Alternative ◦ Attendance ◦ Attitude ◦ Achievement ◦ Aspiration


PACC (Personalised Alternative Curriculum Centre) is an alternative education programme, based at Aykley Heads in Durham City, for up to 20 key stage 4 students. All learners have an Educational and Healthcare Plan related to their social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. PACC is commissioned by Durham Local Authority and is managed by Windlestone School.

PACC offers a personalised learning programme aiming to support each learner in developing their literacy and numeracy skills and in supporting their holistic SEMH needs. All students access a dynamic curriculum, supporting academic and vocational progress and personal and social development. PACC aims to re-engage young people in education by:

  • providing experiences to improve young people’s self-esteem;
  • providing experiences to contradict young people’s views of adults as lacking concern, reliability, and friendliness;
  • providing experiences for young people to gain confidence in their ability to be accepted by others and make and sustain appropriate interpersonal and group relationships;
  • promoting the growth of knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal and social development to enable each young person to reach their potential, and critically
  • preparing young people for post school transition.

These aims are addressed by working with the individual in a supportive and focused way. By creating opportunities for each young person to be successful , then recognising and rewarding their achievement, PACC aims to improve each young person’s sense of self-worth and capability.

PACC offers a very high staff to student ratio; one to one support is available and group sizes of 8-12 attend centre on any given day. The PACC centre therefore provides significantly reduced social and emotional demands on the students.

The higher level of adult support and supervision enables the development of extremely strong relationships and facilitates the growth of trust. In PACC relationships matter; they are central to positive social interactions between staff and students. Enabling students to develop and sustain mutually respectful relationships is the foundation on which PACC operates; this supportive relationship is our main tool in influencing behaviour. This relationship-based approach to learning builds participation as:

  • staff encourage students to become participants in their own learning;
  • the relationships provide the student with a sense of recognition that enables them to more readily engage;
  • the relationships make the students feel cared for, safe and secure;
  • the relationships motivate the students to learn by building up confidence and capability;
  • positive relationships help to create a strong sense of community and shared responsibility.

A significant amount of time is invested in working more holistically with parents/carers and other agencies identified to support the young person and their family. This close working relationship is effective in developing a more complete understanding of each individual’s circumstances and needs – obstacles can be uncovered and help offered in providing a solutions focus.