Our latest news

March 19, 2024 in General news, Our people, Student life, Trips

Undershaw girls make their mark on the football pitch

Girls in Key Stage 3 and 4 have been leaving their mark on football at an inclusive tournament hosted by Fulham Football Club. This is part of the Surrey Inclusive…
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January 16, 2024 in General news, Our people, Student life

Undershaw receives Eco-schools’ prestigious Green Flag Award

We all care about the environment and like to think we ‘do our bit’, but what if we feel that our bit isn’t quite enough?  What if we could also…
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January 9, 2024 in Events, Our people, Student life

Essential Life Skills on display at our Christmas Fayre

The Mayor of Haslemere opens the Undershaw Christmas Fayre and receives his own Skills Award from one of the avid student Skills Spotters! Mayor Jerome Davidson was awarded his ‘Speaking’…
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From our gallery


Our People

We actively recruit dedicated staff who are committed to providing an unrivalled SEND education. Our people are the backbone of the school and live the vision every day. They form child-centric partnerships with each student and each family, and work tirelessly to provide a safe, supportive and happy environment for all our pupils.


Here are some of the people that make Undershaw tick…


Emma West

I became a teacher 22 years ago and have been very lucky to have had such a varied and interesting career. I have worked in a wide range of schools including inner-city schools, outstanding academy schools, independent mainstream schools, an international school in Dubai, schools with specific SEND provision, secondary phase schools, primary phase schools and now Undershaw.

I have been an Advanced Skills Teacher, a Head of Faculty, an Assistant Headteacher, A Vice Principal, a Head of Prep and now a Headteacher! I am really excited about the future at Undershaw, we have an incredibly strong team of staff that care deeply about the students and are passionate about ensuring that each one of them is supported to aspire and achieve. We are continuing to develop our provision in all areas and we are striving to become a Centre of Excellence for SEND Education. We’re already well on our way!

I spend most weekends on the side of a football pitch… which wasn’t what I expected when I had two daughters. As a keen ‘sight see-er’ I try to plan visits to fit in with game locations…not always popular with my family but one day they will thank me for their knowledge of castles and botanical gardens, I am sure! Planning a holiday is also something that I love to do…having spent many years as a Geography teacher planning school trips with schedules, timelines and a well-considered itinerary …I apply this well-honed skill to family holiday planning too. What is a holiday without a spreadsheet anyway?

I feel very privileged to be the Headteacher of Undershaw and work with an incredible staff team and our wonderful students. There have been so many highlights of my time at Undershaw, it’s difficult to choose a favourite….Perhaps, Founders Day when we welcomed back some of our Alumni and heard about how Undershaw had given them the confidence to become socially and economically engaged young adults, World Book Day where the school came together as a community to dress up, have fun and celebrate books, or perhaps the fabulous Talent Show where there was barely a dry eye in the house to see the confidence and courage of the performers and the overwhelming support that was shown by the school community for every single performer.

Undershaw is just such an incredible place.

Deputy Headteacher (Academic)

Vic Walker

As Director of Education I have the privilege of working with young people across the school community to ensure that they are individually supported and cared for whilst achieving the qualifications that will lead to their chosen next steps. This is a very exciting role at Undershaw, and I have a wealth of professional experience that I draw on to work with students and their families to ensure that we put the young person’s best interests at the centre of everything we do.

I qualified as a secondary teacher 18 years ago and I have a wide range of experience as a teacher, Head of Faculty and Assistant Headteacher. Completing an MA (Ed) is one of my proudest achievements to date; this focused on school leadership and perceptions of creativity in secondary education, and I am always excited about the possibilities that creative arts education offers to all, and how through the arts, young people can express themselves and overcome the barriers to communication that they might otherwise experience.

I am also very passionate about teacher development and training. I have led and presented on a range of topics for best teaching practice at a number of conferences and training events over the last 5 years, including how teachers use cognitive theory in teaching practice. I am a qualified leadership coach and seek every opportunity to enable others to develop their own practice and professionally grow. I am looking forward to the opportunities to work with the staff at Undershaw so that we can collectively provide an outstanding education which meets the needs of the young people in our care.

Outside school I most enjoy spending time with my small family trying new outdoor activities and going to see live music performances. We walk a lot (usually looking for geocaches), love to go camping and when we are at home, we play a lot of music together.

I am very excited to join the team at Undershaw and to play my part in ensuring that the students and adults at the school thrive in all that we do.

Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral)

Gemma Briggs

As Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral) I am responsible for ensuring that all students at Undershaw feel safe, happy and are involved fully in the school community. This includes monitoring attendance and supporting students with their Personal Behaviour Support Plans. I am also the designated Teacher for Looked after Children and have the opportunity to teach some of our wonderful students in their Personal Growth and Wellbeing lessons.

I joined Undershaw in September 2022 but have been a teacher for 19 years. I have worked in Primary schools in South London and Surrey for most of my career. I have always had an interest in inclusion and became a Special Needs Coordinator after 5 years of being a Class Teacher. I have the National Award for Special Needs Coordinators and am I feel incredibly grateful to be working with a team for whom inclusion is a shared passion.

Before teaching I worked in sales and marketing, and I have a marketing degree. I also coached sports at the weekend and during holidays before I became a full-time teacher. I love being outdoors and enjoy all sports that don’t require hand eye coordination! In the holidays I often travel to interesting and beautiful places where I can explore and learn about different cultures. My favourite activity is ski touring and my dream is to ski the volcanoes in Chile.

Assistant Headteacher, Safeguarding and Health

Nicola Frankcom

I have always enjoyed working with children and young people. My first job was as a summer holiday Day Camps leader when I was 16! I went on train to be a primary teacher 21 years ago and for the last 18 years I have been very privileged to teach across the whole school age range in a hospital school in London. This has involved me teaching children by their hospital bedside, in ward-based classrooms, in students’ homes, and in the community.

I am passionate about helping young people to overcome the barriers that they may face in engaging in education and supporting them to achieve their true potential. I became a qualified SENCO in 2018 and since then I have advocated for the rights of students with a very wide range of needs, from applying for statutory assessment through to managing their multi-disciplinary provision in school and updating their EHC Plans through the Annual Review process.

I believe that all learning should be meaningful, interactive, and fun and from what I have seen this happens every day at Undershaw, so I am really excited about joining the school community and getting to know all the students, staff and parents.

In my spare time I enjoy being with my own children and family, spending time in the countryside, playing games, baking and going on train adventures.

Head of SEND

Alison Blyth

I have worked as a SENCO for 15 years in a range of secondary schools in Hampshire and in Nottingham. Prior to that I was a head of history and in total I have spent 26 years working in education. I enjoy taking a very collaborative approach to my work and understand the importance of putting the young person at the heart of decision making. Having spent some time working in a local authority I understand the process around an EHCP from a range of viewpoints and am looking forward to using my skills and knowledge to build on the good practices already used at Undershaw.

I have loved joining the school community and meeting the young people and their families. I love seeing young people reaching their potential, knowing that, even in some small way, I have helped them to reach their goals. I feel it is important to remove barriers to achievement and believe this is best achieved through actively listening and working in collaboration with others.

I now find myself living on the south east coast, but I was born up in the north east of England, and my teaching career has seen me slowly working my way down south via Gateshead and Nottingham.

Outside of work I volunteer for a charity who provide dog walkers for the elderly. I feed my creative streak by doing embroidery and tap dancing.

Deputy Head of SEND, KS2 Teacher

Leigh Fisher

Although I came to teaching later in life, I have worked with children in one capacity or another forever! I ran my own business for 13 years teaching music and movement classes to babies and toddlers and before that I was a Montessori teacher. I have also travelled the world as a children’s nanny. My husband and I have two boys – now a very grown up 15 and 19 years old. The youngest has an ADHD diagnosis and his struggles with school sparked my interest in special educational needs. I have two cats (who are cute) but I really want a dog to keep me company when I am walking around the beautiful countryside we live in.

Being a mainstream teacher was enjoyable but being a teacher at Undershaw is where I am happiest. I absolutely love working here. It’s a fabulous combination of wonderfully joyful and slightly potty! The small classes mean I get to know the children so well and really focus on supporting them, making learning fun and helping them achieve. To make our KS2 crew develop a love for their learning is what Sam and I work hard to achieve. I love working with her to create our thematic learning – we have a lot of fun!

Head of Pastoral Care, Teacher of Music

James Lindsay

I am absolutely thrilled to have started my new role as Head of Pastoral Care at Undershaw. I feel honoured to work at such a wonderful and caring school with such fantastic students and staff. I feel this new role is my dream job and one I’ve been building up to over the last 20 years in my various roles as a middle leader, teacher, tutor, line manager and day service worker. My aspiration is to support every child at Undershaw to find their voice and help the school move forward in its journey to becoming a pinnacle of SEN provision and pastoral care.

I have 17 years’ experience of teaching Music at KS3, 4 and 5 and have also taught Geography, Maths, RE, PSHE, English and Enrichment. I joined Undershaw in 2020 as Teacher of Music and in 2021 became Head of Arts. I feel very proud of all the Arts Team achieved during this time. Highlights include outstanding BTEC and GCSE results in Music, Art and Computing, achieving Music Mark, the development of the Arts Award and a wide range of fabulous performance opportunities, trips and visits, and the recording of two fabulous Sundial Albums.

Before coming to Undershaw, I was Head of Music at Ricards Lodge school, in Wimbledon. In my time at the school, I was proud to be part of a team of middle leaders who contributed to the school achieving Ofsted Outstanding (2017), Arts Mark Platinum and becoming a leading SSAT school. In 2015, I was honoured to be named ‘Teacher of the Year’ in the London Borough of Merton in recognition of all I’d done to support my students to thrive at the school.

Prior to teaching at Ricards I was Head of Music at Sarah Bonnell School, in Stratford, a role I loved and one in which I developed as a teacher and middle leader. In both roles I relished the role of form tutor and pastoral care was always at the centre of my teaching and leadership roles.
Before teaching, I worked in a range of roles directly linked to pastoral care including working as an Inclusion Mentor (at Varndean School, in Brighton) and as a Day Service Worker, managing a day centre for adults with mild and moderate learning difficulties. In both roles I was an advocate for those I supported, promoting student and client voice and frequently liaising with multi-disciplinary teams and outside agencies. I loved this work and always imagined that one day I’d be able to combine this experience with teaching music. Undershaw has been the perfect place for me to realise that dream.

When I’m not working, I love having adventures with my kids who are 9 and 5, swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea, riding my bike, cooking, camping, reading, watching films and making music whenever I can!

Head of Humanities, Teacher of History

Matt Fuller

When I joined the school in October 2018, it was about a year after I had completed my MA in History. I had worked a few temporary jobs and wasn’t quite sure what life had in store for me next. I had done a little bit of teaching experience at university and I’d always wondered about one day going into teaching - so I signed up to a teaching-agency to see if there was any TA work going in the local area. When I joined Stepping Stones, I was only supposed to be here for a month or so! Luckily for me, the school decided to support me in training to become a teacher and I feel so fortunate to have the support and advice of some brilliant people over the last few years.

I absolutely love my current role of Head of Humanities and Project Based Learning as it means I get to oversee both the History and Geography curriculums and collaborate with all the other teachers to come up with some unique learning enquiries and experiences within PBL. I’m really proud of some of the projects which we ran last years which gave our students the opportunity to demonstrate how brilliant they are and I’m keen to see how this develops over the next few years. The thing I love most about working at Undershaw is that it is a school full of kindness and care – staff and students There’s been quite a bit of change since I first joined the school, but one thing that the school has always done is provide students with the time and space they need to realise how remarkable they are, and that’s a really special thing.

I know lots of my students probably think that when I’m not at school, all I do is read about History… And they wouldn’t be completely wrong! A lot of the time though, I can be found cycling around the beautiful countryside we’re so lucky to live in , eating as many snacks as I can and trying to get faster. So, if you find yourself stuck behind a cyclist in the Surrey/West Sussex area, I apologise, I’m going as fast as I can!

Transition Coach

Sharon Setterfield

My role as Transition Coach means I am heavily involved with our students at both ends of their Undershaw journey. I take care of students on their way into the school, whether they are joining us from another specialist setting, a mainstream school, or from home schooling. I also work closely with our Employability Team helping students navigate their pathways once they leave Undershaw, whether that is to a Further Education college or employment.

I feel immensely privileged that I get to know each young person and help each family in their time with us. Each transition is bespoke and it takes the team here at school to work in a tight partnership with parents and carers, to ensure the student is on a path that they choose, and at a time that is right for them. We have a great set of people here. We are all specialists at what we do and I am proud of the fact that each student is enveloped by a team of people who support them, their quest for the right path, and that they know we’ll all pull together to ensure we can make that happen.

My next project is to create an Alumni community for Undershaw. We have so many great stories from students who have left us and gone on to do some amazing things. I hope to build a village where our alumni can come together, share those stories, find new friendships through their connection with the school, and perhaps inspire our current students with their experiences. Watch this space!

Head of Employability and Life Skills

Leilah Sheridan

The heart of my role is establishing a connection with our students, their families, and staff to fully understand each individual and tailoring my support to suit the student and their circumstances. I provide bespoke coaching, creating Ready For Work opportunities whilst also promoting greater employer and Further Education College awareness and engagement. Critically my role is to help our young people to connect with themselves in order to grow in confidence, resilience and create transferable Work Ready Life Skills essential for transition beyond school.

I hope to light the fire of aspiration by bringing Employability Skills to life, inspiring our young people to set goals and equip them with the experiences and knowledge needed to achieve them. I am passionate about our students being given the opportunity to reach their full potential and confidently transition from education into paid employment.

My best moment at Undershaw to date is watching one of our Alumni perform his own song at College, looking so confident and exactly where he should be. Knowing that we helped him in a small way to get ready to fly, it made my heart sing.

I love being part of the school community, give me anything creative and I will get stuck in!

Family Liaison

Lisa Latham

When my children became teens I had an epiphany! I left my office job and started over; I knew I needed to work with young people!
My journey started at Woolmer Hill School as a Cover Supervisor. I had absolutely no experience of working in education but WH took a chance on me because they felt I spoke with passion about the need for young people to have a voice. I also spoke about the need for them to have the very best help, support, and encouragement to be the best they can be. That's what I wanted for my own children so why would it be different for any child, anywhere? This has been my mantra throughout the past 15 years!
During my time at Woolmer Hill I became a tutor and mentor and worked closely with the SEN department. I had a natural affinity with 'challenging children' but soon realised that the children weren't challenging, the education system was!
I moved on to deputise at an alternative provision in Farnham supporting 3 mainstream secondary schools by providing offsite respite or long term placement for students struggling in their mainstream settings. The provision provided a safe space for students to rebuild their confidence and continue their education in a small class setting with 1:1 or small group support alongside regular mentoring sessions working on emotional literacy, thus helping to create happier and more successful outcomes.
For the past three years I have worked at a Pupil Referral Unit in Guildford as a Student and Family Engagement Lead. I mentored young people that have been permanently excluded from school and are often completely disengaged from education, sometimes disengaged from everything. Every child who enters the PRU has Social Emotional Mental Health needs and has sadly been let down by missing diagnosis prior to placement. I worked closely with families and with any professionals involved with the young person. I love the fact that working as a team we can make positive changes, create great opportunities, and give the young person the skills they need to lead a happy and healthy life and have choices in their future. I hope to continue with this teamwork at Undershaw!
I feel fortunate to have been so warmly welcomed to Undershaw in the role of Family Liaison Officer; it is such an amazing environment for students to learn and grow and I look forward to playing my part in making their experience here the best it can possibly be. I am looking forward to Nicola, Maddy and I developing the team further to provide bespoke support for students and their families.
Out of work I love gardening, walking, stretching (Yoga or Pilates), meditating, spending time with friends and family or flopping on the sofa in front of a good film!
Family Liaison

Maddy Annis-Wilkinson

I feel very fortunate to be able to work with the wonderful students and families at Undershaw in my role as Family Liaison Officer. I am very much looking forward to working alongside Lisa to develop our team so we can support more families.

I have had a varied and exciting career in education, beginning as a primary school teacher in inner city schools in London and then moving on to working on the leadership team of a mainstream junior school in Surrey before specialising in SEND. Throughout my career, I have always believed that children learn best when they feel happy and safe, and when they have people around them who support and believe in them. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to provide support to our students and families at Undershaw and feel privileged to see our students grow and learn in this amazing environment.

When I’m not at school, I love spending time with my family and friends, and discovering new places to visit. I have always enjoyed being creative and I find baking and decorating celebration and wedding cakes to be a good outlet for my creativity - an added bonus is that it makes my friends and family very happy when they get to eat them!

Admissions Co-ordinator

Claire Buckley

I look after the administration of our admissions process. I enjoy helping our prospective families find the right school and the right fit for their child. I understand the challenges involved in researching schools, navigating processes with the Local Authorities and the emotional rollercoaster parents and carers are involved in – I hope I can help and make the process as straightforward as possible.

I believe Undershaw is a unique and wonderful school, and I am so proud to be a part of it. It is wonderful to see children’s faces light up when they realise they are coming to a school where they feel they fit in and can be happy.

In my spare time, I like walking challenges (Surrey has a lot of those!), cooking and spending time with friends.

Occupational Therapy Apprentice

Emilie Place

I have worked at Undershaw for a few years now. However, when I first started here, I was working as a Teaching Assistant. Undershaw had taught me so many different aspects about this role and myself as well. I was able to work with a strong, supportive staff team and work with such amazing students too!
Last September I started an Occupational Therapy Apprenticeship. I now have the opportunity to go to University once a week and work alongside the amazing therapy team as an Occupational Therapy Assistant for the rest of the week. My apprenticeship is a 4-year course, and I couldn’t think of a more amazing place to be able to learn more about the Occupational Therapist role.
I have taken up this opportunity because after working within a school environment for a year and learning more about Occupational Therapy and having such an amazing class to help with their O.T tutor programs- it had made me realise that it would be a career path I would love to take to be able to help so many more students too. My class and experiences from last year had given me so much passion for working in schools and SEN students; therefore, I know this career change will be such an amazing thing to do!
So far, I have learnt so much as a Teaching Assistant and an Occupational Therapist Assistant and I am very excited to see what the years to come have to offer!
Physical Education Lead

Will Milner-Smith

I have always had a passion for working in an SEN environment and have been doing so since the age of 16. Outside of work I love football and spend most of my spare time either playing or watching it!

I have completed a Level 3 Qualification in Sports Science and Coaching and I am very fortunate to be completing a degree apprenticeship through Undershaw at Roehampton University to further my education and coaching skills with the aim of then gaining qualified teacher status. I have been coaching youth football at Petersfield Town Juniors for 3 years and through the FA I have completed the necessary qualifications including first aid. This experience is what confirmed to me that coaching and teaching young people is what I wanted to do and made me want to work in an educational setting. Undershaw were advertising for a Teaching Assistant and so I thought this was a great opportunity, I applied and started my journey with the school a year ago. This year I am leading the Physical Activity sessions for all year groups planning and working alongside Stefan our PT.

I believe Undershaw is an amazing school for our young people. Everyone in the school dedicates their time to make the learning suit each student individually and seeing the young people thrive and enjoy school and physical activity makes this such a great place to be. As I have said, I have been here for just over a year and the relationships you make with colleagues and students alike make this school so special and I am super proud to be here!

If I was to jump in a time machine and go forward 5 years I have 3 things I hope I will have ticked off. The first would be that I complete my University course and will have qualified teacher status. The second would be that I will be playing football at the highest level possible and my last wish would be to see as much of the world as possible… I love travelling!

I’m super excited for the years to come for me personally and to be part of giving our students the right platform for them to become the best possible version of themselves.

Teaching Assistant

Tracy Stone

Working as a Teaching Assistant at Undershaw is like working as part of a family. We work closely as a team, constantly trying to ensure that our children have the best experience of being at school. Everything we do is child centred and aimed at making them feel safe and secure while learning and developing life skills. There is nothing better than seeing children gain confidence and flourish. Every day is certainly a learning day; building memories for both staff and children.

We have a high staff:student ratio to ensure we are achieving all our aspirations for well-being and pastoral care. Our team consists of specialist staff within all the pillars of our offer:

  • Specialist SEND class teachers

  • Faculty heads (curriculum)

  • Pastoral Teaching Assistants

  • Specialist subject Teaching Assistants

  • Speech and Language Therapists

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Physiotherapists

  • Emotional Therapists

  • Job coaches

  • Employability and Transition specialists

What they're saying

‘Undershaw is a shining example of best practice in skills education. Congratulations to all involved'

Sophie DeavilleSenior Education Associate, Skills Builder Partnership

A strong focus on developing key life and employability skills in the sixth form ensures that pupils are well prepared personally, as well as academically, for the next stages of education or employment.

OFSTED ReportFeb 2022

The Undershaw students are just so lovely and friendly. I’m impressed how hard working and mature they are.

SarahCafé Manager, Haslewey Community Centre

It was a delight to meet your students: full of questions and curiosity. It’s clearly a lovely school.

Kate Perry, BBC Journalistand Undershaw Careers Week Speaker

The staff at Undershaw have created a lifelong strategy for students, ensuring that they have the essential skills needed to succeed.

Sophie DeavilleSenior Education Associate, Skills Builder Partnership

Thanks for the confidence in me.

Undershaw Alumnus

Honestly the change in him has been amazing. We feel very fortunate to have got into Undershaw. Such a great school with fantastic staff & teachers.

Undershaw Parent

The school has been amazing and has transformed my son in so many ways into the happy and confident 16yr old he is today.

Undershaw Parent

Eliminating the impossible


Undershaw is an inclusive community which is based on mutual respect.  Everyone is valued and their uniqueness celebrated.

Read about Employability


Undershaw is a caring and considerate school. We look after each other wholeheartedly, fostering meaningful and compassionate relationships.

Read about Therapy


Undershaw is a safe space for all, where we can take risks. We support each other to keep going and believe in ourselves when we try new things.

Read about our Curriculum