Pinderfields Hospital

Pupil Referral Unit

Lawefield Lane, Wakefield


01924 303378


Thornes Nurture Unit is a small school for children who are 7 to 11 years old.

We are a specialist setting with 6 places. All children have profound social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH). Many children also have communication and interaction needs.

Children learn and gain skills to enable them to reach their full potential. This includes English and maths. However, our curriculum also has a strong emphasis on SEMH development.

We provide:

  • A specialist curriculum to meet children’s SEMH;
  • Specialist interventions outlined in their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
  • A high level of adult support

We are on the site of a mainstream school (Lawefield Lane Primary). We have good links with the school which allows us to work together on things like school dinners or cleaning. However, we are a specialist setting that is fully separate from the school.

The setting is based on the Nurture Principles. These help provide a safe, supportive environment to learn. For more info on nurture, please see


  • Our main focus is developing children’s personal skills so that they can safely access school and their community.
  • Children learn maths and English in a way that is tailored to their individual needs.
  • We cover other aspects of the curriculum through topics and creative learning.

Interventions and Therapies

We provide a range of interventions. These are often outlined in the child’s EHCP.

We also assess each child’s SEMH needs using a system called the Boxall profile.

Our responses vary from child to child and term to term. They include:

  • Five Point Scale
  • Nurture Talk
  • Therapeutic story writing
  • Talking Partners
  • Social Stories
  • Circle time
  • Lego Therapy
  • I am Special
  • All about Me work
  • Blob Trees

If we need extra SEND advice, we work with various services. For example, we can link with Educational Psychology, Occupational Therapy, CAMHS or Speech and Language. We always ask parental consent before we make any referral to these services.


Teacher in Charge

  • Joanne Kershaw

Senior Specialist Learning Support Officer

  •  Tracy Barker

 Specialist Learning Support Assistants

  • Rebecca Lee
  • Matt Terry
  • Richard Todd


All our children have an Education Health and Care Plan. Typically, parents request a place at Woodlands via an EHCP Annual Review (or early annual review).


Prior to admission:

  • There will have been concerns regarding the child’s SEND and the best setting for them.
  • Extra professionals will already be involved (e.g. Educational Psychologist, Advisory Teachers from the Wakefield’s Inclusion Team) 


The next steps are:

  1. The request for a place is considered by the Education Health and Care Panel. This is an expert panel that meets weekly at Normanton Town Hall.
  2. SENART, on behalf of the panel, usually consult us by sending the EHCP and any other useful information about your child.
  3. If we have any free places, we consider if we would be suitable for your child.
  4. If we can meet your child’s needs, we confirm this to SENART.
  5. SENART either issue an EHCP naming us as your new school, or send our response to the panel for further consideration.

If a place is approved, we contact you (or feel free to get in touch) to chat about the next steps towards joining us.

Our Children's Work

We're so proud of this work, we've put it on our website!

 Parent Comments

  • "Thornes has been a Godsend. She has come on in leaps and bounds. The staff are fabulous and worth their weight in gold."


  • "He looks forward to his school day now that he is settled in Thornes! He has made friendships and I see his growth everyday… I could go on and on!"


  • "I’m really grateful for all the help to get him to enjoy going to school and him doing his work is such a big difference."


  • "It’s lovely to hear he has been joining in with play with other children."


  • "All positive feedback from me! I cannot thank Thornes enough for the progress that he’s made in the time he has been here."

Contact Us

Call or email out friendly team:

You can find us just outside Wakefield City Centre, close to Thornes Park. We are based in adapted buildings on the site of Lawefield Lane Primary School.

Find out More

  • Our General Information page has even more information. Click here.
  • Our Woodlands page has information about our sister school in Whitwood, in Castleford. Click here.