Wednesday - It's the day after the TreeHouse fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Manchester and we are breathing a temporary sigh of relief - before we do it all over again with the Conservatives next week. For the time being, we are still a little euphoric after holding what turned out to be a really interesting event with a lot of lively debate and discussion in a packed venue. To top it off, we managed to corner Gordon Brown and bend his ear about TreeHouse and the research that we've just published on inclusion.
Thursday - After the first good night's sleep since Saturday, it's straight back into it at the office and time to face the emails that don't stop while you're out. I'm under tight deadlines to review a draft private member's bill on autism, a manifesto report for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism and research criteria for a project looking at the difference between disability and special educational needs. Today is also the deadline for two consultations from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Despite all the deadlines, I still enjoy sharing stories from party conferences with colleagues.
Friday - The Conservative Party conference starts tomorrow and there's a lot of talk about the next general election. For us, that means ensuring we are aware of the movers and shakers in the party, and making them our 'friends'. I'm not due to travel to Birmingham until Monday, so I have a whole weekend at home.
Monday - I attend fringe events all day. There's a great feeling of unity within the voluntary sector, so I'm happy to attend other events to show support. At the same time, it's an opportunity to hand out flyers for our own fringe event tomorrow. We have worked closely with the National Union of Teachers and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People on the event and we all had dinner together tonight. Once again, I end up going to bed too late.
Tuesday - The Conservative fringe event turns out to be a fantastic finale to a gripping series of events. At each one, we have shown a short film on inclusive practices at TreeHouse School. It follows young people with autism as they attend placements at mainstream schools, and young people from a local primary school coming to TreeHouse to share playtime. The film has been a great success and moved some people to tears. I find myself sitting in my hotel room, relieved that it's all over for another year.
- TreeHouse is a national charity for autism education.