Hello from Eveleen Riordan
Hello, my name is Eveleen Riordan and I am the Assistant Director for Schools and Learning in Haringey. I am in my sixth year as Assistant Director.
The services my teams provide include school admissions, pupil place planning, the Virtual School (supporting all children looked after in their education), education welfare (including when pupils’ attendance at school is low), elective home education (where families chose to educate in the home instead of sending their child(ren) to school), Pendarren outdoor learning centre, Haringey Music Service and Early Years.
A large part of my working day is spent supporting Head teachers and Chairs of Governors or dealing with officers and services outside of Schools and Learning. My day might be as diverse as going into a school to see an assembly, meet children, and talk to a head teacher about the school’s budget, through to liaising with Public Health about vaccination programmes in schools, speaking to Capital colleagues about building programmes in schools, determining if and how we reduce capacity in our primary school reception classes to address a falling birth rate, speaking to SEND colleagues about an EHCP, talking to the Head of Schools HR about an employment matter, or liaising with the police about Safer Schools Officers’ work.
I also spend part of every week attending head teacher meetings to talk to them about council services and to impart information and take questions. No two days or weeks are the same, but I love the difference that we can make to children and young people’s lives through the work of our services and through our schools and our education settings.
The best thing about working in Schools and Learning is always the interaction with and the voice of our children and young people. I spent the morning at Grieg City Academy celebrating a fantastic set of A Level results for the young people and watching the tears and laughter as years of hard work paid off and dreams are being realised with pupils off to universities and apprenticeships. Whenever we capture the voice of young people and are able to use that to shape and inform services and support, I feel really heartened that we are making a difference.
It also reminds me of a really captivating video by young people about the power of their voice: it can be seen on YouTube and is called Was Not Heard. Part of the narrative is about the powerful messages that actions and emotions give – “When I cry, I’m talking to you; when I fall silent, I’m talking to you; when I am naughty, I’m talking to you; when I don’t do my homework, I’m talking to you; when I laugh, I’m talking to you. But, are you listening? It’s your legal responsibility to listen to me, so that my voice matters”. We can learn much more from children and young people than just hearing their words and if we do this, we can shape our services to meet their needs.
Assistant Director for Schools and Learning
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