United Schools Trust
Between 1982 and 2008, I worked in six secondary schools in different parts of the country and across both urban and rural settings. I have undertaken a number of different roles including: Classroom teacher, Head of Department, Head of Year, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Vice Principal and Acting Principal. I was involved in creating a federation between a primary and secondary school to become an All-through School. I also spent 2 years as Director of Professional Development for the International Curriculum and Assessment Agency.
Since 2008, I have been a consultant to primary and secondary schools wishing to work collaboratively to improve outcomes for children and staff. This has involved supporting governors and senior leaders when embarking on formal consultation processes to form management partnerships, federations and co-operative trusts.
Throughout my career, I have volunteered as a staff governor and more recently have served on an Interim Executive Board for the LA, the management committee for a local provider of alternative provision and the trust board for two co-operative trusts.
I am employed as a governance and admissions adviser for the CofE Diocese in Exeter. I work with over 130 CofE schools in 3 local authorities and represent the Diocese at local, regional and national level. My role involves supporting and advising schools in converting to academy and joining multi-academy trusts. Prior to this I was a primary school teacher. I have been a governor for many years in several different schools. I am currently a local governing body member of a school in a MAT, a member representative of a MAT as well as a director of a Kingsteignton Primary School.
I have been a director since the start of the United Schools Trust and was one of the people who worked on the application to open Kingsteignton School.
My background is in education and I am currently Head of School at St. Catherine’s C of E Nursery and Primary School in Heathfield. Prior to this I was head at Marldon C of E Primary School and Deputy Head at St. Michael’s in Kingsteignton. My roles in education have provided a strong understanding of what outstanding practise and provision looks like.
I have boys of my own, both now at secondary school, but understand the importance of Primary Education and a friendly, welcoming and thriving school environment from a parental perspective as well as a professional one.
My involvement with Kingsteignton School from its outset makes it very special to me and I am enjoying my role in supporting the staff and pupils in ensuring the school goes from strength to strength.
I began my teaching career at an inner London primary school and recently retired from my post as Head of Education for Devon. I have also been a primary headteacher, a curriculum and leadership adviser, an inspector and was part of a ministerial advisory group.
I have lived in Teignbridge for over twenty years,. I am married and have two grown up children who both attended local schools.
I have always been a strong advocate of schools working in formal partnership and the importance of a broad and child centred curriculum particularly in the early years.
I have a degree in Physics, a PGCE in Education, a degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Education Leadership. I have been a Headteacher for twelve years of schools varying in size from a small school of 80 pupils to a school of 480. In addition to my role as a Headteacher, I have also worked as a School Improvement Partner for the Local Authority helping support other schools. In 2010 I was given a Teaching Award for Headteacher of the Year (South West) and in 2012 was designated by the Department of Education as a National Leader of Education. During the past six years I have been the Executive Headteacher of the United Schools Federation (USF). The USF has five schools in the group and over 1100 children. Our schools work in very close partnership and have grown to be popular and successful schools. We currently have two outstanding and two good schools in our partnership. In 2014, my leadership team and I applied to open a free School in Kingsteignton. Kingsteignton School opened on the site of St Michael’s in September 2016. I have been a Director of Kingsteignton School since October 2014 and am now the CEO of the Trust.
I began my teaching career in 2000 when my daughter started primary school, training through the Devon Primary SCITT – a programme which allowed me to train in a school-based setting. Previously, following a long period at University, first at Edinburgh where I studied Ecology and then at Exeter where I obtained my PhD researching badgers and bovine tuberculosis with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture, I worked as an ecological consultant and landscape designer.
Following my teacher training, I worked as a teacher in the South Hams until I was seconded to St Catherine’s School at Heathfield as Assistant Head and Year 6 teacher in 2010. The school celebrated an award for being one of the100 most improved schools in the UK in terms of the Year 6 results in 2012. In September 2012 I was appointed Head of School at Brixton St Mary’s Primary School which became part of the United Schools Federation in 2013. The school was judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ in an Ofsted inspection in December 2012 but in the next inspection in November 2014 the school was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in all areas.
I was part of the team of Heads who put together the bid for the Kingsteignton Free School and was delighted to be appointed as Principal ready to open the school in September 2016. Since then I have been working hard to make sure the school provides the very best in terms of education for our children and we aim to make sure that the school is judged as Outstanding by Ofsted in our first inspection three years after opening.
If that all sounds rather dry, then I think it is essential to say that I also think it is incredibly important that what we do at school is fun, inspirational and highly motivating and that all our children want to come into school every day because they really enjoy the challenge of their learning.