I am the Headteacher of Dovecote School. I have over 22 years experience of working with students with special education needs, including trauma informed practice, SEMH, ASD, ADHD, PDA to name a few. 10 of those years have been specifically dedicated to work at senior management level supporting families, staff and students alike, promoting inclusive practice in an environment where students feel safe and want to learn resulting in positive outcomes. I have a proven track record in registering and developing growth within special schools in the South West whilst maintaining a good strong vision for the school and sharing this effectively to the leadership team and teachers alike prioritising staff welfare and the wellbeing of our students.
At the heart of the school, I think we need to make our students feel safe within a fun, appropriate learning environment where students can make mistakes without prejudice and strive to be the best they can be through our delivery of a specialized, student-focused curriculum which will allow them grow into interdependent learners.
As a leader, I have been able to motivate my staff team and get them to work with me, I lead from the front demonstrating excellent teaching and engagement management skills, giving them the confidence that I still know what it’s like to be on the ground floor.
I have worked in the education sector in a variety of settings for over 20 years. Over these years I have trialed, developed and attuned my managerial and leadership skills, including skills essential in supporting the running, development and growth of this new school. I am excited by the opportunities we can offer to young people and embed in our curriculum, that allow us to engage and stretch our students’ minds. Through Thrive practices, Sensory activities and diets and Autistic friendly approaches, we meet the needs of our young people, above and beyond so many other specialist schools. The school has a genuine family feel and the ethos we promote is child focused. Our facilities and the high calibre of staff, make the transitional steps easier for any young person on roll.
After qualifying in climbing, paddle sport and Mountain Leaders, I first worked as an outdoor activity Instructor, then as a field studies teacher, DofE assessor and Team building facilitator in various outdoor centres. Following completion of my degree and PGCE, I then moved into a post in a mainstream school (11-18). There, I delivered Geography (11-18) and initially through extracurricular activities, Outdoor Education. Over the years, I ran various trips, expeditions and programs both on the timetable and as extracurricular activities. As a successful and driven teacher, I became promoted to a middle leader role within the school, first improving the quality of education within Geography, and also its image and value within young people’s lives. Over time, I also undertook various other lead roles within the wider school community, including; Staff CPD co-coordinator, Coaching Lead and NQT’s/ PGCE mentor. Towards the end of my time at my first school (14 years), I became heavily involved in and started to specialise in SEN education.
I am passionate and driven to provide high quality, impactful and meaningful education. Education that improves life outcomes and which all students can access. Dovecote School is that unique and amazing environment which has been specifically selected and designed to create the best supportive and encouraging atmosphere for students. With its focus on Autism, facilities and resources have been specifically selected to support students so that anxiety can be managed and progress can be made. I am excited to be a part of the team.
Having accessed University as a mature student and scraped through an Honors degree in Psychology and Sociology, I had a long first career in Registered adult social care; in both middle and senior leadership. This gave me a wealth of experience working alongside and managing teams to support young and older adults with a range of learning differences to navigate life. I’m old enough to have been involved in the re-provision of services traditionally part of hospital care, to community care and supported living! Being involved in the final push for re-provision of the hospital care service in the Southwest taught me we can and should do more to support neurodiverse people to access opportunities through education which enable them to fulfill full potential and hopes and wishes.
This prompted a switch from care to education and I quickly started working in specialist education provision – somewhere I could use my skills and experience to best effect. I’ve taught classes of students with complex communication and social needs, including Autism, PDA, Attachment disorder and Trauma and through this became acutely aware of the meaning of inclusion in education. More recently I’ve used Art (a hobby of mine) to engage young people therapeutically to support development of social and emotional skills. This brought me to Thrive Approach which has in turn been transformational for my practice and understanding of neurodiverse community. I come to Dovecote with a deep and heartfelt understanding of Thrive and the impact it can have for everyone as a teaching tool, as a wellbeing tool and as a tool for life. I’m a licensed Adolescent Thrive practitioner, Thrive Family leader and Thrive trainer. In the last few years, I have worked tirelessly to embed the principles and practice of Thrive into education and most recently supported a school to embed the 5 areas of excellence in Thrive to become a Thrive Ambassador school. I feel truly privileged to be bringing this to Dovecote and to be able to share the experience of being part of a new school, in which we can fly the flag for Inclusion and navigate the journey as a therapeutic community.
I have been a member of the Senior Leadership within schools for almost 20 years. I have taught throughout the Primary phase over my 28-year teaching career. I have been a SENCO and worked tirelessly within schools to ensure all children have their needs met. I have been Maths and Science Leads in school and have a huge passion for both of these subjects, enjoying making them as interactive and engaging as possible. After 22 years working in a small rural school, I jumped at the chance to work at Dovecote, a place where the children are able to thrive due to its fun, individualised approach to learning, safe learning environment where mistakes can be made and where the children can just be themselves – without judgment. I love working with the children seeing them develop and grow as individuals.
Secondary Curriculum Lead
I have worked within education for over 10 years and had the opportunity within a variety of roles across multiple year groups from Primary to further education. My experience varies from class teacher of early years, to GSCE English and A Level and BTEC lecturer. Since qualifying as a teacher, I have had the opportunity to lead, develop and support PSHE curriculum, pastoral care supporting parent and families and as Deputy Safeguarding Lead. Working alongside parents and families providing additional support for vulnerable children prompted my transition to Residential care, where I undertook the role of Therapeutic Support Practitioner & Co- Ordinator working closely with young children with ongoing trauma, responsible for strategies and intervention therapies. Having worked within many educational establishments I have identified the importance of continual development and learning, striving to provide the best environment possible for children and young people to be able to develop and become successful individuals. With this as a focus I am excited to be part of the Dovecote team to support an individualised therapeutic approach to learning.
I have worked in education for over 14 years and have experience in primary, secondary and specialist schools. When I undertook my PGCE, I trained with special needs as a specialism and spent equal time training in specialist settings and mainstream settings. Since qualifying as a teacher, I have taught across a variety of age ranges in both key stage 1 and key stage 2 and have led a number of subjects including Computing and PE, as well as being a key stage leader. I have always had an interest in special needs, and I was able to work alongside the SENCo in my previous school and gain valuable experience whilst completing the SENCo award. I then went on to become the school SENCo and was able to use my training and experience to implement new systems and strategies to develop and improve SEN outcomes across the school.
I firmly believe that education is not only about outcomes but about creating highly skilled and life ready individuals who are ready for the challenging world ahead, regardless of need or background. For me as a leader, this journey through education is fundamental and should be accessible to every child with each having access to the best opportunities to succeed and thrive. I am passionate about supporting young people and genuinely believe in the capacity of all to be successful even where adjustments may need to be made – I know that this drive and commitment to inclusivity and opportunities for all is integral to the role of SENCo.
Dovecote School provides a truly unique environment, both in the physical spaces that are available to enhance and facilitate educational and personal development opportunities, but also within the skills and experience of the staff team. I am in the fortunate position to work as part of a Therapy Team where our collective skills and knowledge can be used to support our students and their families to ensure that school is a safe and supportive place where they are welcomed and understood. As a therapy team we are able to support the wider teaching team in having the knowledge, training and resources to ensure that student’s needs are met, and they have the tools and strategies to succeed. An integral part of this success is working closely with our families to ensure that our student have the best possible outcomes.
HR and H&S Manager
I have worked in the social care/education sector; in a variety of settings, for over 18 years, with the latter 6 years being dedicated to HR, workforce development and H&S. I have many years’ experiences of managing a team; 10 of which have been at senior management level. I am loyal, passionate, and driven to provide the best possible service to colleagues and the children and young people we work with.
I really enjoy working in multifaceted and fast paced environments that require effective delivery of projects and initiatives, which makes the environment at Dovecote School is perfect for me.
Dovecote School provides an amazing environment, with plenty of outside space including a farm, gardens, sports activities as well as on and offsite adventure activities to meet the needs of our students and help them achieve their true potential. We are incredibly lucky to have an amazing; inclusive, team of educational and therapy specialists who are dedicated and passionate about making a difference for every child that attends Dovecote School, both now and in the future.
I have taught in main stream schools for over 10 years and worked as an LSA in a primary setting. Working as a 1:1 LSA, and reflecting on my time as a secondary teacher, gave me insight into many things I found problematic in the way mainstream schools educate and support young people. When Dovecote magically appeared, I knew it was going to be special and I knew I needed to be a part of a system where young people would truly come first. I teach Drama and Careers and also support work with PSHE and Life Skills. As a middle-leader I will be co-ordinating theme days and supporting development of the timetable.
I have spent the last 10 years within education in a variety of roles from a teacher, pastoral lead to now a middle leader and music teacher. My initial interest in teaching was sparked while volunteering at an outdoor education company in South Africa, run by a local charity for children aged 15-18. I found it extremely rewarding to see the look of satisfaction on a child’s face as they completed a piece of work or took part in a group activity, knowing that I helped give the children the confidence and ability to do so. Working closely with both the children and the parents greatly improved my confidence, and by the end of my time there, I found myself knowing I wanted to
peruse a career in teaching older children. Education is a passion of mine and creating a safe, friendly and productive environment for my students to learn is a top priority. I’ve worked as a teacher for several years across a range of subjects within mainstream to foundation studies and now Dovecote. I am extremely proud to be a part of the Dovecote team, welcoming some of the most amazing young people and their families and new staff, with a shared goal to support children feel safe, special and secure in their education.
I started my career in Education, as a Teaching Assistant to fit around my own children and have now been working within schools for over 19 years. I have the lived experience of parenting 3 children with a range of needs – ASD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia and as such wanted to know everything and anything linked to their diagnosis. We struggled as a family to be heard and had to fight daily for
their needs to be met. I was determined to be their voice when they couldn’t. This has influenced my practice in and out of class assisting other children and parents find their voice. I am trained as an ELSA, Learning Support Mentor and Childhood Thrive Practitioner and have worked with a range of students with Autism, PDA, Attachment disorder, Bereavement and Trauma. I am passionate about inclusion for ALL children. When I heard about the role of Thrive Practitioner at Dovecote School, I jumped at the chance to move to a more dedicated role that centres on the student’s wellbeing.
I returned from Zambia after 10 years, to work in education. In my 23 years within the profession, I’ve supported a young man with Downs Syndrome and worked for Barnardo’s alongside the Children’s Home Care Team out of Musgrove hospital. This role involved taking children from the hospital into schools and providing respite for their parents and careers and led to working in a primary school in Yeovil supporting a young lady with cereal palsy and her class, for 7 seven years. During this time I returned to University in the evening and studied for a degree in Early Years. I moved out of Primary school into nursery and pre-school settings, running a pre school in Chard for a 5 years. In this time I did take a year out to run an office over a very large diary farm of 3,000 cows but decided it was far too smelly!! I am very excited to be working alongside the team and children at Dovecote to support the development of early educational experience and play. As a data-driven person, I’m happy to take on the lead for collating date for our school.
I have worked in education for 14 years in range of support, supervising and teaching roles. During this time I have obtained an Open BA (Hons) degree through the Open University as well as a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Learning. I have worked with a variety of ages and abilities before realising my passion for the SEN environment. I hold strong that all learners should feel safe and secure in their environment and that learning is not just about academics but also about personal growth and achievements. The ethos of Dovecote School ensures that our learners are supported emotionally; something I hold at the heart of my practise. My role includes developing work experience and lived experiences for students as they grow through their adolescent years.
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