Meet the Team

All members of the team have current, enhanced DBS Checks in place which are registered with the schools they work in.

Extended Services Manager

Kim Chant is the South Essex Extended Services Manager and has been employed in this role and a previously related role, for 20 years. She is responsible for the Extended Services team, co-ordinating the whole range of services across the district for Local Delivery Group  schools, their children and families and links with the local community.

Part of her role is to secure additional funding. There is no blue print for this position other than to work in close partnership with the schools children and families, local agencies and associates, to respond to local need in an innovative way.

Kim is a qualified Nursery Nurse with further qualifications in Advanced Diploma Early Childhood Education and Psychology. She also spent some time as an early years Ofsted Inspector. Her previous experience has included 10 years managing a 50 place day nursery and 35 place kids club for teacher recruitment in Essex and 10 years as a pre-school manager. She has also taught childcare on the CASHE programme for post 16 students.

Kim has 40 years experience of working with families in Essex and is always looking for new and exciting challenges in inspiring her team and others around her to provide the best possible support and encouragement to everyone they work with.

Family Support, Young Person Mentor & Attendance

Patsy Alphonse-Peer’s role is to work in partnership with schools and other agencies to provide a supportive, non-judgemental advice service which meets the needs of families within our locality.  

Patsy have over 15 year’s experience working with schools to support families to achieve the best outcome for their child/young person.   

Much of Patsy’s work is involved with families who are struggling. For example, parenting a child/young person with behaviour issues, mental health, anxiety additional needs, and many other issues life seems to throw up!  

Patsy facilitates 1:1 sessions with children and young people in school. To build relationships with young people, giving them the opportunity to talk about what’s going on in their lives, their wishes and feelings, to enable them to realise they have support during difficult times, and to help them make positive life choices.  

Patsy also works with schools and parents to improve attendance, to support in breaking down barriers preventing a child from accessing education and reaching their full potential.    

Patsy has also worked in a Children’s Centre, supporting the needs of families with pre-school children and the Lighthouse Child Development Centre working with families whose children had been diagnosed with ADHD, Autism, Aspergers, Dyspraxia, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and other conditions needing extra support. This has helped Patsy in her current role as more and more children have conditions needing extra support at home and school and through the referral process.  

Patsy has qualifications in Child Care, Learning and Development, Health and Social Care and Psychology and is a trained facilitator of the Freedom Programme. This is a programme which helps women who have or who are still going through domestic abuse to build self-confidence and recognise the signs of an abuser. She is also Makaton trained.

Family Support, Young Persons Mentor & SEN Support

Nicola Bache is a qualified teacher who has taught in mainstream schools for over 26 years, including six as a headteacher. During her extensive experience, she has worked with children and young people from 3 years to 11 years of age and holds a Masters in Education. Nicola has liaised closely with support and educational services across Local Authorities and school Trusts within South East Essex.

Nicola has always held a keen interest in the psychology of learning and, in particular, in understanding how children and young people can all gain a positive experience from education. She is currently undertaking an MSc in Psychology, accredited by the British Psychological Society.

Nicola’s primary role is to work in partnership with schools and other agencies to provide a supportive, non-judgemental advice service which meets the needs of families within our locality. This can be provided via 1:1 sessions with children and young people in school, to give them the opportunity to talk about their emotions, to enable them to realise they have support during difficult times, and to help them make positive life choices. In conjunction with this work, Nicola also offers family support, with a particular focus on children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Educational Psychologist

Dr Emma Rawlings works with South Essex Extended Services providing psychological support via EPiC (Educational Psychology in the Community Ltd). Emma is a Chartered Psychologist and an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is registered to practice with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

Emma had previously been an Educational Psychologist for 10 years at Essex County Council providing services across Rochford, Canvey Island and Basildon and previous to that worked as a primary school teacher and SENCO in the Southend area. She specialises in autism, particularly women and girls on the spectrum, she is a consultant at the National Autistic Society where she takes part in diagnostic assessments as part of a multidisciplinary team. Emma also has a particular interest in supervision and support for staff in order to build capacity and offer sustainable support in the community. She has been awarded the prestigious accolade of a doctorate for her research and studies with the University of East London.

Emma offers regular consultations across the district to school staff and involved professionals as well as opportunities for assessment & intervention advice for children and young people aged 0 – 25. She has supported schools to complete a whole school review of their SEND systems and look at how they provide support for some of their most vulnerable students. Emma is also facilitating a range of supervision, training and support groups across the district for professionals, this includes training and supervision for Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs).

Educational Psychologist

Laura Dawson works with South Essex Extended Services providing psychological support via Construct EP Services Ltd. Laura is a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is registered to practice with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

Laura has been a Senior Educational Psychologist for over 20 years in a number of local authorities. She has also been a programme director of a therapeutic fostering service based within a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Laura has specialist skills in working with young people who are care experienced (those who are living in foster care, with special guardians or are adopted) and their carers and parents.

Laura has published peer reviewed research in this area and delivers training to Trainee EPs annually at University College London.

Laura offers regular consultations across the district to school staff and involved professionals as well as opportunities for assessment & intervention advice for children and young people aged 0 – 25.

Educational Psychologist

Natasha Colley



Michelle Maton qualified as a Counsellor in 2004 and practices in accordance with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Code of Practice for Standards and Ethics. She has passed their proficiency examinations, and is a Registered Member of the BACP.

Michelle has worked extensively with children and families with additional needs, and had delivered a series of workshops on the subject, at the National Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service Annual Conference, in partnership with an Essex County council Senior EP.

Michelle spent 5 years as a member of the Family Support Team at Havens Hospice, working with families from time of diagnosis in both Fairhaven and Little Haven.

She is also an accredited Youth Advocate and has worked for a children’s charity to provide advocacy and independent support for looked after children, ensuring they had a voice when decisions were being made concerning their future.

Michelle has worked as an advocate for young offenders in HMP Bullwood Hall, on behalf of the Youth Justice Board.

In addition she has been trustee of a local mental health charity and part of the management committee for Poplar Adolescent Education Unit, a tier 4 mental health service for young people.

Michelle is also a Facilitator for the National Charity Breast Cancer Now, supporting women following treatment for Stage 1 Breast Cancer via their Moving Forward Courses.

Michelle works with students in their school setting, to provide confidential counselling sessions. These give young people the opportunity to think about any worries, concerns or isssues, and develop stratagies to equip them to manage them constructively.

She also works with staff in schools, providing Supervision to support them in their working practice.


Christina Thompson is a qualified counsellor, working with adults and young people experiencing relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression and bereavement. In addition, Christina is also an experienced teacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

Christina specialises in working therapeutically with families where individuals have special needs.

During the lockdown, Christina has been working with frontline NHS Staff, offering emotional support and Supervision.


Stephie Myall is a qualified therapeutic counsellor working with adults and young people who are experiencing a wide range of mental health problems in Essex. She works 1-1 with students and children in schools, and runs group therapy/ wellbeing sessions with young teens to improve social literacy and emotional regulation. This often involves working with neurodiverse students. In addition, Steffie runs a small Private Practice from home, working primarily with adults, and specialising in LGBTQ+ issues, Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversity (GSRD), parenting struggles and grief.

Steffie’s background is 13 years experience working as a Primary Teacher, primarily working to raise standards in Early Years provision.

She is passionate about empowering people to live a rich, authentic and mentally healthy life, which celebrates individuality and uniqueness.

Autism & Social Communication Specialist

Sarah Bell is a qualified teacher, working for 25 years in mainstream school settings, including class teaching across all primary phases, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, Inclusion Leader and Assistant Head.  Most recently, she has worked for the Local Authority as a specialist teacher for children with autism and social communication differences.  She supported schools with advice, consultancy and training to meet the needs of the autistic children and young people attending.

This extensive experience, along with graduating with a Master of Education (autism – children) in 2018 from the University of Birmingham, underpins her ethos of widening understanding through advice, consultancy and training to provide tailored provision and better outcomes, both for the child or young person and those supporting them. Sarah will be working with school staff and referred families.

Sarah prides herself on honest and practical advice and easy to understand concepts, regardless of previous knowledge and understanding of autism. Ultimately helping to understand the individual child and their unique profile in order to make provision that truly works for them.

Autism & Social Communication Specialist

Maggie Butler is a qualified teacher and SENDCo with a range of experience in mainstream schools, including acting head, deputy headteacher and SENDCo. Maggie worked in the specialist teacher team for Essex County Council for 15 years, with 5 years leading a team of 30 autism specialist teachers and autism support workers. She introduced and led Autism Education Trust training to Essex schools, and led on the development of Good Futures, a training course for parents of school age children with autism.
Most recently, until December 2022, Maggie worked as an inclusion partner, supporting primary and secondary schools and pre-school settings in South Essex to improve their inclusive practice through training and consultation.

Maggie joined South Essex Extended Services at Easter 2023 and is working with school staff, families and children and young people in a variety of ways, using a specialist teacher working model. This may include observation and advice for school staff, mentoring and coaching for young people, support for families and young people in the diagnostic process and bespoke training.

Maggie has a range of academic and professional qualifications, including an MEd in autism, during which she specialised in autism and mental health, researching solution focused practice for autistic young people. She also has AQA Level 2 Counselling and is a qualified Trauma Perceptive Practice trainer. She is currently studying for a foundation diploma in Therapeutic Safety in Trauma.
Maggie was a regional tutor for autism undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham for 8 years, has been an associate lecturer at the University of East London teaching autism and inclusion modules since 2017 and currently undertakes supervision and marking for Eastern Partnership courses, including the NASENCO qualification and Level 4 SLCN and SEMH courses.

As well as professional experience and qualifications, Maggie has considerable lived experience of neurodiversity, which guides her in an individual, flexible approach to each young person and their education, aiming to triangulate support in a balanced way across school experience, family and the young person themselves.

Child Development Consultant & SENCo

Jo Lowdell is a qualified teacher and Special Educational Needs Coordinator with additional qualifications in Childcare, Psychology, Mentoring, Coaching, Facilitating and Post Compulsory Education and Training.

With 30 years experience of teaching, child development and family liaison, Jo has spent most of her career in mainstream schools, starting as a Nursery Nurse and Family Center Worker before becoming a qualified teacher and SENCo. Jo’s professional development highlights include:

Proudly part of a small team which set up a successful new school nursery.
Coordinating Early Start Programmes for parents of preschool children with a focus on supporting the development of their child.

Training through The National Portage Association which enabled her to embed a small steps approach to learning for children with SEND.

Undertaking Autism Education Trust programmes and implementing the Leading Good Autism Practice into schools’ SEND provision.

Mentoring and nurturing children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Each stage of Jo’s professional journey has equipped her with the skills to support children and their families through a positive, nurturing and empathic style, enabling a reflective approach to taking action.