My passion for working with children, young people and families has continually developed during almost 20 years working in this field. My career includes working across the continuum of family need from early intervention and prevention to children in the care of the local authority. I have been involved at both Practitioner and Manager level with implementation of new policies, with an emphasis upon improving educational outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. My most recent practice priority has been improvement of Sure Start services across 7 children’s centres, to progress from an Unsatisfactory Ofsted grading to Good within 2 years.
Professional interests lie in reducing social inequality, including but not limited to inequalities incurred through poverty, disability and family circumstance including looked after children. I chose to research the journey Sure Start parents embark upon from service users to service shapers for my MA dissertation, ‘Parental Participation: Breaking through the glass ceiling’. This involved challenging organisational limitations regarding the devolution of power to parents and, in particular, I investigated the potential afforded by the children’s centre for the more vulnerable, challenged parents in progressing to higher levels of participation.
The development of ‘Early Help’ services, to shift family support to earlier stage and age intervention to prevent escalation of need and subsequent family breakdown is a significant current focus for me. The majority of my career has pivoted around early intervention and this, combined with Module Leadership for Safeguarding and Well-being, positions me well to research this area of work.