My name is Ken Stapleton and I am a semi-retired social worker. My current part time work commitments are:
- Clinical Advisor for Pathways Associates; independent input into Care & Treatment Reviews (NHS England)
- Teaching on an undergraduate module, ‘Disability Studies’, at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) Spring term 2018
I have now clocked up 46 years of active employment within social care and related fields. I am proud and relieved to say that I have just received my tax code for 2018/2019!
Since I began public service life in 1972 as an unqualified social worker, qualifying in 1977, I have worked across all the major fields of social care endeavour apart from sensory disability. I have worked with older people and mental health (1972-1975), in ‘mainstream’ child care (1977-1981), with learning disabled children and their families (1981-1996), as a Team Manager with an Adult Learning Disability service (1996-2006) and as a Team Manager of a Self Directed Support Team (2006-2008).
Following my retirement in 2008, I have continued to work in both a voluntary and paid capacity in a number of local authorities up to and including the present.
Notwithstanding longevity, chronic restructure repetitive syndrome (CRRS), stress and fatigue, I have largely survived unscathed because of the support of many, many people; family, colleagues, people who use or indeed refuse to use ‘services’, somewhat surprisingly as passionate as I ever was about social justice, fairness, valuing all groups who are or have been stigmatised as outsiders, ‘the other’ or ‘the rebel’. Power and oppression come in many and ever changing disguises and we who can and will must talk with and walk with them to social justice and citizenship.
I became a ‘Guvnor’ (sic) at New Bridge School because I had worked enthusiastically with senior members of the school’s senior leadership team to implement a government pilot project (2007-2009), ‘Getting a Life’, which had at its core the outcome of paid employment for young people with learning difficulties leaving secondary SEND education.
The school has been successful in developing creative means to achieve these outcomes with their ‘Bridging The Gap’ project which continues at two sites and is also being implemented within the Group’s adult provision, New Bridge Horizons.
In my current work for NHS England I see the long term damage that is still being inflicted upon cognitively impaired and ‘differently-abled’ young people, adults and elders as a result of silo working and decision making which frequently originates in early family, educational experiences. New Bridge School as a place of learning is a creative, stimulating, caring organisation whose value base means that in all decision making, the needs of the children and young people are uppermost.