14 years ago Sharon gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who has Down syndrome. The next few years saw Sharon and a friend setting up a local Down syndrome support group, to help other parents and to provide friendship, training, signposting and a range of other services. She also was the Chair of her local Parent Carer Forum for a few years. She became interested in why some parents identified mainstream education as inclusion, whilst others felt special schools were the only way their child could be fully included in education.
As her daughter approached secondary school age, Sharon wanted to understand more about education and inclusion, to help her through the years ahead, which she anticipated might be challenging. This led her to the BA Education Studies course at the University of Winchester, through which she discovered a love of the philosophy of education, as it provided her with useful distance from her own experiences to explore ideas relating to education and inclusion. She graduated with First class honours, and won the dissertation prize for her discussion of risk and special educational needs.
Sharon has recently completed her MA Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, UCL and is due to start her PhD research at the University of Birmingham in the next few weeks. Her research will be looking at the subjectivity of parents of children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities, and the impact this has on the inclusion of children with SEND in education.