After completing a History degree at Nottingham University and a PGCE at Durham University, Helen began her teaching career in 1998. Her first teaching post was at Sherburn Village Primary and she soon took up the role of SENCO and became a member of the leadership team. In 2009, she was seconded to work for Durham Local Authority’s Special Needs Team, as an Inclusion Management Adviser. This involved working with SENCOs and school leaders across the County to support them with the inclusion of pupils with additional needs. As part of this role she led training and, through a project called Confident Schools – Confident Parents, was involved in the strategic development of SEND across County Durham. Helen then started her first headship in 2011 at Evenwood C of E Primary before moving to Aycliffe Village Primary in January 2018. This school was in the Ofsted category of requires improvement when Helen took up post and under her leadership it improved rapidly to an Ofsted judgement of good by April 2019. In June 2020, Helen returned to working for Durham Local Authority’s SEND Team as an Advisory Inclusion Teacher for the Cognition and Learning Team. She relishes the opportunities this affords to visit schools across the County and to support pupils, their families and staff to ensure additional needs are understood and effectively supported.
Helen has a passion for education and is acutely aware of the impact a positive educational experience can have on pupils, their families and communities. She has particular interests in curriculum development (including wider opportunities for curriculum enrichment), providing an ethos that prioritises the wellbeing of pupils and staff and effective inclusion in school for children who may be considered vulnerable. She has been a school governor for just over twenty years, in four different primary schools (not all at the same time!).
In her spare time Helen enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves eating out, going to the theatre, walking the family dog, playing the piano, singing and a weekly pilates class.