I write a lot about connecting to nature. The positive impacts on health and well-being are well-rehearsed. Connecting is a verb. It requires action. And research tells us that the 5 best actions to connect to nature are: Using our… Read More »
Lockdown is hard. Harder than the summer. Let’s not pretend that it isn’t. Some of the challenges are common to us all. Others are unique to our own homes and families. And we don’t all have the same capacity to… Read More »
My agenda is, and has always been, access and inclusion. Austerity and the political climate has threatened this. How do we now make sure that coronavirus does not knock us off this track. And what are the routes for ensuring… Read More »
I was fortunate to be at a presentation on the Glover Review with input from the review lead himself. Much to like. And – as someone who leads on access and inclusion – the call to action to make ensure that public assets – the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – are truly ‘for all’ was welcome. But when asked a question on how to open access the panel were heartfelt in their desire to affect change but limited on the solutions.
‘Hard to reach’. ‘Disadvantaged’. ‘Lacking aspiration’. ‘Poverty of ambition’. Bored. Bored of the stereotypes. The judgements and the deficit model. The lazy assumptions about communities by postcodes. My boys playing in the garden of one of those postcodes. The house… Read More »
Next week’s Annual NASS Conference sees the launch of a new book ‘Special School Leaders – Case Studies from Leaders of Independent Schools and Non Maintained Special Schools’. Published by NASS working with AKN Consulting this resource shares the experiences… Read More »
My work has always taken place in the space between charities and schools, where I am preoccupied with the question of access. Why is it that those who stand to benefit the most from enrichment – from a broader range… Read More »
It’s been a series of rapid releases in education. I have had a lot of requests to write a response and to date I have struggled. And it’s taken me a while to figure out why. I have realised it’s because the general response from the education system has been – well – broadly ‘pin the tail on the blame donkey’.
There’s one group of people who are likely to provoke a lively response in a teacher led pub debate. No not HMIs. Not even Education Ministers. Consultants. For some on social media it has become the ultimate ad hominin. To read articles you’d think contractors and consultants were single handedly bringing down education.
Last week I attended the last session of this year’s A New Direction Advocates. This programme supports teachers of the arts to lead learning in both their own schools and across the system. As this group of Advocates – some of whom I had the privilege to have worked with for 3 years – presented their work I was struck by quality, passion and impact of their projects.
I thought hard about writing this blog. I really did. I’ve been warned – a lot – not to stick my head above the parapet. To keep my head down. Not to make any waves. And – honestly – I considered it. Being labelled a difficult woman – a trouble maker – is career threatening. Even more so perhaps when like me and over a million women you are self employed and reputation is what you trade on.
The current Department for Education SEND Workforce Contract ends this week and the new contract holder is to be announced. As a consultant I am remarkably proud of the part I played in securing and delivering this work with and on behalf of both London Leadership Strategy and NASEN. £5million is a considerable consultancy fundraising win and successfully implementing something of this scale to effect such change is something I am glad to have led.
‘Inclusion’ seems like an easy idea to quantify when placed next to ‘exclusion’. Trying to explain the term without doing so is a little harder but, as Anita Kerwin-Nye said in her introduction to the Is Inclusion Over? Conference, if they don’t, education sector specialists end up just talking to themselves
As we prepare for our Is Inclusion Over? event we have been reviewing the importance of language. Leaving aside technical definitions of exclusion as a school process (which is not universally understood) do the words that we use help to create shared understanding of both the issue we are trying to address and its potential solutions?
I’ve worked with young people with SEND my entire life. From volunteering to take young people with Muscular Dystrophy climbing when I was a teenager; through specialising in SEN in my teacher training; to working on literacy in prisons and… Read More »