Board of Directors

Gordon Smith

Chairman of the Board, CHTA Director

Gordon Smith

Chairman of the Board, CHTA Director

Gordon is the Chief Executive of The Collegiate Trust which currently runs Riddlesdown Collegiate, Croydon’s largest secondary school, and one of its highest achieving, where he was Principal from 2006-2015. He has held leadership roles in London schools for 25 years, 18 as a senior leader including 14 as a Head / Principal. His successful experience spans the development of teaching and learning, raising standards, complex financial management and significant restructuring and capital projects. He is also Chair of Governors at Croydon College.


"I am proud to lead an organisation – The Collegiate Trust – which recognises the importance of collaboration within education. My role as Chair of Octavo means that I can help to build further partnership working, encouraging experts across Croydon and beyond to come together professionally to benefit all of our children and young people."

Jolyon Roberts

CHTA Director

Jolyon Roberts

CHTA Director

Jolyon is Executive Headteacher of the Pegasus Academy Trust (PAT) and current President of the Croydon Headteacher's Association. He represents the CHTA on the Octavo board of Directors and has 25 years' experience in London schools, across three London boroughs. The Pegasus Academy Trust are currently responsible for leading six [Nursery, Infant and Junior] schools in Croydon. 


"During my time in Croydon I have worked closely with a number of Octavo's core services. As a member of the Board and as a Croydon Headteacher, I look forward to playing a part in ensuring the ongoing success of these services."

Nick Dry

CHTA Director

Nick Dry

CHTA Director

Nick has worked in special education for over 20 years and is Headteacher at St Nicholas School, one of Croydon’s successful and expanding special schools. He started his career in mainstream secondary education and has taught across all phases, with over 8 years’ experience as a Head in both primary and cross phase special schools. Nick also worked previously as a Local authority SEN Adviser where he ran projects to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and support schools in challenging circumstances. He is current president of the Croydon Head Teachers Association (CHTA) which seeks to support and develop partnership between schools in Croydon.


"At this time of significant change in the role of Local Authorities, I am keen to ensure that local schools continue to have access to a range of quality services delivered by people who know and understand the needs and challenges of the local community"

Tricia Farrelly

CHTA Director

Tricia Farrelly

CHTA Director

Tricia is the Headteacher at Courtwood Primary School and is in her fourth year in the role. Under her leadership the school has received a good Ofsted inspection and added an Enhanced Learning Provision for children with Autism. Tricia passionately believes in inclusive education and that inspirational teaching can have a lifelong impact on improving outcomes for children. 


"I became involved in the Octavo Partnership through the Croydon Headteachers' Association (CHTA). I joined CHTA to remain up to date with local changes as well as to have an opportunity to work with experienced colleagues across the education sector. I chose to become a director of Octavo in order to offer a representative voice on behalf of primary headteachers."

Nero Ughwujabo

Croydon Council Director

Nero Ughwujabo

Croydon Council Director

Nero has a varied background having worked in the Arts, private sector and voluntary sector. He is currently the Chief Executive of Croydon BME Forum, a specialist local infrastructure organisation and the umbrella organisation for Croydon’s Black and Minority Ethnic Organisations. In recent years, Nero completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) specialising in Third sector development with a particular focus on capacity building, social enterprises and quality assurance.

Nero is a member of Croydon’s Strategic Partnership and its Chief Executives Group. He is a former Non-Executive Director of Croydon University Hospital NHS Trust and was also a Trustee at the National Association of Voluntary and Community Associations. Nero brings his wealth of experience to Octavo as a Council Director.

Richard Simpson

Croydon Council Director

Richard Simpson

Croydon Council Director

Richard is Assistant Chief Executive (Corporate Resources and Section 151 officer) and one of three Directors representing Croydon Council on the Board. Richard has worked for Croydon for 9 years and leads the Finance and Assets teams within the council. He was also involved in the creation of Croydon Care Solutions, a trading company set up by the council 3 years ago.


"I see this type of delivery model as a huge opportunity for the council to deal with the financial challenges ahead and build on the good work that was done whilst these services were in the council. The dynamic of being on the Board with a wide variety of stakeholders will, I am sure, be challenging but also hugely exciting."

Sonia Malik

Staff Director

Senior Management Team

Sylvia McNamara

CEO

Sylvia McNamara

CEO

Sylvia taught in Loughborough and Leicester before becoming a lecturer and reader in special needs education with the University of Leicester and Nottingham Trent University respectively.  She then worked in Birmingham’s Advisory Support Service, where she became Head of School Effectiveness.  Sylvia was promoted to Director of Transforming Education and Director of Education for Birmingham City Council, in which capacity she was instrumental in ensuring the Birmingham BSF Programme would deliver education transformation.

In the following two years Sylvia worked as a strategic Director with the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA).  She came to Croydon Council in April 2012 to take up the post of Director of Learning, School Improvement and Inclusion. In this role she has carried out the functions of Director of Education for all Croydon Local Authority schools as well as being accountable for special needs provision and schools admissions and estates.
 
Sylvia was appointed Octavo's Chief Executive Officer  in 2014 and has been instrumental in the set up of this mutual trading company.  Under Sylvia's leadership the company went live from 1st April 2014.


Sylvia is a published author of a number of books on differentiation, managing difficult behaviour, and aspects of teaching and learning in Special Educational Needs. She is available to speak on the following topics which the core of her work has focussed on: 

For Primary/Secondary teachers and middle leaders:

  • Speaking and listening
  • Pairwork and groupwork​

For Primary/Secondary leadership teams:

  • Effective leadership teams
  • Managing difficult conversations
  • Emotional Intelligence / Emotionally intelligent leaders
  • Educational trends: curriculum and assessment
  • Psychology of learning: metacognition, brain development and learning, human relations and learning.

Email: enquiries@octavopartnership.org

Anne Moore MBE

Chief Educational Psychologist

Cathy Brearley

Head of HR

Cathy Brearley

Head of HR

Drawing on a background in the public, private and voluntary sectors, Cathy is now the Head of HR for Octavo Partnership.  Cathy has experience of leading the traded service for schools HR in both Croydon and Sutton.  She has been involved in a full range of HR activities including reorganisations and TUPE, complex employee relations cases, employment policy development, union consultation, training delivery, workforce development and succession planning.  Her understanding of schools is augmented by 14 years’ experience as a school governor, including being a Chair of Governors.  She has been part of DfE reference groups on education HR matters, and has been commissioned to deliver training across authorities by SWLSEP.

In her current role, as well as leading on the employee relations contract, staff development and delivering training for all schools on a range of issues, she had led on all aspects of HR for Octavo, provided senior leadership oversight for the EBP team and taken on the broader responsibilities of the SLT.


Email: hrservices@octavopartnership.org

Claire Potter

Head of Finance

Claire Potter

Head of Finance

Claire joined Octavo in April 2016 as Head of Finance.  She qualified with KPMG as a chartered accountant and has over twenty years of financial experience, including ten years at an SME  IT service company but also as Head of Finance of a multi academy trust. She was also a school governor for seven years, including two years as Chair of Governors.

Whilst at the MAT she led on the implementation of a new finance and budgeting package as well as the development of standard procedures and reports that met the needs of head teachers, governors, the board and auditors. She also led on the financial integration of new schools into the trust, and ensuring staff were trained to produce and interpret financial reports as well as preparing for audits. In this changing educational landscape, Claire's financial expertise and experience of academy conversion are a great asset to our team.

 

Tim Rome

Acting Head of School Improvement

Tim Rome

Acting Head of School Improvement

Tim joined Octavo's Senior Leadership team as Head of School Improvement with considerable leadership experience including nearly 25 years of headship. He has led his current school to an Outstanding Ofsted judgement and has worked in several London Boroughs in primary school settings.  Tim is an accredited Ofsted Inspector and has worked as a school improvement partner in Merton and Eastbourne.  He has supported a number of schools with advice and consultancy and has a track record of helping schools to develop effective strategic and leadership processes.


Email: schoolimprovement@octavopartnership.org

Corporate Team

Tamsin Mills

Account Manager

Tamsin Mills

Account Manager

Tamsin joined Octavo in January 2017 as Account Manager.  Tamsin is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Insurance Institute. She has been a Governor at Hayes secondary school (Bromley) for over 5 years and Vice Chair since Sept 2016. Tamsin has over 25 years account management experience within financial services, including account management for  Film/ TV companies, pre-schools and nurseries, insurance companies, international insurance education colleges.

In recent years Tamsin has specialised in learning and development including teaching and qualification benchmarking. She established a CPD accreditation which became the 'gold' standard for insurance and financial services training.


Email: tamsin.mills@octavopartnership.org

Kassie De Souza

Marketing and Communications Officer

Kassie De Souza

Marketing and Communications Officer

Kassie is Octavo’s Marketing and Customer Service’s officer and as a result the first point of contact for the company.

Kassie graduated from Loughborough University with a BA Hons in English and History and took a year out to gain valuable work experience and to travel before working for Croydon Council’s traded services team. Here she became heavily involved in the preparation of the move to Octavo and the development of the portal. As a result she has a great understanding of the portal and is able to help with most customer queries.

In addition to developing her customer services skills, Kassie has taken responsibility of Octavo’s Marketing and Communications and is excited about growing this role alongside the success of the company. 

Amanda Palmer

Finance and Customer Services Officer

Amanda Palmer

Finance and Customer Services Officer

Amanda has been working in Finance for approximately 15 years. She has a wide knowledge of Accounts from Sales/Purchase Ledger (including Credit Control) up to producing Management Accounts. She has completed her AAT Level 3 and is close to completing Level 4. Amanda plans to continue with CIMA once she has completed Level 4. She has mainly worked with Sage Line 50 and more recently Sage 200. She has also ran payroll in previous roles.

Since working at Octavo Amanda has been involved in implementing plans and procedures for the growing finance team, using her experience to set up and maintain systems which will enhance the customer experience. 

Croydon Literacy Centre

Sarah Clark

Literacy Centre Team Leader

Sarah Clark

Literacy Centre Team Leader

Sarah is a teacher with over two decades of experience in London schools. She has always had a strong interest in ensuring the achievement of vulnerable groups and holds the National Award for SEN Coordination as well as being an experienced SENCo.

Sarah will be working with the Literacy Centre team to develop the current offer which is based in the bright new surroundings at Howard Primary School. Sarah will also be developing our peripatetic literacy service and would be delighted to hear from you if this is an area you are interested in tapping into in order for the team to enable your school to meet the needs of children with specific literacy difficulties including dyslexia.


Email: literacycentre@octavopartnership.org

Anne Curry

Literacy Centre Specialist Teacher

Antoinette Lindesay

Literacy Centre Specialist Teacher

Jean Coyle-Larner

Literacy Centre Specialist Teacher

Caroline West

Business Support Officer

Caroline West

Business Support Officer

Caroline is a Senior Business Support Officer and Receptionist at the Literacy Centre which specialises in working with children, parents and schools to support children with literacy difficulties. She has been working at the Centre for eight and a half years as part of a small committed team, alongside specialist teachers.

Caroline is responsible for providing all of the administration and financial support in the day to day running of the Centre. She is the first point of contact at the Centre and welcomes parents, students and visitors. She provides them with any help, information and assistance that they need.

School Improvement

Tim Rome

Acting Head of School Improvement

Tim Rome

Acting Head of School Improvement

Tim joined Octavo's Senior Leadership team as Head of School Improvement with considerable leadership experience including nearly 25 years of headship. He has led his current school to an Outstanding Ofsted judgement and has worked in several London Boroughs in primary school settings.  Tim is an accredited Ofsted Inspector and has worked as a school improvement partner in Merton and Eastbourne.  He has supported a number of schools with advice and consultancy and has a track record of helping schools to develop effective strategic and leadership processes.


Email: schoolimprovement@octavopartnership.org

Denese Chikwendu

Events Manager

Denese Chikwendu

Events Manager

Having completing her BA (Hons) and MA degrees in Design Management, Denese brings her project management experience to the Octavo Partnership team. As a professional who has worked for a number of respected public and private sector organisations, her main roles have specialised in co-ordinating and delivering a variety of projects from advertising campaigns to programmes helping schools to raise their achievement.

Denese currently works with the School Improvement Team at Octavo as their Events Manager. Her role oversees the logistics and delivery of their extensive CPD training events and conferences programme as well as overseeing day to day support and co-ordination to the team. Denese also ensures that friendly customer service and help is delivered to the schools that the team engage with. Her experience, coupled with her friendly nature provides valuable co-ordination and support for our substantial School Improvement team.

Anna Ljumovic

Improvement Adviser - Teaching and Learning

Anna Ljumovic

Improvement Adviser - Teaching and Learning

Anna is an experienced cross phase school improvement adviser and is able to offer primary, secondary and PRU support. Anna has experience as an Ofsted team inspector and is used to providing focussed solutions is a creative and dynamic way. With a passion for English, particularly at secondary level and an experienced consultant, Anna also regularly works with external agencies to provide leadership courses. She is an experienced coach and is able to provide individual coaching and staff training. A keen advocate of partnership working, Anna would love to work with you in developing effective collaborations.

Ann Longfield

Improvement Adviser - Review

Ann Longfield

Improvement Adviser - Review

Ann is Octavo’s Assessment lead adviser. She is an experienced cross phase school improvement adviser who leads on statutory assessment and is able to support you and your governing body with analysis of your school data. With previous experiences as an English and mathematics consultant, Ann leads and coordinates Octavo’s popular Primary Assessment Leader’s workshops as well as delivers training alongside Croydon Council teams.

As a serving Ofsted inspector Ann is able to support your school to write an effective action plan and ensure that it meets Ofsted requirements. Ann is an accredited coach with the Institute of Educational coaching and is able to provide individual coaching and staff training.

Joanna Redzimski

Improvement Adviser - School

Joanna Redzimski

Improvement Adviser - School

Joanna has recent experience of leading her school to an outstanding Ofsted judgement. A former National Leader of Education, she joined us with a wealth of experience to share; from developing leadership and management to writing effective plans for improvement. Joanna has a particular interest in Early Years and would love to know more about how she can support you in developing your practice.

Joanna is our link with the Early Help team at Croydon Council and is able to provide schools with additional support in developing their offer for vulnerable children and families.

Joyce Lydford

Improvement Adviser - School

Joyce Lydford

Improvement Adviser - School

Joyce Lydford is a School Improvement Adviser and Link Adviser for the Octavo Partnership. She works part-time (0.5fte) for Octavo; her advice is grounded in current practical classroom and leadership experience in large primary school and informed by her work as a serving Ofsted inspector. She has experience in leadership in primary schools and as a National Strategies Mathematics consultant. She is also experienced KS1 and KS2 writing moderator.

Joyce’s areas of expertise are in primary education with a particular specialism in mathematics, teaching and learning generally, leadership, and the education of the most able children, in which she offers courses and bespoke consultancy to schools both in and beyond Croydon. Joyce is able to support you in reviewing your current provision and providing practical support to ensure outstanding outcomes.

Jonathan Stewart

Improvement Adviser - Post-16

Jonathan Stewart

Improvement Adviser - Post-16

Jonathan has considerable experience in the post 16 area including as Deputy Principal, Director in two sixth form colleges as well as working as post-16 advisor and inspector for several years in Surrey. He offers both support and challenge to leadership teams and Heads of Sixth Forms through analysis and discussion of progression data from KS4-5 and destination data. In addition, Jonathan is able to support school sixth forms with their IAG, as well as retention rates and their curriculum offer.

Jonathan is an experienced school improvement adviser having worked across two local authorities in this role. NPQH qualified as well as Ofsted trained and accredited, Jonathan is able to bring these perspectives to his school and post-16 improvement work. He is able to carry out teaching and learning reviews and explore strategies to support learning and achievement in the sixth form classroom. He is keen to devise a termly Sixth Form Development Programme to support Heads of Sixth Form and those responsible for Post-16 education in their schools.

Joanne Wallin

Mathematics Consultant

Joanne Wallin

Mathematics Consultant

Joanne is our Mathematics Consultant. She trained as a teacher at St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill and has over twenty years’ classroom experience, in EYFS, KS1 and KS2. She started her teaching career in Ealing and has worked in a number of schools in Croydon since 1990. Most recently, she was subject leader for mathematics and Assistant Headteacher at Parish Church Infant School.

Joanne fed her passion for mathematics teaching by returning to part time education in 2010 to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Learning - Mathematics Education at Roehampton University. She became a Numicon affiliate trainer in 2011 and continues to champion the active, problem solving approach to learning mathematics.

Joanne has worked as a mathematics consultant for four years now. She is part of the assessment team, working as a moderator for both KS1 and KS2 teacher assessment. She is also a visiting lecturer to Roehampton University, teaching on the initial teacher education course.

Jane Buckton

English Consultant

Jane Buckton

English Consultant

Jane is our English Consultant. She trained as a teacher at Rolle College in Exmouth, Devon and has over twenty years’ teaching experience in EYFS, KS1 and KS2. She started her teaching career in Devon and has since worked in schools across London and Surrey. Jane has also worked as an Inclusion Leader in a large, inner-London primary school and for the last 6 years has worked as an English consultant across South London. In addition to her passion for English she has a particular interest in inclusive education and will work with you to ensure your English curriculum enables success for all.

Jane is also part of our assessment team, working as a moderator for both KS1 and KS2 teacher assessment. Her wealth of experience means that she is able to offer training, consultancy and bespoke packages tailored to the needs of your school.

Denise Dyer

Behaviour Consultant

Denise Dyer

Behaviour Consultant

Denise is Octavo’s Behaviour Consultant. She graduated from the London School of Economics and completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education. She has over 15 years’ classroom experience, in both secondary, special and PRU settings.  Denise started her teaching career in Lambeth and since then has taught in Croydon and Surrey, as well as working  in a cross phase behaviour support team in Sutton. She has experience working in school improvement in two London local authorities and in Surrey as a behaviour consultant before joining Croydon in 2012.

Denise has a particular interest in emotional and mental health and developing school systems and expertise in supporting these needs in main stream settings. Denise’s approach to supporting schools is influenced by her own training – with an interest in restorative approaches, coaching and transactional analysis.  

Denise can support your school to manage behaviour more effectively, through strong systems and a shared understanding of behaviour by all staff.  In addition she can support you to develop your provision to support pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs, ensuring that staff have the skills, understanding and resourcefulness to support children and young people effectively. 

Mike Smith

Safeguarding Consultant

Yvonne Cassidy

New to English Consultant

Yvonne Cassidy

New to English Consultant

Yvonne graduated from UCL and completed her studies at Goldsmiths'. She is extremely versatile having taught a wide variety of age groups, both in the UK and abroad. Her experience as a Primary and Secondary class teacher and in Middle (Literacy Coordinator/EMACO) and Senior leadership (Inclusion / Head of GCSEs) as well as being an examiner, ensures she is sympathetic and understanding of the pressures faced in school. She was the designated person for child protection, for a number of years, at all key stages and has a passion for motivating and inspiring others.

She also has a diploma in coaching (and educational coaching training) and counselling skills and is a Master Practitioner of NLP.

 

Yvonne can offer you straightforward, practical, bespoke support and training to accelerate progress in EAL learners (from new arrivals to more advanced EAL learners - age 2 to adult). She is also able to coach people and develop suggestions for supporting/meeting the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. Yvonne has recently been part of the leadership team of the ‘New’ arrivals, new opportunities (NANO) project to develop a Toolkit for the integration of New Arrivals.

Michelle Stewart

Ethnic Minority & School Parent Consultant

Michelle Stewart

Ethnic Minority & School Parent Consultant

Michelle Stewart – Ethnic Minority and School Parent Consultant

Michelle is a qualified primary school teacher who also holds a Certificate and Diploma in Race and Community Relations from Liverpool University and an MA (Ed), for which she researched the ‘Prevention of Primary School Exclusions affecting Black and Minority-Ethnic Boys’.

Michelle is an absolute expert on BME issues and is highly regarded for her experience working with schools and Croydon Local Authority on BME issues for over 30 years. Now part of Octavo, Michelle looks after Ethnic-Minority Achievement/School Mediation with responsibility for academic progress and closing the attainment gaps for Black and Minority-Ethnic and vulnerable groups of pupils.

Octavo’s school mediation and conflict resolution service offers quality support to assist schools in resolving conflicts and disputes between themselves and parents/carers of children when the communication channels break down, strengthening parental engagement and the communication process. 

Rob Veale

Octavo Leader

Rob Veale

Octavo Leader

Robert is the head of Atwood Primary Academy, an outstanding and highly regarded primary school in south Croydon.  He has 20 years’ experience of primary education working extensively in Kent, Medway and now Croydon.  Robert’s interests lay in developing a team approach to leadership; recognising strengths and nurturing talent.  

Rob is able to support schools up to one day per week on a short or long term basis in his specialist areas of mentoring, managing academy budgets and matters around resourcing.

Contact Denese Chikwendu to discuss your school's requirements on 0208 241 5466.


Email: schoolimprovement@octavopartnership.org
Phone: 0208 241 5466

Jane Charman

Octavo Leader

Jane Charman

Octavo Leader

Jane is the Executive Headteacher of Park Hill Infant School and Tunstall Nursery School and is in the 7th year of her role.  She has 20 years experience of teaching in schools in Croydon, 18 of which were spent in leadership roles.  Jane currently leads an Outstanding Infant School and has recently led Tunstall Nursery School from Requires Improvement to Outstanding.  She has a particular interest in EY and KS1 and in creating stimulating and inspiring learning environments for young children.  Jane is passionate about developing staff at all levels and is especially interested in identifying talent in potential leaders.

She would be delighted to support you for long and short term projects where you require additional leadership capacity.

Contact Denese Chikwendu to discuss your school requirements on 0208 241 5466.


Email: schoolimprovement@octavopartnership.org
Phone: 0208 241 5466

Stephen Smith

Academies Associate

Stephen Smith

Academies Associate

For the past 10 years Stephen has worked as an education advisor, project manager and consultant with a successful track record in supporting governing bodies, headteachers, councils and multi-academy sponsors. During the early development of academies he supported Croydon Council and schools as Academies and Estates Advisor. He has demonstrated success in managing relationships, devising strategy, leading change, project managing and articulating an education vision in a range of educational contexts. 

Stephen has been involved in over 40 academy conversion projects, supporting multi –academy trust sponsors, governors, principals, senior leadership teams and teachers. Stephen has an excellent understanding of local schools’ contexts and has extensive experience of supporting governing bodies and headteachers. 

If you are interested in working with Stephen or the support he can offer your school please contact schoolimprovement@octavopartnership.org for a no obligation telephone discussion.

Education Welfare

Bhavika Sahiri

Education Welfare Service Lead

Bhavika Sahiri

Education Welfare Service Lead

After graduating in BSc Psychology, Bhavika joined a specialist CAMHS Team and worked with children with moderate to severe learning difficulties, ASDs and challenging behaviours. Her role involved assessments, observations and implementing of interventions; modelling to parents, schools and respite provisions. This work emphasized her passion to work closely with children, their families and the professionals who put children at the heart of all they do.

Bhavika has experience working as an Assistant Clinical Psychologist, a Restorative Parenting Officer and an EWO for Croydon EWS where she worked with PRUs, primary and Special schools. During this period, she successfully completed her MEd in Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, complimenting her professional experiences.

Bhavika’s knowledge and experiences allows her to work effectively with a high volume of complex cases, hard-to-reach families and different pupil cohorts in a thorough multi-agency fashion. She offers training and support to staff at all levels and works effectively in a range of settings. Services are delivered to meet the individual needs of the provision and includes a range of whole school and targeted interventions

Bhavika has successfully completed a Leadership and Management Course, complimenting her current role as Octavo’s Education Welfare Service Lead.    


What schools said about Bhavika's service in 2015-16:

"The service is efficient, reliable and supportive. Since moving our EWS to Octavo, our attendance has improved and matters are dealt with swiftly. The support we receive has been great including support for parents, students and staff."

Jude Onye, Deputy Head Teacher - St Mary’s Catholic High School

"The Education Welfare Service we are receiving from Octavo is outstanding. Our scheduled visits are not only supportive to us but to our parents as well. It is a relief to know that we are working with someone who understands the needs of our families as well as we do."

Ann Peters, Assistant Head - Purley Oaks Primary

Sheena Horner-Knight

Education Welfare Consultant

Sheena Horner-Knight

Education Welfare Consultant

Sheena studied Community and Youth Work at Manchester University, graduating to become the first National Officer of Detached Youth Work.  In addition to influencing National policy and research along with local governance and guidance on safeguarding, behaviour and equality, Sheena also coordinated a UK wide regional forum to support Youth workers. The forum encouraged collaborative working with families and professionals alike.

As a Level 3 Safeguarding Officer, accredited National specialist in behaviour and her roles as a Year Head and lead person in both CLA and attendance for the last 14 years at a PRU, Sheena has further enhanced her extensive expertise, knowledge and experience.  In this position she cascaded good practice through innovative training forums and was able to offer targeted support and creative interventions whilst working with complex cases, offering strategic intervention and high quality stringent protocols to promote and improve outcomes for Young people, professionals and families.

Her 30 years of service in this field places her in a unique position for providing sensitive welfare support married with proactive, robust and strategic assessment and analysis. 

Educational Psychology

Anne Moore MBE

Chief Educational Psychologist

Louise Knight

Senior Business Support Officer

Louise Knight

Senior Business Support Officer

With over 11 years’ experience within the education environment for two local authorities and 10 years working as a PA in the City of London, Louise brings a wealth of knowledge to Octavo. 

Louise supports the Educational Psychology department as their Senior Business Support Officer and as such, is often the first point of contact for customers wishing to talk with our colleagues.   Her role offers day to day support and co-ordination to the team and beyond.

Her experience, together with her professional, positive nature provides valuable support and co-ordination for our expanding Educational Psychology team.

Karina Ng

Senior Educational Psychologist

Alison Whyman

Educational Psychologist

Angela Gardner

Educational Psychologist

Clare Morgado

Educational Psychologist

Hilary Thorne

Educational Psychologist

Jo Riordan

Educational Psychologist

Juliette Daniel

Educational Psychologist

Nicola Tallis

Educational Psychologist

Owen Davis

Educational Psychologist

Sophia Sorgardt Jansson

Educational Psychologist

Susan Moore

Educational Psychologist

Zena Lawrence

Educational Psychologist

Maxine Taylor

Educational Psychologist

Bridget Lanigan

Educational Psychologist

Hannah Harvest

Trainee Educational Psychologist

Hannah Flemming

Educational Psychologist

Information Systems

Graham Mayes

Information Systems Service Manager

Graham Mayes

Information Systems Service Manager

Graham is the IT Manager for Octavo. He has 35 years of experience in the IT services industry across the private and public sector with a proven track record of consistently meeting demanding KPIs whilst adhering to client SLAs.

Graham is passionate about the IT sector and maintains a knowledge of the latest trends, systems, tools and practices. He anticipates potential problems ahead of time and makes sure provisions are in place to mitigate unexpected obstacles and issues. With Graham’s leadership and managerial qualities, he is able to create dynamic and highly motivated teams who are as committed as he is to achieving tangible improvements to systems and processes. Graham is a big believer in providing support and development opportunities to staff in order to develop them for the benefit of the individual, team and organisation.

Graham’s goal in joining Octavo is to make sure schools receive the service they deserve to meet their ever growing requirements.

Greg Szostak

Senior ICT Consultant

Kennedy Bhagwan

Senior ICT Consultant

Kennedy Bhagwan

Senior ICT Consultant

With a BSc Degree in Computing, Kennedy has worked with various local authorities in supporting SIMS and other MIS applications for over twelve years. Having worked with the Royal Borough of Greenwich for almost ten years, he joined Octavo Partnership in June 2015. Currently Kennedy is working as a Senior MIS Consultant, managing the SIMS helpdesk for SIMS support, as well as delivering a wide range of SIMS training course. He has gained vast amount of experience over the years, not just in MIS but in IT as a whole. 

Kennedy has a comprehensive understanding of how schools operate, as well as their statutory obligations to the Dfe, local authorities and other organisations. Part of his role involves ensuring schools are able to user SIMS effectively and to help drive the decision and improvement making process for better outcomes for pupils.

Originally from Grenada in the Caribbean, Kennedy has brought to Octavo and Croydon schools a wealth of experience and knowledge in IT, with exceptional customer care and service delivery.

Nick Lee

Senior ICT Technician

Martin Fraser

ICT Consultant

Martin Fraser

ICT Consultant

Martin Fraser is an ICT Support Consultant for Octavo and divides his time between on-site school visits and manning the Octavo IT non-SIMS helpdesk.

Visiting a number of schools on a regular basis means the work is always varied and includes software installation and configuration, new PC, laptop and tablet installation and configuration, printer installation and support, network switch installation and configuration, server installation and configuration, and troubleshooting a wide range of software and hardware problems.

After being awarded a Maths degree at London University Martin began his career in IT development as a programmer before moving into IT Support. He worked in Croydon Education IT (CrEdIT) for 10 years prior to joining Octavo.

Louise Watts

Assistant ICT Consultant

Louise Watts

Assistant ICT Consultant

Louise’s thorough understanding of schools’ Sims needs stems from having worked in various Administrator, Finance and Business Manager roles in schools since 2004.  Previously she was also part of London Borough of Croydon’s Schools finance team supporting schools with Sims FMS, Training, Audit and Finance.

Louise is now one of the friendly voices you’ll hear when calling the Octavo Service Desk. She supports schools with Sims.net and Sims FMS software and is also able to offer advice and training on Sims packages and services.

Paul Smith

Assistant ICT Consultant

Patrick Ofosaren

Assistant ICT Consultant

Stefan Flanagan

Assistant ICT Consultant

Governor Services

Caroline Davies

Improvement Adviser - Governance

Caroline Davies

Improvement Adviser - Governance

Caroline is a highly skilled professional with a variety of experiences across public services. She is an articulate and motivated individual who always aims to provide a high quality service, by using creative, adaptable and innovative approaches to ensure effective delivery and impact of the services that she provides.

Caroline has excellent communication skills which have been developed working across a wide range of diverse communities and individuals. She has worked across all phases of education and types of school settings. Caroline is an experienced trainer and facilitator who creates, delivers and evaluates bespoke packages to meet the needs of her clients. In addition, Caroline has lead and managed teams, and has performance management, change management and finance skills.

Caroline leads on governance and having been a governor and chair of governors, fully understands the demands and responsibilities faced by governing bodies and board of trustees today.


Email: governorservices@octavopartnership.org

Sara Scott

Governor Services Coordinator

Sara Scott

Governor Services Coordinator

Sara is a valued member of the governor services team. She is a professional and approachable person with a ‘can do’ attitude. Her highly developed organisational skills ensures that governor services is run smoothly and efficiently. She is dedicated to delivering excellent customer services. Her experience and governance knowledge as a governing body clerk enables her to respond quickly and answer questions from governors and clerks via our telephone and email support service.

Sara leads on developing and coordinating our clerking service. Being a clerk and having just completed the National College Clerks Development Programme she is fully aware of how important it is for the governing body to have an efficient and effective clerk to help them fulfil their responsibilities and duties. In addition having worked in a school office, she fully understands school procedures and the demands placed on schools and governing bodies. Sara’s experience in the financial sector stands her in good stead when organising and working to deadlines.


Email: governorservices@octavopartnership.org

Sonia Malik

Academy and School Governance Consultant

Sonia Malik

Academy and School Governance Consultant

Sonia is a highly skilled professional, with over ten years’ of experience of working in London’s financial sector. This enables her to work effectively to deadlines and deliver a high quality service at all times for our customers, using innovative and creative approaches to deliver impactful results. Sonia is an experienced Chair of Governors, and fully understands the increasing responsibilities and expectations placed on the shoulders of governing bodies in the current dynamic educational landscape.

Sonia is an articulate and experienced trainer and leads on the academy and school governance training and development programme, ensuring that both the termly training programme, and the bespoke training sessions, are tailored to meet the constantly evolving needs and requirements of governing bodies / board of trustees. Her finance experience, as well as her governance work, has enhanced the finance training that Governor Services is able to offer, ensuring it is tailored to effectively meet the practical needs of those who sit on finance committees and may not have a finance background. She also delivers courses on behalf of the National College for Teaching and Learning.


Email: governorservices@octavopartnership.org

Michelle Graydon

School Governance Consultant

Michelle Graydon

School Governance Consultant

Michelle brings a wide range of skills and experiences to the governor services team, having worked in both the financial and education sectors. She has led on school governance in the
Bromley area for the past two years and with her experience as a governor, fully understands the challenges and responsibilities facing governing boards in this constantly changing educational landscape.

An eloquent and accomplished trainer who ensures that the
training and development of governors is at the heart of everything she does. Michelle has extensive experience of
academy governance and designs resources and governance training programmes to meet the needs and requirements
of all governors and governing boards.

Michelle has recently achieved accreditation to deliver the Home Office WRAP training for schools and governors.


Email: governorservices@octavopartnership.org

Human Resources

Cathy Brearley

Head of HR

Cathy Brearley

Head of HR

Drawing on a background in the public, private and voluntary sectors, Cathy is now the Head of HR for Octavo Partnership.  Cathy has experience of leading the traded service for schools HR in both Croydon and Sutton.  She has been involved in a full range of HR activities including reorganisations and TUPE, complex employee relations cases, employment policy development, union consultation, training delivery, workforce development and succession planning.  Her understanding of schools is augmented by 14 years’ experience as a school governor, including being a Chair of Governors.  She has been part of DfE reference groups on education HR matters, and has been commissioned to deliver training across authorities by SWLSEP.

In her current role, as well as leading on the employee relations contract, staff development and delivering training for all schools on a range of issues, she had led on all aspects of HR for Octavo, provided senior leadership oversight for the EBP team and taken on the broader responsibilities of the SLT.


Email: hrservices@octavopartnership.org

Angel Brown

HR Consultant

Angel Brown

HR Consultant

Angel successfully achieved a 2.1 Degree in Human Resource Management 2012. She worked as a HR trainee in Croydon Council whilst undertaking a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resources management.

Now working as a HR Adviser for Octavo Partnership, Angel very professional individual who provides comprehensive HR advice and support to managers and employees in line with the organisations policies, procedures and legal requirements. She is has the ability to understand the requirements, aims and needs of the business and, most importantly, our clients. 

Cynthia Henry

HR Consultant

Gordon Mackenzie

HR Consultant

Gordon Mackenzie

HR Consultant

Gordon is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and has worked as an HR generalist in Croydon Council since 1990. Prior to joining Croydon he worked for Merton Council, West Glamorgan County Council and also within the private sector.  In 1997 he joined the Education Personnel team and acquired an expert knowledge of school employees’ terms and conditions. In 2005 Gordon was seconded into the project team charged with implementing the current HR & Payroll software platform for schools. He remained with that team until 2007 when he returned to the HR Consultancy Team.

Now working with Octavo Partnership, his experience of the history and evolution of the terms and conditions of employment within Croydon’s schools help him resolve a number interesting employment issues with his customers.

He is an alumni of Liverpool and Durham universities and outside of work, a member and avid supporter of the British Museum and the Natural History Museum (and as an added extra, quite the authority on pre-historic animals!)

Julian Roche

HR Consultant

Julian Roche

HR Consultant

Julian is an experienced HR generalist who worked for Croydon HR from 2006 until his transfer to Octavo in 2015. He previously worked for Lambeth Council for 31 years, much of the time in the corporate centre of the organisation. This involved dealing with industrial relations at all levels (including an extensive direct labour organisation), a variety of casework including Member-level appeals and formulating HR policies for council-wide application. His last five years were spent in the Education department working in the dedicated HR schools team.

His work with Octavo is a mixture of HR support to schools and to Octavo itself. Since the transfer he has provided support to managers in the implementation of changes to the organisation and the significant amount of employee relations work arising from that process. Along with his other HR colleagues he provides a range of support to schools, advising on the many issues involved in the employment of staff and particularly enjoys undertaking casework.

Mark Langston

HR Consultant

Mark Langston

HR Consultant

Mark is a schools HR specialist who has extensive experience of supporting schools through HR related issues. He spent 17 years in the public and private sectors and accrued more than 14 years of operational management experience before joining Croydon’s Education Personnel team, as it was then known, in 1997. He has now been providing specialist HR support to Croydon schools for more than 18 years.

Mark lives in Croydon and has 3 sons, all of whom have attended Croydon Schools, so he has a great personal commitment to the services provided by schools and Octavo.

Fiona Evans

HR Consultant

Fiona Evans

HR Consultant

Fiona has been a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development since 2000.  Prior to joining Octavo, she has worked in a number of HR advisory roles in a variety of sectors including transport, IT, telecoms and HR consultancy.  She has extensive experience of successfully resolving complex employee relations matters, of leading and supporting restructuring programmes, TUPE transfers and union consultations.  She also has also managed employee benefit programmes as well as recruitment and selection campaigns.  Her previous role as an HR Advisor involved supporting many change initiatives including the company’s transition from a public company to a private organisation.

Fiona’s role at Octavo is to support schools on all HR matters including employee relations casework and restructuring programmes.  She aims to bring her extensive knowledge from the private sector to achieve successful outcomes to the schools she supports.

Christine Lonsdale

Teacher Recruitment Consultant

Christine Lonsdale

Teacher Recruitment Consultant

Drawing on a background predominantly in the public sector, Christine is Octavo’s Teacher Recruitment Consultant.

Christine looks after the Teacher Recruitment Strategy for Croydon which includes the NQT Primary pool, the NQT CPD programme, new Headteacher induction programmes and teacher recruitment events. Christine enjoys working collaboratively on these and other projects and has worked in partnership with 5 other local authorities to develop leadership programmes for middle and senior leaders.

Christine’s understanding of schools and academies is augmented by 16 years’ experience working in the HR&OD schools’ department and the School Improvement team for London Borough of Croydon.

Finance Services

Claire Potter

Head of Finance

Claire Potter

Head of Finance

Claire joined Octavo in April 2016 as Head of Finance.  She qualified with KPMG as a chartered accountant and has over twenty years of financial experience, including ten years at an SME  IT service company but also as Head of Finance of a multi academy trust. She was also a school governor for seven years, including two years as Chair of Governors.

Whilst at the MAT she led on the implementation of a new finance and budgeting package as well as the development of standard procedures and reports that met the needs of head teachers, governors, the board and auditors. She also led on the financial integration of new schools into the trust, and ensuring staff were trained to produce and interpret financial reports as well as preparing for audits. In this changing educational landscape, Claire's financial expertise and experience of academy conversion are a great asset to our team.

 

Patrick Leavy

Schools Finance Manager

Patrick Leavy

Schools Finance Manager

Patrick is an AAT qualified and ACCA partqualified accountant. He has two years experience in the private sector and nine years experience in the public sector, most recently as a schools finance advisor in Croydon. He is now managing the finance service at Octavo Partnership.

Patrick is considered an authority on schools finance but also consults on wider accountancy topics, including those relevant to academies, charities and small businesses.

Diane Keogh

Schools Finance Consultant

Diane Keogh

Schools Finance Consultant

Diane has had many years’ experience in schools and academy finance.  She holds accounting and payroll qualifications and has worked in all roles from Finance Officer to Finance Director. From general bookkeeping to setting up new financial systems or producing statutory accounts, Diane is highly experienced and happy to assist whatever your financial needs.

Education Business Partnership

Betty Osifeso

Work Experience Consultant

Helen Hunt

Work Experience Consultant

Helen Hunt

Work Experience Consultant

Helen has over 13 years of experience in the field of work experience placement management. She knows first hand the benefits of work experience having secured her first job after college from completing an extended work experience placement with the company as part of her college course.

Helen has managed placements for large and small groups of students, both mainstream and PRU/SEN students.

As part of her role, Helen can also deliver parent and student initial briefings to introduce the subject of work experience and also final briefings to students just prior to the placement to help ensure the students gain the most from their work experience.

As with the rest of the EBP team Helen is IOSH trained and can carry out pre-placement health and safety/insurance checks to prospective employers to ensure the organisations understands their responsibilities of having a young person work for them.


Email: ebp@octavopartnership.org

Jean DeSouza

Work Experience Consultant

Jean DeSouza

Work Experience Consultant

Jean is a very experienced member of the EBP team, having worked for over 25 years in the field of Work Related Learning. She specialises in organising work experience placements for students aged 14 – 19.  This includes finding placements, going into schools, briefing both students and parents. She works with a variety of institutions, including mainstream and special schools, pupil referral units and post 16 establishments.

Jean was heavily involved in the introduction of Webview, an online work experience portal for student’s, schools and employers.  She engaged with a software provider on the design, specification, implementation and training of school staff, students, employers and team members.  This programme is highly successful with schools who comment on how user friendly it is and useful resources and reports it provides for their reporting purposes.

Jean is IOSH qualified and carries out pre placement checks to employers, ensuring that it is a safe working environment for a young person.


Email: ebp@octavopartnership.org

Literacy Centre

Sarah Clark

Literacy Centre Team Leader

Sarah Clark

Literacy Centre Team Leader

Sarah is a teacher with over two decades of experience in London schools. She has always had a strong interest in ensuring the achievement of vulnerable groups and holds the National Award for SEN Coordination as well as being an experienced SENCo.

Sarah will be working with the Literacy Centre team to develop the current offer which is based in the bright new surroundings at Howard Primary School. Sarah will also be developing our peripatetic literacy service and would be delighted to hear from you if this is an area you are interested in tapping into in order for the team to enable your school to meet the needs of children with specific literacy difficulties including dyslexia.


Email: literacycentre@octavopartnership.org