Northern Counties School – Inspire, Believe, Achieve

Northern Counties School is part of the Percy Hedley Foundation, a disability charity based in the North East of England, which is celebrating it's 70th anniversary in 2023. 

The school offers provision for students aged 3-19 years old with complex learning difficulties, physical disabilities and additional communication needs, as well as specialist provision for children who are deaf/hearing impaired. Staff at Northern Counties are dedicated to engaging, enabling and empowering every student to optimize their future life chances by unlocking individual potential and maximizing their progress and attainment. Staff use a trans-disciplinary approach to suit the wide range and severity of the educational needs of students attending the school. 


The Northern Counties Physiotherapy team is comprised of specialist paediatric physiotherapists from the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals (NUTH) NHS trust. The therapists are based in the school and work closely with teaching staff to provide individual therapy programmes tailored to the complex needs of the students. Within NUTH, therapists had successfully used Innowalk Pro in the acute and community settings with several patient cohorts, and wanted to look at the feasibility of using Innowalk Pro in the special school setting.

Try Out

The therapy team organised a 4 week trial of both Innowalk Pro small and large, which were used regularly in school by 15 students with a varying needs. They monitored effects on spasticity, muscle tone, dystonia, range of movement and how Innowalk Pro could allow access light to moderate activity. Feedback from parents, staff and carers was also provided on student well-being, bowel management and behaviour. Some fantastic results came of the four week trial period and both staff and parents thoroughly enjoyed seeing the students have access to a quality freedom of movement alongside such a beneficial life experience. The therapy team felt it was particularly valuable for the pupils to be able to access the equipment within the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when so many of their other treatment options had been limited.

More information on the trial period including some student case studies can be found here.


Percy Hedley School Jesmond 2022-109


The next step in the journey was to raise funds to purchase the schools own Innowalk Pros. The Amber Giles Memorial Fund was a huge contributor to the fundraising efforts, and the team there were determined to raise money to fund the Innowalk Pros in memory of Amber, a much loved student of the school who very sadly passed away in July 2021.

Thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts by the fund and the Percy Hedley Foundation, both Innowalk Pros were delivered at the end of 2021, making Northern Counties School the only school in the north of England with access to these devices.

The Innowalk Pros are now housed in the specially designed ‘Ambers Innowalk Room’, and used regularly by students with profound and multiple learning disabilities and physical disabilities. You can read more about the Innowalk Pros at Northern Counties on the school webpage.


What do the students think about Innowalk PRO?

"The Innowalk PRO provided April with continuous movement in her legs that she has not previously experienced, and allowed her to gradually start to bear weight through her legs. She was fascinated watching her legs move."

"Bex smiled and tapped on her tray to let us know she was enjoying it. She quickly found it easier to relax in subsequent sessions and danced whilst working on her strength and mobility as well as communication".