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Stephanie Wood-Gilbert

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Steph hated school and couldn’t wait to leave.  After a number of jobs that she didn’t enjoy, she returned to further then higher education and (ironically) became a teacher.  Steph taught in secondary and further education as a business and economics teacher amongst other subjects.  She was then offered a role within Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council Education Directorate managing the EOTAS (Education other than at school) service.  A diversion from teaching to managing teachers and other support staff for 11 years, Steph decided to take the plunge and set up her own education company.

Almost 5 years on, she runs a successful business employing over 100 staff.  Having previously been a supply teacher, she understands the role and empathises with how overwhelming it can be for staff going into different schools sometimes on a daily basis.  She is a totally hand’s on, fully supportive manager who will go out of her way to ensure all staff and schools are looked after.

Jacob Blackmore

OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jacob originally joined the company in 2016, working as a part-time Teaching Assistant alongside his studies.  In 2018, he graduated from University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen, achieving BA (Hons) in Primary Education and gaining Qualified Teacher Status. Jacob continued to work for B.E.S.T in his new role as a Primary School Teacher. B.E.S.T allowed Jacob to complete his NQT induction and gain valuable experiences in a number of schools across Neath Port Talbot.  Keen to apply his passion and knowledge of education, further develop his skill set and continue to contribute to the growth of the company, Jacob joined the office-based team at B.E.S.T as Operations Manager in January 2020.

Jacob is also a keen sportsman, with a passion for rugby. He has played for many representative teams including Wales u16s, Ospreys u16s-18s and was captain of Neath Port Talbot College for the 2014/15 season. Jacob has also had previous WRU Championship and Premiership experience with Carmarthen Quins, Aberavon and is currently playing for Neath RFC.

Serena Donovan

ADMIN OFFICER

Serena comes from a manufacturing background where she progressed from operation teams to Key Account manager and Customer Engineer.  She has worked on multimillion-pound projects including military and aerospace contracts, her main role included working on site, understanding the project needs and estimating the project cost for parts, labour and supply. Serena was responsible for planning daily deadlines for the manufacturing teams, sourcing tooling and components globally and all data imputing, also being the first point of call for all customer queries.

She has been part of product designs from a water machine to bomb disposal units. Reverse engineering fuse and distribution boxes for manufacturing ease and field repair.  Dealing with Customer visits, supplier conferences, air shows and corporate entertainment.

Outside the work environment, Serena has 3 young boys and helps to coach a rugby team of children from 3-6-year-old.

Rowley

OFFICE DOG – TEACHER’S PET

Over the past 4 years, Rowley has been a regular fixture on the office settee with his best friend Pluto.  His role is primarily to relax candidates on arrival and during the interview and registration process.  He is a regular visitor to other offices at the business centre, often performing tricks when he knows treats will be given as a reward.  Rowley’s favourite pastime is chasing birds, leaves and squirrels, which he is too slow to catch.

HOME EDUCATION TEACHERS

Charmaine Constable – Special Educational Needs and Specialist Language Teacher

Over the past 30 years, Charmaine has diversified into a wide range of roles within the education sector and has taught from nursery through to adult literacy.  She has gained extensive valuable experience in the discipline of Special Educational Needs and is a qualified Dyslexia Assessor who is passionate about improving pupil’s language skills. Charmaine was responsible for the implementation of Language Workshops at a local comprehensive.  Evidence based results proved that this initiative raised the level of achievement for the pupil’s who had received the intervention.

David Morris – Maths, Science and General Subject Teacher

Following completion of an engineering degree, David worked in industry for 3 years before deciding that he wanted to become a teacher.  He completed a teaching qualification specialising in Science and Maths and spent some time teaching in Inner London.  David has worked extensively in the prison education system and a local adolescent secure unit where he has taught a broader range of subjects.  This has led to extensive experience of working with children who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, including young people on the autistic spectrum.

Derek Phillips – General Subject Teacher

 Prior to recent early retirement, Derek was Assistant Head teacher at a local comprehensive for 17 years during which time he continued to teach.  In addition to this Derek was the Designated Senior Officer for Child Protection and Wellbeing.  Over the period of 34 years, Derek has taught a wide range of subjects and his empathetic, understanding nature has gained him popularity with staff, pupils and other professionals.  

Lyn Turner – Primary and Year 7/8 General Subject Teacher

Lyn was a Primary School teacher for over 30 years, working with Early Years and every year group through to  Year 6.  She has taught in Multi-Cultural London, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Schools and has an extensive amount of experience working with children who have behavioral, emotional and social difficulties.  Lyn is a calm, caring, firm but understanding person, who is able to plan and differentiate   appropriately to a child’s needs.

Anne Lewis – SEN and General Subject Teacher

As a specialist teacher of children with additional learning needs for the past 35 years, Anne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.  She has spent the past 9 years working for a Local Authority Home Education Service teaching pupils who have been unable to attend school in addition to supporting pupils to integrate into a new education establishment.

Clive Jones – Science Teacher

For the past 30 years, Clive has taught chemistry up to A level.  In addition to this he has taught the individual sciences at BTec and GCSE level.  As Head of Year at a local secondary school for the past 20 years, Clive is known to be a good communicator when dealing with pupils with a wide range of differing abilities.

Sarah Pyves – Maths and ICT

Sarah returned to education as a mature student and completed a degree in information systems, followed by a PGCE specialising in maths and numeracy.  Since qualifying, she has taught pupils of varying abilities from age 5 to 16 within schools and the home.  Passionate about improving pupil’s numeracy/maths skills, to support them in regaining and building confidence and self-belief in the subject, Sarah always ensures that she is well informed and up to date with any changes within Maths specifications.  She is a genuine, caring, understanding and honest teacher who strives to build a good rapport with pupils which subsequently leads to getting the best out of them.