Experience and Skill Set
Samuel Strafford conducts postgraduate research into the ethics and politics of Inclusive Education at The Institute of Education and is currently writing a book about the philosophical foundations of inclusion. Previously he completed a degree in philosophy and political theory at the Higher Institute of Philosophy in Leuven, Belgium. Outside of academia, Samuel has experience of supporting young people with additional needs in both formal and informal educational settings. Taking a holistic view of inclusive education, he is particularly interested in exploring how increasing recognition of (and respect for) diversity and uniqueness can challenge us to reflect on the exclusionary nature of established educational practice. Samuel has specific knowledge and expertise in the area of neurodiversity, with strengths in autism, ADHD, and social, emotional and mental health issues. He hopes to provide a vital link between Queensbury School and the cutting edge of practical and theoretical educational research by helping to interpret data, reflecting on legislative and policy developments, and by highlighting the ethical dimensions and moral considerations of both the strategic and day-to-day decisions adopted by the school. Alongside his academic and governance responsibilities, he is working to become an accredited counsellor and psychotherapist and training to take the solicitors qualifying exam.
Profession and Job Roles
Samuel has worked as an inclusion mentor inside a pupil referral unit attached to a mainstream school in Birmingham. He has also worked as a youth worker, mentoring young people to complete the National Citizens Service. As a pastoral care lead in a youth work charity, he provided non-judgemental pastoral care and support to staff teams and cohorts of up to 140 young people on residential youth programmes. As a youth work programme manager Samuel assumed the role of designated safeguarding lead and encouraged a culture of inclusion and reflective practice within the teams he supervised. Prior to continuing with his academic research Samuel was a manager at The Old Crown pub in Digbeth.
Samuel is a proud Brummie born and bred in B23 and a season ticket holder at the majestic Villa Park. He is a keen reader and spends a lot of his time reading for both work and pleasure, his favourite books growing up were Phillip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials Trilogy’ and stories by Roald Dahl. When he feels inspired, he likes to write poetry, short stories and essays. Samuel loves to explore the world and has been lucky enough to have lived in Norway, Belgium, and the USA and has travelled through almost 50 countries. Last summer he went on a pilgrimage, walking almost 1000km from the south of France through Spain to the Atlantic coast.
Despite my love of learning, I have not had the smoothest educational journey, often struggling to cope within traditional educational spaces. As a student with ADHD, I have repeatedly come up against barriers and often felt ashamed that I fell short of certain expectations. Whilst organisation and punctuality are not necessarily strengths of mine, I work hard to make sure that I have strategies in place to deliver nonetheless. I have been written off many times by teachers and lecturers, but I refuse to take no for an answer. I believe that it is important for all kinds of people to be able to access spaces which are usually off limits to those at the margins. I hope to demonstrate the value in accepting and encouraging our unique strengths, talents, needs, and perspectives and believe that it is our responsibility to not only include diverse learners within education but to constitute education systems and a wider society in which difference is valued rather than punished.