Staff Biographies

Mr Matt Hawley

Head of School

Before arriving at Debden in September 2019, Matt spent 6 years as a senior leader in large, successful schools in London and Dubai. In addition to his English degree and PGCE, Matt holds an MA in Education Management from King's College University in London. Matt was drawn to Debden by its warm, nurturing sense of community and the commitment to meeting the needs of each individual child. Outside of school, Matt enjoys spending time with his family and is a (long-suffering) supporter of Leeds United!

Mr Gary Brown

Kingfishers Teacher

Gary is an experienced teacher who has spent the majority of his teaching career working in small village schools. He spent a number of years working at Ashdon School, and brings experience of working with children across the primary age ranges to Debden.
When not carrying out school work, Gary enjoys spending time with his wife, sons and his dog.

Mrs Sarah Bailey

Frogs Class Teacher/SENCO

Sarah has experienced teaching in different schools, which range from being a housemistress in an independent school to more recently, teaching in a specialist school for children with social and emotional difficulties. This gave her a passion for supporting children with special educational needs and has led her to where she is now as the SENCo and class teacher at Debden. Sarah has recently completed her National Award for Special Educational Needs which forms part of her Masters. Outside of the classroom, Sarah enjoys running, skiing and surfing- when she gets a chance to return to the Devon coast!

Mrs Lisa Murrell

Minnows Class Teacher

Lisa began her teaching career at Debden almost sixteen years ago and has seen a lot of change. She began teaching in EYFS and has taught through to Year Two. Lisa has two young children and a pet Border Terrier. She enjoys spending family time walking her dog and making things with her children.

Mrs Jo Arundell

Office Administrator

Jo arrived at Debden in 2005 and worked as a Teaching Assistant for 12 years. Jo is now in the school office as an office administrator. Prior to Debden Jo owned and ran a restaurant in Saffron Walden for 10 years having returned from 6 years living in the sunshine in Tenerife. Jo loves the nurturing ethos of the school and how well we get to know our children as individuals. Outside of school Jo enjoys family time and indulging in her passion for cooking.

Mrs Sally Dale

Office Administrator

Sally joined Debden in 2005 and worked as an LSA for 12 years, mainly in Kingfisher Class. She has been in the office for a couple of years now and job shares with Mrs Arundell. She thoroughly enjoys the work as she now gets to know the parents as well as the children. Sally has travelled the world as an Army wife for 27 years, but is now settled in Thaxted, where when not at work, she loves walking her border collie Nala, singing in a local choir and during the long winter evenings, crocheting blankets for her family to snuggle up with.

Miss Molly Everitt

Learning Support Assistant

Before working at Debden, Molly worked as a Teaching Assistant at a large primary school in Cambridge supporting children in Reception and Year 4. Molly is currently working towards a degree in English Language with the Open University and works part-time for a magazine. She thoroughly enjoys helping the children to succeed in their learning. In her spare time, Molly enjoys reading books and attempting to bake.

Mrs Kathy Dixon

Learning Support Assistant and Learning Mentor

Kathy joined Debden in 2016 and is Frog's Class LSA in addition to providing SEMH support thoughout the school. Kathy is a qualified Level 3 Forest School Leader and is proud of how caring all the children are to each other when they are in the woods. In her free time, when not at home, Kathy can be found walking in the fields with her cockerpoo, Merlin.

Mrs Elaine Cox

Learning Support Assistant

Elaine joined Debden in 2003, first as a Midday Assistant, then as an LSA in 2004. Elaine has worked in years 1,2, and 3, but especially enjoys supporting children in phonics in year 1 and 2. Prior to moving to the area, Elaine travelled with her husband as an Army wife, living in Germany, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. Now settled in Saffron Walden, Elaine enjoys nothing more than spending time with her family and taking long walks with Boycie, her black labrador.

Mrs Maureen Hare

Learning Support Assistant

Maureen has always had a passion for dance and attended Elmhurst Ballet School she trained as a ballet teacher and ran several ballet schools for 20 years. On moving back to this area Maureen first joined Debden School as a Midday Assistant, then later becoming an LSA. Maureen really enjoys working at Debden School, helping the children (especially with maths), and being part of a wonderful, small supportive community. When not at school, she loves spending time with her family, going for walks and reading.

Mrs Sarah Cameron

LSA Early Years

Before working at Debden, Sarah worked as a legal and sales and marketing secretary for two local firms. To fit in with two young children, she retrained as a playgroup leader working at local playgroups. Sarah has been a teaching assistant for over 20 years, gaining experience in most year groups but returning to her passion, early years, about 16 years ago. Sarah enjoys spending time wither her family and walking her dog, Ozzi.

Mrs Cath Pargeter


For the last 10 years Cath has worked with early years children and their families in a voluntary capacity through a church in East London and also volunteered in a local primary school. Prior to that, Cath worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the Metropolitan Police Service. She has a BA Hons in History and Politics and more recently has studied a Level 3 CACHE qualification in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. In her spare time, Cath enjoys spending time with her family and exploring this lovely area, which she is quite new to. Cath really enjoys working at Debden Church of England Primary Academy as it has such a kind and nurturing ethos.

Mrs Jen Andrew

Catering Manager

Before joining Debden September 2018, Jen worked as a Catering manager in a large Infant School in Ripon, North Yorkshire for two years. Jen started out as a Chef after further education, working in 4-star hotels around the UK for many years and qualified in catering and hotel management. Jen was drawn to Debden because she loves working in a small caring school with children who are kind to each other and passionate about learning. Outside of school Jen has been part of the Army community for 13 years, living in 4 different postings throughout the UK. Jen’s hobbies are walking with her two dogs and supporting the Rugby Union teams England and Harlequins. Jen is renovating a holiday home in Lowestoft, Suffolk where she enjoys beach time and coastal walks. She also enjoys travelling, long & short haul, experiencing other cultures and history.