Inquiry Focused School Improvement

Systems Leaders

Member Name Position Member Profile
Simon Blight Local Leader of Education

Simon currently leads Standen’s Barn.  A local school who secure good rates of progress for the most vulnerable of learners.  Simon is experienced in developing strong staff teams and building capacity to distribute leadership across the school.  He has worked with Inspire and the Local Authority to support the development of other Head Teachers across the region.  Simon particularly innovating new practices to raise standards for all pupils.  He also lead the support and development of Deputy Head Teachers.

Lynda Bowyer

Lynda has worked with a number of Heads to support their practice.  As the Head of Kingscliffe Endowed School, she secures high outcomes for pupils.

Dawn Childs Mathematics and Curriculum (SLE)

Dawn is currently the Mathematics and Literacy subject leader at Mawsley Community Primary School as well as being a member of the Senior Leadership team. She also spent over ten years as the Science subject leader both in her current and previous school. Dawn is a mathematics specialist, a PD lead accredited by the NCETM and a county moderator. Her SLE designation is to develop teaching and learning in Mathematics, Literacy and Science. She is currently developing a mastery approach to the teaching, learning and assessment of Mathematics and Literacy (and eventually the whole curriculum) in her own school and hopes to inspire others with her enthusiasm and her belief that every child can achieve when provided with carefully planned and rich learning experiences.

Jayne Clancy Local Leader of Education

Jayne was the Headteacher of Hartwell Primary School for 12 years. During this time the school achieved consistent success not only academically but also in the range of broader opportunities offered to all children. Jayne’s mantra in school is “what you expect is what you will get” her school therefore expected the very best in all aspects of school life.

Jayne’s previous experiences include leading in a school with a special provision for children with severe learning difficulties, observing the power of inclusion on a daily basis. She strongly believes that it is our duty as educators to find ways to enable every child to shine. Jayne is therefore passionate about the consideration and use of a wide range of approaches relevant to the individual. Equally, Jayne’s passion extends to ensuring a central place for areas such as the arts and sport within our schools in order to identify and nurture the talents of all our young people.  She has always worked hard to ensure an environment conducive to learning for adults as well as children and she strongly believe that it is our duty as strategic leaders in school to facilitate the growth and development of all staff. Having stepped away from Headship, Jayne continues to use her expertise to help others in their journey to enable staff and children to be the best they can be.

Kate Coleman Literacy, Associate Improvement Advisor

Kate has worked in a variety of roles over the last 25yrs including teaching and senior leadership in pre-school, primary and middle schools, local authority advisory and initial teacher training.

Having taught across the primary age range, held middle leadership in a host of subjects, including English and supported schools across Northants, Bedfordshire and Bucks through English advisory, Kate has developed INSET provision across KS1, 2 and 3. She has worked with teachers to develop planning and delivery, identify gaps in understanding and target support through passion for her subject and a wish to purposefully engage children. Kate has worked with schools to review provision in core subjects, supporting middle and senior leaders in reviewing data, planning intervention to address pupil progress and deliver whole school intervention to enhance classroom practice.

In her recent role in initial teacher training, Kate has lectured in Primary English, managing and developing the specialism English provision at Northampton University. She has supported students and NQTs in professional practice, working with mentors in partnership with local schools. Kate has a particular interest in the development of writing through the use of grammar in context and the value of talk in supporting meta cognitive processes and resilience in learning.

Ann Davey

Educated in Yorkshire, Ann subsequently attended Birmingham University graduating with an English and Philosophy degree. She then worked in sales and recruitment consultancy for several years before returning to education to complete her PGCE at Leeds University. Ann has completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship.

Ann has taught throughout the primary age range at a number of schools in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. She started her career at Stilton Primary School as a Reception/Year 1 teacher. Whilst bringing up her own family she worked as a supply teacher and part time SEN support teacher at a number of schools in Northamptonshire including Barton Seagrave Primary and Latimer Secondary School. She then joined Thrapston Primary School as SEN Coordinator and whilst there taught year groups from Reception to Year 4 and carried out roles of PSHE Coordinator, Literacy Coordinator, Governor and Assistant Head Teacher.

Having successfully completed her National Professional Qualification for Headship, she joined Trinity Lower School at Aldwincle as Head Teacher and Year 4 teacher. She then moved to Havelock Infant school as Head Teacher and was instrumental in setting up Montsaye Community Learning Partnership in 2013. In May 2015 she became Executive Head Teacher across Havelock Infant and Junior school as the two schools federated under one Governing Body. Under her leadership, the Infant School gained an outstanding OFSTED judgement in 2015 and the Junior School moved from Requires Improvement to Good.

In 2016 Ann became Acting Chief Executive for  Pathfinder Schools in addition to being Executive Head Teacher at the Havelock Schools. Since September 2019 she has been full time CEO for the Trust.  

Lorraine Cullen National Leader of Education

Lorraine has a background in psychology and early career experience of working with ‘looked after children’.  The depth of understanding and skill set has been used effectively for working with schools in challenging circumstances to develop effective systems to support academic rigor which are underpinned by key principles for wellbeing.  Formerly, as the Head of a primary organisation, the school has not only secured academic results in the top 1% in the country, it also served as a model of practice for wellbeing for the Local Authority and, more widely, as a National Support School.

With over thirty years in education, Lorraine has wide experience of supporting and training others. She has effective strategies to support Heads in her role as a National Leader of Education and formerly as the CEO of the Teaching School.  Research is a key element of her work and she has engaged in a number of projects to support vulnerable learners. 

Through doctoral study, Lorraine has developed her expertise in leading curriculum change.  She effectively assists schools in developing sustainable practices based on pedagogic principles which secure high levels of engagement and progress for all pupils.  She has disseminated practice in China through the work of UNICEF and in Italy and Romania through research for anti-bullying and Including Children Affected by Migration.  She has spoken at a number of conferences including Mindfulness in Schools.  Lorraine currently serves as a Director for School Improvement for an Academy Trust.  Her knowledge of wider perspectives in education is enhanced through working as employee representative for the Office for Students, piloting the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.

Sarah Dickens SLE for EYFS

Sarah is currently the Assistant Head Teacher at her school in Kettering, where she has had many years’ experience of teaching, leadership and management. Sarah has successfully worked to move the school forward in a range of new initiatives and she has also worked collaboratively to lead a team of staff to improve outcomes for all children.

Sarah has extensive experience of teaching in the EYFS and she has taken the lead in many successful projects to improve practice in a variety of settings and schools. Sarah has a variety of interpersonal skills and knowledge to enable her to work effectively with fellow practitioners. Sarah is passionate about making a difference for all children and ensuring the best start for the children. She believes in developing the children’s independence skills to enable them to become independent questioners and independent learners.  Sarah is an advocate of enquiry-based learning across all aspects of the curriculum as well as a supporter and promoter of ensuring that high levels of wellbeing are established for all children.

Sarah understands and demonstrates the importance of working collaboratively with all staff in schools and she utilises a coaching approach to plan and support changes. Sarah enjoys working with others as well as having the opportunity to move her own knowledge and understanding forward. We are always learning.

Gemma Harte Mathematics (SLE)

Gemma is currently Maths Lead at Pitsford Primary School and has worked in partnership with other schools across the county, to help raise standards in Mathematics.

At Pitsford Gemma has significantly improved results; sustaining these over several years and has now implemented this within the Federation at Walgrave Primary School. This has been achieved through research, staff training, the implementation of Maths No Problem and tailoring the scheme to support the needs of the children. Gemma believes that this success is through working collaboratively with and supporting all staff in school and utilising a coaching approach to plan and support changes. 

Gemma is proud of the progress that all children in the schools are making and the mathematical talk that can be seen amongst pupils; she hopes to share her passion for mathematics and enthusiasm to help support others.

Josie Heald English and Curriculum (SLE)

Josie has worked in Primary Education for 25 years and is currently Deputy Headteacher at Loatlands Primary School.  She is a knowledgeable and experienced English Subject Leader with a proven track record in raising standards in in reading and writing, particularly in Key Stage 2.  As Senior Leader, she has extensive experience of data analysis, action planning and delivering training in all aspects of English in order to further develop colleagues’ own practice.

Josie has supported many teachers at different stages in their own careers, including mentoring teachers outside of her own school in her role as Lead Literacy Teacher for Northants County Council.  She has collaborated extensively with colleagues in Pathfinder Academy Trust Schools to develop English, Assessment and Curriculum. 

An exponent of reading and writing for pleasure, Josie promotes a love of English amongst both pupils and teaching staff in her own school. She has a passion for Teaching and Learning and is an innovative practitioner who is keen to further develop enquiry-based learning in all aspects of the curriculum.

Louise Hunt EYFS and Mathematics

Louise Hunt qualified in teaching in1996 achieving a B.Ed(Hons) specialising in Maths. Out of the 23 years in teaching, 16 years have been in EYFS. Early Childhood education, child development, learning through play have been areas explored and developed to ensure that her provision provides a safe, secure and exciting environment for learning. Four years ago, Louise started her own journey learning about how Maths was taught in Singapore. She attended a one year pilot course with The Leicestershire Maths Hub for Early Years Mastery Maths, since then there has been no looking back. She has completed a one year Mastery Maths in Primary research group and as a result has successfully changed the way Maths is taught in her school. Last year she trained with the NCETM and is now a qualified PD Lead for EYFS Maths. She has run several courses in Northampton inspiring other EYFS teachers to change how they teach Maths. Louise is presently an Assistant Head at a rural primary school in Northamptonshire teaching EYFS and is the Maths Lead for her school. 

Amanda Johnson Inclusion (SLE)

Amanda is a Director of Inclusion.  She has a wide range of responsibilities which include responsibility for Safeguarding and Child Protection, Behaviour and Safety across the school, the emotional and well- being of pupils and attendance. She has taught across the entire Primary phase and is currently manager of the nursery. Amanda is passionate that children should be given the best possible start in their educational journey which will lead them to become independent, confident and successful learners.  She strongly believes that any progress or attainment gap needs to be closed by the end of Foundation Stage. Amanda’s SLE designation is with Pupil Premium; she has successfully carried out Pupil Premium reviews with schools.   She has worked collaboratively with these schools to ensure Pupil premium pupils are able to close the gap with their peers and reach their full potential.

Lynn Johnston Teaching & Inclusion; Well-being; Attachment Awareness

Lynn’s area of expertise is in the field of Attachment Disorder and Early Childhood Trauma.  As a practicing Year 6 teacher and an adopter, Lynn is able to offer practical, hands on training and advice to staff on the effects of all areas of Attachment and Early childhood trauma, from the perspective of both Teacher and parent. She can offer insight into identifying, monitoring and supporting children within your classroom and advice on how children can be scaffold within the learning environment. Lynn firmly believes in educating the whole child, and facilitating ‘readiness to learn’ for all children through ensuring that social and emotional wellbeing are treated with the utmost priority, whilst ensuring that the practical elements of support are in place, not only for the children affected, but applying the principles to the benefit of all children.  Lynn is available for whole staff or small group training on the neurological principles of Attachment and Early Childhood Trauma, Emotion Coaching and also advice on support and classroom strategies.  Lynn is a career change teacher, with 15 years leadership and management experience in the Finance and Commercial sector before making the change into teaching 8 years ago. Lynn is passionate about raising awareness and the profile of Attachment Difficulties in education within the UK,  and its positive management and support to ensure positive outcomes for all children within our  school settings.

Becky Knight Inclusion (SLE)

Having taught in two schools in Special Measure, her belief as Inclusion Leader is that all students should have access to the curriculum and are given every opportunity to succeed.

Her experience ranges from Head of English and Creative Arts to Director of Sixth form, KS4 and Year 7. Currently, Becky leads on Pupil Premium, Attendance and EAL, and mentoring of TeachDirect students.  As an Accredited Pupil Premium Reviewer, Becky has carried out Reviews in schools, as well as supporting two Secondary Schools in Closing the Gap.  Currently, she is involved with the planning of the Attachment Awareness programme across Northamptonshire.

Sally McCulloch English and Assessment (SLE)

Sally is a highly experienced teacher who has particular expertise in supporting the progress of Key Stage Two pupils.  She currently works in Hartwell Primary School and secures outstanding rates of progress and outcomes for the pupils in her care.  She has been deputy head teacher and Literacy lead for a number of years in which she has continually worked to refine her own practice as well as supporting others to do the same. Sally has supported colleagues from other schools: supporting middle leaders to be effective subject coordinators; supporting schools to set and achieve strategic goals for Literacy; as well as running Literacy staff meetings for colleagues in other school that supports their SDP.  Sally has also successfully mentored a number of teachers new to the profession by: setting up effective training schedules; team teaching and effective coaching and modelling. 

A particular strength of Sally’s is in developing highly independent approaches to learning so that pupils set high expectations for themselves and are fully engaged in the assessment of their own learning. The use of Metacognition strategies and the impact of this on the children in the school is a passion of Sally’s. Sally is an experienced leader and has a whole range of skills and expertise to impart to others. In recent years, she has re-vamped her school’s approach to the teaching and assessment of reading which has generated excellent valued added results. Not only this, but the reading for enjoyment has also flourished at Hartwell which is a source of pride for everyone!

Leanne McGinty English and Assessment (SLE)

Leanne has been teaching for over 10 years in Primary Education, she has taught in a range of year groups and is currently teaching Foundation Stage. Leanne is the Key Stage 1 and EYFS lead and has been part of the senior leadership team for a number of years. Leanne currently leads English across the school and this includes being responsible for phonics.

 Leanne strongly believes that a successful leader is able to effectively communicate a purposeful vision that will raise standards and inspire a whole school community to turn that vision into a reality.

Leanne has experience of supporting colleagues at various points in their career including the development of middle leaders. She has previously held the post of Teaching and Learning Leader, enabling her to raise standards across the school, something which was recognised by OFSTED following her appointment to this role.  She has a good understanding of assessment in both key stages and is experienced with analysing data. Leanne has recently completed her English Mastery certificate with the University of Northampton, through her studies she has conducted detailed research into vocabulary development and parental support with early literacy. Leanne is able to support schools with English, assessment and improving teaching and learning.

Sarah Meeks Curriculum & Assessment (SLE)

Sarah has been working in Education for twenty years and has a wealth of experience across the Primary Phase. Having worked with children in a range of settings, her main post has been at Hall Meadow Primary School in Kettering. During her time at her current setting, Sarah has taken on many roles and has been instrumental in leading the school forward and driving the staff in several school- based initiatives, to ensure the best possible outcomes for pupils.

Her present roles include leading the school in English and she is currently working on an initiative to promote the use of visual literacy to aid children in both comprehension of reading and creativity in writing. She also coordinates Global Citizenship and has been involved in many projects to develop critical thinking, using a range of subject matter primarily based on the Sustainable Learning Goals. Sarah promotes the use of P4C as a tool for supporting this and has recently coordinated a small cluster of schools, running sessions to develop the use of the principles of P4C and explore ways of using a range of texts to “Open our World.”

Sarah has spent much of her career working in year 2 and has worked to develop robust systems for managing effective assessment throughout and at the end of KS1. She has experience in supporting schools through end of Key Stage moderations and leading cluster moderations amongst other teachers of Year 2. She has also worked on supporting teachers with the transition from KS 1 to Year 3.

Wendy Orton Science (SLE)

Wendy has worked at Bliss Charity School for four years and, as science coordinator, has striven to promote and support a varied, meaningful and engaging curriculum. Having been a science coordinator at two other schools throughout her career, she has demonstrated that she understands that teaching and learning is underpinned by stimulating and engaging lessons.  Science needs to be relevant and practical and Wendy has a particular interest in science outdoors, where she believes that children can make the necessary links to put their learning into context whilst enjoying a positive and motivating experience.  Wendy is passionate about science and the teaching of science, especially to the lower ability within the classroom. Science is accessible to all and Wendy is excited about the role that technology has in supporting all members of the class to achieve and excel within the science lesson.  Wendy lectures ITT students about the teaching of science and how to engage pupils in an exciting lesson where deep learning takes place within the framework of the National Curriculum.

Sarah Powell SLE for SEN and KS1 Assessment

Sarah is currently the Head of School at an Infant School in Kettering and she has had many years teaching and leadership experience in primary schools within the county.  Sarah has worked to support other teachers within the schools that she works in as well as a number of other schools across the county. 

Sarah became a SENCo in 2007, she has worked alongside external agencies and has provided support and training to a number of other schools and SENCo’s.  Sarah has worked with staff to complete the Inclusion Quality Mark which was a rigorous and thorough assessment of SEN.  She was also involved in reviewing the provision of SEN practices in other schools within the county.   Sarah is able to support SENCO’s with data, referrals etc. to find ways to impact the child’s progress academically, socially and emotionally.

Sarah has also been a KS1 SATs moderator for a number of years working with the county council.  She has received training to support this and has also provided training for others to support teachers to ensure accurate judgements are made for all children.  She is able to offer advice to teachers with regards to collecting evidence for the end of KS1 assessments.

As a Head of School, Sarah is now applying prior experiences to support staff and other senior leaders and looks forward to being able to share the knowledge that she has gained for the SENCo and KS1 assessment role further to support other schools.

Faiy Rushton Wellbeing and Inclusion/Mindfulness Teacher/Stress reduction (SLE)

Faiy is a secondary trained teacher, who in the last ten years has specialised in wellbeing teaching and is trained in a variety of wellbeing practices; including mindfulness, positive psychology, a kindness curriculum and emotional and academic resilience.

She has led the introduction and implementation of an innovative PSHE curriculum that had a wellbeing emphasis in her own school. Her experience and expertise in teaching in both primary and secondary settings has resulted in her working as an associate lead wellbeing and mindfulness trainer for Inspire, the Mindfulness in Schools Project, The Present and LEAP online.

In recent years Faiy has developed training that supports student teachers, NQTs and experienced teachers in improving their own wellbeing and managing stress better. Faiy has a passion for and experience of supporting schools in integrating meaningful wellbeing practice and policy across the whole school that meets DFE statutory requirements, recognising that every member of the school community needs to be thriving for a school to perform at its best.

Faiy trained in Drama and Dance at university and began her teaching career as a Drama teacher, she continues to have an interest in the performing arts but these days as an audience member rather than a performer.

Joanne Sanchez-Thompson Executive Head: Assessment and Closing Gaps

Joanne Sanchez-Thompson is Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive Officer of the Learning for Life Education Trust.

Over the past 30 years, Joanne has developed a very wide range of experience and skills working within education.  She has worked in eight different schools in the UK and the US, teaching every age group from Reception to sixth form. For two of those schools Joanne took on the role of headteacher.

Joanne’s experience also includes time as a local authority school improvement partner, an independent education consultant and she has had the privilege of visiting schools on inspection. Before joining the Learning for Life Education Trust, she was a school governor in three schools.

Joanne works alongside with a team of teachers, support staff, directors, governors, parents and carers, who are all passionate about ensuring that all our pupils receive the very best educational opportunities and achieve the best outcomes. 

Christopher Scanlon Local Leader of Education

Chris has worked in education for 30 years, starting in Kenya where I ran an orphanage for over 100 children who were victims of the AIDS virus. It was this early experience that inspiredChris to ensure that he gave all children he worked with a global perspective of life. At his last school they became an expert school in global learning and won the British Council award for having the most effective and exciting international project in the UK.

Since returning to the UK Chris has worked in a great variety of schools including rural villages, inner city schools, faith schools and lastly a rural primary school where he was the head teacher for 16 years and became a strategic partner in the setting up of two teaching schools.

Before Chris took over the role as head teacher, he led English, mathematics and special needs in schools and was a leading mathematics teacher. He then became a headteacher and worked in the role for 16 years at a very successful school.

Whilst a head teacher at The Bliss Charity School in Northants, Chris felt privileged to be asked to support other schools in a variety of ways. This included as a National Leader of Education and as a Local leader of Education. This involved working with schools and particularly other heads in a coaching role, enabling them to come to terms with the huge demands of headship as well as prioritise effectively and increase confidence in their own abilities. Within this role, Chris supported five schools in a category and all moved to good in the following Ofsted inspection.

Chris is a founder member of Inspire Teaching School and works on the strategic board as well as leading Teaching and Learning reviews and engaging in School to School support.

Another area of support that Chris engages in is working as a National College facilitator on leadership programmes.  He has facilitated the development of many wonderful young leaders on middle, senior and aspiring head teacher courses.

Jennifer Theodore ITT Supporting Mentor

As a primary school teacher for 15 years, Jen has a lot of experience of Key Stage One, Two and Early Years. She enjoys mentoring and leading both student teachers and NQTs in my own school and externally.  This has ensured that Jennifer has a thorough insight into the Teaching Standards that NQTs are required to fulfil. Jennifer has supported practitioners in the early stages of their career, to successfully manage and meet the day-to-day expectations of being a class teacher, through empathetic guidance and up to date advice.

Mary Tulley Global Learning Programmes / Leadership Development

Mary has a wealth of experience, both as an educational leader, inspector and in the development and training of others.  Mary works for Inspire to deliver MFL programmes, Global research projects and in the development of senior leadership.  Mary has engaged a number of our schools in international projects and subject leader development programmes.  Mary also provides support for the development of teaching and learning; under takes schools reviews and is currently working with Inspire to develop the capacity of middle leaders to raise standards in their subject area.

Claire Turner English/EYFS and Phonics at KS1 (SLE)

Claire Turner has eight years’ experience teaching EYFS, both in the UK and overseas. Now in the tenth year of her career, she has taught in Year 1 for the past two years. During this time, she has utilised her knowledge of EYFS to create high quality provision and a smooth transition for the children in her classes. Developing early writing, drama and high quality synthetic phonics have always been at the heart of her practice. As a phonics and English lead, she continues to work hard to drive standards throughout her school. Claire places a strong emphasis on the importance of a language rich environment that facilitates learning. Phonics, Talk for Writing and creating an enabling learning environment are all areas in which Claire can offer support.

Claire Yarland EYFS and English (SLE)

Claire is passionate about promoting a culture which emphasises high levels of pupil engagement.  She develops learning opportunities for pupils which are active, engaging and foster independence.  A particular strength of Claire’s practice is her attention to the development of high level language skills.  As a result of this, she secures excellent outcomes for young children.  Claire has strength in teaching phonics and has supported the development of a number of professionals

Barbara Yeo NQT and ITT

Barbara is a year 6 teacher who secures high standards for pupils.  She is highly organised, bringing a wealth of experience from a previous career in marketing, this creates capacity for her to manage change quickly.  Barbara has successfully inducted a number of people into the teaching profession and shared her expertise to ensure that they become highly effective teachers that secure high outcomes for pupils.

Our Address


c/o Learning for Life
College Street

Phone Contacts

Operational Lead

Sarah Thomas :  01933 654921 Option 4 (Learning for Life Trust)

Chair of Trustees

Dr Lorraine Cullen : 07866 631 929

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