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IMPOWER’s Heroes of 2022: Claire Merchant-Jones, Somerset County Council

Chloe Williams

My hero of the year is Claire Merchant-Jones. Claire oversees the work of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) service in Somerset. This service supports the 4000 children in Somerset who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), and in the last two years they have been on a journey to strengthen the support they provide and the experience of families.

It is not always an easy job, but Claire is absolutely committed to ensuring the right support is in place for children at the right time. She inspires her team,  is not scared to call out challenges, and recognises that there is always more to do to improve the experience for families. This has been recognised recently in the expansion of her role to now include wider Inclusion Advice services, such as the local authority Advisory Teachers. Moving forward, this will give Claire greater ability to ensure all schools are supported to identify and meet children’s needs as early as possible! We’re excited to see where this takes them.

Written by

Chloe Williams

Manager, IMPOWER



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