Undershaw - A school
In September 2016 Undershaw opened as the new Upper School of Stepping Stones School. Founded in 2004 by parents Larry Sullivan and Sandy Seagrove, who despaired of finding the right school for their daughter, Stepping Stones has built a reputation as an alternative special needs school.
The original, and now Lower School site, is also a Grade II listed property. The church on Tower Road was built in 1896 the same year as Undershaw, and was renovated in 2004 to become a school.
Today the school caters for 60 young people and in the words of the Headteacher, Melissa Farnham:
The school makes provision for children who have acquired processing delays due to: acute or chronic medical conditions, hemiplegia or mild cerebral palsy; those whose mental and/or emotional health is at risk due to direct or indirect trauma; and those whose mild autism creates learning needs.
The school offers a nurturing approach in the Lower School with students taught in their form groups supported by therapeutic interventions. The focus is on building the scaffolding for learning so that each student works towards becoming independent an learner able to enjoy reciprocal and meaningful friendships with their peers.
Once students reach the Upper School they are taught by subject specialists and follow a range of accreditation pathways up to and including GCSEs. They are supported with targeted therapy interventions which focus on working to their strengths and learning to be themselves. They begin to make steps out into work placements with clear goals for their future.
For those that stay on into the Post 16 provision there is a focus on ensuring resilience for the next steps in their life. The school works with employers to help close gaps as students expand their experiences in the workplace. We provide support through enabling therapies and mentoring as we embed the skills they will need for a successful future.
The mission of the school is to give young people the skills they need to lead a productive, inclusive and independent life in the community. We understand the difficulties and care about the challenges that a young person with disability faces. We want their time at Stepping Stones to be one where they grow both academically and socially.