The Future of Stepping Stones

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to inform you of some important news that will affect how Stepping Stones operates in future. Stepping Stones is a “not for profit” charity committee run pre-school. We’ve been operating here since 2000 and we have rented the premises from the Surbiton’s Children’s Centre Nursery (SCCN) next door.

At the end of January we were formally notified that our letting agreement will be terminated from the end of July 2017 as SCCN will be taking on additional services that will require the use of the space we occupy. That means that Stepping Stones will need to find new premises to operate from in September 2017, or face closure.

We are committed to remaining open and finding new premises and we’ve been working hard to understand the process involved and what options we have in the local area. We have identified 17 potential sites which we’re checking for availability and suitability. We have also requested an extension from SCCN to allow us more time to find new premises.

We felt it important to let you know as soon as we had determined what options we have and our preferred course of action. However, we also realise that this news is going to be very unsettling for you and the future of your child’s pre-school needs until we are able to confirm what will be happening from September. We aim to keep you updated every step of the way with progress and you can expect updates by email on a fortnightly basis.

As you can imagine, this has come as a shock to us all, particularly given the strength of the pre-school following the Ofsted Outstanding inspection last year. We have a proven formula and a committed staff team who feel that we can continue to provide an excellent service if we can find the right home.

With that in mind, please consider helping us with the following:

1. Whilst we feel we’ve been pretty thorough at searching for alternative local premises, if you have any thoughts of places we could move to, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we will investigate.

2. Contact the leader of the local council Kevin Davis (kevin.davis@kingston.gov.uk), to raise concerns about Stepping Stones being given notice to leave and letting him know the impact it could have on you and your family if we’re unable to find new premises. You can find his full contact details here. The council has made decisions to cut the local educational budget which is ultimately why we are being asked to leave. If you decide to email him, please CC Charis Penfold (charis.penfold@achievingforchildren.org.uk) the Director of Education Services for Richmond & Kingston.

3. If you have any other ideas that could help us during this time, please let us know.

We want to set up a session for parents to attend and meet the local decision makers with representatives from SCCN and the Local Authority to help answer any questions you might have on why a setting like Stepping Stones is being put at risk of closure. 

In the meantime, if you want to ask us anything we’ll do our best to answer. Please email us at questions@steppingstonessurbiton.org.uk and we’ll collate any general questions and redistribute to you all. Alternatively, please talk to Sarah or Tracey. Paper copies of this letter will be available at the Pre-School.

Kind regards
Bryn Regan (Chair) and the Stepping Stones Committee