By on 07 Mar 2019
International Women's Day is celebrated on 8th March every year. This year's theme is "Think equal, Build smart, Innovate for change."
It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
We are taking the opportunity to celebrate the inspirational women who work for One Education and the work they do to empower school leadership teams and teachers to enhance the quality of education for young people.
Deirdre McConnell, ETS Team Leader
Artist, teacher, trainer and art psychotherapist. Deirdre is experienced in early intervention and complex casework. Her interests include children’s rights and human rights; creativity and neuroscience; psycho-spiritual and self-care models, and the interface between creative modalities. She is a guest lecturer at several universities, speaker at national and international conferences, published author and a practitioner PhD researcher.
"I lead a dynamic team of therapists using the latest research in psychotherapy, the arts and mental health - transforming children’s lives and schools’ capacity to work with difficult issues such as the effects of trauma and abuse.Expertise is required to tap into, and access the child’s own mind-body creativity and resilience (100% cost-free resources every child has) to create positive change in highly complex situations and behaviours. This specialist work, results in children not just surviving but thriving. I bring a rights based approach into my work, gained from experience of more than twenty years of voluntary work in international human rights advocacy."
Laura Lodge, Education Consultant
Consultant, moderator, trainer but first and foremost, above all, a teacher. Laura is passionate about developing education so that all children leave school with the life skills and knowledge they need to succeed, no matter their personal circumstances or challenges. Her interests include the development of resilient readers; building reasoning and problem-solving across subject disciplines; how language impacts learning and how texts can be used to inspire and engage.
Laura is a curriculum expert for the Department for Education on Reading, where she provides review and challenge to the statutory test development process, ensuring assessments are fair whilst reflecting the demands of the curriculum. She also speaks at a number of conferences and events. Laura is also soon to be a published author, currently writing three books for the Educational Publishers, Schofield and Sims.
"I'm privileged to work alongside a raft of teachers and leaders focused on truly educating every one of their pupils. For me, that isn't the same as following the national curriculum, but far, far more. It's about educating them to be well-rounded people. I'm a big believer that any child can succeed with the right support and I put that at the heart of my approach. Much of my work surrounds developing children's literacy skills, ensuring that they develop a good understanding of vocabulary and language; a strong command of oracy; read with meaning and articulate their ideas in writing. Not just the curriculum, but true skills for life.
Laura Clark, Senior HR Manager
Laura manages and mentors a team of schools HR specialists. Part of her role involves developing the knowledge of equality law within the team and leading on equality issues. She regularly delivers training to school leaders, governors and staff on equality issues and she is professionally and personally passionate about this area.
"I am particularly committed to raising understanding of the barriers disabled people face every day of their lives. I get tremendous satisfaction from raising awareness of discrimination in schools and helping schools comply with their equality duties and obligations. Raising awareness means staff feel more able to challenge prejudice and unacceptable behaviour when they see it. It also means equality becomes a matter of increased importance on the school’s agenda. I am proud of the training I have created which has now been delivered to over 30 schools with more in line. The knock on effect of the training is that children are educated in an environment where staff are better equipped to tackle discrimination. They are also part of a school community which is more equality aware and where staff have a better understanding of the part they have to play in preparing our children for a pluralistic society knowing about the importance of diversity, inclusion, tolerance, kindness and respect."
Vanessa Fraser, Helpdesk Manager
In 2004 Vanessa and her family embarked on a new adventure, emigrating from South Africa to England. They faced many barriers along the journey when the job Vanessa's husband was offered fell through but she was determined to continue with the move and the risk paid off.
"We arrived in England on 4th July 2004, without jobs but at least we lived in a beautiful part of Cheshire. My husband was amazing as he was willing to do anything to keep a roof over our heads and continue with our dream."
"Although my background is in IT, as a Universe Programmer, my passion is people! I love people and this comes across in my personal and business life. I get great satisfaction from helping my colleagues, friends and customers and will always go the extra mile to ensure the best outcome for all concerned. In my time at One Education I have grown on a business and personal level and have become a part an incredible team. My team continue to inspire me everyday.
I would be lying if I said that I was only passionate about IT and People – my therapy lies in anything creative – whether it be jewellery making, novelty cake making or drawing. I am a firm believer in whatever you imagine can be your reality.
Whilst living in the UK I have watched my children grow up in safety (something we all tend to take for granted) & I have seen my little grandchild come into the world. I do believe that we are all inspiring and that as people we touch each other’s lives every single day – let’s hope that the marks we leave on each other’s hearts are only good ones. I have a lot to be grateful for - courage in times of adversity always pays off!"