Children’s Services

Children’s Services – Better, brighter futures

The Children’s Services directorate at North Northamptonshire Council employs around 235 people. It is responsible for a range of services including: school admissions, schools improvement, SEND provision, the Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme, developing partnerships and commissioning services such as those provided by the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust.

The service plays a vital role in delivering the council’s key commitment of delivering better, brighter futures for local residents, and particularly our children and young people.

We want North Northamptonshire to be a place where our children and young people are cared for. We want them to be provided with a high-quality education, training and other learning opportunities so that they can flourish and reach their full potential. 

We are focused on building early resilience by supporting families, children and young people to be ready for school. We are working to help them to grow up in safe and secure homes in communities that value them and see their potential.

Working closely with our partners, such as the Children’s Trust, and other education providers, we are working to ensure that children have the best opportunities to learn and fulfil their ambitions.

We are working to support disadvantaged and vulnerable children to help them grow their skills, confidence and abilities.

We realise that children, young people and their families may need help at different stages in their lives. We aim to provide help as early as possible and provide the right support, at the right time in the right way to ensure that children are safeguarded and get the best start in life.

Our priorities:

  • Ensure every child has equal access to a high standard of education
  • Support partners and the Children’s Trust to provide better early support to families and better standards of care
  • Promote better training, further education and employment opportunities for young people

Education System Overview

In North Northamptonshire there are five stages of education:

  • Early years
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Further Education (FE)
  • Higher Education (HE). Whilst Northamptonshire University is situated in Northampton itself, (West Northamptonshire), it serves and works with the whole of Northamptonshire. Similarly, some of the FE providers have satellite provision in North Northamptonshire whilst their base is in West Northamptonshire.

North Northamptonshire is made up of four Locality Areas:

  1. Wellingborough
  2. Corby
  3. East Northamptonshire
  4. Kettering

There are 144 schools in North Northamptonshire. These are made up of the following:

Nursery Schools 4
Primary Schools 111
Secondary Schools 20
Special 8
All- Through 1

Out of the 144 schools there are 38 Maintained Schools:

Maintained Nursery Schools (MNS) 4
Maintained Primary Schools 32
Maintained Secondary School 1
Maintained Special School 1

Of these maintained schools:

Community Schools 24
Voluntary Aided 5
Voluntary Controlled 5
Foundation Schools 4

Out of the 144 schools there are 106 Academies:

All- Through Academies 1
Primary Academies 79
Secondary Academies 19
Special Academies 7

Of our 8 Special Schools:

  • 2 are all- through
  • 2 are primary
  • 4 are secondary

SEND specialist provision available:

  • 8 special schools
  • 11 units
  • 1 new unit due to open September 2024
  • 3 potential units in the pipeline
  • 2 alternative provision for pupils with SEMH


Bedford College Group

  • The Corby Sixth Form

Bedford College Group - Tresham Colleges:

  • Corby Campus
  • Wellingborough Campus
  • Kettering Campus

Independent Schools:

  • Laxton Junior School
  • Oundle School
  • St Peters School at Sunnylands
  • Wellingborough School – Senior
  • Wellingborough School Prep

Independent Special Schools:

  • Stone Lodge Therapeutic School

Alternative Provision:

  • Youth Works Community College
  • Progress Schools Thrapston
  • Refocus
  • Creating Tomorrow College

Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT)

Following Children’s Services in Northamptonshire being judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2019, Northamptonshire Children's Trust Limited was established in November 2020 through a Statutory Direction by the Secretary of State for Education.

A unique arrangement in the UK, the Trust is operationally independent but wholly owned by North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire Councils. It is responsible for the delivery of children's social care and targeted early help services in Northamptonshire including the commissioning functions relating to these activities.

The Trust are a company with a strong ambition to improve the lives of children and their families. Their focus is on ensuring a positive impact on the children most in need of protection and care.

With the Statutory Executive Director of Children Services role remaining in the council, North Northamptonshire is committed to supporting the Trust to deliver children’s social care and targeted early help service. It takes its corporate parenting role very seriously empowering all children, young people and their families to thrive in their community.

Ofsted conducted an inspection of North Northamptonshire’s Local Authority children’s services between 3-14 October 2022 and were judged “Requires improvement to be good”. The inspection highlighted:

  • Children in need of help and protection in North Northamptonshire receive much better support than they did at the time of the inspection in 2019.”
  • Early help support has been strengthened, children at risk of harm are identified and timely protective action is taken.”
  • Improvements to the quality and impact of social work practice are evident throughout the service, although practice is not yet consistent.”
  • The overall quality of practice for children in care and care leavers has improved since the previous inspection, particularly with regard to adoption, although considerable variability remains.”

Ofsted conducted a Focused visit in October 2023 and highlighted that:

Since the previous inspection in October 2022, when the overall effectiveness of the service was judged to be requires improvement to be good, senior leaders have maintained a firm focus on improvement through external reviews, quality assurance processes and a realistic improvement plan.”

Northamptonshire Children’s Trust’s Business Plan 2024/25-2026/27 sets out the shared ambition of the Trust and North Northamptonshire Council to “Help children and families stay together, live together, and thrive together where it is safe to do so. Where support is needed we will work with partners to deliver the right help from the right person at the right time”.

Both the Trust, and through its part ownership, the council are not immune to the significant practice and financial challenges facing children’s services nationally. This includes the recruitment of social workers, managing demand for services and ensuring the sufficiency of placements for children in care. The council, the Trust and their partner West Northamptonshire Council have created a Joint Transformation and Efficiencies Board to work together to deliver transformational changes to meet these challenges.

With the development of this new approach the council and the Trust are entering an exciting phase of their improvement journey. We are continuing to embed and sustain development of practice, driving transformation and efficiency whilst improving outcomes for young people and their families. We are also preparing for the next ILACS inspection with the ambition to achieve a judgement of at least “Good”.

Additional Information

Northamptonshire Childrens Trust