Hitherfield Primary School and Children's Centre

Learning Mentors

Learning Mentors

We provide non-judgmental pastoral support for all of our students and their families. We offer a safe place where individuals are valued, listened to and empowered in order to overcome barriers to academic and Social & Emotional learning such as: low self-esteem, low motivation and issues that may be concerning them at home or school. 

We can offer support to children and their families through:

  • One to one mentoring sessions with children
  • Focused group sessions
  • Liaising with parents/carers and teachers to support pupil progress
  • Supporting pupil transition at all stages
  • Signposting support for families from other agencies where appropriate.

We are always happy to discuss you children’s Social & Emotional wellbeing with you. You can speak to us by ringing the school or catch us in the playground at the beginning or end of the school day. Alternatively please feel free to email us:

Mark: markgillard@hitherfield.co.uk

Suzy: suzyanderson@hitherfield.co.uk 

Maureen: maureenshand@hitherfield.co.uk

Meet the Learning Mentors:

Mark Gillard – Early Years

I came to Hitherfield in 2002 as part of the Excellence in Cities Project. EIC first promoted the idea of Learning Mentors in schools; funding was for a year and then extended. The rest is history. 

So, what I intended to be a year’s Gardening Leave became my new career. The role has developed since the early days; our work and networks have grown along with the school. Our primary focus however is still the Social and Emotional aspect of learning.

My interests and training are broad. They include behavior, meditation, restorative approaches, conflict resolution and parenting. 

Over recent years I have become more community focused, working on parent & family projects and supporting transitions into/from Nursery, Reception and Year 1.

You will see me around school at drop off and pick up. I am generally available to stop for a chat at those times but am happy to make an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

Maureen Shand – Years 1 to 3

After working within the NHS for 10 years I set upon a career change and decided to go to college with the view to becoming a Registered Childminder.  During the course I was advised to consider working in a school.  I joined Hitherfield in 2009 and took advantage of every training opportunity that was available.  By 2010 I qualified at a Level 2 Teaching Assistant.  A year later I decided to purse my wish to teach Exercise.  I qualified as an Exercise Instructor for Adults and Children in 2011 and 2012 respectively.  In 2016 I qualified as a Level 2 Teaching Assistant.

I became the School Travel Champion in 2011 and with the help of a great Hitherfield Team, took the School to Gold Accreditation for Safe and Active Travel to School.

My hobbies including reading, art, music and I also enjoy going to Air Shows.

Suzy Anderson – Years 4 to 6

Hello, my name is Suzy and I work with children and families primarily in Years 4,5 & 6.

I come from a communications background having spent many years working for the BBC in Radio Production.  I have also trained as a counsellor at Lambeth College and Relate. 

I have an interest in emotional health and wellbeing and support children across school with anger management, social skills, friendship skills, organisational skills, anxiety, worry and stress related programmes. I do a lot of work in Year 6 and support families in making their choices of secondary schools as well as helping children make their transition to Year 7. 

I am also interested in supporting parenting and have recently trained, along with my colleague Mark Gillard, as a Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Facilitator.  This is a parenting support programme.

Hobbies include reading, drawing, sewing and generally being creative.  I have two daughters who are 19 and 16, who came to Hitherfield. I have a particular interest in Play Therapy in schools and have recently become a Lay Board Member for the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT).

A small sample of what we do…..

Student support

  • 1:1 group sessions – Classroom support –
  • Individual Support Plans – Home learning support

Community Initiatives

  • Walking Bus - Family/Parenting projects –
  • ‘Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities”

Transition Support

  • Induction to school (Nursery, Reception & casual entrants) – 
  • Nursery to Reception – Key Stage Transitions – 
  • Year 6 to Secondary School transition

Hitherfield Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities  Parenting