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Sheila Vizard

Sheila Vizard, the former Head of the South Acton Children's Centre, in Castle Close, Acton, was given the honour for services to children and families, having spent almost her whole career developing childcare and education in Ealing, London.
I am  delighted at being recognised with an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list. I was obviously very surprised  to be given this honour and  feel pleased  that the work in the early years sector, has been recognised and valued.


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Sheila Vizard's profile

This award is not just for me, but for all the hard work of the great team I have had behind me, who really want to make a difference to the lives of children and their families.
I started my career teaching in the primary sector.
I planned lessons, the 11 year olds sat in rows!  had a coal boiler in my room and no it wasn’t in Victorian days but  in old  Victorian built schools in the Angel and Hoxton!
I enjoyed good relationships with the children, had great fun on school journeys and that was it!
Parents ?? where / who were they? I never met them! The children just arrived at school as far as I was concerned!
 In the 70’s I took my daughter to a parent and toddler Group in Hanwell (Ealing) and became totally committed to the importance and value of working with children under five and  to get to know the families and listen and respond to their needs.
I moved on to help set up a landmark childcare centre in Southall in 1975 to give pupils from Dormers Wells School and Villiers High School a chance to gain experience in working with children.
That centre was important as there was no other way for youngsters to gain experience working with children. They were members of the management committee and had a big hand in running the centre.
That lead to my work in developing CSE exams in childcare which were adopted by schools in the borough, which I did for ten years, before becoming a Head teacher in Southall.
In 1999 I moved to Acton  as Headteacher, overseeing the development and supporting the design,  of a pioneering Sure Start centre, at the South Acton Children's Centre. The Centre  transformed the local services ( social  services / education) and provides a diverse range of facilities to help support  parents and children, including those with severe and complex needs.
The Centre is a one stop shop with health and education professionals working side by side, open for 51 weeks of the year from 8 –6pm providing full time care and education to about 170 children each day, from birth to five years. The majority of places and all support services are free.
It was formally opened in March 2006 by Professor Lord Robert Winston, who said ”you are contributing to people who you will never see grow up but scientific data will tell you , you have changed their lives for the better”


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