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Sarah-Jayne Benfield

Deputy Principal Curriculum

Sarah oversees the strategic development of the College’s provision, working with Curriculum Heads to ensure the offer meets local, regional and national skills needs. She is responsible for enhancing the student experience, engaging with local employers and key stakeholders to underpin curriculum activities and ensure the best possible outcomes for students and staff. Sarah implements the latest educational research and best, evidenced-based practice to support staff in delivering an outstanding experience for our learners.

Sarah’s driving motivation is to challenge the socio-economic environment and reduce the education and skills gap for those most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the local area, having worked closely with the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) on numerous initiatives.

Sarah first came to the College after finishing school to study A Levels, a BTEC and an Access to Science qualification, which enabled her to progress to University to read Biochemistry, specialising in Endocrinology. After graduating, she went on to work as a Cross-trained Biomedical Scientist in Pathology for the East Kent NHS Hospitals Trust. During this time, she gained her Master of Science from the University of Westminster.

Sarah’s passion for teaching first began when she was given the responsibility of training and supporting new Biomedical Scientists. After a period working as a Product Specialist for a global Pathology IT company, she took the decision to follow her calling and went on to study at Canterbury Christchurch for her Post Graduate Certificate in Education, gaining qualified Teacher status in 2011.

Whilst working at Sandwich Technology School within the Science department, it became clear that Sarah’s strength lay in effective lesson planning and delivery and she was fast tacked onto the SSATs (Schools, Students, and Teachers Network), Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme (TEEP). She became Level 2 trained and, alongside her role at the school, travelled across the UK supporting other teaching staff to develop and effectively assess evidence-based teaching and learning practices. As an Ofsted outstanding practitioner, observing and working closely with hundreds of teachers over the years, Sarah has seen the positive impact that consistently good lesson delivery has on outcomes to provide better opportunities for learners. 

During her time at Sandwich Technology School, Sarah ran internal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) in-reach programmes, as well as an award-winning gardening club. She then went on to become STEM Coordinator and Head of Lower School Science at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School.

As a keen collaborator, Sarah has been involved with local Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and TeachMeet programmes. Through this, she has teamed up with educational staff from a range of backgrounds to share best practice. As an Advanced Skills Practitioner, she loves to keep pace with the latest educational research and is a highly recommended TES contributor. Always the first to try out and evaluate new initiatives, Sarah is passionate about the sharing of resources across provisions to promote dialogue, discussion and drive progress.

Having lived in Thanet for most of her life, Sarah has also lived in Italy with family and loves to travel, cook and attend as many live music and art events as she can. A keen walker and former marathon runner, she is slowly building back up to running following an injury. Sarah recently graduated from Cambridge following a short course at the Institute of Sustainable Leadership after reading Business Sustainability. She endeavours to lead her life as sustainably as possible and is a long-standing member of Greenpeace, championing Green Plan initiatives.