Staff Testimonials

I came into teaching as I genuinely wanted to make a difference to the lives of children who find life and learning a struggle. My first experiences were whilst at university working in summer schools and challenging units where students had not been given the opportunity to flourish. These experiences lead me to want to change things from the inside, so I became a teacher.

My highlights to date are: taking a group of 30 Sixth Form students to engage in charity work in Tanzania which included building work in a school, teaching, environmental conservation and a trek up Mount Meru. Seeing rural Wiltshire students grow into independent, thoughtful and motivated adults and this is why I am still excited about coming to school every day.

Since Acorn Education Trust has been working with Clarendon I have been overwhelmed with the support offered to the school and staff. The ‘personal touch’ makes them distinct from any other organization that I have worked with. The fact that the CEO comes into school and takes a genuine interest in staff is a testament to the friendly, collaborative ethos that Acorn Education Trust is committed to.  

Tom Nolan, Assistant Head Teacher Student welfare, Clarendon Academy

I have been teaching at Keevil School for two years and I could not ask for a better school to teach at! Becoming a teacher was a long-held goal of mine after being inspired at a young age by my own teachers. Since starting work at Keevil School I have never felt so motivated and enthused to teach. Acorn Education Trust embodies what it means to be a Multi Academy Trust where they unite under a mission that is carried out in every day and where staff are made to feel supported and equipped in their efforts to change young people’s lives. I couldn’t think of a greater privilege than helping the next generation to go forward in their lives feeling valued and to help open doors for all children. Where better to do that than with a group of professionals that do that for you.

Emma Mortimer, Class Teacher, Keevil Academy 

I became a teacher as I enjoy working with young people. I want to help them to have confidence in their own ability and learn skills that will help them throughout life.

I love to see pupils have pride in their work, especially if they have had to overcome obstacles to get the product finished.

I have only just started my teaching career but the highlight so far is hearing that my pupils are cooking independently at home for their family.

Being part of Acorn provides a support network for teachers and pupils. We collaborate with other secondary school's Art and Design Technology departments, sharing ideas, resources and supporting each other too.

Juliet Abbott, NQT Year, Art Design and Technology teacher, Clarendon Academy

Having spent my early working life as a research scientist, I made the change to becoming a primary school teacher as I wanted to work in an environment in which what you did every day had an impact on others and changed their lives for the better.

I have worked in Keevil, which is a small village school, for over 12 years.  During this time I have made the journey from class teacher to now being the Head of the school.  Throughout this time the school has been buffeted by the winds of change brought about by different governments, and increasingly precarious financial conditions.  As a small school, such things leave you very vulnerable, even when you sit at the heart of your community and your provision is good for all your children.  Joining the Acorn Education Trust has provided stability and security for the school, that we had not enjoyed previously.  We now sit within a community of professionals and other organisations who are committed to our development and success in every way.  It has brought nothing but positives for the school.  Our children now undoubtedly receive a better education in all areas of the curriculum and beyond.

For me personally, I would not have felt ready to make the step into school leadership without the support and backing of the Acorn Education Trust.  Every person and aspect of the organisation is committed to ensuring the best for me, my staff and my children.  Much as how I have always wanted every child in my care to flourish, that is what they wish for me.

Lindsey Hermon, Headteacher Keevil CofE Academy 

I initially worked with young offenders and wanted to work as an educational psychologist and so completed a Psychology degree. It was when I became a youth offender that I realised that I was meeting with children too late to have any long-lasting impact on their life and realised that teaching would enable me to make the changes I wanted to. I was inspired by my own Head of Year who had supported me through a difficult time as a young carer and pupil. I try to emulate him every day.

I love watching children learn and their faces change and light up when what was once problematic is now achievable. I enjoy introducing pupils to sports that they didn’t think they would excel in and then see them continue in those sports into adulthood. I have been teaching a long time now and really enjoy hearing back from pupils who I have taught over the years and seeing what they have done post-school.

I have had so many highlights. I have watched pupils go on to represent their country in numerous sports which always fills me with pride. I have taken netball teams to National Finals and play against the best teams in the country. I have run numerous school trips abroad and seen pupils go on to play sport recreationally as a result for years afterwards. I attend courses and meetings and stand side by side with other ex-students who are now teachers themselves of PE.  I have gained great pleasure witnessing my PE colleagues go from newly qualified teachers to outstanding practitioners with positions of responsibility throughout the school

Acorn gives me a clear vision of what teaching and learning look like at The Clarendon Academy. They provide CPD opportunities for my faculty to help them grow as practitioners and support me in the ownership of my faculty.

Louise Clune, Head of PE and Sport, Clarendon Academy

Ever since I was at primary school myself I knew that I wanted to be a primary school teacher. Sitting my toys in rows on my bedroom carpet to do the register from a very young age! It is such a privileged role and one that I have never regretted undertaking. 

I trained at Roehampton Institute in London with a tough, but incredibly rewarding, work experience in a school in Brixton. I then taught in a number of Surrey schools. In 2000, I moved to Wiltshire and have worked in a handful of Wiltshire schools since then. I have taught across the whole primary age range, but my passion lies in Early Years. 

I have worked in two of the Acorn Education Trust schools and have increased my working week from part time to full time, as I am enjoying the opportunities that I’m being given so much.

I am currently working as Early Years Lead at New Close Primary School. I have been given the opportunity to open a nursery within the school and to teach the nursery aged children alongside Reception age children. This is so exciting and rewarding. Such wonderful learning is taking place. 

Working in a single form entry primary school can be a lonely experience as there is no one else teaching the same year group to bounce ideas off. However, I am able to attend Acorn Education Trust meetings with the Early Years’ teachers from all the Trust schools. This is a huge support and helps us all to reflect on our teaching and learn from one another. 

The Trust has been hugely supportive in helping me to develop my teaching and giving me opportunities to progress. 

Charis Turner, Early Years Lead, New Close Primary School

As an ex-student of Kingdown School,  I jumped at the chance to work for the Acorn Education Trust.

I initially worked at Kingdown School for an outside catering company, then Acorn Education Trust took us in house and I became the Executive Head Chef across the Trust. I couldn’t think of a better place to work in terms of career development and opportunities.

We started off with one kitchen, cooking for Kingdown school and two primary schools. We have now built a second Kitchen at New Close primary school. We cater for Kingdown School and seven primary schools.

The Acorn Education Trust is going from strength to strength, providing a positive future for students and staff alike and I’m very happy to be a part of its future.

Joel Deverill, Executive Chef, Acorn Education Trust


I find Kingdown School to be a school that cares for the whole child. Whilst supporting young people to achieve the best they can academically, there is also an ethos of ensuring their mental wellbeing is also a high priority; the two go hand in hand together.

A positive reward system; in which parent's are fully involved with, help to encourage high standards of behaviour and swift action is taken to address any issues of concern. Staff work hard to get to know their pupils; understanding that relationships are key to get the best out of every child; whatever the pupil's  skills, interests or levels of attainment.

Sallie Boyd – Kingdown Parent

As a parent of two students within Acorn Education Trust Schools, I have experienced nothing but professionalism and commitment from the staff, in all areas. On the one occasion I had a concern I was surprised and impressed by the promptness of the reply and the speed in which it was successfully resolved.

Teachers have encouraged and supported my children to have confidence within their school environment and they have promoted participation in extra-curricular activities to ensure a more rounded and balanced education.  More in tune with the expectations of higher education settings and employers.

Both my children are thriving within this environment,  recognising and enhancing their potential. Both are considering varied and different paths for their future careers, enthused by the variety of options that have been showed to be available to them.

I have no hesitation in recommending Acorn Education Trust as a Trust whose ethos is to progress and develop opportunities for all their students. 

Suzanne McGee – Parent Governor

I find all Acorn Education Trust staff to be open and approachable in their drive to build an aspirational pupil centred executive and non-executive network, which will benefit the whole of the communities they serve.

I particularly value the communication and support from across the Trust. This is provided via termly tailored updates from the CEO and meetings with fellow Chairs. These serve to appraise us of developments, allow us to share good practice and any discuss any generic concerns.

Susan Whitehead-Whiting, Academy Council Chair, The Avenue Primary School and Children’s Centre