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who's who

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Lee Mason-Ellis - Education Trust Leader (CEO)

Lee Mason-Ellis commenced at Stewart Fleming Primary School in 2008 as the Head Teacher.  At the time the school was in Special Measures but has since been graded as Outstanding in all categories by Ofsted.

Lee has been fundamental in the development of The Pioneer Academy which was started with the prime objective of raising educational achievement for children and ensuring the highest standard of care and guidance.  Under Lee’s direction, The Pioneer Academy has developed a cluster of successful schools in Croydon, Bexley, Bromley and Kent.


Jo Lakey - Director of Education

Jo Lakey joined The Pioneer Academy in November 2017 as Director of Education.  

Between 2003 - 2017, Jo Lakey worked alongside senior leaders and governors on school improvement matters; working as a seconded Head Teacher in Kent and then as Bexley’s Head of School Improvement.  As an Ofsted lead inspector, Jo has led school self-review visits and self-evaluation surgeries.

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Anne Slade - Chief Finance & Operating Officer

Anne Slade has extensive knowledge of the corporate and operational support functions of schools, having worked in this area of expertise for over ten years.

Anne started working with The Pioneer Academy in 2013 when they supported a school outside of the Trust.  Her role as Chief Finance & Operating Officer encompasses the Chief Finance Officer role, strategically ensuring the most effective use of resources in the support of the learning objectives over all the schools, and the Education Trust.




Rebecca Hipkins - Head of CPD & Recruitment

Rebecca Hipkins has been an outstanding classroom practitioner for over 15 years.  Rebecca joined The Pioneer Academy in 2015 as a Senior Lead Academy Teacher, working in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Head Teachers to support The Pioneer Academy Schools and to deliver high quality interventions to groups of pupils to ensure rapid accelerated progress across the curriculum.

In her role as Head of CPD, Rebecca facilitates exceptional training programmes across the academy trust.  Working in partnership with OLEVI, the International Centre for Leadership in Teaching and Learning, Rebecca ensures that all staff in The Pioneer Academy Schools access outstanding coaching and professional development, including bespoke NQT training, leadership programmes and the Power of Coaching.

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Ian McManus - Head of Assessment & Curriculum

Ian McManus became the Head of Assessment having previously led assessment as Acting Deputy Head at Belvedere Junior School. He joined the Academy as a Year 6 Teacher at Belvedere Junior School in 2013.

At a time of great change in primary assessment, a key part of Ian’s role is to ensure a consistent approach is taken across the Education Trust, enabling teachers to make accurate judgements meaning they can fully support every child in achieving their potential.

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Carole Hitchens - Head of Educational Support Staff

Carole Hitchens joined the Academy as a support staff leader in one of our schools in 2013.

She works in partnership with our Head Teachers and other senior members of the Academy to ensure that support staff are effectively trained and deployed to deliver high quality teaching and learning support to our children.


Alex Weekes - Head of Pupil Welfare

Alex Weekes joined The Pioneer Academy in February 2017 as Head of Pupil Welfare.  Alex's role is to compliment  the professional work of teachers by ensuring that behaviour related policies and procedures of the Academy are embedded within schools and that the provision for children with behaviour needs is of an exceptional quality.

Alex is highly experienced in her field.  She began her career as a Primary School Teacher and SENCO and for the last twelve years has run a successful consultancy providing specialist behaviour and SEND advice to schools across many London Boroughs.


Chris Money-Chappelle - Head of IT Support

Chris has worked in education for 12 years in various roles progressing into his preferred field involving Information Technology.

Chris relishes the continual challenge of taking The Pioneer Academy forward as the Head of IT Support.

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Anita Dowdell - IT Technician

Anita has worked in education for 28 years starting in a Nursery school and moving up to teach IT in a Primary School. ​Whilst in the role Anita always helped the external IT company whenever they were on site to further her knowledge of IT.

Anita is the IT Technician working alongside Chris Money-Chappelle in supporting The Pioneer Academy.

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Sam Golding - Deputy Chief Finance Officer

Sam is an experienced School Business Manager.  She started working with The Pioneer Academy when her school joined the Trust in September 2018.  In her role as Deputy Chief Finance Officer, Sam works alongside the Chief Finance and Operating Officer to ensure the financial sustainability and development of Education Trust.

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Debbie Payne - Central Team Assistant

Debbie has worked in many different areas of Administration throughout her career and joined the Central Team in September 2019 as the Central Admin Assistant.  Her role is to support the Education Trust Leader, Chief Finance & Operating Officer and Director of Education. 

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Helen Chisholm - Head of Communications

Helen has worked in education since graduating University in 1998.  She has taught all year groups within primary education.  She joined the Academy in 2014 as Deputy Head of Stewart Fleming before becoming the Deputy at Burnt Oak Junior School.  She is now enjoying focusing on her creative skills by photographing events that take place across all schools within The Pioneer.

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Sarah-Kay Fizul - Central Specialist Teacher

Sarah-Kay joined The Pioneer Academy in 2018. She has worked in education for 14 years, from nursery to year 6. She has spent most of her teaching career in upper KS2, with a focus on year 6. Sarah-Kay has a passion for developing divergent thinkers with a life-long love for learning. 

The Pioneer Academy Organogram

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