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

Successful headteacher of two primary schools, both of which rapidly improved and acknowledged by Ofsted

As Senior Adviser in Kent, made significant contribution to moving pupil progress in the Dover area from second to bottom in the 12 Districts in the Kent to first and pupil attainment from second to bottom to second. During tenure in post 98% of schools were judged as good or better by Ofsted, moving from 56% when post was taken up.

As SIP to a large number of schools across Kent – supported schools in their move from RI to good and good to outstanding. Three schools in Special Measures when allocated to the SIP, became good within 18 months. 

Since joining Aquila, supported one school in move from RI to outstanding.  Retired Ofsted inspector.

Sheila Wilding and Simon Molony are the directors of Knights Educational. They are educational consultants of many years’ experience. 

Both are ex- Primary Headteachers, Ofsted inspectors and local Authority advisers who have a very successful track record in School Improvement. Their track record of raising standards in school is exemplary.

We are happy to tailor professional development to individual school needs as we offer a personal approach to school improvement as every school is different. The following will give you an idea of what we can offer:-

Helping senior leaders and teachers understand and interpret data

Preparation for Ofsted inspection including school self-evaluation

School reviews

Supporting the development of good and outstanding teaching by undertaking joint lesson observations with SLT/middle leaders, highlighting and supporting development needs

Strategic development of SLT/middle leaders

Mentoring and coaching

Performance management advice to governors for the headteacher process

School Improvement planning including the use of data to inform planning

Governor training and development including governor self-evaluation

Development of effective assessment systems including pupil progress meetings and all aspects of assessment for learning (A4L)

Use of assessment information to inform lesson planning

Appointments of senior staff including Headteachers

Curriculum review, design and implementation

  
   
Sue Parkin

Following retirement 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 a number of  primary schools, most recently last year at Victoria Road Primary a maintained primary school in Ashford.

Earlier in her career she successfully trained and worked as an Ofsted inspector and also completed several SIAMs inspections. She was one of the original members of the Diocese School Improvement Board and worked with Temple Ewell supporting them in their journey to Good as a sponsored stand alone primary and then joined the Aquila team to move the school to outstanding. She still works with DCACL with Christ Church Ramsgate – now Good. Sue supports Temple Ewell and Charlton for Aquila – one outstanding school and one Good and on the way to developing outstanding features. Both schools were graded outstanding in their recent SIAMs inspections. 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.

   
 
Elizabeth Pettersen

Liz has recently retired from being Executive Headteacher of a federation of two small rural primary schools both of which achieved outstanding gradings in Ofsted and SIAMs under her leaderships.  She has also been a SIAMS inspector for the past eleven years.  She is totally passionate about developing the spiritual dimension of church schools both for pupils and staff.  A key part of her practice was to ensure that pupils were fully engaged in worship, developing a high level of spiritual understanding and an ability to lead worship.  She has led staff training on spirituality as well as the creation of interactive reflection corners both inside and outside the classroom.  These sessions have demonstrated, through practical and do-able activities, how to establish engaging reflection spaces during a busy school day.  Feedback from these sessions has been very positive with staff being inspired to develop this area of their classroom.  Liz has also supported schools in developing high quality self-evaluation documentation prior to SIAMS and ensuring that the evidence base is strong to support a SIAMS grading.  Other assistance has included leading workshops with classes on reflection corners linked to the school’s values and helping develop pupil leadership in worship.

While working with the Aquila MAT Liz has achieved the following successes  - Kennington achieved Good overall at SIAMs for the first time in the history of the school. Charing and Brenzett both achieved Good gradings, having self-assessed as satisfactory a few months before her involvement. St Nick’s achieved Good overall at SIAMs with Outstanding for Leadership. 

   

Simon Molony

Primary Headteacher for sixteen years in two schools. 

Local authority primary school adviser for 12 years including two years as senior LA adviser for schools in Gravesend and Dartford 

Ofsted Inspector from 2000 to 2007

Educational consultant from 2012 to the present, working with contracts from the Kent and Medway LAs, the Aquila MAT as well as numerous individual school projects

Ofsted: Kennington good outcome with outstanding elements from a start in serious weakness, Kingsnorth: Good with outstanding elements, St Georges: Good with outstanding elements.

Supporting Kingsnorth as they take up the role as Lead for the English Hub for Kent and the South East region.

As an LA consultant, I have extensive experience of school improvement most recently in Dover, Thanet, Canterbury and Swale. This has included working with schools causing serious concern. Where necessary Headteachers have been removed, recovery plans put in place, support brokered and the school’s progress regularly monitored.

When I was the LA adviser for Thanet, Thanet had the highest percentage of primary schools above floor standard in Kent in 2012.  Progress in English resulted in Thanet in 8th position from 12th, and 6th place in Maths from 12th in 2012

Sheila Wilding and Simon Molony are the directors of Knights Educational. They are educational consultants of many years’ experience. 

Both are ex- Primary Headteachers, Ofsted inspectors and local Authority advisers who have a very successful track record in School Improvement. Their track record of raising standards in school is exemplary.

We are happy to tailor professional development to individual school needs as we offer a personal approach to school improvement as every school is different. The following will give you an idea of what we can offer:-

Helping senior leaders and teachers understand and interpret data

Preparation for Ofsted inspection including school self-evaluation

School reviews

Supporting the development of good and outstanding teaching by undertaking joint lesson observations with SLT/middle leaders, highlighting and supporting development needs

Strategic development of SLT/middle leaders

Mentoring and coaching

Performance management advice to governors for the headteacher process

School Improvement planning including the use of data to inform planning

Governor training and development including governor self-evaluation

Development of effective assessment systems including pupil progress meetings and all aspects of assessment for learning (A4L)

Use of assessment information to inform lesson planning

Appointments of senior staff including Headteachers

Curriculum review, design and implementation


 

Lorna Priddle

As an Executive Headteacher in Kent, my ability to transform failing schools into higher performers is proven by results: from Special measures to requires improvement with leadership graded as good in 16th months (Archbishop Courtenay C.E. Primary School) from Notice to improve too good in two years (St Michaels C.E .Junior School) from cause for concern to outstanding in 4 years (St Michaels C.E. Infant School) In January 2014 my Infant school gained its third outstanding OFSTED in seven years.

I have achieved 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 throughout three schools that I led. For example four senior leaders in my schools have gone onto headships and head of school in Kent schools.

I have 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 from 2008-2015, I collaborated with schools across Kent Sussex and Surrey to improve standards of achievement and attainment. Classroom practitioners, Headteachers, and LA officers came to observe outstanding practice across my three schools but especially Key Stage one. I was also commissioned by Kent through the National College to go and support schools to improve standards. I supported leadership and management and teaching and learning in several schools over a period of 7 years. This required me to have 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.

Additionally, I have met with the DFE to discuss how to raise standards across the country and met with a previous Secretary of State, Michael Gove, regarding educational policy.

In 2012, I completed the Pacific Institute Investment in Excellence facilitator training programme. This was an initiative by Kent to deliver a world class programme for coaching and mentoring leaders in education. I successfully completed the programme and was able to put this into practice in training sessions across four schools in Kent

 

St Michael’s C.E. Schools Federation has been recognised nationally and internationally in a historic publication on the history of Parliament (2015).This book has been distributed to all members of the United Nations, UK and overseas embassies and Members of Parliament. This recognised the performance of the St Michaels C.E. Schools Federation and the role it played in leading by using the teachings of hope, faith and charity.

St Michael’s was one of only 25 schools chosen to appear in this prestigious publication. It recognised excellence in education and the impact the school’s ethos and culture had on the community.

 

Profile 2015-present

As a School Improvement Partner for the Aquila Multi Academy Trust. I provide professional challenge and support for schools.

I act as a critical and professional friend to school, helping leadership teams to evaluate school performance, identify priorities for improvement and plan for effective change.

In the summer 2018, a school I support (St Mary of Charity, Faversham) gained an outstanding in its OFSTED inspection. It had previously been in serious weaknesses.

I also work for the Gravesend Multi Academy Trust working to improve teaching and learning in a large primary school. This culminated in a successful OFSTED after a period of concern highlighted by the RSC.

 

  
 
 Margo Barraclough
 
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