Leadership Team


Mrs N Rankin


Natalie Rankin began working at Ark Blacklands Primary Academy  as an interim Head of School in January 2016, having demonstrated a successful track record as Vice Principal at Ark Blacklands since September 2014.  Before joining Blacklands, Natalie was Leader of Learning for Mathematics at a junior school in Hastings. She was a pivotal member of the leadership team responsible for having Special Measures removed from the school in January 2014. The school improved its Quality of Teaching and Leadership to Good in the time Natalie was there.

Natalie graduated from the University of Exeter in 1998 with a degree in Primary Education. Her specialism is Mathematics and she believes that every child can achieve high standards and enjoy the subject if taught creatively. She is passionate about providing children with the chance to learn the skills required to achieve excellence both academically and beyond the curriculum.

Prior to working for the Ark Network, Natalie provided support to a number of schools in East Sussex to develop Curriculum and Quality of Teaching. As Instructional Lead Teacher at Ark Blacklands, Natalie continues to improve the quality of teaching and has implemented a coaching cycle with opportunities for teacher-led reflection and research. This ensures teachers share best practice and work together to improve.


Mrs M Quinn

Deputy Headteacher

Mary Quinn joined Ark Blacklands Primary as Assistant Headteacher in 2016 and became Deputy in September 2018. She has a proven track record of consistently improving Key Stage 2 results. Before joining Ark Blacklands, she worked for ten years at a large primary school in Bexhill, most recently working as Leader of years 3, 4, 5 & 6. Under her leadership of Upper Juniors, KS2 attainment and progress results improved in all areas of the curriculum every single year since 2012.  She has also successfully nurtured and coached teachers, developing their skills and raising their performance, from good to outstanding within a year. As Instructional Lead Teacher at Ark Blacklands, Mary will continue with this role of improving teachers' practice.

During her time at Little Common, Mary led Art and then English across the whole school. Mary has a passion for reading and the necessity for children to keep reading as they progress through school, in order to reach their full potential. She has been instrumental in changing the function of school libraries and the teaching of Guided Reading in order to support and encourage children to read widely.

Prior to teaching, Mary achieved a 2:1 Hons degree in History and Politics from Reading University. She worked for an academic publishing company before securing a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from the University of Chichester. She has taught in primary schools in West Sussex and Shropshire, teaching years 2 through to 6.  She lived in Shropshire for ten years, where she worked part-time for SureStart, developing community relationships with travellers' families  as well as bringing up her three daughters.

                                        Mr D Regnier

Assistant Headteacher - Teaching & Learning

Darren Regnier joined Blacklands in 2004 on the school-based Graduate Teacher Programme, achieved QTS through Brighton University and became Assistant Head in 2018. He has a proven track record of supporting children and year colleagues to reach excellent year 6 outcomes (exceeding national expectations), where he taught for 11 years. Together with Mary Quinn, Darren is responsible for the development of teaching and learning at Blacklands. Coaching and developing teachers over the past few years, Darren is passionate about the teaching of children and how to support trainees and colleagues to have maximum impact in their role as teachers.

Always having had a love for sport, Darren currently leads Outdoor Pursuits and led PE at Blacklands for over 10 years – helping Blacklands achieve significant success, notably in athletics, football, tag rugby and hockey to county level. The participation of girls in sport has always been one of his priorities and has been an integral part of the academy’s sporting success.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Darren graduated with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in Communications from the Guildhall, London. He subsequently worked as a documentary photographer for the BBC and a range of lifestyle magazines such as: The Independent, Q Magazine, Rolling Stone and a range of advertising clients.

As well as supporting and coaching teachers, Darren continues to regularly support children at Blacklands with maths, reading and writing through regular intervention and greater depth programmes; he is also a trained KS2 writing moderator for East Sussex, supporting other schools in the region with initiatives to improve children’s writing.


Mr A Higgins-Gooch

Assistant Headteacher - Inclusion

Prior to joining Ark Blacklands Primary Academy as Assistant Headteacher – Lead for Inclusion. Adam was Key Stage 1/2 and FLP Leader at New Horizons School. During his time there, Adam worked as part of the senior leadership team and helped to drive forward the school’s vision and aspirations of all pupils in the school. Adam’s FLP responsibility allowed him to regularly visit local Primary schools, observe their teaching and meet with Headteachers and senior leaders to discuss pupil outcomes, curriculum effectiveness and advise them on a range of strategies that will support them with pupils that are struggling to make progress in their setting. Adam galvanised an incredibly passionate and determined Primary team who worked tirelessly to ensure all pupils reach their potential. This contributed towards maintaining the school’s grading of ‘outstanding’ in March 2018. 

Prior to New Horizons, Adam worked at Saxon Mount School for six years. Here he set up and implemented the school’s first catch up afterschool provision and introduced new clubs to promote awareness of the importance of physical activity within the school and wider community.  Adam worked with an exceptional team of staff who together ensured the pupils developed their social and academic skills and provided them the platform to achieve their potential. During his time at Saxon Mount School, he contributed towards the school being awarded two successful ‘good’ gradings by Ofsted. 

Adam’s teaching career started at Heathfield Community College where he completed his training year in Physical Education. Prior to being awarded qualified teacher status, Adam achieved a 2:1 BA Hons degree in Sport Science (Physiology). Adam has always enjoyed working with children. He has previously worked as a recreational sports assistant leading birthday parties and summer activities. In his free time, Adam enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing football and running. 


Mrs N Bartlett

EYFS Lead & EYFS Class teacher

Nicola joined Ark Blacklands as an Early Years Teacher in 2000 and has continued to inspire, excite and nurture the youngest children in our school through their first year.  During her years at Ark Blacklands Nicola has led several different curriculum areas including Music and Geography.  She loves to include music in her daily lessons and encourages the children to sing everything from the register to nursery rhymes and songs to help fact recollection.  Nicola is keen to develop a love of learning and an excitement within each child about coming to school each day. 

Prior to joining Ark Blacklands Nicola studied and gained a degree through the Open University along side raising her five children and supporting her husband in running his business.  In her spare time Nicola enjoys cooking, walking and spending time with her famiily.


Mrs D Jones 

Lower School Phase Lead & Year 1 Class teacher              

Diana graduated from NEWI Cartrefle (affiliated to University of Bangor) in 1988, with a B’Ed in early primary 3-8 years. Her diploma in Special Educational needs led to her first position as an NQT in a Hailsham School with challenging behaviour.

She then moved to work in an Infant School in Bexhill for 8 years. She has been subject lead for many areas of the curriculum during her career, including computing, DT, R.E and Maths. In 1998 she moved to a rural Eastbourne school where her interest in assessment and performance data led to her taking on the role of KS1 Co-ordinator.

Diana joined Ark Blacklands in September 2014, working initially in Y1. She has a passion for all children to succeed and achieve their very best.

Outside of school Diana enjoys country walks and bike rides especially if there is a tea room along the route! She also makes preserves and chutneys in season.


Mr D Barton

Upper School Phase Lead & Year 5 Class teacher       

Dan joined Ark Blacklands as a Year 5 Teacher in 2015. Prior to training as a teacher though Teach First, Dan worked as a TA in a special needs school in his hometown of Reading.
Dan achieved a 2:1 degree in History from Oxford Brookes University and is currently studying for a Masters in Educational Leadership through Canterbury Christ Church. His dissertation will explore a topic that means a lot to him; how developing reading for pleasure can close the gap for lower attaining students.
Last academic year, Dan ran inset training for the staff of Ark Blacklands and Ark Little Ridge that was aimed to get children to think more critically and creatively.


Miss N Caush

Leader of Learning: Read, Write Inc... & EYFS Class teacher

Nicky joined Ark Blacklands as an Early Years teacher in 2018. She is passionate about children having the best start to their school life and works alongside the Early Years team to ensure that they feel secure, happy and achieve in their first year.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Nicky graduated with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in History from the University of Essex and then, in 2004, achieved a Master degree in Pre Columbian and Native American Art. Nicky worked in administrative roles for Lloyds TSB and Twinings before qualifying as a teacher with PGCE from the University of Southampton in 2008.

Nicky worked for nine years in a variety of schools in Hampshire and then moved to East Sussex to teach in a small village school. She has taught classes ranging from EYFS to Year 6. Over this time, she initially led History and Maths across the different schools, but her love of books and storytelling drew her to the role of English lead. She led this subject in two schools where she worked with teachers to improve engagement and excitement with reading and writing through story telling teaching.

In her role as Read, Write Inc lead, Nicky works with the Early Years and KS1 teams to ensure that every child receives excellent phonics teaching that will enable them to develop into a confident and independent readers.




Miss B Tooze

Leader of Learning - Reading & Year 3 Class teacher

Beth joined Ark Blacklands as a trainee teacher in 2017 and trained through the Ark Teacher Training programme. After gaining experience in Y4 and Y5, she is now teaching in Y6. Prior to teaching at Blacklands, Beth studied English and Philosophy at The University of Nottingham where she achieved a 2:1. After gaining her degree, she taught in China for two years, first as an English teacher and then as a specialist music teacher. She then moved to Ecuador and worked as a music and English teacher for nursery and primary aged pupils before deciding to move back to England to gain her PGCE. As Reading lead, Beth supports other teachers to deliver outstanding reading lessons which enables pupils to develop a love for reading. Beth also enjoys playing music in her spare time.


Miss O Emary

Leader of Learning - Reading & Year 2 Class teacher

Orla Emary joined Ark Blacklands as a Year Two teacher in 2018. Prior to this, she completed an undergraduate degree in Education where she studied education in different primary and secondary settings. After this, she completed her PGCE in Primary Education at St Mary's University in Twickenham. Whilst at university, Orla enjoyed playing for the university rugby team and worked alongside England RFU games at Twickenham Stadium. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym and reading. As writing lead, Orla supports other teachers plan and deliver outstanding English lessons. 

Class Teachers 2020-21



Nicola Bartlett / Jenna Smith

EYFS Class teacher & EYFS Lead

Nicky Caush

EYFS Class teacher & Leader of Learning 

Charlotte Russell

EYFS Class teacher

Diana Jones

Year 1 Class teacher & Lower School Phase Leader

Karen Meek / Jenna Smith

Year 1 Class teacher

Jack Evans

Year 1 Class teacher

Orla Emary

Year 2 Class teacher  & Leader of Learning - Writing

Kim Bates

Year 2 Class teacher

Natasha Lozada

Year 2 Class teacher

Ellie Buontempo Year 2 Co Class Teacher

Beth Tooze

Year 3 Class teacher & Leader of Learning - Reading

Meagan Sagar

Year 3 Class teacher

Robert Blackwell

Year 3 Class teacher

Hannah Jenkins Year 3 Co Class Teacher

Harry Orsborne

Year 4 Class teacher & Leader of Learning - Maths 

Alyssa Bridge

Year 4 Class teacher

Lucy Adams

Year 4 Class teacher

Dan Barton

Year 5 Class teacher & Upper School Phase Leader

James McManus

Year 5 Class teacher

Amy Mitchell

Year 5 Class teacher

Tom Smith

Year 6 Class teacher

Jack Green

Year 6 Class teacher

Phoebe Cecchini / Nicole Bradbury

Year 6 Class teacher

Paris Hyett

Year 5 Class teacher

Support Staff – Higher Level and Graduate Teaching Assistants



Jacqueline Warden


Georgia Spowart EYFS HLTA

Janet Jarvis


Letitia Banford


Support Staff – Teaching Assistants



Deana Coleman

RWI Support Assistant

Gemma Luxford

Speech & Language Support Assistant

Claire Gasson

EYFS Teaching Assistant

Georgina Crabbe EYFS Teaching Assistant 

Kate Hood

EYFS Teaching Assistant

Nikki Burgess

Year 1 Teaching Assistant

Jacqueline Warden Year 1 Teaching Assistant/HLTA
Nikki Burgess Year 1 Teaching Assistant
Marie Paine Year 1 Teaching Assistant
Zoe Dunstall Year 1 Teaching Assistant
Shelly Rosati Year 2 Teaching Assistant 
Inga Pretorius Year 2 Teaching Assistant
Janet Jarvis Year 3 Teaching Assistant/HLTA
Lianne Bowles Year 3 Teaching Assistant
Katie Rhodes Year 3 Teaching Assistant
Hanna Fennessy Year 4 Teaching Assistant
Kayleigh Skelton/Amanda Turnball Year 4 Teaching Assistants
Sophie Ellis-Gilchrist Year 4 Teaching Assistant
Ruth Anderson Year 5 Teaching Assistant
Letitia Banford Year 5 Teaching Assistant
Bea Rose Year 5 Teaching Assistant
Ruth Pettit Year 6 Teaching Assistant
Karen Osmond Year 6 Teaching Assistant
Chris Vaughan Year 6 Teaching Assistant

Inclusion Team



Michele Cook

Pastoral Lead

Shellese Shields

Engagement &  Learning Mentor

Jen Morris Engagement & Learning Mentor

Rachel Hines

Attendance & Admissions Officer

Kim Evans

Inclusion Support Officer

Peter VandenBerg Engagement & Learning Mentor
Toria Frost Engagement & Learning Mentor

Individual Needs Support Staff



Pollyanna De Meza

Individual Needs Assistant

Sarah Paton

Individual Needs Assistant

Jenn Harrington

Individual Needs Assistant

Breakfast/After-School Club



Shellesse Shields

Supervisor – Breakfast Club

Steph Bartel

Assistant – Breakfast Club

Loraine Fuller

Assistant – both clubs

Sara Clark

Supervisor – After-School Club

Pollyanna De Meza

Assistant – After-School Club

Susan O'Kane Assistant - After-School Club

Support Staff – Lunchtime Play and Engagment Leaders



Sarah Kingshott – Senior Leader

Ruth Anderson

Steph Bartel Lianne Bowles
Amanda Turnball Debbie Charman

Deana Coleman

Pollyanna De Meza

Hanna Fennessy

Loraine Fuller

Claire Gasson

Misha Hitchman
Rachel Hines

Kate Hood

Rebecca Lovelace

Charlie Streeter

Emma Parkes

Inga Pretorius


Katie Rhodes

Catherine Foot

Kayleigh Skelton

Chris Vaughan Bea Rose
Grace Quinnell  

Office/Site Supervision Staff



Gill Hulls

Business Manager

Yasha Bialeska


Emma Gasson

Finance Assistant/School Secretary

Donna Howell Admin Assistant

David Haines

Site Manager

Ian Varrow Assisatnt Site Manager

Cheryl Pook


Juliet Batstone


Richard Harvey-Sharp


Debbie Charman


Emma Quickenden Cleaner
Deborah Rouse Cleaner