Groombridge St. Thomas CE Primary School

Head's Welcome

School Vision

‘Flourishing in the love of God, we love others as ourselves’

Following the Greatest Commandment to ‘love God and love our neighbour’ our driving force is for excellence following Christian/British values and teaching to enable all children to fulfil their potential. A holistic, nurturing approach reaches out to families where caring relationships pervade every corner, supported by our school values


I am delighted to introduce you to Groombridge St Thomas Church of England School. Through our website and School Prospectus we aim to provide information and communication with the whole school and wider community, as well as parents interested in applying for a place.

Our purpose and overall aims are to aspire for excellence in every area of the life of our school, following the ethos, values and teaching of the Christian faith , and to enable children to flourish and fulfil their potential, leaving us well rounded and confident individuals. We want all of our pupils to flourish and fulfil their potential academically and in their spiritual, social, moral and cultural development. Understanding and promoting well being and character development is very important to us at St Thomas'.

There are many factors which underpin the school including:

  • Our nurturing, holistic and caring ethos and values

  • An innovative, engaging, creative, broad and balanced curriculum embedding the arts, music and sport - we are very pleased to be sustaining Gold Mark standard for Sport/PE

  • The consistently high aspirations and expectations of all staff and our governors

  • The ongoing support received from parents, St Thomas' Church, parish and the wider community

  • A supportive and effective PTA

  • Our aspiration to provide every child with an outstanding, inspiring education of the mind, body and spirit

  • Continual school development which focuses on our vision and aspirations for every child

I would be very happy to introduce you to our school, staff and pupils. If you have any further queries or wish to visit, then please contact our office. Our School Prospectus can be found under the 'School Life' tab and on the Home page.

Angela Nicholls



To develop a curriculum, teaching and learning which:

- Raise standards of attainment

- Create a high achievement and progress culture

-Take into consideration children's individual needs and allows all children to experience success

- To provide an inspiring and lovingly inclusive education for every child

- Enables all children to recover from the impact of lockdown 2020 and any future lockdowns

'Be The Best You Can Be'

In Matthew 22 v 37-39 the two greatest commands are:

'Love God....and love your neighbour as yourself.'

Pen Portrait - Angela Nicholls

After graduating with a BA Honours and a PGCE in Primary Education, Angela’s first teaching role was in South East Essex Sixth Form College for three years (hard to believe primary jobs were like gold dust at that time) where RE/English O level and A levels and Foundation Studies were the focus. She then returned to Primary education teaching in a private school in London for a year. Wanting to teach abroad, Angela found a position in Cyprus where she also helped a team set up pre-schools in the Middle East – mainly Lebanon and Cairo.

On a school visit to Cairo Angela fell in love with the country and culture and spent nine wonderful years teaching in Key Stage Two at Maadi British International School. Every summer holiday, Angela enrolled and funded herself on quality professional development and leadership training in the UK and increasingly took on leadership roles in the school starting with Key Stage Two Co-ordinator and then acting Headteacher for a year. After the departure of the Headteacher, Angela was the founding headteacher for the the new Maadi British International School in partnership with a team of local businesses, Governors, the British Embassy and the Anglican Church. It is still a thriving school. There were twenty nationalities represented in the school from every continent and learning based on the British National Curriculum was dynamic, equality based, inclusive, inspiring and fun. Angela stayed as Headteacher there for three years and organised an Ofsetd inspection (which had a very good outcome) before returning to headship at Framfield School in England. After three years, Framfield received the most improved school in East Sussex award.

Angela joined Groombridge primary School as Headteacher in 2000, with 19 years teaching experience, seven years Key Stage 2 leadership experience and six years Headteacher experience. This is her third headship of a Church of England Primary School. The school has been validated in her tenure as Ofsted Outstanding 2006 and 2009, having Healthy School status, Gold Standard PE provision since 2017, ongoing Financial Management Standard, Safeguarding Compliant 2019, SEN Standard ESCC 2018 and an overall outstanding inspection for Religious Education and Collective Worship 2019. With all the changes in Ofsted goalposts and staff turnovers Angela would say that the school is a GOOD school with some elements of Ofsted outstanding practice. The journey of development never stops! Over the last 20 years the school built a library, SEN room, First Aid room, and aims to create a beautiful and dynamic learning environment. A wellbeing room and play area are planned, with an application for a grant already sent off. ‘Learning for Life’ is a motto which has always expressed Angela’s passion and aspirations for children underpinned by a broad, balanced and creative and sporting curriculum, a nurturing child-centred ethos and offering as much fun and inspiration in learning as possible. We want all children to do and be the best they can be.

Angela is a trained and experienced leadership coach and mentor, a trained and experienced local leader of education, and a Headteacher peer coach and mentor. Whist working collaboratively as an Education Improvement Partnership (EIP) Leader comprised of approximately 40 East Sussex schools from 2014 -2017, Angela co-wrote the English improvement plan which contributed to a rise in overall school performance in writing. Angela initiated and organized a county-wide leadership coaching initiative with the Institute of Human Development attended by 60+schools, and is totally committed to this essential approach for all levels of progress, development and school improvement. Angela also initiated and organized a local EIP coaching hub where Headteachers shared good practice in writing, EYFS good practice, supporting SEN pupils, improving attendance and cascading coaching through schools.

Angela is currently studying for a diploma in therapeutic practice with Therapeutic Life Story Work International (TLSWi) which she aims to roll out into all levels of school life and PSHE to embed what she calls ‘The Therapeutic School’ initiative - following the trauma of COVID-19 and its impact on children, parents and staff. Everyone is aware of the wellbeing crisis and the rise in emotional and mental health issues globally. Children need skills for life, work and positive relationships.

In her spare time Angela loves reading, researching professional best practice in education, the creative arts, dog walking, speaking at adoption trauma intervention conferences, experimental cooking (prefers a Rick Stein do it yourself box delivered) and walking and swimming along our beautiful coastline and areas of outstanding natural beauty on - travels at home and abroad when possible!

'Motivation is when your dreams put work clothes on'

Benjamin Franklin