As I truly embrace the reflective opportunity the first week of the holiday allows, I consider the great influences on my life.

My first Head of Department, Dawn, who was truly inspirational. A considerate yet powerful colleague, now all but retired, she remains a close confidant. A person of great strength.

She became my colleague when I first started teaching at the age of 21, at a ‘tough’ comprehensive.

‘If it wasn’t bolted down it spent some time in the air,’ I always used to say. Not quite true, but you get the gist!

Dawn was immensely successful, not only as a Head of Department but also as a teacher and colleague.

Her time for people, staff and students alike, was something I really admired and is, I think a key skill for my current role as SENCo.

We are all busy. Students are all under pressure: from exams, or perhaps from home, or maybe in their attempts to overcome their barriers to learning or participation.

Giving them time is important. Whatever we do, however much pressure we are under, we must always give our students time. Making every individual we work with feel valued is an important part of the job.

Time to reflect gives me the opportunity to remember this. Such opportunities are rare and valuable.

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