All Aquila academies are supported by an Improvement Partner. Their role is to support the continued development of the school, to provide advice and guidance through their skills and expertise and to offer appropriate challenge where improvements in practice could be made. All our Improvement Partners are specially selected by the Trust for their experience and expertise in providing robust and sustained improvement in other schools and academies within the county and beyond.


Wendy Simmons

As a former employee of Ofsted, and then as a senior inspector for Ofsted’s contractor ‘Tribal’, most of her work has involved evaluating the effectiveness of schools and children’s centres throughout the United Kingdom. Additionally, she has taken a lead role in training inspectors, monitoring report writing, and leading on new curricular developments.

Currently, she works as an educational consultant monitoring and supporting schools in challenging circumstances. This includes being Chair of the interim Executive Board of a school that has made fast progress in being removed from Special Measures.

Wendy has specialist expertise and passions for Primary education, including the Early Years Foundation Stage. Additionally, she has a wide range of experiences with Academies and education within high performing Independent Schools and several newly formed Free Schools.

Above all, the needs and achievements of emotionally and socially vulnerable children drive her commitment to education, including those with disabilities and/or special educational needs.

In the past she was a Headteacher in Inner London Schools, also working at London University, Goldsmiths College and the Institute of Education.

   
Sheila Wilding

Sheila was the Head teacher of two successful primary schools. She is currently a trained Ofsted inspector and has considerable experience within Kent County Council as an Improvement Advisor and Senior School Improvement Advisor. The impact of this work has been seen in improved pupil achievement with the majority of schools reaching good or outstanding, including schools in special measures which have moved rapidly to good.

The support Sheila offers includes working with Head teachers, senior and Middle leaders and Governors on developing strategic leadership. This includes developing triangulation skills, understanding and using data, robust school self evaluation and improvement planning as well as supporting governor development. She has considerable experience in using her mentoring skills with teachers to ensure they deliver good and outstanding learning and with Head teachers through the Head teacher appraisal process.

   
Sue Parkin

Following retirement in 2012, after 18 years of headship in Church of England schools, Sue trained and then worked as a school improvement partner with schools in both Kent and East Sussex. She currently co-ordinates the work of two collaborations in Dover and Ashford and has been interim head in two primary schools.

Earlier in her career she successfully trained and worked as an Ofsted inspector and also completed several SIAMs inspections.She is currently working with three academies within the Canterbury Diocese, supporting them on their journeys to outstanding. Sue has worked extensively with Governing Bodies, reviewing their effectiveness and impact, providing training and equipping them with the skills to challenge senior leaders within their schools. Subsequent Ofsted inspection has resulted in GB being praised as a strength of school leadership. Sue acts as external advisor for headteacher performance review in several schools.

Through her work with collaborations she has provided training and support for middle leader development ensuring staff are equipped with the skills to impact on standards within their schools, has undertaken whole school reviews and led training for both teachers and support staff. Sue is a governor in a local secondary high school where she has particular responsibility for special needs and is the lead governor for their designated unit.

   
Carol Wakelin

(Information to follow)

   
Simon Molony

Simon’s experience covers 16 years of primary school headship in two schools, one of which was a Church of England (Controlled) Primary. In 1999 he became an adviser with the Kent Local Authority working with schools all over the county. For three years he was a senior primary adviser covering three Kent districts. Simon was an active Ofsted inspector inspecting primary schools all over the country. More recently Simon has focussed on working with the leadership of under-performing schools to improve the school's teaching profile. This work has directly impacted on significant improvements in pupil achievement.

   
Richard Hawkins

Richard has been a teacher for nearly 22 years now! He's a local lad, born in Folkestone and studied at the Harvey Grammar School before moving to Queen Mary and Westfield College at the University of London to follow his passion for the sciences through a degree in Biochemistry. Richard's real passion, however, was working with children and he did this throughout his degree by volunteering to run clubs and helping at holiday clubs for children with diabetes (which he has had since the age of 12).

Richard took a PGCE at St Luke’s in Exeter and never looked back. He has worked in Suffolk and then Kent, teaching in Maidstone before becoming Deputy Head Teacher at Morehall School in Folkestone (which was also his primary school when he was a child). Richard was then fortunate enough to be appointed as Head Teacher to Adisham CE Primary School in Canterbury, at the age of 29. He had a wonderful 6 years there but decided that he wanted a challenge and so became Head Teacher at Green Park CP School in Dover. The school was brand new, following the amalgamation of the Powell and Melbourne schools. It was a tough time and it taught him a lot he didn’t know about leading a school. Richard and his team have worked hard and the school is now highly regarded by the local authority and they are highly expectant of achieving an ‘outstanding grading’ if they are inspected in the next couple of years.

The last couple of years have provided opportunities for Richard to spread his head teacher wings and work in different capacities as well as at Green Park. Last year, he ran Palace Wood School in Maidstone as well as his school in Dover, as Exec Head. This was a demanding roll but gave Richard true insight into strategic leadership as well as allowing his team at Green Park to flex their leadership muscles. More recently, he has been appointed as a Kent Leader of Education and has worked as a School Improvement Advisor with schools in Ashford and Shepway.

In the very little spare time Richard has, he enjoys watching his 6 year old son and his amazing wife compete at their many sports (Richard's wife runs for GB). He loves to play golf and to sing - he is a member of Rock Choir, so you may see him singing around Kent. This year Richard will be singing at Wembley, at the NEC and with Russell Watson at the Marlowe.

   
Lorna Priddle

As a recently retired Executive Headteacher in Kent Lorna has set up her own company, LCP Educational Consultants, which supports school improvement and raising standards of achievement to academies within our Trust.Lorna is also a Director of Aquila.Lorna has the ability to transform failing schools into higher performers and in January 2014 her Infant school gained its third outstanding OFSTED in seven years.She achieves these results by having high expectations, mentoring and coaching staff to become good and outstanding classroom practitioners, having a passion and vision for excellence in education and growing leaders to enable sustainability.

Lorna has the ability to articulate my vision, to share with others and to assimilate different ideas in order to develop a sense of cohesion and direction.As a National Leader of Education (NLE) for 7 years she has collaborated with schools across Kent, Sussex and Surrey to improve standards of achievement and attainment.

Lorna has a high level of competence in interpreting data, the ability to hold challenging conversations with leaders in vulnerable schools, to conduct work scrutiny and lesson observations and be able to change a culture in a school to one of positivity and success.She has met with the DfE and the previous Secretary of State, Michael Gove with respect to raising standards nationally and educational policy.In 2012 Lorna completed the Pacific Institute facilitator training programme, an initiative by Kent to deliver a world class programme for coaching and mentoring leaders in education.

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