Staff Team

Emma Wood

My early career was spent alternating between corporate life, KPMG’s training department, and travelling. I spent two years in Australia before finally missing the rain and settling permanently in the UK. Once I had a family of my own, I decided a lifetime of commuting was not for me, so I redirected my professional life, specialising in English and gaining a first class honours degree in education.

After spending some time at a large local primary school as a Y6 teacher and leading English, I moved to Bronte School. I feel genuinely privileged to spend every day with such bright engaging children. Watching them progress through the school is a pleasure. For me the family atmosphere is what makes Bronte School so very special – each teacher gets to know each child as an individual – and, just like a family, there’s always a great deal of laughter.

Austen Hardwick
Deputy Head

2248 Nicki Mason

Nicola Mason
PA to Mrs Wood and Mr Clements, Office Manager and Registrar

From an early age I was aware that I wanted to work with children, an ambition I fulfilled after starting a family. I worked as Deputy Supervisor at my sons’ Pre-School for many years, whilst at the same time enjoyed being a childminder to many children. It was such a satisfying and rewarding job. My son joined Bronte School towards the end of his primary education and, as a parent, I could see what a wonderful place Bronte was, and still is.

As well as my role of PA to Mrs Wood, I am also the Office Manager, where I oversee the running of the School office. Based on the front desk, I help with the day-to-day aspects of school as well as helping and engaging with our pupils, answering parents’ queries and helping meet everyone’s needs. I am also School Registrar and deal with all School admissions, so if you have any queries that I can help you with, please let me know!

Susan Allison

The beginning of my career was spent working at The Gravesend Reporter Newspaper as an accounts manager, before moving to work at The Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.

In 1994 I moved to Texas, USA to live and continued working in accounts management. On returning to the UK in 2003 I moved into HR Management at Meopham Secondary School and gained my professional HR qualification with The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. My many responsibilities included payroll, pensions and personnel management – reporting to and advising the Headteacher.

When the role of Bursar became available at Bronte School, I was excited by the prospect of combining my HR and accounting experience in the one role – particularly as I was familiar with the school as a past parent!

Working within the warm and friendly atmosphere at Bronte is proving to be all I had hoped it would be.

2280 Kate Spain

Kate Spain
Financial Controller

I have a long connection with Bronte School! My mother joined as School Secretary in the mid 1980s and in the 90s my father became Bursar. I have been working behind the scenes for a number of years in my spare time, until April 2014 when I was employed full time. Two of my family are currently students at Bronte. I am in charge of the finance department and I am parents’ first port of call for advice on fees or payments and am always available to help – just ask!

2224 Sue Baldacci

Sue Baldacci
Head of Upper School, Year 6 Teacher, Head of Languages

Following a degree in languages and ten years running the language department in a large company in London, I decided upon a change of career and went into teaching, working first in secondary education and then finally “arriving” at Bronte in 1999. Since joining Bronte I have been a Year 4 teacher, job-sharing firstly with Mrs Ansell and then Mrs Brooker, enabling me to teach languages across the whole school. Since September 2015 I have been the Year 6 class teacher and am looking forward to preparing the children for their transition to secondary school. I enjoy travelling, especially to France and Italy, and regularly visit Switzerland where I have family.

2234 Amanda Prescott

Amanda Prescott
Year 5 Teacher, English Co-ordinator

I began my life in education as a Teaching Assistant when my own daughters were still at primary school. Whilst continuing in this role, I decided to embark on a degree in Education, initially on a part-time basis, and I finally qualified as a teacher in 2004. My time at Bronte began in 2007 and I have been fortunate enough to work with several Year groups – I’ve been a Year 5 teacher since 2009. I thoroughly enjoy supporting the annual residential trip to France and find my own French has also started to improve! As the Head of Learning Support, I enjoy working with my Learning Support Assistant, and all the other teaching staff, to ensure that each child reaches their full potential, whatever their ability or particular gift. I have a real love of reading, drama (in particular Shakespeare) and all things literature-related. I sincerely hope that I pass this passion onto the children in my care.

Rummy Singh
Year 4 Teacher, Mathematics and Computer Science Co-ordinator

Born and bred in Gravesend attending St John’s Catholic school I always dreamed of being a teacher. Straight after graduating I began my career at a local primary school, where I worked for nearly seventeen years.

Throughout the years I have worked with some of the most amazing people and taught some of the most enthusiastic children. However, I decided it was time for a change and to set my sight on new challenges, and the opportunity rose at Bronte. Already it feels like a home away from home and I am excited to embark on this new journey with you all.

When I am not teaching, I am a mother of two gorgeous children, a wife of a photographer and a self-taught hair and makeup artist – another passion in my life!

2333 Rachel Lonergan

Rachel Lonergan
Year 2 Teacher, Science Co-ordinator

Before becoming directly involved in education I enjoyed a career in theatre production and development, including stage management on a number of West End shows such as Les Miserables and Me and My Girl. Ultimately, a love of writing and my theatre experience led to a position at the National Theatre, London, where I was tasked specifically with developing new writing. I retrained to teach after starting a family. My daughter joined Bronte as a pupil in 2011 and I was thrilled to join the staff shortly afterwards. I love the variety of my current role and I am reminded every day that teaching is a privilege. Beyond school I enjoy spending time with my family, thinking really hard about running and threatening to write that novel.

Christine Nash
Year 1 Teacher, RE Co-ordinator

Following a career in banking, I first became involved in education through helping voluntarily at my sons’ schools and in doing so discovered my true vocation in life. I gained a First Class Honours Degree in Primary Education from Greenwich University. I have now worked at Bronte in Year 1, as part of the Infants team, for over four years and thoroughly enjoy my fulfilling role, nurturing the children’s young minds and helping them to achieve their potential. Dedicated teaching takes a vast quantity of your time but the rewards make it worthwhile and I do also particularly enjoy my family (including my dogs), gardening, music, films and a good read outside of school.

2404 Sharon Kybert

Sharon Kybert
Head of Lower School, Reception Teacher, EYFS Co-ordinator

An interesting career journey has led to my current post as Reception class teacher at Bronte. This has included working with physically disabled children in a special school and as part of a busy innercity Speech and Language Therapy Department. My teaching career began as my own children embarked upon their own journeys into primary school. I have enjoyed working in Early Years for the best part of my teaching career. I recognise the enormous impact that a high quality Early Years experience can have on our youngest children and strive to ensure the children with whom we work are engaged as learners, are confident, well-motivated and importantly, have as much fun as possible! When not making play dough or experimenting with slime recipes I tend to find my time taken up with my own family commitments. I have three daughters, the youngest herself a pupil at Bronte School. I also enjoy a large and ever growing extended family.

2375 Carole Lakha

Carole Lakha
Kindergarten Teacher

I trained and worked as an Approved Driving Instructor until family commitments became too demanding! My four children attended Bronte School and, having regularly volunteered, I formally joined the school as a Teaching Assistant in 2011 after gaining my Diploma as a Teaching Assistant. I then went on to be awarded a Special Educational Needs Diploma in 2012. I love working in Reception Year, helping to educate, nurture and guide our youngest children in the school as they embark on their educational journey. My experience at Bronte has inspired me to begin a Teaching degree this year. I enjoy being with my family, cooking, reading and driving.

Mark Dickins
Year 5 Teaching Assistant

I was born and brought up in the Potteries but later moved to the South East to pursue a career in the construction industry as a Consultant for a land reclamation company. I was involved in many projects, including a marina in Suffolk and Stockley Park in West London. A change of direction saw me spend some time in the animal feeds industry, before eventually joining the education sector some twenty years ago while my daughters were small and I was a stay at home Dad. I have worked in primary schools since, progressing to become an HLTA in 2007. I have really enjoyed the varied roles and challenges I’ve encountered whilst gaining a wealth of experience from years 2 to 6.

Outside of work I have a passion for sport having played competitive football for 30+ years and tennis on a weekly basis. Time permitting, cycling and walking challenges have been a ‘pleasant’ distraction.

I am now really looking forward to using my skills and knowledge to further support, develop and extend the children of Bronte School. I’m excited by the challenge.

2483 Natasha Kitsell

Natasha Kitsell
Year 4 Teaching Assistant

After my youngest child started school I volunteered as a parent helper at his school. It was during this time that I decided that a career in education was something I wanted to pursue.

I completed several courses to better equip me for such a role and started work as a Teaching Assistant, supporting Gifted and Talented pupils in Key Stage 1. During my time as a TA I have also undertaken studies with the Open University, leading me to fulfil my ambition to undertake a university degree course! Whilst continuing to work as a TA, I attended Canterbury Christchurch University and graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Childhood Studies in addition to gaining Higher Level Teaching Assistant status, enabling me to perform a variety of roles within school.

Anita Ellis
Year 2 Teaching Assistant

After leaving school I started work at Nat West Bank, enjoying the variety of many different roles. However once I had my first daughter I decided that commuting to London wasn’t for me and began child minding my nephew. Once I had my second daughter I became a parent helper at their school and realised that this was really an enjoyable and fulfilling role.

Shortly afterwards I began working at my children’s pre -school gaining qualifications in Early Years child care and Education and became the Pre – Schools Deputy Supervisor.

In 2012 an opportunity arose to work with older children and I left to become a Teaching assistant at a local school, a role which I love. I am looking forward to a new challenge, supporting the children at Bronte School.

2424 Marianne Eggleton

Marianne Eggleton
Kindergarten teaching assistant

Following a travel and tourism course I spent a year working in Germany before deciding a life abroad was not for me. I returned to work in London for a few years before starting a family. It was when my children first started at their primary school I got my first taste of working with children. I signed up as a volunteer to help out in their classes and loved it so much I continued for the next 12years. This was an experience I have never looked back from. I set my heart on working with children from that moment and was delighted to join Bronte in the spring of 2015. In my spare time I enjoy taking my dog for long walks through the countryside and also watch a lot of football as both my boys are keen players.

Zoe Taylor
Reception Class Teaching Assistant

Having worked for Coutts & Co, London, in International Private Banking for many years, I left to start a family. Once my youngest son started school, I regularly volunteered to help in class and soon realised I loved working with children. I took up a position as Teaching Assistant at my local primary school and began specialising in Speech and Language, progressing to become the Speech and Language Mentor on the Pastoral Support Team.

I left after several happy years and moved on to another local school in order to support a fantastic little boy with additional needs on a 1:1 basis, which I found enormously rewarding. I have also recently gained experience working in a local specialist unit supporting children with Speech, Language and Communication difficulties.

In my spare time I enjoy gardening, DIY and spending time with my husband and two sons.

Shisho Basra
Reception class teaching assistant

I started my career working as a Bilingual teaching assistant at Kent Language Support. After starting a family and returning from maternity leave, my role took me into a local nursery where I realised my passion for early years. I consequently undertook specific early years training, receiving a Distinction in BTEC Nursery Nursing, before taking a position where I worked across a group of five schools. Due to the extensive travelling required for the role, I decided to move to a school close to home where I spent 19 years in the Foundation Stage. During this time I kept my skills and knowledge up-to-date through a variety of courses and training as I am passionate about supporting the children I work with, to the very best of my ability.

Outside of school, my spare time is spent with my family and friends. I am also a qualified weight management leader and run classes in the evening. I am looking forward to beginning a new chapter in my career at Bronte School, everyone has made me feel very welcome and I am impressed by the wonderfully caring and nurturing ethos the school has.

Susan Cochrane
Head of Learning Support

I began my teaching career at thirty-six achieving a life-long ambition to become a teacher. I have always been fascinated with how children learn and taught in two local primary schools for about twelve years taking classes from Reception to Y6. However, I found that during my time teaching I became increasingly fascinated with what can prevent children from learning effectively and this led me to become the Inclusion Manager and Assistant Head at a local primary school but this meant I had no time for teaching. I’m really looking forward to the SENCO role at Bronte School as I will not only be managing the learning support provision but will also be teaching small groups.

I am married to Ralph and have four sons and two grandsons. I enjoy going to the cinema and the theatre, spending time with my family and friends, trips to the seaside, going to concerts, gardening and baking.

Katie Hickmott
School Nurse

I have always known I wanted to work with children, and since qualifying as a paediatric nurse in 2001 I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside young people and their families.

I started my career on the children’s ward at Medway Maritime Hospital where I worked for 8 years. After starting a family I decided to take a position in the community, which I felt gave me a much better work/ life balance. For the past four years I have been a Community Staff Nurse based in a School Nursing Team, working across a number of Medway schools. My role included health screening, health education, compiling care plans and providing advise to children and parents regarding health issues. I have really enjoyed working in the school setting and am very much looking forward to getting to know the children and working alongside their families at Bronte School.

2190 Sarah Sutherland

Sarah Sutherland

I have always enjoyed cooking and on leaving school I attended catering college and then worked for a catering company. I then went on to run my own kitchen in a restaurant for many years before having my family. I joined Bronte in October 2011 as a lunchtime supervisor after being lucky enough to have had seven years at home with my children. I realised quickly that I wanted to get back into cooking on a large scale rather than just for my partner Tony and our two children. The hot lunches were being prepared off site at this time, so I worked with the proprietors to set up a kitchen on site. The rest is history!

My role as the school chef is to provide healthy nutritious meals which the children will enjoy. I like to involve the children when I am constructing new termly menus as I feel their input is invaluable. I try to use local suppliers where possible and support our local businesses.

I provide an early bird breakfast club where a variety of cereals and toast are available, finishing the week with a bacon butty treat on a Friday.


Paula Smith
Office Assistant

After pursuing a 10 year career as a Secretary for a Shipping Company my husband and I decided to start a family. After our youngest child started nursery I volunteered as a Parent Helper and quickly realised that working with children was fulfilling, enjoyable and rewarding.

After completing two Early Years Childcare courses I began working as a Teaching Assistant at a local Infant School, a position that I held for seven years.

Now my children are older I decided to combine my skills and I joined Bronte School as a Receptionist – a role that I am thoroughly enjoying!

Les Butler
Site Manager

Malcolm Collins
Minibus Driver

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