Rising out through a baptism of fire, Kelly Jarvis is riding out the shock waves and pitching up at Sunshine Support with a can-do attitude!
The city of Bath is known from Georgian architecture, Roman Baths, and archaeological fascinations. However, what the tourist guides fail to mention is that this is where Kelly Jarvis, highly regarded education sensation, began her journey into guiding and shaping the education system for the better.
Bath is where Kelly grew up and developed a love for writing and the English language. With the dream of one day writing a book, she decided to study English at the University of Nottingham, later returning to Bath to embark on her teacher training. However, this decision led her to be placed in Salisbury where she now lives with husband and new-born.
“I had two very difficult placement schools, one low performing boys’ school and the other was the lowest performing Academy in Salisbury”, she recalls. “It was a bit of a baptism of fire, but it sort of taught me a lot of skills very early on”.
Perhaps it is Kelly’s passion for educating or maybe her embrace for resilience; whatever the forces behind her skill set, without a doubt she has an impressive rate of success. Only a year into qualifying as a teach she became Head of House and later became Director of English where she taught the entirety of year 11, a grand total of 120 students. Not only that, but during those two years she raised the results from 35% A* – C to a phenomenal 76%.
You may be thinking, how does she do it? Where so many newly qualified teachers crash and burn, how has one English graduate from Bath been fired into the world of education and come out the other end with a string of improved results and success stories? Well, you must not be mistaken, Kelly is in fact human just like you and me.
“The results changed so dramatically in only two years, which is real achievement for those children, but it was awful for me”, she explained. “My existence became just a shell. I was working far too many hours in a highly pressurised and difficult environment”.
As a result, Kelly came very close to leaving education altogether, disillusioned with the management style that put facts and figures above genuine outcomes for young people, often to the detriment of staff and mental-well-being. Deciding that she needed a change, like fate an opportunity with The Cambian Group came up the day after she handed in her notice.
Kelly was taken on as Head of English by Grateley House School, an independent provision for children with complex needs. A perfect fit, she stated “Asperger’s and autism had always been a real interest, so I went to have a look around, and it was immediate. It was like, oh, this is my home now, and got that job. Since then I’ve not really looked back in terms of special needs”. Kelly was then promoted to Head of School at another Cambian provision where she took the school from Requires Improvement to Good with Outstanding Features in two subsequent Ofsted inspections in 2017 and 2019.
Although, we have made strides in the education system when it comes to supporting and understanding those with additional learning needs and disabilities, there is still a long way to go. Many parents must fight to ensure their child is receiving the right provision and getting their needs met. Fortunately, Kelly’s approach to education is exactly what professionals need.
The question we keep alluding to is what makes Kelly so good at what she does?
Her advantage is that she has worked in mainstream schools, specialist provisions, worked as a teacher, a head of year, a director of department and a head of school. She has seen it from all angles.
Kelly says “one of the main problems teachers have is already having so much to do already. Then thinking you suddenly have to do a whole lot more for a child with an EHCP”.
Part of what Kelly does is helping teachers to determine out efficient ways of working, so that high quality SEN provision doesn’t mean accumulating an even bigger workload. She believes it can be achieved with “a mindset change to help you see that what you’re doing already can actually benefit all of those children if you do it in the right sort of way”.
Kelly’s approach is not about taking over and completely reworking the way you teach but helping you realise that small changes can make a huge difference to both your workload and the students education. Similarly, she is excited to work with senior leadership teams to develop high quality SEN practises and provision through teacher performance management, training, and pedagogy.
With great exhilaration, Kelly has joined Sunshine Support full-time to head up our Education Consultancy. She, however, will not be only bringing a plethora of qualification and first-hand experience but also an insatiable attitude for productivity you just cannot miss.
“My philosophy when designing an SEN curriculum could probably be summed up as saying, never say no”, she proclaims. “There are times you do have to say no, but you’ve got to go in with a really open mind and a can-do attitude all types of school, and often you will find the most unusual ideas end up being the ones that work.
If you work smarter, then there are little things you can do that will make such a massive difference to those children’s days”.
Sunshine Support provides bespoke training and consultancy for education, health and care professionals.
Our consultancy services include curriculum development, school improvement plans, managing and achieving outcomes.
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