Sir Peter Hall School

About Sir Peter Hall School

Sir Peter Hall School is honoured to be named after the celebrated theatre, opera and film director.

The school is a specialist provision for students with social, emotional, mental health challenges.

Photo credit: Nobby Clark

Further Information

Sir Peter Hall School is a Special school for students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties and who also may have other additional needs such as Autistic Spectrum (ASD), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD), Emotional Based School Avoidance (EBSA). Children are allocated a place at the school through the Suffolk Local Authority SEND team and will have an Education Health Care Plan where social, emotional and mental health is identified as the main area of need.

The SEMH description applies to provision for children who are unable to access education because of their extreme reactions to everyday situations which can result in inappropriate behaviour or an inability to participate in the usual range of education activities that would be offered in a mainstream school, even with specific and additional support. Children attending this provision may have the cognitive ability to access mainstream education but do not have the appropriate skills to do so. This need may be due to early life experiences, or severe difficulties in managing emotional responses and reactions, which may present as anti-social or uncooperative behaviours, aggression, anxiety, and low mood.

We include pupils who may also have a defined diagnosis. These children may exhibit or experience similarly dysregulated behaviour and/or response to social situations and their needs in this area will be rooted in their neurological diversity. Careful consideration will be given to the class groupings and educational needs of these children so that they, too, can have their needs met.

In January 2019 Suffolk County Council (SCC) agreed a new framework for the development of its specialist provision. This framework describes a pathway of specialist provision for each of the four main profiles of need identified within the SEND Code of Practice 2014. Sir Peter Hall fits within the Social, Emotional and Mental Health Pathway of specialism. Within this pathway there will be a continuum of provision to reflect a graduated response starting with mainstream placements supported by SCC’s specialist education service SES. The pathway includes new specialist units in mainstream schools for children with more complex needs, from which it is expected that most children will reintegrate back into mainstream when appropriate, and for the pupils with the most complex needs ensures a local special school offer.

The overarching vision for the school is to provide individualised support for all students and prepare them to become successful independent adults who make a positive contribution to their community, becoming valuable members of society, with an educational experience to look back on with enjoyment and pride.

The Trust believes that an ambitious, well-planned curriculum is essential for not only achieving successful academic outcomes but also in effectively meeting the social, emotional and mental health needs of their learners.  The curriculum will follow the best blend of National Curriculum for high academic aspiration and therapeutic intervention to support pupils with their personal and social development.

The school will forge strong referral and working links with a range of multi-agencies such as mental health services and educational psychology to ensure a holistic approach is taken to meeting each child’s needs.

SEMH does not have to be a lifelong condition. With appropriate support children and young people can move forward and live successful lives.

Sir Peter Hall School will open and be part of the Unity Schools Partnership (USP), which is based in the East of England. There are currently 30 schools in the USP, including three special schools and five enhanced resource units. We are currently working towards opening two further free schools from September 2022 onwards.

USP schools share the same values, face similar issues and are geographically close enough to support and challenge each other. We recognise, however, the unique characteristics of each of the communities we work in and how they are reflected in distinctive school cultures. We encourage cultural diversity, celebrate the special qualities of each of our schools and recognise that sustainable communities constantly change and grow.

We do not look for corporate solutions but are a partnership that respects, sustains and supports. Our model is about creating interdependence; schools that are more self-sustaining than stand-alone academies, and more independent than schools in corporate chains. We welcome close working partnership with the local authorities we serve.

Our schools subscribe to a set of shared values, principles and operational processes that ensure quality education for all our young people. Our central belief is that every young life is special; open to possibility, gifted with the potential to change the world for the better but also sometimes bound by the limits of their own circumstances. Our ambition is to unlock the potential of all children, remove the barriers to aspiration and ensure that all our children succeed.

USP was the trust behind the opening of Churchill Special Free School in Haverhill in 2013. One of the first special free schools, Churchill was awarded an Outstanding judgement by Ofsted after its first inspection in 2015 and again in 2019. The school’s expertise in educating pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorder means it is well placed to offer advice and support to the Sir Peter Hall School.

“‘The school is a very calm, caring place, where pupils feel comfortable and able to deal with any difficulties and previous negative experiences of education”. Jackie Mullan Ofsted Inspector July 2019

Sir Peter Hall School

Airfield Road,

Bury St Edmunds,


IP32 7PJ.

For a child to be admitted, the school must be named, by a local authority, in the child’s education, health and care plan (‘EHCP’).

For further information please visit our Admissions Page.