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It is a privilege!

There has been a lot of chatter in our ADCS groups about retirement in the last few months and I have watched with ‘green eyes’ as a number of longstanding directors of children’s services have announced their retirement plans. As some of you may know, I am married to a Head Teacher (thankfully not in my local authority area) which makes for lively debates at the dinner table as we robustly discuss the roles and responsibilities within our respective systems and cogitate about the various regulatory processes we are subjected to. This leads, on occasions, to a pondering about whether we would choose these career pathways again which, depending on the type of day we have had, may not always generate the same conclusions.

Most of you would agree that working in children’s services, and in particular as a Director, is often a challenge, subject to moments of extreme stress and often trying to find ways of innovatively responding to the ever changing and increasingly complex needs of our young residents which can on occasions lead to statements from me about being glad that ‘I am in the latter years of my career’.

Recently however, whilst preparing my introductory speech for the launch of our Trauma Informed Care model, I found myself reflecting on the role and making the statement ‘it is a privilege to hold this role’ and having never wanted to be a DCS recognise that this a unique role where no two days are the same. We may have regular budget cutting, ongoing recruitment pressures and increasing placement challenges to name but a few issues but there are still more than enough elements of the job that make it worthwhile.

Over the last few months I have been ‘privileged’ to present awards to some absolutely remarkable pupils from schools across our city, who have overcome barriers to achieve their ambitions and make a difference within their communities and schools; ‘privileged’ to attend the opening of a family hub and hearing from parents about how much of a difference this will make; ‘privileged’ in supporting the accomplishments and giving out awards to some of our children with additional needs and disabilities; ‘privileged’ to open a number of conferences and looking at a sea of eager and keen learners who absolutely want to make a difference to the children and families they work with and of course ‘privileged’ to attend our staff awards ceremony where individuals and teams are celebrated for the fantastic work they do on a daily basis supporting our residents.

So, whilst there are testing moments in this role, it is more than just a job and even though chronologically I am indeed in the latter years of my career, I will continue to give it my all for as long as I am able (and allowed) to do so.


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