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Valence School

Meet the Team

Susie Cassie - District Lead for Sevenoaks Specialist Teaching and Learning Service



Naomi Botha - Specialist Teacher for Social, Emotional and Mental Health

​Naomi graduated with a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree (RHUL) and went on to complete a PGCE (Exeter). She has over twenty years’ experience teaching and supporting students within mainstream and special needs settings. Naomi has gained postgrad qualifications in teaching, counselling, autism spectrum, and special needs, and has extensive training and experience using a range of specialist support strategies and teaching tools. In 2009, Naomi was honoured to have a journal article published in Good Autism Practice: Using Social Stories to support children on the autism spectrum. 

Naomi previously worked for Luton Borough Council Learning Support Service, as Advisory Teacher for Social Communication Difficulties (SCD). She was then later appointed as Teacher in Charge of a local primary school SCD Department. In 2012, Naomi moved to Cape Town in South Africa, where she taught students with a range of barriers to learning, including social, emotional, and mental health challenges. In recent years, she developed her private practice as a Specialist Teacher & Behavioural Therapist, offering specialist autism spectrum and behaviour support, counselling, advice, and social-emotional strategies, for students, parents, schools, and professionals, across Cape Town, as well as regularly presenting a range of training workshops. Naomi moved back to the UK in August 2021. She joined our Sevenoaks STLS Team in September 2021.  


Jo Johnson - Specialist Teacher for Cognition and Learning

Jo has an MA in SEND and a Level 7 Professional Certificate in Assessment Practice for Dyslexia and Literacy. She is also a qualified speech and language therapist. Before qualifying as a teacher, she worked with pre-school and school age children in community clinics, a Special School for complex communication needs and a Language Unit.

Jo’s experience includes teaching in a Specialist Resource Provision for SLCN, including offering advice to mainstream schools and working as a mainstream school SENCO. Jo has worked as a Specialist Teacher for Cognition & Learning in the Sevenoaks District for 9 years. 


Gemma Elliott - Specialist Teacher for Communication and Interaction​​​

Gemma originally trained for three years at performing arts college as a dance teacher ​for the Royal Academy  of Dancing and the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing).

Following this Gemma retrained at university for another three years to qualify as a primary school teacher. She worked several different roles across six primary schools within the local authorities of Croydon, Bromley and Surrey. Gemma then moved into Special Education for five years, also training as a Regional Tutor for Makaton.

Gemma has been the Specialist Teacher for Communication and Interaction within the Sevenoaks District for the past five years. Her specialisms include ASD, Makaton and selective mutism.


Pam Holden - Specialist Teacher for Early Years

Pam Holden has been a teacher for 21 years, 17 of which she has spent working within ​ special education in a range of schools and settings. During her career she has worked with a wide range of children of all different ages, abilities and disabilities, both in the classroom and through outreach work. Her areas of specialism include the Early Years and the Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Marks Roberts - Specialist Teacher

Mark has been a teacher for 28 years, 19 years in Special School teaching and ​senior leadership. He has worked and managed in the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS) for Kent, with a particular focus upon supporting children with physical and medical needs for over 6 years.

He is also a Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, with a particular focus and interest in Special Educational Needs (SEN). Mark's particular interests include children with complex communication difficulties and the impact and implementation of SEN policy. Mark is also a Governor of a Special School


The Specialist Teaching and Learning Service for the Sevenoaks District is based at Valence School and all the Specialist Teachers and District Lead are based there.

The Outreach team linked with the STLS is based at Milestone Academy.

Sevenoaks STLS Lead: Susie Cassie:

Sevenoaks Business Support Assistant:    

01959 560592