Jean is national expert on children’s issues. She is passionate about achieving better life chances for disadvantaged children and young people and dedicates her time to trying to make a difference for this group. She has been a teacher, an educational psychologist, head of children’s services in a local authority, and a Visiting and Associate Fellow at three universities.
Jean has frequently acted in an advisory capacity to government on early years, wellbeing and special educational needs policy. Until 2011 she was the government’s Communication Champion for children and young people, responsible for promoting the importance of good language skills. Before this she led work on overcoming barriers to achievement as a Director of the government’s National Strategies, inclusing developing the influential Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme. She recently co-authored the Education Endowment Foundation's guidance 'Improving social and emotioanal learning in primary schoools'.
As Director of the Every Child a Chance Trust, Jean successfully championed the cause of children with significant literacy and numeracy difficulties,bringing together the interest of the business, charitable and public sectors in tackling social exclusion through high-impact early intervention programmes. The resulting Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts programmes reached 30,000 children a year.
Jean was a founding Trustee and is now an Associate of the Early Intervention Foundation and is a Trustee of ICAN, the children’s communication charity.
She is the author of numerous articles and best-selling books including Psychology and Parenthood (Open University Press, 1989) , Special educational needs and school improvement (David Fulton, 2004), Beating Bureaucracy in SEN (NASEN/Routledge, 3rd edn. 2015) and Time to Talk (Routledge, 2nd edn. 2017).
Jean’s interests are in the systematic application of evidence-based approaches to tackling disadvantage and under-achievement. She was awarded a CBE in the 2011 New Year’s honours list, for services to education.