Principal of Marchbank Free School Mandy Southwick is nominated for services to education

Education Village

Monday, 19th June 2017

Principal of Marchbank Free School Mandy Southwick is nominated for services to education

TEACHER who has spent her career helping children with behavioural issues has been rewarded with an MBE

A TEACHER who has spent her career helping children with behavioural issues has been rewarded for her efforts with an MBE.

Principal of Marchbank Free School Mandy Southwick was nominated for services to education.

The Darlington school, which is part of the Education Village Academies Trust, specialises in helping primary school age children with a range of emotional, social and mental health conditions. These range from emotional and attachment issues to attention deficit hyperactivity difficulties or autism spectrum conditions.

Marchbank opened in 2013 in Mowden Hall and now caters for around 50 children aged five to 11.

Renowned for its expertise, it draws pupils from Darlington, County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire, from as far away as Consett in the North to Easingwold in the South.

Darlington-born, Mrs Southwick was educated at Reid Street Primary School and Branksome Comprehensive School, before reading a degree in English and securing a teaching qualification from the College of Ripon and York St John, Ripon.

She began teaching at Aycliffe Village Primary School before being the first emotional behavioural difficulties primary teacher at Beaumont Hill Special School, Darlington, which moved to the Education Village in 2005.

“I have always been fascinated by behaviour and working in a mainstream primary helped me understand that some children struggle to reach their milestones,” she said.

“I have loved it ever since. Behaviour is generally a secondary reaction to something. It could be trauma, attachment issues or medically-based conditions. It’s our job to find out what it is and then provide the right support.”

She said there was now greater acceptance of a variety of conditions. “It is a field that has developed massively in the time I have been involved,” she said.

“With brain-based research there are so many more avenues to explore and we can help develop some of the neuropathways that might be missing in some children.”

She said she was shocked and humbled to receive an MBE. “For me it is recognition for the work of the whole school. I could not have realised our vision without all of our staff.

“I love my job. The children are so rewarding and such great fun and it is so lovely to see them settle in here, feel comfortable and start to learn.”