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Meet the Head: Cambian Great Dunmow School


We recently opened our newest SEMH education service Cambian Great Dunmow School in Essex with Paul Sanderson at the helm as its new Head Teacher.


Paul has an extensive background in education, specialising in SEND, and is passionate about creating educational environments where every student can flourish and feel appreciated. We met up with Paul to find out more about our new Head and his plans for the school:


What type of children and how many will Great Dunmow support?

Great Dunmow School is registered for 25 students, aged 11 to 18, with a primary diagnosis of SEMH. However, depending on presentation, compatibility with the existing cohort, and detailed assessment procedures, young people with ASD, FASD etc, may be considered for placement.


How will the school support young people with their emotional, social and mental health needs?

The school has a full-time pastoral lead, who is permanently available to support students when required. There is access to a range of therapy inputs, following the identification of an appropriate need, and subsequent assessment procedures.


How will the school support young people with their academic progress?

Whilst the school follows the National Curriculum, the academic content can be adapted and individualised to meet the specific needs of each student. Great Dunmow School is in the process of being registered as an NCFE examination centre, and learners will also have access to a wide range of accredited unit awards through AQA.


How will the school measure their outcomes?

Following a wide-ranging diagnostic baseline assessment process, addressing both academic and emotional capabilities, outcomes will be measured by means of a range of interim formative and summative assessments (including examinations).


What makes Great Dunmow stand out as a school?

Aside from the previously mentioned academic strategies and protocols, the overarching, stand out element of Great Dunmow School is a staff group who care, and are focused on providing positive outcomes for our learners.


Could you tell us a little about yourself, what is your background and what has your career path looked like?

Almost my whole career in education has been in SEND backgrounds, working with a huge range of disabilities, including SEMH, ASD and SLD learners with significant communication impairments. Prior to my headship roles with Cambian, I spent three years as Head of a provision for young people with severe learning disabilities, and five years as Head of a complex needs school in Norfolk.


I have been an ultra-marathon runner for over thirty years, and have completed the Marathon des Sables, across the Sahara Desert, three times. The most recent occasion was in October 2021, as part of the Red Bull / Wings for Life organisation. I also compete in triathlon / duathlon events, and will be part of the GB team competing in the European championships in Venice next March. I am a huge advocate for the positive impact that partaking in sport and physical exercise facilitates, particularly in regards to mental health and wellbeing.


What are you looking forward to the most about your role as Headteacher and what are your aspirations for the school?

To provide an education environment that provides outstanding outcomes for the young people we support, a workplace where staff can flourish and feel appreciated, and subsequently have that recognised by an ‘Outstanding’ judgement from Ofsted.


For information about Cambian Great Dunmow School and to enquire click here


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