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To advance the education, care and wellbeing of the pupils at the schools, to advance the education of other members of the community.

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Meet the Leadership Team


  Simon Winward has been the substantive Headteacher of Southbrook School since October 2022, serving as Interim Headteacher for 8 months before this. He has experience in mainstream primary and secondary schools, and has over 10 years experience in special schools, working with young people with moderate, severe and multiple learning difficulties. During his career he has been a leader of subjects including Art, PSHE and accreditation in two other Devon special schools. He is also a Specialist Leader of Education with South West Specialist Teaching Alliance, and has taken part in a number of outreach projects to support young people with Special Educational Needs. He is passionate about putting young people at the centre, ensuring that change and innovation is driven by both their needs and aspirations, and ensuring that they get the very best educational experience possible.

‘I am so pleased to be part of the next phase of Southbrook’s journey. As we strive to be the best we can be, I feel it is vital that we keep our core purpose at the centre. Instilling vital life skills, inclusion in the community, and developing independence and resilience so that our pupils are able to be successful now and in the future drives the improvements we are making. It is an exciting time to be at Southbrook School.’


 Matt Day joined Southbrook in January 2010 as Assistant Head Teacher, later becoming Deputy Head. He previously spent 10 years in a variety of roles at Combe Pafford SEND school in Torquay. He started his teaching career in a mainstream secondary school in London. He has held leadership roles in all three schools. Matt has taught PE, RE and Computing throughout his career as well as some Maths and English. He has led residentials in England and abroad as well as a whole range of extra curricular activities. He continues to teach PE alongside his Deputy Head role.

' Southbrook is a special place, where pupils are given the opportunity to feel safe as well as thrive socially, emotionally and academically. I feel honored to have been able to spend so much of my career here, seeing the school constantly developing and adapting to the needs of the pupils'


Antony Blackmore joined Southbrook in April 2022, as Assistant Head teacher. Antony has Senior Leadership experience in mainstream secondary schools as well as two Deputy Headships in Special schools. Antony has worked extensively with pupils with SEMH concerns, Severe Learning Difficulties, Autism and pupils who have experienced acute Early Years trauma. Antony leads our Outdoor Education programme and works with pupils and families to develop bespoke provision and curriculum adaptations. Antony’s role is to ensure that all pupils receive a curriculum that is tailored to their needs, is ambitious and allows them to succeed at the next stage of education

“Southbrook is a special place where staff go all out to ensure that pupils and families have the very best support and guidance. Southbrook is developing all the time and adapting to support and prepare pupils to thrive and be independent. I am proud to be playing a part in that development.” 


Claire Shanahan joined Southbrook in September 2021 as Y7 Tutor and teacher of Humanities, moving to a role in the Senior Leadership Team from March 2023. In her previous role, Claire was SENDCo and Inclusion manager across 2 primary schools within the Tiverton Federation and has further leadership experience as a SENDCO and Deputy Head in mainstream primary schools. Claire’s passion lies in breaking down barriers to learning for students with a wide range of needs and supporting teachers to adapt and adjust their practice to meet these, working with the daily mantra “change the support not the child.” Claire is currently Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning.

“Joining Southbrook almost two years ago was the best decision I have made in my teaching career so far, enabling me to put all the strategies learnt as a SENDCo into practice. It is a privilege to work with our students, helping them to foster the key skills they need to develop independence, and to be part of the work with staff on developing curriculums and programmes to help improve students’ ability to be resilient to learning and change. This is a great time to teach in such a special school.”

Mark Rose joined Southbrook senior leadership team in 2021.  He has previously worked in a variety of special schools within Devon.  He started his career in 2004 as a Secondary Science Teacher in a specialist setting and has continued working within a variety of special schools in senior leadership positions since 2010.  Mark has significant experience working with pupils with SEMH, ASC and those with moderate and severe leaning difficulties.  Mark’s current role sees him working across safeguarding, behaviour and pastoral; supporting our whole school focus on keeping children safe and overseeing the support they need to be ready to learn.   

‘I am proud to be part of the Southbrook staff team, a team committed to supporting all of our pupils to learn, develop and to reach their full potential.’