Hannah O'Neill

Ascot Heath Infant School           

Specialism: SEN, Mentoring

Support Phase: Predominantly KS1 with experience in EYFS and KS2

Position in school: Deputy head and SENCO


In September 2012, I joined an ‘outstanding’ infant school as deputy head and have taken on a range of roles. My new role took me back into teaching which was refreshing and my teaching was consistently graded as outstanding. It also gave me a good insight into what teachers were facing. My SENCO role is my real drive, ensuring that children are supported and engaged, to reach their full potential. I’ve implemented class inclusion folders, action plans, new IEPs, inclusion meetings and developing successful relationships with outside agencies and parents, as well as keeping the governors up-to-date.


During 2016, I was head of school for two terms, which added another perspective to my experience of school leadership. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role was to ensure consistency in teaching and learning across the school, through observations and drop-ins, watching teachers teach can be the most inspirational experience. In addition to the head of school role, I have had the opportunity to provide School-to-School support, working alongside an NQT mentor, helping to develop teaching and learning throughout the school and ensure SEN policies and procedures were in place. This experience along with being a KS1 moderator, has given me the opportunity to visit a wide range of schools in the borough and share and take-away best practice. 


My mentoring role is another passion, seeing trainees and NQTs grow and develop over their emerging career. So far so good, two out of two trainees on the School Direct program have reached 'outstanding' by the end of their training year. Not too much pressure on the next one!!


Before joining AHIS, I worked at an Inner London primary school for 14years, typically the school was running at 50% EAL and 35% SEN, with the majority being identified as having social, emotional and behavioural needs. After teaching for eight years, I chose to change roles to become an Inclusion Manager. This role not only included overseeing SEN, EAL, G&T and working intensely with vulnerable pupils across the whole school, it also gave me extensive experience in safeguarding and working with looked after children and their families.


Both roles were very challenging in different ways but the rewards outweighed the difficulties. No matter how much time you spent on implementing targeted intervention, working hard to get parents on board or chasing outside agency referrals, hearing that child read for the first time with confidence and enthusiasm or complete a piece of work independently, made it all worthwhile. 


My belief is it’s not always about what we can do for the child identified with SEN, but it’s what we, as a school, can learn from that child. Their skills and resilience can be overwhelming.




Get in touch

Forest Learning Alliance
c/o Uplands Primary School,
Albion Road, Sandhurst,
Berkshire. GU47 9BP

Tel: 01252 873069

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