The safeguarding and holistic needs of young people is always at the centre of my approach. My most prominent view is that empathy is paramount to promoting positive relationships when working with young children.
Having an ability to ensure a child feels understood, listened to and supported has always been a key foundation to my success to reach some of those higher tariff children.
I love to be outdoors and fully embrace the impact outdoor education can have on an individual's wellbeing.
Children's (and adult's) welfare is an integral part of school life and I believe it's not a factor that should become a tick box exercise or a second thought. I believe wellbeing and welfare go hand-in-hand with teaching and learning as a priority and there are some fantastic things we can do to improve outcomes by prioritising them simultaneously.
Life Before Training
It hasn't always been the glitz and glam of school life for me!
Education is now my third industry within the public sector, having spent the primary years of my career in the fire and ambulance service. Firstly, as a Fire Fighter for seven years before life as a Paramedic for a further 12 years.
The exposure and circumstances I was presented with in these roles have given me the ability to guide and educate from a completely different perspective.
Our priority in these services was saving the lives of those in need. The reality of the fine line between each moment is so poignant. These situations highlight the importance of the difference in the decisions we make daily as individuals and the impact that can have. My responsibility within education has been to ensure we can prepare young adults with the ability to survive and thrive after a life in education.
Although, I have dealt with many difficult situations throughout my career, I have always enjoyed the challenges I've faced and I will always thrive off a life in the service sector.
For the last 14 years (starting to show my age!), I have worked as a College Lecturer teaching Public Services and Functional Skills to young people aged 14-19. It's been unbelievably satisfying to be able to share my knowledge and experiences with them, enabling them with the tools to go out into the world and make a difference with their life choices.
Within my roles in Education, I have always held the role as lead practitioner when it comes to supporting hard-to-reach children. I lean on my previous commentary of a fair blend of listening, genuine interest, and a little bit of perspective, to help them feel understood and fundamentally find a way to enjoy learning and generate new skills they didn't think were possible.
I believe that teaching, learning and life should be packed with a balance of insight, understanding and a good measure of fun.
No matter what role I've been in, each one has empowered me to work with young people in education with varying needs, which has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. I'm extremely proud to have had such a diverse career helping others and making a positive contribution to society.
What key information about SEND should education staff be aware of?
Establishing effective communication and displaying understanding are essential for those who work with children who struggle with behavioural issues. Misunderstood or undiagnosed mental health issues may result in disruptive conduct in the classroom, which can have an adverse effect on academic achievement.
Furthermore, mental health problems can lead to a decline in interpersonal contact, making it difficult for the child to form close connections with their classmates and teachers. This can also lead to absences from school, putting the child being behind in their learning.
I am a qualified Instructor with a Level 5 DTLLS and over 14 years' experience working with children and young people.
Many of the strategies that were shared will be useful in our setting: slow and low, how we sit next to/work alongside pupils, now and next, timers, awareness of processing times to name a few.