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My journey.

My love of teaching began in the church as a young outreach worker, where I taught groups of young people and delivered assemblies in schools. My professional career began in 2004 when I took up my first teaching post at St Michael’s CofE High School in Chorley, Lancashire (Outstanding, Ofsted, 2009). After just over 6 years of full-time teaching and pastoral leadership,  I sacrificed my career and leadership role to raise my young family.


When both of my children started school, I decided to return to teaching, joined a teaching agency and accepted a temporary position in a pupil referral unit (PRU). Within months of starting at the PRU, I became a permanent staff member and joined the senior leadership team at St Thomas’s Centre in Blackburn, Lancashire (Outstanding, Ofsted, 2018).

Unbeknown to me, it would be there, at the PRU where I would discover and refine my skills as an adaptive teacher. When pupils arrive in the PRU the vast majority have developed learned helplessness, the iatrogenic consequence of consistently not having learning needs identified and met. Virtually all the children have low reading ages, some half their chronological age and for many, compounded knowledge deficits resulted in cumulative dysfluency. 


To add to this, every child had developed SEMH issues and there was a wide range of special education needs. For over 7 years, ​ I taught classes of permanently excluded/at risk of permanent exclusion KS4 children with complex needs, cumulative dysfluency and chronic behaviour patterns.  


However, unlike teaching in a mainstream school, I could not remove persistently disruptive children from my lessons, so I had to adapt. 


Since leaving the PRU, I have distilled adaptive teaching into principles and practices which apply strategically and operationally.  I now use The Principles of Adaptive Teaching and The Five Stages of Adaptive Teaching to develop expertise and raise awareness that adaptive teaching is high quality teaching which improves outcomes for children with or without SEND, and once mastered, it is also an extremely potent behaviour management strategy. 

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Cheryl Williams-Corcoran
Adaptive Teaching Consultant 

My vision.

To improve outcomes for children, in particular, vulnerable children with the greatest barriers to learning by equipping teachers to identify a child’s needs and meet those needs through high quality adaptive teaching.

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