Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones
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Stepping Stones is growing!

Full planning permission has been granted for Stepping Stones to restore and develop the Undershaw site as our new school.  

Stepping Stones is a small specialist educational provision in leafy Surrey. It is a school that enables education and develops the resilience of young people with mild physical disabilities, and hidden disabilities such as terminal illness, learning disabilities, mild aspergers and high anxiety. The ‘make up’ of these learners means that their processing and transfer of information via an atypical neurological pathway is hindered.

The school has doubled in size in the last few years and is now to expand and develop an educational footprint that reflects the learners. Hence, the ambitious project that has seen the purchase of Undershaw. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sat in this humble home writing novels like Hounds of the Baskervilles which took the reader on a journey through critical thinking little did he know that today we would take his work and the some of the science behind the concepts of his writing to the next level through education.

Undershaw will offer the young people at Stepping Stones a safe setting to learn in this moment in time, enhancing mindfulness and critical thinking, with access to  state-of-the-art class rooms, a performing Arts and  Media Suite, outdoor learning spaces, therapy intervention rooms and so much more.

This next step in the School’s history will allow us to offer more young people an inclusive setting to learn.  They will benefit from innovative and forward thinking teaching & learning that will allow every young person that steps over the Undershaw threshold the best opportunity to live and work independently. Aligned to this we will aim to have a national hub of expertise to support families and business understand how these incredible young people can actively contribute to society.  

The literary legacy and historic elements of the Undershaw site will be renovated and reinvigorated as the school plans to open to a range of community, special interest and tourist interests.

Please contact Melissa Farnham if you are interested in further information regarding the school or Undershaw development on:

The Story so far..

The exciting news that Stepping Stones is to have a larger building, was announced to a packed audience of Stepping Stones parents and staff on March 25th 2014.  

The need for extra space has become pressing.  Thanks to the partnership, formed by Larry Sullivan (founder of the school), with David Forbes-Nixon, the parent of a Stepping Stones student, the dream of a bigger school has become a reality.

Undershaw is a nearby late Victorian house, beautiful but derelict, built by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to take advantage of the clean Surrey air for his ailing wife.  He wrote at the time: ‘If we could have ordered Nature to construct a spot for us we could not have hit upon anything more perfect.’

The house, steeped in history, has been purchased by David Forbes-Nixon for his charitable foundation  which will continue underpin its funding.

Change of Use planning permission was granted on the 4th September 2014 and full planning permission for proposals on 4th February 2015.  However, to ensure that there could be no doubt as to the validity of this decision it was referred to the Secretary of State with responsibility for planning. He has now confirmed that this decision will not be called in by his department which will allow work to now proceed to restore Undershaw, demolish the old hotel extension and begin construction of our new buildings. This decision will finally allow us to provide the desperately needed accommodation for our small special school.

It was orignally planned that Undershaw would become an upper School, while Stepping Stones remained a lower school, as described in the following video.

These plans have now been superceded; it is planned that both lower and upper schools will move to Undershaw, while the Tower Road site will cater for our proposed employability hub.

Undershaw- Heritage + Legacy from COINS Foundation on Vimeo.