Dominic Patry

Teaching Assistant/ Midday Supervisor

My name is Dominic Patry and I have worked as a Teaching Assistant at St Mary’s since September 2016. Everyday, as I set foot in these hallways I am overwhelmed by emotion at the prospect of how we are changing these young lives for the better, moulding them into fine members of the community. I really enjoy working in an environment where we not just focus on the academic, but the cultivating of a mind that is not afraid of any challenge and knows only perseverance when faced with adversity. What else can I say about working at St Mary’s other than every day is an absolute joy thanks to the amazing staff, spirited children, and the inspiring members of the community.

Katy Norris

Y1/2 Teacher/ Literacy Lead

My name is Katy Norris and I have been at St Mary the Virgin since September 2017. I have taught Year 1/2 for 6 years and previously worked at Cross-in- Hand near Heathfield. I wanted to work at St Mary’s because it is a small and friendly school where we know all the children really well and get to know all the families. There is a great team spirit at the school which makes it a very happy place to be. Outside of school I love going to the theatre, reading books and if time, I walk my chocolate Labrador Wilson on the beautiful Ashdown Forest.

Dan Mackarness

Y3/Y4 Teacher

My name is Dan Mackarness. I have been teaching for 10 years, and my working week is spread across 3 schools in East Sussex, giving me a lot of variety! I have worked at Chiddingly School for the past year, and really enjoy the day I teach Year 3/4 each week.

Verity Morris

Lead Nursery Assistant

I originally grew up and lived in Sidcup, Kent but relocated to East Sussex 2 Years ago with my 5 year old daughter Indiya to be closer to my parents. I have been working in childcare for over 12 years now and have a real passion for working with children.

I started out at college when I was 17 gaining my BTEC National Diploma in Early Years Level 3 and have worked in a variety of childcare settings. I have been a creche worker, worked in private nurseries, a nanny working closely in the home with families, as an INA with children with autism and a teaching assistant to reception, Years 1 and year 3 aged children.

I had the pleasure of joining East Hoathly School 2 years ago and originally started as a Nursery Assistant. I have been very fortunate to progress in my career within Pioneer to become the Lead Nursery Assistant working alongside the manager and am currently completing my Level 4 qualification in Early Years.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my daughter, family and friends. I also like to go to the gym and chill out at home with a good box set.

Dawn Poulton

Nursery Lead

I have worked in EYFS since I left full time education. Before I came to East Hoathly I worked in the Children’s Centre with under privilege and vulnerable families and although this could be challenging it was also very rewarding.

I now lead East Hoathly Nursery and it is thriving. I enjoying seeing the the children developing with the opportunities that are available to them. It makes me very proud of what we have achieved in the Nursery!

Janette Wicks


I was born in Bromley and my father was in the RAF so I have lived in Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Wales and of course England! I think this must be where I get my love of travelling and visiting different countries from!

When I left school I worked in a bank from 1980-2001. I am the Bursar at Chiddingly Primary School and East Hoathly CE Primary School. I have worked at East Hoathly CE Primary School since 1st October 2001 and worked at both schools since 1st September 2017.

I enjoy working for the Pioneer Federation and watching the children learn and grow through their years at Primary School as they get ready for Secondary School. I am married to my husband Ian and have two grown up sons, Thomas and Toby. I also have a stepson Ryan and stepdaughter Chloe and lovely grandchildren who call me ‘Nanette’. I love spending quality time with my family and love family holidays. My hobbies are travelling/holidays/sightseeing, socialising (with family, friends and the Pioneer staff), reading, card-making, swimming, walking and I love a bit of bingo!

Harriet Axell

Y3/Y4 Teacher

I am currently in my second year at Chiddingly Primary School having worked at East Hoathly School for 4 years previously.  At East Hoathly, I taught the year 5 and 6 class and am now teaching the year 3 and 4 class at Chiddingly.  I thoroughly enjoy the wide variety of topics taught in Key Stage 2!  Currently, I am the subject leader of ICT across the Pioneer Federation. This subject area is critical for the development of the children’s skills and safety online to equip them for future jobs.

I completed a Graduate Teacher Programme with Brighton University based in a Year 6 class at Parkland Junior School in Eastbourne. My introduction to teaching through this course was brilliant – I loved every minute!

In my spare time, I enjoy active hobbies like netball and long walks in countryside! I am part of a netball club and am currently team captain. I love the club spirit and community!

Paul Herdman


I was born and brought up in Surrey and graduated from Kingston University with a BA with honours in History in 2005. I then moved to Lewes in 2006 to study further and graduated from the University of Sussex in 2007 with a Masters in History. As you can tell history is a passion of mine and my specialist subject is the Napoleonic Wars. I worked for Waitrose up until 2012 and worked my way up to Team Leader. Then one day I met Zoe my partner who is a Caretaker of a school in Lewes. She asked me to help her sweep her school car park and that was it… I made my mind up I wanted to be a Caretaker like her and we have been together ever since! I started out as Zoe’s Assistant Caretaker at both St Pancras and Western Road Schools in Lewes. There I learnt about the wide variety that makes up a Caretaker’s day and how to find solutions to any problem! After a year I was ready to go out on my own and was appointed Caretaker to Laughton School in July 2013. Just over a year later in October 2014 I was lucky enough to be offered a second school at Chiddingly. Now in 2016 obviously not feeling as I have enough to do took up the opportunity to also become Caretaker of East Hoathly School. I love my job as every day is different and I love the difference I can make through my role. I am looking forward to seeing all three schools looking their best and driving them forwards as each day brings its challenges and rewards. I was awarded East Sussex caretaker of the Year in 2017, the highest accolade a caretaker can be awarded, and was again awarded it in 2018, becoming the first caretaker to do so.

Lisa Purcell

Y5/Y6 Teacher/ Assistant Head of School

My name is Lisa Purcell and I am Year 5 and 6 teacher and Assistant Head teacher at East Hoathly Church of England Primary School. I have been teaching for over 10 years. It is a very rewarding job and the best thing about it is seeing children learn and develop each year. I absolutely love working as a team to create productions at Christmas and Summer. I think that I am really lucky to work in such a great community of children, staff, parents and governors at East Hoathly. In my free time, I love singing, acting, walking, swimming and spending time with my friends and family.

Sheridan Denney

Reception Teacher

I have been working at East Hoathly as the Reception Teacher for almost three years now. My passion and enthusiasm for working with children started from a very young age and I always knew I wanted to work with younger children.

I started my teaching journey as a teaching assistant and midday supervisor in a central Brighton school. I then went onto do my Early Years Teaching degree at Brighton University, where I learnt and experienced many things and also made some incredible friends!

The community, team and pupils at East Hoathly make it a great school to work in, with something new and exciting every day. I am really enjoying my current role of leading the Early Years and Nursery team over the past year and look forward to continuing this in the future.

Outside of school I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy seeing new places and spend a lot of holidays visiting new countries and being active.