My Eko Trust Journey

Joining our Eko Family

Eko Trust has created a multi-faceted and unique culture, that strives to build a supportive and safe, yet challenging environment for both pupils and staff.

The Eko culture is a nurturing, supportive environment for pupils, staff and families alike, whilst pushing every individual to be the best they can be. Emphasis is placed on providing the staff with a wide support network, that gives them the courage and opportunity to develop their own skill-set and achieve their individual goals, whilst taking risks in the classroom to support pupils and meet the high expectations of the Trust.

Our staff have come to teaching through a variety of different routes. The one key thing that unites them all, is that they became teachers and educators because of the difference they could make to the lives of children.

On this page, you’ll get to read the different journeys people working within the Trust took to become teachers.

Natalie Robinson
Headteacher, Earlham Primary School

Natalie started Earlham as teacher and had been Deputy Head at Earlham Primary School for seven years when the Headteacher was promoted to become an Executive Leader within Eko Trust. Natalie had the opportunity to apply for the role of Headteacher and was successful.

Natalie has loved Eko’s way of delivering CPD at all levels and has found this to be a huge inspiration. She has benefited from team building opportunities (including escape rooms!) leadership coaching (individual and group) and the opportunity to work collaboratively with kind, talented leaders across other schools.

Natalie intends to stay as Earlham’s Headteacher for a long time!

“Joining Eko Trust has been the best decision we have ever made as a school. I have seen Earlham benefit so much and go from strength to strength and all staff benefit from the CPD provided through Eko. I personally have never experienced such an investment in my development and have been rejuvenated, inspired and laughed a lot. The people who make up Eko are truly the best.“

Natalie Robinson
Headteacher, Earlham Primary School

What our other head teachers say:

“I would never have taken the step to become a headteacher on my own!”

Lisa Christall
Headteacher, Gainsborough Primary School

“The support from colleagues and the senior and executive teams is second to none”

Natasha Groom
Headteacher, Pathways School

Phiona Langevine
Deputy Head Teacher, Eko Pathways

Phiona is Deputy Head Teacher and Inclusion Lead at Eko Pathways School (formerly known as Eleanor Smith). She started at Eleanor Smith School in 2002 as a Teacher and was pleased when Eleanor Smith joined the Trust as she could see the benefit for both the school and for the professional development of herself and colleagues across the schools.

She was aware of the knowledge, skills and expertise of leaders and staff in the other schools and was eager for her students and staff to benefit from that.

Her development whilst at the Trust has consisted of 1:1 and group leadership coaching sessions, 1:1 support from the Director of Standards to improve her knowledge and understanding of assessments, individual support from Head Teachers from the other schools and undertaking the National SENCo Awards Postgraduate Course.

Phiona would love to continue to develop her leadership skills within her school and within the Trust, and in so doing improve the outcome for students across the Trust.

“The leadership of the Trust is consistent and relentless in ensuring its values (Vitality, Optimism, Integrity, Courage and Equity) are visible and upheld within schools, across schools, during Directed Learning Days and at Learning and Celebration events. The support that leaders in the different schools offer to other schools within the Trust when required is simply remarkable and outstanding”

Phiona Langevine
Deputy Head Teacher, Eko Pathways​
What others in the Trust have to say about leadership:

Julie feels her opportunities to be “mentored by outstanding leaders from schools within the Trust”, in addition to other colleagues from across the schools “sharing their expertise and advice with her”, has enabled her to develop new skills and progress in her career.

Julie Carver
Year 3 & 4 Lead, Gainsborough Primary School

“Eko Trust works hard to remove barriers for children and staff to make sure that they are all given every chance to fulfil their potential.”

Jill Cameron
Eko Trust, Trust Lead for Governance, Risk and Compliance

Samantha Hammond
Support worker, Eko Pathways

Previously a learning mentor for children in nursery up to Year 6 and having also worked 1:1 with children with Austistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Samantha was asked by an agency in October 2018 to try the position of Support Worker at Eleanor Smith School (the predecessor to Eko Pathways). Following this trial, she was interested in applying for a full time position and was successful, starting with Eko Pathways in September 2019.

Samantha’s role involves supporting the children at Eko Pathways through challenges and breaking these down brick by brick. She enjoys building new relationships and getting to know staff and children.
Samantha feels she has grown within the setting, learning along the way with regards to behaviour management. She has also been trained in using Bromcom. She says the support from staff members when difficulties occur is brilliant, with other staff stepping up to assist when needed. She loves the teamwork at the school.

In terms of career goals, Samantha would love to teach children and other adults to support children in these settings.

"I enjoy every day being different, watching the children learn and grow as individuals, making life’s choices that can be a challenge. I love their quirks, individualities, ups and downs, their uniqueness as a human being.

I thoroughly enjoy the everyday challenge as well as the rewards of working with the children and staff at Eko Pathways."

Samantha Hammond
Support worker, Eko Pathways ​

What others have to say about the Trust values the needs of support staff available across the Trust

Cherelle Faisal has worked across the Trust in various positions in four of the Eko schools. This experience has “highlighted that each school has a different culture”, which has given her “an explicit understanding of the children, ways of working and the needs of support staff”.

Cherelle Faisal
Class teacher, Eko Pathways School

Montserrat Capdevila
Reception Teacher and Art Curriculum leader, Kaizen Primary

Montserrat taught overseas in a British school in Cairo for 11 years, before she joined Eko Trust in 2017 as a Year 1 teacher and Spanish Curriculum coordinator, at Gainsborough Primary School.

In 2019 she moved to another of the Trust’s schools, Kaizen, and is now a Reception Teacher and Art Curriculum coordinator.

Montserrat has taken the opportunity to undertake various development opportunities since she joined the Trust, such as phonics training, safeguarding and child protection and in 2018 she joined the North London Maths Hub.

Montserrat finds her role rewarding and challenging and would like to undertake a middle leader’s qualification to support not only her teaching but the leading of a team.

She is very happy working with Eko Trust and feels that she is growing professionally as well as personally.

"I was moving back to London and when I was offered the job at Gainsborough, I did not think twice. The staff I met shared my enthusiasm for teaching and positive energy. I knew I was making the right choice.

It’s a very dynamic environment with an amazing group of teachers and supportive heads."

Montserrat Capdevila
Reception Teacher and Art Curriculum leader, Kaizen Primary​

Farzana Raja
Nursery officer, Kaizen Primary

Farzana joined Kaizen Primary School in 2010, after working with vulnerable children at a community school had prompted her to look for a challenge to further grow her experience.

As well as working as a Teaching Assistant, she joined the After School Club support staff and then became the Lead for that team.

In 2018 she was appointed as Lead of the SEND team at Kaizen and has now taken a different path and is moving from the SEND team into a nursery setting, hoping to see where this takes her.

She has been supported by the school in attending various courses, such as a Teaching Assistant course, Autism awareness courses, semantics and first aid. In addition to this, she has been able to attend twilight sessions to enhance topic knowledge.

She really enjoys working at Kaizen and feels that staff members are always happy to help others.

"Kaizen Primary School has given me opportunities to grow and develop throughout the years. I have been supported in my development and have attended many courses to further my knowledge and to help children's wellbeing."

Farzana Raja
Nursery officer, Kaizen Primary​

Phiona Langevine
Deputy Head Teacher,
Eko Pathways

Phiona is Deputy Head Teacher and Inclusion Lead at Eko Pathways School (formerly known as Eleanor Smith). She started at Eleanor Smith School in 2002 as a Teacher and was pleased when Eleanor Smith joined the Trust as she could see the benefit for both the school and for the professional development of herself and colleagues across the schools.

She was aware of the knowledge, skills and expertise of leaders and staff in the other schools and was eager for her students and staff to benefit from that.

Her development whilst at the Trust has consisted of 1:1 and group leadership coaching sessions, 1:1 support from the Director of Standards to improve her knowledge and understanding of assessments, individual support from Head Teachers from the other schools and undertaking the National SENCo Awards Postgraduate Course.

Phiona would love to continue to develop her leadership skills within her school and within the Trust, and in so doing improve the outcome for students across the Trust.

“The leadership of the Trust is consistent and relentless in ensuring its values (Vitality, Optimism, Integrity, Courage and Equity) are visible and upheld within schools, across schools, during Directed Learning Days and at Learning and Celebration events. The support that leaders in the different schools offer to other schools within the Trust when required is simply remarkable and outstanding”

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