Welcome to new CEO and Principal, Jolanta McCall

As children across the UK return to school this week, Stockport’s school for children and young people with complex and severe learning
disabilities, The Seashell Trust, prepares to welcome its newly appointed Chief Executive Jolanta McCall.

Originally from Krakow, Poland, Jolanta holds an MA as a teacher of children with special needs and is renowned both in the UK and
internationally for her leadership and the development of innovative services. She was responsible for the establishment of the Hummingbird
Clinic, the only UK‐based specialist clinic for hearing assessment for children with autism and additional special needs. She has acted in an
advisory capacity to the National Deaf Children's Society in the development of UK Quality Standards for Early Years’ provision and she serves as a member of an international working group on the development of new approaches to family‐centred care and support.

Jolanta is also actively involved in research in the field of special needs care with several high‐profile roles in academia and industry.  She joins the Seashell Trust following the retirement of Mark Geraghty and will this week take up her post at the Cheadle Hulme‐based school.  

We meet Jolanta to ask her how she feels about her new role and her ambitions for the future of the Seashell Trust.

How do you feel about your appointment as Chief Executive of The Seashell Trust?
I am absolutely delighted to have the chance to join the amazing and talented team at Seashell Trust. I have been struck by the exceptional work that goes on every day, and the teamwork and commitment that underlie it. I am really looking forward to working with the staff, students and their families, partner agencies and supporters of Seashell.

What was your first impression of The Seashell Trust?
I was overwhelmed by the feeling of community at The Seashell Trust. It is a great place for children and young people to achieve their potential, to communicate, to make decisions and be as independent as they can be. It’s also a great place for colleagues to develop their careers and I have seen first hand the dedication and commitment that the whole place is built on.

And how has your welcome been?
It’s been incredibly warm and I know that I am going to enjoy working with this very talented team and the children and young people at The Seashell Trust.

You’ve had a busy career which you have combined with being a mother. What career highlights do you believe will be most useful in your role at The Seashell Trust?
I qualified as a special needs teacher with a specialism in teaching deaf children and I’ve worked in a residential school in Poland developing the first national curriculum in English. I’ve also achieved my education audiologist qualification and I’m joining The Seashell Trust from a unique post in integrated care combining health and education at Southwark Hearing Support Service where I have had leadership responsibility for children’s therapy services and universal services. I’m actively involved in research in the fields of family‐centred care, the development of UK standards for early years provision and innovation in special needs provision.

How would you describe your vision for The Seashell Trust?
I want to lead a safe organisation with a strong financial infrastructure where we help our children and young people achieve more – to be the very best they can be. I want us to be a national centre of excellence and a national assessment centre for complex needs and create a world‐wide reputation for innovation and the use of technology. I want us to be able to provide early intervention and services for the under‐fives on our
campus and through care in the home. I want to lead the Trust as we develop a new school and campus and I want us to be able to influence the national agenda for children and young people with complex needs.

What do you believe to be the organisation’s greatest strengths?
Any organisation stands on the shoulders of its people and by that I mean our children and young people, their families, our amazing team of teachers and careers and all our partner agencies. I can see an enormous amount of energy and commitment and we need to work together to build the Trust around this unique resource. Because we are a charity we have a huge scope for sharing our best practice and driving innovation
in the field of special needs care.

What do you see as the challenges for the future?
There are cuts and economies all around us and we have the show that we can deliver consistently excellent care and education based on good business sense and strategy. We have to provide solutions for the organisations that place children with us as well as keeping the needs of those individuals at the heart of what it is that we do.

And what about you? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love watching old American movies and British soap operas and comedies. I have to admit I love ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and pretty much know every word of every episode by heart!

And finally, what message would you like to send to parents and the staff as you join The Seashell Trust.
I would say to parents that your children are safe and happy with us and we are committed to helping them achieve their true potential. To the staff I would say you are the jewels in our crown and I want you to join me on this journey as we take The Seashell Trust to the next stage of innovation and progress. And I promise that I will personally be at the heart of this organisation and everything we do here.