Funding improved educational facilities in UK schools


The current demand for specialist education and therapy services is enormous so children unfortunately do not get the frequency of support that would be advisable to make a difference to their well being and independence.

We intend to deliver real change, helping more students and their families access high quality provision, positively impacting on progress and attainment, improving access to employment, improved life skills and social communication.


Nationally, our aim is to challenge and positively influence current practice in order to provide disabled children and adults with their full entitlement to effective educational provision, leading to a better quality of life experience.

We aim to achieve this by:

  • Developing and disseminating curriculum interventions for students experiencing emotional and mental health problems.

  • Developing and disseminating therapeutic inter-professional interventions within school settings.

  • Developing innovative employability skills strategies that support students with special needs into work and promote employer engagement.

  • Developing and disseminating training programmes that promote improved independent living skills for students with special needs.

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones School was established as a registered charity in 2004 by parents of children with special educational needs who were not flourishing in a mainstream school environment. The school’s primary aim is to provide a first rate education for young people who would benefit from a mainstream curriculum delivered in a special school setting.

While originally conceived as a school to cater for the needs of young people with hemiplegia, the school has successfully included students with a specific learning difficulty, social and emotional difficulties, mild ASD and Asperger Syndrome, with mild visual and/or hearing impairment, with other forms of cerebral palsy.

“Beacon of Hope”

Due to the success of this school, the DFN Charitable Foundation has taken the significant decision to support the expansion of the school by providing new accommodation to meet the growing demand for places and the changing needs of students.


The DFN Charitable Foundation purchased Undershaw Hotel in Hindhead in September 2014 to create a world class special needs school. Undershaw is the former residence of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and was originally commissioned to cater to the medical needs of his wife who had TB. The house was built to fully benefit from the south-facing aspect of the site, and, once restored, this will provide a spacious, bright and positive environment for the students to continue onto the next stages of their education and development.

A significant extension is currently being built to house the specialist accommodation needed by the school.

This scheme aims to provide accommodation, education and therapy facilities and equipment that challenge the students and promote their full independence.

“A Gold Standard”

The school intends to provide a unique resource with information, practical advice and services available in one centre. This new provision will be available to all students attending Stepping Stones and those in the wider educational community who may require specialist intervention in order to be able to participate more fully in their educational programme with therapeutic support.