Meet our School Leaders


Jonathan Lynch is Executive Head Teacher at Heath Primary School 

Jonathan has over 10 years of headship experience and several years as a senior leader before that. He is currently the Executive head teacher at Heath Primary School, also supporting William Rhodes Primary and Nursery School, and was previously Headteacher at Westhouses Primary. 

He has helped to support other schools as a senior leader both in his role as a Primary Maths Specialist and as a Lead Literacy and Maths teacher for Derbyshire.  

Jonathan believes strongly in developing the team in school to improve opportunities for pupils and staff within the school.  Staff at Heath Primary School work hard to contribute to their own development and enthusiastically share good practice both with each other and with other local schools. Staff regularly go ‘above and beyond’ to support children and help to move the school forward. 

Heath Primary has a significant role within the community and has over the past few years developed a strong pastoral and nurture provision; enabling the school to support families as well as the children who attend the school. The ethos of the school builds on this as well as raising aspirations for children, though a broad and balanced curriculum that celebrates all the achievements of our pupils from kart racing out of school to dance festivals and our annual community art exhibition. 

Prior to the above he worked both in the centre and north of the Peak District for other Derbyshire schools, working in a range of schools both in size and demographic. 


 Martyn Fearn - Richardson Endowed Primary 

Martyn is the headteacher of Richardson Endowed Primary School and has had over twenty years’ experience working in Derbyshire schools as class teacher and in leadership and management, taking on a variety of responsibilities such as English lead, maths lead, data lead, community liaison, and health and safety. He was previously Deputy Headteacher at Howitt Primary Community School.

He has supported other schools as a senior leader both in his role as a Primary Maths Specialist and as a Lead Maths Teacher for Derbyshire. A keen musician, Martyn has continued to promote music across the school, recognising its many benefits for pupils.

His aim is to ensure that effective teaching and high-quality learning is sustained across all phases, creating a positive culture that enriches life at school. He enjoys working with children and works in partnership with staff, governors and parents to promote the inclusion and development of all children within a family and community ethos.

Overall Martyn aspires to provide an environment where all pupils are safe, happy and learning. He has a clear vision and a dedicated team of staff who work hard to ensure the children in their care love learning and love life, having respect, enjoyment, pride and success.

Lynn Pilling .jpg

Lynn Pilling - Howitt Primary School 

Lynn is the Headteacher at Howitt Primary Community School. She took up a post as class teacher at William Howitt Junior Community School after teaching in an inner city school in Derby.

She soon took on many different responsibilities through the school from English subject leader to health and safety manager. She became assistant Headteacher at the junior school and acted as Headteacher on the retirement of the school’s Headteacher.

After William Howitt Junior Community School amalgamated with Mary Howitt Infant Community School in September 2007, Lynn became the Deputy Headteacher of Howitt Primary Community School supporting the Headteacher in drawing the stakeholders together during a large change for the school community. This was a non-class based role which Lynn enjoyed, as she was able to develop her leadership skills further in a large primary setting as well as support both children and teachers to achieve the children’s potential.

Lynn was seconded to a junior school to support the Headteacher in developing a positive ethos and driving standards forward.

In 2015, Lynn took the school through a very challenging time as Lynn became Acting Headteacher, after the sudden death of the Headteacher. She was appointed as the Headteacher in January 2016. The role has brought new challenges and experiences, which Lynn has relished and overcome with the clear and united support of the staff. All teachers, as well as teaching and learning assistants are committed and work so hard to achieve the best possible experiences and learning for the children in a safe and nurturing environment.

Lynn has been at Howitt Primary in a variety of capacities for over twenty-two years and is keen to continue to move forward and provide the very best learning environment for every child. She is very dedicated and passionate about developing the whole child and providing the best experiences and opportunities to achieve every child’s full potential so that they are ready for life after school.



Robert Hull - Kilburn Juniors 

Robert is Headteacher of Kilburn Junior School where he has worked for 22 years, as class teacher, deputy headteacher, and for the last 18 months as headteacher.

Robert led the school into its federation with Smalley Richardson in January 2017 and was a key member of the team who helped forge and shape the Embark Federation, its vision, core values and underlying principles.

Robert strongly believes in the need for schools to provide pupils with an enriching, stimulating experience, with a breadth of opportunity that will excite, motivate and prepare them for the future. He is committed to developing a rich and engaging curriculum whilst also providing opportunities beyond the classroom and school day that all pupils can access.

Robert has a wealth of experience as a teacher and senior leader and is passionate about teamwork, challenging and supporting staff to bring out the best in them and their pupils. He promotes collaboration within school and between the school and wider community but also considers the well-being of staff as being of paramount importance.

A keen sportsman, Robert gives sport and physical activity a high priority at school and has developed an ethos and culture that promotes this. He is also keen to promote the use of the outdoors, recognising it as an important tool in providing meaningful experiences for pupils beyond the classroom.

Overall Robert strives to provide a happy environment for the school community where stakeholders want to be. He is well-respected within the school community and endeavours to lead his team by example.

Daisy Dawley - Chaucer Infant and Nursery School 

Bio to follow 


Melanie Lawson is Executive Headteacher at Ladywood Primary

Melanie grew up and went to school in Derbyshire and trained to teach in Chester where she successfully completed her B.Ed. degree. 

After working initially in an amazing small school on the outskirts of Widnes she travelled abroad to continue her teaching career in Egypt. There were many highlights for her during this time but taking a Year 2 class on a local history trip to The Pyramids was certainly one of them. She then returned to the UK and worked in a number of schools in Burton upon Trent and Derby before securing a Deputy Headship at Arboretum Primary School in Derby. Inclusive education became a strong feature of her practice as she was also SENCO and head of the ERS for Hearing Impaired Children at Arboretum. 

Completing her NPQH whilst Deputy Head was a crucial moment in her drive to continue with her leadership journey and soon after completing it she was appointed at Headteacher at Stanley St. Andrew’s in 2005. Stanley St Andrew’s was a happy community-based school where family and faith mattered. Whilst at this school she worked successfully with Behaviour Support and developed Derbyshire’s approach to Managed Moves enabling learners to have a fresh start and ensuring that the quote that it takes a village to raise a child was true. 

Melanie secured her second headship at Ladywood Primary School. Under her leadership, Ladywood, has gone from strength to strength, team work is the key according to Melanie and she is proud of the part all stakeholders play in school improvement. At Ladywood everyone believes that all children should be able to Learn, Achieve and Thrive. 

Melanie has been privileged to be involved in leading schools for 22 years and is still as committed as she was at the start of her leadership journey. She has supported a wide range of schools over the past 10 year.  She currently supports schools as an Associate School Improvement Adviser for Derbyshire Local Authority and has also delivered content to aspiring heads as part of their NPQH. Melanie is also Chair of Governors at a local secondary school. 

Every day is a school day for Melanie and she strives hard to make sure she continues with lifelong learning, with this in mind she is currently completing her NPQEL. 

She is proud to be a new member of the Embark Family and is excited about the collaborative approach the Federation have to school improvement. Melanie believes that you should grow where you are planted and her feet and heart are firmly rooted in Derbyshire. 



Michelle Siddons - Aldercar Infant and Nursery School

Michelle transitioned to the Head of School at Aldercar Infant and Nursery School, from being the Deputy Headteacher. She is a long standing staff member, having worked at Aldercar for over 13 years, and has developed positive, collaborative relationships with parents and members of the wider community. She firmly believes that by working together we can improve the life chances of all children, and achieve the core purpose of Embark, which is 'to develop well-rounded children with the skills to make a difference in an ever-changing world.'

During her time at the school, Michelle has taught across all the year groups and has an excellent understanding of early childhood development. She passionately believes in the importance of providing a safe and nurturing environment in which children can explore, and acquire a love of learning. For many years she has been the English lead, and has helped to ensure consistently high attainment in reading, writing and phonics across the school.

Michelle is also the schools ‘Special education needs and disability co-ordinator’ (SENDCo) and avidly champions the inclusion of all children.  She works closely with other professionals and local services to ensure the needs of all children are meet and the barriers to learning and inclusion are removed.

As an SLE, she has worked collaboratively with KS1 teachers in a number of Derbyshire schools, to improve the outcomes of English and phonics and has carried out focused work to support disadvantaged pupils. She has also supported schools to improve parental engagement in disadvantaged areas of Derbyshire.

Michelle is proud to be a part of Aldercar Infants, and is eager to continue to ensure that all the children are provided with the best possible education and care.


Karen Scrivens - Field House Infants 

Karen has been a Headteacher since 2007 and joined the Embark Trust in September 2022.  She started her early teaching career in a large infant and nursery school in the heart of Derby City.  In her first few years of teaching, she began developing leadership skills by steering music across the school and developing her English specialism alongside early reading and writing leads.

Karen moved to Langley Mill Church of England Infant School and Nursery in her 4th year of teaching and gained more leadership knowledge, skills and understanding as a Senior Teacher and SENCo before progressing to Assistant Head.  Following the emigration of her Headteacher in 2007, she took on the Acting Headteacher role for 8 months before securing the Headship for herself. This is a position which she stayed in for the next 15 years, positively leading the school through four good Ofsted inspections and several outstanding SIAMS inspections.

Karen has a passion for Early Years and Key Stage One, believing these formative years to be vital in securing future success for all children; emotionally, socially and academically.  Having spent her 25 year teaching career with the 3-7 year age range, she has honed her knowledge and skills within these two phases, offering Early Years and Key Stage One expertise and experience to Embark.    

Karen has supported other schools through her Local Leader role and was involved in the Aspirant Headteacher programme.  She has served on many different boards for Derbyshire Local Authority over the years, helping shape countywide practices in areas such as safeguarding and headteacher briefings.   

Karen has the highest expectations for all members of the school community and strives to help every single person be the best they can be. She is always keen to try new initiatives and move practice forward, being outward looking and forward thinking in her approach.  She cares deeply about happiness and well-being, for all stakeholders, and puts this at the heart of her school.

Field House Infant School is in a period of change following the retirement of a very long standing and much loved previous headteacher and Karen is very excited to be moving the school forward as part of the Embark family, learning from and sharing with her colleagues.



Parmjit Atwal - Horsley Woodhouse Primary 

Parmjit has been Headteacher since January 2021, and has previously held the roles of Assistant Headteacher, class teacher in years 4, 5 and 6, maths leader and KS2 / KS3 transition leader.  She is a Senior Leader of Education, specialising in Maths, and has experience of improving outcomes for children in schools across Derby City. She has recently completed the NPQH.

Parmjit fully embraces the ethos of Embark and is firmly committed to the values of Family, Integrity, Teamwork and Success and is proud to have embedded these in teaching and learning at Horsley Woodhouse Primary School. The ethos of the school celebrates inclusion and the development of children as valued, empowered learners who are curious and love to learn. All children are encouraged to ‘love learning and love life’. The school is proud of its popular and successful Forest School programme, which every child experiences, ensuring a range of broad and varied opportunities to learn. Parmjit is very proud of the school’s learning environment, including the stunning new library, fantastic outdoor spaces and specific provision for nurture and pastoral care.

It is important to Parmjit to establish strong relationships within her school community and to work in collaboration with others. Parmjit firmly believes that the school team are the biggest strength of the school and is committed to ensuring that personal and professional development are a priority for her team. The team at Horsley Woodhouse are passionate and committed, and care deeply about unlocking the potential in every child, every day. Parmjit feels privileged and proud to lead them to the next chapter!


Dave Cates - Riddings Junior School 

Dave has had a varied career in education which has included teaching every age group from Nursery to 3rd Year Undergraduate students at University.  

Trained as a PE teacher he worked in a number of challenging secondary schools before moving to Derbyshire as a SENCO and Assistant Head before becoming a Deputy in a large comprehensive in Sheffield.  

Following some time working in Derbyshire's SEN support service Dave spent 4 years at Ladywood Primary learning a huge amount about the Primary sector before being appointed to the Headship of Riddings Junior School in 2014. After 3 years of hard work the staff and children of Riddings were recognised as belonging to a Good school and its development has continued apace.  

The school is hugely proud of its children and how they develop.  It makes great use of its wonderful grounds (including having a unique Forest playground) as well as its engaging and thoughtful curriculum.  Over the years the links with the local community have grown, classes are named after local soldiers of the First World War and the Annual Remembrance Service is one of a number of events that are very special. The school also takes PRIDE (its watchword) in its highly regarded support of children who have additional needs.



Elise Piper - Longford Church of England School 

Elise has been Headteacher since September 2021, following four years at Longford prior to this.  Elise's first leadership role was that of Maths lead. She then took on the role of Strategic Curriculum Lead, before transitioning to an Assistant Headteacher role.

During her time at Longford, Elise has taught across five year groups (Years 2-6) and currently still maintains a teaching commitment in the Year 5 & 6 class, teaching Maths and English. Her knowledge of the school, paired with the range of experiences she has had during her time at Longford, means that she has a strong understanding of the school’s vision and how she can move the school forward, to ensure that all children are provided with the best possible education and opportunities.

Elise says that it is pleasure to be part of the Longford community – from the children, staff, parents and governors, to the wider community, which includes their links with the local church (being a C of E school) and she is extremely proud to work there, where a positive child-centred approach is adopted, with their vision centring around their core school values, which shine through life at Longford.

Elise continues to prioritise her own educational & professional development, and has recently completed the NPQH.


Amarjeet Challand - Waingroves Primary School 

Amarjeet immigrated to this country from East Africa when she was 6 and experienced a negative education system where assumptions of her ability were made on race and background rather than ability. It was not until she got to university where her love for learning began. She trained to be a teacher with the belief of serving her community on a basis of entitlement for all.

After qualifying Amarjeet decided that the only way she could make a difference was to teach in deprived monocultural schools. She started her career at a school in Chaddesden where she was supported by an outstanding Headteacher who taught her so much that within 2 years led on Science and Technology which resulted in being head hunted by another school in the city to a senior post. This school was a large city Catholic primary school which taught her the importance of faith where parents choose to send their children to a faith school. Here she learnt the importance of family and the impact it makes on children’s learning from varied financial, ethnic, and social backgrounds.

Amarjeet then became a Deputy Headteacher at a large monocultural inner city school which had one of the highest levels of deprivation in the city. Here her interest and new passion developed in Special Educational Needs which led to her achieving a postgraduate diploma in SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability) to help her support the teachers, SEND children and their families. During her time there Amarjeet was seconded to another inner-city school nearby to support their journey out of Special Measures. This led to Amarjeet securing her first headship in 2002 in an inner-city school in Nottingham City, again with a high level of deprivation and within 2 years the school moved from satisfactory to good and it was the first time in the school’s history that it achieved above floor standards in SATs.

In 2005, Amarjeet became the Headteacher of Waingroves Primary School which was in the category of serious weaknesses and now it has achieved its fourth Good OFSTED rating in 2019. During her time at Waingroves she achieved a postgraduate qualification in the teaching of Dyslexic children as her son displayed dyslexic tendencies when starting school. Amarjeet has also been an Associate School Improvement Adviser for Derbyshire Local Authority and has led the school to joining the Embark Federation who share the most important values in education of Family, Integrity, Teamwork and Success to create ‘stand out’ schools at the heart of their communities. This is very much at the heart of what Amarjeet and her team want to achieve for their community.


Tiffany Smith - Chaucer Junior School 

Tiffany attended university in Birmingham, completing a degree in Primary Education with QTS and experiencing a range of inner-city and suburban schools during this time. In 2012, Tiffany was appointed as a class teacher at Chaucer, joining the senior leadership team in September 2014. In the subsequent years, her key responsibilities have been pupil premium, assessment, the monitoring of teaching and learning and the wider curriculum. Her teaching experience is predominantly within upper Key Stage 2, several years of which were in Year 6.

Shortly after levels were abolished in 2014, Tiffany was recruited as an Assessment Lead Teacher by Derbyshire County Council to advise local school leaders in introducing new systems to track pupils’ progress and to support teachers to assess children more confidently against the new framework. After a positive start, she was then approached to become a Specialist Leader of Education; having completed her training and gaining accreditation, Tiffany was lucky enough to work at several schools across the county, collaborating with senior leaders to aid school improvement, coaching struggling staff on a one-to-one basis and facilitating training through INSET and staff meetings.

From October 2020, Tiffany worked as the Assistant Headteacher at Chaucer Junior School and she was thrilled with her appointment as Head, taking up her new role in January 2022. Her ethos is that every child should feel included, valued and challenged to fulfil their potential. Chaucer’s school motto of ‘Dream, Believe, Achieve,’ embodies her ambition to help the school continue its journey to providing an outstanding education which is specifically tailored to ensure inclusion for all. She is passionate about raising aspirations, building genuine relationships across the school and in the community and the quality of daily classroom practice.

To help support Tiffany in her new role, she will shortly be undertaking her NPQH and she is excited about the new challenges that she faces. She is proud to lead such an exceptional school and to be part of a trust which is known to be so authentic and well-respected. Tiffany feels that children should be at the heart of all that she does and promises that she will do everything in her power to help them unlock their potential, develop their personal skills and grow into capable young individuals, whilst keeping them safe and guarding their wellbeing.


Jenny Wilkes - William Rhodes Primary & Nursery School 

Jenny has been Headteacher at William Rhodes Primary and Nursery School since April 2023.

Growing up, her dream was to become a teacher and, the first of her family to go to university, she was proud to gain a first-class degree in Primary Education after four years of study at Leeds Metropolitan University. Here, she had the opportunity to experience a range of schools: those with different faiths, inner-city schools and areas of high deprivation. Here, she developed a passion for inclusive education and understood the place a school holds, at the heart of the community.  

During her early career, Jenny worked in a school in one of the most deprived areas of Nottinghamshire. Teaching across the juniors, Jenny learnt that relationships with hard-to-reach children and their parents could be the key to success, as well as high aspirations for all learners.  

In 2016, Jenny moved to Heath Primary School as Maths Lead and LKS2 Phase Lead. Here, she undertook training from the Maths Hub to become a Mastery Specialist, allowing her the opportunity to travel to Shanghai as part of the teacher exchange, as well as the chance to support and work with many schools to improve their Maths offer, across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  

Passionate about teaching and learning, Jenny became the Deputy Headteacher at Heath in 2019 with the responsibility of Pupil Premium, Staff CPD and Maths. She completed her NPQH in January 2022 and was thoroughly excited about what she had learnt. As a result, she developed a peer coaching system across the school to empower and upskill staff.  

Having a sound understanding of designing and delivering effective CPD, Jenny has recently begun a facilitator role for Potentia Teaching School Hub and is currently supporting colleagues undertaking their NPQLTD.  

Jenny truly believes in the power of education as a catalyst for social mobility and preparing children to be well-rounded citizens of the future. She is excited to work with the wonderful William Rhodes team to build upon their previous successes and cement their place at the heart of the community. She is proud to be a part of a trust with an ethos which resonates with her own and place the children at the heart of all they do.  



Kim Millar – St George’s CE Primary School 

Kim has been Headteacher at St George’s since 2019. Prior to that she was Headteacher at a small village primary school for 4 years. She was class teacher and then deputy headteacher at a very large primary school for 17 years. 

Kim believes that all children deserve an exciting, challenging and successful experience at primary school and her school motto of ‘Dream, Believe, Achieve’ sums up what she wants for the children in her school. She firmly believes in inclusivity, where every child has the chance to reach their full potential. Kim is also keen to promote creativity within the curriculum, enabling the children to have as many enrichment opportunities as possible. 

Kim is also SENDCO, a role she finds extremely rewarding as it enables her to shape the experiences of many children at her school.

Kim is passionate about her role as Headteacher and feels that positive relationships with children, staff, parents, governors and the wider community are key to creating a warm, friendly and caring environment. She is very excited to be part of Embark and is looking forward to the collaboration opportunities with other schools within the trust. She is inspired by the vision and values of Embark and feels they truly reflect those at St George’s.

Clare Hatto- Aldercar High School 

Clare is Headteacher at Aldercar High School which is an 11-18 school at the heart of the Langley Mill community. She is totally committed to ensuring all young people are successful in their quest to be the very best version of themselves, no matter their starting point. Clare values the daily opportunity and challenge of working closely with staff who are focused on improving the life opportunities of young people. 

Upon arrival at Aldercar High School, Clare was the 5th Headteacher in 4 years. Along with her team, Clare has enjoyed the challenge of improving the school as well as bringing stability. The role has bought many challenges and experiences over the years, which Clare has relished and overcome with the clear and united support of the staff at the school.

As both an academic and pastoral leader over the years, Clare works hard alongside her staff to focus on raising student outcomes whilst providing a caring and safe environment. The long-established and dedicated school staff often go above and beyond in order to support all students and their families.

Overall, Clare strives to provide a happy environment for the whole school community, where both staff and students want to be. As a result, Clare considers and implements strategies that aim to improve the well-being of staff which in turn enables students to have better well-being.

Clare has been privileged to work in five contrasting East Midlands schools. A PE teacher by trade, Clare became a pastoral and then a curriculum leader at her first school before progressing on to Senior Leadership posts. As a Senior Leader, she has extensive experience of supporting a number of schools as a Quality Assurance leader and as a seconded Headteacher.

Clare firmly believes in the concept of lifelong learning and to this end has successfully achieved the NPQH, NPQEL as well as a Masters in Education Leadership and Management.

Clare is excited to have led Aldercar High School into the Embark Federation as the 1st secondary school. She is happy to see that as a result, the school is able to enjoy a collaborative approach to school improvement. Clare is also thrilled to be a part of the team who is helping to shape the Federation’s secondary offer.


Andrew Kelly - Parkside Community School 

Bio to follow 

Sam Jones -Buxton Community School 

Bio to follow 

Malcolm Kelly - Anthony Gell School 

Bio to follow 

Caroline Hughes and Hannah Wallis - Pennine Way Junior Academy

Bio to follow

Congratulations Sarah Armitage MBE

01 Feb 2024

Embark Federation are delighted to inform you that our fabulous Chair of Trustees Sarah Armitage has been recognised in the New Years Honours...

Ladywood Visit

07 Sep 2023

Our Trust Leader Matthew Crawford paid a visit to Ladywood Primary School to take a look around their wonderful Art Exhibition. There were so...

Waingroves Primary visit

07 Sep 2023

Matthew Crawford our Trust Leader paid a visit to Waingroves Primary School to present the children with their Embark Awards in a special assembly.

Riddings Junior School

07 Sep 2023

Riddings Junior School had their very own Tough Mudder this year and it was a huge success!
Pupils, staff and families all took part...

Year 6 Performances

07 Sep 2023

Our Trust Leader Matthew Crawford visited the Embark Schools over the last few weeks of term and managed to watch a range of different performances...

Embark Conference 2023

07 Sep 2023

The Embark Conference was held at the Derby Arena this year and focused on our core purpose of Love Learning, Love Life. We had over 700 staff...

Derby Kids Camp Embark Week

07 Sep 2023

Some of our pupils embarked on a new adventure in the summer holidays.  They spent 6 nights on a remote location in the Derbyshire countryside....

Embark Football Tournament

06 Sep 2023

Our four secondary schools came together to take part in our first secondary football tournament which was organised and delivered by EFD Sport...

25 year anniversary celebrations!

06 Sep 2023

It was lovely to celebrate the work of some very special staff members with a beautiful afternoon tea at Horsley Lodge Golf Club.
Embark staff...

Embark Holiday

06 Sep 2023

A group of children from Kilburn Juniors, Chaucer Juniors and Ladywood Primary School all had the chance to experience a holiday in rural Derbyshire...