My name is Marie Sharples, I am Pastoral Manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead at St Matthew’s CEP in Bolton, where I have worked for the last 4 years. The school is in an area of high deprivation and we have a large proportion of children who have English as an additional language, including Somalian refugees. Prior to this I worked in a school not far from where I am currently, again lots of deprivation but mainly white British families. I was there for 26 years and started as a Lunchtime Supervisor when my children were young, progressing to Special Needs Assistant, then Behaviour Management Officer and, for the last 15+ years in my current role. We have a number of children who are subject to Child Protection Plans and 4 who are Looked After. My job is early intervention which involves me getting in promptly to support those families where the children are vulnerable or becoming ‘at risk’. I therefore have Child Action Meetings every six weeks or so with the parents with other professionals present, in the same manner as any other Child Action Meeting. I am Lead Professional on 18 cases which involves coordinating support for children and families. I also offer Pastoral Support to all our children, where needed, and this takes a large chunk of time.
On a personal note, I am 61 years of age but not ready to retire yet! I am married with 4 grown up children and 6 beautiful grandchildren. My life outside of work really centres around my family, spending weekends together, playing board games, going for walks and generally larking around. In any quiet time I have I enjoy reading and cooking.