Developing an Early Intervention Programme

We are fully committed to challenging and positively influencing current practices for young people with learning disabilities. We are focused on delivering real change and helping more students and their families get access to high-quality education which will improve their employment prospects and transform life outcomes.

Aims of the DFN Foundation

  • Continue to promote the development of best practices in special needs education to deliver effective life-altering outcomes for young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism.
  • Provide support to special needs schools to disseminate best practices in employability training to support young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism through effective methods.

How the DFN Foundation Plans to Achieve these Goals

  • Assisting schools and academic institutions to improve their curriculum to support employability training for children with special needs.
  • Providing adequate and effective training and resources to help schools in developing their improved curriculum for enhanced results.
  • Providing professional support to facilitate the development of best practices and new strategies.
  • Providing support to school governors to promote the development of employability training within their school and its offer to young people and their families.
  • Disseminating and encouraging best practices to raise aspirations of staff, students and their families to improve convenience and facilitation.

MoveForward Our Next Big Step

The DFN Foundation is proud to be the lead commissioner and co-designer of the DFN MoveForward, a school and college-based employability training programme developed in partnership with ThinkForward. In developing MoveForward, ThinkForward has created an innovative school-based employability skills strategy that supports students with special needs in work and promotes greater employer awareness and engagement.

Promising Results

Our early results and findings from the pilot scheme show that the MoveForward project delivers enhanced job outcome success for the young people involved. We are now developing a programme for employers to encourage them to participate in supporting this project alongside a programme for families so they can support young people in preparing for work placements.

Stepping Stones Building a World-Class Special Needs School

The Stepping Stones School at Undershaw is looking to create the gold standard in special needs education, providing young people with high quality education, training, therapy and care to help them reach their full potential. The DFN Foundation has been at the heart of conceiving and delivering the world-class special needs school facilities, following the purchase of the Undershaw Hotel in Hindhead in September 2014.

A two year renovation project saw the former residence of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle restored and transformed through a £7.5million investment, providing a spacious, bright and positive environment for students to continue their education and development. The school now has over 90 thriving students, and is recognised as an education community that is creative, supportive, challenging and rewarding.

Success is measured through the life outcomes achieved by the students, providing a real sense of hope and high expectations as they take their place as fully contributing members of their community and society.

Our Continued Commitment

The DFN Foundation has continued to provide valued guidance and support to the Stepping Stones School as it maintains its objective of delivering positive employment outcomes for young people with learning disabilities and autism. Our CEO has also been seconded to the school part-time to develop its offer for post 16 students.

Core Objectives of Stepping Stones Undershaw

Tailored Education

Advancing education through full time special needs education, supporting access and family workshop.

Poverty Relief

Support dot financially struggling families and help through community led disability charities and groups.

Promoting Health

Forging partnerships with research entities along with support for policy development in disability and mental health.

Giving Back

Helping other organisations with similar goals and milestones through fundraisers and volunteering.