Director of Early Years
Sam Attwater is the Director of Early Years for Aurora Academies Trust. Sam is passionate about the importance of giving children the best possible start to their education. Sam began her career working in a Special Care Baby Unit. Over the six years in this post, she discovered the significance of early childhood development and became interested in children’s emotional, social and physical development. In 2006, Sam decided to develop her career, investing in Early Years education. Sam has experience of developing new nurseries and achieved her first Aurora ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted in 2013.
In 2014, Sam set up the first fully integrated ‘Foundation Village’ in East Sussex. In addition to her role for the Trust, Sam has offered advice to the Department for Education, has spoken at several conferences, advised Early Years staff on a national and international scale, and is an Early Excellence Hub Lead in Eastbourne supporting over 2,400 children.
In her spare time Sam is a qualified Marine Mammal Surveyor and volunteers with the charity organisation, Orca, where she actively participates in whale and dolphin conservation.
Lead for Behaviour/Nurture, Mental Health and Wellbeing
Nevada Smith is the Lead for Behaviour, Nurture, Mental Health and Wellbeing. Since qualifying as a teacher in 1991, she has taught across East Sussex in primary, secondary and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) teaching Nursery to Year 11. She offered a range of support through the Behaviour Support Service and became the Assistant Head for both Lewes and Eastbourne PRUs.
Nevada established some of the first nurture classes in East Sussex and this continues to be exceptionally important as she knows how effective and transformational they can be. All of the schools within the Trust now have a nurture class.
Nevada is qualified as an Attachment Lead, a Nurture Practitioner, and is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. She delivers training on a variety of areas both within and outside the Trust.
Outside of work Nevada attends a weekly pottery class, loves walking her dog and spending time with her family and friends.
Safeguarding, Attendance and Training Manager
Heidi Attwood is the Safeguarding Training and Attendance Manager for the Trust. Her role involves working with the Designated Safeguarding Leads in all our schools, and managing a small team of Family Support Workers, acting as the main source of support, advice and expertise regarding safeguarding. Heidi ensures that policies and procedures meet all necessary standards in Keeping Children Safe in Education, and Working Together to Safeguard Children, ensuring that children are kept safe and get support when they need it. Heidi also works with school Attendance Officers to monitor and improve pupil attendance, a key element in ensuring good outcomes for all children.
Before joining Aurora Academies Trust, Heidi worked in special education, family support work and, most recently, in Children’s Social Care.
On a more personal note, Heidi is married with a teenage son. She is a keen hockey player and runner, but is equally happy curled up with good book!