As a parent of four children, three of whom are dyslexic and one fundamentally so, I have spent the past 23 years struggling with the education system. Our first report, Fish in the Tree, clearly identified that teachers wanted the skills to be able to support those pupils that struggled, they just didn’t have the training to do so.
My motivation in the development of DfL has been to ensure that no child goes through what my children did. DfL ensures that schools have a whole-school approach to those who struggle with literacy that it is embedded at the highest level – it is not merely a tag on within the school, but part of the school system.
Teachers and leaders are trained, pupils are identified at an early stage, evidence-based time limited interventions are put in place, and communication with parents is excellent. In this way learners are able to access the curriculum, take responsibility for their learning and learn strategies so that they are able to leave education and continue their working lives knowing what it means to be able to succeed.
I’ve worked as a Solicitor in the City, taught Women Back to Business at Richmond Adult Education College, lectured law for the Open University, worked as a Commercial Mediator, done a Masters in Creative Writing at Kingston University and now divide my time between running Rathfinny Wine Estate with my husband, Mark, and leading on strategy at DYT. I am also Chair of Governors at Ark William Parker Academy in Hastings.
From February 2001 until December 2009, I was a founding partner of the hedge fund management group Horseman Capital Management where, together with John Horseman, we managed the Horseman Global Fund.
Prior to Horseman, I had more than eleven years experience covering the Asian markets. I set up and managed the Asian Equity desk in London for Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette. I have also worked in a specialist sales capacity in Hong Kong and London, covering the Asian markets for Société Générale (Crosby) and Merrill Lynch. I began my career at Fidelity Investment Management in 1985.
My wife Sarah, and I have four children. My passion for wine developed whilst visiting New Zealand in 1990. Ever since it has been my dream to start up and run my own vineyard. This dream is now becoming a reality at Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex, where we are producing English sparkling wine.
Elaine had a varied career in the public sector before joining her husbands food and wine import business. Her interest in literacy and education began when she became a Magistrate, where she noticed that many young people who had been failed by the education system too often landed up in court. At roughly the same time Elaine became one of the newly appointed lay Ofsted inspectors, seeing at first hand the number of children who struggled with reading and writing and talking to parents who seemed at a loss to either understand or help.
Elaine met Sarah and Mark when she became Chair of Governors of the primary school which their children attended and soon became involved in their campaign to change the way that those who have literacy difficulties are supported in school.
She is often surprised at the number of adult friends and family, including her husband, who have told her in later life about their struggles with literacy – one was in her book group and confided that she always bought the audio version as reading the book was too much of a struggle.
Elaine was until recently Chair of Governors of a primary academy, which has moved from special measures to being the best school in the area within two years.
I am DYTs Director and I have responsibility for ensuring that we produce high quality, evidenced programmes of work. I started my career training as an occupational psychologist, and have experience of working in research, policy and as a practitioner. At first glance OP might not seem relevant to a career in education, however my expertise in training and professional development, and organisational systems are invaluable to what we do; it is these systems which are my particular area of interest in schools.
The research and policy output of DYT is also part of my role, as well as overseeing the implementation of our strategy. I work alongside my team and our network of partners to ensure the design, delivery and development of projects, such as Drive for Literacy.
Aside from my DYT role, I am Governor at an infant school in Berkshire, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the British Psychological Society and sit on the Executive Board of the Division of Occupational Psychology.
With several years experience in campaigns, communication and project management within third sector organisations, I have developed a genuine interest in the development and strengthening of meaningful educational projects.
Working for the Driver Youth Trust provides me with a great opportunity to take a leading role in developing and managing the Drive for Literacy project for DYT – an innovative project that aims to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND in a systematic and aspirational way.
I also have extensive experience of developing external communication strategies, and one of my projects is to redesign and commission a new website for the Driver Youth Trust in order to reflect good practice and the latest educational research and to bring Drive for Literacy to several primary schools in Hastings and Wigan. This work requires me to respond to the needs of a wide audience and multiple stakeholders to ensure the highest quality and utility of resources.
I am really excited about being part of the DYTs core team and to provide support for teachers and school leaders across England, influencing policy and practice across the educational sector and ensuring quality of work and good practice.
Having graduated in British Politics and Legislative Studies at the University of Hull, I am really excited to be joining the DYT as a Policy and Research Executive.
After a year working for Toby Perkins MP in Parliament, I bring experience and a keen interest in British politics, which I will look to employ within the DYT to assist their mission to drive policy and lead research surrounding literacy difficulties. In my role I will be influencing key decision makers on a national scale including MPs, Peers, Charities and Think Tanks.
Education is a policy area that has always been of great interest to me, thus, working to improve the life chances of young people with literacy difficulties or a SEND is a valuable experience that I hope to draw from in the future.
In my spare time I love all things sport. I am a West Ham United season ticket holder and very amateur player of the game.
I am an experienced primary school teacher and have worked as a teacher specialising in SEN in a mainstream primary school in Gloucestershire for the last four years, with a focus on literacy and behaviour difficulties. I also worked as an end of KS2 writing assessment moderator for Gloucestershire County Council.
I am an award winning writer, winning the first TES Teacher Blogger of the Year Award in 2015 for my blog, the Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy, where I chart life and education with my son, who has Downs syndrome.
I am also a regular features writer and columnist for the TES and Teach Primary magazine and my first book, Inclusion for Primary School Teachers, published by Bloomsbury, was released in May 2016.
I joined the teams at Driver Youth Trust and Ark Schools as a Network Lead Teacher for Dyslexia in September 2016.
I work exclusively on the Drive for Literacy programme, providing training and support across the Ark Schools network to ensure the continued success and development of the model, and am preparing to link with schools outside of Ark to share this good practice with a wider audience.
The focus of my work will include ensuring schools are equipped and supported to teach young people with literacy difficulties efficiently through working closely with whole school teams as well as key individuals such as the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), providing training sessions and materials and supporting schools to implement appropriate systems such as access arrangements to ensure young people with literacy difficulties are not disadvantaged.
I have 15 years experience working across both mainstream and special schools in a range of capacities including SENCO. I specialised in Equality and Diversity (including difficulties in literacy development) whilst studying for a Masters in Education with The Open University.
As an experienced SEND leader, I have worked with children, parents, schools and local authorities to address SEND concerns. Its a great privilege to be able to make a difference to an individuals life, as well as equipping schools with the training and skills to make real SEND progress. The key factors involved in establishing success are the ability to listen, to understand the needs of those concerned and to effectively communicate how an inclusive status quo can be achieved.
I have gained a Masters in Special and Inclusive Education, a postgraduate diploma in SpLD, AMDBA and APC accreditation. This allows me to be at the forefront of delivering expert advice on SEND education. It is with this knowledge and expertise that I find myself wanting to promote the highest quality of service to individuals, institutes and organisations looking for the best to address their SEND concerns.
The expertise that I offer is based within a holistic and practical framework, working in collaboration with all parties to ensure success. I believe it is vital to provide teachers with the necessary information, training and assessment knowledge to support the specific needs of their pupils.
I became a SENCO in 2002 and have also been in senior leadership roles for over 10 years. I have led SEN and Inclusion departments to Outstanding and was recognised as a lead practitioner for SEN in Bromley. I moved to Surrey where I supported whole school inclusion as a senior leader and SENCO. I now work as an SEN, Inclusion and Leadership consultant predominantly in London and the South East. I am a qualified facilitator for NCTL Middle Leadership Development Programme and subject expert for NPQML and NPQSL. I am experienced in delivering school to school support through National Teaching Schools and through consultancy support in order to raise leadership capability and improve provision for SEN pupils.
In early 2017 I began to support Drive for Literacy as Consultant Teacher in Hastings where, through consultation, training and support, we aim to embed the DfL model in six schools.
2002 – 2008 Charles Darwin School – SENCO and Assistant Headteacher – secured Ofsted rating of Very Good for SEN support
2008 – 2013 Esher High School – SENCO and Assistant Headteacher – secured Outstanding for SEN support
2013 onwards – Consultant delivering support for Inclusion and Leadership
I am a primary school teacher in a North London school, having recently completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme.
Teaching within a diverse community has strengthened my passion for equality and social justice, and I am committed to helping all pupils achieve their potential, whatever their needs. I am now starting a Masters in Psychology to extend my knowledge of learning and social behaviours in an academic framework.
With the Diver Youth Trust, I will be completing the OCR Level 5 Diploma in Teaching Learners with Specific Learning Needs, which will enable me to provide specialist support to SEND pupils.
After studying Linguistics and Phonetics at Leeds University I embarked upon an adventure into teaching with the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. During my two years with Teach First, where I taught in a North London school, as well as gaining a PGCE and QTS I have also learned a great deal about diverse communities, equality and social justice. I hold the value very dear to me that no child’s educational success should be limited by their socio-economic background and that all children should have equal opportunities.
Over the past two years I have become interested in SEND and in particular childrens’ social and emotional needs, autism and dyslexia.
Being dyslexic myself I have a great drive to help other dyslexic children, and teaching in an inner city state school in a diverse community has strengthened this drive. I believe it is important to support children as soon as the early signs of dyslexia are recognised, so that children are equipped with the skills and strategies to help overcome it.
I am now working as a part-time teacher and have been sponsored by the Driver Youth Trust to complete the OCR Level 5 Diploma in Teaching Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties. This will provide me with specialist skills to support learners with dyslexia and SEND. I am also hoping to volunteer in a specialist autistic school and complete a Level 2 Award in Counselling Skills for Working with Children.