Meet the Southover Partnership team of experts.

Merushka Hansraj, Executive Headteacher

Merushka Hansraj has an extensive educational background having worked in Special Education in both mainstream and special schools for 23 years in the UK and Internationally.  She has been a Senior Leader for 13 years and has played a significant role in shaping and leading on the strategic development of educational provision across a number of schools. Merushka has held the positions of Director, Deputy Head, Head of Personalised Learning, Head of Pastoral Care, Head of Partnerships, and Head of Outreach during the course of her career.  Her key areas of specialism are Autism Spectrum Disorder and Complex Educational needs.

Merushka believes passionately that teamwork and collaborative working is the best way forward to meeting the needs of our students in the most effective and productive way.

Collaboration and the building of trusting relationships are core to her role as a school leader. Her commitment is and always will be to secure the best possible outcomes for every student by working closely, collaboratively, and progressively with families, staff, Trustees and other stakeholders to ensure that our students leave us with a fortified foundation of skills, self–regulation strategies and education, to equip them to confidently choose a path to successful, productive and fully inclusive lives.

Nia Wheatley, Head of Outreach Services

With 20 years of teaching experience in secondary school education, starting as a mainstream English teacher Nia then moved into special educational needs, and became a Deputy SENCo for a large secondary school before taking the lead role as Head of English as an Additional Language for thirteen years in the borough of Redbridge. She has had experience teaching in alternative provision as an outreach teacher specialising in working with children who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties. In post, she has provided numerous INSET to whole school communities, mentored newly qualified teachers, led on workshops in the Redbridge borough and in schools championed ‘quality first’ teaching by collating differentiated materials with cross curricular staff for the inclusion and progress for all. She is passionate about high quality education for all and raising standards in teaching learning and assessment.

Heather Stephens, Outreach Services, Lead Practitioner for Teaching and Learning

Heather is an experienced leader with a wide- ranging background in primary education for over 36 years. Beginning her teaching career in mainstream schools in Enfield and continued to work in both inner city and outer London boroughs such as Haringey, Camden, Uxbridge, Islington and Brent supporting children across the Early Years and Primary age range.

Prior to joining The Southover Partnership her roles in Education has included Primary Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Consultancy, Inclusion Lead, SENCO and Curriculum Lead for a variety of curriculum areas with her specialism being English. Other roles have included a Primary School Governor in Enfield and Tutor Mentor for teacher trainee students and newly qualified teachers with Middlesex University.  As a qualified Senior Youth Worker in Enfield it gave her the opportunity to work with both Young Offenders and lead in running youth centres for the 11 – 19 age range.

Heather is strongly committed to inclusion, equality and diversity and has gained extensive experience of working in disadvantage communities working alongside a variety of external agencies such  safeguarding officers, speech and language therapist, educational psychologists, social services and other health professionals to ensure vulnerable pupils and in particular pupils with Special Educational Needs and their families are fully supported.

She is a great believer in children and young people being given the opportunity to excel  by providing them with the educational tools and ensuring both teaching and non- teaching staff receive continuous professional development in current educational practices in order to ensure the best education is achieved.

Sharmin Ahmed, Outreach Services, Educational Practitioner

Sharmin has a background in, and passion for environmental science which has seen her through, a broad range of work and life experiences.

Having experienced secondary schooling in Singapore and the UK, she has gained a comparative perspective which, enables her to utilise her skills as a qualified science teacher, by drawing on the strengths, and tackling the weaknesses that both education systems may present, in inclusive learning.

Sharmin has worked in a number of mainstream and SEN schools as well as, in the provision of interventive educational support, in hospital schools.

Her style of teaching is very creative and interactive, being a visual learner.  She also has an additional creative outlet, through writing, also a signature element of her practitioner role.

Sharmin believes every pupil is gifted, and intervention is actually just a restorative process, not a limiting situation.

Science is her passion and part of what she considers, is our natural landscape of learning.

She is also an advocate of both holistic and orthodox medicine, through her study of the subject, and its effects on pain stimuli in the advancing population, whom she works with in her spare time, supportively.  A practitioner that has developed a skill to modulate all the key areas of learning (not just science), through consideration and observation, of our natural inclinations and reaction times.

In her own words,  ‘we can’t change our chronotypes, so how can one shoe fit all’?

Jean-Robert, Head of School, Kingsbury School Site

Jean-Robert Etonde has more than 10 years’ experience in teaching (as a Maths Specialist) in Special Educational Needs school. He joined The Southover Partnership School in 2014 after previously teaching in schools in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Initially appointed as the Maths Coordinator, Jean-robert has also developed the Vocational Skills Curriculum currently delivered across the school.

Jean-robert has an extensive experience of working with children with Social, Emotional and Behavioural needs. He is passionate about the parity of esteem in education: having an invigorating school environment that supports young people with their educational, as well as mental and physical needs, in order to make sure that no children are left behind.

Jonathan Harper, Head of School, Finchley School Site

Jonathan joined Southover in September 2021 having previously working in SEND and Inclusion within primary sector. He has taught primarily in Barnet in a number of senior leadership positions. In addition, Jonathan is experienced in mentoring and has delivered initial teacher training.

Jonathan has great deal of experience of working with children social, emotional and behavioural difficulties with a particular focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. He has worked in conjunction with local authorities raising the standards of hard to reach groups. He is passionate about removing barriers to learning and providing engaging learning opportunities to all. In his spare time he is usually found on a rugby pitch or up a mountain!

Jenny Merryweather, Head of School, Southgate School Site
Jenny MerryweatherJenny joined the Southover Partnership staff team in 2010 after previously teaching in both mainstream and SEN schools in North London and Hertfordshire. Initially appointed as the first Head of Maths in the school, Jenny worked across the school sites before being taking on the role of Head of School at the Southgate site.

During her time at Southover Partnership School Jenny has also worked with Outreach Services delivering INSET training in areas such as dyslexia and ASD.

Anj Iftikhar ACCA, Head of Business and Finance

Anj has over 25 years of experience in working for a range of different charities and educational establishments. She is a qualified accountant and prior to coming to Southover, served as a School Business Manager within independent and mainstream schools. She has been a part of Senior leadership in the start up of a new school and in schools that required significant internal development and expansion. Participating in audits from financial, health and safety to those relating to statutory school standards have been integral to the roles she has held.

She is also an experienced Foster Carer providing care and support for children and young adults from difficult backgrounds and SEN, receiving a vast amount of training to do this to a high standard. She has a passion for working for organisations that make a difference to people’s lives and help the more vulnerable members of our society.