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Staff Profile – Sheila Lawton

Each month we’re celebrating one of our dedicated staff members who have been with R.E.A.L. for ten years or more. This month, we focus on the fabulous Sheila Lawton. 

Sheila began working for R.E.A.L. in September 2010, just as the Behaviour Support Service in Nottinghamshire began to close. 

Sheila started her career as a mainstream maths teacher and part-time Open University tutor. However, an operation on her vocal chords in 1996 meant that she could no longer raise her voice above the noise of 30 boisterous students in a classroom. 

After taking early retirement for a whole two weeks, Sheila came back to teaching part-time, first with Newark and Sherwood College and then with the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Worksop. When the PRUs started to reorganise, Sheila moved into the Behaviour Support Service where she met R.E.A.L. Founder, Brian Smith.

Sheila mainly teaches maths at R.E.A.L, but has also supported with English, Aim Awards, and Adventure Studies. Sheila’s skills and experience are often in demand, although by her own admission, she does struggle with cooking!

About her role at R.E.A.L. Sheila said: “Each year I feel I am blessed to still have the passion, at my great age, to try to make a difference to our young people.The pandemic has meant I am delivering remote learning, greatly assisted by my lovely colleagues forever printing off and delivering work on my behalf, and I cannot wait to get back to Sandhills to thank them personally.

“I also cannot wait to get back to teaching my fabulous students face to face and have missed the games of chess I usually start my lessons with.” 

Prior to lockdown, Sheila’s weekends would usually be enjoyed in her caravan near the Derbyshire border. In the school holidays, Sheila would enjoy relaxing in her apartment in Spain. Fortunately Sheila lives in a small hamlet and can roam the local footpaths to keep relatively sane while waiting for the world to get back to some sort of normal.

Sheila’s final thought for her profile was to say: “I cannot thank Steve, Rich and Kelsey enough for the way they have supported those of us who have been forced to shield for nearly a year. We have been cared for admirably by R.E.A.L. throughout the pandemic and their support has been superb.”

R.E.A.L. offers a wide range of benefits for staff and is an amazing place to work. We’re currently recruiting for a number of new and exciting vacancies. If you are interested in joining our supportive and dynamic team, please click here to visit our website.


RAPS Mansfield will became RIS Mansfield on 27th May. The new RIS website will be launching shortly.

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