What we do
To support young people and their families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who have disengaged or disappeared from the educational system and are unable to access appropriate education.
To encourage change in our existing systems to ensure that young people, regardless of their circumstances, aren’t left behind.
Increase the availability of high quality provision to meet the needs of young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who have disengaged or disappeared from the educational system.
Reconnect with young people who have disengaged from the educational system.
Help more young people successfully return to the best mainstream provision with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) that is fit for purpose.
Increase access to an appropriate Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), regardless of circumstance.
Strengthen the understanding of neurodiversity and standards of inclusive education across schools.
Drive social change to rebalance society for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
We believe that every workplace should broaden their definition of diversity and that this should become normal practice.
Over the last four years I have seen Melissa lead a school for young people with mental health and medical barriers that prevent them from learning in a traditional manner. She has incredible energy, passion and commitment to her work and is a real 'dynamo' who makes things happen and has transformed the lives of many, many young people. I strongly support her wish to help more young people and also the professionals and families that support those young people.
I have seen Melissa’s positive mindset influence so many others that I would always want to help her in any way.
Health Secretary (2012–18)
Melissa has taught and developed pedagogy and expertise in a range of SEND settings for the last twenty two years, most recently as the Executive Leader of two education provisions in the south of England. The schools provide first class education and social development for young people whose mental and/or emotional health is at risk as well as those affected by pre or post birth trauma. Melissa has effectively worked with young people presenting as a child on the edge of the autistic spectrum including PDA traits, as well as with many young people affected by acute or chronic medical conditions.
Melissa’s impressive experience as a leader (as well as an on the ground practitioner) has enabled her to develop a wealth of knowledge and she is now in a position to empower other stakeholders and families around young people affected by layered needs.
As the former headteacher at Wood End Academy in the London Borough of Ealing I know that my staff would have thrived and developed their skill sets and toolkit of interventions if someone with Melissa’s experience and expertise had been able to work with them, in order to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the range of strategies available to them. She shows intelligence and sensitivity in her approaches to training and support and will prove to be an asset to any organisation lucky enough to utilise her expertise.
Former Head of Wood End Academy Ealing
I am impressed with Melissa’s commitment to ensuring that children and young people with SEND have the opportunity to achieve expected and better than expected outcomes as well as her understanding of the challenges facing families and placing authorities.
She is a confident and resilient professional who is adaptable and capable of responding effectively to new challenges.
Principal Adviser Inclusion and SEND (West Sussex Learning Service 2010 – 2013)
Headteacher – Grafham Grange School Special School (1992 – 2008)
I have known Melissa for almost a decade and this exciting new project feels like the perfect next step in her work to make sure the most disengaged and forgotten young people get access to education. In her work at Stepping Stones, she developed excellent provision for a group of young people that the education system has routinely failed.
It’s great to see her take this work beyond the school doors where it can benefit far more young people. This will be a very valuable addition to SEND provision and one that can achieve very positive outcomes for young people, their families, their schools and their communities.
National Association of Special Schools (NASS)