I have worked with children and adults with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties for forty years, holding a variety of roles including teacher, teacher adviser, team leader for local authority specialist support and most recently headteacher of a very successful special school.
I began my career as a ‘nursing assistant’ (sic) in a ‘hospital’ for the ‘mentally handicapped’ and found myself advocating for the learning potential of those who were then labelled as ‘patients’. The way we assess people depends to a very considerable extent upon the frameworks we use to define them. I’ve watched those come and go over the years but I have always believed passionately in trying to develop fair and positive approaches to assessment.
I have been privileged to be part of the development of Routes for Learning and Routes to Literacy and Routes to Numeracy (which form key elements of a potentially inclusive assessment framework in Wales). I have worked as additional learning needs assessment specialist to the Welsh Government and have been course leader for a specilist Graduate Diploma programme on behalf of special schools in South Wales and the University of Wales Trinity St Davids.
I led the recent revision of the Routes for Learning Assessment Booklet and professional learning modules which support users in exploring Routes for Learning. In another project, I am investigating the progress made by learners with PMLD along with fellow researchers.