Specialist Leaders in Education

Louise Cox - Mathematics and Assessment

I have taught in non-selective schools in Kent for over 25 years. During this time, I have taught mathematics (and statistics) across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5, achieving consistently outstanding results.  Early in my career, I completed a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Development, with a specific focus on raising attainment in mathematics. During my career, I was appointed to the role of Leading Teacher of Mathematics within Kent and also gained accreditation as an Advanced Skills Teacher. These roles enabled me to work with and support pupils and staff from primary and secondary schools across Kent.  In addition, I have successfully led two Mathematics Departments and have also been responsible for whole school outcomes and teaching and learning.  

I am currently Deputy Headteacher at Westlands School and also oversee the recruitment of School Direct Trainees for a number of Kent Secondary Schools.  In addition, I have strategic oversight of the sixth form at Westlands School. I also deliver “The Outstanding Teacher Programme” and NPQML programme on behalf of the Trust.


Alison Williams - Staff Development and Training, RE and PSHE

I have been teaching in Kent for 13 years, across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. During this time my practice has been recognised as outstanding. Over the past 13 years, I have had experience as Head of Department for Religious Studies, Personal Social Health Education and A level Government and Politics. Over the last four years I have also taught History at KS3 and KS4. In addition, I spent a year in a pastoral role as a Learning Leader supporting pupils 7-11 to raise their academic achievements in the school. 

Currently, I am seconded to The Causeway school in East Sussex (part of the Swale Academies Trust) for three days a week as an Assistant Head of Teaching and Learning. I have implemented structures and policies to support the Teaching and learning of the school as well as providing CPD to the whole staff body.

Two days a week I work at Westlands School as an Induction Mentor for Newly Qualified Teachers. In the past I have worked with Schools Direct trainee teachers too. I have held this position for five years, working in a whole school capacity as part of the Teaching and Learning Team, with a focus on staff development. I am involved with the development of CPD for the whole school and support packages for a range of staff along with providing coaching and mentoring to individuals.  Using my experience as a previous Head of Department, I am able to offer support with schemes of work as well as leading training on behaviour management and identifying CPD opportunities for staff. I have carried out extensive research based practice and theory on ‘creative teaching in the classroom’ to engage pupils. This research extended my own personal development. I have completed active research on behaviour for learning which focused on boys’ achievement in the classroom, gaining a Masters Degree which was completed in January 2017. I also completed the NPQML programme in September 2019 focusing on NQT’s progress in the classroom.


Kate Girling - Mathematics

I am Head of School at Meopham School, having been a Deputy Headteacher here since 2018. From 2013-2018, I was the Head of Mathematics at The North School, Ashford. In that time the school progressed from Special Measures to becoming one of the most improved schools in Kent. The Maths Department made huge progress in results and outcomes and maintained its success into the 9-1 grading system. I led a strong Mathematics team at The North School and my experience as a subject leader was used as an example across the school and Trust, and I consequently led the Trust Mathematics network team. During 2016-2018 I spent some of my time each week supporting and advising the Mathematics and Science Departments at The Whitstable School and the Mathematics Department at The Causeway School and Eastbourne Academy. In this capacity, my role was varied and included: initiating strategies to improve teaching and learning, delivering interventions and CPD, developing middle leaders as well as undertaking reviews, and monitoring processes. The impact in these schools was seen both in results and in the quality of the teaching and learning. My specialisms lie in the improvement of progress, especially in KS4 as well as supporting the development of subject leaders, through strategic planning and accountability measures. Now, as a school leader, my expertise in maintaining standards in an Outstanding School is developing. With support from the Executive Headteacher and the Trust I am driving the operational systems within the school, and leading senior and middle leaders to constantly reflect and refine practices to embed blended learning across the curriculum.


Samir Shah - Mathematics

I came into the profession to make a positive impact on children’s learning, increase their desire to learn and enable them to become independent lifelong learners. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed working with colleagues to improve on best practices and reflect on my own practice. I feel I have a variety of skills, which can be shared and further developed by working alongside others. 

I have been teaching Mathematics in the Swale Academies Trust for over 14 years. During this time, I have taught across all secondary age groups, but a significant amount of my time has been spent raising pupils’ attainment at KS4 and KS5. My practice has consistently been recognised as outstanding, which led to my appointment as a Lead Practitioner in the first few years within the Trust. I have also featured on the ‘Meridian TV’ programme to highlight the best practices in outstanding academies. I have the experience of leading change, training, modelling good practices as well as coaching individuals and mentoring teams, which have ranged from trainee teachers to subject leaders. This has been pivotal in developing the potential of all colleagues. 

In my first year as a Vice Principal of the Sixth Form community at the Sittingbourne School, I raised the academic performance of the level 3 courses at AS and A2 level. I also supported the whole school data team with strategic decision-making and in making sure that the use of data was effective across the school. I then moved to the Mathematics Department, where, working with the subject leader, I ensured that the leadership and the vision of the department is such that it draws nothing but the best out of the students in this very important subject. Our collaborative efforts saw the department achieve the best possible GCSE results under the new and more demanding 9-1 grading system. Very recently, I have successfully led a Year 11 community in the capacity of a Vice Principal. I am currently responsible for improving the quality of schemes of work, lesson planning, and outcomes for Year 7, 8 and 9.


Debbie Moore - English

I am Head of English at The North School.  I have worked in this school during ‘Special Measures’ and its journey to ‘Good’ and I understand how to improve and robustly evidence this progress in an English Faculty. I coordinate and resource the two GCSEs of English Literature and English Language and the A-Levels of English Literature and Media Studies. As an SLE I have skills that can help to move an English Department forward, I specialise in coaching which I have led as a whole school initiative. My pedagogical understanding is research-driven and many of the ideas implemented in our English Faculty come from the most up-to-date educational ideas which have helped to drive up results in our school. I have worked in other schools within Kent as an SLE to help with the development of new Departments and at my own school to help restructure our existing Department.

In summary, as an SLE for English I bring the skill of coaching, organisation, resourcing, and strategy.


Glenn Prebble - Behaviour, Personal Development and Attendance

I am currently Head of School at The Holmesdale School.

My areas of expertise as an SLE are Personal Development, Behaviour and Attendance, although my skills are extremely diverse and transferable to other portfolios of school leadership. I work diligently to ensure that the schools I support are left with sustainable systems which can be managed effectively and efficiently by the senior leaders I coach and support.  I have worked in 6 senior leadership teams across Swale Academies Trust schools in various leadership capacities and have supported significant improvements in four of our more recent additions to the Trust. I have supported in other Trust schools across both Kent and East Sussex as part of my SLE role and I also have experience in leading whole school reviews. I am passionate about school improvement and have experienced working in an outstanding educational setting at The Westlands School. My experiences throughout my teaching career have inspired me to support schools to achieve sustainable improvement within their own unique context by combining emotional intelligence with robust accountability to ensure stability.


Mark Dawson - Computing, E-Safety and Digital Literacy

I have been the Lead Computing Teacher for Langney Primary School since 2014, and have nearly ten years’ experience as an ICT coordinator prior to this.  During my time as a Lead Computing Teacher, I have focused on transforming the primary computing curriculum and the way in which digital technology can enhance teaching and learning.  I have championed using G Suite in education, the use of one-to-one tablets and Chromebooks to enhance engagement and have provided training for staff in several schools in using digital tools.  The digital vision developed at Langney Primary has led to the school achieving both the ICT Mark Accreditation and the 360 E-Safety Mark Accreditation.    

I have consulted on a number of digital projects, including digital resourcing, improving electronic safety, facilitating G Suite setups, promoting the capture of pupil’s work in digital form, and coaching staff on using digital tools. 

I have embedded a bespoke Computing Curriculum in three primary schools from Reception to Year 6 and now oversee a team of Computing Teachers.  As part of my role I have run several Computing Scholars Days as well as organised and initiating a school hub-wide Digital Leader programme for pupils.

To improve transition from KS2 to KS3, I am currently working on expanding our Computing curriculum to include Years 7 and 8.


Kaye Sapp - Mathematics and Science 

I have been teaching in secondary schools for 22 years, having taught science across all Key Stages and mathematics to Key Stage 4. I have successfully led both science and mathematics departments through many curriculum changes while maintaining improvements in student outcomes. I am currently Deputy Headteacher at The Sittingbourne School, overseeing “teaching and learning”. One of my roles includes working closely with the science and mathematics departments to support both teams in improving student outcomes. I am responsible for leading science across the Trust, which involves working with department heads from nine secondary schools in Kent and East Sussex.

I have completed a Masters Degree in School Improvement, which incorporated action research in various teaching and learning areas. I have delivered staff training sessions within the school and across Swale Academies Trust, emphasising cognitive science strategies. 

I have experience working with subject leaders from many different subjects focusing on curriculum planning and sequencing, developing teaching and learning, outcomes and expanding leadership skills.  


Bethany Arculus-Pennells - Continued Professional Development

I am currently a Trust Associate Deputy Headteacher at Westlands Secondary School with responsibilities for Continued Professional Development, and quality of education and engagement. As part of this role, I co-ordinate the staff development programmes as well as delivering a dynamic and innovative range of training sessions. I implement and lead a successful range of coaching and mentoring programmes which focus on developing all staff to the best of their abilities.

Presently, I lead the Teaching and Learning team to develop new initiatives and strategies to improve and sustain improvement in outcomes. I am responsible for overseeing and working with the Science Department within my school and I have previously led the Food Technology Department in The Sittingbourne School, which saw excellent outcomes.

My practice has also consistently been recognised as outstanding by both Ofsted and internal and external observations. This has led me to work in a range of different Departments such as Science, Art, Food Technology, Design Technology and SEN. My focus when working in different Departments has been on developing staff, building confidence, and raising expectations. I have also worked as a professional mentor for PGCE students and have mentored and collaborated with various trainee teachers who have gone on to be very successful in their careers. I am fortunate to work with a wide range of colleagues within the Swale Academies Trust, delivering CPD and working within different Departments.


Vicky Wrighton - English

I am currently working as an Assistant Headteacher at Meopham School as Director of English. I have been teaching for 21 years and have a wealth of experience in both the pastoral and curriculum fields of education. For the last 6 years, I have been the Director of English in which I have led the Department to become the highest performing English Department in the Trust. My key passion is to drive and motivate pupils and staff to ensure the highest standards and outcomes are achieved. I have helped develop middle leaders, coach and mentor staff, as well as lead subject specific initiatives (such as the Lead Lesson) to improve outcomes in GCSE English Literature.  In addition, I have participated in Trust reviews for schools in East Sussex in which I fed back to the Senior Leadership Teams about the quality of teaching and learning, assessment in books (with a key focus on disadvantaged pupils) and pupil voice at Key Stage 3.

Currently, I work as an SLE across several Trust Schools within Kent and East Sussex with a focus on curriculum development and the analysis of data to help implement effective systems to help raise standards. I have also been working with subject leaders in a coaching and mentoring role to help build capacity in leadership within English Departments as well as supporting new Heads of English in posts across the Trust. I am also the Trust Lead for English. I was also asked to present at the PiXL Main Meeting on the strategies we have used in order to raise standards in GCSE English at Meopham School.


Shona Ward - Science 

I have been teaching for twenty-five years and in that time, I have presided over a number of curriculum changes which have required teachers to both develop their understanding of the Science being taught and to find innovative ways to engage learners. Whilst Science knowledge and understanding has developed, educational legislation has demanded an increase in academic rigour that I have not observed since the days of ‘O’ levels and CSEs. I am determined to ensure that my desire to influence the development of teachers and their pedagogy bears the fruit of supporting and raising the academic expectations and outcomes for young people. My speciality lies in the development of science curricula, their assessment and impact on the development and outcomes for the more able learner. Part of my role involves creating and delivering professional development which encourages teachers to apply current research and cognitive learning theory to both develop resources and secure delivery of more academically challenging concepts across all science disciplines at Key Stage 4 and Physical Science at Key Stage 5. To reinforce sustainability, I have also developed and delivered specific subject knowledge enhancement CPD and resources to support Science coordinators in feeder primary schools.

My role has allowed me to work with leaders in a coaching or mentoring capacity to support the development and implementation ideas, teaching and learning and intervention strategies and to create resources which can be used to lead the strategic development of their Departments through the 9 – 1 curriculum and beyond. More recently, I have worked with teachers within the Swale Academies Trust to secure a practical endorsement from examination boards for Sciences at Advanced Level.


James Brewster - Geography and Initial Teacher Training

In my current role as Assistant Headteacher at The Whitstable School, I lead the Humanities faculty and have a range of other whole school responsibilities from Educational Visits Coordinator to overseeing staff absence and cover.

I have a track record of success in improving and sustaining GCSE outcomes. Upon my appointment in 2017, Geography results at The Whitstable School increased by 18% by the end of the academic year and is now in line with the national average. This was sustained in 2019 and 2020 outcomes.  This stems from strategic planning, embedding a focused vision and leading teams with clear direction, transparent monitoring, and accountability. For the last two years I have led Geography Network meetings within the Swale Academies Trust. This network brings together 8 Geography subject leaders across Kent and East Sussex to improve pedagogical approaches, curriculum designs, and pupil outcomes. As part of my SLE role, I currently work closely with three schools within the Trust, this involves coaching new subject leaders, reflecting and reviewing curriculum plans and coaching teachers to improve teaching, learning and outcomes. In addition to this, I have also worked as an AQA examiner for the past four years. 

In my capacity as a Professional Mentor, I have four years' experience in mentoring and coaching staff new to the profession, working in close partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University. In this role, I led a range of CPD, not only to trainee teachers but to a wider range of staff too. In 2018-19, I led a team of 9 Curriculum Mentors and 7 School Direct trainee teachers, who all achieved a Grade 1 at final assessment through a bespoke teacher training programme. 

Lastly, I am passionate about working with colleagues to improve the quality of teaching and learning. I like to ensure that best practice is shared and that teachers have the tools to deliver engaging lessons that prepares pupils for successful outcomes and the wider world. For me, the key to being an effective SLE is being respectful, the ability to communicate clearly at all levels, knowing when to coach or mentor and being committed to the moral purpose of education.


Celine Spreadborough – Science and Teaching & Learning

After starting my career in research as a biochemist, I decided to train as a science teacher in 2006. Since then, I have taught science in selective and non-selective schools in Kent. Conscious that people are stronger together I became an Advanced Skills Teacher early on in my teaching career to have the opportunity to support and work with colleagues in other primary and secondary schools. The focus was on teaching & learning development as well as raising attainment in science. Recognised as an outstanding teacher in the various schools I have worked at, I became an assistant headteacher in charge of teaching & learning and since April 2016 I am an assistant headteacher in charge of science at the North School. Here I have built a cohesive and effective team of practitioners who are keen to progress into middle leadership. Science results have significantly improved within a short period of time, and they follow national progress expectations. The sustainability and transferability of improvements have been recognised by both Ofsted inspection team and the Swale Academies Trust, hence why I now provide strategic and operational advice and leadership to the Deputy Headteacher who leads the Trust Science Network meetings. 

Passionate about science and trained as a coach, I have delivered many CPD sessions around science subject knowledge (I have secured a long-term training alliance with the Institute of Physics) and science teaching, Kagan collaborative teaching methods (also presented at the Swalefest in 2018), middle leadership training and various teaching & learning developments. I have a keen interest in current educational research and I have reflected on and applied a lot of the work produced by Simon Sinek, Adam Boxer and Tom Sherrington.

I am looking forward to using my skills as a science leader and a teaching & learning coach to develop colleagues in a wide variety of schools.