Debbie Wheeler qualified as a teacher (B. Ed HONS), 28 years ago, has 19 years’ experience as a highly successful HT across 2 schools, moving both from satisfactory judgements to strongly good judgements.
Debbie is now the CEO of The Island Learning Trust with overall responsibility for MAT performance. Debbie has completed an extended CEO System Leadership Course provided by SSAT (2017) and the 5 day Tribal Ofsted training. Debbie has an established working relationship with 2 other MATs, working jointly on school improvement activities. She has worked as a consultant HT for the local Teaching School Alliance and has also provided mentor support for newly appointed HTs. Our Trust is forward thinking with a history of ambition for our children, staff and community, it is characterised by outward focused intelligent leadership.
Debbie is a passionate educationalist who is determined that all TILT schools will create a nurturing, yet ambitious learning environment that enables and challenges our young learners to become the very best they can become: raising aspirations and expectations for young people, families and communities. She champions innovative, researched based approaches to Teaching and Learning with a relentless focus on improving pupil outcomes.
Debbie is an experienced leadership coach and passionate about developing leadership capacity across the trust to build sustainability for the future. She possesses a high level of professionalism, excellent verbal and written communication skills. She is able to confidently and sensitively hold leaders to account. She is determined that high quality CPD is provided for teachers, along with a well-established coaching culture that is designed to attract, retain and develop all staff to secure outstanding and effective teams, we aim to ensure that no member of staff should have to leave for career development opportunities.
Skills: Leadership, coaching, talent spotting and development, people management, time management, communication, research based T & L, assessment, curriculum innovation, providing high quality CPD Good understanding of finance/accounts and school performance, data analysis.
I dreamed of being a Headteacher when I was 5 years old ….. skip forward a few years! I have been in education for 24 years after graduating from Kingston University. I completed a 4 year B.Ed (hons) degree in English and Drama. I was an NQT at a large 3FE primary school in Gillingham and after 3 years, moved to SE London to take up a middle leader role at a small 1FE primary school in Charlton which is in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. I was then promoted to Deputy Headteacher at this school in 2004. I achieved the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) in 2009 before returning to Kent to be a Headteacher at Halfway Houses Primary School (HHPS) in 2010. Whilst at HHPS I led the school through 3 whole school Ofsted inspections and an ICT subject inspection taking the school from a poor ‘satisfactory’ Ofsted judgement in 2009 to a ‘Remains Good’ judgement in 2018. From 2014 to 2016, I was fully involved with the designing of a new school building for HHPS on another site. We opened for the pupils on 31st October 2016. On 1st November 2016 alongside Debbie Wheeler, Headteacher of Minster-in-Sheppey Primary School, the The Island Learning Trust (TILT) was founded, a new Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) on the Isle of Sheppey, with both schools being the founding members. I became the Deputy CEO. TILT achieved its sponsor status in 2019. A third school, Sunny Bank Primary School (SBPS) in Sittingbourne, joined TILT on 1st February 2020 after receiving an Inadequate judgement from Ofsted in June 2019. In September 2020 I became the Executive Headteacher of HHPS and SBPS. I am passionate about school improvement and look forward to further TILT growth in the future.
Head of School - Halfway Houses Primary School
I am passionate about education and ensuring that children receive the best possible start to their lives within our school. I started my training at Canterbury Christchurch University in 1995 where I achieved a BA Ed in English. My final teaching practice took me to a large primary school in Newham in the East End of London where I was then offered my first teaching role in a Year 2 class. I worked in this school for a couple of years gaining a fantastic start to my career with a multitude of different experiences.
In 2001 I moved back to Kent to start my career at Halfway Houses Primary School where I have remained. During this time I have started a family of my own and have two children, Max and Molly who are 15 and 12 respectively. I have taught in every year group at one time or another and have enjoyed being a part of the fantastic community spirit. In January 2013 I became Deputy Headteacher at Halfway and I was part of the subsequent Ofsted inspections that saw us move from Requires Improvement to a Good judgement. This experience was invaluable in my career progression and I decided to undertake the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers, which I achieved in January 2019.
In September 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, I became Head of School at Halfway Houses, a role which has enabled me to lead the school through a multitude of experiences in the last few months. I am determined to ensure that the children receive the highest quality learning experiences whilst in a happy and safe environment. I can’t wait to work further with the Halfway Houses community and am so very excited about what the future holds.
Head of School - Minster in Sheppey Primary School
Having been at Minster for the past 20 years, I feel extremely privileged and proud to be co Head of School here. I have always, and will continue to put my heart and soul into our school.
As a teacher, my aim was to nurture, motivate, enthuse and engage all learners and I firmly believe ‘Every child deserves a champion, an adult who insists that they become the best they can possibly be’ Rita Pierson.
Now, as a leader, I am dedicated to supporting and empowering our talented team of teachers to also reach their potential. I am determined to do the very best for the children and staff at Minster Primary School.
In my free time, I like to keep fit by walking my dog, or when feeling energetic and the weather is nice, jogging. However, my favourite pastime is definitely spending time with my family and friends, whether relaxing in the garden or being part of fun party days and lively evenings. I do think it’s all about making memories.
Head of School - Minster in Sheppey Primary School
I’m extremely proud to be Co-head of School at Minster and as a home-grown leader, I have enjoying being part of Minster’s growth and development. I believe that education has the capacity to transform lives, this is true of myself with my parents coming from Welsh mining stock and it is something I encourage all children to believe as well. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela.
I first and foremost see myself as a teacher and I am passionate about facilitating and supporting pupil’s growth and enabling them to realise and meet their potential. Now as a leader I have the opportunity to work alongside a range of colleagues, supporting their personal development and ambition. Both of these aspects of my role are extremely fulfilling and the reason why I wouldn’t choose to do anything else.
I am committed to the idea of life-long learning and apply this to both my professional and personal life. I enjoy keeping up to date with educational research, listening to podcasts on the way home is a regular occurrence! When not at school, I love exploring and being part of the natural world – this is on skis, cycling or by foot. I also love live music and whenever possible will attend concerts and musicals.
Head of School - Sunny Bank Primary School
For me, the purpose of education is to deliver exciting and engaging learning experiences and to ignite and nurture the curiosity within all children, everyday. To develop confident, lifelong learners equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitude to improve the quality of their own lives.
As a leader of school improvement, I have led two improving schools, both in mutli-academy trusts, in highly deprived areas, and both with above average SEND. My first school, was a large, four form entry, inadequate school in East London. As an Assistant Headteacher, together with the leadership team and staff, we moved the school to good. My second school, was a large three form entry, inadequate school in Medway. I joined as Deputy Headteacher and for some time led as Acting Headteacher. Together as a leadership team and staff, we moved the school from inadequate in all categories to good in 4 out of 5 categories.
I joined the TILT team in 2022 and feel very privileged to be the Head of School at Sunny Bank and very proud to be a part of The Island Learning Trust. Primary schools are places of continuous renewal and development and I am passionate about school improvement. I continue to prioritise the development of strong community, exceptional curriculum and outstanding staff who care as passionately as I do about our children.