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School Leadership

Our School Leadership Team has a wealth of experience. Find out more about how being part of our Trust has impacted on our Headteachers' lives, both personally and professionally.

Jay Kerby - Headteacher, Cottingham 

I’m proud to be the Headteacher of Cottingham High School and Sixth Form College and look forward to working within The Consortium Academy Trust to make us a front runner in approaches and outcomes for the students that we serve. The supportive network of Headteachers and Trust based colleagues was a key attraction to joining the Trust. It is an exciting time for the school, building on existing foundations to make the school the best it can be, and we are passionate about improvement as a staff body.

My career to date has seen me work my way up from a Teaching Assistant through to leading schools as a Headteacher since 2003. As a high-level sportsman, I’ve had a varied set of life experiences that have seen me juggle the rigours of my career alongside playing/performing in elite level activities outside of the school day. This was supported by a degree in Sports Science and English at Loughborough University, which has served me well as a qualified teacher of PE and English. As a Headteacher, I believe that we are always learning and I still like to be within a classroom setting, to model our pedagogical approaches and interact with students.

My school-based philosophy and vision centre around ensuring that all students have the highest of standards and expectations of themselves. I believe in the power of education to transform lives, and, as a former Free School Meals student, I expect only the best opportunities for the students we serve. A native of West London, my school based leadership experience has previously been situated within challenging and deprived areas of the capital, but a relocation to the East Riding has brought me a new challenge.

Outside of work, I remain a qualified personal trainer, enjoy going to the gym and love spending time with my family within our local area.

Kerry Mason - Headteacher, Croxby 

My career in education began in 2009 at Penshurst Primary as a part-time teaching assistant with an offer of support to continue my degree to become a teacher. The academy were fully supportive during this time, encouraging me to develop my skills further to become a HLTA and providing me with teaching experience across all the primary years. After qualifying, an opportunity arose to become Curriculum Leader, becoming part of their senior leadership team. This role allowed me develop my expertise and knowledge around the primary curriculum and further develop myself as a leader.

In 2017, Croxby Primary joined the Trust and I was seconded to Croxby as Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning, where I have remained since September 2017. Last year, I was offered the role of Co-Headteacher at Croxby enabling me to continue the journey at Croxby. I have been fortunate over this time to work as part of a strong team of leaders, teachers and support staff who all have a ‘children first’ approach to their work. This is evident once you enter the building and see the team in action.

My experience to date with TCAT has been one of encouragement and understanding of personal career progression. I have felt continuously supported to be able to fulfil my goal of becoming a Headteacher. The support does not stop there. The Trust ensure that as a Head there is always a network of people who you can turn to for advice and guidance, including other Heads and the central services team.

As an academy within the Trust there are endless benefits for both staff and children. Shared expertise, support and resources are a benefit to raise outcomes and enhance the learning experiences for all the children within the Trust.

Vince Groak - Headteacher, The Hessle Academy 

I am immensely proud to be the Headteacher of The Hessle Academy, a post I have held since 2018, following eight years at the school as Assistant Headteacher. My background is in business and, after gaining a degree in Economics, I went on to run a number of small business ventures in Hull. Once I realised that these small businesses were unlikely to get any bigger, I changed direction and enrolled onto a PGCE course at Hull University. As soon as I stepped in front of a class of students, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my career working in schools. Even now, the time I spend teaching is the highlight of my week.   

Being able to work closely alongside fellow Headteachers in The Consortium Academy Trust has been of huge personal benefit to me as I took on this role. Headship can be quite a lonely and vulnerable place at times and having the support of colleagues has been invaluable, especially during the pandemic. As we go into the future, I believe this network will continue to grow in importance and all of our learners, regardless of age or which school they are enrolled at will benefit from our collective experience, knowledge and abilities. It is an exciting future. 

Neal Holder - Headteacher, Holderness

My first teaching experience came by chance back in 1999 when one of my former lecturers asked me if I could teach accountancy evening classes at my old college, when a teacher left at short notice. That experience gave me the teaching bug, so I gave up my job as a project accountant and applied to be a Maths teacher at a school in Dudley. From there I moved to Dyke House School in Hartlepool, where I taught Maths and became a Head of Year, before moving to Jarrow School to be Head of Maths. My next move was into senior management at Nunthorpe Academy as an Assistant Headteacher, focusing on Key Stage 5. I then moved to Grangefield Academy as a Deputy Head, before moving onto my first Headship at Farringdon Community Academy in Sunderland, where I stayed for five years.

I was delighted to take up the post of Headteacher at Holderness Academy & Sixth Form College in January 2023. I am really looking forward to the role, as well as the benefits of working within an organisation as supportive as the Trust, and I cannot wait to get started.

Jim Nixon - Headteacher, Howden 

I began my career in Kent teaching PE and Music however, after undertaking a Masters in Curriculum Studies, I switched tack to become a Geography teacher. Soon after I moved on to senior leadership positions at different schools in King’s Lynn and Norwich.

My first headship was at Great Yarmouth High, a school in one of the most deprived areas in the country. In 2007 the school was graded good with outstanding features and designated a High Performing Specialist School then in 2008, the English department was graded outstanding. The following year I was appointed Headteacher of City of Norwich School (CNS), a school of 1750 students, with 550 in the sixth form. During my time there, I set up the school’s award-winning partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and led the school as it joined Ormiston Academies Trust. In 2016, the school was rated Good with outstanding features, with outstanding for leadership and management and personal development, behaviour and welfare.

In 2017 I retired and set up my own consultancy then, in September 2018, was appointed regional adviser for Ormiston Academies Trust. In this role, I worked with numerous academies in different regions of the country on school improvement strategies and supporting them through Ofsted.

In 2019 I was asked to take on the position of Interim Principal at Ormiston Denes Academy in Suffolk, a role which continued until August 2021. At the end of September that same year, I became Interim Headteacher at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy until March 2022. Following this, I went back to consultancy work before being appointed Headteacher of Howden School in April 2023.

On a personal note, I consider it a real privilege to lead Howden School and be part of a Trust that has a clear vision and a determination to do the absolute best for all of its students. My main passions are family, rugby, playing the saxophone and my regular trips to Scotland.

Victoria White - Headteacher, Keyingham 

I became a teacher in 2003 and since then have taught learners from the age of 3 to 19, and more recently, of University age! I originally trained to teach French and secured my first teaching post at Hessle High School.  It was there that I became a Pastoral Leader and had the privilege to follow my year group through their five years of secondary education. This experience really opened my eyes to the wide variety of challenges that young people face as they grow up and the complex yet vital support that they need at every stage of their schooling. Thanks to the Hessle Academy through school, I moved to teach in the Primary phase in 2011 and became fascinated with how a love of reading, woven into a well-crafted curriculum could shape a child’s knowledge, conceptual understanding and future chances. Now that I am Headteacher at Keyingham Primary School, I have the opportunity to bring that passion to a new community of learners and their families. The school joined TCAT in March 2020 and my colleagues at the Trust have supported me endlessly through this rather ‘difficult’ start to my first headship! With their support and the hard-work of my staff, I know that the children at Keyingham will thrive and excel.

Michelle Preston - Head of School, Penshurst

After graduating from DeMontfort University in Lincoln, I moved into a career in design and then retail. It was only when I spent more time talking to children than adults that I realised I wanted to pursue a career in education.  

I began my teaching career in 2010 through the GTP programme and have taught in almost every primary year group since then. My first experience of teaching in Year 6 came when I moved to Penshurst Primary School in 2014.  

Following my role as Assistant Head for Curriculum, I became Associate Head of School in September 2022 and then Head of School later that school year; I cannot imagine being a leader in any other school. In my relatively short time in this role, the leadership support and coaching that I have received from the Trust has been invaluable, as has the continuous collaboration amongst our Trust schools.  

I am passionate about children having access to an exciting, engaging curriculum that fills them with the knowledge and skills to thrive, whatever their background or ability. By far the highlight of each and every day is spending time with the pupils at Penshurst – every one of them a character. Their success and happiness is my mission and I look forward to supporting pupils now and in the future to achieve the extraordinary.

Karen Farmer - Headteacher, Winifred Holtby 

My educational journey began in Redcar, located in the North East, where I lived until I studied for my Biochemistry degree at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich. Following the completion of my degree, my career in education started in Nottingham, where I undertook my PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). In 1997, I moved to Hull, marking the start of my profession as a science teacher at South Hunsley School.  I moved to Winifred Holtby in 2001 as Deputy Head of Science and have remained at the school ever since. Winifred Holtby has a unique charm that fosters an environment that encourages long-term commitment from its staff. Over the years, I have assumed various roles at the academy, including Head of Science and Assistant Headteacher. For the past 15 years, I have proudly served as Deputy Headteacher. My experience at Winifred Holtby has been immensely rewarding, largely owing to the loyalty, hard work, and appreciation exhibited by our students. The high-quality provision and support provided by the dedicated staff contribute to the school's positive and nurturing atmosphere.

It is with great enthusiasm that I embark on a new chapter in my career as the Headteacher of Winifred Holtby Academy. The prospect of leading the academy excites me, and I eagerly anticipate the challenges and rewards that come with the role. Working within the Trust will allow me to tap into excellent opportunities for sharing expertise and fostering mutual support among staff members, ultimately benefiting all our students. I take pride in the journey that has led me to this leadership position, and I am committed to continuing the tradition of providing exceptional education and support to the Winifred Holtby community.

Susanne Kukuc - Headteacher, Wolfreton 

I studied Geography at university, with my primary focus being physical geography. After achieving my degree, I embarked on gap year employment and travel, before completing a PGCE at the University of Hull. After qualifying as a teacher, I moved to Leicester and then Northamptonshire where I joined a fantastic school and really learned my craft. I experienced the value of both challenge and support from colleagues and it was here that I secured my first promoted post, leading PSHE across the school. In 2003, I relocated to the East Riding of Yorkshire and took up post as Head of Geography at Wolfreton, another fantastic place to learn and work. In 2018 I was formally appointed to my current position, having served as Deputy Headteacher since 2008 and then Associate Headteacher since the Trust’s inception. I am incredibly proud to be Wolfreton’s Headteacher. I work with a team of inspiring colleagues; they are dedicated and show a care and commitment to the students daily and our students continue to inspire me with their kindness, enthusiasm and willingness to reflect and have a go.  

My love of geography and the outdoors was inspired by growing up in Cumbria, an exceptional geography department in my own school and being introduced to challenges and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  Having battled the mountains at bronze and silver level, I eventually achieved the gold award in treacherous weather canoeing the Scottish Lochs. My gap year travel ignited a passion I have enjoyed ever since.  During my career I have been fortunate to secure study tour places to experience Japan, joining teachers from around the globe, and China with the Geographical Association. Each of these experiences in these activities drives me to encourage our young people to expand their horizons and seek out what life has to offer and inspire them. Working with fellow headteachers and colleagues in all roles across the Trust has been beneficial both personally and to our school. We have already enjoyed many benefits of a collective approach, and continue to welcome the challenge and support that it brings.