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Meet our SLEs

Neil Dixon - Science 

Name: Neil Dixon

Position: Leader in Education, Science Teacher, Sex and Relationships Education Teacher, Educational Associate.

Areas of expertise: Marking and Assessment, Recently Qualified Teachers, Educational Research, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Supporting Applicants for Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Leads on Marking and Assessment, including facilitating the sharing of best practice and quality assurance across the school. He is responsible for oversight of the Continuing Professional Development of recently qualified teachers, which includes the coordination of an in-house Masters programme in conjunction with Worcester University.

  • Advises on policy and practice in science education on a national level. He is Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Committee for Schools and Colleges, and Chair of the Olympiad Working Group, which sets the most challenging chemistry exam for Post-16 students in the UK, and from this selects and trains the UK team for the International Chemistry Olympiad each summer. 
  • Advised the government on the development of the new National Curriculum for science across Key Stages 1 to 4 and continues to advise the Department for Education about its implementation. He also advises one of the major exam boards on the development of specifications, and contributes to textbooks, revision guides and electronic resources to support science education. He acts as a subject expert for Ofqual and judges the Google International Science Fair every year.
  • Provides CPD courses on a national basis, focused on learning and teaching in science. He also provides tailored support to science departments in other schools.
  • Due to his experience studying at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, Neil is well placed to provide guidance and support for students who are applying to these (and other) top universities. He retains strong links with both universities and lectures on a twice yearly basis at the Oxford University Department of Education on the themes of using ICT to enhance learning in science lessons and using exciting demonstrations to engage learners in chemistry.
  • Joint leader of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award expeditions, leading a team of approximately 16 colleagues who train and supervise over 160 Gold participants. Making use of his outdoor qualifications and many years of experience as a professional outdoor pursuits coach, Neil is able to train staff and students to ensure that award scheme participants have a rewarding and safe experience on expedition.

 Chris Giles - RE and Coaching

Name: Chris Giles

Position and area of expertise: Experienced RE teacher, Head of Department, Specialist Lead Educator, Whole School responsibilities include being  an accredited Coach and trainer of SLEs.  

Chris has completed a Level 3 coaching qualification through Institute of Educational Coaching and the school holds a licence for popular Level 1 Introduction to Coaching that has been delivered to wide range of delegates including staff and sixth form students.  Chris has significant experience teaching Religious Education and working with colleagues across Worcestershire after establishing himself as an Advanced Skills Teacher in 2006 and SLE in 2014. He works with Birmingham University supporting RE colleagues in the PGCDip Education programme in coaching trainees.  He has delivered county CPD across key stages 3 to 5 including Teach Meet conferences, RE conferences and can be found on Twitter at @SBHSRS.  Chris currently serves on SACRE, the Standing Advisory Board for Religious Education, promoting the cause of RE at National level.  In 2016 Chris became and SLE trainer which provides other schools with the opportunity to train SLEs. 

 Sharron Pemberton - Maths

Name: Sharron Pemberton

Position and Area of expertise:  Assistant Head Teacher, with responsibility for appraisal, assessment and behaviour throughout the school; Mathematics Leader and, currently, Year Two class teacher.

SLE Responsibility: Mathematics

  • Leading whole school initiatives related to the new curriculum focussing on curriculum design, planning, monitoring and impact on progress and attainment.
  • Providing whole school CPD on embedding an inspiring mathematics curriculum, in line with current guidance, and keeping the profile of mathematics as a high priority within school generally.
  • Identifying and addressing attainment ‘gaps’ and whole school priorities through analysing data. Actively providing targeted CPD for identified staff to ‘close the gap’.
  • Working alongside cluster schools to develop an appropriate and consistent ‘Calculation Policy’, as well as using lesson study as a vehicle for curriculum development and improvement with teaching at mastery level.
  • Leading NQT training on key elements of teaching and learning.

A few extras: Working towards NPQSL; Every Child Count Accredited Practitioner, Maths Recovery Accredited Practitioner. 

 Natalie Harbron - English and phonics

Name: Natalie Harbron

Position and Area of expertise:  Assistant Head Teacher, with responsibility for CPD, Teaching and Learning, English Leader and, currently, Year One class teacher.

SLE Responsibility: English and Phonics

  • Leading whole school initiatives related to the new curriculum focussing on reading, phonics, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) and embedding the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach.  Monitoring impact of these initiatives on teaching and learning.
  • Providing whole school CPD on embedding an inspiring English curriculum, in line with current guidance, and keeping the profile of English as a high priority within school generally.
  • Identifying and addressing attainment ‘gaps’ and whole school priorities through analysing data. Putting in place targeted interventions such as ‘Rapid Phonics’ to ‘close the gap’ for groups of learners.
  • Providing school-to-school support for English subject leaders, enabling them to more effectively lead English within their own school.  Developing capacity within schools.
  • Establishing and maintaining community links to strengthen and raise the profile of English, with a particular focus on reading, for example buddy reading with the local High School children.
  • Embracing initiatives that have been offered to us as a school with a particular focus on English and then moving these forward to further establish impact on teaching and learning.
  • Leading NQT training on key elements of teaching and learning.

A few extras: NPQSL Accreditation

 Andrea Taylor - CPD

Name: Andrea Taylor

Position and Area of expertise: Director of Teaching School, ITE Lead Mentor

SLE responsibility: Leadership of Continuing Professional Development

  • Encouraging teachers to take ownership of their own professional learning through the design and implementation of personalised and peer-led professional development programmes.
  • Up to date on current best practice in CPD and evidence based provision with an emphasis on staff renewal and retention.
  • Teachmeet enthusiast with experience and expertise in organizing and running internal and external CPD events. The use of Twitter and other social media sites to engage teachers and educators in professional development and professional dialogue.

A few extras: NPQML Accredited Facilitator, Level 1 Foundation in Coaching Skills, Regular TeachMeet attendee and presenter.

 Gareth James - Design and Technology

Name: Gareth James

 Position and Area of expertise: Design and Technology Teacher, Assistant Head of Faculty, Head of Product Design and Graphic Products.

 SLE responsibility: Leadership of Curriculum | Design and Technology

 Encouraging students to take ownership of their own learning through the implementation of schemes of work that engage students and enable them to continue with their learning outside of the everyday classroom.

  • Curriculum changes being embedded into everyday teaching through the use of 3D printing and other new technologies and ensuring that all within the department are adopting an iterative design process.
  •  The use of Twitter and other social media sites, software, VLE’s to enable students to immerse themselves in their learning using every opportunity to engage, enthuse and teach students, removing the barriers to learning within the traditional lesson environment. 

A few extras: Flipped Learning advocate, NPQML Accredited Facilitator, Level 1 Foundation in Coaching Skills, Regular TeachMeet attendee and presenter, Use of BlueSky to set and monitor appraisal objectives.

 Emily Butler - English

Name: Emily Butler

Position and Area of expertise: English Teacher and Assistant Head of English / Head of English from September 2016.

SLE responsibility: English

Focusing on how to successfully lead an English department through a climate of change. 

This may include:

  • Supporting colleagues with the implementation of new and more rigorous specifications
  • Strategic long term curriculum planning
  • Developing resources and teaching ideas
  • CPL on the requirements of new examinations
  • Quality assurance of assessment and feedback
  • Accurate methods of planning, preparation and assessment
  • Approaches to challenge higher ability students or support key marginal students.

A few extras: NPQML  

 Hannah Talbot - curriculum leadership/english

Name: Hannah Talbot

 Position and Area of expertise: Head of English

 SLE responsibility: Curriculum Leadership

 Leading changes within a department to improve student progress and achievement as well as fostering a cohesive, sharing approach among colleagues.

Developing innovative department approaches to curriculum planning and teaching and learning to inspire students’ interest in the subject as well as developing key skills. 

Creating systematic approaches to marking and assessment and ensuring that it is effectively monitored, to ensure teaching and learning meets the specific needs of learners.  This has led to an improvement in exam performance. 

Coaching and mentoring colleagues to ensure that they are fully supported in their role and have opportunities to progress.  Developing collaborative working partnerships with colleagues in other schools to share best practice. 

A few extras: MA in Education, variety of high level leadership experience outside of education, regular TeachMeet attendee and presenter.

  Stephanie Withington - sen

Name: Stephanie Withington

Position: Assistant Headteacher at a large MLD Special Needs School 

I manage KS2 and KS3. I am passionate about inclusion, having taught for nine years as a Secondary SEN teacher in a Worcestershire Special Needs School managing English curriculum and assessment across KS3-5. My sixteen year teaching career spans both Primary and Secondary, mainstream and SEN equally; seven years as a mainstream Primary Class and Intervention teacher against a backdrop of six years as a Governor at a large Worcestershire First School, where I am the current Chair of Governors. I led the successful development of a leading local pre-school.

Direct teaching and learning experience of pupils with a wide range of SEN has equipped me with skills in managing challenging behaviour, removing barriers to learning by creating an inclusive and accessible curriculum and tracking and assessing progress for pupils who may not show measurable success against national curriculum attainment targets. I have a working knowledge of the ‘bigger picture’ of variables that impact upon teaching, learning and leadership within schools. The specialist SEN knowledge that I have to offer is therefore realistic as well as relevant.

My ability to maximise potential through a creative and supported curriculum, flexible provision mapping and resourceful adjustment, adaptation and intervention can be applied realistically within any setting that aims to raise attainment for pupils with SEN, resulting in all pupils making progress in a subject that presents greatest difficulty to them. Success is evidenced educationally, socially and emotionally for all involved.

 Sara Date - smsc

Name: Sara  Date

Position: Key Stage 2 Co-ordinator

I am able to support colleagues and schools in developing a whole school tracking system for SMSC ,which can be used by all teaching staff, to help schools analyse their performance and areas for improvement.  This includes the ability to deliver training to schools in introducing this package to their staff, and in developing high quality evidence for outside authorities

I have experience of mentoring schools in sustainability and providing one-to one support in developing their curriculum to deliver sustainability successfully.    My background also includes creating collaborative projects linking schools within a pyramid, as well as other NGOs, in creative projects that deliver aspects of sustainability and SMSC.

 Wendy Dwyer - eyfs/outdoor learning

Name: Wendy Dwyer

Position: Deputy Head

I have been teaching for over twenty years - fifteen of which have been within reception classes. I do not have class responsibility at present, but I am fully involved with the development of our own reception and nursery classes. I have a passion for creativity and outdoor learning and believe that these are fully immersed within the EYFS.

My background can offer support to schools within EYFS for planning, phonics, getting boys to write, creativity, outdoor learning, parental engagement, assessment and tracking, indoor and outdoor environments including Forest School.

 Emily Bishop - eyfs/assessment and data

Name: Emily Bishop

Positions: Assistant Headteacher, Leadership Mentor, Multi Academy Trust Early Years Foundation Stage Leader, EYFS and Year 1 School to School Support Lead Practitioner

Areas of expertise: Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage One, Phonics, SEND, Assessment and Data Management, Closing the Gap, Development of Middle Leadership

  • Worked with SLTs in both a First and Primary School, where rapid progress has been secured to bring about significant improvements that enabled both schools to come out of Special Measures as ‘good’ schools, with both the EYFS units being graded as ‘outstanding.’ 
  • Implemented strategic plans to bring about substantial improvements with senior and middle leaders to use and analyse data, write action plans, carry out monitoring and triangulate this information to drive forward school improvement.
  • Created a bespoke excel database package that allows attainment and achievement for individuals and groups of children to be meticulously tracked. 
  • Supported staff in implementing the tracking system and lead moderation sessions to ensure consistency in judgments across the Multi Academy Trust.  Working with staff to analyse the data and unpick strengths and areas for development with regard to individuals, groups of learners and areas of learning.
  • Led the development of systems and provision for children with SEND and developed audit tools for identification of SEND and through robust monitoring of QfT. 
  • Led and developed phonic systems in schools and delivered school to school support in this area.

 Steff walker - Computer Science

Name: Steff Walker

Position and Area of expertise: Computer Science Teacher, CAS Hub Leader and CAS Master Teacher

SLE responsibility: Computer Science

Focusing on how to successfully deliver the new Computer science qualifications at A’ level and GCSE. Offering and utilising CAS Hubs to support teachers across the North Worcestershire area with Computer Science

This may include:

  • Provide training and support to meet local need and demand for teachers of Computing, and to be professional in all dealings with those requiring support and help
  • Developing resources and teaching ideas
  • Supporting colleagues with the implementation of new and more rigorous specifications
  • Strategic long term curriculum planning
  • Accurate methods of planning, preparation and assessment

A few extras:  CAS (Computing at schools) Master teacher, CAS Hub Leader (North Worcestershire Hub). Level 1 Foundation in Coaching Skills

 rebecca gauntlett - MFL/student to student mentoring

Name: Rebecca Gauntlett

Position and Area of expertise: MFL Teacher (French, German and Spanish) and Assistant Head of MFL. 

SLE responsibility: MFL and Student-to-Student mentoring.

  • Establishing student-to-student mentoring programmes to support targeted groups
  • Using Language Ambassadors to promote enjoyment of, and achievement in, MFL
  • Using coaching to improve outcomes for students
  • Promoting a positive classroom climate, behaviour for learning and rewards
  • Boosting confidence in language learners and encouraging student ‘buy-in’
  • Adapting pedagogy to prepare students for new-style GCSEs in MFL

A few extras: NPQML, RQT coaching and GTP mentoring.


Rowena Eastwood - Arts

Name: Rowena Eastwood

Position and Area of expertise: Head of Arts and Humanities Faculty/ SMT

SLE Responsibility: The Arts in Education

  • Leading whole school initiatives to achieve Arts Mark Gold/Platinum status
  • Providing whole school CPD on embedding the Arts within the curriculum, valuing it and working alongside other schools to develop an appropriate and consistent Arts education
  • Raising and maintaining a high profile for the Arts in schools, through the delivery of Arts Award qualifications, school shows and productions, events and partnership within cluster schools
  • Leading NQT training on key elements of teaching and learning

A few extras: Arts Award Accredited Advisor in Bronze and Silver Arts Awards, Level 1 Foundation Coaching Skills.

 Matthew Russell - PE/Assessment

Name: Matthew Russell

Position: Assistant Principal in charge of Assessment and Data, Outcomes for pupils, Curriculum, Disadvantaged pupils, Attendance

Currently Assistant Principal at a middle school in Redditch, Matthew was previously Head of Physical Education for over 15 years.

Now leading on assessment, using GL assessment to help demonstrate outcomes for pupils. Matthew has worked to design an entirely new curriculum and assessment system to meet the needs of the new National Curriculum. Matthew has worked closely with colleagues within a MAC to ensure pupils move seamlessly through the MAC looking at curriculum coverage and accuracy of assessment that is relevant to pupils in his care. Matthew has also supported local schools in their development of a new assessment framework, leading sessions on designing a new curriculum and how assessment is linked to this.On the PE side, Matthew led arguably the counties most successful PE Department for many years. Helping run the Redditch PE Association and an advocate for extra-curricular activities saw many honours fall Matthew’s way. His teams winning hundreds of District and County Titles and even being successful at National level.

 Luke Payton - Behaviour Management  

tmp56Name: Luke Payton

Position and Area of expertise:  Vice Principal, with responsibility for safeguarding and behaviour throughout the school; MFL, PSHE and RE specialist.

SLE Responsibility: Behaviour Management 

  • Leading whole school initiatives related to behaviour and welfare
  • Providing whole school CPD on safeguarding and behaviour management
  • Working alongside other schools to reduce the risk of exclusion through the implementation of in house programmes
  • Leading training on key elements of teaching and learning.

A few extras: Thrive Practitioner, Connecting Families Change Champion, PGCE and NQT Mentor

 Greg Hall - Behaviour, Music and NQTs

Name:  Gregory Hall

Position and area of expertise: Assistant Headteacher, Director of Year 8, Director of Music, Induction Coordinator for NQTs and RQTs, Educational Visits Coordinator, member of the Worcestershire Music Education Hub Advisory Group, responsible for music and the curriculum, support teacher for the National Support School programme and deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.

SLE Responsibilities:  Leadership and Management for Behaviour for Learning, Music Education and NQTs

  • Leading whole school behaviour monitoring systems with the emphasis on readiness for learning
  • Lead and manage a year group with particular emphasis on transition
  • Leading a music curriculum in both KS2 and KS3, identifying and addressing attainment gaps and ensuring links with the music education hub advisory group; support teachers, schools and departments through the National Plan for Music Education
  • Lead mentor for NQTs and RQTs, ensuring an effective and supportive transition process as teachers begin their teaching career and become young professionals
  • Support schools, staff, departments and middle/senior leaders through the school’s accreditation of being a National Support School (NSS)  - advising, coaching and supporting whole school initiatives such as Behaviour for Learning, Assessment for Learning and music education

Greg is an outstanding classroom practitioner as evidenced by consistently outstanding lesson observations for at least 15 years.  Pupil attainment is above the national average in his subjects of Music and French and the enrichment opportunities that he is responsible for, are acknowledged by Ofsted, parental feedback and the Music Education Hub Advisory Group (MEHAG).

Having experience in both middle and senior leadership, he regularly assesses staff and pupil performance, both academic and emotionally through Attitude to Learning meetings.  Using data to identify gaps, he delivers coaching to both staff and pupils alongside a secure and innovative environment that enables all to thrive. 

Through the teaching school at SBHS and AFMS, Greg’s role as NQT/RQT mentor has allowed him to mentor, coach and support staff as they start their personal journey into teaching, working to ensure they have a long and successful career. To date, all NQTs have passed their first year and are becoming outstanding practitioners.

Greg’s role as Assistant Headteacher has further developed his recognition of the part each individual plays in maintaining a whole school vision. He has been privileged to be part of developing Aston Fields in its role as a National Support School, which has enabled him to support other middle schools both locally and in other Local Authorities, in developing their capacity for outstanding, successful leadership and teaching. Greg would welcome the opportunity to support more schools and teaching colleagues through his various areas of expertise.

As a senior leader in an outstanding school, Greg have been fortunate to work with many professionals and colleagues to drive the achievement and maintenance of the school’s outstanding grade.  Consequently, he feels highly motivated and well placed to support others in their professional development and share the strategies to attain the high standards achieved in his own school.

A Few Extras:  NPQSL accredited.  Level 1 foundation in Coaching Skills.

Karen bull - Leadership and Management, SEND 

Karen is an outstanding classroom practitioner and SENDCo, with a vast experience in teaching and supporting pupils of low attainment and Special Educational Needs.  She has a track record of successfully enabling many individuals to raise their attainment and bridge the gap between their actual progress to date and that expected for their age.

Karen leads an outstanding SEN department at Aston Fields Middle School, working with staff in both Key Stage 2 and 3.  Part of her work is to ensure that all teaching staff are able to deliver a fully inclusive curriculum, accessible to all pupils, meeting all needs and maintaining an outstanding approach to learning.

She is very aware of the legislative expectations that exist within SEN provision in schools.  Alongside the day-to-day responsibility of assessing a pupils needs, planning and then delivering the appropriate provision required; she has had the opportunity to support a number of other SENDCos and schools in developing and maintaining outstanding SEN departments, as Aston fields is a National Support School.  Karen welcomes opportunities to support more schools and teaching colleagues in the future.

Extras : NPQML