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School Leaders

Kate Carter - Chief Executive Officer

Kate was awarded a BA (Honours) degree in Tourism Studies (Business Studies and Modern Languages) at Bournemouth University in 1996 and then completed a PGCE at the University of Reading, specialising in English, before starting her teaching career in 1998.  As an NQT and KS2 teacher at a primary school in Bournemouth, Kate was asked to lead English and ICT and then moved to Poole five years later to teach in KS1 and undertake key roles in the leadership and development of English, both at the school and nationally.  Following a promotion to Head of KS2 and 3 at a Poole Combined school, Kate was one of three teachers nationally who supported Pie Corbett in the national rollout and development of the National Strategies for Talk for Writing.  Kate really enjoyed travelling around England supporting other schools and local authorities in how to improve the teaching of English.

Kate moved to Canford Heath Junior/Middle School in 2008 as Assistant Headteacher, when the school was in Special Measures, and worked as part of the new leadership team to ensure the school became 'Good in all areas' within 18 months.  She then became the Associate Headteacher of the school in 2010 and the full Headteacher in 2012.  In 2014, Kate became the Headteacher of both Canford Heath Infant and Canford Heath Junior Schools, and also became the Lead Tutor for the Poole SCITT English course - teaching trainee teachers how to teach English -a role which she still loves undertaking to this day.  She was also the Lead KS2 writing moderator for the Borough of Poole; led the School Improvement Support Group for English across the town and was a Director of Poole Schools' Association.

In 2015, following the retirement of the other Headteachers, Kate also became the Executive Headteacher of the other two primary schools on Canford Heath: Ad Astra Infant School and Haymoor Junior School, when they joined together with Poole SCITT to create The Educational Alliance of Canford Heath (TEACH) Multi Academy Trust.  Kate then became the CEO of TEACH (alongside the role of Executive Headteacher) in April 2018, when the previous CEO retired. In September 2022, to build leadership capacity, a decision was made that the Heads of School would be made statutory Headteachers freeing Kate up to be the Chief Executive Officer of this popular Trust. 

As an ex-Canford Heath pupil, Kate adores working for the schools she once attended and embraces giving back to the community from which she came.  Alongside her work for TEACH, Kate also sits on BCP Schools' Forum; BCP SEND Review Group; Virtual Schools Management Board (for Looked After Children) and is the Accountable Officer and Chair of Poole SCITT Management Board.  Her enjoyment and commitment to education spans more than twenty years and Kate continues to be passionate and driven to support children to thrive.

Laurin Palmer - Headteacher Canford Heath Infant School

After completing a BA Hons degree in Primary Education, at Winchester University, Laurin began her teaching career at Bearwood Primary School. She later moved to Canford Heath Infant School, as a Year 1 teacher. During her time at Canford Heath Infant School, she has taken on a number of different leadership roles including: EYFS Leader, Year 1 Leader, Literacy Leader, Assessment Leader and Deputy Headteacher.  Throughout her career, Laurin has also supported many local schools with Literacy and EYFS in her role as a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE), and she has also been an EYFS moderator for BCP Council. In September 2019, Laurin took on the role of Head of School at Canford Heath Infant School. Laurin believes in the Trust values wholeheartedly and feels honoured to be part of such a dedicated team, where the children always come first. 

Clare Tantrum - Headteacher Ad Astra Infant School

After graduating from Cardiff University with a BSc Hons degree in Psychology, Clare took a gap year and travelled around the world before she embarked on her PGCE in Primary Mathematics at Exeter University in 2004.  She began her teaching career at St Mary’s Middle School where she thoroughly enjoyed working for over fourteen years in a variety of roles: Year 5 class teacher; Year 6 class teacher; RE and Collective Worship Leader; Year 6 Year Leader and finally Key Stage Two Leader.  In 2019, Clare was in search of a new challenge and joined Canford Heath Junior School as Deputy Headteacher.  In this role, Clare was committed to the collaborative way of working and children first approach in the Trust.  In 2022, after covering the Deputy Headteacher role at Ad Astra Infant School for six months, Clare took on the role of Headteacher at Ad Astra Infant School and is so excited to work with all members of the Ad Astra community over the coming years. 

Mark Wilson - Headteacher Canford Heath Junior School

Mark qualified as a teacher in 2001 completing a four year degree in Primary Education specialising in Physical Education at the University College of St Mark and St John. He began his teaching career on the island of Jersey working in a large primary school before working in Bristol and then moving to Poole where he has worked at Canford Heath Junior School since 2008. 

During his teaching career, Mark has had various teaching and leadership roles: he has taught from Year 3 to Year 6, been the subject lead in PE and English, an Assessment Leader, a Year Leader, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and is the current Head; a role he has held since 2019. 

Mark has held other roles supporting teaching and learning in the wider community having supported teachers through his role as an SLE (Specialist Leader of Education) and lead writing moderator for the Borough. He is currently one of the English lecturers for Poole SCITT helping to ensure that trainee teachers are fully equipped with the best possible training to take them forward with their careers. 

Mark is committed to school improvement and is passionate about teaching and learning. He is a strong believer in the Trust’s children first approach, and it is his belief, that all pupils can succeed and flourish and that Canford Heath Junior School has an important role to play in their educational journey. 

Lucy Waterhouse - Headteacher Haymoor Junior School

Lucy graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a BA Hons degree in 1999. She then took a gap year, gaining excellent experience in a residential school for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties, before completing her PGCE qualification at Northampton University. 

She relocated from Bedfordshire to Dorset in the Summer of 2001. Her first teaching role was in a small school in Christchurch, after completing a successful NQT year there, she moved to what was then Canford Heath Middle School. Lucy soon became a part of the senior leadership team and helped to take the school from RI to Good. In 2015 TEACH Poole was created, which joined up the 4 local schools in the area. Lucy helped to create strong links with Haymoor Junior School and became the Head of School at Haymoor in 2018. Having taught within the Poole area for the last 20 years, and watching each of the schools grow and develop, Lucy is passionate about TEACH Poole and feels honoured to have been part of its creation and journey to excellence.

Kay Spratt - Head of Curriculum and Standards

After graduating with a BA Hons combined studies degree in English and Art, Kay gained a PGCE from Chichester Institute of HE and began teaching at Haymoor Middle School in 1998. Having been fortunate enough to secure a career that made her happy in a community that she is committed to, Kay has enjoyed a range of leadership roles across the full primary age range and up to Year 7. With a passionate belief in the role of education in developing lifelong learners and securing futures, the role of Trust Head of Curriculum and Standards enables Kay to contribute to the achievement of the children across the TEACH Trust. Alongside this role, in her capacity as Deputy Professional Coordinator for Poole SCITT, Kay is privileged to support the development of trainee teachers so that they are equipped to contribute to the future of the teaching profession. 

Natalie Brown - Head of Inclusion and SEND

Natalie graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury with a Joint BA Hons degree in History and English & American Literature.  Natalie attended Poole SCITT in 2011, where she obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.  She has been teaching across the primary phase since 2012, beginning her career as a Year 5 teacher in Poole.  In 2016, Natalie joined the TEACH Trust as a teacher and SEND Leader, and developed her skills in SEND support.  With a keen interest in SEND and commitment to improving the outcomes of vulnerable pupils and pupils with SEND, Natalie progressed to a Deputy Headteacher of Inclusion role, working across Canford Heath Infant and Canford Heath Junior School before moving on to the Head of School role at Ad Astra Infant School. Natalie is currently the Head of Inclusion and SEND across the whole of the TEACH Trust.

Georgina Verrinder - SCITT Professional Co-ordinator

Georgina was awarded BA(Hons) in music by the University of Nottingham in 1994 and the following year successfully completed her PGCE at Warwick University, She worked in Birmingham for 2 years as a KS1 teacher and music and English lead before gaining her first leadership post in Solihull and starting her Masters degree in Education, specialising in educational leadership, studying part-time in Birmingham and Sydney, Australia alongside teaching. After a period working in Special Education, Georgina moved to Gloucestershire where she was appointed Head of School in a new Federation. During this period she also began work on her National Professional Qualification of Headship, which she successfully completed on moving down to Poole in her next role as Deputy Headteacher and SENCo at Bearwood Primary School in 2002.

Georgina moved into the field of Initial Teacher Education in 2009, working as a tutor for Dorset SCITT and then Poole SCITT before taking on the role of Professional Co-ordinator in 2013. Since leading the SCITT she has developed local networks of providers and chairs a number of committees. She also sits on the National ITT Advisory Group.