Delegates challenged to ask “will it make the boat go faster?”
Nigel Evans, HMI and national lead inspector for learners with high needs, made his final public speech to Natspec conference delegates on Wednesday. Nigel leaves his post next week, after an illustrious career spanning several decades in a range of roles. He used his speech to reflect on how provision for people with learning difficulties has improved over the years from when he first worked on the Sunshine Ward “for disturbed and violent patients” at Farleigh Hospital.
Despite the progress, Nigel reminded delegates that we should continue on a “relentless drive for quality improvement”. Using the approach adopted by gold medal winning rowing teams, who asked the single question “will it make the boat go faster?”, Nigel challenged delegates to continuously ask of themselves “how will this benefit learners and lead to better outcomes?”
With over 16 years’ inspection experience under his belt (and more than 350 inspections undertaken), several significant national reports such as the 2016 review of high needs provision “Moving Forward”, and many years of supporting Natspec members at conferences and events up and down the country, conference delegates gave Nigel a rousing send-off. Natspec Policy Officer, Ruth Perry, presented him with a parting gift, thanking him for all his work: “Nigel has been a great friend to Natspec. Not only is he a good talker but he’s also a good listener and a great advocate for students with high needs, and those who work with them.” We will be doing our best to lure him out of retirement to support the work of Natspec in the future.
Read more from the conference: