How did I get to here? I often wonder! After taking a Sociology degree and CQSW at Bath University, I began my professional career in 1974 as a social worker with the now defunct Avon County Council. In those days social workers were generic, not knowing much about everything! Following the sudden death of my father - who was a rather unconventional Baptist Minister - I decided to take a break and to study theology at the radical Northern Baptist College and the University of Manchester.
I did a postgraduate degree, then became a Minister myself for over 5 years, before going to work for the Diocese of Lichfield Board for Social Responsibility at the time of 'Faith in the City', helping parish churches to make connections between what they did on Sundays and the rest of the life of their local communities. But I had become increasingly sceptical about traditional Christian beliefs so when that job ended I gradually gave up on ministry and went back into social work and a new career in Education Welfare. This lasted until I took early retirement in 2011. During that time I also published widely on the educational implications of the Children Act 1989 and other welfare issues during over 20 years' experience in Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Local Authorities.
In both LAs I was Manager of the Education Welfare Service, working with schools across the LA in managing attendance, providing staff training and casework advice etc. I played an active role on the training committees of both ACPCs/Local Safeguarding Children Boards. I have delivered countless 'Level 1' Child Protection training sessions for schools and have co-delivered 'Level 2' inter-agency training events in 3 Local Authorities.
After almost 30 years' experience, I am now concentrating on supporting schools with managing attendance and absence. I also facilitate occasional seminars and courses for FORUM Business Training, contribute to journals and speak at conferences on attendance issues, especially the legal framework, how it should be applied and whether it is still fit for purpose. I am a governor of a special school for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
I am now developing new interests as the balance shifts between work and life. See also HUMANIST SPIRITUALITY for what has happened to my religious beliefs and my thoughts on being human.
Make a loan. Change a life. Click the link above to find out how your school can get involved in supporting small businesses in developing countries with microloans that repay themselves so you can lend the same money again!
Attendance and absence have to be managed, like any other aspect of school life. Everyone is involved. I am committed to promoting a welfare-based and strategic approach, not only a focus on improving the figures. I may not always tell you exactly what you think you want to hear or repeat what you always thought was true. But I will offer you an informed and independent voice that gives you real practical help in carrying out your statutory duties and which seeks to promote more effective solutions for those children and young people who most need them. I also WHITTER on current education welfare issues.
But there is more to life than work so you'll also find a page about humanism and spirituality where I write about whether Christianity can mean anything to those who are not convinced that conventional belief takes us where we need to go as modern, thoughtful human beings. Maybe we can help to re-invent it. I'm not a 'Christian' or even particularly 'religious' but I am human. It's life before death that matters, so how do we decide how to live it? Can we at least still walk the same road together?
Feedback and comment are always very welcome.
ALL INFORMATION AND ADVICE PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE, AND IN RELATED RESOURCES AND EVENTS, IS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH AND IS TRUE AND ACCURATE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF. HOWEVER NO LIABILTY IS ACCEPTED FOR ANY ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES ARISING THEREFROM OR FOR ANY IMPLICATIONS OF UNINTENDED ERRORS. I HAVE BOTH PUBLIC LIABILITY AND PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE.