Senior Leadership Team

Helen Key - Head Teacher

Chailey School   19 of 187I was born in South London but raised in East Sussex. It was here I gained my love of geography through a mixture of brilliant teaching and the wonderful scenery we are so lucky to have. After studying for a BSc in Geography and working in the commercial sector for a while, I decided my future lay in teaching. I have never regretted this decision. I gained my PGCE at the University of Leicester and subsequently taught in the Midlands, London and the South East of England. My roots really are in East Sussex and when I started my own family, we decided to raise our children here. While developing my career I also studied for an MA in Education and the National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers. I have been the Head Teacher at Chailey School since September 2016. The Chailey community is so supportive and it has been a real pleasure to work with all the Chailey families over the last 7 years.

Louise Poole - Deputy Head Teacher

Chailey School   1 of 187

I started as Assistant Headteacher (Standards) at Chailey School in 2010. In my role currently I lead on Raising Achievement along with responsibilities for Curriculum Development (including timetable), Whole School Data, Assessment and Reporting and Key Stage 4 Options and Careers. I began my career as a PE teacher at Uckfield Community Technical College in 1994. I joined Chailey School as Head of PE and have also gained experience as Head of Year and KS4 Director before being promoted to my current role. These key positions afforded me a balanced perspective of how to attain high academic success coupled with compassionate student well-being. I initially studied Business and Finance at Farnborough College  and I then completed my BED Hons Degree in PE and Business Studies at Brighton University. In 2017 I was awarded my NPQH (National Professional Qualification in Headship). As my career has progressed I no longer teach PE but I am still keen to keep fit and healthy and have completed three marathons to date. I am also an avid supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

Ben Austin - Assistant Head Teacher

Chailey School   16 of 187I was born and raised in East Sussex and have lived in this area for my whole life. Like many boys growing up, I had ambitions of being a professional footballer but never quite made it. Instead, I had a 14-year playing career in non-league football including nearly 500 appearances for my hometown club, Eastbourne Borough FC. After working in the banking industry and spending some time travelling, aged 23 I decided to go to The University of Brighton to complete a BAQTS in Physical Education so that I could pursue a career in teaching. Chailey School was my first interview for a teaching post, and I have been here for the 17 years since! I have had a variety of roles in school, from Head of PE to Head of Year to Key Stage 4 Director, and now as an Assistant Headteacher. My responsibility is for behaviour and school culture. While I no longer play football, I currently coach at Eastbourne Borough FC and stay fit by training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and riding my mountain bike.

Tim Dudgeon - Assistant Head Teacher

Chailey School   173 of 187I obtained my degree in History and Economics at Essex University, and my subsequent PGCE at Cambridge University. Since then, I have spent over 30 years in Sussex, teaching mostly History but also an assortment of other subjects as well. My role, as an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) in my previous school, gave me experience in working with and supporting staff and students in a wide range of educational settings. I have also been involved in county and national school-based research and projects, most particularly concerning the role of student voice in developing teaching and learning, and also in engaging and challenging the most able. Developing learning through creativity, the arts, and Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is also a passion of mine, and I have now enjoyed over ten years as an Assistant Headteacher at Chailey. Outside of school, cricket, rugby, and the natural world are my abiding interests.

Catherine Michica de Oliveira - Associate Assistant Head Teacher

Chailey School   169 of 187I graduated with a degree in History and Politics from the University of York in 2007 and worked initially in international development. Whilst working in this sector I moved to Recife, Brazil where I lived for three years and worked with a women’s rights organisation. During my time working with young women and girls in Brazil I discovered a passion for education so on my return to the UK I decided to train to be a teacher. I completed my PGCE in Secondary History at the University of Sussex. My first teaching job was at Chailey and I have been here ever since, first as a History teacher and then curriculum leader for History and faculty leader for Humanities. I have a Master’s Degree in Senior Leadership in Education from the University of Roehampton and a Level 7 apprenticeship in senior management from the Chartered Management Institute. Outside of school I enjoy watching my two sons play football, cooking and reading.

Louise Thompson - Assistant Head Teacher & Designated Safeguarding Lead

Chailey School   164 of 187I have grown up in the lovely countryside of East Sussex. Whilst studying for my A Levels I worked as a Veterinary Nurse, which I loved. After having an inspirational PE teacher at College, I decided to study to become just that. I completed my teaching degree at the University of Brighton, studying BA QTS in Physical Education, for four years. After joining Chailey School as a PE teacher, I progressed on to complete a number of different responsibilities, including, Head of Department for PSHE, then going on to become SENDCo and completed the Post Graduate SENDCo Qualification. I then, in addition to that, took on the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead and Assistant Headteacher. I am proud to be a leader in a school that has a strong reputation for going to every length to support the wellbeing of our young people. Outside of school, I have a passion for Dressage. I have competed up to Prix St George level and have gone on to become a Dressage Judge, meaning that I now judge at local shows. I also enjoy sport and being active, getting into the gym for a workout or for a walk in the countryside.

Ruth Turner - Assistant Head Teacher

Chailey School   24 of 187I have always had a passion for reading and this led to me becoming an English teacher. I obtained my degree in English and Music at Leeds University and began my teaching career, in Barking, Essex. My first head of English post was in Brighton before I moved to Chailey in 2006. In my current role, I oversee the Disadvantaged Strategy and particularly enjoy line managing the core subjects. Outside school, I love reading, camping and paddle-boarding.