington Lane. As a school, it has been in existence since 1958 and occupies a site of over 40 acres, consisting of buildings, grounds, woodland, playing fields, arable and horticultural land. Learning outside the classroom is an important element of what we do at Elemore Hall and our grounds provide endless opportunities for a wide range of activities. The Windlestone site is a similar size but the buildings all date from 2006 when the site first became a school. Much of the Windlestone site is farmland used by the school’s flock of sheep and small number of cows. The PACC building is located in Durham City and provides an educational base for up to 20 KS4 pupils.
The school has established good practice in meeting the needs of children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Indeed OfSTED stated that: -“The school motto, ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ is reflected in the exemplary team work and commitment the whole school has to raising standards of behavior, attitudes to learning and academic achievement, and to continual improvement to all aspects of the school’s work”.
The Windlestone and Elemore sites offer all pupils the opportunity to participate in a wide range of social activities beyond the normal school day, additionally 20 pupils at Windlestone and 25 pupils at Elemore can reside at the school during the week to further their personal, social and independence skills.
The school’s catchment area is the whole of County Durham and therefore pupils come from a wide range of social and domestic situations presenting a diversity of educational, social and behavioral needs and challenges.
Major common factors are general under functioning both socially and academically, immaturity and difficulties meeting the educational expectations of a school environment.
All the children have experienced some failure and/or rejection in their previous schools and have damaged self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence, many pupils have been permanently excluded from at least one previous school and all have an Education, Health and Care Plan.
In addition to social, emotional and mental health difficulties, many pupils have additional generalised or specific learning difficulties. The school has many pupils who have been diagnosed with a medical need or condition, these include, ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome and Tourettes.