Meet Our Management Team

Marie Wykes

Owner, Director, Safeguarding Lead and Designated Teacher for Looked After Children.

Responsibilities: I am responsible for the business development side of the company, looking at how we keep constantly improving and offering the best possibly service to our customers and the students who are at the heart of what we do. I review the business structure as we grow and change, and try to ensure that the model that we innovate is always keeping our kids at the heart of our work, and that every other aspect of the company constantly focuses back into this child centred belief.

I am also responsible for developing our links with other Alternative Providers, and we are working together with schools, local education authorities, parents and students to develop the direction that Alternative Provision is moving in, in order to ensure that the deal that the students are getting is the absolute best that it can be and will lead them to a meaningful and successful path to their next destination – be it college, apprenticeships, Jobs or university.

Previous Experience: I trained in Liverpool and taught in the inner city for seven years before moving to Wiltshire and have 4 children, 3 border collies, 1 feral cat ……. And obviously thought a masters degree would be a great idea to undertake as I didn’t have enough to do! When the children got to a civilised age I returned to teaching, now specialising in secondary English and SEN. I started the company nearly a decade ago as I wanted to ensue that the students who were facing the hardest of life’s challenges had the opportunity to thrive.

Likes Launch2Learning because: I wake up every single morning knowing tat today we will have the opportunity to make a difference to our lovely students and improve their life chances. I love going into our centres and seeing the enjoyment that they have in their learning, and the relationships that form between our tutors, our amazing admin staff and our kids. The feeling of watching people who really care is the best feeling in the world.

Good at: Seeing what other people are good at and believing that they can do it.

Not so good at: Knowing when to shut up!

Alison Knowles

Managing Director/SENCo

Responsibilities: From making those first connections to attending meetings, staffing, budgeting, arranging CPD for our staff, to dealing with those interesting issues that always pop up. My job is to make sure the business keeps running and supports everyone: schools, local authority, parents/carers, staff, the accountant and most importantly our students. Never a dull moment in my job and I love it!

Previous Experience: I am a proud Canadian who grew up in Toronto. I became a teacher, moved to England in 2003 and settled in Wiltshire. I worked for 14 years as a Secondary English and History teacher at a local school, training at the same time to become a Dyslexia Specialist teacher and assessor. Needing a change and a new adventure, I moved to work at a primary school as the SENCO. In all of my roles, I could see that, for some students, school was tricky. Working at Launch2Learning has allowed me the opportunity to continue to work with the most amazing students.

Likes Launch2Learning because: As a team, we make a difference to our most vulnerable children. I love sitting in a meeting, telling everyone what an amazing, positive, journey a student is on. I love that our students find: a safe place; a warm welcome and most importantly, a discovery that not only can they learn, they actually like it. I love the smile and the pride our students have in their work and what amazing progress they make.

Good at: Building relationships, making people feel at ease and spending time outdoors with the dog, the husband and the teenagers (maybe that’s hopeful).

Not so good at: Understanding complex accountancy terminology.

Jacquie Elliott

Alternative Provision Manager

Responsibilities: I oversee the Alternative Provision side of Launch2learning, communicating with schools, parents, and any other professionals that are working with the students. I also organise the administration of our safeguarding procedures implementing and maintaining systems to safeguard our students. In addition, I support with the recruitment process of new members to the team.

Previous Experience: I qualified as a teacher in 2003 and spent many happy years teaching in Primary schools in Oxford and then Swindon. I moved to a part time teaching role when I had my own family and was then invited to take on the role of teacher at a nursery based on a working dairy farm, which I absolutely loved. I soon found myself as Nursery Manager, where I spent many happy years leading a team of brilliant practitioners, teaching adorable pre-schoolers as well as bottle feeding lambs! Ready for a new challenge, I joined Launch2Learning in September 2020 and I’m loving every minute.

Likes Launch2Learning because: We make such a real difference to students who are struggling and finding school tricky. We have an amazing team and together we make a such a positive difference in the lives of our students offering a bespoke package of learning to meet their individual needs. We provide a relaxed environment where our students feel valued, safe, and able to learn. I love seeing students who were finding life tricky really thrive with us.

Good at: Organising, seeing the positives in everyone and supporting everyone wherever I can.

Not so good at: Technology when it doesn’t work.

Claire Jones

Curriculum Lead & Tutor

Responsibilities: In my role as Curriculum Lead, I oversee all aspects of teaching and learning. Initial confirmation of exam boards for each KS3 and 4 students and what subjects school require us to teach; I work alongside colleagues to establish that sufficient hours per subject are allocated etc. I communicate regularly with tutors to help with queries; setting of assessments and monitoring data from them to inform progress. I write schemes of work for our KS2 students to ensure continuity with the required National Curriculum standards.

As a tutor specialising in GCSE English, I get to experience the thrill of seeing them ‘get it’ and push themselves to achieve tasks they didn’t think they could do. Through L2L’s students, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn 4 different exam board techniques (and they really ARE different from each other) to help students secure great exam results.

Previous Experience: I decided a become a teacher when I had my own children and helped in their classrooms. My, “I can do that!” involved another year of study for my PGCE and then an initial 7 years as a primary schoolteacher. Following a move to China and back, my life changed direction and I became a secondary teacher. I loved learning new ways of teaching and when the exam structure completely changed in 2016; we learned all over again! I’ve also been an examiner for AQA; a brief period as a supply teacher (interesting and challenging) before finding my niche in L2L as a tutor.

Likes Launch2Learning because: Every lesson is different, and I learn too! I’m able to adapt my lessons in an instant – great freedom that you cannot always apply in schools. I can tailor work to suit my students’ interests and work at a pace that is designed for them.

I can SEE students flourish in a way that they haven’t done before, and I know that I can change attitudes and give hope for the future. It’s often a humbling and emotional journey that we embark on and so fulfilling to see that exam success at the end.

Good at: Baking cakes! Remembering birthdays and cooking when someone is poorly and can’t go out to get food. Having high expectations of myself and my students. Walking my dog.

Not so good at: Relaxing and taking the advice I give to others about self-care. Sudoku defeats me.

Amy Hoare

Quality Assurance Manager

Responsibilities: Tutor, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead and Quality Assurance Officer.

I currently tutor at Launch2Learning on the Wiltshire Wildlife site in Oaksey which is a beautiful place to work. I primarily work with our younger pupils but also enjoy working with our older students. In addition to tutoring, as the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, I’m responsible for keeping our young people safe through our Safeguarding processes and polices. I’m also responsible for ensuring all staff are up to date with their safeguarding training. In addition, I help Launch2Learning to be compliant with a range of different policies and monitor their implementation. My final responsibility is for monitoring the completion of our External Services Evaluation Forms.

Previous Experience: A born and bred Devonian, I have been a teacher since 1991. I started my career in Liverpool and then moved to London after a few years of graduating. I have worked in inner city schools for most of my career and was SENDCO. In addition to this I have been a Deputy Head Teacher and Headteacher.

My proudest moment of my work was to see a culmination of years of work to redesign and rebuild my school so that it could expand to a three-form entry provision. A few years later, I then decided to relocate back home and worked in a large primary school for several years as SENDCO and member of the senior management team. I then decided I wanted a new challenge and began to work for Launch2Learning.

Likes Launch2Learning because: I really love the site of Oaksey as it is beautiful and full of wildlife. We plant food in the garden and then make food from what we have grown. As a team, I love working to help vulnerable children to re access learning whilst not attending school. I love to see children build on their successes and begin to enjoy learning again as this is why I joined teaching in the first place.

Good at: I’d like to say I am quite good at making people laugh which is a great ice breaker. I’m also quite good at my knowledge of nature and really enjoy bringing this into my teaching as much as I can. I also enjoy learning new facts myself and I believe passionately learning is for life.

Not so good at: Heights and sharks! I am absolutely petrified of both. I tried to cure myself of the fear by doing a parachute jump and swimming with sharks…..sadly this didn’t work!

Emma Smith

Exam Officer

Responsibilities: As Launch2Learning’s Exam Officer, I am responsible for organising, preparing and overseeing Functional Skills examinations in English and Maths. I start and end each examination (whether on-screen or paper-based), ensuring that correct procedures are followed throughout. I then collect and dispatch examination scripts for external marking and/or verification by the awarding body.

In conjunction with my role as Exam Officer, I am also a tutor specialising in KS4 English. This involves being familiar with a range of exam boards and their varying requirements; understanding (and being able to adapt to) the needs and interests of my students, as well as equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed and achieve.

Previous Experience: After growing up in London, I spent ten years in Australia where I trained as a Secondary Teacher, beginning my career in education in Melbourne in early 2011. During my teaching career I have taught both English and Food Technology and have also been Head of Subject.

Additionally, I have worked for a major exam board whereby I managed a team of markers. This involved working to tight deadlines as well as maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the exams system.

Likes Launch2Learning because: At Launch2Learning we work with some extremely vulnerable students, but many go on to attend college or gain apprenticeships once they complete their education with us. Not only do we provide them with opportunities for academic achievement, but we also assist with college/job applications, CV writing, and seek to equip them with a range of vital life skills for the future. Being able to play a part in enabling these young people to see their potential, develop their self-confidence and gain independence is something I find extremely enjoyable, inspiring and rewarding.

Good at: Working under pressure and take pride in being organised (as a mum of two very little ones, I have to be!).

Not so good at: Switching off and relaxing… I am ALWAYS on the go. I also cannot do anagrams (if there are any tips or tricks, I would be grateful to hear them!).

Meet Our Centre Manager Team

Naomi

Centre Manager Calne

Responsibilities: To look after the day to day running of the Calne centre. Registering students attendance with schools or academic settings. Supporting tutors and staff as needed with either equipment or as sounding board. Designing and creating the window displays. Keeping our technology side of things up to date and finding software that can enhance our working day. Most importantly making sure the coffee, tea and hot chocolate is well stocked.

What I love about L2L: Watching the students and their parents/carers faces change when they come to look around the centre and see that we are not a school. Seeing the students progress, sometimes from shy, quiet and no confidence to believing they can achieve. Also love it when ex students pop into the centre to say Hi and let us know where there are now. Having a great team of people to work with, I’ve learnt loads since working here.

Nicky

Centre Manager Royal Wootton Bassett

Responsibilities:

What I love about L2L:

Steph

Centre Manager Oaksey

Responsibilities: Overseeing all aspects of the management of the Oaksey site, which ranges from making sure the biomass boiler is clean and fuelled, to creating an environment for students and tutors that is welcoming and safe. Because of our location, I have to ensure we are compliant with all the requirements of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and liaising with the Trust is a key part of the role. On a daily basis, I liaise with parents and schools regarding attendance of students and students well being. My other responsibilities include collating all external evaluations of students learning and submitting these to the schools on a weekly basis. Finally, I am heavily involved in the recruitment of Admin staff and Tutors liaising with other member of the team to ensure a smooth and seamless recruitment.

What I love about L2L: For me, there is nothing better than doing a job that gives both personal responsibility and variety in an organisation that puts people and altruistic value above profit. L2L is the epitome of this. What we do for the young people who come to us is quite incredible and this is what makes L2L a very special place to be.

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