Specialist Directors of Education
Nova Education Trust

How will a Specialist Director of Education (SDE) benefit your school?

SDE support is rooted in current leadership practice and draws on real, relevant experience.

Support takes place within your own school, with the SDE working alongside staff and taking into account demands on their time.

It is flexible and bespoke support, adapting to the very specific needs of your school.

An SDE brings a fresh perspective to specific challenges or issues, as well as specialist knowledge and expertise.

The SDE supports collaborative development.

An SDE helps to establish long-term, sustainable improvement.

An SDE will provide specific focus for developing or implementing tangible goals that staff can relate to and engage with.

The coaching model of support is non-judgemental and will support the on-going development of the school.

A clearly defined agreement is put into place before deployment based on the particular needs of your school.

Our Specialist Directors of Education

Lee KirkwoodSenior Director of Mathematics

Lee has previously worked in several very successful Maths departments as part of Outwood Grange Academies Trust.

Lee has helped to transform Maths departments through his work as a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) in Maths and Head of Department.

He has developed his practice through supporting Maths hubs and developing resources across numerous schools.

Most recently his role as a Director of Maths has enabled schools to achieve significant outcomes. Lee has supported the growth of the SDE initiative.

Rhydian WatkinsAssociate Director of Mathematics

Rhydian has gained his experience within the Outwood Grange Academies Trust. He has worked at the forefront of new teaching techniques developed from the Shanghai Exchange programme implementing and developing his understanding of the mastery style of teaching to promote teaching for understanding—through which he is a Secondary Teaching for Mastery Specialist in the UK. His work has involved working across schools to develop and improve the outcomes of students. His work across numerous schools in developing teaching and learning has been crucial in promoting rapid and sustained progress.

Helen SpoorsDirector of English

Helen has 23 years of experience working and teaching in secondary schools. She spent 12 years in her first school, nine of which as Head of English before working across both Doncaster and Nottinghamshire as an English consultant and adviser. Helen then worked for CfBT in Lincolnshire as Senior Secondary School Improvement Consultant leading the 'Closing the Gap Strategy' across all educational settings.

Helen is an accredited Middle Leader Development facilitator, Pupil Premium Reviewer, Inference Trainer and MBTI practitioner. She is an associate with the National Literacy Trust, Ambition School Leadership and AQA. Helen has previously written and delivered AQA’s national training for whole school literacy and worked with the National Literacy Trust in the development and implementation stages of their secondary school literacy programme.

Chris StillDirector of Geography

Chris has nine years of experience working and teaching in secondary schools. He began his career as a teacher of Geography working in a variety of secondary schools. He developed his experience in Geography curriculum design and assessment as part of the Humber Teaching School and later as a Head of Geography at Toot Hill School.

As Head of Geography, Chris has successfully led the department to examination outcomes that are significantly above average at GCSE and A Level. In recent years in his role as a Geography Subject Examiner for the Nova Progress Board, he had responsibility for developing the Geography provision across the trust.

Robin WoodAssociate Director of Science

Robin has worked with the Trust since 2011 and as Performance Director for Science at Toot Hill since 2013. Robin has been involved with the Progress Board for Science since its inception and has worked to develop a coherent and engaging science curriculum across the Trust. As a Specialist Leader in Education, Robin has driven the teaching of Physics and coordinated its assessment within the group.

Robin now works more widely in the Trust, alongside his role at Toot Hill to develop and support the teaching of and engagement with Science, and to continue to foster strong examination outcomes and rapid student progress.

David FugillAssociate Director of Science

David started teaching in 2007 through the Teach First training programme. He began his career as a Science teacher and has worked in a variety of secondary schools across Nottingham and Derbyshire. In recent years he has worked as a Head of Year and Progress Leader for Year 11 at Arnold Hill Academy securing a significant improvement in GCSE results in 2014 before becoming the Head of Science at David Nieper Academy (formerly Alfreton Grange). Here, he led the number of students achieving at least a pass in double science from 28% in 2014 to 59% in 2017. David is now Subject Director for Science and works with schools across the Nova Education Trust to improve science provision and develop teaching and learning.

Book an appointment with a SDE

Use the form below to book an appointment with one of our Specialist Directors of Education.

“The greatest impact on learning is the daily lived experiences of students in classrooms, and that is determined much more by how teachers teach than by what they teach.”
Dylan Wiliam