Our Staff Team


Staff list for 2022-2023 School Year

Senior Leadership Team

Liz smith edited2

Liz Smith









Education and background: I have BA in Music and Arts Education, and originally trained as a secondary mainstream music teacher before focusing on special education needs. I have over 12 years’ experience as a senior leader, working with students with a variety of learning difficulties. I hold a Masters in Leadership and Management, as well as NPQH, and I am just finishing my Doctorate in Education on holistic assessment for students with severe learning difficulties. I joined Marlborough as headteacher in June 2022 and I am very much dedicated to the long-term success of the school through working with the whole community.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe that learning should be exciting, creative, and meaningful, building students enthusiasm for learning and helping them to grow and develop within a safe and supportive environment where everybody’s contributions are acknowledged and valued. I believe it is essential to be a visible and approachable leader who truly champions our students and their many achievements.  

Special interests: Music and creativity, total communication, cultural development and enrichment, student voice, holistic assessment.


Ac staff page may22

Anna Coulstock

Deputy Headteacher

Cw staffweb edited

Carol Walker

Assistant Headteacher

Cs staff page may22 v2

Candice Smith

Assistant Headteacher


Class Teachers

Snowdrop Class


Maria Eleni Dimopoulou




Education and Background: I gained a BSc in Psychology at the University of Crete in 2007. Whilst completing my placement in a special needs school, I became interested in working with pupils with autism; therefore I pursued and completed a Master's degree in Autism at Strathclyde University. I then went on to complete a MSc degree in Psychological Research Methods: Child Development. I have over 10 years of experience working with special needs, first as a support worker, then as a teaching assistant and lastly as a qualified teacher since gaining my QTS in 2017. I joined Marlborough School in January 2021.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that teaching should be enjoyable and stimulating for both pupils and staff! The most exciting and fun lessons are the ones that the pupils can remember. Working with parents and allied health professionals is of utmost importance when working with pupils with special educational needs.

Special interest: Autism, TEACCH, Attention Autism, Positive Behavioural Support (PBS), yoga and mindfulness.

Cem2 1

Cemaliye Beyzade




Updating Content

Lavender Class

Gj staff page may22

Gemma Jones





Education and Background:  I joined Marlborough as a Teaching Assistant in 2015 before becoming a High Level Teaching Assistant and an Unqualified Teacher and now am a Teacher. I applied to join Marlborough as a TA after being in the same role in a range of mainstream primary schools and private day nurseries, it was while I was in those roles that I discovered my passion and pride in seeing those who needed additional support succeeding in tasks they believed themselves unable to achieve. During my time at Marlborough, I have achieved a BA (Hons) in Childhood Studies with Special Educational Needs as my specialism and have also gone on to achieve my PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status. I am also a MOVE Senior Practitioner.

Teaching philosophy:I believe that learning should be accessible for everyone no matter what. I feel that any adaptations that are relevant to the students as individuals is what will help them achieve their full potential and strive to build this into our daily routines in class. I also believe that having a playful approach to teaching and learning will encourage students to engage with new and unfamiliar experiences.

Special interest: Multi-sensory learning, Supporting communication for those with more complex needs, Supporting students with complex medical needs and PMLD, MOVE, Intensive Interaction, Sign Language and Supporting adults and students to learn through play.


Tulip Class

Ehb staffweb edited

Ellis Hopkins-Bain

Subject Area:  PE





Education and Background: My passion for sports and physical activity growing up led me into working with young people in a sports coaching capacity. After completing a BSc in Sports Coaching and Development in 2020, my passion for supporting young people to express and develop themselves drove me to completing my PGCE in Physical Education in 2021. I have recently joined Marlborough as an Early Career Teacher and look forward to developing my skills further whilst working at Marlborough.

Teacher Philosophy: I believe that happiness is the greatest motivator and that students must enjoy their learning in order to feel confident to express and challenge themselves. Building positive relationships with my students is paramount, as I believe that students need to feel supported to encourage them to be independent
and explore. I try to incorporate movement and physical activity as much as possible as I have a firm belief that social, mental and physical development occurs through physical activity.

Special Interests: PE, Physical Activity, MOVE and Sensory play.



Phg staffweb edited

Phoenix Gibbs

Subject area: Sensory


Education background: I have a BSc in Psychology and a MSc in Mental Health. I joined Marlborough as a teaching assistant in 2015 with the hope of becoming an Educational Psychologist. While working here I fell in love with teaching and changed my career path. I have been working as a teacher since completing my PGCE in 2019.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that developing great relationships with students and their parents/carers enables me to provide the best quality education and promote student wellbeing. My classroom teaching is guided by the principles of playfulness and having fun while learning. 

Special interests: Sensory diets, Attention Autism, Positive Behavioural support (PBS), Zones of Regulation and Visual supports.


Daffodil Class

Jf staff page may22 v2

Jenny Flynn

Subject area: English






Education and background: I gained a First Class BA Honours Degree in Teaching and Learning with Design and Technology in 2002 and started my career as a mainstream primary school teacher in Bexley.  In 2010, I completed my National Award for SENCo and worked as the SENCo for 7 years, supporting children special needs, their families and teachers across the whole school.  I joined Marlborough in 2016 as a class teacher, as I realised that I missed teaching in the classroom, but wanted to continue to develop my expertise and interest in supporting pupils with special needs.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe that all students should have a wide range of opportunities to explore, grow and develop across the whole curriculum and beyond.  I am passionate about pupils enjoying their learning and try to plan fun and creative ways for everyone to progress, ensuring happy, motivated and enthusiastic learners. I believe that developing strong relationships with not only the students, but also their families, is key.

Special interest: English – phonics, reading and writing; Design Technology; Art; PE.

Cr staffweb edited

Chris Rizzi

Subject area: PE/Physical


Education background: I completed my studies in Acting and Performing Arts at college in 2014, with areas of training including theatre in education/children’s theatre performance, improvisation, physical theatre and storytelling to name a few. I joined Marlborough as a Teaching Assistant in 2019 and directed the Shakespeare play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at the Shakespeare for Schools festival that year. I am now a HLTA aiming to start my teacher training.

Teaching philosophy: It has always been my belief that students learn the most through play. Teaching should be entertaining and fun to all ages and abilities with the focus on developing key skills.

Special interests: Attention Autism, Positive Behavioural support (PBS), Sign language, Zones of Regulation and Performing arts.


Sunflower Class

Kb staffweb edited

Kessa Beddington

Subject Area: PSHE/RSE

Education and Background: I earned a BA in English Literature and a B.Ed in Inclusive Education in 2019, and moved from Canada to join Marlborough in September of that year. I worked as a support worker and interventionist for children with SEN in Canada for many years before channelling my passion for the field into a teaching career.

Teaching Philosophy: As a teacher, I believe that it is my responsibility to create an environment in my classroom where all students feel respected, valued, and cared for. An environment in which they feel confident to explore, make mistakes, and learn and ensures an education that meets their individual needs.  

Special Interests: Lego Therapy, Emotional Regulation and Wellbeing, Heuristic Play, Social Stories, Attention Autism and RSE.


Legacy Building, located on the grounds of Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School

Lotus Class

Lw staff page may22

Lynne Walker

Subject area: Creative and Cultural



Education background: I received a BA in Film studies and English from London Southbank University 2013. I went on to further studies and received a MA in Modern and Contemporary literature from Birkbeck the following year. Once I finished my Masters, I worked as a TA at a special school, and then went on to complete a PGCE in Secondary English from Goldsmiths in 2017. I taught English in a mainstream comprehensive secondary school for 3 years before I made the decision to return to SEN and started at Marlborough 2020.

Teaching philosophy: I believe the foundations to good learning is built on strong and positive relationships with students and parents. Building from those relationships, nurturing high engagement in their own learning as well building their independence in whatever task they are attempting.

Special interests: Literature, film and media and social stories.


Orchid Class

Th staffweb edited

Toni Hooton

Subject area: Careers

Education background: I joined Marlborough School as a teaching assistant in 2014 with the aim to learn about and understand autism. Within 2 years I qualified as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) and began taking a lead within the classroom. In 2019 I began training to gain QTLS.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that every child should have a voice no matter what their ability and that adults around them should encourage this. Children should also be given opportunities to explore the world around them however possible in a way that suit their needs.

Special interests: Understanding Autism, Positive Behavioural support (PBS), Zones of Regulation and communication.


Poppy Class

Ch staff page may22

Cheryl Hollands

Subject area: Enterprise and Accreditation 





Education background: I have a degree in Surface Design from the University of the Arts London. I joined Marlborough as a midday meals supervisor shortly after finishing my degree in 2010. The following year I took a teaching assistant post, and around two years later was employed as a HLTA. I worked for several years as the Food Technology lead before moving over to Post 16 as a class teacher. I began my teacher training in late 2020, and in January 2021 I moved to an unqualified teacher post while continuing training. On moving to Post 16 I took responsibility for Accreditation and Enterprise due to my creative background. I have previously trained as a Duke of Edinburgh assessor.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that the role of the teacher is to capture the imagination, create irresistible opportunities to explore, foster a love of learning and endlessly champion their students.

Special interests: Autism, Preparing for adulthood, Attention Autism, Imaginative play, Arts & crafts, Gardening & Horticulture, Cooking, Ecology and Environmentalism.


Office/ Premises and Support Staff

Admin Assistant

Sally and Sam

HR & Admin 

Ciara Mitchell


Heather Lee

Premises Manager

Dominic Milne


Teaching Support Staff

We have a brilliant team of specialist support staff at Marlborough. Please contact your class teacher if you want to find out more.