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A day in the life

Claire Lazarus, national adviser, SEN Regional Partnerships

"My days are incredibly different because I spend a lot of time travelling around the 11 regions. But I have a desk in an open-plan office in the DfES (SEN and disability division), and I spend probably two days a week there.

I try to be there by 8.30am, try to leave by 6pm, and carry on working when I get home.

The rest of the time I am in the regions - attending a meeting, running a workshop, supporting the launch of a new initiative or report. If I didn't get out to the regions, and know the people there, I wouldn't be doing my job properly, because the regions are all so different.

When most people's working days end, mine often begin because it is less stressful to get somewhere on the train the night before than risk being late in the morning.

I try to go to a steering group meeting in each region once a year, and I meet the regional facilitators twice a term. In this world it's all about relationships, and mine with my facilitators are vital. I am in constant communication with them but, in my view, face-to-face communication can't be beaten.

I spend a large part of my time trying to make linkages between what is happening in the regions and policy-making at the centre. I act as a filter, passing on requests or ideas from the department to the regions, and vice versa. There is a lot of networking - trying to fit the puzzle together - and a lot of emailing. There is also an unbelievable amount of reading, including the reports and guidance produced by the regions.

The chief satisfaction for me is that I continue to believe that the partnerships are a good concept and that we are making a huge difference, improving services in the regions. The downside is that it is vast.

Inclusion is so huge, we could go on working for ever..."

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