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Who's Who

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Lee Mason-Ellis - CEO

Lee Mason-Ellis commenced at Stewart Fleming Primary School in 2008 as the Head Teacher.  At the time the school was in Special Measures but has since been graded as Outstanding in all categories by Ofsted.

Lee has been fundamental in the development of The Pioneer Academy which was started with the prime objective of raising educational achievement for children and ensuring the highest standard of care and guidance.  Under Lee’s direction, The Pioneer Academy has developed a cluster of successful schools in Croydon, Bexley, Bromley and Kent.

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Anne Slade - Chief Finance & Operating Officer

Anne Slade has extensive knowledge of the corporate and operational support functions of schools, having worked in this area of expertise for over ten years.

Anne started working with The Pioneer Academy in 2013 when they supported a school outside of the Trust.  Her role as Chief Finance & Operating Officer encompasses the Chief Finance Officer role, strategically ensuring the most effective use of resources in the support of the learning objectives over all the schools, and the Education Trust.

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Tim Rome - Regional Director

Tim Rome has considerable leadership experience as a Head Teacher in a number of primary schools. As a consultant and interim Executive Head Teacher, he has been commissioned by local authorities and trusts to provide leadership, school improvement advice and to  support Head Teachers in schools, many in challenging circumstances. Tim has specific interests in English, mathematics, the early years and in leadership and management and has been an Ofsted inspector for a number of years.

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Vicky Marsh - Regional Director

Vicky Marsh has worked in Education for the past 22 years, having worked across three different local authorities in a number of leadership roles including Headship and Executive Headship of a small Multi Academy Trust. This enables her to bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to The Pioneer Academy in order to support our schools in their school improvement journey so that all children receive a good or better education in an inclusive school system. 

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Louise Lynch - Regional Director

Lou Lynch has been an Executive Head Teacher, a leader of school improvement in Bexley, and a Deputy Regional Director for one of the largest MATs in the country, with a track record of raising standards with a relentless focus on enabling all children to access outstanding educational provision, regardless of background or specific barriers to education. During her time in education, she has worked for 4 London Local authorities and led a school in Medway from requires improvement to good in two years.  This enables her to bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to The Pioneer Academy in supporting us in our drive in providing all children with an outstanding school experience.

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Ian McManus - Head of Assessment

Ian McManus became the Head of Assessment having previously led assessment as Acting Deputy Head at Belvedere Junior School. He joined the Academy as a Year 6 Teacher at Belvedere Junior School in 2013.

At a time of great change in primary assessment, a key part of Ian’s role is to ensure a consistent approach is taken across the Education Trust, enabling teachers to make accurate judgements meaning they can fully support every child in achieving their potential.

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Rebecca Hipkins - Head of Staff Development

Rebecca Hipkins has been an outstanding classroom practitioner for over 19 years.  Rebecca joined The Pioneer Academy in 2015 as a Senior Leader, working in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Head Teachers to improve teaching and learning across The Pioneer Academy schools.

In her role as Head of Staff Development, Rebecca facilitates exceptional training programmes across the academy trust.  Working in partnership with the OLEVI Alliance, the International Centre for Leadership in Teaching and Learning, Rebecca ensures that all staff in The Pioneer Academy access outstanding coaching and professional development, including bespoke NQT training, leadership programmes and the Power of Coaching.

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Katie Day - Head of Teacher Support - KS2

Katie Day is an experienced primary practitioner who has had impact and taught across all year groups within a variety of roles and settings: classroom based; subject/aspect leader positions; Deputy Head and Head of Academy.  Instilling passion, enthusiasm and love for learning, Katie believes, should be at the heart of any role within primary education. Developing the sense of wonder and curiosity within a child, Katie would expect to be at the forefront of any successful teaching practitioner’s mind. She is driven and committed to improving the quality of teaching and learning and works closely with Head Teachers and senior leaders to provide support and training across Key Stage Two.

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Heather Bonner - Head of Teacher Support - KS1

Since joining The Pioneer Academy in 2010 as an NQT, Heather Bonner has worked as a class teacher, as a Deputy Head and as a phonics specialist teacher. She is passionate about teaching phonics and has successfully led schools in delivering high quality phonics teaching to pupils.

In her role as a Head of Teacher Support, Heather works closely with Head Teachers and other senior leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools in KS1. She also facilitates training programmes across the academy, providing CPD for recently qualified teachers as well as a range of OLEVI programmes including the Creative Teacher Programme and Outstanding Teacher Programme for more experienced members of staff.

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Sarah Dench - Head of Teacher Support - EYFS

With over 15 years’ experience of teaching EYFS Sarah Dench has worked as a Class Teacher, Early Years Leader and Assistant Head in variety of different schools across South London. She is passionate about Early Years and works across the academy supporting Head Teachers, Senior Leaders and Classroom Teachers to provide the very best teaching and learning for our youngest children.

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Natalie Conway - Head of SEND

Natalie Conway joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2021 as Head of SEND. Natalie been a SENCo in multiple schools and, most recently, spent 8 years at Woodcote Primary where SEND practice has been regarded as Outstanding by Ofsted.   Natalie has provided support for SEND to a number of schools in various boroughs and has been the lead SENCo for the south cluster of schools in the borough of Croydon. She is passionate about providing the best outcomes possible for all children and families with SEND and supporting schools, their Headteachers and SENCOs, to do the same. 

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Carole Hitchens - Head of Nurture & Educational Support Staff

Carole Hitchens joined the Academy as a support staff leader in one of our schools in 2013.

She works in partnership with our Head Teachers and other senior members of the Academy to ensure that support staff are effectively trained and deployed to deliver high quality teaching and learning support to our children.  Working as part of The Pioneer Academy Inclusion team, Carole also supports leaders to embed whole school approaches to SEMH, including the development of Nurture Groups.

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Alex Weekes - Head of Behaviour

Alex Weekes joined The Pioneer Academy in February 2017 as Head of Behaviour.  Alex's role is to compliment  the professional work of teachers by ensuring that behaviour related policies and procedures of the Academy are embedded within schools and that the provision for children with behaviour needs is of an exceptional quality.

Alex is highly experienced in her field.  She began her career as a Primary School Teacher and SENCO and for the last twelve years has run a successful consultancy providing specialist behaviour and SEND advice to schools across many London Boroughs.

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Emma Crane - Lead Academy Teacher

Since joining The Pioneer in 2016 Emma Crane has worked across several Pioneer schools as a maths lead, NQT mentor and teacher. She is passionate about children's learning, ensuring that every child enjoys school and reaches their potential.  In her role as a LAT she has the opportunity to support lots of different children across The Pioneer schools and work on specific targeted areas of their learning. 

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Danielle Hales - Lead Academy Teacher

Danielle Hales began her teaching career in 2012 as a Year 2 class teacher. She joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2016 at Chatsworth Infant School and has taught across both EYFS and KS1. During her time at Chatsworth, she has led a range of subjects as well as Assessment. Danielle has also been apart of the Senior Leadership team.  As a consistently outstanding practitioner, Danielle’s new role as Lead Academy Teacher will enable her to share her wealth of engaging and exciting lessons to children across the academy, as well as actively demonstrating best practice to all teaching staff. 

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Amy Hobbs - Lead Academy Teacher

Amy Hobbs joined the Pioneer Academy in 2009 as a NQT starting her teaching career at Stewart Fleming Primary School. Whilst at Stewart Fleming, her roles included class teacher, year group leader for Years 5 and 6, Upper Key Stage 2 Leader and Enrichment Leader. Amy has also led different areas of the curriculum including ICT and Maths. After starting a family and taking a step back from teaching for a couple of years, Amy returned to the Pioneer Academy joining the Central Team in September 2021 in the role of Lead Academy Teacher.

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Hayley Turner - Lead Academy Teacher

Hayley Turner graduated from university in 2008 and worked in the same Bexley School until July 2016 in the role as Leader of Learning for both Years 1 and 2. Hayley joined the Pioneer Academy in September 2016 as a Year 3 class teacher at Belvedere Junior School, before moving on to Chatsworth Infants School in September 2017 where she has taught across Key Stage 1. Hayley has led the core subject of English throughout her time at TPA.  She is now Lead Academy Teacher working within the Central Team at the TPA.

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Chris Money-Chappelle - Head of IT Support

Chris Money-Chappelle has worked in education for 12 years in various roles progressing into his preferred field involving Information Technology.

Chris relishes the continual challenge of taking The Pioneer Academy forward as the Head of IT Support.

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Kinza Tahir - Senior IT Technician

Kinza Tahir graduated with a BScHons in Computer Science, She has been working in the IT industry for the last 9 years. Initially specialising in CRM Software, she moved away from this specialty so that she could expand her skills and help more people. This is the first time she has worked in a school environment.

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Anita Dowdell - Administrative & IT Officer

Anita Dowdell has worked in education for 28 years starting in a Nursery school and moving up to teach IT in a Primary School. ​Whilst in the role Anita always helped the external IT company whenever they were on site to further her knowledge of IT.

Anita is the Administrative & IT Officer working alongside Chris Money-Chappelle and Kinza Tahir in supporting The Pioneer Academy.

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Sam Golding - Deputy Chief Finance Officer

Sam Golding is an experienced School Business Manager.  She started working with The Pioneer Academy when her school joined the Trust in September 2018.  In her role as Deputy Chief Finance Officer, Sam works alongside the Chief Finance and Operating Officer to ensure the financial sustainability and development of Education Trust.

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Emma Thompson - Head of HR

Emma Thompson joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2020 and has over 15 years’ experience of working in Education.  She is skilled in Talent Management, Labour Relations, Personnel Management and Employee Engagement.  Emma joined the Trust from working within Further Education and holds a Post Graduate Diploma focused in Psychology from the University of Westminster.

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Simon Frampton - Head of Estates

Simon Frampton joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2020.

Previously working as a Commercial & Projects manager in the  Landscape Management & Construction sector, he has many years’ experience in working closely with site teams and contractors and using his experience to lead projects from idea through to fruition.

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Dominic Fruen - Senior Groundsman

Dominic Fruen, bringing 14 years of grounds maintenance experience to the academy, joined TPA in November 2020 as Senior Groundsman in charge of grounds maintenance across the trust, ensuring the highest standards for our school grounds is priority, along with the day to day running of the division.

Our work is not only limited to grounds, we also carry out ADHOC works and tasks as and when required by the Academy.

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Kevin O'Neill - Groundsman

Kevin O’Neill joined TPA on 2/11/2020 as Groundsman. Working closely with the Senior Groundsman, he maintains the grounds across our sites including grass cutting, hedge and shrub trimming, installing sports markings, general site tidying, leaf clearing, weed treatment, tree and shrub planting and ad hoc requirements to assist the Academy. 

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Debbie Payne - Executive Team Assistant

Debbie has worked in many different areas of Administration throughout her career and joined the Central Team in September 2019 as the Executive Team Assistant.  Her role is to support the Central Executive Team including the Chief Finance & Operating Officer and Director of Education. 

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Jo Lakey - Head of Governance

Jo Lakey joined The Pioneer Academy in November 2017 as Director of Education.  

Between 2003 - 2017, Jo Lakey worked alongside senior leaders and governors on school improvement matters; working as a seconded Head Teacher in Kent and then as Bexley’s Head of School Improvement.  As an Ofsted lead inspector, Jo has led school self-review visits and self-evaluation surgeries.

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