In the November / December of 2004, a job came up at Eastbourne SureStart (is it one word ore two? I never could work it out!). It was a job that I knew that I could do. It was as a Reseacher / Evaluator looking to see if the programme was making an impact on the families. In those early years, a lot of time, money and resources were put into looking at the impact of the programme; both nationally and locally. It was really difficult to prove an impact as the work was preventative so no one truly knew what would happen without the interventions and, just to make the job harder, any results would not show up for many years. Anyway, the job came up and I applied and was offered an interview…
Now, at this point, I should mention that I had done loads of interviews in the past. A two day round of interviews for my job at Equitable life involving presentations, group interviews, psychoanalytical tests, numeracy and logic tests etc etc. A gruelling set of interviews for teaching jobs – the first time I taught a secondary school class was in an interview for a job as an Information Technology Teacher at a secondary school. I had done my fair share of interviews. But my self esteem was low. I had been in pain for months. I had had a baby. I had been out of the job market for 18 months. And the offer of an interview came through – I had to do a presentation. I almost turned it down. It was a close call.
Yes – I almost didn’t go for that interview. I was so scared of the presentation. I remember getting the letter, crying and then putting Callie into a pushchair and going for a long walk. I gave myself a good talking to. By the time I returned I had decided to go for it.
Over the next week or two I prepped for the interview. It was the days of projectors and laminates. I drew up the laminates. I practised my presentation over and over again with a borrowed projector. I rehearsed it in my head as I went about my daily life. Never had a presentation been so rehearsed.
So I got the job. Researcher / Evaluator at Eastbourne Sure Start. I can still remember the excitement. I was so happy to have got a job with people who had helped me so much in an organisation which did so much good.
I loved that job. The team was so fantastic to work with – and everyone just mucked in and did what they needed to do to help the families. There was no “that isn’t my job”, “you are stepping on my toes”. Everyone just worked together. It resulted in such a rich and varied working environment. I loved doing evaluation, trying different ways of measuring impact. I enjoyed talking with parents. Writing the reports was just my cup of tea. But I did much more than that. I helped in the groups when needed, sometimes running the singing sessions at the end; I ran a group myself for a while; I helped run the parent forums.; I helped at a Dad’s group in Hailsham on a Saturday morning. It was a lovely, enriching time. New Children’s Centres were opened. Dora the explorer came and visited Willingdon Trees Children’s Centre with her sidekick, Boots. New services and activities were constantly being introduced as the needs of the families became apparent.
I worked at Eastbourne Sure Start until April 2006. I did take 3 months out when I had Lexie. Lexie was introduced to Sure Start at a very early age. I took her to groups when she was just a couple of weeks old. I wasn’t really away for those 3 months I must admit.
Then in April 2006 Sure Start became Children’s Centres and I joined the East Sussex Children’s Centres central team. I was sorry to leave the Eastbourne team but I was ready to move on. So began 13 years of surviving restructures (just), differing job titles and Ofsteds.