Freda Gwilliam

I am a retired teacher and a widow with 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren.

I spent 8 years in mainstream primary education, 5 of these were spent as head of a unit catering for children in the local area who had difficulties learning in formal settings. Statementing of children was not on the formal level of current practice. Together with the head of a local special school and the educational psychologist we set some guidelines of useful information prior to transfer of pupils.

I have also spent 5 years working as a voluntary youth leader involving liaison with local drug rehabilitation workers.

During my career I spent 25 years in a local special school serving age range 2 – 19 catering for a wide range of need including complex and behavioural within the range of severe need. My final 15 years were spent as head of 16-19 unit.

I have also been involved in many Government led strategies that involved changes. I had responsibility for the following:- Introduction and implementation of Literacy strategy, Careers education throughout school, Curriculum inclusion of sex education, addiction and abuse, 14-19 curriculum, Transition planning from age of 14, Work experience, Post school provision, Work-related curriculum, Establishing Post-school links, Individual education plans, home-school links, Community links and Fund-raising.

Teaching students with such diverse needs fostered an ongoing interest in communication and a close tie with people who present on the autistic spectrum.