Our Leads

Tony Parfett - Executive Director Catalyst Academies Trust

Tony recently assumed his role as Executive Director of the Trust, after 2 years as Headteacher at Quarry Hill Academy. During his time as Headteacher Quarry Hill Academy made great leaps in terms of pupil attainment and teaching quality, under his leadership the school has moved from Requires Improvement to Outstanding in just 2 years. He started his teaching career in 1999 specialising in EYFS and KS1. Tony recently focused his attention on the quality teaching in KS2, where he has over 14 years of experience to draw from. Tony gained the NPQH qualification which helped him develop knowledge around whole school leadership. He delivers courses for the National College including NPQML and NPQSL. He is currently working on the improvement of teaching through action research to raise attainment and progress. This approach was applied to rapidly improve standards in his own school and the outstanding practices developed are being shared throughout the Trust by mentoring and supporting of others to achieve the same successes.  His recent appointment as a National Leader for Education further acknowledges the impact he has had not only in our Trust schools but also in schools and academies outside the partnership. 

Rhys Latham – Dilkes Primary Teaching School (Teaching School Director)

Rhys has been part of the Dilkes Academy team since 2005, and is the Headteacher. Since joining Dilkes, and in his role as a trainer for National Science Learning Centre, his passion and drive to enthuse other individuals- both teachers and children, about Science, and make a difference to other schools in this curriculum area has shone through. Rhys has a Master’s Degree in Education, through which he recognises the importance of learning as a continuous journey. His role as Teaching School Lead has encouraged him to enthusiastically embrace outreach opportunities to other schools, allowing him to spread excellent practice.

Martin Curtis - Dilkes Primary Teaching School (Deputy Headteacher/Teaching School Deputy Director)

Martin is Currently Deputy Headteacher at Dilkes Academy and brings over 20 years experience to the teaching school.  He has worked in a wide variety of roles across Essex, including working for the local authority.  Martin has a passion for using technology as an aid to learning and teaching, championing this in a number of schools and providing staff CPD on the use of technology.  Assessment for learning and the use of data to support teaching are other areas he is keen to share with colleagues.

Andrea Parfett – Dilkes Primary Teaching School (ITE Manager)

With 9 years teaching experience within the primary age groups, Andrea has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge, with a specialism in mentoring newly qualified and trainee teachers. Andrea is now responsible for Managing the Initial Teacher Education Programme within Dilkes Primary Teaching School Alliance. Andrea’s role is to attract and retain high quality candidates to the ITE programmes, and offer outstanding professional learning experiences to ensure a good supply of outstanding beginner teachers for partnership schools.

Kevin Imbush – Somers Heath (ITE Strategic Head)

Kevin is the Headteacher of Somers Heath Primary School, a forward thinking primary school which is leading research on the impact of IPads on classroom learning. Kevin’s experience and knowledge have led him to his role as the Head of Selection for the Teach Thurrock partnership; where he is responsible for leading a team in liaising with the Institute of Education to recruit the best future teachers for Thurrock. Kevin also jointly leads training sessions for the Teach Thurrock trainees, and assists with the delivery of the Dilkes Primary Teaching School Alliance Programme.

Chris Birtles – St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School (ITE Strategic Head)

Chris is currently Headteacher at St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School in Grays, and has 18 years of Headship experience. Chris has taught in five different schools (Primary and Secondary) in five different authorities, gaining a vast amount of knowledge and understanding. Chris is also a Local Leader of Education, a Professional Partner and an Ofsted Inspector.

Dawn Copping – Shaw Primary Academy (CPLD Strategic Head)

Dawn has worked in the teaching profession for 12 years, Dawn is now Headteacher at Shaw Primary Academy for the last three years. Dawn is an OFSTED inspector, the Thurrock Branch Secretary and Regional Vice President for NAHT. Dawn also chairs the Lakeside Cluster, which is a group of local schools working together. Dawn’s career path to leadership began with a post as Assessment Leader at her first school.  This led to her on-going passion for data and data analysis. Dawn was Assistant Headteacher in an Outstanding Essex school and started her journey at Shaw as Head of School when it was in a ‘Soft Federation’ with Benyon Primary. After a Good OFSTED in December 2011, Dawn converted Shaw to a stand-alone Academy in February 2013, which has resulted in greater autonomy for staff and Governors to make decisions about the school’s future. Dawn is fully committed to on-going working partnerships with other schools, which is why Shaw is a Strategic Partner in the Dilkes Primary Teaching School Alliance.

Nicky Haslam – Giffards Primary School (s2s Support Strategic Head)

Nicky has been the Headteacher of Giffards Primary School (NOR 435) since 2007, after the school had recently amalgamated. Early leadership challenges were to build an effective SLT with clear roles and responsibilities. Standards were raised due to robust assessment and pupil tracking. The introduction of coaching improved the quality of teaching and learning and ensured a culture of staff self-reflection. Clear systems were introduced to monitor all elements of practice and to build up levels of accountability.  In July 2010, Ofsted recognised the impact of the changes made and the school moved from Satisfactory to Good.

Striving for better, Nicky led her team to continue to improve with yearly improvements in standards. The focus on growing and valuing excellent staff has been at the forefront of Giffards' this and the school now has a staff with high levels of skill and experience.

In 2011, Nicky became a Local Leader of Education, and has had the opportunity to work in a range of schools alongside colleagues. Nicky has always maintained a genuine enjoyment of her role in educating our young people and working together with other adults in order to give all children the very best start in life

Nicky has a range of experience in school systems leadership, which has been gained through her various roles and she  recognises the importance of collaboration in raising standards within and beyond the school. Nicky strongly believes that it's is every Headteachers moral duty to build effective professional learning communities. 

Ian Broyd – Warren Primary School (Headteacher)

Ian started his teaching career in a large multi-cultural school in East London where he held various posts including science leader and assessment leader. In 2008 he became the deputy head of Stifford Clays Primary School in Grays and undertook an NPQH in conjunction with an outstanding school in Newham. In 2017 Ian was appointed as the head of Warren Primary school in Chafford Hundred which is a very popular community school and also runs Thurrock's hearing impaired resource base. 

Sue Hewitt - Beacon Hill Academy

Sue was appointed as Principal at Beacon Hill Academy in September 2013, prior to that she was Vice Principal at Beacon Hill since 2005. Sue has previous experience of leadership roles in special schools in London. Through her roles at Beacon Hill, Sue has been involved in developing and visioning a new school from a previous merger with a new leadership team and taking this journey through to "Outstanding".  Sue has led on national developments around personalisation including producing a case study for the SEN green paper showcasing "Preparing for adulthood". Sue has led regional and national workshops on assessment for special schools and worked for SSATS as a Lead Practitioner for Special Education.

Beacon Hill is committed to working with schools within Thurrock to support young people who have additional needs both through our commissioned outreach service and through bespoke individual arrangements.

Sam Oxley - Benyon Primary School

I am a motivated and confident practitioner with over 20 years’ experience teaching and leading across EYFS and KS1.  I would like to share my passion for quality first teaching through coaching, modelling and mentoring others. In my current role as AHT for Early years I mentor, coach, support and performance manage NQTs, students, teachers and LSAs. Through this mentoring I have supported teachers in their own career development so they can grow as middle leaders. As part of the SLT I am responsible for monitoring and developing good practice in EYFS and Phonics; always striving for excellence and keeping abreast of developments and new practice. I have also had experience of supporting with whole school audits and OFSTED meetings as EYFS Lead. I have a BEd (Hons) in Education and have recently completed my NPQSL qualification. I am excited about undertaking the role of SLE and fully believe in the role of system leadership to support schools in delivering outstanding education where all children can achieve.

Sam Wakeling - Quarry Hill Academy

My areas of expertise are in English and KS2. I have been an English leader and SLE for many years and have a Master’s degree in Education Management and an NPQH. I am Headteacher at Quarry Hill Academy and play an active role in supporting our other trust schools. As a leader, I have implemented many new successful initiatives, leading training sessions for teachers, students, NQTS, support staff and parents. I am an experienced practitioner who is passionate and dedicated in my work. I strive to inspire and enthuse children, to motivate them to become independent learners, to develop a life-long love of learning.

Nicola Shadbolt - Aveley Primary School