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Central Education Team

Regional Director


Vicky Marsh

Vicky Marsh has worked in Education for the past 23 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. 

Regional Director

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Paul Campbell

Paul has twenty-five years’ experience in teaching and school leadership. In his previous role as Executive Headteacher in East London, he led three primary schools, a secondary school and a large cross-phase provision for children with Special Educational Needs. Paul starting his career with spells in Ghana, Ukraine and Borneo, progressing to Headteacher of an outstanding school in North London before focussing on leading schools out of difficult circumstances. He has a Master’s Degree in School Effectiveness and School Improvement. He brings this knowledge and practical experience to The Pioneer Academy to support Headteachers in achieving their goals for the children and families they serve.

Regional Director

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Sarah Hunter

Sarah Hunter has been part of The Pioneer Academy since its inception at Stewart Fleming.  Since then she has been Head at three of our schools and is currently Head at Broadmead Primary School in Croydon.  Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge from three London boroughs to support schools to be the best that they can be.

Regional Director


Nicola Crockatt

Nicola has been part of The Pioneer Academy since it's inception at Stewart Fleming Primary School. She was Head of School there when it received it's outstanding in July 2016 and then moved to another Bromley school, Red Hill Primary in Chislehurst since September 2017. Seconded to be Regional Director of the Bromley schools in the The Pioneer Academy, Nicola will work with Head Teachers on school improvement and maintaining high standards. She is also Co-Chair of the Bromley Primary Heads and Special Schools forum in Bromley.

Executive Head Teacher


Lou Lynch

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.

Head of Staff Development


Rebecca Hipkins

Rebecca Hipkins has been an outstanding classroom practitioner for over 20 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.  Rebecca ensures that all staff in The Pioneer Academy access outstanding coaching and professional development, including bespoke ECT training, leadership programmes and the Power of Coaching.

Head of Teacher Development (EYFS)


Sarah Dench

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.

Head of Teacher Development (KS1)


Heather Bonner

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 Development, Heather works closely with Head Teachers and other senior leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools in KS1. 

Head of Teacher Development (KS2)

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Katie Day

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.

Head of SEND


Natalie Conway

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. 

Head of Behaviour


Yemi Odemo

Yemi has worked as a teacher for over 15 years. Her vast experience has supported those with 'social, emotional, and behaviour difficulties. Over the years, her expertise and modelling have helped to support colleges in assisting vulnerable pupils. She has always focused on understanding the perspective the pupils are operating within, not only them but also their families. Building relationships with the parents and stakeholders have been significant. Yemi has worked within the Trust for over four years, promoting a safe, happy environment and collaborating with colleagues to make a difference in each child's life.​

Head of Nurture


Carole Hitchens

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.

Head of Assessment


Ian McManus

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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