About Us


We are proud to be Ofsted Outstanding 2019*** TES 2020 Winners of Alternative Provision school of the year ***


We see innovation in all aspects of the school’s delivery, from the use of technology in classrooms to the design of physical spaces. Many of our approaches are rooted in an understanding of the psychology of the young people we work with and we have embedded a culture of continuous questioning, evaluation and improvement. Looking forward, we are building a research and development culture to seek out new models and methods of engagement and learning.

Introduction to SSA

Stone Soup Academy is an Alternative Provision Free School Academy based in Nottingham that opened in September 2012 as part of Stone Soup Project. In May 2014, and again in 2019 it was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Our school works with local schools and local authorities to ensure that students who fail to thrive in a mainstream school environment have a genuine educational alternative. We believe that every young person should have the opportunity to succeed by being motivated and inspired. With this as a foundational belief, we aim to develop young people into unique, responsible, discerning members of society with a sense of their own value and our school is structured to nurture the social development of all the young people we work with.

In March 2013, we moved to our new site on High Pavement in Nottingham’s City centre and settled into our first classes in the new building. In the academic year 2014-15 we catered for 70 pupils aged between 14 and 16, who studied subject areas including construction, creative industries, fashion and textiles as well as traditional core GCSEs. Over the coming years we added further subjects, increasing the number of students that we work with and adding further educational bases and partnerships to our current offer.

We pride ourselves on personalising the education we provide to each student, in the belief that by re-igniting their interest in academic studies and vocational practice that they will progress with us.

If you are interested in learning more about Stone Soup Academy, would like to refer a student, join as a volunteer, or have any other questions, please do get in touch.

We aim is to give students the support they need to develop the skills necessary to re-engage with education and make significant progress in their personal and academic development.

Creating Unimagined Futures

Stone Soup Academy is an alternative provision free school in the centre of Nottingham, serving students outside mainstream education in an environment that encourages their academic and personal development. We are committed to the education and welfare of our students, with the goal of preparing them for reintegration into mainstream education or the personal skills to be successful members of our communities as they enter the world of work.

The foundation of our work is the ambition to create systems that equip young people who would otherwise be left behind. All too frequently, students who are deemed to be difficult or disruptive are faced with a future of unemployment or social disadvantage.

The Academy holds at the heart of its work the ambition to create an environment that fully equips students for their personal and academic development. Our goal is to empower each individual student to achieve in practical, functional, and long-lasting ways. To access futures that when they joined us they did not seem possible to achieve.

With this in mind, we aim to:

Provide a supportive environment that aids the learning and personal development of all students;

Prepare students, where appropriate, for reintegration into mainstream education;

Improve the behaviour and attitude of each student with both adults and their peers;

Reinforce each student’s self-esteem and integrity;

Instil an understanding of fundamental British values for citizenship.

The curriculum offered here focuses on achieving these goals through a wide range of courses to ensure continued student engagement and attendance.

We believe that a diverse curriculum encourages students to develop integrated skills that will more truly prepare them for the responsibilities and experiences of adult life. As an alternative provision academy, a creative outlet increases focus and guides learning. Here at Stone Soup we combine Functional Skills qualifications and core GCSEs in Maths and English with classes in creative subjects such as Media, Music Technology, and Creative Arts and access to Nottingham College and Nottingham Trent University. All of these are aimed at growing the skills and confidence of students as well as teaching them new crafts that could potentially turn into a career.

Students also have classes in PSHE/RSHE which explore a wide range of topics aimed at equipping them for citizenship and ensuring they understand fundamental British values including democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. While these are specifically addressed in form time and PSHE/RSHE, these values are additionally embedded in the curriculum and environment of the Academy. We deliver these aspects through Votes For Schools, an online package that poses a question which allows for debate within the classroom.

Alongside the academics offered, we also have a system that ensures the welfare of our students by providing services to students and their families. Most importantly, our policy is to tailor the learning career of each student to their particular needs, and cross-reference initial assessment with future progress to maintain a positive learning experience.

Individual pastoral support is also available to our students, as well as both individual and group sessions with educational specialists. We maintain regular contact with parents/caregivers and outside agencies involved in each student’s welfare to provide the best possible level of support and protection for all-round development, in keeping with our mission as an organisation.

Meet the team

Kerrie Henton
Younes Henini
Vice Principal
Oliver Sillito
Assistant Principal Behaviour for Learning
Stephen Thompson
Assistant Principal-SENDCO
Susan Murphy
Head of Business and Operations
Katy Smith
Assistant Principal: KS3
Rebekka Ashmore
Head of Engagement
Duncan Bennett
Head of Sport, Business and Enterprise
Adam Castledine
Deputy Head of Engagement
Fred Slaney
Personal Coach
Channon Cross
Personal Coach SEN
Megan Lees
SEND Admin
Keely Stephens
Josh Cassidy
Personal Coach
Alexandra Horder
Personal Coach
Siobhan Stevenitt
Parent Engagement Coach
Rebecca Wilkes
Carli Dilks
Personal Coach
Richard Christie
Music Teacher
Molly Campion
Personal Coach
David Richardson
Key Stage 3 Teacher
Priyom Das
Key Stage 3 Teacher
Dafni Florou
Admin Assistant
Paolo Iannattone
Media Teacher
Nathan Edwards
Darrell Drummond
Head of Core
Dominique Maragh
Food Teacher
Michelle Rogers
Attendance and Behaviour coordinator
Laura Hendren
Deputy DSL
Shanine Stephens
Catering Lead
Jordan Senior
Personal Coach & Head of Careers
Chelsey Reid
Personal Coach
Rachel Burton
Amy Bradley
Maria Cabardo
Admin Assistant
Taylor Gilmour
English Teacher
Annie Gadsby
Art Teacher
Alesha Rogers
Assistant head of Engagement KS3
Michelle Bramhall
Lovelle Pennant
English Teacher

Our History

Over a decade ago, Stone Soup started as a small community project in Nottingham. Having recognised a gaping need in the community, the Project began by offering an alternative provision for students through music. Initially only operating in a small studio and within schools, the project quickly grew to require additional space. This took the form of an alternative provision centre, with facilities for 50 students in part-time music and construction courses.

With the opportunity to apply as a Free School, Stone Soup seized upon this chance for progression and was accepted. In September 2012, a temporary school opened in St. Ann’s, Nottingham, and began working with local schools to provide a wider set of educational opportunities for students. During this time, a project to refurbish the new facility was underway which operated as a training programme with apprentices undertaking much of the work.

Stone Soup Academy opened its new premises in April 2013, now located in the heart of Nottingham city centre in the historic Lace market area. Immersing the students in an area that is itself inspiring and professional was a priority for the governing body, offering the city centre itself as an extended classroom.

An assessment by Ofsted in 2014 found the Academy ‘outstanding’, an accomplishment of which we are incredibly proud. However, we have not allowed it to make us complacent and have continued developing our facilities and services. The school has taken on additional students, developing a variety of avenues for working with learners who need specialised attention beyond an alternative provision. We have supplemented this by working closely with families to provide evening schools, as well as electronic learning for students who may have complications from home or hospital.

We have an ambitious set of plans for the future which are constantly in the process of being developed and realised. These include an expansion of opportunities for off-site learning, immersing students into a working business environment to foster self-reliance, ambition, and practical skills. In preparation for employment, we are looking to provide our students with supported work experience in retail, catering, creative industries and enterprise.

Our Enterprises

A large part of our commitment to our students is to improve long-term outcomes by equipping them for the future. We have set up a range of enterprise opportunities which enable students to develop practical work skills and start creating marketable items. Our enterprise activities are based around making a positive impact on local schools, businesses, and communities.

One of the earliest projects we developed involves the external restoration of buildings around Nottingham. Students worked on site, removing windows and bringing them back to the school to be refurbished. These have then been returned to the original sites and replaced.

The success of this scheme has led to the initiation of additional enterprise projects. Students have been able to create items for sale to both the local community and on the internet, combining practical abilities with the development of employable skills. We have also encouraged them to begin compiling work as budding designers, and several have submitted work for national competitions. Soon, we will be looking to receive public commissions for student work.

Student success story

When I arrived at Stone Soup Academy, I felt as if the education system had given up on me. Traditional schooling had failed me as a student, failing to support me in the ways I needed in a time of need. I was labelled as ‘difficult to work with’. I was excluded from multiple schools, this led to a lot of anxiety and a complete lack of ambition and self-confidence, especially academically. I had completely given up on myself and felt like others had too.

I did not recognise it at the time, but Stone Soup was my last chance for an education and though it was a long and challenging journey, Stone Soup supported me and encouraged me to explore interests and talents, things that had been forgotten due to my difficult time in mainstream school. I was given independent support that was tailored to my needs, such as one to one mentoring instead of a regular form tutor. I was often given opportunities to reflect on my own behaviour in an understanding environment, enabling me to progress as an individual and to gain a focus on positive behaviours instead of challenging ones.
My most memorable moment from my time spent at Stone Soup Academy was when I was announced as student of the term, this was my first ever positive academic achievement. My progress was recognised by everyone! I was rewarded with a trip to Sea world in Birmingham and a trip to Five Guys. I had never felt so acknowledged as a student before.

I am eternally grateful for my support at Stone Soup and for the inspiring and patient individuals I crossed paths with. I am now in my second year at The University of Derby studying a Degree in Creative Expressive Therapies, aiming to one day support students who are also too often described using the label ‘challenging behaviour’. Without the support I was given by Stone Soup Academy, none of this would have been possible.