Our Central Team
As well as our schools, we have a Central Team whose purpose is to ensure our Trust runs smoothly enabling our academies to focus on Teaching and Learning. The Central Team consists of School Improvement; Finance & Operations; HR; Technology; Governance; the Wellbeing Service and the SCITT.
Peter was born and raised in the Epping Forest District and, after an extended period of travelling, began his teaching career in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
His first post was at Dorothy Barley Junior School where he led Science and was responsible for developing a pond and wildlife area. This project was particularly successful and Peter received an Association for Science Education Award which resulted in a three-month trip to Australia to study how science was taught on the other side of the world.
After three years, Peter moved to Henry Green Primary School to a middle-management position; two years later, he became Deputy Headteacher. This was a challenging school but, by the time he left, it was in the top 100 improving schools in the country. Central to its development was the ability to attract new, vibrant teachers.
Five years later, in 2000, Peter became Headmaster of St John's C of E Primary School in Buckhurst Hill.
Peter enjoyed every minute of the 17 years of headship and was proud to lead a school that celebrated achievement in every aspect of school life whilst giving the children a rich and rounded curriculum. As the school became a designated Teaching School as well as a SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training), Peter was appointed a National Leader of Education.
During his time as Headmaster, St John's was an active member of the Epping Forest Schools Consortium. Along with his other Headteacher colleagues, Peter recognised the value and support the Consortium gave to the schools.
It was this framework that provided the schools with the opportunity to establish the Epping Forest Schools Partnership Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust of 16 schools and 1 associate member school. Peter spent most of 2017 presenting the concept of closer collaboration to staff, Governors and parents; in April 2018, the Trust was established and Peter was appointed CEO.
Karen has worked in schools' financial management for the last 15 years; supporting schools as part of the LA traded service and then as a School Business Manager in a secondary school in west Essex. She is currently the CFO for the Trust. Karen held her first parent governor position in 2000 and has seen how the education landscape has changed over the last 20 years. One thing that remains consistent though, is that high quality teaching and learning coupled with a tailored curriculum will ensure success allowing students to continue their learning journeys. Good financial management ensures the trust can enable this happens.
She is married with three grown up children who benefitted from the high-quality education provided by Moulsham High School and are now carving out their own career paths.
She enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, travelling and walking her dog Bailey.
Sarah ReesSchool Improvement Director
Daniella SmithSchool Improvement Manager
Donna WrightSchool Improvement Team & Central Team Admin
Susan MarbeSCITT Director
Susan grew up in East London and after working in a variety of different jobs, including the Financial Times and at Arsenal FC, began her teaching career in 1996, after studying a four year Bed (Hons) degree at University of East Anglia.
Working as assessment lead in a primary school in Barking and Dagenham as well as a DT specialist adviser for the Teacher Training Centre, she then went on to become Acting Deputy Head teacher in Redbridge.
Susan began working in Epping Forest at St John's School, Buckhurst Hill as the Deputy Headteacher in 2001, she then went on to set up and lead the Teaching School.
Susan has always engaged with Evidence Informed pedagogy and the latest research. She has worked for Essex LA, the Teaching School and ASPIRE leading school to school and head teacher support across a variety of whole school development areas.
She now leads the highly successful West Essex SCITT and is a member of the trusts central team. She is part of the Early Career Teacher delivery team and also an Evidence Lead in Education. Working to support schools across the Saffron Teaching School Hub in evidence informed school improvement projects.
Her passion is teaching and learning - she believes that every child has the right to quality first teaching and that the key to outstanding teaching lies in relationships, connections and a passion for children and their futures.
Emma SquiresDeputy SCITT Director
Vanessa SmullenSCITT Manager
In Vanessa's role, she supports Susan Marbe and Emma Squires. She manage the School Direct Training Programme application and offer process and also manages the finance & admin for the SCITT.
Epping Forest Schools Partnership Trust is accredited to deliver Initial Teacher Training using the marketing name West Essex SCITT.
Vanessa is part of a large team that supports teachers and pupils and ensures progress is made by all.
Sarah HurwoodHead of the Wellbeing Service
Sarah graduated from St Mary's College, Twickenham with a BA Hons in English and Drama and then went on to gain her PGCE teaching qualification from Chester College.
Sarah's teaching career has centred around schools within Epping Forest and as such, she has a strong understanding of the needs of the locality.
She moved to Epping Upland in 1992, where her career progressed to Headship. As Head of a Church School, she has strong links with local clergy and would say that Rev'd Canon Chris Bard, who was her first Chair of Governors, has acted as one of her greatest inspirations in trying to make a difference to children and their families.
Sarah's principal philosophy is that happy children are more able to learn and that their learning spaces should be positive and nurturing. Children should feel that they 'belong' to their school and feel valued and respected. She places great emphasis upon mental health and wellbeing believing that where children feel relieved of their worries and anxieties, they are more able to focus on their learning and more able to absorb what they are being taught.
She also extends this focus to staff believing that the workforce deserves to be well looked after also so that they can be the best that they can be for the children they are teaching.
Karen BowdenWellbeing Service Family Support Worker
I have been working in this role with FaCSS since 1997. I have nearly 30 years' experience working with children and families both within a residential social care and education setting. I hold a City and Guilds Certificate in Health and Social Care and have attended numerous training courses through the years.
My role is to support vulnerable children and families and those families needing additional support. This help can cover a wide range of issues that impact the family including debt, housing, parenting, SEN and mental health.
My aim is to improve outcomes for families and give them opportunities to build on their strengths.
Melissa MayWellbeing Service Administrator
After graduating I completed a post-graduate Diploma in Management Studies before starting work within the University of London. I took a career break to raise my children and then returned to a support role within education as I enjoy facilitating an organisation to run smoothly and efficiently, especially when I know how much its services can benefit others. At FaCSS it is fulfilling to be able to contribute to a team that makes a real difference to the lives of children and their families.
Tula SmithHR Director
Matthew HarrisonHead of Technology
Matt has worked in education for the past 10-years. He works as the Trust's Technology Manager.ï ¿ ½ From working as a support assistant in 2009 to training as a teacher and achieving a BA Ed w Mathematics, Matt has taken on a wide-range of roles across multiple schools. He started his technology journey in a school in Croydon. Due to his work on the Computing curriculum and developing school wide use of technology, Matt became a member of the SLT before moving to The Alderton Junior School and bringing this knowledge with him. He began to introduce and develop new technologies at Alderton as well as being phase leader.
During his time at Alderton, he began to work as a member of the EFSPT Technology Hub and supported schools with their remote learning offer during the pandemic. This led to him joining the central team in 2021 where he supports all trust schools with their use of technology and ensures that an infrastructure is in place for all schools.
Jenny CopeOperations Manager
Lorna NewcombeFinance Manager
Elisabeth NunnHead of Governance/Company Secretary