Meet our Founder and Director
PGCE, QTS, B.A. (Hons), M.Ed. And... proudly neurodiverse
(social, emotional and behaviour difficulties)
(social, emotional and behaviour difficulties)
SENsational Tutors was founded in 2017 by Joanna Gibbs, a qualified specialist teacher with over 20 years’ experience working with children with specific educational and behavioural needs including those with autism, ADHD/ADD, speech and language delay, focus and concentration difficulties, PDA, trauma, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder (SPD), memory difficulties and other Special Educational Needs and disabilities.
Diagnosed with ADHD herself, Joanna is thankful to her friends and family who have inspired and supported her to fulfil her lifelong ambition to help children and young people with special needs including autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, and other needs.
“I believe that every single child and young adult with SEN should be able to fulfil their dreams with the right specialist and bespoke one to one support.
My mission is to demonstrate and deliver this hope to parents and others.”
“It’s about breaking down barriers, boosting confidence and self-esteem, and tutors developing a holistic understanding of every single student so that they can help them to unlock and fulfil their true potential.”
Joanna Gibbs, founder & director
More about Joanna's volunteering projects and personal story
After graduating from the University of Leeds with an undergraduate degree with honours in Linguistics and Phonetics, Joanna worked as a speech and language therapist assistant, behaviour advisor and occupational therapist assistant for the NHS Children’s Challenging Behaviour Team in Coventry.
She then continued her professional training and was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), followed by a Masters degree with merit in Inclusion, Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.
Joanna’s volunteering projects:
From the age of 10, every November Joanna volunteered for the Rotary International Disabled Sports Championships in the UK where she was inspired by some incredible individuals. She watched in awe as disabled competitors participated in wheelchair basketball, amputees won challenging archery competitions, and people with sensory needs were able to overcome their challenges to be in busy yet encouraging environments. It was at that point that Joanna realised that the possibilities are endless – and should not be constrained to any additional need or disability.
Following this and whilst considering becoming a speech and language therapist, Joanna volunteered for the Stroke Association. She supported individuals with significant speech and communication difficulties and quickly recognised the importance of a holistic approach – communication, learning and having fun are integral to wellbeing.
Alongside the Stoke Association, Joanna volunteered for a local charity-led autism group called ‘Helping Hand’. This again reinforced to Joanna that autism and special needs are not and should not be barriers to learning or living a full life. She recognised the importance working with only the very best specialist professionals – those who understood her vision.
With a developed sense of empathy and desire to ‘change the world’, following her work for the NHS Joanna decided to embark on a solo volunteering opportunity and worked as a teacher in one of the largest slums in Northern India. This was an eyeopening experience and attributed greatly to her continued passion to help others nationally and internationally today.
After her volunteering project in India, Joanna was selected from a considerable number of applications to work as an intern at The American School of London, UK. ASL is known to be one of the most prestigious schools in the UK and has an incredible pastoral and special needs support. This provided her with a solid understanding and experience of what the best specialist support can look like. It drives her to ensure that only expert specialist qualified teachers work through SENsational Tutors – as it’s
Upon successful completion of the internship, she was selected to become a founding member and subsequent Head of Leaning Support at Chadwick International School in South Korea. She established her team from scratch and worked closely with the school counsellors, ESL/EAL coordinators and all teachers at the school.
Following 3 years in South Korea, she then travelled further field and worked in South Australia as the Autism and Behaviour Support Teacher. She further became the KS2 and phonics Lead teacher at an international school in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Now happily settled back in the UK with her longterm partner Mike, Joanna brings her extensive international experience back to Europe to make a profound difference to the families and children here at home. She has an extensive number of success stories, having worked with 100’s of children with autism, speech delay, PDA, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, behaviour and communication difficulties, and other needs.