Melanie Whitfield BA Hons, PGCE, NPQH
Melanie is the Head Teacher of Brookways School. She qualified as a teacher in 1990 and spent the first twenty three years of her career working in two challenging inner city secondary schools in the London Borough of Lewisham. Both schools had significant numbers of children with Special Educational Needs and behavioural challenges. Melanie progressed from part time Drama and Music teacher in 1990 to Head Teacher in 2008.
In 2013 Melanie took the decision to move away from mainstream education and into special education. Melanie began leading a small unit for KS3 autistic children with additional and complex needs and by summer 2015 had grown that small unit into a stand-alone ASC school of twenty five children with a Primary Class and a Sixth Form provision.
By September of 2015 Melanie had been recruited by the Kedleston Group to develop a standalone provision for children with autism and additional and complex needs in their East London School, Leaways. Named as the ARC by the children (Autism Resource for Children) the Unit is full; students
are thriving both socially and academically (with all older students gaining Functional Skills examinations this summer) and very high levels of satisfaction are reported by parents and students alike. Ofsted described teaching in the provision as ‘outstanding’.
Melanie has three adult children, one of whom has special needs and a grandson with autism.
Hannah Lovegrove, Assistant Headteacher
Prior to training as a teacher five years ago, Hannah has spent the majority of her life working with children in different capacities, beginning as a child when her family offered their support with families requiring respite care. Starting off as an actress, she worked with theatre groups, holiday camps and schools to deliver an enriching curriculum which uses drama, dialogue, song and dance as a therapy exercise for small groups of targeted students with behavioural, medical or educational needs. This led her to help vulnerable families whose children were receiving palliative care and treatment for life-limiting illnesses with the Make-a-Wish foundation and Walt Disney World in Florida, USA.
Upon returning to the UK, Hannah trained as an English teacher, with an emphasis on special educational needs, at the University of Oxford. Hannah has worked in a myriad of settings including pupil referral units, special education provisions and most recently, a mainstream school in West London where she taught English, was the Head of Year 7 & transition and was the designated school Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) and English as an Additonal Language (EAL) director, before moving to Brookways in September 2017.
Hannah is continuously developing herself professionally by embarking on further training within the realm of special educational needs, with this ultimately resulting in a PhD. Hannah is a volunteer and ambassador of many charities including Age UK, the Make-a-Wish foundation and Help for Heroes.
Melanie has recruited a diverse, creative and nurturing staff team. All teachers have SEN experience and are supported by specialist ASC support staff to deliver a wide range of learning experiences. All staff have continuous professional development plans in place. Staff training is built into the weekly meeting schedule for all staff.
Kedleston Group is proud of its staff teams which bring together passionate, skilled and experienced educational, care and therapeutic professionals who are supported by the central support team. Staff are well support and our training provision ensures we concentrate on personal development and training staff in order that they can deliver the best outcomes for the young people and children we support.
Staff focus on the support and care which allows each young person to develop as an independent individual, equipped with the knowledge, experience and life skills to look to the future with increased confidence and aspiration.