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Case Studies

Many of our staff started their careers in completely different roles within the Cabins or with different career paths in mind. On this page, we highlight some of those still working in our Cabins and look at the routes others have taken.

Jane Hylton - Head of Comberton Cabins

I’ve been with the Cabin since the first students were sent to the school by the LA in 2006, even before our first building was delivered later that year.

I started as a Teaching Assistant, became a Communication Support Specialist, and after 17 years, a degree in Education Studies and a Masters in Autism (Children) later, I am now proud to be the Head of Cabin for main school at Comberton Village College and Head of Cabin at Comberton Sixth Form too. That said, I’m still learning, and I don’t think that will ever change!

Our students make my job worthwhile; I never know what a day may bring no matter how well we plan and prepare for it. Our students are all unique and a few words here cannot sum up how much they progress, both academically and emotionally, during their time with us.

They are our family too. Our staff are amazing and it’s great seeing our staff progress along our career path, taking on more responsibility and acquiring qualifications to match as they constantly strive for excellence in ensuring our students’ success.

Angie Chapman - Lead CSS at Gamlingay Cabin

For 26 years I worked in a secondary school supporting a wide range of students with differing SEN needs. I have undertaken lots of varying roles during this time, many of which were with Autistic students at a Cabin in St Neots.

I have constantly increased my CPD by completing Level 1,2,3 Teaching Assistant qualifications, plus an HLTA qualification. I also have Autism Education Trust certificates for level 1,2,3.

I was lucky enough to join The Cam Academy Trust in 2020 to work in their first primary Cabin as a Communication Support Specialist based at GVP and have subsequently been given more responsibility by becoming Lead Communication Support Specialist thanks to the Trust's career opportunities.

Megan Swannell-Bell - Lead CSS at St Peter's School Cabin

I have been working within St Peter’s Cabin since 2019, having originally started as a Cabin Teaching Assistant. Since then, I have advanced my career through opportunities in the Cabin.

I have now been Lead Communication Support Specialist at St Peter’s since January 2022.

My career in education began through my personal academic studies, with the aim of becoming a primary school teacher. I graduated with BA (Hons) Degree in Education Studies. Before embarking on a PGCE teaching qualification, I joined The Cabin as a Teaching Assistant.

My hope was to advance my understanding of Special Education Needs, Autism Spectrum Condition and how I could implement inclusive practices into my own future classroom.

However, my desire to support students on a more personal, individualised basis grew and I instead advanced my professional and academic career through The Cabin.

In September I began a Masters degree with University of Birmingham in ‘Inclusion: Autism Children’, which has already advanced my knowledge and practice to support our students in St Peter’s Cabin. I look forward to what is to come as I continue these interesting studies.

My favourite part of my role as Lead Communication Support within St Peter’s Cabin is combining a therapeutic curriculum to intertwine with the mainstream classroom.

Within the Cabin, our students have opportunities to focus on their social and emotional growth alongside their academic careers.

Our partnership with The Cambridge Junction, support from an Occupational Therapist, therapy dog and small, supportive intervention groups provide students with skills that can, hopefully, fulfil them as individuals once they leave education. Collaboration among these outside agencies, teaching and associate staff, parents and our students make this support possible.

Vinnie French - Lead CSS at Melbourn Cabin

I have been working within The Cam Academy Trust since 2016, having started at Comberton Village College as a Cabin Teaching Assistant.

Since then, I have advanced my career through opportunities across the Trust, within the Cabins, and its schools.

I have now been leading The Cabin at Melbourn Village College since 2017.

I redirected my career to that of supporting autistic individuals around 2011, initially with the aim to become a music therapist.

My personal studies led me to achieving a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Popular Music, with the plans to later go on and complete a Masters degree in Music Therapy.

However, before starting that I took a year out and began working in The Cabin at Comberton to increase my autism understanding.

Having enjoyed working with the students and team in The Cabin, I decided to stay on and develop a career within this educational setting and provision.

Very soon I will be graduating from Birmingham University with a master’s degree in ‘Special Education of Children with Autistic Spectrum Condition’, which has not only helped me to be more effective in my role of leading this provision, but has also helped me in understanding and meeting the needs of my own autistic child.

My favourite thing about my current role as Communication Support Specialist in Charge at The Cabin at  Melbourn is the wide variety of tasks I get to be involved with.

Supporting the inclusion of our students into mainstream teaching classrooms is only one part of my role. However, it is probably the largest and often the most challenging. My absolute favourite thing about my role is how collaborative it has become. To achieve success for our students, I must communicate and work alongside our students, their parents/carers, our teaching assistants, teachers, and all other associate staff within the college, as well as professionals and practitioners from multiple local authority services. It’s a team effort from all angles with only one target… to unpick any difficulties to enable the child to feel safe, happy, and achieve their full potential.


Warren Patrick - started as a Cabin TA, went through the teaching route and is now a Head of Year at Cambourne Village College.

Steve Smith - joined the Comberton Cabin as a TA after university, took the teacher training route within the Trust and now teaches PE at St Peter's School.

Jess Roffey and Helen Bryant - both started as Cabin TAs at Comberton and now work there as Art teachers.

Ross Potter - started as a TA in the Cabin and now teaches IT at Comberton.

Tracey Seagrove - worked as a Cabin TA after a break from teaching then became a CSS at Melbourn before returning to teaching, initially at Melbourn and now in the English Department at Comberton.

Oliver Stoneman - spent the year after university working in the Cabin and is now teaching history at Swavesey, having followed the same route as his sister Jenny, who now teaches history in Peterborough.

Reza Atilla - started as a Cabin TA, followed the Trust teaching training route to teach maths at Comberton before moving to Dubai to teach.

Gamlingay TAs Carys Naylor and Will Priestman hope to join the Teaching Apprenticeship Scheme next year.