Lucy Clark has always been passionate about the right of all children to access an education through which they can be happy and achieve within a setting which values them for who they are and the individual contribution they can make. Having qualified as a teacher, graduating in 1996 with a B.Ed(Hons) degree from the University of Birmingham, Lucy has taught children aged from two to nineteen across a wide range of schools and settings. Her career, as a class and Specialist Teacher, has involved children whose individual needs have included communication and interaction, cognition and learning, sensory and physical difficulties. She is experienced in the use of alternative and augmentative communication systems including signing and symbol exchange. She is practised in assessing needs, setting targets and outcomes and monitoring children’s progress through the use of such tools as PScales, Pivats and BSquared.
For the last eleven years Lucy has been a Specialist Teacher for children with Down syndrome, advising how to meet their individual learning needs and facilitate them to make progress for themselves whilst including them alongside their peers. Lucy believes in having high expectations and developing staff abilities to put in place those small steps to support an individual to achieve these. Within this role, and throughout her career, Lucy has worked closely with a vast range of other education and health Professionals, sharing knowledge and insights to work collaboratively for a child’s best interests.
During her career Lucy has developed a special interest in behaviour and why children with learning difficulties may present with particular challenges, pursuing this through further Professional Development opportunities. Lucy encourages a pro-active not reactive approach to meeting needs. She believes in a holistic approach between home and school and feels passionately that inclusion works best when it is embraced as a whole school policy and responsibility and when parents own knowledge of their children is used to support what happens in school and a relationship between the two is achieved.
Lucy aims to advise and support children, schools, settings and families in an individual way, considering what will work best in their own individual circumstances and context, whilst drawing on strategies and techniques she has built up over the years.
Lucy lives with her husband and three children in Buckinghamshire.
Julie Knight is an expert with two decades’ experience in the field of Specialist Teaching, having carried out a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Whether employed as a Down syndrome Specialist Teacher for Buckinghamshire Learning Trust, or as a consultant and trainer for Specialist Educational Services in Slough and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Julie has acquired competencies at the highest level in this demanding area.
One of Julie’s most interesting roles was as a teacher in charge of a school liaison group-funded Progress Centre whilst working for the Cognition and Learning Team. This was a short, intense intervention programme for identified Y4 and Y5 children. Raising achievement of pupils with SEN has always been at the forefront of Julie’s work, and she established new and efficient systems of data collection and assessment within the Team to achieve these goals. Julie has developed positive relationships with many schools and settings, as well as other agencies such as S<, OT, Paediatricians, EYCS and Portage, making Julie a widely-connected specialist in the area.
In her management roles Julie has always worked to ensure greater consistency between various specialist teams in processes and practice. She developed support matrices to ensure pupils receive a needs-led service, systems to record and track support hours delivered, contact notes, Annual Review report writing, transition protocol and CHSU5 processes. She has also worked with SEN Officers and developed a joint support matrix to assist officers in writing Statements of SEN with regard to support hours allocated.
Of course, face-to-face teaching with children and young people is Julie’s passion. She has taught classes of all ages across the primary phase at a local special school as well as supporting nursery and post 16 aged pupils. Furthermore, before pursuing a teaching career with pupils with SEN, she was a mainstream class teacher at a local infant school. She has established links with national organisations, particularly related to Down syndrome, which ensures that she has current knowledge within this area of SEN. She has successfully organised and run national conferences in this field, and has invited speakers from these organisations.
Most of all, Julie believes that both child’s and teacher’s peace of mind is paramount. Across her career, she has often encountered staff who are anxious about being able to meet the individual needs of pupils with SEN. Through training, supporting and mentoring, she works closely with them, modelling good practice and enskilling them. Once staff have a good understanding of their pupils’ specific learning profiles and feel supported, these anxieties diminish. Julie believes passionately that all children have a right to an inclusive and outstanding education and works in partnership with school and setting based staff to achieve this.
Julie graduated from Brighton University with a B.Ed(Hons) degree. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and two children.