Sylvia

About ME: Former teacher, educational/nonfiction writer, novelist, poet

I live near Manchester, have two daughters and three grand-daughters, and delight in my   family roles of mother and grandmother. I am an ex-teacher, long retired from over thirty years in a job that has given me huge satisfaction, enjoyment and a worthwhile sense of achievement. Since retirement, I have home-tutored many children and young people, some of whom have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). 

I entered teaching at the mature age of thirty two, having done various other jobs, including working for the Civil Service. Once into teaching, my passion for improving the educational experiences of children and young people with SEND, and enjoyment of working with colleagues and parents towards this goal, intensified. How lucky I have been to have had my career in education! 

The buzz of being involved in the development of more effective inclusion for learners with SEN and/or disabilities motivated me to write many books on education, mainly on various aspects of SEND (see Publications section), intended for teachers and/or Teaching Assistants. The 3rd edition of my successful book, ‘The SENCO Survival Guide,’ was published by Routledge in 2022 – my final educational book.

 Although much has been achieved by schools towards the effective inclusion of children with SEND, there is still much more to be done if the life chances of children with learning difficulties or disabilities, as well as socially disadvantaged young people, are to be significantly improved. I continue to take an interest in educational issues, and blog about current changes in education. 

I have designed Apps for maths programmes, and been involved in designing maths materials for Hope, at Findel Education. My series of five educational books, ‘Parents: Help Your Child Succeed’, aims to encourage more parents to be actively involved in their child’s schooling: from The Early Years Foundation Stage – through to Key Stages 3 and 4. I have always believed that parents are the missing link in education. More effective collaboration between schools and parents would enable more children with SEND to achieve success.

I have written continuously since 1988, often in response to emotional challenges, and have grown to love this creative craft. I cannot imagine my life without writing. Recent works include: Time of the Virus (2021), a reflective, philosophical work on aspects of humanity, A Lie Never Dies (2023), my first historical novel, and How Times Have Changed (2024), memoirs from my life against the backdrop of post-war development. A diary of my recent cancer journey, plus a book of my philosophical thoughts, are in progress, for publication Autumn 2024. A further goal is to write the sequel to ‘A Lie Never Dies’ for publication 2025, which will feature the Great War of 1914 -18: a daunting task, with lots of research. I also write light-hearted material: short stories and poetry. 

As research for my latest edition of ‘The SENCO Survival Guide (2022)’, I observed and supported pupils and staff in primary and secondary classrooms, and discussed current educational needs/issues with SEND practitioners in colleges around Gtr. Manchester: following which, as a SEND and a literacy specialist, I enjoyed voluntarily supporting one secondary school’s reading development programme. My basic booklet, ‘A Simple View of Reading,’ has been introduced to some Lancashire schools, and is available (free) for any school.

Having recently recovered from cancer treatment which effectively deleted a year (2023) from my normal active life, I am looking to get back on track with my creativity: including writing, painting and other pleasurable activities. Here is a happy poem to encourage us all to make the most of every day.

Ode to Life, Positivity and Writing

Life’s too short – no time to waste,
Seize your moments – with great haste.
Seek the best from every day,
Find your gold beneath the grey.
Glimpse that nugget gently shining,
Inside your cloud’s silver lining.
See it, smell it,
Taste and touch it.
Your senses wired,
To be inspired!
From that purpose deep inside,
Cultivate your sense of pride.
Make, create, invent and do,
Paint on your skin that inner you.
From the elf upon the shelf….
Steal some magic for yourself.
Then, as you WRITE,
Your soul takes flight,
Your spirit feeds,
And your heart bleeds.

click here to read my latest blog.