SENAR Service Update From Helen Ellis

Dear Parents and Carers

I’m delighted to announce that after a rigorous recruitment process, we’ve successfully appointed a permanent Head of SENAR. Please welcome Natalie Williams, who will join the team on the 2nd September 2024, from her role as Strategic Manager, SEND for Stoke on Trent City Council. Natalie brings a phenomenal amount of experience within the Special Educational Needs sector, with over 22 years working in education and local authorities, including time as Inclusion Lead and Autism Specialist at a large Further Education Group.

Natalie’s expertise will contribute significantly to the SENAR team’s already strong skillset, and I know you’ll all provide a warm welcome when she arrives.

Sadly, we’ll be saying a fond farewell to Jo Sullivan-Lyons who has provided invaluable interim support over the past two years and will be leaving on the 7th June. On her time at the council Jo has said:

‘It has been a privilege to serve Birmingham’s children, young people and families and support the local area’s SEND improvement journey. I have learnt so much during my time with you all and look forward to applying this learning in my next role.’

Jo’s unwavering dedication and contribution to the service will not be forgotten and I know you will join me in offering heartfelt thanks and wishing her all the very best for the future.

While we await Natalie’s arrival, this vital role will be covered by Tracy Winwood who is steadfast in her commitment to Birmingham and driving the SENAR service forward. Tracy has been working closely with Jo over the past 18 months and this, along with her many years working in Local Authority SEND services, will ensure stability, consistency, and a seamless transition.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a hugely positive step in achieving our ambition for SENAR and provide the very best outcomes for the children and families we support.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there’s anything you’d like to discuss, and a reminder that the SENAR structure and contact details can be found on the Local Offer.

With my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your continued support.


Helen Ellis, Director of SEND and Inclusion
Children and Families Directorate

Birmingham City Council Email Signature
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