Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones
Life at Stepping Stones Life at Stepping Stones Life at Stepping Stones Life at Stepping Stones Life at Stepping Stones


Stepping Stones Charity

Stepping Stones School is a charity that has provided special needs education in Hindhead for over 12 years, growing successfully year on year.   The school is a focus of many activities in the community hosting clubs and summer activities as well as events for local residents.  The school also works in partnership with a number of local schools, businesses and charities.  

Many local residents also know the school through the Cookie Bar, located in Royal Huts Parade, which is linked to the school as part of a social enterprise scheme. Students gain work experience here and parents regularly volunteer in support of both the school and activities supported by the COINS Foundation in Africa.

The Charity operates the school through a Board of Governors.

Our Funding Foundations

Today the school is supported by two charitable foundations in the following ways:

• COINS own and rent to us, our Tower Road site and have fully supported the development of the school in these past 14 years.  The founders of the school Larry Sullivan and Sandy Seagrove unable to find the right school for their daughter decided to start their own in 2004 with just 3 students.  Today the COINS Foundation continues to provide support to the school through the development of specialist facilities such as a recording studio and pottery as well as starting the Cookie Bar in 2011.  The Tower Road site was re-furbished in the summer of 2016 to become the Lower School of Stepping Stones.  

• DFN Foundation in 2014 became involved in the school as parents David and Clare Forbes-Nixon looked to support the development of the school that had made such an impact on their son's education.  The foundation purchased the home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw,  which is walking distance from both the Tower Road site and the Cookie Bar.  Work was completed in the summer of 2016 and the site opened its doors to students in September.  We now rent Undershaw from the Foundation and it hosts the Upper School and Post 16 provision with the modern facilities required of a varied and challenging curriculum.

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors report to both of our funding foundations on the overall work and development of the school and welcome members of each onto the board.  The main role of the governors is to hold the leadership of the school to account acting as a ‘critical friend’.  

"The headteacher and governors have made successful changes to ensure that pupils receive high levels of care and good outcomes.  Consequently, the school meets all the independent school standards."  OFSTED 2016

The board is currently:

  • Richard Norman, Chair of Governors, Chair of Curriculum and Standards committee, consultant to special schools and local authorities. Ex-headteacher of a special school, ex-head of West Sussex inclusion and special educational needs and disabilities department, appointed Chair of Governors September 2018.
  • David Forbes-Nixon, Co-Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance & Staffing Committee, parent and founder/trustee of the DFN Foundation.  David is Chairman of the DFN Charitable Foundation.  Appointed June 2014..
  • Jo FranklinCo-Vice Chair, Trustee of the COINS Foundation and Commercial Director COINS Group.  Appointed November 2014.
  • Anne Hayes, Retired Head Teacher and ex-chair of Stepping Stones Trustees.  Appointed as Trustee (now Governor) November 2010.
  • Larry Sullivan, co-founder of Stepping Stones, ex-parent and trustee of Stepping Stones, and founder of the COINS Foundation.  Appointed as Trustee (now Governor) January 1994.
  • Tim Armitage, Technical Director COINS.  Appointed November 2014.


  • Jane Rudlin-Jones, Parent Governor.  Appointed September 2015.


  •  Danny Leeds, Staff Governor.  Appointed January 2017


  • Ellie Clayden, Doctor, Community Governor.  Appointed September 2016


  • Ryan Campbell, Chair of the charity MIND, Community Governor.  Appointed   January 2018


  • Mike Elms, Appointed September 2018



Alex Viner is the Clerk to Governors.
The Head Teacher, Melissa Grigsby attends the Governing Board Meetings.

Governor Attendance

Governor Attendance  2015- 16 2016-17 2017-18
Tim Armitage 100% 57% 83%
Ryan Campbell NA NA 75%
Ellie Claydon N/A 86% 66%
James Dickson 80% 71% 0%
David Forbes-Nixon 100% 86% 83%
Jo Franklin 50% 57% 83%
Anne Hayes 80% 71% 50%
Danny Leeds N/A 100% 83%
Richard Norman NA 100% 83%
Jane Rudlin-Jones 100% 100% 83%
Norman Stromsoy 89% 100% 100%
Larry Sullivan 86% 83% 33%
Gloria Vessey N/A 57% 0%
Leavers in last 12 months: 
Gloria Vessey - Appointed October 2016.  Left January 2018
Norman Stromsoy - Appointed August 2015 .  Left August 2018
James Dickson - Appointed November 2014. Left August 2018