Gwyneth McCormack, Founder of Positive Eye Ltd
Enabling professionals to enable children and young people with vision impairment or SEN
I stood up from my work desk, walked out and never looked back. It was May 2008 and, following a series of budget cuts, the landscape had become increasingly challenging as a Head of Service for Children with Vision Impairments (VI). For the sake of my wellbeing, I knew I had to remove myself; by the time I arrived home, I’d come up with a plan… I told my husband Martin: “I’m going to set up my own business delivering training and sharing back my knowledge.” I genuinely wanted to make a difference in a sector I had fallen into by chance rather than design…
Throughout my twenties I’d been a fashion and textiles teacher before taking four years out to look after our two boys. Just as I was getting ready to return to work, the Government began including children with VI within mainstream settings. They needed teachers to complete a two-year degree course in order to provide appropriate specialist support, so I signed up. I worked with children at all stages, from babies through to A-Level students taking their exams – managing a specialist team in the process… all great grounding for the award-winning business, Positive Eye Ltd, I went on to set up independently.
My customers range from local authorities, special and mainstream schools to preschool and early years settings. I’ve written, developed and published 33 educational resources which sell worldwide – making a difference to children with complex needs and VI. People know me nationally for the work I do, but I’ve also delivered training in more than 10 different countries – everywhere from Iceland to the USA!
Aged 58, I no longer apologise for being excellent at something; I’ve got this amazing sense of wellbeing and confidence. What people want is me and my delivery; I’ve realised the ‘Gwynness of Gwyn’! I make things happen and love giving back – whether that’s through supporting charities; delivering practical training for teachers; presenting parents’ workshops; writing my children’s story or creating inclusive theatre for children with special needs.
I believe in angels… one was looking out for me in 2008! Sometimes, the most challenging experience can lead to the best experience; I certainly have no regrets.