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Specialist Leaders of Education

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are middle and senior leaders from within our Alliance that have particular areas of expertise.  If you are interested in support from SCTSA LLE's please email sussexcoastsa@benfield.brighton-hove.sch.uk.

  • Jo Badley - Benfield Primary School - Maths Lead

    Mathematics has always been a passion of mine and I have continued to develop my career and love of this subject.  Within my own school, I thrive to make sure that Maths is something that all children can enjoy, become confident in and achieve.  I have been the maths lead at my school for over 15 years and have experienced a real change with the curriculum and the teaching of maths.  I currently work in a Year 2 class but will be moving to Year 5 in September. I have a wealth of experience in both key stages so I have a deep understanding of the maths curriculum and the progression.  

    Through my role as maths lead and a lead teacher for B&H (my early maths lead career), I have been able to support colleagues both in my own school and the wider community with:

    • planning and teaching
    • supporting teaching assistants with intervention programmes
    • delivery of new initiatives through INSETs e. Maths mastery 
    • subject knowledge PDMs
    • raising attainment and data analysis.

    I became a MaST specialist in 2012 and have continued to develop my skills with new initiatives.  I have led a lesson study model within my school to develop subject knowledge and teaching with a focus on the use of resources and this is something that I feel very passionately about and have seen a huge impact within my school.  

    I recently become a mastery specialist in 2022 and will be supporting teachers in Sussex with their mastery journey. At Benfield, we began the mastery journey in 2018 and will continue to develop maths in the upcoming years.   

    I am looking forward to the new opportunities that being a SLE will give me and being able to offer support and guidance for those in the wider community.

  • Richard Dargavel - Hangleton Primary School - Early Years Coordinator

    I have been an Early Years teacher for for 7 years, five of which have been as a Coordinator. I have worked in both small and large settings, so I have had to adapt what I do and how I have led teams at different points in my career.

    I have also developed a range of experience as an NQT mentor, student mentor and a PE coordinator.  I have worked alongside colleagues and students in both coaching and mentoring roles, enabling them to learn, grow and develop into the teachers that they want to be.

    My understanding of the EYFS curriculum is strong and I am always looking at new ways of getting the best out of the children in my setting. I like to research areas of the curriculum that are changing and am already looking at how to develop planning to ensure we are ready for the curriculum change in September 2020. 

    My journey from NQT to Coordinator has been both challenging and varied.  I worked in a school that moved from special measures to a good school by consistent and sustained improvement .  I have also recently lead my team through an OFSTED inspection.  These experiences have enabled me to see the lows and highs from different perspectives. 

    I am looking forward to my new role as an SLE, it will allow me to work alongside others and pass on what I have learnt.  I hope to be able to continue supporting and coaching teachers through a wide variety of situations with successful outcomes. 

  • Luke Earley - St Mary's RC Primary School - Assessment & Mathematics Lead

    I am a teacher because I am passionate about improving educational experiences for all children. I feel that it is through effective leadership that the most significant impact can be had on children’s attainment and progress. I promote ambitious standards for pupils and staff and always keep teaching and learning at the forefront of all that I do.

    I am Mathematics and Assessment lead at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School. Through these leadership roles, I have analysed whole-school data and been involved in creating a clear vision and sense of direction for the school. I have led Pupil Progress meetings with teachers and subject leaders and have created and monitored action plans to improve and accelerate the attainment and progress of children across the school.

    As Mathematics Lead, I strive to ensure that teachers are equipped to deliver outstanding maths lessons, so that children develop a love for the subject. To this end, I have led CPD on good teaching practice and changes in approaches to teaching maths. I have also successfully introduced an assessment system, which has helped teachers to use effective assessment to drive forward teaching and learning across the school.

    In my role, I have driven the strategic leadership of mathematics and helped to empower all pupils and staff to excel. I have monitored teaching across the school, through learning walks, book scrutinies, pupil conferencing and data analysis. I have worked with teachers to plan and deliver outstanding lessons in different year groups. Through use of coaching, I have worked with teachers to develop their own capabilities and reflect on their areas of development.

    I also have experience of leading a Financial Education programme at my school. This included developing a detailed FinEd curriculum and sharing these resources with other schools. This achievement was recognised when St Mary’s was awarded the status of Centre of Excellence for Financial Education.

  • Kim Fryer - Orchard School Partnership - Director of Teaching & Learning

    I am Director of Teaching and Learning at the Orchard School Partnership and an experienced English Curriculum lead, Year 6 teacher, Trainee Mentor and Induction Tutor. I am equipped with expertise in assessment, feedback, coaching and delivering whole staff training and tailored CPD, including for newly and recently qualified teachers.

    I have enormous passion for developing effective pedagogy and driving forward teaching and learning that inspires children’s excitement and enthusiasm: for them to truly see themselves as readers, writers and speakers in a wide range of contexts.

    I consider reading for pleasure as a cornerstone for developing children’s innate love of language and that stories, storytelling, performance and oracy, are central to children becoming confident learners and well-rounded citizens.

    In leading the teaching and learning of the English curriculum in Benfield’s journey from a Special Measures category to ‘Teaching School’ status, I gained an understanding of the huge challenges a school and a teaching staff can go through when working to illicit rapid change. My coaching qualifications allow me to supportively facilitate conversations that in turn promote thinking and drive forward meaningful improvements.

    Enabling children and adults to find their voice is a great motivation for me.  I work hard to ensure that staff and children feel seen, heard and represented in school and across the wider curriculum and am deeply committed to creating the best possible learning opportunities and to building a school community where these aims are central to all decision making.

    I remain excited that my role as an SLE allows me to network and learn alongside other leaders and specialists as agents of change so that we can support, challenge and empower each other, in order to maximise our ability to enhance children’s life chances.

    Areas of Expertise:

    • Qualified Leadership Coach (Integrity Coaching and Leadership Development)
    • NPQML, NPQSL and NPQ facilitator for UCL
    • Embedding a whole class reading approach and promoting reading for pleasure
    • Developing writing for purpose across the curriculum
    • Ensuring a language rich curriculum
    • Creating inspiring, purposeful learning environments
    • A strong understanding of the end of Key Stage 2 expectations
  • Emma Gale - Mile Oak Primary School - Assistant Headteacher/Mastery Specialist Teacher/NCETM PD lead

    I have been fortunate enough to support many schools/teachers in different settings and regularly deliver professional development through staff meetings, INSET days, twilights, team-teaching and leading work groups throughout Sussex.

    I have experience of embedding robust assessment procedures and curriculum mapping. Further experiences have included:


    • A mastery approach to teaching mathematics – embedding the ‘5 Big Ideas’
    • Differentiation through support and challenge
    • Maths subject knowledge enhancement
    • Use of language in maths
    • Concrete -Pictorial – Abstract (CPA) approach – use of key concrete apparatus and structures including part-part whole, bar model and tens frames to enable children to construct a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.
    • Intervention – Timely, effective intervention, including the delivery of a successful ‘Pre-teaching’ approach.
    • Subject leader development – aiding new leaders in developing specific curriculum areas and successfully driving sustainable change within their setting. 
    • Experience in EYFS/KS1/KS2

    I am passionate about developing maths teaching and committed to raising standards in education. 

  • Jo-Anne Gibson - St Andrew's CE Primary School - Early Years Specialist

    I have been teaching in Brighton and Hove for fourteen years after completing a BA Hons in Primary Education at Brighton University. I have predominantly taught in Early Years working across the Foundation Stage in both nursery and reception classes. I have been a senior leader for ten years working both at my current school; St Andrew’s Primary School and previously at Bevendean Primary School as the Early Years leader. I have extensive experience in leading and managing improvements resulting in rising trends in progress and attainment.

    I have supported schools across the city and within our Deanery partnership by working alongside the Early Years leaders and teachers to reflect on and develop aspects of practice ranging from teaching, timetabling, provision, tracking and end of year assessments.  

    I have worked as a local authority moderator for the past four years. This has involved working with Early Years staff in selected schools to check consistency and approach in end of year judgements to ensure they are in line with national exemplification. I have also worked with Brighton and Hove Early Years team to deliver support to targeted schools to raise progress and attainment in EYFSP scores. This involved supporting the schools with literacy planning and provision as well as analysing school data and the impact of targeted interventions.

    I have worked with children from a broad range of backgrounds, ethnicities and special education needs. I have extensive experience working with families and carers as well as planning and delivering family learning sessions and targeted workshops. I have worked alongside a multitude of agencies to support children’s learning at all levels.

    I am an outstanding, passionate and caring Early Years teacher and I am keen to share my wealth of experience with others as well as continually gaining new knowledge for my own practice along the way.

  • Coralie Gilbert - St Joseph's RC Primary School - Mentor, Maths Coordinator, KS2 Leader

    I am extremely passionate about science and have continued to share and nurture this  love of the subject across five years of subject leadership. I have also thrived in my current roles as an ECT and TA mentor, maths co-ordinator, KS2 leader, leadership member and am currently working towards the NPQSL qualification. Within my own school, I model the   belief that all children can access, succeed and truly love science. I currently work in a Year 6 class but I have experience supporting the teaching of both key stages and therefore I have a deep understanding of the ever-changing curriculum needs and how these can be met in a stimulating manner.    

    I have experience of:  

    • Leading a variety of staff INSET trainings, including new initiative launches   
    • Coaching and mentoring teachers in the planning, teaching and assessment  
    • Analysis of data for gap identification  
    • Auditing and assessing quality resourcing, including knowledge organisers  
    • Managing subject funding and sourcing applicable grants   
    • Attending and leading London-based cluster meetings and training workshops  

    With my experience and understanding of the quality potential of science teaching of knowledge and skills, I look forward to sharing my passion, commitment and specialised knowledge to raising these standards across a wider range of schools.  

  • Kate Gray - Stanford Infant School - Early Years Leader

    I have been Early Years Leader at Stanford Infant School since 2012. Previously I have worked in Key Stage 1 and Early Years in a variety of schools.

    When I became Early Years Leader the 2012 revised Early Years Framework was being introduced into Reception Classes and it was my responsibility to oversee its introduction, design a new curriculum and ensure there was consistency across our classes. I have now repeated this process with the 2021 updated version. I ensure that our curriculum is continually evolving, reacting and responding to the differing needs of our cohorts. I was Year 1 Leader for a year in order to help establish continuous provision to support the Year 1 curriculum, which has since been embedded and developed by my Year 1 colleagues.

    I have led training for Early Years Leaders and have supported Early Years colleagues from other schools, helping them to reflect on their settings and supporting them to improve. In 2017, I became an Early Years Profile moderator for the LA supporting colleagues to ensure their end of year judgements were consistent and in line with EYFSP.   I have successfully participated in the NPQSL programme and have involved in the Schools Partnership Programme as an Improvement Champion. I have also been PHSE leader at my school for a number of years.

    I strongly believe if a child has a good experience of school at the start of their school life this will influence the whole of their journey through the education system. I look forward to sharing my expertise with others.

  • Alastair Jamieson - St. Andrew's CE Primary School - KS2 Lead & English Lead

    As English Lead, both at St Andrew's and my previous school, I have developed considerable experience in creating a rich and engaging English curriculum which is predicated on promoting a love of reading and language. I believe, that by immersing children in carefully chosen core texts, often closely matched to topic learning, children can become masters of language, whether as readers or writers and across all areas of the curriculum.

    At my previous school, being a juniors, this approach was designed to promote higher levels of progress and attainment in KS2. However, I have recently implemented the pedagogy in my new school, a primary, and have seen immediate improvement in children's attitude to learning and academic attainment from EYFS all the way through to Year 6. 

    Key components in implementing this English pedagogy are:

    • Whole class reading sessions
    • Embedding grammatical learning through discussions around texts and making links into writing
    • Providing regular writing sessions that allow children to ‘master’ language
    • Writing across the curriculum
    • Choosing high quality texts
    • Using high-level vocabulary from texts to inspire
    • Creating learning environments that promote a love of English learning
    • Building a reading community throughout schools

    I am passionate about ensuring English is taught in a holistic way and thrive on working with teachers and staff to facilitate improvements in the subject. When the subject is taught using this pedagogy, pupil voice has clearly shown increased love of learning, and improved progress and attainment has followed.

  • Rachel Jeffers - Hove Junior School - Deputy Headteacher, Leader for English & Assessment Coordinator

    I am the strategic leader for English at Hove Junior School, Assessment Coordinator and Assistant Head Teacher. These roles have enabled me to gather experience in all areas of the English curriculum at a senior leadership level. Throughout my career, I have always been an active member of the English team at the schools I have taught at and I am passionate about developing English provision in my current school and supporting other schools to do the same.

    In 2020, my school had a successful Ofsted inspection and this experience taught me a lot about how to be an effective subject leader to support improvement in English. I have confidently supported new subject leaders and have a clear vision for successful subject leadership in English to drive improvement. I have a strong understanding of the end of Key Stage expectations from my experience as a year 6 leader and have worked with local secondary schools to improve transition and highlight the high standards of provision in year 6.

    I believe in the use of high quality core texts to support the teaching and learning in English and the power of using these texts for teaching reading, grammar and writing skills. Over the years, I have developed a clear understanding of what excellent practice in English looks like and what is necessary in order to share and implement this vision across a large school. I have led many staff meetings and inset training days linked to reading, grammar, writing, greater depth provision and assessment for learning and have seen the impact of this across the whole school.   

    I am excited that my role as an SLE will allow me to have a greater opportunity to influence subject leadership and the teaching of English in a wider range of schools.

  • Sarah Kennett - Benfield Primary School - Early Years Specialist

    I work across The Orchard Partnership Federation (Benfield and Hangleton Primary Schools) as an Early Years Class Teacher and Early Years year group Leader. I have taught for 8 years in Early Years but have also taught in year 1 and 2, including being a Key Stage 1 leader. I have my NPQML and NPQSL qualifications and am training to become a facilitator for the new NPQ Early Years qualification for the UCL. I am a specialist in Early Years and lead this phase across the two schools as well as leading phonics at Benfield Primary. I feel strongly about learning through play and tailoring the provision to meet the needs of all children. I ensure planning includes exciting experiences and opportunities, rich texts and a range of vocabulary. I have a degree in Fine Art and this has enabled me to be a creative practitioner. This is reflected in my stimulating and engaging environments and purposeful, learning led activities.  

  • Joanne Marron - Westdene Primary School - Early Years Specialist

    My name is Jo Marron and I’m the Foundation Stage Leader at Westdene Primary School in Brighton and am passionate about Early Years which is my specialism. I have worked at Westdene for 12 years and have a wealth of experience leading a 50 place nursery, Reception team and overseeing Year 1 to support a strong transition into Key Stage 1.  As a practitioner, leader and school governor, I believe excellent early years teaching and pedagogy can impact positively on all children's futures. Westdene adopted a Teaching for Mastery approach to mathematics in 2015, which has had a positive impact on pedagogy across the curriculum. Together with my team, we took part in the NCETM Mastering Number pilot project and I feature prominently in training videos that have been shared with teachers across 6000 schools nationally. I am currently seconded as the Early Years Specialist for the Education Standards and Achievement Team at Brighton and Hove City Council. In this post, I offer support, consultancy and guidance to schools across the city.  

  • Amy McCardie - Hangleton Primary School - Director of Teaching & Learning

    I am passionate about instilling a love of English language and literature, through an engaging and exciting curriculum. I have taught in three different schools, have eighteen years of teaching experience and seven years in management. Over the years, I have developed a clear understanding of what excellent practice in English looks like, and what is necessary in order to share and implement this vision across a school.  

    Communication and relationships are key to my success over the years. I have mentored many students, NQTs and NQT+1s and have had an excellent record for developing their understanding and giving them the tools to become successful practitioners. I am a role model in my school and have led staff meetings and worked closely with Year Group Leaders to raise standards and impart my knowledge.

    Recently, I have been part of the Leadership team preparing for and successfully navigating an OFSTED inspection. Our leadership was rated outstanding due to the excellent communication and structures we had in place to improve our data from RI to good.

    Currently, I am attending a course at the CLPE in London, on ‘Raising Achievement in Writing’. This has been an inspiring opportunity and given me an excellent model for developing Grammar, Spelling and writing opportunities that engage and inspire the young people. In particular, how to use digital media and graphic novels as vehicles to teach the key elements of writing, in a medium that engages and excites them.

    As an SLE I am excited about the opportunity to work with a wider range of schools, allowing me to share my experience and expertise to develop an exciting English curriculum that engages the children and creates a community of enthusiastic writers and readers. This in turn, will raise standards and equip children to progress confidently through the key objectives.

  • Charlie O’Hagan - Brackenbury Primary School - Maths & Assessment Lead

    My name is Charlie O’Hagan and I am the Maths and assessment leader at Brackenbury Primary School. I am currently teaching in Year 6.  My area of expertise is in maths. I have led my school through a transformative journey, embedding maths mastery across the school. We have improved maths outcomes across the school and are continuing to see the positive effects that mastery approach has had on reasoning, vocabulary and a deeper understanding in all areas of maths. I am passionate about supporting schools to begin, develop or embed the mastery approach through a collaborative process. 

    I currently teach in Year 6 but was in KS1 for many years and feel I can support key stages in maths.   I have worked at Brackenbury Primary for 6 years, with 5 years working in Year 2 and a year in Year 6. Previously to this I worked at Essendene Lodge in Caterham for 3 years, where I worked in Year 2 and 3.  Our school received a Good Ofsted rating in spring 2022- the report commented that "Leaders make sure that teachers are experts at teaching English and mathematics. Pupils develop number fluency because teachers provide plenty of opportunities for practice. Pupils become confident in basic skills." 

  • Lucy Russell - Balfour Primary School - Early Years Specialist

    My name is Lucy and I am the EYFS Lead and Associate Assistant Headteacher at Balfour Primary School, a three-form entry school in the heart of Fiveways.  I have taught in Early Years for 6 years at Balfour and have also taught in Year 1 and Year 3.  My passion for teaching and learning stems from the Early Years.  The Early Years are a vital building block in children’s school lives, so I believe it is imperative to make this an engaging, stimulating learning experience.  Within my role, some areas of expertise include embedding a free flow model, data analysis and the designing of an immersive and exciting curriculum.  We participated in the NCETM pilot for Mastering Number and this year, have embedded Read, Write, Inc. as our phonics scheme. 

    In addition to being EYFS Lead, I am the Induction Tutor for our ECTs and I lead art across the school.  I have experience of coaching, mentoring and the embedding of knowledge and skills documents, which show clear progression in the foundation subjects starting with the EYFS.  I have my NPQSL qualification and will be co-facilitating the new NPQ Early Years qualification for the UCL. 

    I promote reflective practice and a culture of life-long learning in my roles.  I am excited for the opportunity to establish networks and connections with Early Years settings in order to develop excellent practice and provision for our young learners.  

  • Lindsay Vaughan - Rudyard Kipling Primary School - KS2 Leader, English Lead & Y6 Teacher

    My name is Lindsay Vaughan and I am very proud to work at Rudyard Kipling Primary School as Head of UPKS2, English Lead and Year 6 teacher. I am a positive, supportive, collaborative and enthusiastic leader who loves leading reading and writing. Bringing high quality children’s literature to the heart of learning is a high priority of mine and I have been lucky to do this through embedding the Power of Reading approach in my own school and helping to implement it in schools across Brighton and Hove. This has fuelled my enthusiasm to raise the profile of reading and writing and instilling a lifelong love of literacy for children. 

    I spent my first two years teaching Year 4 and 5, in an inner city school in London, where I learnt to consolidate my teaching style and become confident with using empowering positive behaviour strategies. I helped the school develop effective use of learning behaviours to bring consistency for all children. Since returning to Brighton, I have taught Year 6 and for the last four years I have been a Local Authority Moderator; most recently taking on the role as Lead Moderator. 

    As an UPKS2 leader, I have coached members of my team and led phase meetings to help support school policies, teacher’s planning, dates and book looks. I feel during these meetings, I am supportive, positive and assertive ensuring all staff understand how to develop their own practice. 

    I am an emphatic and patient person who is passionate about teaching, aiming to reach the highest standards, while keeping a sense of humour and treating everyone with respect and courtesy.  

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