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Introducing Wellbeing & Safeguarding Team - Danni Harper

Danni HarperPreview: Danni Harper

Can you introduce your role

I’m Danni and I am the Wellbeing and Safeguarding Lead at Northcoders. This means my responsibilities are being the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Prevent Single Point of Contact, meaning I take lead responsibility for any safeguarding and wellbeing concerns. 

Can you explain your day to day schedule

Each day is completely different, part of the reason I enjoy this job. A huge part of my role has been developing the Wellbeing & Safeguarding processes at Northcoders, but now they are implemented, it’s about supporting learners and working with staff to ensure that all learners are able to get the best experience from the course possible. My job involves a lot of talking with learners and staff, to discuss concerns, problem-solve and support with any outcomes going forward. I never know what each day will bring, which means it is absolutely never boring.

What made you want to get into your role?

I fell into working in education, and through that I found I was passionate about helping people, supporting Mental Health and SEND support. Safeguarding is interwoven through all of this and I found it so fulfilling and realised through this, I could be a part of reducing the stigma around needing support. Having studied photography at uni, this is absolutely not where I thought that would lead, however finding something I am so passionate about and getting to that every day feels such a privilege. 

What’s your favourite part of your role?

Getting to see the learners graduate has got to be a highlight for me. I think it can be easy to underestimate how hard they have worked to complete the course, that’s without factoring in any external concerns, responsibilities, illnesses etc. Seeing their hard work pay off is such an incredible feeling and reminds me why I do this.

How do you practice balance in your role?

Maintaining my own mental health is vital, as it means I have capacity to support learners all day, whilst still having the capacity to enjoy my personal life too. I have fortnightly therapy sessions and an incredible support network, which help me to find balance. Alongside this I exercise regularly, game and make time for anything arty. 

I also think it helps having such a supportive team. Being able to air concerns in a safe space means I am not hanging on to things or overthinking them. It is also great to share ideas with people who are on the same wavelength as you, allowing us to explore options that are best for the learners and keep them as the priority, without draining myself in the process.

How do you find working for a company like Northcoders?

It has been very different for me as every role I have had in the past has been in ‘traditional’ education settings. However, I absolutely love it. I feel like everyone here is so willing to make things work for the learners, which means I have had a lot of flexibility within my role to support learners. 

Working 4.5 days has also made a huge difference to my wellbeing. Knowing I have half a day during the week where I can switch off and rest has meant I am able to get more enjoyment out of my day to day work.

This year’s theme is ‘Movement: Moving more for our mental health’ - how do you practice this?

I’m hyper aware that my role can be very desk based, so I make sure I try to stay active by doing something everyday. Usually this is going to the gym or going on a run each morning, alongside walking my golden retriever Finley. I have also decided to run a half marathon in September to support City Hospital in Nottingham, so the training for that will definitely keep me active and what better motivation than raising money for an incredible cause.

What are you looking forward to most in 2024?

I am fortunate enough to be getting married in October, and could not be more excited for this. I have loved the planning and build up, plus there is my hen do and honeymoon all slotted nicely around it, so plenty of excitement to be had this year.