Specialist Leaders of Education

In a highly charged and changing landscape for system leadership, for the academic year 2020 – 2021, our SLEs will continue to be led by our Director of Teaching School, Rachel Brindley. Their deployment will be both determined by SSIF priorities and any bespoke support which is sought, as has previously been the case, from individual schools.

We are inclusive and collegiate in approach, seeking to work with colleagues to improve outcomes for all students irrespective of background or circumstance. To this purpose, we are delighted that we are able to work with both the Astra Learning Alliance and Cygnus to offer accredited SLE training, and that a number of our SLEs have been requested to lead subject specific training sessions for the Astra Learning Alliance SCITT.Our SLEs, who come from a range of backgrounds across the Alliance, are listed below. Click on their names for a flavour of the work they do and the impact they have had. If you are interested in becoming a SLE and, with your Headteacher’s agreement, would like to shadow a colleague in their work in preparation for an application, please contact Rachel Brindley at for an informal discussion.

English: Gemma Absalom

I am currently in my thirteenth year of teaching, having studied and trained in the Midlands. I moved back to Hertfordshire in 2006 to take up a post at Parmiter’s School. I hold a 2:1 degree in English and Performing Arts and a PGCE. I also have a Masters degree in Education, specifically focused upon Leading Teaching and Learning, which I completed in 2010 through the University of Cambridge.

As Head of English, I guide a large team of experienced, highly-qualified teachers. We share the goal of wanting our pupils to achieve the highest grades of which they are capable and I see it as my job to facilitate this. Whether it be through my rigorous data-tracking system or my continued evaluation of course structure, I am always looking for ways to improve practice. Our outstanding results reflect this focus and I am excited by the prospect of sharing my experience. I believe it is a professional duty to be as well-informed as possible about forthcoming curriculum changes and have experience teaching a variety of examination boards at KS4 and KS5.

I strongly believe that all students should leave school able to communicate confidently, both on paper and in person. Through completion of my MEd, I have proven my ability to engage and motivate pupils in and beyond my own subject specialism. Coaching girls to become more active participants in their learning has caused me to reflect upon and improve my own teaching practice and I have shared these experiences with my colleagues. I am experienced at giving presentations to colleagues and parents: examples include INSET, annual Curriculum Evenings and HertsCam network events where I shared my research with teachers from other schools. Along with being responsible for the performance management of colleagues, I have mentored several trainee teachers through the various pathways to QTS. This requires a sensitive approach, particularly when the teacher is facing challenges such as coping with the marking load or establishing behaviour policies. I am there to support their training by giving structured feedback and acting as a role model.

Teaching and leading a core subject that is being constantly reviewed at a national level means that I have to be adaptable. I have a methodical, analytical approach to any task I undertake yet I can think creatively to work through new situations and challenges. These are skills that I would like to share with other English departments.

Outside of education, I love spending time with my young family, especially if it involves being out in the countryside. I enjoy horse-riding, walking and, of course, reading.

English: Amy Cort

Since qualifying as an English teacher in 2010, I have taught students of all abilities from Key Stages 3 to 5. I am currently four years into my post as Key Stage 4 coordinator for English at St Clement Danes, a faculty rated as ‘Outstanding’. My role includes specific responsibility for the academic progress of KS4 students, comprising curriculum management, data tracking and analysis and the creation of bespoke support programmes to ensure the best outcomes for all students, regardless of need.

In addition to my degrees in English Literature and Psychology, I am a certified mentor and have experience pastorally as Assistant Head of Key Stage 4.

My areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • Data management, tracking and analysis 
  • The creation and implementation of strategic support and intervention programmes
  • High quality teaching and learning 
  • Mentoring of staff new to the profession as trainees or NQTs
  • Designing effective curriculum coverage and assessment procedures for newly introduced linear qualifications

    Since January 2017, I have supported six significant school to school support programmes across Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire with a core focus on improving outcomes for students. As a newly qualified SLE for September 2018, my recent deployment has a focus on improving the quality and consistency of teaching and learning in an improving English faculty.

    Outside of the classroom I am a qualified Duke of Edinburgh supervisor and Level 2 netball coach.

English: Nikki Railton

Over 16 years in education, I have had the privilege of working in three schools judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. This has given me the opportunity to work with, and learn from, countless outstanding teachers.  I believe passionately in the equality of education for all: as a SLE I am able to support students and staff in a variety of schools, building foundations for the years to come. 

As an English specialist, I understand the importance of the subject and its impact across the curriculum. During my time as Deputy Subject Leader, I worked to raise the profile of KS3 English: reworking the curriculum; developing a programme of whole cohort events; building new ways to manage and track data; working with KS2 and KS4 to manage transitions and developing whole school literacy.  

Throughout my professional life, I have been passionate about teaching and learning and have relished the opportunity to share this with others. I have led a wide range of INSETs within and across schools, on topics including using Praise as Prevention, Planning for Challenge, Personalisation in English, Creating a Culture of Oracy and Active Learning and Student Engagement.  I strive to develop myself professionally and undertook a Masters in English Education in 2015, gaining a distinction.  My paper ‘Lessons in Culture: Oral Storytelling in a Literature Classroom’ was published in the peer reviewed journal, ‘Changing English’.   

My areas of expertise and interest are:

  • High quality teaching and learning
  • Curriculum design, planning and assessment in English
  • Creative pedagogy
  • Behaviour management
  • Working with challenging cohorts
  • Implementing intervention
  • Managing transition
  • Mentoring and coaching of new and experienced staff

Outside of education I enjoy time with my young family, keeping active outdoors and reading.

English: Natalie Reece

I have taught English in secondary schools for over twenty years. I have extensive experience of a wide range of school leadership roles including Head of English, Whole School Literacy Lead, Director of Teaching and Assistant Headteacher, leading on Learning and Teaching.  I have a proven track record in improving student outcomes across a wide range of school settings and types. 

I am highly experienced in monitoring and evaluating the wide-ranging aspects of school life, and offering both the necessary challenge and support.  I work closely with senior leaders, supporting on a wide variety of school improvement projects, to evaluate their current provision and to assess how they can further develop outstanding practice in order to maximise its impact on raising achievement.  I also have a strong reputation in devising and delivering directly relevant professional development training to a wide range of both primary and secondary schools, across the UK. 

I strongly believe that outstanding leaders must also be learners, and I am passionate about keeping abreast of and understanding emerging educational developments.  

I have completed my MA Education and was awarded ‘Distinction’.  I have worked as an accredited facilitator with the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL); I have written materials for and delivered the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) and I have also devised and delivered training for Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs).

I maintain that ‘no two schools are the same’ and my professional approach has always been highly regarded by schools.  When supporting schools, my breadth of experience in conjunction with the practical strategies I offer teachers and leaders, not only accelerates learner outcomes but also ambition.

Further types of CPD/school support that I offer to schools are:

  • Whole school learning and teaching, lesson observations and feedback, coaching teachers from ‘RI to Good’ and ‘Good to Outstanding’
  • Literacy/Reading across the curriculum
  • English teaching and coaching of English teachers/supporting Heads of English
  • GCSE English and English Literature revision workshops (aimed at students on grade 4/5 borderline)
  • Middle Leadership courses and coaching
  • Moving into Senior Leadership (one day course) 


Science: Amanda Quinton

I have been a Science teacher for over 22 years and still wake up each morning looking forward to going to school! I have a Physics degree from Bristol University and a PGCE from Oxford University. During my career, I have had the great privilege to hold a variety of roles including Key Stage 4 Science co-ordinator, subject co-ordinator, cross-curriculum co-ordinator, pastoral mentor, ITT mentor, and I was nationally accredited as an Excellent Teacher prior to my accreditation as a Specialist Leader of Education. 
As well as being an experienced Science teacher, I am also involved in whole school Teaching and Learning initiatives, ITT, CPD, STEM club, and many projects such as my ‘Girls into Physics’ initiative which provides  a sequence of activities aimed at addressing the national shortage of girls from mixed comprehensive schools who take A level Physics. 

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • Coaching  
  • Engaging students in Science through hands on, active learning experiences 
  • High quality mentoring of NQTs and ITT students 
  • Excellent behaviour management for improved learning 
  • Creative response to problem solving 
  • Commitment to the job in hand and the resolve to see it through to a successful outcome

I am motivated to use every tool available to support and inspire the least able student to the most able leader. I would welcome any opportunity to work with middle management leaders in other schools to promote learning, improve systems, share good practice, support change, and strive for excellence together through collaboration and partnership.

Science: Amriss Assaye

I have been working as Head of Physics for the past 10 years. As subject leader I have provided leadership and direction for Physics and ensured that it is managed and led to meet the aims and objectives of the faculty within which I work. For many years I have played a pivotal role in the development of departmental policy and practice in order to secure exceptional standards of teaching and learning. While leading the Physics department, the number of A- level learners has more than doubled and students produce some of the school’s best results, securing places at prestigious universities. 

Managing staff and dealing with their difficulties effectively, and ensuring that teachers are aware of the requirements of current and imminent Physics exams and updates have been a key part of my responsibility. New teachers or trainees have been appropriately supported and effectively inducted in the requirements of the Physics core programs. I have also supported a number of trainee teachers / teachers in planning Physics lessons in order to develop further their expertise in planning, preparation and assessment over the years. The rationale for each of the teaching methods they intend to use is discussed. The impact of this work has been highlighted within students’ achievements, namely through AFL, regular assessments, monitoring of progress and external examination results. 

As subject leader of Physics, I have prepared and produced a significant number of Schemes of Learning - accompanied by lesson plans - ranging from KS3 to KS5. I have always been willing to share ideas and resources with colleagues in my current school and they have been encouraged to spend time reflecting on new practices. 

I have always believed in the efficacy of active learning techniques and ensure that these are embedded in my lessons and I have led a full day training course to secondary teachers and presented the same in the Secondary Science Conference. I am particularly interested in ‘Stretch and Challenge’ and have produced two ‘Stretch and Challenge’ booklets designed to support gifted A Level Physics students. 

I have prepared the Physics Subject Specialist Training course (TSST) which I am leading throughout the academic year. This subject enhancement course has been launched and approved by the Institute of Physics as a booster course for non-specialist Physics Science teachers within the Herts and Bucks Teaching School Alliance. 

Finally as a National science SLE I had the opportunity to be deployed in other schools to raise achievements in the science department.  

Science: Robert May

I have been a qualified teacher for twenty years. During this time, I have held a wide range of positions from day-to-day and long term supply in Inner London to becoming a permanent Teacher of Science, an Assistant Head of Year, Head of Department and, finally, Head of Faculty. I spent 13 years at an outstanding inner London comprehensive school in Brent and am currently six years into my current post, Head of the Science, in a high achieving girls’ grammar school. My experience has provided me with considerable insight in terms of teaching Science to a diverse range of students and managing the requirements for leading on a range of qualifications. 

My particular areas of interest and expertise are: 

  • High quality delivery of the Science curriculum especially Chemistry 
  • Leadership and Management 
  • Coaching

My most recent SLE work involved working with a Head of Faculty with the aim of improving staff retention. This involved me working directly with an individual member of staff. Through close reflection and analysis, I sought to build their confidence by identifying existing good practice while also setting agreed targets for improvement. 

Computer Science: Adam Baker

After gaining a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science, I became a Computer Science teacher over 12 years ago. In that time have taught the full ability range at GCSE, AS and A2, and supported students with their EPQs. I am currently Leader of ICT and Computer Science at Parmiter’s School with further responsibility for diversity and equality.  

Since 2012, I have been in charge of the strategic development of whole-school ICT creating a long-term development plan for the improvement of the ICT infrastructure.  I also have leadership responsibilities for the member of staff in charge of our school e-learning platform and help to develop strategies and deliver training to all staff on this.  

I enjoy finding innovative, student-centred ways to teach Computer Science.  I completed my MA in ICT in Education at King’s College London in 2012 and have used the skills and knowledge I learned through this to manage ICT and digital innovations and initiatives, such as a ‘bring your own devices’ policy.  

I have been fortunate enough to be able to share good practice with colleagues at Parmiter’s and further afield, through various INSET opportunities and exhibitions. I was delighted to present twice at the Innovation Education Technologies Exhibition in Manchester, where I shared our success with the ‘bring your own devices’ initiative and my thoughts on the upcoming changes to the Computer Science curriculum.

I have worked in a range of schools including secondary schools in Nottingham - both inner city and county schools with over nearly 2000 students.  I have become a School Based Subject Tutor for the University of Hertfordshire, helping to train our next generation for Computer Science Teachers. I have also worked as a moderator for GCSE ICT in the past. 

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • Leadership and management of students and teaching and non-teaching staff  
  • Curriculum management and planning including tracking of departmental and whole school assessment and data analysis  
  • Policy making e.g. whole school ICT and behaviour policies  
  • Coaching and mentoring trainee and new teachers as well as line management of other curriculum areas  
  • Whole school communication  
  • Coordinating and sharing good practice  
  • Project management and staff appraisals  
  • Multiple budget management and forecasting  
  • Motivation and empowerment of staff by leading by example 
  • Identifying under performance and planning interventions

In my SLE deployment I have been offering support to newly appointed subject leaders to help to raise standards across the subject of Computer Science. I have also supported an experienced Head of Department in improving standards of Controlled Assessment and improving students’ motivation during these tasks. Recent work focused upon helping Heads of Department implement the new Computer Science curriculum across all the Key Stages while ensuring rigorous assessment of progress and intervention. The above examples of support have had a direct impact upon students’ motivation and results within the respective departments.

I am an ambitious and driven Computer Science teacher and SLE with a passion for innovation, teaching and learning, professional development and equality in education I am on a mission to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Maths: Andrew Perkins

My qualifications include a BSc(Hons) and PGCE from Leicester University and an MSc from Surrey University. I have experience in the roles of a HOD and as an accredited Excellent Teacher, and I spent many years working in Teacher Education.  

As a Specialist Leader of Education for Mathematics, I continue to both teach Mathematics and develop creative and engaging teaching and learning strategies within my own school while also supporting the teaching of high quality Mathematics in other schools. I am trained as a facilitator of the OTP and ITP programmes and, in collaboration with a SLE colleague, have led the Herts and Bucks Teaching School Alliance delivery of these programmes over the course of the past academic year. 

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • High quality mentoring of NQTs and ITT students 
  • The provision and delivery of high quality CPD for staff, both experienced and relatively new to the profession 
  • The ability to work closely and sensitively with colleagues in order to ensure anticipated and excellent outcomes for all 
  • Partnership work and the co-ordination and sharing of good practice 
  • High quality, creative teaching and learning 

I had the opportunity to gain a broader perspective on education through teaching abroad for a number of years and more recently have engaged with a number of schools across Hertfordshire and wider afield through the provision of a support package aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning in Mathematics across secondary key stages. A recent highlight of my career as a SLE was the opportunity to visit China to explore the teaching methodologies used within their education system. 

Maths: Sarah Cassidy

I have been a Mathematics and Statistics teacher for the last 5 years, working in both the state and independent sector. I have taught the full ability range at GCSE/IGCSE, AS and A2 Mathematics and some Further Mathematics.  My qualifications include a first class degree in Mathematics and Statistics (BSc Hons) and a PGCE from Oxford Brookes University. I am currently Pedagogy Lead Teacher at my school.

My particular areas of expertise and interest are:
Mentoring and coaching NQTs
Planning, implementing and reviewing the mathematics curriculum at KS3&4
Coordinating and sharing good practice
Data analysis including the identification of students for intervention at GCSE level, and delivery of bespoke intervention

As a newly appointed SLE for September 2018, my recent Lead Practitioner deployment involves devising a new two year scheme of work for KS4; identifying students for invention and bespoke delivery in line with need, and the provision of coaching for a new colleague.

Maths: Lauren Lake

I have been a Maths teacher for the last 5 years and have taught a full range of abilities from KS3 to AS and A2 Mathematics, specialising in statistics. My qualifications include a joint honours degree in Maths and Sports Science (BSc) from Loughborough University and a Masters in Education (MA) and a PGCE from Hertfordshire University. I am currently coordinator of Maths at Croxley Danes school.

My particular areas of expertise and interest are:

  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Planning, implementing and reviewing mathematics curriculum at KS3 and 4
  • High quality teaching and learning
  • Coordinating and sharing good practice
  • Data analysis leading to bespoke interventions and support
  • Effective behaviour management for learning

    As a newly appointed SLE for September 2018, I have had recent experience of developing schemes of work at KS4 level; delivering intervention sessions for identified students, and analysing data to identify students for intervention, monitor progress and identify subject topic areas for further development. I have coached and mentored a new colleague and moderated exam marking. I am passionate about Maths and the delivery of Maths to our young people.

Maths: Catherine Netscher

I have been a teacher of Mathematics for 7 years and in that time have taught the full ability range at GCSE, AS and A2. I have worked in a number of schools including a large comprehensive secondary school and a Church of England secondary school, both in North London. I am currently teaching at Watford Grammar School for Boys with specific responsibility for the academic progress of Year 12 students in Mathematics and the delivery of the new A Level for Mathematics which is to be first taught in September 2017. Given that we consistently have some 300 boys studying Mathematics in Years 12 and 13, this is quite an undertaking. I am also Professional Mentor for School Direct trainees at the school and am responsible for the quality and consistency of their initial teacher training, working closely with the University of Hertfordshire. We currently have 5 School Direct trainees for whom I am responsible, across a range of subjects.

Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a Change Management Consultant, working on large, global change projects across various industries, mainly in the areas of finance and systems. I am also a qualified accountant.  

My particular areas of educational expertise and interest are:

  • Planning, implementing and reviewing the curriculum, particularly for GCSE and A level Maths 
  • Stretch and challenge for all students 
  • Coordinating and sharing good practice

A SLE for just a year, my most recent extended deployment involved supporting a newly appointed Headteacher of a primary school to improve the Mathematics teaching and learning of their most able Year 6 students. This was achieved through collaboration with the Mathematics specialist teacher at the school to ensure the students were stretched in line with the new mastery requirements for Mathematics.  The most recent Ofsted report for the school – a movement from RI to Good – specifically comments on the improvements seen in the level of challenge provided to the school’s most able students; the initiative was also viewed very favourably by parents and children alike.  
Prior to this, I worked on school to school support with a local large comprehensive school to develop their A level Mathematics teaching for first teaching in 2014-15. I supported the Head of Department and the A level Mathematics teacher to develop a Scheme of Work, to develop resources and to moderate A level work. I also observed and coached the A level Mathematics teacher, supporting his delivery of the curriculum. The success of this venture continued from AS to A2 teaching, and the school continue to be able to deliver a thriving and popular A level Mathematics course, with improving results.

Maths: Nisha de Alwis

I graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA (Hons) in Mathematics in 2003, after which I completed a Secondary Mathematics PGCE, also at Cambridge. I am currently in post as Head of Faculty for Mathematics and Computer Science at an ‘Outstanding’ school in Buckinghamshire, a position I have held since 2012.

I have taught across all Key Stages and at A-Level I have taught across all specialist areas in terms of both Maths and Further Maths.

Within my teaching career I have held a range of pastoral and academic leadership positions including Head of Year (Year 8 and Year 12) and PGCE Mentor. I have been a form tutor at every Key Stage, and I have considerable experience in writing UCAS references and running an Oxbridge Maths support programme.

As part of my previous deployment as a SLE, I have worked as an assessor for those in the ITT phase, working with Professional Tutors, Subject Mentors and trainee teachers to assess and to support progress at this early stage of teaching. I have led school-based CPD on a number of occasions, delivering content relating to areas as diverse as Assessment and Marking and Leadership Skills.

I am deeply passionate about the high-quality teaching of Mathematics and the importance of research-based practice as the foundation for classroom pedagogy. I have a keen interest in the methodology of how students learn and how our understanding of the science behind this can help us to deliver outstanding teaching and to foster valuable learning.

My particular areas of expertise, interest and experience are:

  • The Maths curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5
  • A Level Further Mathematics
  • Leadership of a department and faculty
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Data analysis and tracking   

Special Educational Needs (SEND): Ann Ralph

I have been a teacher for 20 years and, in that time, have taught the full ability range at Key Stage 3, GCSE, AS and A level.  I have taught Mathematics, ICT, Computing, Business Studies and Business and Communication Systems.  In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I am Director of Learning Support at Royal Masonic School, managing provision across Years 7 to 13, with a team of 18 learning support teachers. Over 130 students are receiving additional support, whether individually or in small groups and 90 are eligible for access arrangements in examinations.  I have worked with students who have a range of specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, dyspraxia, dycalculia, ADD/ADHD, APD, ASD, working memory, processing issues, anxiety, mental health issues and sight and hearing impairment. 

I have carried out a range of duties in my career including responsibility for KS3 ICT in a boys’ grammar school, Assessment Coordinator, Head of Information Support Systems (MIS) as well as Director of Learning Support, a position I have held for 15 years.  I maintain my professional development in SEND in order to fully understand and support the students with learning differences and I am currently researching APD and ASD.  This enables me to support and inform the staff as well as the parents and students. 

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • Planning learning support provision across the school 
  • Managing a team of professionals, including creating their timetables 
  • The importance of record keeping and evidence 
  • Provision of access arrangements and assessments 
  • Managing communications relating to learning support around the school, with parents and external agencies 
  • Providing training for staff as a whole, by department or individually 
  • Screening students and analysing data to identify needs as early as possible, for an individual student and whole school data analysis 
  • Promotion of the Learning Support department so it has become an integral part of the school 
  • Promotion of quality first teaching by helping staff understand the different needs in the classroom and providing a toolkit of strategies 
  • Identifying difficulties and under-performance in a student and planning strategies to support 
  • Encouraging the sharing of good practice, either with staff relating to a learning difficulty or supporting a specific student or with pupils sharing successful techniques

I have worked with a number of schools, providing training for newly appointed SENCOs and have set up meetings to provide the opportunity to discuss best practise. 

ITT / CPD: Rachel Brindley

Always at heart an English teacher, I have taught the full ability range at Key Stages 3 to 5, and supported A Level students with their EPQs. As an Advanced Skills Teacher, I worked closely with the University of Hertfordshire on their English Studies Programme, considered ‘Outstanding’ at the time and, at the same time, held the position of Head of English within a Faculty also considered Ofsted ‘Outstanding’. I have worked in consultancy and as a member of the Senior Leadership Team at an all-through academy which, having experienced very challenging circumstances, is now in receipt of a ‘Good’ Ofsted judgement for all categories.

Beyond my first degree in English Literature, my qualifications include a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management and the NPQH.  I am also trained as a Challenge Partner Reviewer. 

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • Leadership and management 
  • Partnership work, and the co-ordination and sharing of good practice 
  • High quality teaching and learning 
  • Planning, implementing and monitoring support and mentoring programmes for staff new to the profession or aspirant members of staff 
  • Forensic data analysis leading to sharp and purposeful intervention which has a direct impact on student outcomes 
  • Effective behaviour management for learning 

Since January 2017, I have led seven significant school to school support programmes across Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, all in receipt of DfE or BDT funding. The success of these programmes is evidenced within Ofsted judgements, improved attainment and progress measures, and testimonials from the schools themselves.

ITT / CPD: Louisa Leonard

An innovative, energetic and passionate History teacher, I am experienced in promoting outstanding teaching and learning for students, advancing Continued Professional Development, and helping to develop school strategy. My ambition is to bring these existing skills to bear in all school settings that I work in and, despite working in four London schools in the last 16 years, I continue to strive to develop as a professional and look for ways to share best practice with colleagues in a range of settings.

I obtained an MA in History from Edinburgh University and my P.G.C.E. from The Institute of Education (UCL). I have taught the full ability range (KS3, KS4 AS and A2) and have worked in schools during periods of significant educational change. I am currently working as a History teacher and have recently taken on the as role as ITT Professional Mentor at St Clement Danes School. I have been involved in a number of projects which have sought to promote and develop excellence in teaching and learning throughout the school. For example, I have driven advancements in literacy, led a project to implement a new thresh-holding strategy and devised strategies for the successful delivery of the skills essential for the new linear A level. I am interested in developing approaches which seek to increase student engagement and grow their capacity as independent learners. I have also worked as an expert examiner and moderator for A Level History for over twelve years.

My particular areas of expertise are:

  • Promoting the development of strategies to ensure students’ individual needs are met
  • Designing stimulating and creative lessons to engage all learners
  • Creating threshold standards and assessments for History at KS3
  • Developing and implementing  schemes of work and assessment material in line with new linear G.C.S.E and A-Level
  • Maintaining high standards of behaviour management to ensure elevated standards of learning in every lesson
  • Identifying underperformance and planning intervention
  • Data analysis
  • Working as an EPQ tutor

My most recent SLE deployment involved supporting a Head of Humanities to address underperformance of higher ability students at KS3 and KS4. I was asked to identify the barriers to learning which included addressing disaffection, limited subject knowledge and lack of progress. As a result, I was able to suggest improvements in strategies such as diagnostic marking, AFL, improved data collection and monitoring. I was also able to offer advice on effective teaching and learning strategies and the implementation of competent assessment criteria across all key stages in order to disseminate essential skills and embed best practice. In addition, I have carried out similar work within a different teaching alliance which put in place a programme of study to improve the teaching of History at KS5 which ensured that students (at risk of failure) were able to pass A2 History.

I look for ways to ensure that students can fulfil their potential as empowered individuals and as members of groups and communities. This is what I believe teaching is all about. As a result, I have ensured that my work experiences and subsequent practice have reflected my ambition and drive in teaching to this effect.

Humanities and Leadership Development: Nicola Renyard

I am currently in post as an Assistant Headteacher at a high achieving, ‘Outstanding’ school in Buckinghamshire. My current responsibilities include strategic leadership of whole school learning and the Sixth Form. Prior to this I have worked as a Subject Leader for History and Politics and as a Head of Humanities.

I am passionate about improving the quality of learning and teaching within schools. In my role as a Specialist Leader of Education, I want to ensure that best practice is shared and that teachers have the tools to deliver outstanding teaching and learning for all. I am also passionate about supporting the next generation of school leaders and particularly enjoy helping others to progress in their teaching careers.

My particular areas of expertise and interest are:

  • The History curriculum from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5
  • Co-ordinating and promoting the wider integration of Humanities within the whole school curriculum
  • Leadership of Sixth Form
  • Mentoring staff from NQT to leadership roles
  • Provision of advice and expertise in relation to the extra-curricular school visits offer
  • Developing and promoting a vision for learning and enacting this

Humanities: Jemma Green

If you are looking for someone to support your History team, be it with individual teachers, systems, pedagogical innovation or curriculum design then please do consider making contact through the Herts and Bucks TSA. I am an experienced Middle Leader, currently working as Head of History at a high achieving and successful ‘outstanding’ Buckinghamshire state school, but also with prior experience as a Head of Year, Head of House and Learning Coach. This background means that I am fully aware of the need to make History teaching and learning the best it can be whilst not losing sight of the bigger picture within your school context. My approach is based around my fundamental commitment to fostering effective pedagogical techniques and supportive team and student-teacher relationships, which I believe are at the heart of any successful department. With this, and my experience as a learning coach in mind, you can expect me to adopt a supportive ‘coaching’ style as opposed to a managerial or judgemental approach. Whilst examinations in themselves are by no means the only measure of success, I hope that my faculty’s results being in the top 2% nationally will go some way to assuring you of the secure foundations on which these principles are built. My particular areas of expertise within History lie in ‘stretch and challenge’, embedding higher order skills across a 5 year curriculum, developments in pedagogical theory and establishing effective and personalised intervention.

Humanities: Andy Bird

I have been a teacher for close to 15 years and I have taught across the full range of academic abilities. I spent my early teaching years in an inner-London comprehensive; four years as a Head of Department in a school successfully working its way out of Special Measures, and the last eight years as Head of Department and Head of Faculty in two outstanding Buckinghamshire schools. These schools have all provided me with a wide range of experiences, all of which I bring to my role as a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE).

As Head of the Humanities Faculty at an ‘Outstanding’ Buckinghamshire school, I lead the Heads of History, Geography, PRE, Business, Economics, Politics and Classics. The role requires the ability to pull together a team comprising of a range of disparate skills, and a variety of differing assessment objectives, in order to achieve sustained success. I am committed to creating teaching and learning cultures of consistent excellence, but my experience has taught me that this can never be achieved by a one-size fits all approach and I always ensure that my collaborative work as a SLE sits alongside the context and ethos of the partner school to deliver what works best for them.

Whether it has been turning around a struggling department under the pressures of Special Measures to delivering the highest GCSE results in the school’s history and attaining an ALIS score at A-Level that put the department in the top 0.5% nationally for 4 consecutive years through to leading a Faculty to attain record numbers of Oxbridge entrants, my career is one that demonstrates that progress can come in many different forms.

My particular areas of interest and expertise are:

  • Ensuring department-wide progress at GCSE and A-Level
  • Developing effective leadership in Humanities and History
  • Rapid improvement of classroom practice
  • Managing change on a departmental level, especially curriculum or staffing change


Geography: Katharine Clark

I have been a Head of Geography for the past 5 years at a high achieving and successful outstanding academic school in Hertfordshire. I have taught AQA and Edexcel Exam boards at both GCSE and A Level and successfully implemented new schemes of work at KS3 and both the New GCSE and A Level 2016 specifications. I have a wealth of experience of mentoring staff from unqualified staff to then building up their confidence to then deciding to become qualified. I have mentored Schools Direct trainees, PGCE trainees and NQTs who have all passed with ‘Outstanding’.  I have led an INSET session for the Herts and Bucks TSA on ‘KS4 New Specification Delivery’ and recently delivered an INSET on ‘Effective Whole Class Marking’ and the ‘Impact on Teacher Workload’. I have also provided training on how to implement a new departmental marking policy to accompany this to other Middle Leaders.

I have a passion for helping others to fulfil their potential. I am a true believer in teamwork and creating a supportive atmosphere can produce the best outcomes for all. The foundations for successful teamwork is trust in each other when moving a group forward. I feel I have a wide range of experience and knowledge and a love for Geography which I want to use to motivate other Geography leaders and Geography teachers to inspire the next generation. I can provide ideas, develop skills and pass on my experiences to develop others. Furthermore, this can raise the teaching standards and improve the effectiveness of both leadership and management of a Geography department.  

My vision is to deliver outstanding support in order to eliminate issues and overcome barriers for both staff and students to bring about positive change which in turn will lead to increased motivation among staff and drive up standards within a Geography department.

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

  • High quality mentoring of unqualified, PGCEs, Schools Direct and NQTs 
  • Partnership work, collaborative work with colleagues and sharing of good practice 
  • Coaching staff at various levels of experiences
  • Engaging students in Geography through highly engaging learning activities which relate theories to the real world 
  • Excellent behaviour management for improved learning
  • Creative approaches to teaching
  • Planning engaging and diverse curriculum
  • High quality teaching and learning 
  • Effective management of behaviour for learning 
  • Building up Geographical skills required for exams and NEAs
  • Systems for tracking and monitoring progress alongside analysis of exam results

I really enjoy seeing the transformation and development of staff habitually arising from high quality coaching, sharing of good practice and meeting of professional minds. I am certain that to continue to be a thriving professional you must be a reflective practitioner and foster this in others. I really enjoy collaborating with other professionals to share ideas and good practices as well as stimulating discussions to seek new ideas to find new solutions.

RE: Andrew Jones

I am currently an Assistant Headteacher for CPD but also have experience of being a Head of Department and Lead Practitioner for whole school teaching and learning. As a Lead Practitioner for Teaching and Learning, I had responsibility for:

  • ensuring 60% of observed lessons within the school were ‘graded 1’
  • devising personalised improvement programmes for teaching staff
  • coaching and mentoring middle leaders and newly qualified teachers
  • overseeing the school centred initial teacher training programme
  • writing, editing and updating learning and teaching blogs for staff and parents
  • training staff internally and presenting ideas at teaching conferences externally

As Head of Department for RS and Sociology, my department’s successes included:

  • the Year 11 GCSE RS results rising from 47% A*-C to 74% and then 100% over my first two years
  • in 2014, our large, mixed-ability GCSE cohort attained 95% A*-C, which comprised 90% A*-B and 57% A*-A. In 2015, we entered over 200 mixed ability students and attained 85% A*-C
  • being regularly ‘significant +’ on both the A*- C and A*- A measures on the DfE’s Raise Online performance assessment
  • the RS department offering no A level to being the third biggest choice at KS5


  • in 2015 and 2016 our Sociology A Level students all attained or exceeded their target grades

I can advise on curriculum design and engagement in RS and Sociology as well as effective engagement measures in both subjects. I am also the author of Teaching Sociology Successfully (Routledge: 2017) and have written for the Guardian newspaper.

Modern Foreign Languages: Marie Masse

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor… After training in Manchester, I moved to Wiltshire where, after only two years in teaching, I was offered the position of Head of Languages at my school. I had to gain rapid experience, confidence and independence and develop strategies for the faculty in a challenging environment. More importantly, I focused upon the development of effective strategies which would support colleagues. This journey led me to become a coach supporting other colleagues in the wider school community. Now in teaching for nine years and currently subject leader for French at a very different school, I have also supported foreign language assistants, trainees and NQTs.

Developing a more engaging and creative curriculum has been my specialism for many years and a real passion. Thinking outside the box; making MFL more relevant for students, and establishing a purposeful and outstanding environment for learning through behaviour for learning strategies are just a few of the other aspects I aspire to share as a Specialist Leader of Education.

My particular areas of expertise and interest are: 

Creative approaches to teaching

A creative and engaging curriculum

Partnership work, collaborative work with colleagues and sharing of good practice 

High quality teaching and learning 

Effective management of behaviour for learning 

Exam skills and results tracking

Modern Foreign Languages: Edward Walter

Between 2007 and 2017, I enjoyed a very wide-ranging portfolio of roles and responsibilities at an ‘Outstanding’ secondary school in Amersham. Starting there as an NQT, I progressed through the roles of International Co-ordinator and then Head of Spanish before taking up the position of Head of Modern Languages. Whilst there, I studied for the National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership. As part of this qualification, I led on the whole school implementation of Google Classroom as an e-learning tool. I also gained a huge wealth of experience of the NQT Induction process having led an Appropriate Body in the past.

I am currently Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead and a Specialist Leader of Education at a further ‘Outstanding’ secondary school in Little Chalfont. I work on the strategic whole school leadership and development of IT and e-learning. In addition, I lead on all aspects of school data and reporting; manage Enrichment Week (in the Summer Term), and I have responsibility for the smooth running of the school through oversight of the "global" school calendar and setting the term dates (in conjunction with the Governors). I oversee the House System and staff cover. I am also a fully qualified Educational Visits Co-ordinator.             

I have a great passion for working in collaboration with other schools and colleagues and believe there is a great deal that can be achieved through Joint Practice Development.

My particular areas of expertise and interest are:

  • Partnership work, and the co-ordination and sharing of good practice 
  • High quality teaching and learning 
  • High quality delivery of the MFL curriculum
  • Planning for, implementing and monitoring excellent IT provision

Modern Foreign Languages: Jane O'Donnell

With more than 20 years’ experience in secondary MFL teaching, I remain a passionate advocate of language learning for all and continue to develop strategies and opportunities to engage and motivate students in their language learning endeavours.  I have worked in a number of contrasting schools and am now in my second Head of Department’s role.  I have a BA Hons degree in French, but also teach German and Spanish.  I obtained my Masters in Educational Management, focusing beyond MFL on the impact of parental involvement and school-home relationships in the success of students in school.

Throughout my career, I have taught across all age ranges from nursery school children through to primary and secondary phase, and I have also delivered adult courses both as leisure and evening classes and in industry.  I have also presented a package of courses to primary school teachers tasked with delivering KS2 French. 

My current areas of focus include:

  • Motivation of students to improve MFL uptake at all levels
  • Engagement of lower ability students
  • Developing memory skills to improve grades at KS4
  • Inter-school support and connections in MFL

Additional Areas of Expertise:

  • Strategies for behaviour management
  • Supporting NQTs, trainees and colleagues in local primary schools
  • Managing an MFL team and curriculum
  • Creating a supportive and collaborative working environment for MFL teachers and support staff
  • Creating opportunities for MFL beyond the curriculum
  • Designing engaging and realistic schemes of work and assessment tasks
  • Collaboration with outside agencies to organise MFL events

I am committed to establishing a friendly, supportive learning and working environment for students and staff.  I believe that the MFL curriculum we deliver should be accessible to all and that, as language teachers, it is our responsibility to make the learning experience a productive and engaging one during which confidence and a real interest in other languages and people is developed.

Teaching and Learning, Middle Leadership development: Tina Hill

Pen portrait to come.

BFL, strategic planning, SLT coach, Leadership and Middle Leader training, CPD, Teaching and Learning (specialism English): Rachel Smith

I have been a Headteacher for over three years now and part of a senior team for much longer.  Having taught in a number of schools with very different cultures towards learning, from challenging but improving to outstanding, I have learned the value of effective management of Learning and teaching.  My school has just been awarded the Exceptional Schools Award and Governor Mark because of the impact myself and my team have had on our school. 

As far back as 2002, I gained Leading Practitioner status in Hampshire and delivered area INSET and individual school 1-1 support in the management of English departments.  Subsequently, I have developed a broad set of tools that can be used in any subject area to help leaders to focus on the quality of learning.  In 2011 I completed a Masters in Education, Leadership and Management and presently I am a National College trained Coach and  was an Advanced Facilitator for the NPQML, gained my NPQH, am a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and work with a number of schools that are not yet good, am a Trustee for an alternative school,  and supporting senior leadership teams in developing management expertise and strategic intent.

I am able to provide practical and strategic advice and guidance in a variety of areas that will lead to effective communication between and amongst teams and build opportunities for success to improve morale and team effectiveness. 

As well as help with reviewing or developing policies and procedures, areas include:

  • Observation – both formal, informal and self-observation as well as effective feedback
  • Learning Walks – policies, procedures, effective use of time and training others
  • Book scrutinies – useful ways to make the most of assessment, marking and feedback and how to follow up for best impact to learning
  • Student voice to inform learning
  • Using data to inform progress of whole cohorts and groups of students
  • Developing whole school CPD and INSET programmers to improve all levels of practitioner development
  • Supporting of staff to move to ‘Ofsted good’ or ‘Ofsted outstanding’
  • Assessing curriculum need
  • Building team morale
  • Dealing with difficult conversations – both students and staff
  • Improving positive behaviour for learning
  • Development planning for impact
  • Co-creating a whole school vision
  • Working with governors successfully

There are other areas of expertise – do make a request and I can see what I can do!

Data and its effective interrogation: Jo Barnes

Pen portrait to come.

Behaviour and Inclusion: Sarah Hobson-Riley

Having taught in a range of schools and being an experienced middle and senior leader over nearly 20 years, I have a range of skills that seek to support and encourage positive behaviour management and inclusion.  

As an Assistant Head teacher and Outreach Manager at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) I worked with a range of colleagues in stakeholder schools providing advice and guidance that span strategic and targeted interventions. This encompassed working with pupils,teachers and leaders from all key stages.

My current position involves being the school’s Mental Health Lead, which dovetails effectively with behaviour strategies and understanding key triggers for which we often see behaviours escalate. I work to highlight these concerns with parents and pupils to encourage early intervention and to collaborate with outside agencies to provide support.

I have offered support for Newly Qualified Teachers, who are learning to embed positive behaviour management into their developing pedagogy, but can also work with more experienced teachers on current issues that continue to be at the forefront of education with regards to managing behaviours which can affect progress.

My training and teaching specialisms are Drama and English, with experience of being a Head of Department and raising achievement through the Arts.

My particular areas of expertise are:

  • Classroom Management
  • Behaviour for Learning
  • Positive Behaviour Management
  • Alternative Provision and Curriculum
  • Solution Circles
  • Re-admission meetings (Post-exclusion)
  • Social Emotional and Mental Health Support
  • Support plans and Pastoral Support Plans
  • Behaviour Policies
  • CPD
  • NQT Behaviour Training
  • Pastoral

Creative Arts: Edward McCall

With over eighteen years experience of teaching, I have worked in a number of contrasting settings, from comprehensive, grammar and independent schools across primary and secondary phases. I currently work in a highly performing ‘Outstanding’ school in Buckinghamshire as Head of Creative Arts and Music. As an active musician and leader, I bring first-hand knowledge of how to ensure best practice within the Arts.

I have had much experience of bringing faculty, departmental and indeed whole school teams together. By the nature of the roles I hold, I have had the opportunity to work with diverse staff groups. I have worked very closely with a number of leadership teams, having completed my NPQSL, to develop Teaching and Learning development programmes, the use of data, extra-curricular provision as well as staffing structures.

Having worked in contrasting schools, I have a deep understanding that no two schools should be thought of in the same way. By understanding school identity, the progress made can go on to strengthen the whole school. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the creativity students bring to the classroom and see this as a starting point to ensure excellent progress is made.

I am passionate about ‘adding value’ to teaching and to see a student exceed their expected grade after a GCSE or A-Level course is highly motivating. My firm belief is that students should be aiming for their personal best. Through providing skilful challenge in the classroom and through extra-curricular activity, students will go on to produce wonderful results.

I have mentored over 15 PGCE and NQT staff in my schools and enjoy seeing new colleagues thrive. I believe that mentoring is one of the most important roles within schools, and have plenty of experience in bringing out the best from new staff.

My particular areas of expertise and interest where I can offer school support are:

  • Coaching new Heads of Department
  • The training and mentoring of PGCE and NQT colleagues
  • Developing the performance of departments within Music and Creative Arts
  • Structuring outstanding teaching and learning
  • Staffing structures, both academic and peripatetic
  • The use of data to inform teaching and learning in Creative Arts and across the school
  • Coaching colleagues to deliver subject specific elements of KS4 and KS5 including A-Level composition techniques
  • The effective use of Technology in the classroom
  • Bringing together stakeholders to build a Creative Arts vision
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