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Our People

Liz Cooper 


B.A( Hons) Psychology , PGCE , M.A  Educational management ,  M.Ed Special Needs 


Liz is an experienced lead in both mainstream and special schools. She comes to lead The Austen Academy from Freemantles School – an outstanding Surrey Special school for Autism, where she has taught and been on senior leadership as an Assistant Head for 10 years. Previous to this, she worked in mainstream schools in UK and internationally and has over 20 years of working with young people with Autism. 






Lisa Crompton

Deputy Head and SENCo 

BA Primary Education with Drama QTS and Master of Arts in Special Needs



Lisa has been teaching in both main stream and special school settings for over 18 years both in the UK and abroad. In her last post she helped start a new school in Dubai for children aged 3-16 and was Head of Inclusion and part of the Senior Leadership Team.  She is extremely passionate about SEN and in particular Autism and helping all students to be independent and confident learners no matter what challenges they may face.

Paul Michalski 

Site Manager 

Paul an experienced Site Manager and has joined The Austen Academy from another Catch22 Special School . 

Lizzie Birkin 

Teacher – Primary 

BA(Ed)Hons in Primary Education and SEN with QTS 

Lizzie is an experienced primary teacher, having worked in a special school setting for the last 12 years.  During this time she has worked with children with a wide range of abilities and developed skills and strategies within Autism education, alternative communication approaches and self-regulation. 

She is passionate about personal and social education and learning the skills we need to be part of a community. 

Lizzie is also an Attention Autism Advanced Practitioner and is looking forward to sharing lots of ‘Bucket’ time with the school. 


Mark Peters

Teacher (Secondary)

B.A (Hons) Sports Studies, PGCE in Secondary

Mark has been teaching secondary age pupils with learning difficulties for the past 8 years. Previously, Mark has experienced delivering a range of subjects, most predominately Physical Education. Through sport, Mark has a passion to incorporate character development, independence, confidence and life skills amongst youngsters to ensure their life-long learning is a positive one.