Orbis Education and Care has appointed Sarah Russell as its first ever Principal, leading its care and education services under one role for the first time in its 15-year history.
The organisation runs 16 schools, residential homes and day facilities for children and adults with complex needs associated with autism, and is one of the UK’s leading specialist providers.
The new position of Principal will see Sarah take responsibility for both elements of service provision – education and care – at its Ty Bronllys school and home, near Brecon.
During her journey from support worker through various administrative, education and care management roles, Sarah has continued to develop herself personally and professionally since she first joined Orbis in 2008.
She has worked as a Learning Support Assistant, Care Manager, Head of Admissions, Specialist Education Teacher and as Head of Education during that time, completing industry recognised qualifications including her QCF Levels 3 and 5, and a PGCE in further education along the way.
Lucy Pottinger, Director of Education at Orbis Education and Care, has worked alongside Sarah since she joined Orbis and said: “It is always a delight to see someone develop and achieve their true potential, but even more so to see that achieved in so many different areas.”
The new role reflects an exceptional combination of professional expertise on Sarah’s part as it is quite unusual for someone to demonstrate a passion for, as well as actively pursue, their thirst for knowledge in both the education and care aspects of what we do here at Orbis.”
“This was a role created specifically for Sarah, therefore, and is reflective of the level of expertise she has built up with regards to autism care as well as specialist education approaches.” Lucy added.
Sarah’s new role will enable her to further ensure that all elements of the support offered to those living and being educated at Ty Bronllys are both blended and consistent and wholly beneficial in supporting their individual needs.
Sarah, who is from Caerphilly said: “I am really proud that Orbis has created this new role of Principal. There has always been a culture here of recognising hard work and enthusiasm, and of promoting from within. Orbis has always supported me to progress and be my very best and I have enjoyed every opportunity. I have also been very lucky to have some great leaders above me, spurring me on.
“When I joined Orbis Education and Care, I had no relevant qualifications and very little experience in the specialist care or education sectors, so I’m hugely thankful for all the opportunities it has brought my way.”
“I am genuinely passionate about making a difference to the lives of those we support. I think that is what has made me want to keep learning. There are always ways we can improve on what we do,” Sarah added.
“I truly believe this is what lies at the heart of us all working to support those facing a wide range of challenges, and I would encourage anyone with a similar outlook, regardless of their current level of expertise, to consider the rewards a role in specialist care or education could bring them.”