New Direction School is an independent special day school for boys and girls aged 11-16. It is not a conventional school but one which focuses on working in a holistic way with young people who have struggled to engage in mainstream schooling. We deliberately keep our class numbers low (between 5 and 6 in a class) in order to maintain the flexibility of the service we provide. Our focus is on discovering the root of a pupil’s learning difficulties. This entails working closely with the young person and their family in order to find them a way back into learning. We maintain our support services after school hours and during holidays.

In the past we have worked with  pupils who have had a wide range of problems and disabilities including Autism, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, ADHD and school refusers. We are confident in our ability to cope with any problems that a pupil may present.  Many of our pupils are motivated to come to New Direction because of the strong support they receive from the whole community that is Ringer Villa.




We begin by talking to the pupil and their family to assess the type of problems they have encountered in the past. Pupils and parents coming to us have usually reached a crisis point in their situation and we feel that immediate intervention is often crucial at this stage.  We always meet the student and their family before deciding on offering a place to a student as we feel it is vital for the student to see us and decide if they would like to attend our school.

We will always start students on a reduced timetable as an induction as we have found student going straight into full time can struggle as our school is different and we need time to get to know the student as well as the student getting to know us. Within the first few weeks at New Direction we will assess the student to ascertain their current working levels, their main areas of needs and what support works best for the student. From this we will look to put support in place through interventions to support the student to access our curriculum as well as making sure they are put in the correct curriculum level.

We maintain a close contact with home for both being able to pass on comments of praise but also to discuss when the students have struggled. We believe this home school relationship to be vital in ensuring a successful placement.


At New Direction we operate a positive behaviour policy. We believe in reinforcing acceptable behaviour and challenging the unacceptable. We strive to be consistent in this at all times and operate a reward system to back up our intentions.

We have an escalation process which is available in our behaviour policy to help to manage disruptive behaviour and reduce the impact on other students learning. Our consequences tend to be natural consequences and we operate a restorative behaviour system to enable students to learn from their behaviour and correct this.


Our classes are based on stage not age approach. We will assess each students working level and put them in the class that is most appropriate to their academic and social ability.

All our students will do Maths, English and ICT following the Functional Skills curriculum up to Level 2. Our ambition is for all students to achieve these before they leave. Where students want to progress onto GCSE in Maths and English we can facilitate this once a level 2 have been achieved.

At KS4 students also study ASDAN Employability and ASDAN Personal and Social Effectiveness, both up to Level 2. The Employability ASDAN helps us to meet the Gatsby framework and allow students to explore options for when they leave New Direction.

Our Equine curriculum consists of Horse care and Pony club. Horse Care is a practical subject with students working on an equine yard learning vital work based skills. Pony Club has been mapped to follow the Pony Clubs awards and allows students to broaden their knowledge around Equines.

Our PSHE curriculum follows the PSHE association curriculum which is mapped to cover all the statutory RSE topics we need to cover. More detail about the curriculum can be found in the RSE policy on the main page. If you wish to discuss the PSHE curriculum please contact our PSHE lead Emily at

All students will do Science (ELC), Reading, Forestry, Cooking, Creative Arts, and PE.

We do look at running regular trips, being members of the National Trust allows us to access historical properties in the area (eg Hardwick Hall). We have also been to Magna science park, Bolsover Castle, Horse of the Year show, Theatre trips (Blood Brothers last year) to name a few. We have also run social trips such as bowling, cinema trips and Swimming trips.

We have also had external speakers in to speak to the students such as school nurses, the farrier, and the princes trust who even came in to run an enterprise project competition.

We keep the students up to date with current events and where possible involve the whole school in events. Recent events have included the Queens jubilee and then passing, the Kings coronation, Remembrance day (we had a reef maid by the student laid in the village memorial by the local counsellor). We also use tutor time to ensure the students are informed about current events in the news.

We take great pride in our community and encourage all to immerse themselves in this. One way in which we do this is by celebrating everyones birthday (staff and students) by singing together and having a Birthday Cake.


Our Teaching and Learning follows a nurture and inclusive approach.

We have developed a structure to ensure:

  • All classes are small in size (between 5 and 6)
  • Lessons are only 30 minutes long
  • Breaks every hour
  • Classes based on stage not age

Our Teaching and Learning policy sets out our expectations from our teaching staff. In summary this is that every lesson:

  • Starts with a review of previous learning (retrieval exercise)
  • Learning outcomes are made clear to students
  • Review of learning (plenary) to check students have understood

Then within the lessons we allow our teaching staff to use various techniques to support their teaching depending on the subject. These include modelling to students, student practice with adaptations depending on level/need, lots of questioning and verbal discussion and good quality feedback to ensure students can improve their work.

All Teachers will make themselves familiar with the students EHCP targets and will use these when it comes to planning to ensure the lessons are adapted for the students but also work to allowing students to make progress towards their targets. We do give the students individual booklets which outlines their targets as well as looking at what targets they want to set themselves academically whilst at New Direction. This enables us to help students work through their targets and ensuring they do transition well when leaving New Direction. We use tutor time at the start of each day as well as 1-1 sessions to help the students understand their own EHCP targets and to take ownership of these targets. We then use this information in annual reviews when reviewing the targets and proposing changes to the targets.

We want all our classrooms to be nurture environments to allow students to feel safe and secure to learn. Teachers will be supported through our behaviour policy to ensure disruption is managed in a way to allow students learning to not be interrupted as well as supporting that student to re-engage in learning.

Where a student does struggle then Interventions will be planned to help support them to engage. These will be recorded and monitored through our MIS Arbor.



We provide school lunches for students through Derbyshire food services. Therefore each student who comes will get a hot meal provided at lunch. There is a choice of different options on a rotating menu. Many students do struggle with certain foods so please talk to us about your childs needs and we can adapt this in many ways.


One way in which we support students is through interventions. These may be planned or unplanned. Unplanned interventions may be time out or 1-1 support which, although is planned is used more as and when needed to suport certain students when they are dis-regulated.

Planned interventions are interventions we assign based on what we are seeing in school to help students manage. These will be set, planned into the timetable and then reviewed regularly based on the criteria we have set for this intervention.

These may include:

  • Equine Therapy
  • Equine intervention
  • Reiki Therapy
  • Counselling
  • Academic support
  • Phonics programme
  • 1-1 support


At the end of the school year we run a 1/2 day school camp. This is a wonderful opportunity for the students to practice the skills they have learnt across the year, take part in a variety of Pony Club activities and take part in trips.


We run a variety of extra curricular opportunities for those who are interested, most of which revolve around the Pony Club and the events they run. In previous years students have taken part in various competitions and Quiz’s as well as attending events like Horse of the Year show in November.

Would you like more information?

Please go to our contact page where you will find a variety of ways that you can get in touch with us.



School Uniform

It is our policy that all students wear our Light Blue School Uniform. We will order school and PE uniform for each student when they start.

You can view our School Uniform online from School Trends by visiting

Simply go to the website address, then select ‘Find My School’ and follow the order instructions.