Early on in my career an Ofsted inspector told me that I had the skills and passion to make a significant change to pupil’s lives. I held onto that for many years and nearly 15 years later I became a Headteacher.
At this point Ofsted described me as “ambitious for the future of the school... working tirelessly to improve pupils' achievements through high-quality training and checks on teaching which has led to improvements in pupils’ learning”.
Throughout my career the one constant has been my belief in people and that everyone can succeed in the right environment, with the right support and equal access to opportunities. As defined by the United Nations,
“Human development is a process of enlarging people’s choices. Enlarging people’s choices is achieved by expanding human capabilities….”
This is achieved academically, physically, socially, and emotionally, through the relationships we have with people. I have learnt so much about myself, leadership, and the importance of using the tools we all have inside us, sometimes we just need help to organise the toolbox.
We need to take care of ourselves and keep our internal tools sharp and able to be used. We need to invest in new tools when appropriate and keep informed about how we can use what we have in a different and new way. The acquisition of knowledge through learning is essential to our existence. No one else can do this for us, but we can get help to remember and learn better systems of helping ourselves.
This belief became my vision for education and is what helped to keep me motivated to move forward. I use my experience of research and leadership within mainstream and special education to inform and develop ideas around the importance of including all learners in a rich curriculum, within a safe and happy environment.
My journey took me through many different roles in education from teaching assistant to mainstream class teacher, senior leader within several special needs schools, Headteacher of an all-age special needs school and finally an independent consultant.
Alongside the practitioner roles in my spare time, I spent nearly 20 years as a researcher. I completed a master's degree, a PhD in Special Education, presented nationally/internationally at conferences and became a published author of my research. I am currently writing a book on the teaching of reading to all learners, due early 2022.
I have learnt that it is only through a change in the culture of the adults that we can really make a difference to the opportunities for all children and young adults.