Red Gates Primary

  020 8651 6540.

  020 8651 6540

Senior Leadership Team


Head Teacher - Melissa Hendry


Since I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher and it was not long before I realised that I had a passion for teaching students with special needs in a multicultural society. I started my career as a teacher at Red Gates in 2004. As my career progressed I steadily took on more responsibility and in 2006 I successfully became an advanced skills teacher. I subsequently became Croydon’s first AST of special needs. This role led me to become an active member of the schools leadership and management team and a multi-schools inclusion leadership team.

These experiences motivated me to take my career forward and in 2009 I enrolled on a Masters of Specific Learning Difficulties in Melbourne, Australia. This course has broadened my experiences and knowledge of special needs as well as giving me an invaluable insight into a different education system.

On my return from Australia I had the opportunity to teach the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum to reception aged pupils meaning I have taught children in every year of Primary school. I have been a senior leader since 2013.

I am extremely passionate about our wonderful school and give my all to ensuring all our pupils reach their potential.

Outside of school I have 3 young children who I enjoy entertaining through many things I have learnt as a teacher at Red Gates, they especially like all the messy play!

I am incredibly proud to be the Head Teacher of such a great school.

vicky woodgate 2

Acting Deputy Head - Vicky Woodgate


Having initially commenced a degree in advertising and marketing, I soon began to realise that my heart was not in it and that I needed to be doing something more fulfilling with my life. It was at this point that I decided to defer my studies and retrain to become a teacher, completing a BA (Hons) in Primary Education with a specialism in Special Needs. I had always worked closely with children and young adults at youth clubs and have been a carer for my younger sister who has Autism and associated learning difficulties.

I started my teaching journey at Red Gates as an NQT (now known as an ECT) in 2009 and have been part of the Red Gates family ever since! It soon became evident that my passion was supporting pupils to develop their functional communication and life skills and providing them with a varied range of learning opportunities and experiences.

In 2015 I successfully trained as the Makaton tutor for the school, providing training for staff, parents and colleagues in other Croydon schools. We also successfully started a choir who perform at school events and in the local community, singing and signing their hearts out! I became the Communication Lead in 2017, leading training for staff and parents to support our pupils to develop their communication and provide in class support.

I was the head of KS1 from 2017 before becoming the Assistant Head of KS2 ASD and LISS Pathway in 2018. I am excited to be taking on the role of acting Deputy Head at our very special school from September 2022.

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School Business Manager - Eileen Lawlor

My background is in the corporate world, having spent many years in the banking industry. I moved into education in September 2009 and spent 9 years working in two mainstream primary schools in Croydon and Tower-hamlets. I was privileged to join Red Gates School in July 2018. I hugely enjoy my role at Red Gates School as the school’s business lead, I head up the operations team and oversee the areas of finance; HR, wellbeing, ICT and premises/Health and safety. Life is full on at Red Gates and no two days are ever the same, which is what I really enjoy about my role.

I am not an educationalist, however my role allows me to see our wonderful children every day and to watch them learn, grow and develop in so many different ways in this unique and caring environment.


Behaviour Lead - Carmen Cox

I joined Red Gates in 2014 as a Key Stage 2 teacher in the Sensory Pathway and have been a member of the Behaviour Team and PROACT-SCIPr-UK® instructor since 2016. During my time at Red Gates I have also previously held the roles of ICT and Art Subject Lead.
I am passionate about figuring out the ‘why’ behind the behaviours that pupils may show and working with class teams and parents to put strategies in place to support those needs. I work closely with our Multi-Disciplinary Team in order to ensure that pupils receive the support that they require so they can reach their full potential.


Family Liaison Officer - Julie Muir

I began working with SEND children in 1998. I joined Red Gates in 2006 as a teaching assistant. By 2009 I had progressed to TA4 teaching children across all pathways and keys stages.
During lockdown I became more aware of the work happening outside of the classroom. As my own children are now adults, I wanted to spend those months supporting our families as much as possible, I volunteered to deliver food vouchers and devices for home learning, and began working alongside our previous Family Liaison Officer, eventually taking over the role in February 2022.
Working directly with children for 24 years was hugely rewarding. I feel privileged to now be working closely with our families and discovering my new role is just as rewarding.
I will continue to work hard to develop my skills and provide the best possible support to our families.

caryn pinzon2

Assistant Head - ASD Pathway KS2
Caryn Pinzon


Growing up, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would be a Teacher. It was a fact I had decided on at a rather young age. Upon completing a Concurrent Bachelor of Arts (Hons.)/Bachelor of Education Degree at home in Canada from Laurentian University, I moved to London in September 2013. After a year of supply cover through an agency, I knew that I wanted to have a class of my own. In September of 2014, I began my time here at Red Gates as a Class Teacher and have been constantly learning and growing in my passion for Education ever since.

In June 2019, I became an Assistant Head Teacher of the Sensory Pathway, in addition to my role as Class Teacher. This September I will be taking on a new role as the Assistant Head Teacher of ASD Key Stage 2 and the LISS Pathway. In this new role, I will be working towards giving our pupils every opportunity to further their academic learning, while also developing the social skills and life skills necessary to be active participants in their local community. I am passionate about child-led learning and will be working to give pupils an active role in their learning and development wherever possible. I would like both students and staff to delight in their learning and embrace any challenge presented to them as a stepping-stone towards their full potential. I will strive each day to create such an environment, one where both adults and children learn and thrive alongside each other. The main goal being to instil a culture of fun and an irresistible desire to explore.

Liz Robson

Assistant Head - EYFS, ASD KS1
Liz Robson


I began my career in Education as a parent helper when my oldest son began in Reception. I became a Lunchtime supervisor, then a Teaching Assistant and eventually trained as a Teacher. I moved from Mainstream to Special Education in 2015, when I moved to Red Gates and have never regretted it! I became an Assistant Head in 2018 and in 2019, I became the Nursery Teacher in Willow Tree.

My heart lies in Early Years and I am passionate about giving children the very best start to their education. It is incredibly important that our children can engage with quality teaching that interests them and is fun! I believe strongly that we can only achieve the best for our children if all parents and professionals work together and I have walked the beginning of many journeys with our parents and children.

If you come into my classroom prepare to get messy and have fun because that is the best way to learn!

Amy-Louise Wilkins

Assistant Head - Sensory Pathway
Amy Wilkins


Growing up being part of the charity CASPA showed me that I had a passion for working with children and young people with special needs. I went to Nottingham Trent University and studied BA (Hons) Special and Inclusive Studies and Educational Development, graduating in July 2013. Following that, I participated in Camp America and had the opportunity to spend time working with children with special needs at a summer camp in New York for two summers, before finally deciding to try a career in teaching and beginning my PGCE at University of Greenwich in September 2014.

I started my teaching journey at Red Gates in 2015 as an NQT. After successfully completing my NQT year and becoming attached to our Red Gates pupils, I knew I wanted to continue teaching and develop my knowledge of special needs and build on my teaching skills further to be able to support all our pupils to reach their full potential but also ensuring to have lots of fun at the same time!
Each year I have found myself looking for new challenges, which has led me to take on different responsibilities and roles alongside my class teacher role. I have been the Early Development subject leader since September 2017 and took on my most recent challenge as the Assistant Head Teacher for the Sensory Pathway in September 2022. Sensory learning is where my passion is and I look forward to continuing to develop this at Red Gates with lots of invaluable learning experiences for our pupils… and of course lots of time to explore, have fun and get messy!