The Senior Leadership Teams

Mount Tamar

 

Matt Bindon - Mount Tamar Headteacher

Originally from Yeovil in Somerset, Matt started teaching in Cambridgeshire in 2005 after training to be a PE teacher at DeMontfort University in Bedford. Since then Matt has worked in Plymouth, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth having fulfilled a range of departmental, pastoral and leadership roles. Matt joined Mount Tamar in January 2023 and prior to this was Headteacher at ACE Schools the Trust's alternative provision. 

ACE Schools

 

Ruth Westwood - ACE Schools Headteacher

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Ruth was born in Leicestershire but her family moved every couple of years so she experienced a variety of schools in the UK and abroad. Ruth qualified as a Systems Engineer at Warwick and worked in the food production and tyre manufacturing industries for several years working on quality assurance, process development and production planning and management. After a break Ruth completed a PGCE in maths and taught in a range of secondary schools in the southwest before moving into alternative education. During her time at ACE Ruth has had a variety of middle and senior leadership roles before leading the school to a Good Ofsted Judgement in February 2019 as Acting Head.

As well as her role as Head Teacher of ACE Schools, Ruth leads on safeguarding for the trust and chairs the Safeguarding in Education Reference Group for the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Partnership and is a member of the Partnership Board.

Tim Mathias - ACE Schools Deputy Headteacher

Originally from Weston-Super Mare, Tim moved to Plymouth to study sports management at University.  This was Tims first steps into education, providing PE lessons for primary schools and the special schools within the city.

Tim first started working for ACE in 2009 as a teaching assistant and has grown with the organisation starting the pastoral career path, where he worked closely with multi agency partners, mainstream schools in the city and developed his skills in safeguarding and behaviour management. Tim joined the leadership team in 2016 as a senior leader responsible for behaviour and attendance and has since moved into a new role as Assistant Head responsible for Behaviour and Attitudes.

Tim completed his NPQSL in 2019 and is working long term on completing a Master’s qualification in professional practice. Tim represents ACE on several multi agency meetings including the operational child exploitation group and the secondary placements panel.

Rachel Crozier - ACE Schools Assistant Head & SENco

Having grown up in Birmingham, Rachel initially moved to Leicester to study Geography, later staying in the city to firstly work as a teaching assistant, and then completing a Secondary PGCE and teaching at a number of mainstream schools. Whilst working in mainstream, Rachel oversaw health across the curriculum, completed her Certificate in PSHE (personal, social and health education) with a specialism in relationships and sex education, and worked as a head of year, including overseeing links with our primary cluster schools at the time. Rachel moved to Plymouth in 2009 and has been at ACE ever since, currently as Assistant Head & SENCo as part of the leadership team, overseeing the provision and support for students with additional or complex needs across all bases. As part of this responsibility Rachel has completed her NASENCo and Trauma Informed Diploma and also oversees mental health, wellbeing and trauma informed practice. Rachel represents ACE on a number of multi-agency panels and groups within the city linked to these areas.

 

Christine McNamara - Assistant Headteacher

 

I grew up in the North West near a seaside town called Southport. My one and only aspiration in life was to work within education and become a teacher.

Studying a Bachelor of Education in Physical Education and Maths at Plymouth Marjon University gave me a small ‘taste’ of life in the South West. I started my teaching career at a secondary comprehensive school in Cornwall and a few years later, returned back to teach in Plymouth.

I continued my professional development in Plymouth, have a Masters in Education (MEd) and hold the NASENCo Award.

I am driven by a strong belief that every child should have access to a high-quality education. Education changes lives and children should not be denied the transformative power of a great education.

Outside of school, I enjoy the outdoors. I like to travel, camp and swim in the ocean. I am a firm believer that a healthy body can sustain a healthy mind and will happily participate in anything active!

 

Courtlands School

 

Hannah Smart - Courtlands Executive Headteacher 

 

Hannah began teaching over twenty years ago and is a secondary English teacher by specialism. Over the course of Hannah's career, she has held a variety of roles across mainstream and special school settings, including Whole School Literacy Leader,  Head of Year, Assistant and Deputy Headteacher.  Hannah is a committed lifelong learner and models this approach to continually learn and develop her knowledge and skills. Hannah holds her NPQH and also further post graduate qualifications in leadership and innovation in education.

Across all my career, Hannah has held system leadership roles, including SSAT Ambassador, Peer Mentor and Chair of Governors. Currently, Hannah is a Specialist Leader of Education and have held this role across the South West region since 2017, facilitating training, mentoring and coaching in the areas of Social, Emotional and Mental Health in school, Positive Relationship Strategies and Teaching and Learning with a specific focus on supporting students with additional needs.

 

Nancy Hardwick - Courtlands Head of School

Nancy began her teaching career as a secondary RE teacher in 1997 and has had a varied career including secondary middle leadership across mainstream, state and independent schools, four years as an adult adviser and inspector working across 37 primary and secondary schools between Penzance and Bournemouth, training school leaders and teachers in attachment trauma and loss on behalf of BraveHeart Education and finally a move to primary teaching in the city eight years ago. Nancy's role at Courtlands has enabled her to bring her varied experience to bear in the wide portfolio she holds. Following three years teaching full time, Nancy is currently a full time member of the Senior Leadership Team working as Designated Safeguarding Lead and Designated Teacher for Looked After and Previously Looked After Children. Half of Nancy's time is spent working alongside teachers in class supporting high quality teaching and learning through her ‘in reach’ role which also encompasses Initial Teacher Training and NQT mentoring. Nancy formalised her significant personal expertise as a mum of three children through adoption, by training as a Trauma Informed and Mental Health Practitioner which supports her in the leadership and facilitation role she has of the schools ongoing journey towards being a trauma responsive learning community; a role which is ever more needed given the growing complexity of pupils joining Courtlands.

Kirsty Thistlethwaite - Courtlands Assistant Head and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

Detail to follow.

Amii Medway - Strategic Administrator

Amii has been a member of the Courtlands team for four years and originally joined us as a part time administrator.  Over time, the administration function grew and Amii became a full time member of the team taking on additional roles such as Estates and aspects of the HR absence administration.

Amii has a flexible and positive attitude and loves working in and around the children at Courtlands School who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties alongside moderate learning difficulties.  In the past she has worked in a range of industries such as charity, hospitality, construction and training.

Amii has a young son and spends her time outside of work with family, camping and has become a keen paddle boarder.

ACE Tiverton

 

Hannah Smart - ACE Tiverton Executive Headteacher

Hannah began teaching over twenty years ago and is a secondary English teacher by specialism. Over the course of Hannah's career, she has held a variety of roles across mainstream and special school settings, including Whole School Literacy Leader,  Head of Year, Assistant and Deputy Headteacher.  Hannah is a committed lifelong learner and models this approach to continually learn and develop her knowledge and skills. Hannah holds her NPQH and also further post graduate qualifications in leadership and innovation in education.

Across all my career, Hannah has held system leadership roles, including SSAT Ambassador, Peer Mentor and Chair of Governors. Currently, Hannah is a Specialist Leader of Education and have held this role across the South West region since 2017, facilitating training, mentoring and coaching in the areas of Social, Emotional and Mental Health in school, Positive Relationship Strategies and Teaching and Learning with a specific focus on supporting students with additional needs.

Joanna Panton - ACE Tiverton SENCO

Originally from Salisbury, Wiltshire, Joanna came to Devon for teacher training at University of Plymouth to gain her BEd Hons qualified teacher status, specialising in Art. Her SEN interest was inspired early on by her voluntary work experience at a local secondary SEMH school whilst she trained.

Her twenty-year teaching career has included working in a variety of mainstream settings and gaining teaching experience across year groups. Joanna’s ethos and passion for providing an inclusive education for all students grew and after having her three sons, pursued this interest and achieved the NASENCO qualification and post graduate certificate as a SENDCo in a local primary school. During this time, she completed a wealth of SEN training.

Joanna then took the exciting opportunity to move into special education and now works as SENCo, part of the Leadership team here at ACE. She is committed to continuing her own professional development to improve practice and ensure we are providing the best education experience for all our students.

Gustav Deysel - ACE Tiverton Pastoral Manager

Gustav is the Pastoral Lead and Deputy Safeguarding Lead at ACE Tiverton. He is also the proud owner of Theo, the golden Labrador, who is one of the school's therapy dogs. Gustav recently relocated from London where he had worked in special education for the past 14 years. During this time, Gustav has learnt that having success with a student relies on forming trusting and meaningful relationships. Gustav loves working as a part of the ACE Tiverton family as he feels they all share the same values with regard to the social and emotional wellbeing of their students. 

Stacy Fagg - ACE Tiverton Lead Administrator  

Stacy has worked in education for the past seven years and came to ACE Tiverton from a local primary school, where she initially worked as a Meal Time Assistant and a Teaching Assistant. In 2017, Stacy moved from the classroom into the school office as the Admin Assistant and then School Administrator. Stacy joined ACE Tiverton at the beginning of the journey as a new school in August 2019 as Lead Administrator. Stacy then went on to become a member of the Senior Leadership Team with responsibility for the admin team. Stacy is also one of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads and a staff cluster representative. In 2020, Stacy took on the role of GDPR lead at ACE Tiverton. 

Rhys Davies - ACE Tiverton Assistant Head

Originally from Swansea, Rhys moved to Exeter to complete a PGCE following a career in professional rugby. Rhys’s first experience in a school came as a TA supporting students with additional learning needs. This was Rhys’ first steps into education and inspired him to train as teacher.

Having completed 5 years in primary education, Rhys made the move to a specialist setting in 2016 where he became part of the leadership team as Head of Middle School and Lead English teacher. Rhys then moved across to ACE Tiverton where he joined the leadership team in 2021 as an Assistant Headteacher responsible for Teaching, Learning and Curriculum.

Rhys completed his NPQML in 2020 and is working alongside SWALLS to complete his Leadership in Special Schools course. He also represents ACE Tiverton as part of the Autism Education Trust developing Good Autism Practice for MATS.

Julie Chatterton - ACE Tiverton Assistant Head

Julie began her teaching career over twenty years ago and is an English and Drama specialist. She has held a variety of roles in a wide range of settings, including Lead Drama teacher, Inclusion Manager, Key Stage 3 outreach teacher, Nurture Teacher, SENDCO and Lead Teacher in a WRAP provision. Julie is committed to educational access for all and inclusion in the best possible way that ensures equity of provision.

Within the different provisions that she has worked, Julie has led on developing Nurture Provision, implementing systems to ensure an accurate and responsive annual review process was in place, developing community and charity links (most notably with the Caudwell Children’s Charity based in Stoke-on-Trent) and achieving the prestigious IQM Centre of Excellence award with an inner-city primary school. Julie’s focus throughout her education career has always been on supporting those students who have found school to be a challenging and tricky environment.