Welcome to the latest edition of SEND News. This is a very exciting term for me as I take up my new role within the Local Authority as Strategic Manager for Inclusion Transformation and Partnerships. I thought it would be useful to introduce myself to you and also to explain a little about this role as a new role in the Inclusion Leadership Team.
I am Somerset born and bred and an Alumni of Countess Gytha Primary School (Queen Camel), Preston Academy in Yeovil and Yeovil College. I studied both my Batchelor of Arts in Education Degree and my Masters degree in Education in Cardiff and remained there for several years as a primary school teacher. From an early age I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I grew a passion for working with children with SEND very early in my career – focusing both degree dissertations in this area. I was the manager of a special educational needs learning centre in south Wales before moving to London to pursue my other passion – rugby. I worked for two local authorities as a SEND and Inclusion Advisory Teacher, (briefly in Oxfordshire and then for four years in Richmond Upon Thames) before moving back to Somerset after my retirement from rugby and taking up the post of SENCo at Stanchester Academy in South Somerset.
I remained at Stanchester for 12 years during which time I spent nine years on the leadership team and almost five years as Headteacher. Throughout this time I either directly led SEND or line managed the SENCo and so accumulating 24 years of experience in the area of SEND and Inclusion – most of which was as a teacher.
This spring term is an opportune moment to be joining the Inclusion Leadership Team. We have some incredibly exciting projects forthcoming which I absolutely believe can make an enormous difference to our children with SEND. This coupled with new roles and leaders within the team creates an opportune moment for development and the transformation team will be playing a pivotal role in this. Over the coming weeks members of the leadership team under Rob Hart, which includes Julia Ridge as Head of Vulnerable Learners, Claire Merchant-Jones, Head of SEND and Tim Cockerill, Principal Educational Psychologist will be meeting with school leaders to explain key pieces of work and how we will be looking to other SEND partners to play a key role in all aspects of transformation.
I look forward to working with you over the coming months and delivering our transformation objectives which are essentially about ensuring our support to young people, their families and schools enables parents to have significantly greater confidence in the offer available to them and schools have greater confidence in effectively supporting every child with SEND.