who are we
Jane Pitman OBE DL
A Hertfordshire resident for nearly 40 years and for many years involved in local politics. Until her retirement in 2012, Jane was Chairman of Hertfordshire County Council and also served for seven years as the Executive Member for Childrens Services which was intensive and rewarding, especially as the corporate parent to over 1,000 children. Jane was also a prime mover in establishing the 82 Children’s Centres in the county.
Lauren is a broadcaster for ITV News Anglia, a regional television news and current affairs programme, produced by ITV Anglia, serving the East of England. She was a trustee until 2012 and now is an ambassador for TRACKS autism attending events in East Anglia.
A career in the church followed by a second career in the voluntary sector led Mervyn to his “best involvement ever” i.e. with TRACKS autism. By a strange coincidence Mervyn was at University with Jane Asher’s brother and met her then, not knowing their paths would cross again years later as they both supported TRACKS. Mervyn also held the esteemed position of being the first ever Chaplain of Luton Town FC, as well as a late night radio presenter on BBC Radio for two years. Seven grandchildren and half a dog now keep Mervyn busy when he is not immersed in working for TRACKS.
Lady Hobson OBE
Lady Hobson, was made OBE for services to ballet and philanthropy, in particular supporting the Royal Opera House and its ballet productions and tours. She is a a keen supporter of the Royal Ballet’s Chance to Dance scheme which gives free classes and tickets to children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
Jane Asher is an actress, author and businesswoman. She has worked in film, theatre and radio since she was 5 years old and has also written over a dozen books, including cookery books and three best-selling novels. Her shop in Chelsea sells bespoke cakes, and a vast selection of baking and decorating equipment on line. Jane’s work in the charity sector is well respected. She is President of Parkinson’s UK, of the National Autistic Society and of Arthritis Care; Vice President of Autistica; Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust; Friend for Life, Terrence Higgins Trust and a Patron of many other organizations. She is a judge every year of the Guardian charity awards and of the patisserie section of the Annual Awards of Excellence for the Academy of Culinary Arts
Baroness Howarth OBE
Baroness Howarth joined the House of Lords in 2001 and speaks on health, social care and consumer issues. She has a particular interest in children and is secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children. A social worker by background, she completed her local government career as a director of social services, then developed the charity ChildLine into a national organisation. Her work in the voluntary sector includes holding the position of senior vice president of Livability, working with disabled people, and patron of both Little Hearts Matter, working for children born with half a heart, and TRACKS autism. She has been the vice chair of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation dealing with sex abuse for almost twenty years.
I have always had a passion for Autism and decided to specialise in Autism following my Psychology degree.
I am a fully qualified teacher, from Homerton College in Cambridge and have taught children with autism in learning difficulty schools, both moderate and severe learning difficulties. I have a post graduate diploma in autism from the University of Birmingham.
Prior to TRACKS, I worked at Middleton MLD school where I was both Head of lower school and Head of Autism provision whilst also an Outreach Teacher, providing advisory support within mainsteam settings.
It is an honour to be the Principal of TRACKS since September 2015 where I can combine my passion for working in the Early Years and children with Autism.
You will often find me in the ball pool, covered in shaving foam or generally having fun with our amazing children!
Since the age of 16 I have worked with young children and their families, both in mainstream and Special Educational Needs.
I have worked at TRACKS since May 2016 and took on the role of Deputy Lead Professional in 2017. As Deputy Lead Professional, I work closely with our Principle and lead some sessions during the week.
I have previously worked in a mainstream Nursery setting and provided everyday respite care for 2 children with Autism. After completing my degree at the University of Hertfordshire, I have undergone many Autism specific training courses and continue to work hard to update my knowledge surrounding Special Educational Needs. It's an absolute privilege to work at a specialist nursery environment such as TRACKS and strive to support all families on their journey.
I have been working for TRACKS for the past 11 years as a teaching assistant. After many years working on a different career path, I decided I wanted to do something with children with additional needs. I started as a volunteer and really enjoyed being a part of the TRACKS team. I was then offered a position at TRACKS as a teaching assistant and have been here ever since!
I love seeing the children develop and flourish here and have seen the Centre go from a small room at Lodge Farm to the amazing centre that we have now. It is so rewarding working the children that we support here at TRACKS.
I have worked with young people for around 20 years in schools, both as teaching support and on the governing body, in pre-schools and also as a foster carer, a support worker in a children's home, a childminder and Mum to my four children.
One of my proudest achievements is setting up a play group for young children in care, 10 years ago which was a huge success. Herts County Council rolled out the idea across the county to reach out to many children in care who needed a safe place to socialise and play. The groups still run in different venues today.
In 2017 I began a new career path working with children with Autism and additional needs, which I am really enjoying.
The training and experiences I have gained at TRACKS are fulfilling and rewarding. I enjoy having a positive impact on our children and their families. The children at TRACKS teach me something new every day.
Hello! I’m 23 years old and have been at TRACKS autism for almost 2 years. I have worked as a senior room leader at a private nursery, I have been a special educational needs coordinator in a setting and a private Nanny working for a family. Working at TRACKS is great and super rewarding. I’ve learnt so much working here and continue to develop my practice and knowledge. In my spare time I enjoy competing in Taekwondo at a black belt level and socialising.
I have ten years of experience working with young adults and adolescents with autism, over a variety of settings and in different capacities. After becoming a father two years ago I decided to look into a new career direction by supporting younger children with special needs. I began volunteering at TRACKS one day a week in January 2018 and became a member of staff in March. I feel very proud to be part of the team at TRACKS and privileged to be able to work with some amazing children. Even though I’ve only been at TRACKS for a short time, I have witnessed how the service we provide can help the children and families we support.
I qualified as a nursery nurse at the age of 18 and have worked in a variety of settings with children aged 0 – 5 years. I spent 3 years working in a PMLD school supporting children with complex needs before the birth of my daughter, who was herself diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I have attended several courses over the last few years to increase my knowledge of how to support children on the autistic spectrum, such as ‘More than Words’ and ‘ELKLAN’. I look forward to working with children and their families at TRACKS in the future.
I became interested in working with children with special needs many years ago, when I realised that my eldest son had needs of his own. He had significant speech delay and communication difficulties. It was at this point that I decided to volunteer at his school and this led to me taking some childcare qualifications. My sister and I set up a pre-school for a couple of years, which I really enjoyed. I then managed a crèche at the Living Room in Stevenage for a year before joining TRACKS approximately 13 years ago!
Since working at TRACKS I have seen it grow from a very small group to the fantastic Early Years Centre that it is now. I really enjoy working with children with autism and seeing them develop to their potential while they are will us and feel proud that I have had a part in their lives.
Since being a teenager I have worked with children, particularly younger children in a variety of different settings. For the last 9 years I have volunteered at Rainbows Girl Guiding, which runs every week for girls aged 5-7, during that time I provided 1-1 support for a girl with Down’s syndrome for 3 years. During my summer break at University in 2015, I volunteered at TRACKS autism which opened my eyes to how crucial early intervention is and how amazing TRACKS were at providing this. Since June 2016 I have been working as a teaching assistant at TRACKS, and I absolutely love getting to know all the children in the setting and watching them flourish.
I recently started working at Tracks in the Summer of 2018 and love it! Before my role here I worked as an Early Years Specialist for the Low Incidence Team (Hertfordshire County Council) working primarily with young children who had a Visual Impairment but also with children with complex additional needs. I have various qualifications in child care and special needs but also in office skills (which I obtained when I left school, many years ago!) I have also worked as a Nursery Nurse, Pre-School Chairperson and Secretary.
I have two daughters who are 20 and 17 both of which are severely sight impaired, so our home life is busy with both of their guide dogs! I think this is where my passion for special needs stems from and a desire to make sure that every child has the access and resources to achieve to their full and individual potential.