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Making Kent a county that works for all children

Meet the Team

Tony Doran BEd (Hons) and NPQH - Headteacher

Tony DoranTony is an experienced Senior Leader within education with a drive and passion in tackling disadvantage and underachievement. The last decade has been mostly spent within inner city and urban secondary schools in challenging situations, developing pastoral systems to support and engage all students in learning. Between 2003 and 2009 Tony developed, implemented and evolved his Attitudes to Learning System, which received national recognition in 2007. This later lead to a secondment into the Prime Ministers Delivery Unit as a consultant behaviour expert, during their 2008/9 National Behaviour Review. The 2009/10 academic year was spent as a Behaviour and Attendance Adviser for the South East of England within The National Strategies which included significant work with the Narrowing the Gap Team. This offered Tony a unique opportunity to see local, area and national issues and effective practice. These experiences over the last ten years have solidified a real optimism that through an effective multi agency, strategically co-ordinated approach we can break down barriers that our most vulnerable children face. Together it is our duty to facilitate better outcomes for children in care.

Joanne Carpenter – Participation and Engagement Manager

Joanne CarpenterJo joined the VSK team in 2010 and manages the VSK Particpation Team who are responsible for encouraging Children in Care and Care Leavers to speak up, voice their opinions and to help shape the services that they receive. The team includes Apprentice Participation Workers many of whom are care experienced so have a good understanding of what it is really like to be in care. For further information please visit the Kent Cares Town website

Marian Smith BEd (Hons) and NPQH - Deputy Head (East & South Kent)

Marian SmithMarian joined VSK in March 2012 and has 20 years’ experience as a primary school teacher including a Headship. Having started as an Assistant Head she has been working as a Deputy Head since 2013 and is responsible for managing the locality teams working across South and East Kent. Marian is also VSK’s lead professional for Adoption, Primary and Early Years provision.

Sarah Howell B.Ed (Hons) - Deputy Head (North & West Kent)

Sarah HowellI began working with VSK as Assistant Head for North Kent and Medway in August 2018. Throughout my teaching career I have been fortunate in working with young people from all different backgrounds, ages and within various types of provision settings. Most recently, I have been a headteacher at a Kent primary school. During the last ten years, I have been working to develop strategies for good levels of achievement and progression; with a direct focus on Pupil Premium pupils in the past few year years. I have been a Designated Safeguarding Lead and Online Safety Lead in school. I am passionate about equality of opportunity and provision, as well as the health and well-being of young people, and the adults who support them.

Simon Fosse-Collins B.Ed (Hons) - Assistant Head (East Kent)

Simon Fosse-CollinsI have been an Assistant Head since October 2014 and previously worked as an EWO supporting CiC with their attendance at school since 2009. Prior to this I worked with Kent Safe Schools delivering Youth Action Groups, Buddy Training, e-Safety and supporting children who had been excluded from Thanet secondary schools. I also have experience of working in Alternative Curriculum where I was a Course Leader in Dover, as well as experience of working with NEETS and long term unemployed people in Thanet.

Carole Bailey MEd - Assistant Head (South Kent)

Carole BaileyI qualified as a teacher in 1979 and worked in various secondary schools in Dudley, Wolverhampton and Birmingham in the West Midlands. I have chosen throughout my career to work in schools in challenging circumstances and sought to provide opportunities to better life chances for disadvantaged young people. I was delighted in 1998 to be appointed as Headteacher of a Kent secondary school. The school was in a negative Ofsted category, and staff and students worked very hard to turn this situation around. We were delighted to be the first Kent high school in 2006 to be identified by OFSTED as outstanding. During this time, I also chaired the Thanet Excellence Cluster; a partnership of 14 primary and secondary schools working together to raise standards of achievement through key strands of foci such as creating emotionally intelligent schools, effective use of learning mentors, and innovative use of technology in learning. Soon after this, I left to design and open a new academy outside Kent. In 2012 I returned to Kent to work as an Assistant Headteacher for Virtual School Kent, covering the Thanet area. More recently I moved to France for 2 years but am delighted to return to Virtual School Kent in 2017 to lead in supporting the education for Kent’s children in care in the Dover and Folkestone locality.

Jen Kemp BA (Hons) – Assistant Head (West Kent)

Jen KempI began my journey with the service in January 2008 being appointed as the LAC Education Adviser for Mid Kent. Since then I have witnessed a team of 5 advisers grow into a team of over 80 staff, developing into an integrated multi-agency service and then re-born as a Virtual School in line with the national directive for improving children in care’s educational and health outcomes in 2010. Previously to VSK I graduated from university in 2003 having studied in Primary Education and post graduate Educational Studies and began work as an outreach project officer for children with social and emotional needs and led a team of colleagues to deliver peer mentoring schemes in the Swale schools district of Kent. As a team leader in KCC’s Kent Safe School’s service I also became county lead for Anti-bullying and represented the authority on the South East branch of the Anti-bullying Alliance. I am also trained in restorative approaches and mediation techniques and have a particular interest in attachment and therapeutic approaches for children. As a VSK Assistant Head I am passionate about improving the life chances for our children in care and work hard to support colleagues in schools and social work teams to promote the importance of stability, continuity and meaningful engagement in education.

Joanne Hayes BSc (Hons), PGCE and NPQH - Assistant Head (North Kent)

Joanne HayesI was very excited to start working for VSK in 2014. Working with children in care has been a huge part of my career. After studying for my Psychology degree and PGCE I began working with children in care, both as a residential worker in a children’s home and as a teacher in a secure unit. Following this I worked as a Children’s Rights Officer, advocating on an individual and local level for children in care of a London Borough. I also sat as an education advisor on a Fostering Panel for an independent fostering agency. After a short time working for Children 1st in Scotland I returned to teaching, working as an Assistant Head and managing a Pupil Referral Unit. I gained my NPQH in 2010”.

Emma Wills - Assistant Head (VSK Advisory Team)

Emma WillsI joined VSK in 2016 and have enjoyed every minute of all the different roles I have had. In 2019, I developed the Previously Looked After Children workstream; my SENCO qualification helped me in understanding the complexities of some of the young people we have been involved with and supporting the families in their understanding of education and SEN processes. It has been a real privilege to champion the needs of previously looked after children within Kent.
Having completed a marketing degree at the very start of my career, I feel I am now combining those skills with my teaching and SENCo experience. Heading up the new Advisory Team, we are strategically working with KCC teams across the county to ensure that our new cohort, the Children with a Social Worker cohort, is a real focus for future planning and support within schools. I am impressed with the work that some schools are already doing and am very much looking forward to sharing their best practice across the county. I am looking forward to supporting Social Workers with their understanding of educational processes and ensuring that we all work together to make a difference to these young people.

Area Teams:

VSK North Kent Team - Dartford, Gravesham, Swale, Sevenoaks & Medway

VSK West Kent Team - Maidstone, Ashford, Malling, Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells

VSK South Kent Team - Dover, Folkestone, Hythe & Canterbury City

VSK East Kent Team - Thanet & Canterbury Coastal

VSK Out of County Team - Supporting children living outside of Kent & Medway

VSK Advisory Team

VSK North & West Post16 Team

VSK South & East Post16 Team

VSK Participation & Engagement Team

VSK Participation & Engagement Apprentices Team

VSK Business Support Team

VSK Support Team