General Secretary

Voice is led by its General Secretary, Deborah Lawson, who has worked in the education sector for over 40 years, been a member of the union since 1987 and General Secretary of Voice since 2012.

Deborah Lawson, General Secretary

Deborah Lawson was born and spent her early years on Tyneside. She moved to Gloucester with her family at the age of eight where she attended local primary and secondary schools.

After gaining her ’O’ levels at the local college, she took a ’gap’ year when she worked in an independent school and in the local unemployment benefit office.

After gaining her NNEB in 1977, Deborah worked mainly with children with special needs and disabilities in residential schools and local authority maintained schools across the 0-16 age range. She also undertook some voluntary work with a local playgroup during ’time off’ to have her own children.

In 1990, Deborah became the first NNEB-qualified registration officer in Gloucestershire. During this time she registered, inspected and supported childminders, playgroups, day nurseries and family centres in line with the Children Act. She also became an Ofsted nursery education inspector.

In 1999, she went on to become the External Funding and Business Manager for Gloucestershire’s Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and later Commissioning Manager: Childcare Market with Gloucestershire County Council’s Early Childhood Services Team.

A member of Voice (previously PAT and PANN) since 1987, Deborah became a National Council member in 1989 and subsequently a PANN (Professional Association of Nursery Nurses) representative on PAT (Professional Association of Teachers) Council when PANN became a section of PAT in 1995. When she took up office for her year as PAT National Chairman in July 2006, Deborah became the first non-teacher to hold this office.

Deborah Lawson was elected as General Secretary of Voice on 27 July 2012, taking up office on 15 October 2012. She was re-elected unopposed on 31 May 2017.

Deborah is the proud mother of two grown sons, Phillip and Simon, and grandmother to Riley, Lila-Mae and Ava.

She is a keen photographer and runner, having taken part in the Great North Run three times.


If you would like to get in touch with Deborah with any enquiries, you may contact her at:

Twitter: @VoiceGenSec


Email Deborah