At Drumbeat we are very fortunate to have an eclectic blend of staff with a range of talents, skills, expertise and experience all working together seamlessly to deliver a high quality education for pupils with Autism.

We have a leadership team made up of 7 members:
  • Marie Neave

    Executive Headteacher

    Marie has been teaching for over 35 years. She started her career in London teaching history to secondary students. Marie then moved to Kent and taught in both secondaries and a pupil referral unit. She has been a headteacher in Bromley of a large PRU and then started her own business and worked over several educational settings but mainly Kent county council where she was an senior improvement adviser. However Marie missed being in a school and decided to become the Head of Drumbeat. Since then she has been proud to lead such an exceptional school with such wonderful students. Marie looks forward to continuing working in such a wonderful environment.

  • Katie Denton

    Deputy Headteacher (Downham)

    ​Katie has been at Drumbeat since it first opened in 2012 and was a founding member of the Senior Leadership Team. She is passionate about working with children and young people with additional needs and has always thought of it as a vocation rather than a job. Before joining Drumbeat Katie spent 8 years at a special school for children with Severe Learning Difficulties, including those on the Autistic Spectrum, and during that time progressed to Head of 6th Form. Katie has a Masters degree in Special and Inclusive Education from the Institute of Education as well as an advanced certificate in Evidence based psychological treatments from the University of Reading, she also has the NPQH. Katie has worked across Drumbeat and with the Outreach Team, she is currently based at the Downham site working with Primary and KS3.

  • Denise Gallagher

    Deputy Headteacher (Brockley)

    Denise is one of our Deputy Headteachers and currently oversees Key Stage 4 and 6th form. She is based on the Brockley campus. Denise has extensive experience teaching children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and other complex needs. Prior to working at Drumbeat, she set up and led the ASD Outreach advisory service for Lewisham, where she supported children and their families within mainstream settings.

  • Bryony Bowen

    Assistant Headteacher

    Bryony has been at Drumbeat school since it's opening in 2012. She began as a class teacher at Drumbeat with responsibility for Maths across the school. She then went on to lead the KS3 department and most recently has worked across the Downham and Brockley site as Assistant Headteacher. Bryony has enjoyed working across all age ranges at Drumbeat and is passionate about placing future life outcomes at every stage of a child's learning. Bryony is now based at the Drumbeat Downham site as Assistant Headteacher and Deputy headteacher one day per week.

  • Richard Gillings

    Assistant Headteacher

    Richard has worked at Drumbeat School for over 6 years now working with a broad range of children with a diagnosis of autism. Prior to starting at Drumbeat school Richard has worked in a range of different educational settings including mainstream primary, PMLD, SEMH and pupil referral units. Richard is based at Brockley campus working with KS4 and 6th form and is passionate about developing strong working relationships with the children he teaches and their families. Richard is particularly interested in active learning and has led on a number of initiatives over the years including Sherborne developmental movement and Duke of Edinburgh.

  • Marina Olympidis-Slattery

    Assistant Headteacher

    Marina has been a teacher for over 23 years. She has worked both within mainstream as well as special needs settings. Marina has developed extensive experience within the EYFS, primary as well as autism over this time; working in Ireland, Kent as well as London. Whilst working in Ireland Marina gained her Masters in Autism and set up a Junior ASD class within an expanding school. Whilst in London Marina also led ASD provision within a mainstream infant school.
    When back in the UK, Marina managed a mainstream nursery but found that she was missing working with children with more significant needs and wanted to get back into a more specialised environment.
    Marina has been working at Drumbeat School for over 6 years, as a class teacher, EYFS lead as well as developing her leadership skills further by completing her NPQML before taking the position of Assistant Headteacher. She loves the day-to-day interaction with the children as well as parents and feels strongly that home/school communication is key to making each pupil reach their full potential.

  • Sean Richings

    School Business Director

    Sean has been at the school since 2016, before this he has worked in local authorities and in the private sector. He is responsible for Health and Safety, Compliance, Finance, Administration and HR. He is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. In his spare time he is usually found on his allotment.

Drumbeat believes that staff are our greatest resource in supporting our children and young people with Autism. All staff receive a robust training program and are encouraged to look for opportunities to expand their own continuing professional development. All staff at Drumbeat are trained and accredited to Level 2 by the Autism Education Trust.
We have a Teaching Team of 23, with each and every one bringing a range of skills and experience to the classroom. Eight of our staff have studied autism and special educational needs at a higher level and hold Masters qualifications in these areas. 
Support Staff 
In every class at Drumbeat we have 2-4 teaching assistants who support the learning of pupils within a particular group. Our TAs are highly skilled at supporting the learning and individual needs of pupils.  
We have a strong team of 5 Instructors working across the school. They perform a range of key roles, including supporting teaching in classes and leading on delivering specific interventions and subject specific qualifications. Instructors also lead on supporting and nurturing Teaching Assistants when they are new to the Drumbeat team.
As a school we employ our own team of Therapists to work integrally across the school with pupils and staff. As a result we have developed a very successful format of trans-disciplinary working where the therapy often takes place in the classroom with staff learning from one another. This in turn means that the impact of the therapeutic approach stays in the classroom long after the therapist has left, having a far-reaching affect.
Check out our Therapy pages.

Drumbeat is supported by an Office Team on each site.
Drumbeat Downham
  • Sean Richings - School Business Director
  • Sara Gambier - Adminstration Manager
  • Nicola Allen - School Administrator
  • Karen Peachey - School Receptionist
  • Hendrina Smith - PA to the Executive Headteacher
Drumbeat Brockley
  • Sean Richings - School Business Director
  • Alex Cronin - Outreach Administrator
We have a Premises Manager, Andrew Porter at Drumbeat Brockley.

In addition to our large school based staff team we also have an Outreach Team working in schools across Lewisham. The team is based at the Drumbeat Downham site and is led by Sonia Gannon, Lead Outreach Teacher. In the Schools Team there are 3 teachers and 3 co-ordinators, in the Early Years Team there is 1 teacher and 2 co-ordinators.

Check out our Outreach pages.