12th December 2008 at 00:00

Irene Hall, child protection and inclusion officer in South Lanarkshire, has died at the age of 60 following a brief illness. Members of the education resources department would like to pay tribute to their much loved and respected colleague.

Irene graduated as a primary teacher specialising in French from Callendar Park College of Education in Falkirk in 1968. She spent the early years of her teaching career in England before returning to teach in Bothwell Primary in Lanarkshire in 1976. She taught in a number of schools as a class teacher before she took a break from teaching to raise her two sons.

On her return to work, she chose to specialise in the field of support for learning, and gained her diploma in special educational needs from Jordanhill College of Education in 1991.

She quickly gained promotion to the post of specialist support co-ordinator. In this role, she managed a multi-disciplinary team comprising teachers who supported children in nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools and also provided support for bilingual learners. An inspirational and innovative manager, she gained the respect of a wide range of colleagues, both in education and the wider community.

Irene made a significant contribution, over many years, to the development of support for children with additional needs and their families.

She was also a creative and motivational leader who initiated many developments in policy and practice in inclusive education.

Her work on the development of inclusive approaches to teaching children with dyslexia attracted wide interest, including her involvement in a national project on identifying and promoting good practice in the transition of children with dyslexia from primary to secondary schools.

Irene was committed to continuing professional development. She encouraged many staff to extend their skills, knowledge and experience and develop their potential. Many of them went on to achieve promotion in their later careers.

She led a number of training initiatives for the authority on, for example, early literacy development and whole-school approaches to learning and teaching.

Latterly, Irene was a key officer for education in the field of child protection, working closely with colleagues from partner agencies, such as health and social work.

She made a significant contribution to preparations for the inspection of the authority in relation to services to protect children. In particular, she led the development of innovative approaches to teaching children how to keep themselves safe, which was highlighted as an example of best practice by HMIE.

Irene is deeply mourned by her husband, family and many friends and colleagues.

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