Meet Our Team

Becca Dean MBE

Founder & CEO

Becca  is a former English teacher and  also the Co-founder of the award winning charity The Girls’ Network. In June 2021 Becca was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s birthday honours list for both her work with The Literacy Hubs and The Girls’ Network.  In 2017 Becca was listed as one of Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs. She is also the winner of the Stylist Magazine ‘Women With Heart’ Awards 2017, been featured in The Independents ‘Happy List’, a recipient of a Shaping Portsmouth Award and was awarded The Teach First Innovation award in 2012. Becca is Portsmouth born and bred and passionate about putting local female voices on the air. Each week she presents ‘In Conversation’ on Express FM where she welcomes a woman who has achieved incredible things both professionally and personally in order to share their story, wisdom and of course their favourite tracks.  Becca believes that coordinated, local, action to raise literacy levels, will lead to increased educational attainment, employment and economic engagement across the city.

A book that changed her life: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness 

“I was given this book by one of my incredible teaching tutors and I subsequently read it to a very special year 9 class in my first year as a teacher. The class was gripped and it created the most moving discussions about love, loss and hope.”

Natasha Turner

Chief Operations Officer

Natasha is a former History and Politics teacher, and academic mentor, who has worked with children to develop the skills they need to improve their attainment. After moving out of a school setting she spent time working in cultural heritage, including with the Education Team at the award winning Weald & Downland Living Museum, and training to deliver high quality learning experience in out of classroom settings.

Trained as a Beach School practitioner, Natasha believes strongly in the importance of using learning  environments to enhance student engagement, change mindset, and deepen their learning.

Favourite books: The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

“I was first introduced to the Discworld novels in my mid-teens, and immediately feel in love with both the vibrant characters and the magic of Pratchett’s universe. He perfectly blends laugh out loud humour with astute commentary on the way we live our lives. I’ve re-read these more times than I can count!”

Sara Parker

Captain (Hub Lead), Pompey Pirates

Sara came to Portsmouth in 2004 where she fell in love the seaside city and completed her degree in English Literature and Media Studies. After graduating she worked in London, and then took part in the Disney Graduate Scheme, working in Disney’s Animal Kingdom alongside attending hospitality lectures. After working as a Teaching Assistant and then completing her teacher training in London, she returned to Portsmouth where she has been a primary school teacher for 10 years. 

In her spare time she enjoys being creative: drawing, painting, making things, and of course reading! I love being outside and enjoy gardening and collecting house plants. I have a lively young son and enjoy spending time with close friends and family.

A book that changed her life: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

“I love how unashamedly herself she is, and how she is frank about women’s issues. I also love Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, and many of his other books. He handles the themes of mental health and the human condition with care and good humour.”

Amy Thomson

First Mate (Teaching Assistant), Pompey Pirates

Amy works as the Teaching Assistant and Administrator at our Pompey Pirates hub. She fell in love with the city while completing a BA(hons) English Literature degree at Portsmouth University, followed by a Humanities and Social Sciences MRes, for which she achieved a First. For 8 years she also worked as a swim teacher, assisting numerous children in the city to develop this important life skill.

Amy wanted a job where she could work with children and books, stumbling across her dream job at The Literacy Hubs. She regularly shares book reviews online and reads as often as possible.

Ideal location to read: “Either curled up under blankets with a hot chocolate on a cold day, or by the sea on a warm day.”