About KDF

Our KDF Teachers

Mrs Kayleigh Wells (Buckland)

Owner, Principal and Teacher

Kayleigh is living her dream – she has always wanted to teach and opening KDF ACADEMY was just the icing on the cake.
Kayleigh started dancing at the age of 5, and in her own words was not particularly good to start off with. Her love for dance and performance grew as she took examinations, competed in local dance festivals and performed in numerous stage shows.

At the age of 16 Kayleigh successfully auditioned for a place at The Brit School (home to icons like AMY WINEHOUSE, JESSIE J AND ADELE) Kayleigh graduated The Brit School with a diploma in professional musical theatre in 2008.

Since graduating from The Brit school Kayleigh has gained her professional ISTD teaching qualifications in imperial classical ballet and modern theatre dance, she is also a registered member of the IDTA holding her associate level teaching qualification under the examining board. Her passion in dance is ballet and she has recently become a Progressing ballet technique teacher and instructor. She has taught for some of the top dance schools across the south, judged numerous dance competitions and had numerous success stories with her students. Kayleigh’s ISTD EXAM entry pass rate is 100% she brings to her school, experience, skill, love, understanding and most of all passion.

Kayleigh’s professional experience spans many different areas of the industry, she has appeared in numerous commercials, been cast in major films, danced in professional shows, appeared on The Brit awards, worked for The Walt Disney Company all over the world and acted as a talent agent for some of the leading agencies in the south.

Kayleigh is thrilled to have KDF ACADEMY and can’t wait for things to come

  • DDI and DDE ISTD – Imperial classical ballet and Modern theatre dance
  • Associate IDTA – Classical ballet
  • PBT – Progressing ballet technique qualified teacher
  • First aid trained
  • Full Enhanced DBS
  • Training – The Brit School, Drusilla Duffill theatre school, Chichester college

Miss Sophie Bassett


I started my dance training at Tanzen Academy, in Ardingly, from the age of 3 years old. Here I began my climb up the dance examination ladder. I also enjoyed participating in many shows, festivals and competitions along the way.

Some years later, I moved to Stages Performing Arts Centre, in Crawley, where I continued working towards achieving my Ballet, Tap and Modern grades, up to advanced levels.

At the age of 19, I attended Chichester College to further my studies. I gained both a Diploma in Dance Instruction (Ballet, Tap and Modern) and a Diploma in Dance Education (Modern and Tap). Later on, I went on to complete my Diploma in Dance Education for Ballet.

Being able to teach something that is a big part of my life is amazing. Experimenting with different styles of dance, through exciting choreography, is something I enjoy to do. I look forward to being able to pass my knowledge and experience on to students at KDF.


  • Chichester College
  • A level Theatre Studies
  • ISTD Advanced Grades Ballet, Tap and Modern
  • DDI Modern, Tap and Ballet
  • DDE Modern, Tap and Ballet 
  • Emergency First Aid
  • DBS Check
  • JPilates Ballet Barre Qualified

Miss Chloe Tugwell

Teacher and KDF Admin Extraordinaire

Chloé started dancing from a young age, first attending ballet lessons at the age of 2.

Then at the age of 5 she moved onto classes for modern, lyrical and tap. This is where she found her love of dance, working up through the grades by doing examinations and also taking part in festivals, shows and medal awards. During her teenage years, she assisted with the younger classes of her dance school also gaining her Dance Leadership Award Levels 1 & Level 2.
Chloé started her KDF journey back in 2016 as one of our adult students, then being roped into cover the front desk for one Saturday morning in early 2018 where she has been ever since! She also teaches our younger students and steps into assist/cover classes when needed.


Miss Abi Walters

Head of competition team / Teacher and Private tutor

Abi has been dancing since age 2, surrounding her life with all things dance and performance, having experience of performing in a variety of dance, drama and theatre shows, including professional productions, English Youth Ballet and film work.

She started her KDF journey as a student back when the school opened aged 13 where, with the support, care and teaching from the KDF staff, she achieved Distinctions in her higher-level examinations, had success at numerous competitions as well as taking part in the KDF shows and amazing school trip opportunities. After graduating from the school, Abi was delighted to be asked to join the teaching staff as well as rehearsing and assisting the competition team, which has opened a whole other world for her that she has fallen in love with. Since graduating, she has gone on to train professionally at Laine Theatre Arts, and is currently training at Bird College to gain a BA(Hons) degree in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre, aspiring to have a successful future career as a triple-threat performer.

She has obtained her DDE ISTD dance teaching qualifications in tap and modern and is passionate in inspiring her students through her own love of dance. Abi feels so lucky to have been a part of team purple for so long and continues to be proud of all the students.

Miss Jo Buckland

Lower school Teacher and Private Tutor

Jo started dancing and singing at the age of 3, going on to compete in festivals at a young and and continuing to train into her early 20’s at The Brighton Academy.

Jo loves being a part of KDF as it has such a special family feel where everyone is important. All the kids love to learn and it’s the best thing to see their confidence grow as classes go on.

Jo continues to enjoy singing and dancing by covering classes at KDF.

Mrs Shirley Buckland

Head of Uniform

Shirley is Miss Kayleigh’s mum and deals with all the k.d.f uniform.

Shirley has worked as a chaperone and children in entertainment co-ordinator for several years for numerous production companies.

She has had years of attending dance school shows, festivals, exams and competitions with Miss Kayleigh and Miss Jo and loves seeing the KDF students doing all the things Miss Kayleigh and miss Jo did as children.

Miss Abbey Francis


Abbey started her dancing journey at the age of 3 and has continued her love for all things dance ever since, from shows and performances to exams and competitions.

She started dancing under an American exam board, before moving into the ISTD community when joining KDF, thanks to her mum being apart of the adult classes. She took part in as many classes as possible to kick start her KDF journey. She was then invited and welcomed in to the competition team leading to much success and enjoyment, alongside making friendships and purple family love to last a lifetime. Alongside this she had taken her BTEC Dance and A Level Dance as if she wasn’t dancing enough and went on to gain her Intermediate Ballet and Modern with us after lockdown.

She has obtained her ISTD DDE Dance teaching qualifications in Ballet, Tap and Modern and continues to put all her love and passion for dance into her teaching. Abbey is forever grateful for the opportunities and support the KDF team has given her throughout her time as a dancer and now teacher, and is always in awe of what surprises her students bring to classes.


She has obtained

  • BTEC Dance and A Level Dance
  • Intermediate Ballet and Modern
  • ISTD DDE Dance teaching qualifications in Ballet, Tap and Modern

Miss Tee


I have been dancing and performing since a young age, starting off with ballet and gymnastics and now doing a variety of different styles with my favourite style to teach being acro dance.

Tee has been dancing since the age of three. Since beginning in ballet and tap shoes, her love for dancing blossomed.

She then began to learn new styles, specialising in acrobatics. Soon, she went on to compete in national competitions for many years, as well as performing in professional pantomimes. It was at this point she knew that this was the career for her!

Starting professional training in musical theatre at The Brighton Academy in 2021, Tee will be graduating in the summer of 2023 with a degree in the three disciplines of singing, dancing and acting.

During her teenage years, she started to teach at her dance school in Surrey, and never turned back! She has now been teaching for 6 years, and has found it to be an amazing experience to grow as a person and dancer.

She is very excited to become a part of the KDF family!


Tee has the following experience:

  • Degree in Singing, dancing & acting
  • 6 Years Teaching experience