Our Building

Proposed Extension January 2018

Our Building History

Hexham Priory School was one of the first ever special schools, founded in 1962, when SEN Education was under the remit of the Health Authority. The first Head Teacher, Margaret Usher, started with five pupils. The school name came from being housed in the Priory of Hexham Abbey. In 1972 the school moved to Windsor Terrace, Corbridge and then came back to Hexham in 1980 to a then new purpose built school in Dene Park. Mrs Usher retired in 1992 and was replaced by Sarah Wain who was head from 1992-1994.  Michael Thompson was in post since 1995 and has oversaw the transfer to our new build in September 2009. Our present head is Liz Davison. She was started at Hexham Priory in September 2018.


The new Building, which is fully accessible, was built alongside our old school, was funded by Northumberland County Council, designed by ‘Space’ and built by GB Building Solutions. Construction commenced in July 2008 and was completed in August 2009. Although we have fond memories of our old building our new school provides fantastic facilities throughout. The old school building was demolished in Spring 2010 and has been replaced by a fenced playing field which school has use of.


Our new 80 place school building includes 10 classrooms (all of which have height adjustable interactive smart boards) and a common room for sixth form pupils together with two workrooms and three quiet rooms which are used for 1:1 work. We also have a fully equipped Cookery Room, Library, a Sensory Room, a Movement Room for pupils to work on their Occupational Therapy Programmes, a Soft Play room and an IMEX (Interactive Multi Sensory Experience) Studio. We are also fortunate to have a large sports hall and a separate multi purpose hall.


Within school we also have therapy rooms for our Nursing, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy staff in school.


Sensory Garden 

In 2009 MG Northumbria and The Wooden Spoon Society’s generously donated money and we were able to provide a fantastic outdoor place for our pupils to enjoy! We held the official opening of the Sensory Garden in May 2010 with Roger Uttley, Ex England and British Lions rugby union player cutting the ribbon!


In the summer of 2012 Procter & Gamble were kind enough to provide us with a donation to further improve our Sensory Garden they sent around thirty employees to help tidy up and weed our Sensory Garden and other outside areas as well as plant new sensory plants.

During school year 2017/2018 we have developed an area next to the west yard into a sensory garden.  This space consists of a seating area, light dome, wheelchair swing and a variety of plants designed to stimulate all the senses.  The raised beds are themed, for example scented plants, colourful plants and tactile plants consisting of grasses. The sensory garden will be accessed throughout the school year for specific learning experiences and for intensive interaction.



In 2009 The Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund provided us with superb new playground equipment for our new school. This includes new swings, see-saw, slides, climbing frame and roundabout which our pupils thoroughly enjoy! Read our article here


In addition we were lucky enough to have had several generous donations which we were able to put towards the purchase of some large pieces of outdoor play equipment. These were installed in July 2011 and our pupils have been enjoying the benefits.


In 2010  Carl Von Weiler and Gavin Marshall, two local artists, worked with our pupils to create artwork for our new building. This includes a Phoenix made of donated fabric from Oxfam and Glass work which is suspended in the school’s atrium. In July 2010 we held our Phoenix Festival which marked the culmination of a lot of the work the pupils created during the year and unveiled the art work.


Watch our video here, and check out the article in the Hexham Courant here

We are all really happy with the two new canopies which have been erected at the front of the school building during February 2014 half term holiday. These provide shelter and a large covered outdoor place for children to play and learn and are a positive addition to the classrooms. Many thanks to Mike Douglas from D3 Associates, Architect and Project Manager of this work. Along with some additional fencing, the completion of this essential building work means that NCC are able to admit two year old pupils into school.


Forest School

Since 2015 our outdoor areas have changed dramatically.  After the Finance Committee of our Governing Body allocated capital and we applied for funding to Tesco we have created a Forest School Area which is accessed by all pupils throughout school.  Forest School allows children to learn all about the natural environment, as well as learning key skills such as, how to handle risks.  The area now contains a Mongolian Yurt, a fire circle and a vegetable patch.

Our Forest School 



Outdoor Gym 

In September 2017 a new outdoor gym, activity centre and sunken trampolines have been installed, which have all proved to be very popular. The outdoor gym will provide children with structured opportunities to develop their fitness and strength, alongside providing important movement breaks during the school day.