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Valrie Tait-Saunders

Valrie started volunteering and teaching in the community while still at high school; during this time she also worked as a junior community artist on the Hulme Library North West Arts Programme. She left Manchester to study English and Drama in 1980 in Leeds.

As Val Mckenzie she joined Commonword as its first Black British, Manchester, born writer and performer. Her 'One Voice, Many Voices' poem was published in Voices Issue 18 (Autumn 1978) this poem was also published in Spare Rib. Valrie has over 30 years experience as a Teacher, a Creative Therapist and Mental Health Worker.

She has taught and supported children and young people from 5 to 21 and a comprehensive array of curriculum subjects both in the UK and internationally. The first half of her teaching career was in traditional mainstream schools while also Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

On returning to the UK she worked and lived in a Charterhouse Therapeutic Community( Peper Harrow), Manchester Hospital Schools provision and Moderate Learning Difficulties and Emotional Behavioural Social Difficulties, day and boarding Schools.

Between these two halves of her teaching career she worked in adult mental health rehabilitation services. This experience informed her choice to work in special settings as her adult client groups identified child- hood incidents at school, home and foster families as the genesis of their unwell being. Valrie is currently Chair of the Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust. Over the years she has engaged in a range of activities, including the supplementary

school and the Manchester Conference for Black Parents, Children and Young People which was held at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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