Helping disabled children and their families since 1981

Take a look at our timeline to find out how it all began here in Nottingham, and to read about a few of our many achievements over the last 30+ years:

Helping disabled children and their families since 1981

Take a look at our timeline to find out how it all began here in Nottingham, and to read about a few of our many achievements over the last 30+ years:

1978 – Rutland House School opens in Nottingham

Rutland House School opens in Nottingham. Part of the Scope charity network, the School cares for older children and young adults with cerebral palsy.

1981 – Parents ask for help

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.

1984 – Mansfield Brewery donates

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.

1986 – new Nursery opens

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.

1990 – The Nursery renames

The Nursery is re-named Rutland House School for Parents. By now, the services and support we offer are based around Conductive Education. Scope, still our host organisation, agrees a contract with the Petö Institute in Hungary to train the first UK based conductor teachers.

1991 to 1999 – We become international

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 their own Schools for Parents, sending professionals to train with us and starting schools in Greece, South Africa and Pakistan. At the same time, a Schools for Parents network is established in the UK. Rutland House and Ingfield Manor Schools are the two training centres for this new network.

2000 – All over the UK

There are now 40 Schools for Parents helping hundreds of children and their families across the UK.

2001 – We become an independent charity

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. A service contract is negotiated 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.

2002 to 2009 – Continued growth with the help of Jane Barton

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.

2008 – We appoint new Trustees

We elect several new Trustees, including a new Chair, who keep working to enhance our services.

2009 – Erika Juhasz joins our team

Erika Juhasz, a qualified conductor teacher, joins our team as Manager.

2010 – Planning a rebrand and location change

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.

2011 – Melinda Ladonyi joins the new ‘School for Parents’

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‘.

2012 – 10 year anniversary

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.

2013 – New conductors, development managers and ambassadors

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.

2014 – Completely independent

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!”

2015 – Debbie departs from School for Parents

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.

2016 – Changes

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.

2017 – yet more changes!

Our team is gradually expanding. We recently recruited Emma-Jane Graham, our new [part-time] Deputy Manager 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 we are searching for a new Chair to guide our charity. Our ambassador network has expanded to include: Len Simmonds, Jackie Clark, Susi Henson, Ben Hicklin, Kryshia Ford-Wilson, Cyril Postorino, Sally Radford, Lisa Fox, and Caroline Samworth. Most of our family groups are at capacity, and we’re thrilled that BBC Children in Need has awarded us another three-year grant!