Barnard Castle school is an inclusive community that is committed to promoting the well-being of all students by supporting them to be physically and mentally healthy and able to cope with life’s challenges in a positive and constructive way. The school empowers pupils to engage in school activities appropriate to their ability and any medical conditions. To provide excellent pastoral support to students, the school has a wellbeing centre which contains both a medical centre with two full-time nurses and a counselling service. 

Who we are


Suzanne Newbrook RN ANCP, BSc (Hons), BSN (Hons) 

Suzanne has been a nurse for 30 years with experience in school nursing, emergency nursing, primary care, psychiatric nursing, management, and medical education. She teaches PSHE classes in senior school and has a particular interest in creating diversity-inclusive environments. She has five grown children and enjoys hiking, kayaking and pottery.  

Beth Cummins RN, BSc (Hons), MSc 

Beth graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Adult nursing from Birmingham City University. She spent 12 years nursing in the Royal Air Force, working in a variety of healthcare settings, including NHS hospitals, Deployed Medical Treatment Facilities, and Aeromedical Evacuation. Beth has a passion for person-centred care and infection prevention and control, gaining an MSc in Infection Prevention and Control in 2023. She enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her family. 


Emma Hickmans 

Emma Hickmans MBACP, BA (Hons), PG Dip 

Emma graduated with (BA Hons) in Childhood and Youth Studies from Lancaster University and has spent over 15 years supporting young people with complex behavioural and mental health needs in residential settings across the North East.  She has used this experience to follow her passion of helping children cope in situations they can’t control, qualifying with a PG Dip in Humanistic Counselling and is currently working towards her MA.  She enjoys long dog walks and spending time with her family. 

Where are we

We are located in the Wellbeing Centre next to Longfield House 

Confidentiality & Consent 

While the wellbeing team take every opportunity to involve parents and seek their input, there may be times when this is not appropriate. If a child is deemed to be able to consent to his or her own medical treatment, they can ask that the matter be kept confidential. In this circumstance, we cannot legally disclose to parents. The team will always encourage students to talk to parents, however they must respect the students’ confidentiality and right to make independent choices. Exceptions to this confidentiality can be made if the student poses a danger to themselves or others. 


The Medical Centre is staffed by nurses and is open from 8.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am – noon on Saturdays. Nurses assess children and treat them for minor medical complaints and accidents and injuries. The nurses will determine if the medical need requires escalation to a GP, urgent care or A&E. They can also arrange for access to other NHS services as required. 

When the medical Centre is closed, any students needing care can be assessed by out-of-hours staff who are trained in basic first aid, treatment of minor conditions, emergency managements of common complaints, and administration of medication. If they require further advice, they will utilise NHS services such as 111 or 999. 

Access to a GP 

A GP from Barnard Castle Surgery contacts the medical centre daily, Monday – Friday, between the hours of 10am and 11am to discuss medical matters with the school nurses and give advice. 

When indicated, telephone or face-to-face GP consultations can be arranged for boarder students. Typically, these appointments are available in 1-2 days. 

Flexi-boarding and day pupils will be registered with their own family GP and parents will be asked to make appointments when recommended. 


If a boarding pupil becomes unwell, they will be assessed at the medical centre and, if indicated, a GP appointment will be made. Depending on age and staff availability, boarders too unwell to return to school are either bedded in the medical centre or allowed to return to their rooms and monitored by house staff and/or nurses. 

Emergency Medical treatment  

In a medical emergency, efforts will be made to contact a parent/ guardian. However, if they cannot be reached, the school has the authority to act on the advice of an appropriately qualified medical specialist to initiate emergency care.  

Medication brought to School by pupils  

Pupils bringing medications to school must notify either the day matron (boarders only) or the nurses. If a day pupil requires prescribed medications to be administered throughout the school day, parents should complete a ‘Request for administration of medicines’ form.  

Routine Medical Appointments 

Parents are encouraged to organise dental, orthodontic, optometric, physiotherapy and other specialist services in the school breaks. However, this is not always practical especially for international students. For boarders needing appointments in school term time, we can arrange for house staff to take them. Sixth form pupils may attend appointments alone.  

Documents required for boarders 

Barney School recognises the importance of communication with parents/ guardians regarding medical matters, and parent/ guardian input is welcomed to ensure that the most appropriate care is delivered to all pupils.  

On admission, parents/ guardians are asked to complete a medical card for the school. This needs to be completed and signed before the student arrives. These forms are essential to communicate a student’s medical condition, any allergies and/or food intolerances, and to provide consent for nurses to administer medications and first aid. Medical records, including the medical card, are stored securely in the medical centre. Medical information is accessible to the school nurses and only shared with the GPs and other staff as needed to best care for the student.  

In addition to being asked to complete a Medical Card, Parents/ guardians of full-time boarders are asked on admission to complete a GP registration form (GMS1). Once received, pupils are registered with Barnard Castle Surgery and can utilise the practice for the provision of general medical services.  

Medical examinations and annual reviews for chronic conditions

During their first term, all new boarders will receive an orientation to the medical centre and a medical examination from the school nurse. Full-time boarding students with chronic conditions that would be managed by a GP Practice rather than a consultant (e.g. asthma) are reviewed by the practice annually.  

Immunisations and travel vaccines

School age child vaccinations are offered by the regional Immunisation Team who come onsite to administer Influenza, HPV, Meningitis ACWY and the Diphtheria/ Tetanus/ Polio (DTAP) vaccines. They may also administer Covid vaccines when recommended. Parental consent will be sought prior to any vaccination session.  

For full-time Boarders, it may be possible to arrange for catch-up childhood vaccines & travel vaccinations. When requested, these could be accessed through either the Barnard Castle Surgery or a travel clinic (depending on the vaccine). Some of these vaccines will incur a cost.