Our Chair of Governors, Julie, has been with The Cavendish School since the beginning of the design phase in early 2018. We’ve asked her a few questions to gain a deeper insight into her background and her work:
- Tell us a bit about your background…
I have worked in the education field for a number of years, first starting with secondary education and teaching, leading both the Humanities faculty and Sixth Form in previous job roles. Following this, I moved into higher education student support at the University of Cambridge.
Knowing that I wanted to explore my passion in supporting university students, including those with autism, I completed a Masters in Psychology and Education, and then moved onto PhD research on inclusive education for students with autism; this work has fuelled my desire to help build The Cavendish School and its community.
I am also a local parent, currently living in Histon, and my two children study at Impington Village College (the co-located college for The Cavendish School).
- How did you get started with your current work?
The need for more flexible working led me to a short break from teaching in which I started student support work at the University of Cambridge. The short career break turned into a new direction in work and study in higher education. I currently combine my student support role with education research and teaching undergraduates studying education alongside the governor role that I have at The Cavendish School.
- What challenges have you previously faced?
Finding a way to continue my education work alongside other responsibilities that have required both flexibility and creativity.
- What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments?
Seeing the success of students that I have supported through extremely challenging circumstances, including the impact of the pandemic.
My published academic work also makes me feel extremely proud, alongside the work of teams I’ve had the opportunity to lead, both in teaching and in research. Also, passing the qualifying exams for membership of the British Psychological Society over 25 years since my last exams was great achievement!
On a more personal note, my amazing garden is something I’ve worked very hard on! It even helped raise money for The Cavendish School through the Open Garden Scheme.
- What inspires you?
A number of things inspire me within the work that I do, mainly other educators and researchers with a passion for inclusion. I am also driven by the want to spot opportunities to remove barriers to inclusion for children and young people who are struggling to reach their potential.
- What are you currently focusing on?
Currently, I am focused on supporting our Deputy Headteacher, Stephanie, and Deputy CEO – Eastern Learning Alliance, Ryan, as well as the growing TCS team, as our vision becomes a reality. We are all working towards building a small initial governing body and a large, diverse network to support and extend The Cavendish School community.
Another key focus of mine is my current research project, working with undergraduates with autism to develop a measure of engagement with learning that reflects their experience of both remote and in-person learning.