As we start 2016, our thoughts turn to the opening of our new school building at Undershaw. The building will be completed in June and the grounds during the summer, which will allow us to start the new academic year in September with expanded room and facilities to meet the needs of all our students. Originally we thought that the full school would move to Undershaw, but over the last year it has become evident that this might not be the best way forward, so we have decided to have a Lower and Upper School, with the Lower School remaining at Tower Road.

Naturally, the pupils at Tower Road will, of course, come across to use the specialist facilities for music, science, sport and swimming. Additionally, the playground at Tower Road will be updated to make a more appropriate facility for our youngest students, and as always, the building will be given the necessary updates to make it appropriate for the class groups it will house.

The transition to Undershaw will then be seen, as in any other school, as a rite of passage to their next level of education and we will be looking to start a family support service, which would most likely be based at Tower Road.

Undershaw under construction

Our key stage 2 class has been studying tectonic activity, making papier mache models of volcanos, which we (bravely) caused to erupt with a substantial amount of food colouring and plenty of Alka Seltzer! Just before half term, the class visited Wisley to see the butterflies in the Bicentennial greenhouse, where there seemed to be more varieties and a greater number than ever before. We finished the day with a fun time in the playground building dens before taking the scenic route round the lake back to the minibus.

We are currently organising a summer term residential trip for the Key Stage 3, which will be a UK based activity week with a focus on developing team working, confidence and independence – something for all to look forward to!

For Key Stage 4, exam season is on its way and students are working hard towards controlled assessments and other exams. Alongside this, pupils are now successfully attending The Edge Sport Centre, where they are benefitting from using the gym and have also devised their own circuits. We are lucky that Pam our Physio attends and is on hand working with individuals to ensure that individual needs are catered for. Next half tem we will have access to Herons Sports Centre for Swimming, Gym and Squash to enable pupils to gain confidence in using public sports facilities. Some classes have already successfully been joining in with the pupils at Woolmer Hill and have taken part in Badminton, Tables Tennis, and Football.

We were brave, but it was worth it!

The school had a day in support of ‘Joe’s Jumpstart,’ a charity started by Shelley in memory of her son Joe. This is an annual event, which sees students across the school receive basic first aid awareness and is aimed at improving all of our knowledge of cardiac disease and conditions. It is a startling fact that up to 17 young people in Britain collapse and die from cardiac arrest each week in Britain but thanks to this charity the school has a defibrillator which can be used in case of an emergency and another ready for Undershaw.

Due to the demand for places, the school is now running open afternoons for prospective families, which have demonstrated the huge interest in what our school has to offer. We are thrilled to say that some of the older students have even been getting involved by describing what Stepping Stones has meant for them, showing great confidence and another super opportunity for them to gain experience in public speaking.

The excitement starts to mount, as Stepping Stones School looks to open its additional site (Undershaw) in the former home of Conan Doyle. The famous Sherlockian writer has got the school buzzing ready for World Book day this week and we are sharing our favourite places to read. As you can see, any chance to read for me is usually tied into to doing something else!! Busy times ahead…

Melissa makes time to read...alongside other tasks!