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PFT Associates

PFT Associate Biographies



Melissa Cousins (Mayplace)

After completing her NQT year at Mayplace in 2014, Melissa was asked to teach in Year Six the following year and worked within a team to secure the best SATs results the school had ever achieved. During that year, Melissa had the added responsibility of being a Primary First Trust Practitioner and felt proud that she would even be considered for this role after such a short time in teaching. As part of her role, she had teachers come in and observe her teaching so that they could see outstanding teaching in practise.

Following this success, she completed a second year in Year Six and also took on the role of English leader, securing a place on the school’s SMLT. As a member of SMLT, Melissa was able to further develop her leadership skills and make school-wide improvements in English. From 2015-2016 Melissa worked as a PFT Associate and led a project with a fellow colleague to embed British Values within the schools in the Trust. One of the great successes of the project was the Cross-Trust debate at the end of the school year where children across the schools in Years Five and Six debated current worldwide issues in the news.

This academic year Melissa has moved from Year Six into Reception and has been promoted to Early Years Leader. She has also taken on a second year of being a PFT Associate and will be co-leading the Outstanding Progress Pathway for selected teachers across all school in the Primary First Trust.




Ann-Marie Bolton (Mayplace)Ann-Marie Bolton (Lessness Heath)

Ann-Marie has been teaching for the past fourteen years, based in schools in both Kent and Bexley. She spent 7 of these years at Mayplace, where she held the position of Early Years Leader and also English Lead. In September Ann-Marie moved to Lessness Heath as an Assistant Headteacher in charge in Key Stage Two.

Ann-Marie has a keen thematic approach to learning and believes that classrooms need to be inviting, allowing opportunities for the children to learn autonomously wherever possible. She advocates that young children need to be outside as often as they can, and that the outdoor environments should be inviting, well-resourced and well planned for so that the children can reach their full potential. She prides herself on the fact that people walk into her classroom and are “wowed!” – a skill that she is keen to support other practitioners to develop.


Due to her pro-active nature and commitment to the development of the school, Ann-Marie was entrusted to oversee the creation of an Early Years Centre comprising two Nursery classes and two Reception classes. She successfully introduced the idea of free flow across the three classrooms.


Ann-Marie believes that effective communication between herself and the families of her pupils is vital. With this in mind she has organised and developed a very successful programme for Parent Helpers within the school.  Alongside this she has run a variety of workshops for parents to help support their children at home.


Throughout this year, Ann-Marie will be focusing on the development of a Teaching for Outstanding Progress Pathway. She will be working alongside teachers to significantly improve teaching practices and pedagogies for rapid progress. Ann-Marie will be working closely alongside another associate, Melissa Cousins, to help develop links and share good practice across the schools.  



Simon Brown (Barnehurst)

I currently hold the position of Deputy Head Teacher at Barnehurst Federation of Schools. Amongst my current responsibilities are Assessment in all its forms and Curriculum.


I have enjoyed working in schools in Greenwich, Kent and Bexley and have experienced varied roles within these schools. My career to date has given me experience in leading History, Computing and Mathematics as well as mentoring and coaching other middle leaders in their roles. Some of this has happened through being a ‘Lead Teacher’ for Computing and later Gifted and Talented within the Dartford East and West Cluster of schools before joining Barnehurst in 2011.


Whilst at Barnehurst, I helped lead the school from what had previously been judged as a school in category to a school that was deemed by Ofsted to be ‘Good’. The process by which this happened allowed me to experience and lead various elements of school improvement at various levels.


Since the formation of the Primary First Trust, I have enjoyed an active role in not only improving the school I am based at, but working with other colleagues from around the Trust with the shared aim of improving systems, the quality of learning and teaching and ultimately looking towards improving the service we provide as a Trust for the children that we serve.



Joan Woodham (Barnehurst)

Four years ago I joined the Federation of Barnehurst Schools as Inclusion Leader and part time Year 2 teacher. 


I currently hold the post of Deputy Head Teacher at Barnehurst where one of my responsibilities is for Inclusion across the Federation.


Prior to joining Barnehurst, I have worked in a 2 form entry Primary, a private nursery and a 1 form entry Infant School. I have experience of teaching from EYFS to Year 6.  As a foundation leader, I led PE and Art.


After a short career break, I worked in a newly established day nursery where I had the responsibility of setting up a pre-school unit. I then came back into a school setting where I continued to lead PE and where I also took on the responsibility for Mathematics, becoming a member of the SLT. As leader for Mathematics, I completed Leadership Pathways with the National College and ran a project which aimed at involving parents in supporting their children with Mathematics and building parent partnerships. 


My role as Inclusion Associate will give me the opportunity to work alongside Inclusion leaders and parents across the Trust.




Claire Johnson (Mayplace)

I currently  hold  the  position  of  Assistant  Head  Teacher and Year Six Teacher at Mayplace Primary School.   Amongst my current responsibilities are Pupils Premium and Maths Lead.


I initially began my career in education through part-time work as a classroom assistant and lunchtime supervisor on a voluntary basis, but eventually as an employee at Belvedere Infant School. In time, I felt the need for personal development and enrolled to study for the Specialist Teaching Assistant Certificate at the Open University. In December 2001, I passed the STAC course whilst juggling a family and a job in a primary school. At this point I was working part-time on a 1:1 basis with a visually impaired child and went on to support a child with multiple special needs. I was also recommended for and achieved H.L.T.A. status and attended evening classes to attain level 2 BSL in sign language.  I continued working for four days a week, at Pelham Primary School  (both as a T.A, and a H.L.T.A, to cover PPA from nursery to year 6), whilst attending Christchurch Canterbury to study for a degree (with BA honours) in child and youth studies, in order to gain my teaching certificate. One of my personal highlights was completing one of my teaching practices at a street school in Ghana.


Currently, I am employed in my third year as one of two Year Six class teachers at Mayplace Primary School, having completed three years in Lower Key-stage Two. I have successfully fulfilled the role of Upper Key Stage Two Phase Leader for two years and have now moved on to become Assistant Head Teacher and Maths Lead.


For the past year, I have worked with a colleague as a Primary First Trust Associate to complete a project to support schools across the Trust in preparing children for life in Modern Britain through SMSC, PSHE and the promotion and embedding of Fundamental British Values across the curriculum.


This year I am delighted to be able to work alongside Linsey Jordan in the role of Year 6 Associate.



Louise Chalkley (Cuxton)

I have a real passion for the ethos and practice in Early Years. I love seeing the impact you can have on children’s progress at such a young age and helping them to develop a love of learning as a foundation for the rest of their school career.

Throughout my teaching career I have been involved with developing my own practice, both as a teacher and as a leader, which has involved completing an MA in Education as well as a leadership program with Christ Church Canterbury. I believe you never stop learning and I enjoy exploring new ways of helping children learn and sharing these ideas with others.


I currently work in the Academy of Cuxton schools as a Reception class teacher, Early Years leader and I am also a senior leader and a member of the schools’ “Raising Standards” team. In addition to this, I am also the SLE for Early Years in Bexley. These responsibilities mean that I have a vast knowledge and experience of processes around school improvements. Having previously worked in Barnehurst, I have a clear understanding of how to develop an outstanding learning environment- what is looks like and the steps a school must take in order to achieve this for children.


I have a passion for working with colleagues in order to get the very best outcomes for children. I enjoy meeting and working with new people and I provide an honest and challenging level of support alongside a positive and inspiring approach. I want to see every child achieving the very best they can and am looking forward to supporting colleagues in enabling all children to have the greatest start to their lives.


My project as a PFT Associate last year involved looking at the physicality of writing – looking at how we can develop children’s physical skills so that their confidence and performance and writing can improve when they are not having to concern themselves with forming letters, which can put children off writing in the Early Years. This was a great success and I look forward to continuing to work across the PFT as an Associate this year.



Ann Smith (Lessness Heath)

I am currently an Assistant Head Teacher at Lessness Heath, having been in the teaching profession for 13 years. However, teaching was not my first career choice. After following a Business Studies degree, I joined the John Lewis buying department -  the perfect job for a shopping addict!


My route into teaching began when my own children started school - I volunteered as a parent helper and became addicted! I therefore trained as a TA, and joined Normandy School . After 3 years. I was encouraged to enrol on the Bexley School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) scheme.


As an NQT, I joined Lessness Heath. Lessness has provided me with several  opportunities to develop my career. My roles have included leadership in Art, Display, Maths and the Lower  KS2 Phase. A recent achievement has been the acquisition of Maths Specialist Teacher (MaST).


Since becoming a Maths Specialist Teacher, I have developed a real passion for the teaching and learning of this subject. I believe that all children have the potential to achieve and make good progress in maths, and that they deserve the very best opportunities to fulfill their potential. I am therefore delighted to be the Maths Associate for the PFT.



Barbara Eagles (Barnehurst)

For the past ten years I have been in post at The Federation of Barnehurst Schools. I’m currently teaching a Year 3 class, although I have had a varied teaching career to date, teaching children from Nursery to Year 6. This will be the second time I have undertaken an Associate Role for the Trust.


Having been part of last year’s Associate Mastery Hub, which resulted in the introduction of a maths mastery styled curriculum framework for 2016, I am now, as Mastery Associate, once again involved in the exciting drive to establish mastery practices across the curriculum in our schools. This will involve supporting other existing and aspiring Mastery Leaders across the Trust as required, leading a termly network for Mastery Leaders to reflect on their curriculums and plan next steps for their schools and keeping Mastery Leaders informed of the latest national and local picture about mastery. I will also be the lead on the schools-to-schools project to develop approaches to mastery in the English curriculum in conjunction with the University of Greenwich.





Charlotte Baker (Cuxton)

My name is Charlotte Baker and I am an Assistant Head Teacher at The Academy of Cuxton Schools. I have worked at Cuxton Junior School since I graduated from Canterbury Christchurch University in 2009. Throughout my time at Cuxton, I have been lucky enough to have worked in all year groups across Key Stage 2, mainly specialising in teaching Years 3 and 4.  


After my NQT year, I became Maths Subject Leader at Cuxton Junior School; a role that I was always extremely passionate about. I led maths across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 for many years. My main aim as a Subject Leader was to engender a fascination with the subject and ensure that every child had access to high quality teaching through an enriched Curriculum. My passion for leading maths was recognised by both colleagues and parents, when I won the Kent Teacher of the Year award in 2013.


Last year I taught in in Key Stage 1 for the first time. This opportunity was very exciting for me, as it enabled me to work with younger children, to ensure that the foundations for learning were well embedded. 


Having successfully achieved the best outcomes in Year 2 ever last year, I wanted to share my expertise in working in Year 2 across the PFT. I had high expectations of the staff and children and have a proven track record this area; this resulted in me applying for the role to become the Year 2 Associate. I was successful in my application; I am looking forward to working with my colleagues across the PFT to support staff in sharing good practice, preparing for the end of year tests and moderating judgements.



Andy Cawthorne (Mayplace)

My name is Andy Cawthorne and I am in my tenth year of teaching at Mayplace Primary School.  I worked for eight years after leaving school, mainly in finance, before gaining my teaching degree at Greenwich University. 


I have had a number of roles during my time at Mayplace including class teacher in Years 2, 3 and 4, PE Subject Leader since my NQT year, Forest School Leader, KS1 Leader and a member of the Senior Middle Leadership Team.  At the end of last year I was promoted to the role of Assistant Head Teacher and I will be the Acting Deputy Head Teacher until January 2017. 


I became a PFT Associate last year and completed a project researching the effect of physical activity on children’s learning.  I am looking forward to continuing my role as associate for PE this year and working collaboratively across the trust. 




Alina Manda  (Barnehurst)

Since qualifying as a teacher, I have been eager throughout my career to be as closely involved with continuing professional development initiatives as possible. In addition to gaining expertise in qualitative and quantitative analysis of data while researching the impact of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) on pupils’ attitudes to learning and attainment through the Master Degree in Education, I also regularly participate in training programmes to develop my skill set. Recently, I completed the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership and BCS Certificate in Computer Science Teaching, and in the past have attended courses on subject leader and senior management training. Furthermore, in the leadership positions that I have held to date I have placed significant emphasis on encouraging staff to become more closely involved with CPD initiatives. Having taught for almost ten years with outstanding feedback from lesson observations and performance management, have held several positions of increasing responsibility from KS1 (Years 1 & 2) to KS2 teacher (Year 5 & 6), to High School teacher (Year 12), culminating in my previous role as ICT Leading Practitioner with responsibilities at the local, national and international level in relation to drafting and implementing the new computing curriculum as a medium to enhance pupils’ attitudes to learning, and progress and attainment. In my current role I am a Year 5 teacher and computing leader.


I have a real interest in closing the gaps in education. For me, closing the gap means understanding which pupils are underperforming in the school and why, and use my expertise to identify leadership action required to close gaps and reduce within-school variation between individual teachers while ensuring effective collaboration between teams to improve pupil outcomes. In my opinion, a senior leader is key to high standards teaching culture, ensuring teachers have a positive impact on pupils’ outcomes. This involves leading the quality of pedagogy by working with teachers to improve their skills, knowledge and understanding.



Linsey Smith  (Cuxton)

I began my career in education by working as a playgroup leader in the East End of London, a role that I enjoyed immensely. After gaining a Diploma in Pre-school Practice (DPP), I was offered a position as a nursery assistant at Arnhem Wharf Primary School, Tower Hamlets, London. It was here that I was encouraged to complete a Teaching Assistant course and support the Reading Recovery programme by becoming an Early Literacy Support (ELS) assistant. It didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to teach!


Whilst my children were young, I continued to work as a TA/ LSA and then, after moving to Kent, I decided to complete a Foundation Degree in Early Years, with West Kent College. After this, I continued to study with Greenwich University and gained a first class degree in Education Studies (with BA Hons) with a specialism in Additional Educational Needs. I then completed my PGCE, also with Greenwich University.


I began my first teaching post at All Saints CEP in year 5. I then settled into my role of teaching the mixed class of year 5 and 6, a position that I enjoyed immensely. To gain further experience, I taught LKS2 (year 4) for two years and completed a Middle Leadership Development Programme (MLDP). After which, I returned to UKS2 and became Upper Key-stage Two phase leader, with the responsibility of Science.

Currently, I am employed as a Year Six class teacher at The Academy of Cuxton Schools, where I also have a supporting role for English lead. I am proud to be a Primary First Trust Associate, working in partnership as the Trust PFT Lead for Year 6.



Laura-Ann Carter (Mayplace)

I have worked at Mayplace School since I graduated from Greenwich University in 2010. In my six year teaching career, I have been lucky enough to have worked in all year groups across Key Stage 2.  I am currently a Year Six teacher, Science Leader and Upper-Key Stage Two Phase Leader, as well as a part of the Raising Standards team. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege to lead a variety of foundation subjects including PE, Drama, Music and RE. I am passionate about embedding and finding new ways to further enrich the teaching and learning of foundation subjects so that they are cross-curricular and accessed enjoyably by all of our children. As Science lead, I have organised and run a Ground Squad which has provided children with the opportunity to learn outdoors, take safe risks, work as a team and to develop a relationship and love of their environment.

In addition to this, I am a creative person with a particular passion for music. I currently lead the school choir, which I have done for the past four years. As part of this role I have attended and organised numerous music events such as: Young Voices at the O2; The Royal Festival Hall; The PFT Celebration Events. I have also made strong connections with the local community such as the local residential homes and the local churches and have been able to support many of my colleagues in delivering musical performances with their classes.

I have also completed the Outstanding Teacher’s Programme and am about to embark on studies for the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership.

I am extremely excited to be working with Nicola as the PFT Associate for the Wider Curriculum. I am keen to share my passion and look forward to inspiring foundation subject leads across our trust to further ignite the love of learning for not only core subjects, but foundation ones too.



Kerry Riley (Mayplace)

I am the School Business Manager at Mayplace Primary School.  I have worked at Mayplace since 2000 and I have carried out the roles of Resource Officer, ICT Technician, HLTA, ICT subject leader and now SBM.  Using my previous experience working with ICT, I developed the use of computers throughout the school and taught ICT as a HLTA covering PPA.  I have implemented IT systems for the teaching and admin staff and been involved with aspects of health and safety. 


Due to the increasing administrative workload of the Head, governors decided to create the role of School Business Manager in 2013.  I felt that my experience of both the teaching and the support environments within a school gave me the breadth of knowledge required to carry out this role and I decided to apply.  I was successful in my application and in my first year completed my Certificate in School Business Management.


As a staff governor, I was excited by the opportunity to join the Primary First Trust and to improve the learning opportunities and outcomes for all Mayplace Children.


I have enjoyed working with School Business Managers across the trust as together we have had to cope with the challenge of a very different business environment.


My project for this year is to continue to streamline the administrative systems across the schools and to offer support to new members of the admin teams.



Nicky Boushear (Wayfield)

I have been a primary teacher for 19 years after studying at Liverpool John Moores University for my B.Ed (Hons) in Science and Environmental Studies.


Although my first teaching post was in KS2 after three years I moved to a new school and found my home in Key Stage 1. Over the last 15 years I have held the position of year group leader in both Year one and Year two. I have also led science and ICT in co-ordinator posts.


I moved to Wayfield Primary School in September 2015 where I currently teach Year 2 and hold subject responsibility as science co-ordinator.


I was honoured to be invited to become an associate for this year working on ‘The Wider Curriculum’ with Laura Ann Carter, and I am looking forward to a bright and positive future both at Wayfield and with Primary First Trust.



Richard Butler (Lessness Heath)

I am currently the Extended schools, P.E and Health Leader at Lessness Heath Primary School. This is my third year of teaching after completing my PGCE at the University of Greenwich. I currently teach in Year 2, although my previous experience has been mainly in Year 5. This is an exciting opportunity for me to learn and experience a new year group and key stage.


Before I came into teaching, I had a sales job which had me travelling all over the country (and occasionally abroad) to sell bakery products to supermarkets and wholesalers. I found this job as exciting as sounds and decided to change my career path!! After a month of volunteering in primary schools in South East London, I took a teaching assistant job at a school in Lambeth where I stayed for 18 months. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and it fostered my desire to become a qualified teacher.


I completed my final placement of my PGCE year at Lessness Heath Primary School and due to the welcoming nature of everyone at the school, I have stayed there ever since. I have been PE co-ordinator for the last two years, extending my responsibilities this year. This is due to my love of sports, both as a child and now as an adult where I still play football semi-professionally.


I am looking forward to working with both the Trust Associates and the staff at all of the Trust schools to develop PE and increase the children’s enjoyment and participation Trust-wide.