Having worked both sides of the Atlantic in conductive education schools, Laurie Pullin is a passionate advocate of this style of learning. She oversees the primary provision and says that there’s nothing more rewarding than starting students off in their education and watching them succeed. She says that her fantastic students never fail to inspire her.
Hi Laurie, how did you get into this field?
I did a three-year degree course in Conductive Education at the University of Wolverhampton. After I graduated in 2008, I moved to New York, where I worked at a small private school with just eight students. The school was family-run – it was set up by the parents of the students who went there. I was one of three Conductors who were working with the students there, and it was an amazing experience.
When did you start your role at Ingfield Manor?
I came back to the UK to start my role at Ingfield Manor in 2011. I’d been to the school a few years before, but I’d interviewed over Skype from New York, so hadn’t been in for a while. It was very different from my school in NYC because Ingfield Manor is so much bigger, but everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I settled in quite quickly.
You are the Team Leader for the primary provision, what do you like best about your role?
It’s got to be the students because they are amazing – the way they approach life is so inspiring. I love to see them develop their personalities and to watch them progress through the school. They learn so much during the primary years and you get to see a lot of progress happen quite quickly. It’s nice to feel as though you’ve started them off on that right path and helped them realise what they can do.
Have you had any highlights with the students and their progress?
Yes, there are so many stories! There’s one student who is in primary who has only been with us a few years, and when he arrived, he found some things hard. He spent a lot of time in his chair and wasn’t confident at doing active transfers. But his progress has been phenomenal and now he’s doing 80% of what we ask independently. He is completing active standing, active transfers, and using a walker after just three years. We never dreamt he would come that far so quickly, and he knows he’s done a great job.
That must be incredible for your student and his parents. What’s it like to have an impact on the lives of parents and their children?
It’s really lovely. Some of our parents arrive here having been told that their child will never be able to do anything and then we can show that’s not always the case. It’s terrific to make a difference in the lives of parents too. The more independence we can give our students, the easier life becomes for their parents and those people supporting them at home.
What would you say to people considering taking a role in a school like Ingfield Manor?
If you want to come to work every day and be with inspiring students and do an incredibly rewarding job, you should give this a go. You’ll be making a difference in the lives of your students and their families. It’s great to know that their futures will be different because of the way you work with them in a school like this. Having a job like this is pretty amazing, so it’s a challenge worth taking.