Introduction

Where do I start? It feels like an impossible task to describe ‘me’ so I plan to use this page to provide a little background as to how I got to be doing what I am.

After leaving school, I decided not to go to university. Instead, I joined an accelerated management trainee programme for A-level students with Barclays Bank. This programme not only provided me with day release to study banking exams, it also gave me the chance to try out a number of roles within the bank. I moved to Head Office, where I found my niche in marketing and communications. I left the bank after seven years and subsequently undertook a number of roles, both clientside and agencyside, developing skills in both online and offline marketing/promotion and communications.

In 2001 I went on maternity leave, after which I chose not to return to full-time employment, instead choosing to take on part-time work that I could balance more easily with family life. In 2005, my second child was born and she was subsequently diagnosed as having Down syndrome. Whilst continuing to do some part-time marketing and communications work, I shifted my efforts to supporting other families of disabled children. In 2006, I co-founded a Down syndrome support group with a good friend, and in 2011 I stepped away from this to became more involved with our local parent carer forum. This voluntary work has provided me with additional experience in leadership, volunteer sector management, governance, events, social media, training and fundraising.

In 2014, I stepped down from being Chair of the parent carer forum and started to undertake some work for Contact, supporting parent carers in other areas to develop, maintain or launch parent carer forums. I continue to do this work currently, as well as delivering some family workshops for Contact. I am passionate about improving support, services and education for disabled children or those labelled as having additional needs, and their parents. I am a trustee of two national charities working in this field. I particularly believe in the importance of inclusion for all children within education.

My main focus since 2014 has been a return to study. I spent four wonderful years at the University of Winchester, undertaking an Education Studies degree course, followed by an MA in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, UCL. In 2019, I started a full-time PhD research study at the University of Birmingham, examining the subjectivity of parents of disabled children and its impact on education inclusion. My broader research interests include the Philosophy of Education, parents, participation, risk, inclusion and SEN/Disability. I won BERA’s Inaugural Doctoral Fellowship in 2019 and am grateful to BERA for their support of my doctoral research.