Specialist Experience and Skills
As a Deputy Headteacher and SENCO of an Outstanding school in London, I was personally described by inspectors in their written report as "effective, enthusiastic, and active in promoting new initiatives" and that I was committed to "promoting the highest possible standards" for all children, including those with SEND. With over 17 years experience in education, I have tutored for high profile families, including royal family, and I offer bespoke learning sessions tailored to your child's individual needs and interests. In these roles, experience gained working with children (and their families) wi... Read More
As a Deputy Headteacher and SENCO of an Outstanding school in London, I was personally described by inspectors in their written report as "effective, enthusiastic, and active in promoting new initiatives" and that I was committed to "promoting the highest possible standards" for all children, including those with SEND. With over 17 years experience in education, I have tutored for high profile families, including royal family, and I offer bespoke learning sessions tailored to your child's individual needs and interests. In these roles, experience gained working with children (and their families) with a variety of SEN, specifically: processing needs, memory and retention challenges, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, ADD, Dyspraxia, Sensory Processing Disorder, ASD, Complex Needs, Developmental Delay, Social Communication Difficulties, SEMH, Bereavement and Mental Health needs, children who needed support with Emotional Regulation and those suffering from low self-esteem. I spent several years working with children in EYFS, over four years in Key Stage One (Years 1 & 2) and over 6 years in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 - 6).
My Specialist Experience as Deputy Head for an Outstanding School in London: I am a qualified SENCO and previous Deputy Headteacher of an Outstanding primary school in London. I am passionate about working collaboratively with children, families, teachers, educational psychologists and therapists to support children and help them to reach their potential. It is my belief that a holistic and inclusive approach to education ensures that all children are respected, nurtured and supported so that they can each reach their potential academically, socially and emotionally – preparing them for a future where they are well-equipped with the passion and resilience to live a full, successful and happy life. I successfully led a school through a Section 48 inspection where the grade Outstanding was achieved in every area and, as a practitioner, rated Outstanding through observations and tracking of the excellent progress made by pupils. I have been described by School Inspectors as “effective, enthusiastic and active in promoting new initiatives and monitoring the teaching and learning throughout the school” in their written inspection report and I have a wealth of experience working in schools and in private tuition for high profile families, including royal family.
My Specialist Experience as SENCO for an Outstanding School in London: Whilst in the position of SENCO for an Outstanding school in London, I was responsible for ensuring the needs of children with SEN were met and that the provision was of Outstanding quality. I gained much experience of working with families and teachers collaboratively to choose SMART targets for children with SEN across the primary school and deciding how these targets could be met with their individual needs at the forefront. I had responsibility for creating children’s SEN Support Records, ensuring that suitable adjustments to support their learning were in place and monitoring the quality of any adjustments, interventions and special provision. I led Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) reviews, meetings, and consultations with outside agencies and I supported families and the school through Early Help Assessments (EHA), EHCP applications. In my role, I provided small group and 1:1 interventions across the primary school for a range of Special Educational Needs mainly supporting with English (phonics, reading, comprehension, spelling, writing, speaking and listening), Mathematics, Exam Skills, Concentration, Social Skills, Emotional and Mental Health needs. I used these interventions to help each child to achieve their specific targets which were time specific, reviewed and evaluated.
My Tutoring Sessions: My tutoring sessions are bespoke and centred around the needs of the learner – I do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. However, in general, my sessions will incorporate a variety of teaching and learning styles to keep the learner engaged and focussed. They will inevitably include something visual, some speaking, listening or audio, something kinaesthetic or practical – often moving from the concrete to the abstract concept. I like to provide fun, multi-sensory activities in a structured environment; these often include movement breaks, as required. I usually break learning objectives down into smaller ‘bite size’ pieces so that the learner can really master what they are trying to understand and sessions are also broken down so that the learner knows what we are trying to achieve and gain a sense of control on the session. What is covered in the session is entirely based on the learner’s needs, prior knowledge, experience and their targets. Although English and Mathematics are often prioritised, I am also able to support children with skills to enhance their ability to access these subjects such as: social and emotional support, emotional literacy, handwriting and general presentation, study skills, improved speed at completing tasks (time management), organising thoughts and converting them into written prose, quick recall of number facts and bonds, confidence and self-esteem. Parental feedback is key and I share any new strategies taught so that these can be used consistently at home, if beneficial.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Autism, (Including High-Functioning Autism): To support children with Autism, I ensure that I use multi-sensory teaching techniques in a structured environment to help them achieve their targets. Depending on the child, I will often use a then/now/next visual timetable to ensure that they feel comfortable and have a sense of control of their time. I ensure that the way in which I teach meets the child’s needs and I link learning objectives to their interests to boost engagement and make the session as enjoyable as possible. I can break down and adapt tasks, support the understanding of instructions, help children to work to a time limit and incorporate structure to their learning, include ‘brain/movement breaks’, I can set challenges to help them meet their personal goals, support social communication and basic skills such as: turn taking, eye contact, greeting people, playing games and using appropriate language. I have a nurturing, gentle, patient and sensitive manner and I use this to create an environment that is conducive to learning whether it happens to be a ‘good day’ or a more ‘challenging day’ for them.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children English including Reading, Writing, Spelling and Phonics: When training to become a teacher, I specialised in the teaching of English and Early Years Development. A lot of my research centred around the pedagogy of reading and writing; specifically Phonics. I spent some time working with Early Years and trained in teaching the Read, Write, Inc. Programme which includes learning ‘sight’ and ‘high frequency’ words. I have spent years successfully teaching Phonics in EYFS, Y1, Y2 and intervention phonics for KS2. I use a multi-sensory and fun approach to phonics with use of colour, interactive sessions, hands on learning, visual cues and pictorial support to help children learn and benefit from phonetical knowledge so that they can learn to read, spell and write with confidence which will, in turn, help them to access the rest of the curriculum and beyond.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Writing Resistance: There are a variety of reasons why many children, of all ages, can resist writing at some point. Sometimes it’s because the content or objective doesn’t feel relevant to them and it can also be because they are highly active by nature and writing is a more sedentary activity. Often it is because they have a fear of failure, and when they compare their own writing efforts to others', they feel inadequate. First of all, I find that it is important to find a writing genre that the child does enjoy and work to build their confidence with that; for example, write instructions for a treasure hunt using "first", "next", "then" etc and full sentences, write instructions for their favourite game or describe a mystery object / place using adjectives and similes. It it important to make writing fun and enjoyable; incorporating some active learning such as Kung Fu punctuation and relevant Brain Breaks.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Handwriting: I have successfully run Handwriting after school clubs and Handwriting Interventions for children from Y1 - Y6. Some children find handwriting an arduous which involves much concentration and use of muscles. I find it important to break sessions down to keep them pacey and engaging.. Typically, I would start a session by assessing pencil grip and writing posture and teach the child how to self-check this themselves next time. I would ensure they are using a comfortable pencil grip and can help them use pencil grip supports, if required. I would then have a look at how they form letters and numbers before getting them to complete some work with play dough and hand squeezes to warm up their muscles. We would use pincher grip games and then focus on formation of letter shapes using writing support lines. There are lots of games and ways to support children with handwriting and this is something that I would ask the child to do between sessions.
My Specialist Experience Providing Fun and Engaging Sessions; Helping Children to Engage in Their Learning and Developing Trust and Rapport: It is my belief that a positive, secure relationship with the child is essential for successful tuition. I work to get to know each child at their own pace, encouraging them to share their interests and passions with me and I observe their specific learning style so that I can plan sessions that are fun and engaging using their interests as a theme, where possible, and using the best teaching and learning techniques to engage them. It is my aim to ensure all children see learning as fun and not a chore. As a highly qualified and experienced teacher, I ensure all sessions are engaging and that they cover a range of different activities so that engagement is high and learning is successful. I keep sessions pacey and explain what we are doing and why. I include 'Brain Breaks' as needed to ensure that the child can move away and then re-engage with the learning and I encourage children to use the strategies that work for them at school to support their engagement in the classroom.
My Specialist Experience Supporting Students to Develop Their Independence: My ultimate goal is to help students to learn strategies to support them to successfully engage with life-long learning and a passion for doing so. Sessions encourage independent learning and skills to help students cope at school, at home and when working independently. Strategies will be shared with students, parents and schools, where applicable, to support the child with their individual needs whether they are social, emotional, academic, mental health, life skills or other according to the individual needs of the child and their parents/carers.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with ADHD/ADD/ focus and concentration challenges: When working with children with ADHD/ADD/focus and concentration challenges, I focus on their high levels of awareness and observation and their enthusiasm to contribute or their thoughtfulness that needs to be redirected onto the task at hand. All children with this difficulty are individuals with different needs and challenges and my sessions are bespoke to meet their needs. In my experience, it is key to help these children to organise their thoughts and know what is expected of them by creating structure (which avoids distraction and confusion) and an environment which supports them best. Often, children with ADHD/ADD/focus and concentration challenges have high levels of creativity and benefit from concrete learning experiences where they have the opportunity to learn with independence and 'Brain Breaks' where children can complete some physical or relaxing activities to help them reengage with learning. I have found that ensuring sessions are pacey, stimulating and varied can help the learner remain focussed and that breaking tasks down into ‘chunks’ and reinforcing instructions can support their ability to complete the given task in good time. It is essential to use positive reinforcement and build on the child’s successes to keep them motivated so that not only do they reach their academic potential but they will build self-esteem and confidence as able learners.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children to Develop Fine Motor Skills: When helping children to develop their fine motor skills, I have found that the use of fun games, creative activities and supportive resources work best. It is important to develop confidence and motivation by working specific muscles in a fun and creative way. There are also certain resources that work well to support children in school. Support can involve the development of control when mark making or writing, manipulating pencils and crayons to colour and draw, holding pens and pencils correctly to enable better presentation and support for longer written tasks, using cutlery, using scissors safely and accurately, buttoning and unbuttoning and using computer keyboards.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children Mathematics, including children with Dyscalculia and Maths Difficulties: Having been Head of Maths for an Outstanding primary school in London, I am able to support children with Dyscalculia or characteristics of dyscalculia (undiagnosed) from EYFS – KS2. When supporting children with Dyscalculia, I focus on the child’s specific needs and areas of challenge and the strategies that will best support them. Often the strategies used will involve strengthening their basic understanding of number, number bonds, place value, sequencing and visual-spatial aspects (such as distinguishing between symbols/numbers etc). Improving long-term memory by focusing on understanding (not just knowledge) and short term memory by using VAK techniques and having a greater amount of time to practise and develop skills. I put emphasis on having firm foundations and building on prior knowledge. It is also essential to work on anxiety and confidence with maths and to help children build a Growth Mindset as research has shown that Maths is the subject most prone to the influence of the learner’s mindset (Dweck, Boaler).
My Specialist Experience Supporting Children to Complete Their Homework: I am able to support children to complete their set homework using strategies to help them 'over-learn' and revisit what they have learnt in class. I can also help children who find settling down to complete their homework a challenge; I can help organise a timetable or routine, support in finding a suitable workspace in the home and help find strategies to engage the child with their own learning. In the past, I have spent time working with children to help them prepare written homework pieces and revising for weekly spelling/multiplication tests - these sessions provide the perfect time to enhance the school learning at home.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Memory Difficulties: When working with children who have memory difficulties, I ensure that I give clear instructions (no more than one or two at a time) in a slow and calm manner, use visual timetables/instructions, give short tasks where I discuss how they will go about the task before they begin, link learning to relevant areas or ideas they are interested in, recap facts and allow for practise and repetition - this allows learning to become embedded. There are a vast range of strategies that can be used including mnemonics, rote practice exercises (repetition is key), hands on learning, active reading, acronyms, music/rhyming, lists, stories, games, links to real life experiences and visual representations (graphs, Venn diagrams etc.). No one strategy works for every child, so it is vital that I work closely with the parents, the child and the school to find what works best for them.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Processing and Retention Difficulties: When working with children with Processing and Retention difficulties it is imperative to work on their confidence first to ensure that the learner knows that they capable and that they are valued - aspects that may have been affected by poor previous learning experiences. It is important to clarify instructions, use strategies to break instructions down and allow the student to record or have written/visual instructions for reference. After any listening task, the child should be given time to ask questions or write down anything they didn't understand for clarity later. I would always ensure that work is bespoke and created to support the particular processing and retention difficulties of the child, such as: engaging with the students interests and including these in their work, reducing distractions (for example, covering the page and only showing the relevant information, avoiding blocks of text), having printouts to draw, underline or highlight, using 'fill the gap' activities rather than long writing tasks, planning sheets for creative writing, active listening (this can be fun and creative!) and short, repetitive assignments. There are different strategies that can be used to support children with processing and retention difficulties; each child is different and will benefit from a bespoke approach to supporting them and their needs.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Social Emotional & Mental -Health (SEMH) Needs and Boosting Children's Confidence and Self-Esteem : (including anxiety, parental separation, friendship issues, anger management, emotional regulation, ‘Post Lockdown Back to School’ Feelings, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, bereavement, loss, excessive worrying, low mood, change of family circumstances and unsettled home-life amongst more – please enquire if unsure) I have a particular interest in children's social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and development. It is my belief that children need to feel secure, comfortable and understood so that they can reach their full potential. It was for this reason that I became the Pastoral, Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead at an Outstanding school in London and qualified as a Rainbows bereavement facilitator. I don’t believe that children need to be diagnosed to qualify for some pastoral support nor does something need to be ‘wrong’ with their lives – all children benefit from nurturing sessions. I am able to help children boost their confidence and self-esteem by using my personal attributes of being nurturing, gentle, sensitive and open to understand what triggers these feelings, exploring strategies to help self-regulate and instilling a ‘Growth Mindset’. I can run sessions with your child which can explore self-esteem, confidence, self-awareness, perceptions, feelings, relationships, conflict resolution, loss, parental separation, change of family circumstances, moving house, friendship issues, grief, coping skills, adaptability, problem-solving and growth mindset. Sessions generally include something ‘crafty’, a social story or problem solving activity and some personal reflection work.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Sensory Processing Disorder: When working with children with a Sensory Processing Disorder/Issue, it is imperative to create an environment that makes them feel comfortable to learn. I take time to get to know what methods and strategies help them the most and ensure that any findings are shared between the Occupational Therapist (OT), parents and me. It is important to work sensitively with the child to help minimise any negative experiences. With a tailored plan of physical activities, usually drawn up by an OT, I can support your child by incorporating their Sensory Diet into their sessions. Depending on the issue, I have found that a ‘fidget toy’, ear defenders, now/next visual timetables, movement breaks and a thoughtful environment (away from flashing lights/windows/noise) can support the child and help them to achieve their goals.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Visual Impairments: When working with children who have visual impairments, I ensure that I have a clear understanding of any strategies that they have found to be successful so that I can plan sessions that work to match their needs. I encourage the child to use visual aids or resources that have been prescribed (e.g. glasses, magnifiers, big-print books, etc) and ensure that the environment is supportive to them (sitting front facing in a classroom, lights at the correct angle to them, reducing any risk of glare etc.). I ensure that printed resources are of an appropriate size, font and contrast as well as ensuring that the child has regular breaks from near-point work to avoid visual stress or fatigue. I have found that supplementing visual materials with clear verbal explanations and increasing oral and kinaesthetic activities successful at supporting learners with visual impairments.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Language Delay: When working with children with Language Delay, I have found that it is important to communicate openly with the child's parents, Speech and Language Therapists and other children working with the child to get as much specialist information as possible to fully support the child in sessions. It is important to have clear, achievable goals and ensure that the approach is working at school, at home and in sessions. Each child is individual and has different strategies that will work for them, the strategies that I have found successful include: use of visual aids, a multi-sensory approach (sight, smell, touch, taste new words/concepts), positive reinforcement (this is a must!), fun, play-based activities or games for motivation, practical strategies to show the child what to do when they are unsure/confused (e.g. put up your hand and wait for the teacher etc), explaining new or unfamiliar vocabulary and books to explore language and develop vocabulary.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Epilepsy: Epilepsy varies from child to child, so it is important for me to find out as much as possible about a child's epilepsy in order to avoid making assumptions about how their condition might affect their learning. Some children may experience photosensitive epilepsy so it is important to ensure that any screens used do not flicker or have fast-moving, flashing images, if this is a trigger. It is also important to make sure that the environment is suitable and avoid flickering lights or blinds that may reflect or make patterns with lights. Another trigger for some children may be stressful situations or certain times of the day which is why I need to ensure that lessons are planned at an appropriate time and at the right level of challenge and support – both academic and pastoral. Safety is, of course, important for all children and part of keeping children who have epilepsy safe when in my care is to make sure that I know how their epilepsy affects them, what to do if a seizure happens and when to call an ambulance. All of this would be discussed with the parents and child and it is beneficial for me to have an accessible copy of their Health Care/ Emergency Plan in all lessons.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Social Communication Difficulties: Supporting children with Social Communication Difficulties by promoting their ability to understand and interpret the world around them will enable them to develop relationships with their peers, feel happier, gain confidence and become more independent. I have found that it is important to model what I want to see from the child by using appropriate tone of voice and by being explicit, clear and consistent. Emotional Literacy is important; using visual resources and correctly labelling my own feelings and then helping them to label theirs (not assuming what their feelings are) can support the development of this. I can help them meet their personal goals: turn taking, eye contact (or body facing if eye contact is too uncomfortable), greeting people, playing games, using appropriate language etc. through games, role-play, use of scenarios and interactive sessions. I have implemented intervention programmes to help children develop friendships and appropriate behaviours at school, including the use of ‘Circle of Friends’ programme. I can support children to recognise and interpret feelings, build empathy and understanding, listen and respect those around us, respond appropriately and practice conflict resolution.
My Specialist Experience Teaching Children with Dyslexia: I have done much research into best practice and ways to support children with Dyslexia, including a research project in an Outstanding school which implemented changes to support children from 4 – 11 years with dyslexia or dyslexic-like attributes (including children without a formal diagnosis). When working with children with dyslexia, I develop the sessions around their specific learning needs and how the form of dyslexia affects their learning specifically; sometimes I may be working to support their reading, writing, listening, speaking, organisational skills or processing needs or a combination. I use a range of visual and practical resources to support reading, writing and spelling challenges and can recommend dyslexia friendly books and resources to ignite an enjoyment of reading and avoid what can be an arduous task, becoming a dreaded one. It can help to use coloured overlays over text to support children as a different colour can improve their reading fluency – this can also influence the colour of paper we use to write on; all depending on what suits your child best. I can also develop a spelling programme to cover the curriculum stage your child is working at - EYFS, KS1 and KS2 and I can incorporate handwriting and presentation skills into sessions. I like to make these sessions practical by using hands on resources and developing muscle memory. For writing, I encourage children to discuss and verbally organise their ideas, then use writing frames and planners to draft them before converting them into a written piece and finally self-assessing, evaluating and improving their work which will arm them with the skills they need to become more independent writers. These sessions boost the child’s confidence by giving them skills and strategies which they can take with them to school and beyond.
Home Schooling or Elective Home Education (EHE) in Lockdown and Out: If you home school part-time or home schooling due to a lockdown or any other reason, I can work with your child in a variety of ways to match your child’s needs and what you desire for them, as a parent/carer. I am able to use and enhance the resources provided by the school and teach them the strategies they need to not only complete the tasks set but to acquire the knowledge and skills to be able to use them in the future with independence. I can support your child and the family by working collaboratively to draw up a timetable, establish routines for learning, access remote learning and ensure that sessions are engaging, interactive and of the highest quality. Alternatively, if you are home schooling independently, I can support by teaching primary subjects or focus on the core subjects, such as Maths and English, depending on your tuition needs. To do this, I would be able to suggest possible resources, organise the National Curriculum to ensure sequential coverage and provide high quality teaching and learning techniques to deliver the curriculum to your child. You can rest assured that I have a wealth of experience in Primary Education and the best teaching and learning strategies to provide your child with an excellent education through interactive tuition sessions.
My experience supporting children with PDA and other behavioural needs: I have worked with children with demand avoidance, including daily demand avoidance, dietary issues, mood swings and obsessive behaviours. It is important for me to develop an excellent relationship with the child where I can sensitively support them to feel more in control of their learning and less anxious. I plan for each child as an individual; ensuring they get the right level of challenge and support to keep them engaged, develop their confidence and help them to achieve their goals.
Specialist Experience Teaching Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL): I have worked with children who speak English as a first, second or even third language. I have had children arrive at the classroom door with no English, looking very anxious only to leave feeling confident that they are already improving and having a ‘can-do’ attitude. I have also tutored children with EAL on a 1:1 basis to help improve their spoken and written English and to support their ability to access the rest of the curriculum with this in mind. The main purpose is to support the child so that they feel confident to enjoy life with EAL, socialise, and fully achieve their academic and social development. Techniques used vary depending on the knowledge and experience the child has with the language but, in general, I ensure the basic skills are learnt first, that the solid foundation of grammar and pronunciation are introduced in a fun and interactive way and that vocabulary is shared in a sequential order with priorities agreed with the child, parents, school and any specialists involved.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information and to discuss your child’s specific needs and how I can support you. I believe in a holistic approach and I am happy to work collaboratively with your child, you as parents/carers, the school, SENCO and any other specialists involved with supporting your child.