From Support Staff to SENCO

Following one student support manager at work At The Deanery High School in Wigan, Janine Priest is the Student Support Manager. From a brand new purpose-built complex, she runs a department of 8 LSAs and 1 part-time administrator. Janine is from a support staff background rather than from teaching.

She joined The Deanery 9 years ago as a part-time admin assistant in the special needs department just after her A-levels. Janine has worked her way up via supply cover, TA and senior TA to SENCO.

The programmes follows her as she manages the team, offering strategies and resources to other staff. She liaises with outside agencies – deaf and blind pupils are supported in the sensory support unit staffed by outside agencies but under her overall management – and acts as surrogate ‘mum’ to some of the 150 pupils on the register of special needs.

Janine also operates an open-door policy with parents as she feels they are an important part of the team. This is a fascinating glimpse into her challenging, yet rewarding role.

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