Yvonne Gabriel, Deputy Head teacher (Pupil Development, Behaviour & Welfare)

I have been working for Eagle House Group for eight years; the first four of which were as the deputy head teacher at our primary school in Mitcham and then subsequently at our secondary school in Sutton.

I started working with children with autism over 25 years ago when I was a welfare assistant in a specialist school in West London. From there, my interest and passion for working with this intriguing group of children blossomed.

After qualifying as at teacher, I started my career working in mainstream primary schools. During this time I recognised that I was drawn to the children with autism who came through my class (whether formally diagnosed or in many cases, where I simply recognised the signs). I had an instinctive desire to try to connect with them and to find ways to enable them to develop, achieve and shine.

Eventually I realised that not only did I miss the excitement and challenge of teaching children with autism, but also that within the mainstream environment, my ability to make a real difference to these children was limited. So when the opportunity arose I came back in to the specialist school setting where I feel I belong and remain in today.

My main areas of responsibility within Eagle House School (Sutton) are pupil development, behaviour and welfare. We aim to provide pupils with a relevant, engaging and enjoyable school day that provides them with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to prepare them for fulfilling adult lives after Eagle House School. Ensuring that we have robust assessment systems in place, we work with pupils supporting them to make good progress towards meeting their full potential in all areas of their learning, development and independence. I gain immense joy and feel such pride in seeing my pupils achieve in so many ways – however small. It could be a personal achievement such as being able to enter a classroom and sit beside other pupils for the first time or in gaining nationally recognised qualifications.

I am proud to be a member of a dedicated team that values the uniqueness of each pupil and is committed in striving towards all children and young people being able to meet their full potential during their time with us.