Darren Smith
Headteacher
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It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to have been the headteacher at Brinkley Grove since 2015. I can honestly say, I never worked in a such a special place. I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Politics and Philosophy and tried a variety of careers from banking to telemetry. However, it was teaching English in Spain for four years that helped me to discover my passion for primary teaching having worked with all ages from nursery-aged to university students. Returning to the UK in 2002, I trained as a primary teacher in local school and have taught in schools across the town ever since.

To me, school needs to be so much more that formal learning. Helping children develop as caring, considerate and tolerant individuals and this informs our approach to education across the school.

I am especially passionate about the use of technology in schools, from just simply putting devices in children's hands so they can use them more effectively to use to exploring micro-computers and even robotics.

I have three children, one of whom is heading to university herself and two at secondary school. My wife is also a teacher, so our children have no escape from school! I am a beginner runner (although improving!), avid reader and keen player of tabletop games with my boys.
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Bronya Patmore
Deputy Headteacher & SENCo
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Although my mum had been a teacher before I was born, I only considered a career in education whilst completing my BA (Hons) in Humanities. The University of Teesside gave me the opportunity to study children’s literature as part of my degree, which led me to volunteer in local primary schools. I completed my PGCE at the University of Hull and in 1994; I relocated and got my first teaching job in South Woodham Ferrers near Chelmsford. Since then I have taught in every year group in schools in Clacton and Colchester and led many subjects including history, RE, art, PSHE and maths.
I was appointed as the deputy head teacher of Brinkley Grove in 2013 where I became the English subject leader. The importance of reading for pleasure has inspired me to run book clubs with children and my colleagues! Over the last seven years, I have been proud to be part of Brinkley’s development and improvement journey. I became the school’s SENCo last year, which is a fascinating and very rewarding role.
Brinkley’s children are always friendly, confident and enthusiastic in everything that they do so that is why I love teaching here!
I have two teenage sons and my husband is talented designer who bakes delicious cakes! In my spare time, I enjoy reading, yoga and taking my spaniel, Buddy for walks on the beach.
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Clare Auty
Teacher
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I decided from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher. I qualified in 1997 and have been teaching ever since! My first experience at Brinkley Grove was as a parent when my eldest daughter joined in Reception, she settled in so well and was really happy here. I loved the school so much and was lucky enough to get a job here the following year in 2004. Both my daughters completed their primary school journey at Brinkley so it truly feels like part of our family.
I taught in years 1 and 2 for a number of years then came to Reception in 2016. Teaching the younger children in school is such a privilege as I not only get to see them develop and grow in the year they are with me but all the way through until they leave at the end of year 6. No two days are the same when you work with children, I am passionate about making learning fun and engaging and strongly believe that every child has the potential to progress no matter their ability.
I am a proud mum of two grown up daughters and an amazing Grandson who I love to spend every spare minute with! I love to read and am a member of the Brinkley Book Club.
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Holly Sparks
Teacher
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I have taught across a range of year groups at Brinkley Grove for ten years after finishing university, which I think says a lot about wanting to stay somewhere you love to work. I went into teaching because of my mum, she worked with children aged between two and four and I used to go in and help. I loved how excited the children were when you captured their imagination; you could watch them grow in confidence, independence and passion to wanting to know more.  I now get to do the same with my own child.
I love arts and crafts and being outdoors, which is why I love teaching in reception, because we go out in all weather, create props for our learning adventures, and we learn through play and new experiences with others. Story time is another favourite, which we share together, adding actions and voices to excite the children to join in and asking for one more. I teach is because it is incredibly rewarding to watch each child grow in their own way.
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Louise Rickett
Teacher
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I am proud to say I have been teaching for 18 years and all of those years at Brinkley Grove!  I really love teaching and making a real difference to pupils' learning and lives! I have taught most year groups here at this truly wonderful school. 

After completing a degree in Psychology at Essex University and travelling around Australia,  I worked as a pensions specialist and complaints officer for Royal London Insurance here in Colchester.  I enjoyed my time gaining experience in an office environment and found I really enjoyed and excelled at the training aspect of the job.  I always wanted to teach and share my love of learning, particularly English and humanities, so I jumped at the chance when offered a place on a teacher training SCITT/PGCE.  Following successful completion of the training course, I embarked on my teaching career at Brinkley Grove! I can honestly say I have loved every minute since...I feel truly blessed to have had many years of working with so many amazing children and dedicated and inspirational colleagues. I am a proud Mum of two lovely children and I love making special memories with them. I enjoy swimming, cycling, reading and I have a real passion for music.
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Louise Wickison
Teacher
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I began teaching at Brinkley Grove in 2017 and have never looked back. I love the way every member of staff cares for the children at the School. I have a BA Honours degree in Early Years, which strengthened my belief that every child is different and that each and every child deserves a good education. I have a daughter and a son who I am both immensely proud of and a dog called Teddy who I love taking on walks. In my spare time I love reading and swimming.
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Chloe Searle
Teacher
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Before I came into teaching, I had a career in advertising working for Cadbury’s; those that know me will know that this was almost the perfect job for me - that was until I became a teacher!
It wasn’t until I met my husband, who had a little boy, that I even considered working in education. I started working as a TA and then a HLTA at a local primary school, before furthering my career in education and completing my QTS with PGCE.
After having my own son, I realised just how important the transition from Early Years into Year One is, which is why I am passionate about teaching this year group and promoting a love of learning. I feel honoured to be making a difference to young people’s lives and helping them become resilient, ambitious learners.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, yoga and spending time with my family and my labradoodle Barney Ruffles!
I am privileged to be part of the Brinkley Grove community and it is a pleasure to get to know and teach all of your children.
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Mike Foster
Teacher
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I am passionate about teaching and feel very privileged that I am in a position to make a difference to young people’s lives. I have always loved working with children and take immense pleasure in helping them reach their potential. I have a strong vision for making learning fun and accessible for all pupils regardless of their abilities. I have been a teacher at Brinkley Grove for the last ten years having previously taught in other Colchester schools as well as the Lake District. My teaching experience has been based in both key stage one and two. My hobbies outside of work include reading, playing the guitar and running. I am a huge fan of science fiction including Star Wars and Doctor Who. 
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Alison Carter
Teacher
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Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher but for a variety of reasons, ended up with a career as a credit analyst for a corporate bank. However, a redundancy package enabled me to retrain and follow my teaching dream. I completed a degree in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Essex, followed by teacher training SCITT/PGCE. I was blessed to be placed at Brinkley Grove during my teacher training in spring 2016 and my learning and experience here played a huge part in shaping the teacher I am today. When I qualified, I initially worked at another local school but was delighted to return to the Brinkley family in autumn 2018. In my spare time, I'm an avid reader and this year I've enjoyed taking part in an Open University Reading for Pleasure research project to develop reading communities within our school, which has included setting up a staff book club. I also love singing in a local community choir and enjoy leading the key stage 1 singing assembly each week at school. I am a doting and proud auntie to my niece Isabelle and nephews Lucien and Oscar; they have taught me that it truly takes a village to raise a child. It is a real privilege to be a part of your child's school journey and I'm incredibly proud to be a part of the village here at Brinkley.
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Jade Grace
Teacher
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After studying law, criminology and human rights at university in London and getting my bachelor’s degree, I spent time living on a Greek island. When I came home to England, I completely changed direction and trained to be a teacher. I completed my PGCE at Anglia Ruskin University and qualified as a teacher in 2012 and I have been part of the Brinkley family ever since! I have worked with many different members of staff who I believe have all taught me something new. Before I was a teacher, I was a gymnastics coach, which was a way for me to continue in the sport after 13 years of being a gymnast myself. I have a great love for music - both playing and listening - I am most comfortable sat behind a drum kit. I enjoy sports and welcomed the opportunity to arrange sporting events in school for children to experience including skateboarding, fencing and archery days.  Outside of work I can usually be found playing the drums or with my head in a book when I am not walking my dogs. One of my dogs, Jet, spent some time in the school listening to children read.  Now that I have my little boy, who is my world, I spend most of my time making memories with him. 
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Anna Manifold
Teacher
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I have been teaching since 2002 and I have taught classes from year 3 all the way to year 6, and I have loved every single one of them. I spent my first ten years teaching in the London Borough of Havering before moving to teach in Essex. In 2001, I got my degree in philosophy and sociology and then, in 2002, I achieved my PGCE with Nottingham University.

I am passionate about every child believing that they are a mathematician and that they can achieve, so I became a maths specialist teacher. I love giving the children the opportunity to explore and discover things for themselves, to not be frightened to get something wrong and to experience that ‘wow’ moment! I also love the creative aspects of learning and thoroughly enjoy all aspects of art.

Throughout my teaching, I have got to know so many wonderful children and it has been a privilege to work with them and to see them grow. I am always delighted to hear from a past pupil to find out the amazing things that they are achieving!

I have two young girls of whom I am very proud and who keep my home life very busy. In my spare time, I enjoy running, and one of my biggest achievements was running the London Marathon, which I plan to run again this year!

I am so excited to be part of the Brinkley family and to get to know all of the staff, parents and children.
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Hazel Fenton
Teacher
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I grew up in South East London, and from the age of seven have wanted to teach. I trained at college on the North East Essex coast and on arrival from the city, could not believe I had a sea view from my college bedroom window!
I have taught in Dovercourt, Essex, Clacton -On -Sea and Southend, in all year groups at primary level. My experience includes serving on four consecutive senior leadership teams and leading a variety of subjects successfully. I arrived at Brinkley in 2013 under Mrs Mitchell.
Throughout my career I have always supported and promoted the ethos, - that every child matters. I have three children and just been blessed with a ninth grandchild!
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Sam Bulpitt
Teacher
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I have been a teacher at Brinkley since 2015. My inspiration first came from a fantastic teacher I had in year 5 at primary school. I spent a year as a teaching assistant and had an amazing experience working with children. I have been lucky enough to continue to do this having gained my teaching qualification from the University of East Anglia. I love music, sports and reading and am able to share my passion for these in school every day!
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Liz Burrows
Teacher
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I have been a teacher at Brinkley since 1997.
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Kia Conroy-Parsons
Teacher
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During my final year studying Arts and Festivals Management at London South Bank University, I was tasked to complete a community outreach project. I decided to run a project that would benefit the community and chose my former primary school, that I held very dear memories of - Brinkley Grove. While there, I set up a Creative Arts Club and from the very first class I took, I realised that I had found a new career path. Being back at Brinkley Grove reminded me of all the amazing memories I held of my primary school and all of the wonderful teachers who inspired me to love learning as much as they did. I completed my teacher training at Colchester Teacher Training Consortium and obtained Qualified Teaching Status and an additional Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Upon graduating, I was incredibly happy to secure a job at Brinkley Grove where I continue to try to provide children with happy memories, a positive primary school experience and a lifelong love of learning.
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Louise Fitzpatrick
Teacher
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From college, I spent a year child minding and working part time as a TV extra. After doing this for a year, I completed a degree in Film and English Literature before making the decision to direct my further education to teaching. I subsequently gained my PGCE in Billericay and Wickford before securing my first teaching post at Brinkley Grove, where I have been ever since! This was 16 years ago! I feel passionate about reading and the school library and thoroughly enjoy sharing my love of books with the children!
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Tanya Reynolds
Teacher
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I have been teaching about 25 years now, starting in London, where I studied, moving to Braintree and then Colchester. I have taught across all year groups over the years but am currently in Year 5 in a job share teaching alongside Mrs Fitzpatrick. I adore my job and my Brinkley family - so much so that I have been here for about 20 years!
I have a passion for eco work and run the ‘Eco team’ of children at Brinkley who help me in our quest to be ‘green’. Thanks to our hard work, we have earned a prestigious Eco schools Green Flag for the last eight years.
I love family life at home with my husband and two teenage children and a one-year old cocker spaniel called Elsie! I enjoy walking, travelling, yoga, cooking, baking and keeping fit: over the last two years, I have loved being part of a netball team again and sometimes get to play alongside my daughter! I also adore reading and belong to two different book clubs, one of which is with members of staff at Brinkley who share the same passion.
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Bea Cooke
Teacher
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Whilst completing my bachelor’s degree in geological sciences at Leeds University, I joined the Leeds Officers’ Training Corps. It was here that I had my first experience of teaching as part of my military training qualifications. Inspired with the passion to help others learn and grow; I went on to complete my PGCE at Leeds University. I have now gained 16 years of teaching experience within both Yorkshire and Essex across both Key stage 1 and 2. I had the pleasure of joining the Brinkley Grove team in 2012 working as a class teacher within various year groups. For the past two years, I have also been responsible for the provision for children who are disadvantaged across the school. I am also in the process of working towards gaining the National SENCo qualification. My main passion lies in raising my three beautiful children and spending quality family time together. I also enjoy exercising regularly and taking long walks along the sea front with my dog, Bella.
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Helena Jennings
Teacher
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I have been teaching at Brinkley Grove since 2011. Having completed my BA in humanities in Dublin, studying Irish and geography, I then moved to London and completed my PGCE at Brunel in 2006. After, I started supply teaching in Newcastle, gaining experience in every year group from nursery to Year 6.  After a year, I moved back to Ireland and taught in Years 2 and 3 for four years before moving to Colchester and joining Brinkley. I instantly felt welcome as soon as I joined and I continue to love teaching here to this day.

When I was at school, I loved sport and joined every team available. As I got older, I started helping out in my local club, helping to coach camogie (an Irish sport) and began giving piano lessons, having achieved my grade eight and this is what made me want to become a teacher. I loved seeing the children’s faces light up when they gained a new skill or just enjoyed being active with their friends. I am passionate about children reaching their full potential and believe all children can do amazing things if given the right support and feel privileged to be in a position to help this happen.
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Daniella Millin
Teacher
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After completing a degree in German and Business, I worked as a tax consultant for KPMG in London. While working there, I had the opportunity to work in schools teaching maths and I realised this was much more fun than doing companies’ tax returns! Therefore, I decided to do my PGCE and become a teacher.
After teaching in London for one year, I made the move back to my hometown and have been teaching now at Brinkley Grove for 18 years. I still love teaching maths but also have a passion for reading and history.
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Priya Saxena
Teacher
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My name is Priya Saxena. This will be my 22nd year teaching and my seventh year at Brinkley. I grew up in India, completed my Bachelor’s degree in English, geography and art. I received my teaching qualification from the University of Mumbai in India. I have been teaching in the UK since 2005. I am a proud mum of lovely girls and a playful dog, Coco! Gardening, dancing and art are what makes me happy besides teaching children. I am proud to be a part of Brinkley and look forward to the exciting year ahead!
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Adena Fair
HLTA
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I have worked at Brinkley for nearly eighteen years now and it has been an absolute privilege. We have a unique and friendly feel within our school that is quite noticeable to everyone who works and has worked here. Having wanted a change from my banking career whilst my children attended Brinkley and the local secondary school, I decided that working within a school would be challenging yet rewarding. All these years later, I am still here, supporting children to learn through new experiences and sharing the incredible moments of them reaching and achieving their goals. Outside of school, I love to travel with my husband, read on my Kindle and spend time with my children and grandson.
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Corinne Pryke
HLTA
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I have been employed at Brinkley Grove since 1997, it is my second home and family! I always had the ambition to work in a school. My passion is languages and I studied English and Spanish as  Modern Foreign Languages in France where I was born. One of my roles as an HLTA is to teach KS2 pupils French. I also love reading, cooking, gardening and going for long walks with my dog. I believe that you learn something new every day and this is one of the reasons I love my job at Brinkley!
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Kate Wadling
HLTA
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I have been at Brinkley Grove for over 21 years. My Brinkley journey began as a parent helper when my daughter was in year 1.
In 2000, I started my Brinkley career as a teaching assistant in a reception class. It was fantastic helping children to achieve, so I decided to take my Teaching Assistant qualifications. In 2005, I passed my HLTA status and since then I have worked in all year groups covering Maths, RE, PE and computing.
I also organise all the after school clubs so the children can have the opportunity to try some new activities.
Working at Brinkley Grove is an amazing and rewarding job! I enjoy watching children achieve and gain confidence in everything they try. Both of my children came to Brinkley and have many happy memories of their primary school.
In my spare time, I love to go on very long walks and hopefully I will complete a 26 mile walk this year. Recently I joined the Brinkley Book Club and have rekindled my love for reading. 
A little known fact about me is that when I was younger, I represented England in table tennis.
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Yvie Jennings
Thrive
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I have worked in education for a number of years and I joined the Brinkley family three years ago. I discovered my passion for working in primary schools after volunteering at schools my sons attended.
I had previously worked at a pre-school, after school club and breakfast club. I have also led groups of Beavers and Cubs.
Before qualifying as a Thrive practitioner, I worked as a teaching assistant from year one to year 6. Whilst doing this, I gained an understanding of children’s social, emotional and behavioural needs and how to help them.

I enjoy spending my spare time with my family, friends and my two grandsons.
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Georgia Ingram
LSA
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For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to work with children. I remember how supported I felt by the teaching staff during my time at primary school, and so I have always wanted to provide this for the children of today. I have been working as a teaching assistant in key stage two at another primary school and I am really excited to join the Brinkley family in EYFS!
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Gemma Thorne
LSA
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I am going into my sixth year as a teaching assistant at Brinkley Grove. I have a BA Honours Degree in Early Years. In I love working with children as every day is so different. Children always put a smile on my face with all the little funny things they say. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. 
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Jo Deeks
LSA
Natasha Alford
LSA
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I came into education as I have a passion for working with children who need extra support. I particularly enjoy working with those children who need extra help with speech and language. The progression that is achieved is so rewarding.
I have worked at Brinkley Grove for nearly seven years and have stayed in reception the whole of this time. It is lovely to watch the children who began in reception go through the years and develop.
Before working at Brinkley I worked in day nurseries, I was a senior staff member in the 2-3 year room where I learned the most about dealing with challenging behaviours. This experience has helped me to develop communication skills with children who find this difficult. I have developed this even further by completing courses such as ELKLAN and Talk Boost to enhance the speech development of the children at Brinkley Grove.
I love to read and I am a member of the Brinkley Grove book club. It is a good opportunity to meet up over coffee and discuss our love of reading. I also like taking my dog Ralph out and about on walks.
An interesting fact about me is that I have a hidden talent for playing Candy Crush and I am in the top 1% of who play it!
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Jess Fiford-Miller
LSA
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From a young age, I always wanted to work in a school and become a teacher. I have studied a few teaching assistant courses at different levels over the past few years and next year, I am hoping to start my degree. I am coming up to my sixth year at Brinkley and have loved every minute so far working with my Brinkley family; I cannot wait for many more years. I love to spend my free time with my husband and our son Harrison, mostly at Colchester Zoo.
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Louise Stock
LSA
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Working in education started for me when I helped out at my daughter’s playgroup. Only then did I find what I really wanted to do as a career as I could see the importance of learning for children and how much of a positive effect I could give to a child’s early years of development. I completed the qualifications to complete a foundation degree in Early Years. This enabled me to progress to manager in the preschool which I loved so much.
After 10 years of preschool teaching, I decided a change was needed to keep me on my toes so began as an LSA at Brinkley Grove. Having been here now for over two years, I can honestly say it’s an amazing extended family to be part of. The love and warmth provided to the children extends to staff.
My free time is normally taken up by cooking; and never ending DIY. I add a creative flair to what I do - even the Brinkley children have commented how artistic I am which I take as a massive compliment! I aim to provide the best lives for my family and dog who, outside of work, are my world.
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Nadine McDowell
LSA
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Since the age of 16, my occupation was always in insurance where I made my way to supervisory level. My claim to fame is starring in the Guardian Direct advert!
After having my two children, I became a midday assistant at Brinkley Grove, which I did for three years, then became a Year one Teaching Assistant, which I have thoroughly enjoyed doing over the past three years.
Both my children attended Brinkley Grove and both had the best academic attention and loved being part of the school, as I do.
I love spending my free time with my husband and two children and socialising with friends and family.
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Nikki Ward
LSA
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I started my journey at Brinkley Grove five years ago as a Midday Assistant, when my own children were young. Quickly, I realised how much I enjoyed working with children, after spending many years working in office based roles.

I am now in my 4th year as a class TA, a position that I love and find very rewarding. I have always enjoyed art and supporting the children with their art lessons although they are always surprised to see that I can actually draw!
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Jenny Moon
LSA
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I started as a parent helper at Brinkley and soon became a teaching assistant, which is a job I love and enjoy. I love watching the children achieve their own goals and grow in confidence.
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Linda Turton
LSA
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I started at Brinkley as a parent helper and realised how much I enjoyed working with children. A year later I had the opportunity to join the amazing team here at Brinkley as a teaching assistant. I have enjoyed over the years supporting, nurturing and watching the children grow in confidence.
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Jade Wingate
LSA
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Prior to working at Brinkley Grove, I was a mobile hairdresser, moving with the army every two years. I found my passion for working with children when I used to help with the morning activities for the army wives and children. Once settled back in Colchester, I started to volunteer at Brinkley Grove where my three children attend. I love my job as it is so rewarding helping the children work towards reaching their highest potential. Every day is different and every day I leave work with a smile on my face because the children here never fail to amaze me! 
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Kayla Warren
LSA
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I joined Brinkley in 2019, after working in another primary school for 7 years. Working as a one to one TA, I enjoy nurturing and watching the children grow in confidence with all aspects of their learning. In my spare time, I like to watch West Ham United play, where I am a season ticket owner.
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Julia Maddox
LSA
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From a young age I wanted to work with children, and after gaining a degree in Environmental Science and working with Inner London primary schools, then working in various sectors including retail, tourism and insurance, I came full circle back to education, working as a Teaching Assistant at a school in Harwich. Five years later after moving to Colchester, I joined the Brinkley Grove family in 2008 and have thoroughly enjoyed working with all the staff and children since. I have two grown up children who I am immensely proud of, and a beautiful and scatty 8 year old Goldendoodle. In my spare time I love reading, gardening, walking our Tilly and coffee shop lattes.
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Lucy Woodrow
LSA
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I have been working with children for over ten years. After my mother passed away, I left my job as a dental nurse and went to university in Ipswich to undertake a degree in Early Childhood Studies. Leaving with a first class BA (Hons), I then became a teaching assistant. After losing my dad three years ago, I trained as a forest school leader and ran my own business providing forest school sessions for educational settings. However, I missed working in a school environment and so recently, I have been working as a one to one TA. In my free time, I enjoy being outside and love plants and animals. I also enjoy reading. I also enjoy going on lots of adventures with my five and a half year old.
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Dee Besant
LSA
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I had spent most of my adult life working in shops or offices before I had my children. I then became involved as a volunteer co-ordinator of the local toddler group, moving on to become a pre-school assistant. During this time, I studied for a diploma in pre-school practice. When my children started school, I spent my afternoons as a volunteer there before eventually being offered a position as a TA and later gained HLTA status.
Seven years ago, I decided that it was time for a change and applied for a position at Brinkley Grove. From the minute I walked through the door, the ‘Brinkley Buzz’ struck me, and I knew this was the place for me. Every member of staff I met and all the children I encountered had an aura of friendliness and happiness that is still the case today!
I like to spend my free time reading, going for long walks or supporting Mistley Rugby Club.
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Lorraine Andrews
LSA
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I started my journey to being a LSA, many years ago whilst working at a women’s refuge. When my children were small, I volunteered at their nursery and I absolutely loved it!
I started training for my teaching assistant qualification and worked at my children’s school as a MDA. I then worked as a LSA and had a wonderful year working as a 1:1 LSA. I then took up a role as a childcare practitioner. After many years working in nurseries and achieving my level 3 qualification, I found Brinkley Grove, and what a find it was! I have been part of the Brinkley family for over two years and I could not imagine wanting to work anywhere else. I adore my job as the children are just phenomenal and my colleagues are amazingly supportive and awesome! 
I have two teenage children, whom I love to spend time with; I enjoy photography, cooking, yoga, and family time. I am currently on my way to starting my training to hopefully becoming a teacher. 
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Sarah Tansley
LSA
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I absolutely love my job as a teaching assistant at Brinkley Grove. I admire the school and staff that I work with. I have learnt so much from everyone at Brinkley. I see so much appreciation from the children in school as they enjoy and thrive from the support I give to them. Watching them gain confidence in a subject or project I am helping them with is amazing. I love being part of the Brinkley family.
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Kerry Tuckwell
LSA
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I joined the Brinkley family as a SEN learning support assistant in 2016, after spending time travelling and working in New Zealand. I have previously worked at a riding school teaching children and adults with additional needs to ride and at an after school club for children with additional needs. I am also a stand supervisor at Colchester United Football Club. In my spare time, I love walking my two dogs and geocaching, spending time with my niece and enjoy travelling to new destinations during the school holidays.
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Paul Bellinger
LSA
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Prior to Brinkley Grove, I worked within manufacturing companies, at a solicitors, volunteered with Essex Police and as a house-husband. When my youngest child started here in reception, I joined as a Year 4 TA. Three months after, I was moved to Year 6 and have been there ever since - almost 10 years. In that time, I have taken all the relevant qualifications and grown to be part of the school.
Both of my children have long since left but I’m still here!
I helped to establish the garden area and the introduction of the school’s guinea pigs as well as press the buttons for the lights and music during school productions.
My interests are radio control car racing, golf and F1.
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Kate Gillon
LSA
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Having worked for Post Office Ltd at their Head Office in London before I had my two children, I decided I wanted a change of career and chose education. At primary school, I suffered with low self-esteem and wanted to make a difference in the lives of as many children as I possibly could; I wanted to encourage and help them realise their full potential. I began my educational career at the Colchester Institute in 2011 before moving onto working in primary schools.
I have a passion for reading and thoroughly enjoy reading alongside the children with their class reading books; The Nowhere Emporium has been my favourite to date. I have worked at Brinkley Grove for four years this September and I am really glad I made the move.
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Victoria Vingerhoets
LSA
Robyn Emms
Attendance & Admin Assistant
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I have worked at Brinkley for 20 years and have had various roles.  My daughter started Brinkley in Year 1 and I joined soon after and have never left!   I started my journey as a parent helper, took my teaching assistant qualification and was offered a role as a class TA.  I enjoyed the work so much I went on to become an HLTA covering mainly ICT and RE throughout the school.  After 15 years, I decided it was time for a change and was fortunate that a vacancy came up with the school office! Having been here so long, Brinkley really is a second family to me - everyone is so supportive of each other and no one ever wants to leave!
In my spare time, I love to read and am part of the Brinkley Book Club. I also love going to the theatre - Les Mis is my favourite ever musical and I have a passion for ‘Irregular Choice’ shoes!
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Michelle Bronson
School Business Manager
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I started working in education in 1996 and have been in a school environment ever since. I love working in a school, no two days are ever the same!
I worked for nine years as an admin officer in a large primary school. Wanting a new challenge, I studied computerised accounts at evening classes, which led to me becoming a finance officer at a secondary school in Colchester and gaining my AAT qualification. After working for 5 years as a bursar, my two children were now at university so I was ready for a fresh challenge! I loved the feel of Brinkley Grove, the positive and cheerful environment and started here as the School Business Manager in September 2017. I love working in finance but never would have predicted a career in accounts; initially I wanted to be a history teacher!
I enjoy music, going to the gym and reading. I am a member of the Brinkley’s staff book club but I do struggle to keep up as they read so many books and too quickly!
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Sue Young
MDA
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I have had a wonderful career working with children from being a childminder, a foster carer for six years through to adoption. My daughter attended Brinkley and I soon became a parent helper. I joined the PTA and became involved for six years raising funds for the school, which I loved.
My current position is senior midday assistant and this involves supervising the children at lunchtimes. I have been at Binkley for eight years. In my spare time, I like to spend it with my family and friends. 
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Karen Parsons
MDA
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I have been a midday assistant Brinkley Grove for seven years and I love my job! My son went to this school and now my three grandsons are at the school. I was a big part of FOBG for a few years and loved doing that for the school but mainly for the children. I enjoy spending time with my family & friends and love making memories with them all.
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Tracey Jackson
MDA
Tracey Barnard
MDA
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I have been an MDA for nearly two years now. Before that, whilst my two children were here, I volunteered in school hearing readers, taking children to Forest Schools and helping with FOBG.  To relax I like to read and take my two dogs, Flash and Poppy, for walks.   I also have a cat and two budgies!
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Jo Farthing
MDA
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I have worked a Brinkley Grove for 2 years as a midday assistant and cleaner and am proud to belong to the Brinkley family.
My two children, who are both now in their twenties, attended Brinkley. Whilst they were here, I volunteered as a parent helper in the classroom, which I really enjoyed. It is a privilege to be working here and I look forward to many more years.
Lunchtimes are an important part of a child’s school day as we give them a safe learning environment to develop physical, emotional, and social skills so they can have fun, work off energy and interact with their peers.
When I am not at Brinkley, I enjoy spending time with my husband, family and friends. I love music, baking cakes and adore my two pug dogs, Hector and Beau and my tarantula!
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Leanne Boardman
MDA
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I have been working at Brinkley Grove since February 2020. I have previously volunteered in classes at another primary school. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and going sea fishing at weekends. I also enjoy listening to music. 
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Karen Monger
Catering Manager
Jo Gower
Catering Assistant
Kerry Hannah
Catering Assistant
Mark Watts
Site Manager
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The best place to start should be with the thing that is closest to my heart. I have been married to my darling wife since 1994, who is a teacher. We have two sons, one in the army and the other is a chef. I joined the army when I was 16 years of age and loved it. I stayed until I was 42, with 26 years of loyal and sometimes very challenging service. I served in many theatres, some being operational, in my time with 1 Royal Anglian (Vikings) and the Military Provost Staff (MPS). I finished my career at the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) as the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM).

During my time at MCTC, I was very fortunate and was recognised for some of my work there by Her Majesty the Queen. I was awarded an MBE and became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2003.

After leaving the Army, I worked for myself for a few years and then joined our school as the site manager in 2015. I very much enjoy working here and can honestly say it is a pleasure to come to work every day. All the staff are very friendly, professional, hardworking and committed to their jobs and, most importantly, the pupils.

I have a few pastimes that I enjoy including fishing, shooting, hill walking, canoeing, collecting antiques or as my wife puts it, ‘collecting junk’. You can find me most mornings come wind, rain, snow or high water walking my dogs in and around the Stratford Hills.
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