Deputy head Colin an 'inspiration to us all'

Torbay Weekly

Colin May is top of the class.

Deputy head Colin has won the Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Leader of the Year Award at the National Association for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities fifth annual Awards - in the year he retires after 20 years of dedicated service.

Colin was put in the spotlight at a glittering ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London for his outstanding work in helping children and young people with SEND reach their full potential.

The awards are hosted by nasen , the leading membership charity that exists to champion, connect and support those working with, and for, children and young people with SEND and learning differences.

Colin was recognised for his work at Mayfield Special School over two decades, supporting pupils with a wide range of needs, and moving from a class of secondary pupils with extremely complex needs to the school’s primary department.

His own beliefs in terms of supporting pupils who are distressed have formed the basis of what lies at the heart of the Mayfield ethos and are celebrated as the reason why the school is so well respected and valued by the local community.

Colin joins 12 other award winners who were judged by a panel of leading professionals – who have a wealth of experience in education and SEND – as well as individuals with lived experience.

Colin said: “I was thrilled to be shortlisted for the award, and to have won it was both a lovely surprise and great way to end my time at Mayfield. The award is really recognition for the great work of my colleagues over the years. I have loved my time at Mayfield and have been so lucky to have worked with such wonderful children and young people.”

Chief Executive of nasen, Annamarie Hassall said: “Colin should be extremely proud of what he has achieved during his significant career in education. He has been deeply committed to best practice and inclusion for learners with SEND and I am thrilled to be able to spotlight his work. I know it will inspire others in the sector."

Colin’s approach was judged to be highly individualised and child-centred. He was keen to provide meaningful learning experiences for the pupils in his class, challenging himself to think outside the box if something wasn't working or could be improved upon.

This had a significant overall impact on pupils being able to access and engage with the curriculum. It was that outstanding practice, and ability to articulate his values and beliefs, which saw him identified for leadership. The judges agreed that Colin had an immeasurable impact on pupils and their families, the staff that have worked with him, and the wider SEND community.

Daniel Kebede, President of the National Education Union - who sponsored the SEND Leader of the Year Award category - said: “Colin’s values as a leader, his dedication to pupils with challenging needs, and his extraordinary efforts on their behalf are commendable, and an inspiration to us all.”