Helping children with disabilities and their families since 1981

Footprints Conductive Education Centre is a small, local charity based in Sneinton, Nottingham.

Our charity registration number is 1093006.

Please, take a look at our timeline to find out how it all began here in Nottingham and read about a few of our many achievements over the last 40 years:

Rutland House School opens in Nottingham. Part of the Scope charity network, the School cares for older children and young adults with cerebral palsy.
A small group of parents with very young children, with varying forms of motor disorder, appear on the School’s doorstep. They ask if we can help them – and we say ‘Yes’. The School’s physiotherapist and head-teacher start a weekly afternoon meeting for these parents and their children. We become known as Rutland House Nursery and work under the Scope umbrella.
Mansfield Brewery hears about our work and gives us a very generous donation. We use the money to renovate the coach house in the grounds of Rutland House, creating a new and purpose built Nursery.
The new Nursery opens. We now operate five days a week, with 60 families attending our various sessions supported by Mysie Sutherland, Karen Whitehall and Debra Allsopp.
The Nursery is re-named Rutland House School for Parents. By now, the services and support we offer are based on Conductive Education. Scope, still our host organisation, agrees a contract with the Petö Institute in Hungary to train the first UK based conductor teachers.
Our conductor teachers, physiotherapists and nursery nurses keep developing our services. We gain an international reputation for our work with disabled children and their families and end up helping children all over the world. As a result, some parents set up Schools for Parents, sending professionals to train with us and starting schools in Greece, South Africa and Pakistan. At the same time, a network is established in the UK. Rutland House and Ingfield Manor Schools are the two training centres for this new network.
1991 to 1999
There are now 40 Schools for Parents helping hundreds of children and their families across the UK.
Due to financial pressures and organisational changes, Scope’s strategy changes. They can no longer fund our services, although they’ll help us where they can. Some of the parents form a Board of Trustees, so Rutland House School for Parents can continue as an independently funded and independent charity. We immediately start fundraising and negotiate a service contract with Scope for the use of our premises at Elm Bank and various other services, for which we pay a monthly fee. On 1 April 2001, we become an independent charity.
Thanks to the hard work, commitment and determination of our parent Trustees, Rutland House School for Parents keeps developing its educational and support services. Mrs Jane Barton deserves special recognition for the enormous contribution that her fundraising efforts and support make to the School over these seven years.
2002 to 2009
We elect several new Trustees, including a new Chair, who keep working to enhance our services.
Erika Juhasz, a qualified conductor teacher, joins our team as Manager.
Scope breaks the news that they’ll be taking our premises back. We have until October 2011 to find a new building, so the hunt begins for a new home. At the same time, we start planning a rebranding exercise, which will eventually include a new name for the charity.
Katalin Deak, our other conductor teacher, leaves to work in Liverpool and is replaced by Melinda Ladonyi. 'School for Parents' moves to its new premises at the Iona School on Sneinton Dale, Nottingham. We also join KIDS – the national charity that supports disabled children. We’re now known simply as ‘School for Parents‘.
We celebrated our 10th anniversary of being an independently registered charity on 17 July. We’re reviewing our business model and increasing the services we offer to include: supporting older children with communication difficulties; supporting the transition to school and providing outreach for families.
With news that Melinda was moving to New Zealand, we recruited Kirsten Bairstow Robb as a part-time Conductor to work alongside Erika, Karen and Debbie on the ‘front line’. Kirsten has a wealth of knowledge and experience in delivering Conductive Education, being one of the first English trainees to go to the Peto Institute in 1992. We’ve also managed to appoint Shaun Hallam as our Development Manager, and six fabulous new ambassadors have come ‘on board’ to volunteer their business skills: Tony Bates, Jackie Clark, Ron Glen, Maggie Ross, Len Simmonds, Chris Theobald.
We welcome a new ambassador, James Jones, after the sad passing of Chris Theobald, and our staff team grows with additional sessional workers: Caroline, Fiona, Charlotte and Miriam joining us along with volunteer Mike. In July, after three years of being part of KIDS, School for Parents is now wholly independent. Caroline Newton, our Chair of Trustees, said: “With a service manager now in post and a comprehensive fundraising strategy in place, it was time for us to become independent again. Based on our intention to become independent we were able to apply for Children In Need funding, and this same week the grant has come through!”
Debbie left us in February after 33 years working with Scope, Rutland House School for Parents and us as School for Parents to pursue a career supporting disabled children on an individual basis and we wish her well.
Our Manager, Shaun Hallam, moved on and Interim Manager, Claire Richmond, stepped in to fill the role. Nathalie Bailey-Flitter is our new, permanent Manager taking up her position in September 2016. Caroline Newton, our Chair of Trustees for five years, stands down to focus on her work developing a respite centre for disabled children in Kenya. Not only has Caroline been our Chair, but she has also been a valued Trustee for the past 14 years! Taking on the position of Chair is Tony Bates, a Trustee for the past year and, previous to that a very supportive Ambassador for our charity. Alison Brooks becomes Vice Chair. We are in the process of recruiting a third Conductor, and also a Community Fundraiser.
We have changed our name to FOOTPRINTS Conductive Education Centre!

Our team is gradually expanding. We recently recruited Emma-Jane Graham, our new [part-time] Manager (job share) to support Nathalie’s [part-time] Manager role, and Andrea Kelly joined us as our Community Fundraiser. Kirsten Bairstow-Robb, our Conductor, is now qualified to train Assistant Conductors, and Joanne Garwood is our first full-time trainee, working while training (the course is available to external trainees).

Alison Brooks took over as Interim Chair of Trustees following Tony Bates resignation, and following a search, we are delighted that Nic Jepson has agreed to be our new Chair, effective from July 18. Our ambassadors have expanded to include: Len Simmonds, Jackie Clark, Kryshia Ford-Wilson, Caroline Samworth, Lisa Fox, Dave Taylor, Ben Hicklin, and Sally Radford. Most of our family groups are at capacity, and we’re thrilled that BBC Children in Need has awarded us another three-year grant!
2017 – 2018

2018 – 2021 – a few rollercoaster years!  COVID -19 meant we had to close our service to face-to-face sessions and find alternative ways to support our children and families. After a steep learning curve, we managed by using Zoom, and parents told us how grateful they were that we were one of the few services to keep going.

A year of no fundraising events proved daunting, however we were delighted to have new trustees – Becki Brooksbank, Richard AndrewsRob Evans and David Allum.

By June 2021, we were ready to fully reopen as Covid hadn’t affected the number of children who need support. Emma-Jane Graham went on maternity leave and Andrea Kelly covered her management role. Amanda Longley and Sophie Underwood both joined the team in October as our Business Support Officer and Community Fundraiser.

2022 brought more changes to our team, but never to our support and commitment to our children and families. Emma Jane, Nathalie and Andrea decided to leave Footprints, as well as Lucie Gregory and Eileen Sleaford, who retired at the end of May.  Claire Clarkson officially joined in March, responsible for our PR and Communications, after volunteering in the office for six months. Rebecca Bilsbrough also started in the spring as our much needed Classroom Assistant.

We continue to be so grateful to our Patron Richard Whitehead MBE and our committed ambassadors, Lisa Fox, Len Simmonds, Caroline Samworth and Sarah Vearnals. We are so thankful to them, and all of our supporters, including BBC Children in Need.

17th July 2022 marks a very special date for us – our 20-year anniversary of becoming a charity. We’re having a big celebration for our families and supporters and will be reflecting on our shared history. We’ll be celebrating with all of the families we have supported and seen grow, and looking to our exciting future where we’ll continue to help our children thrive and achieve their potential.