Michelle Simmons

BA Ed Hons English Language, Literature and Education Post Grad Cert In SEND Post Grad Dip Literacy and SpLD Member of PATOSS, Dyslexia Guild and AMBDA

I have 27 years teaching experience, working in inner city London, Gateshead then North Yorkshire for 24 years. I have worked with pupils with SEND for more than 20 years.

It was as a newly qualified teacher in 1991 in a diverse inner city school in London that I first experienced the challenges and rewards of teaching children with a wide range of SEND as well as EAL needs. I decided this was the area I’d like to specialise in. I first completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching of Children with SEND through Ripon St John and York University in 1998 and worked as a school based SenCo for KS1 and 2. I also trained as an Irlen/Scotopic Sensitivity and overlay screener.

In 2000, I began working for the North Yorkshire Learning Support Service providing consultation, training, assessment and teaching to parents, schools and pupils. I was also on the working part for writing and publishing the revised North Yorkshire Dyslexia Handbook. I completed a Post Grad Diploma in SpLD with Dyslexia Action and York University in 2008 and worked for a couple of years for a North Yorkshire Enhanced Mainstream School (EMS) SpLD Provision as a specialist teacher, supporting a patch of local mainstream primary and secondary schools. As well as supporting pupils with dyslexia, I have extensive experience working with pupils with ASC, Dyspraxia/DCD and SLCN.

Between 2011 and 2018 I worked in the independent sector, setting up and overseeing a learning support department. I worked across KS1,2 and 3 providing specialist 1:1 teaching for both numeracy and literacy as well as running wave 2 booster groups and managing and training a team of Teaching Assistants. I also completed Exam Access Arrangement assessments. I have worked closely with local authority outside agencies and private specialists such as SALTs, OT services and Educational Psychologists.

What do I enjoy the most: - working 1:1 with individuals and witnessing the ‘lightbulb’ moments first hand.

Greatest Achievement: - passing my driving test 9 months pregnant!

Proudest moment: - attending an end of year prize giving where a little boy with significant needs who I had worked with for several years received an academic progress prize.

Hobbies :- gardening, riding, film and theatre.