David Benson – Principal
Prior to this role David worked for ARK schools, one the UK’s leading academy chains, for 8 years. He worked first at Burlington Danes Academy, a turnaround school, and then Ark Academy in Wembley, a start-up which – just like KAA – opened in new buildings with initially just Year 7.
At Burlington Danes, David was part of the leadership team which turned the school around, raising attainment from 35% 5 A*-C at GCSE (inc. EN & MA) in the year he joined to 75% in the year he left. He worked closely with Dame Sally Coates, the Principal at BDA, to deliver this improvement.
In 2009 he was promoted within ARK to be a founding Vice Principal at Ark Academy. Along with Delia Smith OBE, the Principal, David led the planning and set-up of that school: recruiting the staff and students, inducting them, and planning the systems and structures that would underpin the school’s success. The school opened to Year 7 in September 2010, and was judged “outstanding” by Ofsted in its first year. It is now in its fifth year and continues to go from strength to strength. As VP in charge of Assessment & Curriculum and Teaching & Learning, David was instrumental to both the school’s initial success and then to maintaining its high standards as it grew.
The assessment and tracking system David developed at Ark Academy has been recognised as a model of best practice and has now been implemented across all ARK schools (and in some others). In his final year at Ark, David took on the role of ARK Network Lead for Assessment alongside his VP responsibilities, undertaking school improvement work in other ARK academies for one to two days each week. David has co-authored a book about the leadership and management of teaching & learning and assessment, ‘Creating Outstanding Classrooms’ (Routledge 2013), and edited a set of case studies which describe the process of opening a new school and leading it to outstanding (http://www.arkacademy.org/2012-casestudies).
Anna Jordan – Vice Principal – Assessment & Curriculum
Prior to this role, Anna was Assistant Headteacher at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College (BTHCC), an 11-18 school in South Manchester. Before taking on this role she was Head of Maths at the same school. BTHCC has been judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in three consecutive inspections, most recently in 2013. It is a nationally recognised as a centre of excellence and has Teaching School status.
At BTHCC role she was responsible for leadership training and the coordination and development of the middle leaders within the school. Through the school improvement work BTHCC engaged in, Anna designed and delivered leadership and coaching programmes for school leaders across the North West. As a Future Leaders participant she has also supported other schools nationally in developing the quality of their teaching and the structure of their curriculum.
As a Head of Mathematics Anna transformed the department’s GCSE results: improving them from 55% to 81% A*- C over four years. Throughout her career she has been passionate about developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning within Maths. In conjunction with the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Mathematics in Education and Industry she developed new approaches to teaching the subject which have now been shared widely with other schools. She has supported many schools in the development of their Mathematics curriculum and teaching through her work within the SSAT and PiXL networks.
Rob Pavey – Vice Principal – Sixth Form
Rob received a first-class degree in languages from Oxford, before completing seven years in the British Army, rising to the rank of Major. He then left the army to train as a teacher. He has held a number of leadership positions – for example Head of Modern Languages at Lancing College and Head of Sixth Form at Magdalen College School (MCS), Oxford. He has also worked at Dulwich College.
Rob has therefore seen, first hand, how the very top independent schools in the UK operate, and has detailed knowledge of what students need to do to secure top grades at A-Level and progress to Russell Group universities. The Sixth Form he has run at MCS for the last three years has been consistently in the top five schools in the UK for A-Level results.
He has, through his work in the Army and the community projects he is involved in, a wide breadth of experience and the personal qualities that are needed to see that this very distinctive project is a success. At KAA we are building a state sixth form offering excellent education, free at the point of delivery, to students from our wonderful community, irrespective of their backgrounds or family income.
Basda Malik – Assistant Principal – Behaviour and Safety
Basda was previously Assistant Director of Learning at Bishop Douglass Science School. He was appointed there when it was under performing and was part of the leadership team that led the school to become a ‘Most Improved’ schools with the progress achieved by students in the top 10% in the country.
Basda has worked in various roles including Lead Teacher of History, Highly Able Coordinator, Director of Studies and Key Stage 4 Coordinator. His lead in history supported the department in doubling their results, with significant numbers achieving A/A*. As Key Stage 4 Coordinator, Basda played a lead role in developing a framework that supported and challenged heads of years to enable them to be considered “Outstanding”.
Rebekah Spalding – Assistant Principal – Teaching and Learning (Maternity)
Rebekah joined KAA in August 2014 as Lead Teacher of Art. She has developed an exciting and engaging curriculum based upon contemporary art. Rebekah was promoted to Assistant Principal in May 2015 and began this post the following month.
Prior to her role at KAA Rebekah was Head of Art at St. George’s RC School, an 11 – 18 school in Maida Vale, London. St George’s has been judged Outstanding in its last two Ofsted judgements. The Art GCSE results in 2014 where 89% A* to C, with 18% of students being awarded an A*. Rebekah played a key role at St. George’s RC School, increasing the number of A-Level students gaining an A to C grade by 41%.
Laura Davies – Assistant Principal – Teaching and Learning
Laura is currently covering the Assistant Principal in charge of Teaching and Learning role while Rebekah is on maternity leave. Laura joined KAA in August 2014 as Head of Modern Foreign Languages, a role she still holds alongside her SLT responsibilities. Prior to joining teaching Laura worked for the investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Mark Harris – Finance Director
Prior to joining KAA, Mark worked at BG Group, a FTSE Top 25 oil and gas company. After training as an accountant, Mark held a number of senior management roles, most recently in global shared services where he had responsibility for the global employee service desk, HR systems and payroll as well as driving through process efficiencies in global accounts payable.