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Iona Kase Homepage

University of Kent Campus
Canterbury Innovation Centre, University Road,
Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7FG

Tel: 01227 811813
or 01227 211070
Text: 07742 188458


The following are members of the Iona team:

Norma Kitson

Norma Kitson - Director / Centre Manager, Diagnostic and Needs Assessor

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Before completing her degree in English and History and Theory of Art at The University of Kent at Canterbury and her PGCE at Christ Church College, Norma worked in research and personnel management. Since being in the educational sector, she has worked in a range of environments, including teaching foreign students and adults learning English as a second language, Year 6 pupils in mainstream school, of whom a high proportion had special educational needs, and lecturing at GCSE and A level in FE to adults and students with severe and complex disabilities.  For six years, she taught at a specialist school for pupils with severe dyslexia and associated conditions of dyspraxia, ASD, ADHD. 

Norma was the Dyslexia Adviser and also Specialist Tutor at the University of Kent at Canterbury. She was also Head of the Dyslexia Unit at a Sixth Form College where her responsibilities included diagnostic testing for pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), mentoring students with Asperger’s Syndrome and other disorders, and overseeing Sixth form transfers to FE/HE institutions.  Norma also ran staff development days and workshops for parents, and was involved in the LADS trials for Hull University involving the evaluation and monitoring of a computerised SpLDs screening program, for students aged 16+, and later a further project involving the analysis of control groups for a computer screening program for adult dyslexics in Higher Education.

Prior to setting up and running Iona Kent and South East, a DSA-QAG Accredited Assessment Centre, Norma assessed disabled students in HE for numerous London Universities, including the University of Westminster, Imperial College, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music and The Open University. She was also a QAG Auditor for other Assessment Centres.

Norma founded the DSA Forum SE in 2005 for students, parents, teachers and other professionals and DSA stakeholders supporting disabled students in education. The inauguration of the DSA Forum SE bi-annual Educational Conference followed in 2008, working with AimHigher, local Schools, FE and HE providers and other organisations such as National Autistic Society (AS); Rethink and Mind Mental Health Charities; RNIB/Action for the Blind; Dyslexia East Kent Support (DEKs); Working with Dyslexia and The Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (PATOSS). 

Norma regularly provides educational assistance and guidance and her time and expertise, pro-bono, within the education domain. Input includes interview panels for disability staff; DSA talks in schools, colleges and organisations and consultancy on Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) for specialist support and strategies, assistive technology and software strategies. Where necessary, assessments for students with no DSA funding have been provided.

James Hitchins

James – Iona Kent and South East Needs Assessor & Head of Student Services & Accessibility
(Joined/trained with Iona 2005)
BA English RNIB Cert. Braille RCM Cert.Vis.Imp. MA Philosophy

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James is the Head of Student Services & Accessibility at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he also undertakes assessments for Iona Kent and South East. He has been at Trinity Laban for 10 years and has made a significant impact on the provision for disabled students, gaining specific expertise in supporting visually impaired musicians and students with Asperger’s.

Prior to working at Trinity Laban, James worked for Mencap as a Health and Safety Officer / Tutor and delivered disability awareness training to external organisations. He has also worked as a private tutor for children with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. James has an MA in Philosophy from the Open University and is also a keen musician.

Elizabeth Hughes

Elizabeth - Iona Kent and South East Needs Assessor, Disability Adviser and MH Mentor
(Joined/trained with Iona in 2007)
B.A., FCIPD, T Dip IT, HE Certificate in Counselling, MSc Mental Health, PGCE

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Elizabeth read English and History at University College Dublin. Following this, she took a graduate Diploma in Business Studies at Rosse College in Dublin. She then moved to London and worked as a Courses Convenor for Birkbeck College. She qualified as a teacher of Information Technology and taught courses in the subject for a few years. Following this she qualified as a member of the Institute of Personnel and Development and moved into personnel/HR managerial roles, initially working for private sector companies, including Reuters Limited and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. Elizabeth then returned to work within education in HR roles within the HE sector, including a number of years as Deputy Director of HR at St George’s, University of London. She was a Director on the Board of Trustees for SAUL (Superannuation Arrangements for University of London) for several years, advising on employment matters. Elizabeth is also a trained mediator and continues to use these skills in aspects of her current work.

She changed career direction some years ago and trained as a counsellor and mental health practitioner while at the same time moving into the areas of counselling, mental health support and disability advice within further and higher education. More recently she qualified as a specialist teacher and assessor. She currently works part-time as a Mental Health and Dyslexia Adviser for the University of London. She also works on a freelance basis in the areas of DSA assessing, mentoring and provision of consultancy advice in regard to disability practice and legislation within both the FE and HE sectors. She has a particular interest in the way that accessing education can promote greater practical and emotional independence for students with mental health difficulties and other disabilities.


Jonathan - Iona Kent and South East, RNIB/Action for Blind People Needs Assessor
(Joined/trained with Iona 2009)
Studies include work towards the Certificate in Health Sciences, which includes courses on Diabetes Care and Understanding the Autistic Spectrum.

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Before going on to Higher Education, Jonathan enjoyed time spent travelling and working his way around Europe and Australia. He had the opportunity to assist with UNICEF and VSO work in Ethiopia, as a teaching assistant for local children helping with sport and other activities and also experience and involvement in other charitable work such as water pump installation projects and the ‘Food Run’ in Addis Ababa – the ‘Food Run’ involved nightly delivering of food parcels to homeless children and young people.

After returning to the UK Jonathan studied Business & Marketing at CCCU. He moved to London to work in marketing and corporate training where his responsibilities included travelling to the USA to negotiate contracts with new and existing clients.  Jonathan continued to work in the corporate world in London, which gained him valuable experience and many skills but did not offer personal satisfaction.

When offered redundancy, he took the opportunity to restructure and change the direction of his career.  Jonathan is an accredited Needs Assessor carrying out assessments for the Iona Centre in Canterbury and the Iona Outreach Centre in Greenwich; he also carries out assessments for the RNIB/Action for Blind People DSA Centre where he completed training for the assessment of students with visual impairment.  Ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and DSA-related training includes Psychometric Testing; ASD/Asperger’s Syndrome and Mental Health.  Jonathan has proved to be a valued member of the IONA team.

Lynne Regan

Lynne - Iona Kent and South East Assessor and HEI Disability Adviser
(Joined Iona 2009)
BSc (Hons) Psych, BA (Hons) Hum, MA, MEd, Cert Health Sci, Dip ELS, Adv Dip Ed, PGDPSE, MBPsP, AMNADP

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Lynne Regan graduated through the Open University with a BA (Honours) in Humanities with English Language and continued her studies obtaining a Diploma in English Language Studies, Advanced Diploma in Child Development and Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education, before going on to complete a Masters Degree in Education and a BSc (Honours) in Psychology, and also a Certificate in Health Sciences which included modules on Diabetes Care and the Autistic Spectrum. Lynne completed a Masters Degree in Higher Education at the University of Kent in 2017 and is currently in the final year of a Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) with research Investigating the experiences of transgender students in higher education. Lynne joined IONA in 2009 and in the course of her work as an Assessor, has specialised in physical disability, including assessments of students with Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as well as assessments of students with various Specific Learning Difficulties and students with mental health and Autistic Spectrum conditions. Alongside working part-time as an Assessor for Iona Kent and South East, Lynne also works in Higher Education as Disability Adviser and Student Support Administration Manager. Lynne is a graduate member of the British Psychological Society and Accredited Member of the National Association of Disability Practitioners.

Anna Kitson

Anna - Iona Kent and South East, Registered British Sign Language Interpreter (TI) NRCPD Registration ID: 1013649
(Joined/trained with Iona 2008)
BSc (Hons) Sports Science; Project Management Prince2 Practitioner, CACPD Level 1,2,3 and 6 in BSL (British Sign Language), Post Graduate Diploma in Interpreting and Translating.

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After completing her BSc (Hons) Sports Science, focusing on Biomechanics, Physiology and Anatomy, Anna moved into Project Management staying within the scientific arena. Building on her career within this field, she became accountable for Research and Development projects on both a European and Global basis. Anna then moved into Freelance Project Management and Business Management where her involvement with Iona began. 

Since joining Iona on a freelance basis, Anna has completed DSA Needs Assessor training as well as working with Iona on a corporate level streamlining business processes and creating documentation, including the Assessor and Office Staff Training Programmes and Manual. 

With a personal interest in British Sign Language, Anna chose to specialise within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing domain and completed her Post Grad in Interpreting and Translation, graduating in January 2014. She is currently studying to qualify as a Lipspeaker, which comes to fruition at the end of 2017. Present work involves providing interpreting and translation support to Deaf students at University and College level and also for Deaf professionals within the workplace with experience across a range of domains including education, media, film, banking, social services, Deaf awareness and on-the-job training. Anna has additionally had the pleasure of working on Deaf short films, written and directed by up and coming Deaf talent. When Anna isn’t working she has a passion for travel, planning trips around destinations such as China, Ethiopia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cuba and Europe with her sights on Cambodia and India in the near future, incorporating visits to local Deaf schools. With her exposure to such a wide and diverse range of environments and subjects, Anna has a solid understanding and awareness of Deaf students’ needs. 


Susan – Speech Language Therapist

BA (Hons) Social Science, MA in Audiology and Speech Sciences, Dip Ed Teachers of Learners with SPLD, ADOS-2 Accredited, Member of Royal College of Speech Language Therapy, Member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

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Susan is a Speech Language Therapist with 27 years of clinical experience working internationally in Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She has experience working in different sectors including community rehabilitation, hospital, and education but since arriving in the UK her work has focused primarily in schools. In the NHS, Susan managed a team of therapists working in specialist educational provisions for children/young people with speech, language and communication needs and led the development and delivery of staff training in mainstream schools across East Kent.

Susan’s clinical interest in the impact of communication difficulties on young people’s social and emotional development led her into the private sector working with young people with complex social, emotional and mental health needs in local authority care. In this role Susan worked extensively with schools to adapt the learning environment to enable young people to be successfully included in mainstream education.

In 2011 Susan was recruited by Speech Link Multimedia Ltd to work in partnership with University of Cambridge Psychometric Centre to lead a team in the development of a standardised assessment tool to enable mainstream secondary schools to identify young people with difficulties in language comprehension and social understanding. She further successfully developed online interventions and a teacher training package for secondary schools across the United Kingdom.

Since leaving the commercial sector, Susan’s special interest in young people’s social communication, has found her working as an associate clinician within a multidisciplinary team for Psicon Ltd Neurodevelopmental Lifespan Service, diagnosing children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Siobhan - Disability Adviser

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Siobhan McGhee has over 15 years of professional experience supporting learners, working primarily, but not exclusively, within further and higher education. They started supporting students on a one-to-one basis developing their skills on the job, and are currently a Disability Adviser at the University of Kent.

Siobhan's background and personal interests are in the arts. Being creative is fundamental to how they work. Their Degree and MA in Art have opened up many exciting opportunities for them which all have disability at their heart. Siobhan has personal experience of being in receipt of DSA through its many phases as a lifelong learner. They have personally experienced the positive impact that receiving DSA has, which has lead them down the path of supporting learners themself. They are passionate about equality and believe strongly in the motto "Nihil de nobis, sine nobis" Nothing About Us Without Us!


Rachel - Needs Assessor

Primary Teaching 3-7 years (BA Hons) First Class Honours

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Rachel graduated from the University of Brighton as a teacher in 2011 and has since taught across the primary age range. She has taught children with a range of special educational needs, always striving to remove barriers to learning and liaising closely with parents and outside agencies.

Rachel feels strongly that education should be fully inclusive and accessible for all and enjoys supporting students with pursuing their studies, interests and independence, working as a needs assessor with IONA on a freelance basis.

Iona Office Staff

The following are also members of the Iona team:

Emily Watson

Emily - Centre Manager and Assessor
(Joined Iona 2018)

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Emily joined Iona in December 2018 as Assistant Centre Manager. She is a qualified, chartered library and information professional with 15 years’ experience in supporting students in the education sector, primarily in further and higher education and latterly in the independent sector.

Emily’s experience encompasses leadership and advocacy; strategy, planning and management; customer focus, service design and marketing; IT and communication. Her background has provided her with library and information professional expertise in the following areas: organising knowledge and information; knowledge and information management; using and exploiting knowledge and information; research skills; information governance and compliance; records management and archiving.

In addition to the above qualifications, Emily holds City and Guilds 7302 Level 3 Certificate in Delivering Learning: an Introduction, NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Conflict Management and BCS Qualifications ITQ and ECDL.

Emily volunteers in the role of Trustee and Secretary of the PTA of her children’s school. She is also a Professional Registration Mentor for CILIP: The library and information association and has recently joined the Kent sub-region committee in a media role.

Hazel Ainslie

Hazel – Administrator / Assistant to Norma Kitson
(Joined Iona 2010)

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Hazel was born and brought up in Kenya, speaks Swahili fluently and has a strong affinity with Africa - a place she returns to every year. Having gained her Pitmans and RSA typing and shorthand qualifications, a BHSAI Riding Instructor, Hazel has worked as a PA, Safari guide, cook and also in the retail sector.

Three years ago Hazel gained her CELTA qualification (teaching English as a foreign language to adults) and has worked with children and adults from a wide variety of countries.  Since joining IONA in 2010, Hazel has observed assessments, completed Quality Assurance training and taken part in several DSA-related Symposiums and AT training sessions.

Hazel’s range of experience has made her very flexible in her approach to work. She is now well versed in the intricacies, sensitivities and regulations associated with the DSAs and has a wealth of experience dealing with student queries and liaising with parents, students, educational and DSA-related organisations, such as NADP, NNAC, Funding Bodies and Further / Higher Educational Establishments.

Augusta Itua

Augusta - Administrator
(Joined/trained with Iona in 2015)

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Augusta had been providing administrative support at the Oaks Nursery and at Kent Union Mandela Building. She has a Law Degree and a Masters in International Conflict Analysis, both from the University of Kent. Augusta has a strong connection with Kent and the University and extensive experience supporting students and young people. She previously worked as an Outreach and Recruitment Ambassador at the University of Kent and an Academic Peer Mentor at the Kent Law School, and recently moved to London to start a new position as a Youth Advocate at Just for Kids Law. She also has a passion for volunteering and helping others; her previous roles include sitting at the Kent Union HR Committee Board and three years of experience working at the Kent Law Clinic. Augusta continues to be a dedicated member of Iona’s staff team and supports with administrative tasks, outreach, marketing and training.

Sue Lade

Sue – Quality Assurance/Administration
(Joined/trained with Iona 2005)
BSc Mathematics

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Sue took a degree in Mathematics at Edinburgh University and worked for some years in the Financial Sector of the City of London before moving to Kent. For a while she taught EFL before moving into the educational sector as secretary, and latterly administrator, in a specialist school for children with SpLDs. In the course of her work, she has prepared many books, papers and reports on dyslexic people, as well as working with them every day, and she has a thorough knowledge of the problems they encounter.


Stacie - Office Administrator
(Joined Iona August 2019)

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Stacie joined Iona in August 2019 as Administrative Assistant. Before joining Iona Stacie worked in healthcare recruitment and enjoyed four years’ progression within a leading provider of highly trained clinical and administrative support staff; from initial role as Healthcare Coordinator through to management of a team of 80 staff.

Stacie built, maintained and nurtured strong client relationships, conducive to business development. Stacie relishes challenges and is quick and willing to assimilate and apply new administrative / operational processes and procedures.

With experience spanning health, social care and administration and a strong academic background Stacie has completed City and Guilds Level II Medical Terminology, OCR Level III Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care and Early Years 2004-2006 and OCR Level II Key Skills Information and Communication Technology (ICT), incorporating MS Office Suite.


Sarah - Trainee Assessor/Office Administrator
(Joined Iona February 2020)

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Sarah joined Iona in February 2020 as a part time Administrative Assistant whilst completing her BA (Hons) English and American Literature at University of Kent. Having graduated in July 2020, Sarah then went on to complete an MA in the same subject, graduating in November 2021.

After becoming a full time Office Administrator in September 2021, Sarah began training as a Needs Assessor in January 2022 and is currently building a portfolio of assessments to become fully qualified. As a former student in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance, Sarah has first-hand experience of the DSA process as well as knowledge and experience of several of the support strategies put in place for students. This experience also allows Sarah to engage with students she is assisting on an empathetic level.


Stephanie - Office Administrator
(Joined Iona September 2020)

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Stephanie joined Iona in September 2020 as an Administrative Assistant having just graduated with a BSc in Psychology from the University of Kent. She has previously worked in various retail and hospitality settings.

Being a recent graduate herself, Stephanie has a keen interest in being a part of helping to ensure that all students have the best university experience possible and are not disadvantaged by any disability.

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