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Hear from Our Colleagues

Martin Bonner

Director of Learning in Mathematics, Benfield School


“I started my career as an NQT within the school, trained as a math’s teacher, gained a TLR in organising peer tutoring before holding the post of lead teacher of STEM which I carried out for approximately 4 years. Since then, I have progressed into curriculum leader which is my current position. Since joining the school in 2007 I have seen a lot of progression, and I know that the opportunities are always there. The big difference within Benfield since joining the trust is the ability to collaborate with the primary schools and work closely with much smoother transitions, you feel part of something bigger and wider. There is a real community feel here, it is very inclusive through the atmosphere and culture, myself and my colleagues pull together to go above and beyond for our pupils whilst moving in the same direction to achieve. I feel there has been a great shift in attitude towards mathematics amongst the pupils which I feel I have played a part in. I’d like to think I am an aspirational individual and use my own experiences through childhood to be a positive influence on the students at Benfield School”

Rifat Sheikh

Geography Subject Lead, St Hild's Church of England School


“I wanted to work in education because I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to encourage a love for learning. Teaching is a rewarding profession, there is never a boring day and always something to celebrate which is a great feeling. I feel that I make a difference every day and I love to see the pupils thrive in their learning. I have made a great deal of progress since joining the School and I support colleagues and pupils in their journeys at St Hild’s which is a privilege. I have had multiple roles within the school since first joining as an NQT 7 years ago to now progressing to subject lead for Geography. A huge amount has been invested into me to develop and this has continued since becoming part of NEAT. My colleagues and I can always have a laugh and there is always someone there to support you. We are working together not just for the good of the children but the wider community and society, these children will be the next generation, we understand that and serve that purpose.”

Diane Crannage

Deputy Headteacher, St Hild's Church of England School


“I joined St Hild’s 27 years ago and over the years I have worked in multiple varying roles before recently progressing to deputy headteacher. I am delighted to say that I am the longest serving member of staff and I am thrilled and fortunate to serve this community. I feel I have been very well supported in my career through various CPD opportunities as well as continuous support from the headteacher, she has aspirations for me and the rest of my colleagues within the school by spotting our strengths and building on them. Here at St Hilds we really want the best for every single pupil, we see them achieve their true potential every day and it is a pleasure to feel that sense of achievement when they say ‘you inspire me’. I occasionally come across adults who have studied at St Hilds and its great to see how far they have come, however small this may be. I would describe my colleagues as a real team in every sense of the word, we are a strong group of individuals with great robustness in everything we do which makes working with young people the most rewarding job you can do.”

Kirstin Phelps

Lead Professional - Vulnerable Learners, St Hild's Church of England School


“Working as a lead professional for vulnerable learners at St Hild’s means that I get to work closely with young people who need that extra support to achieve their successes. I love this job because it
allows me to build connections with a vast range of people both inside and outside the organisation. Improving life outcomes was a motivation for me to work in this sector and the values and ethos of St Hild’s and the trust really align with my life values. St Hild’s has a real family feel not just for the young people but the wider community, we strive to be the best version of ourselves and myself and my colleagues really work to the same goal day on day. We share a lot of laughs and nurture each other as well as the young people which makes this school a great place to work. I am given enough autonomy to become the best at my role, I am trusted and listened to by my line manager and there are always opportunities to progress. We share good practice across the different schools by building those working relationships and you really feel a sense of something wider.”

Lou Liddle-McGee

Head of Year 11, Benfield School


“I have been working at Benfield School for over 22 years now, my current position is a teacher in History and head of year 11. After starting as a newly qualified teacher and progressing to my current post I have found that there have always been opportunities to progress and try alternative roles. I have always been teaching and learning based but in the last two years my role has become more pastoral and it really is amazing seeing the impact you have on the pupils. I find that the staff at Benfield really pull together to support each other, there is no silo culture, we are very collaborative regardless of our varying roles. Being in charge of the youth department at St Johns Ambulance, before progressing into teaching, had an impact on my aspirations of wanting to work in education. I didn’t initially intend on working in this sector however I soon realised that teaching was for me and I don’t regret my choices”.

Kerry Marshall

Early Years Lead, West Walker Primary


“West Walker Primary School has a genuine family feel, it is more than education when you work here because making a difference for our children is at the center of everything we do. I joined the school as an early years teacher and have recently progressed to early years lead. When I came to the school for the first time, I could tell how important the whole child is to school staff, this stood out to me and really made me want to work for this school. The trust, as a whole, has developed hugely over the last few years with great opportunities for networking, frequent year group meetings and bigger, trust-wide events. I am an aspirational individual who always makes sure we’re doing the best for our children. I work hard to identify where and how we can do more.”

Megan Scorgie

Year 5 Teacher and SENDCo, West Walker Primary


“I love teaching and I have loved taking on the role of SENDCo, it is truly rewarding when you help support a child with special educational needs to achieve their goals. This school is a safe space with a real essence of family, there is an honest and open culture and the trust really encourages teamwork and support. I have worked as a teacher across key stage one and two and I currently teach year 5 alongside my SENDCo duties as well as being one of the school’s designated safeguarding leads. I feel a lot more confident in my ability because of the training and support I have received, I was able to complete my degree with two small children at home because of the extra support I received from the school and this was celebrated in the trust newsletter which made me feel really valued.”

Jake Brett

Digital Marketing Apprentice, NEAT Central Team


“As a digital marketing apprentice my main role is to support schools with good news stories, reputation management and maintaining the websites. I’m most often in central office, but I have been to several schools; the office is lovely and staff are welcoming. It really makes work enjoyable when you get on well with the people you work with. I’ve been given many opportunities since I started, in particular launching the new websites for two of our schools as well as the trust website which I have a real sense of pride and achievement for that project. I love it when I pull together the staff newsletter, schools will share their genuine good news with me, it’s lovely to hear some great things from our schools.”

Connor Lawson

Data Technician Apprentice, NEAT Central Team


“I’m currently coming to the end of my data technician apprenticeship and I feel this experience has given me a new appreciation for learning. I am able to achieve a good work/life balance, I am never pressured between my course work completion and day to day operations of my role. I am always learning new procedures from my line manager and I am assigned challenging but rewarding tasks that give me a sense of accomplishment. Apprenticeships strike a good balance between academic and theoretical learning but also provide actual workplace experience and the challenges and quirks that only come up during a working day.”

Liam Ely

ICT Support Technician, NEAT Central Team


“My apprenticeship experience has been great, I believe my course has given me the surface level technical skills and on the job experience to grow my skills and behaviors which landed me a permanent position at NEAT Academy Trust as an IT Technician. Throughout my apprenticeship my line manager would assign me tasks that would help me hit the key knowledge, skills and behaviour needed on the essential criteria for my projects. I would receive structured feedback on my progress, which was a great help in completing my end point assessment.”