Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

Alison Atkinson

Specialism: Curriculum

Alison is an experienced teacher having taught in primary schools since 2004. She joined Marus Bridge Primary School as Key Stage 2 Phase Leader and PE specialist in 2009 with a proven track record of securing excellent progress and high attainment for pupils of all abilities and groups across the KS2 primary phase. Alison also demonstrated whole-school impact as Behaviour Lead and Pupil Premium Manager before being appointed Assistant Head Teacher of the Upper School in September 2015. In 2019, Alison was awarded the status of Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) for Curriculum. Her current roles also include Year 4 Teacher, LKS2 Lead, CPD coordinator and Curriculum Manager. The role of Curriculum Manager underpins all aspects of school life: Pastoral, Behaviour, Learning Environment, Monitoring and Evaluation, Timetables and Pupil Voice. Alison has written sections of the SEF and SIP as well as faculty actions plans. She is confident in analysing data, and all aspects of monitoring. Alison has also delivered various INSETs (including redesigning the curriculum in-line with the new National Curriculum and more recently the new Ofsted Framework). Her many different roles have presented her with the opportunities to work collaboratively with teachers, middle and senior leaders in her own and other schools to increase rates of progress in all subject areas across KS2, and to improve teaching practice and outcomes for children. Alison also has extensive experience of mentoring Undergraduate Teachers, Schools Direct students, and Newly Qualified Teachers.


Andy Walker

Specialism: Drama

Andy Walker started working at Hawkley Hall High School in 2010 as a teacher of drama. In 2013 Andy was appointed as Head of Drama at Kirkby High School and has contributed
to raising the profile of the Creative Arts Faculty in Kirkby High School. Andy is a trained facilitator of The Rowan Learning Trust Teaching and Learning Programme promoting challenge and engagement and improving the quality of written and spoken feedback across school. Andy joined the senior leadership team at Kirkby High School in 2017 as an Aspirant Leader; his main areas of responsibility have included: improving whole school attendance; NQT manager; Literacy Coordinator and Educational Trips and Visits.

Andy was appointed as Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) in 2015.


Claire Knowles

Specialism: Careers, Vocational Learning and ICT

Claire has recently been awarded the status of Specialist Leader of Education (SLE). She is in her tenth year of teaching at Hawkley Hall High School. From 2014, Claire has been leading on Careers, vocational education, and the engagement of boys.

Claire has successfully implemented a number of significant changes around a redesign of PSHE and Careers to enable all students to receive quality support, care and guidance from staff who are equipped with a shared knowledge and understanding of all our students’ needs, abilities and aspirations.

Through her teaching career, she has been Head of Department, Head of Faculty and currently Assistant Headteacher. Her current role Claire overseas, community engagement, parental engagement, alternative provision, KS4 transition and EVC office. She sets high expectations for herself and others. She works with relentless drive and enthusiasm. Through the promotion of teamwork, support, leadership and teaching strategies she motivates and inspires the staff and students she works with.


Clare Lynch

Specialism: Behaviour/Emotional Literacy/Mental Health

Clare is a Deputy Head teacher at Three Towers Alternative Provision Academy and has held this role for the past 8 years.  Her role involves responsibility for young people with medical needs, mental health problems, all outreach teaching and vocational training. Previous to this she was a centre manager at “The Phoenix Centre” Pupil referral unit.  Clare is an advanced Team Teach tutor.  Clare was appointed as a specialist leader of education in May 2018.
Clare has supported schools with behaviour initiatives, especially with high risk pupils, and pupils experiencing medical needs, including mental health, in recent years, but previously supported predominately secondary schools as part of Wigan LA Behaviour Support Team.
Clare's key interests are helping learners develop holistically by interventions to address specific needs.  She has also produced a diagnostic tool to help to assess pupils personal safety, produce a safety plan for individual learners needs, find gaps in development in the areas of Learning, Conduct, Social, Emotional and Health and identify priority areas for intervention so that learners can remain within a mainstream environment alongside their peers.


Danny Hutton

Specialism: KS2 Mathematics, Analysing and Presenting Data

Since qualifying in 2014 and now in his 7th year at Marus Bridge Primary School, Danny has taught across the whole of KS2; teaching, planning and assessing in years 3, 4, 5 and 6 whilst taking on additional areas of leadership such as PE and History Subject Lead, Pupil Premium Lead and more recently, Data/Assessment Lead.

Danny is a firm believer that through meaningful assessment and analysis, followed by precise and targeted intervention, all groups of children can achieve to the best of their ability. He is a dedicated classroom practitioner with a proven track record of securing excellent progress and high levels of attainment for pupils of all backgrounds and abilities, especially in mathematics, where he has mentored and coached others demonstrating a real depth of knowledge and understanding of the pedagogy and subject knowledge involved. He has regularly facilitated whole school CPD, focusing on outstanding teaching and learning to maximize pupil outcomes.

During his time at Marus Bridge, Danny has greatly improved the analysis and manipulation of assessment data, which not only informs his own practice, but is instrumental in the work of other subject leaders, saving time and providing insight to quality assure. He has implemented a new whole school assessment tracker to document attainment in RWM and foundation subjects, which has helped to significantly reduce teacher workload and ensure consistency during year on year transition.

Current Responsibilities: P.E. Subject Lead, Data/Assessment Lead, History Subject Lead.


Darby Pell

Specialism: Music

Darby has been Head of Expressive Arts at Hawkley Hall High School since 2009 and has taken great pride in helping to develop the Expressive Arts team into an outstanding faculty. He qualified as a Specialist Leader of Education (Music) in 2017, and has gained experience in the role, through several effective deployments. Darby has a passion for music education, drawing upon 21 years of classroom teaching experience, and many years in the music industry. He has developed stimulating, engaging and challenging schemes of work, developed the use of music ICT within the classroom, and achieved outstanding results at both KS3 and KS4; GCSE music results are consistently above national average, and have hit 100% A* to C, and 9 to 7 grades on several occasions. Darby, alongside the expressive arts team, has helped raise the profile of art, drama and music within the school, and established a tremendous reputation for the arts, within the local community.


Emma Jones

Specialism: English

Emma has been teaching English at Hawkley Hall High School since 2006. She is Head of English, leading an outstanding faulty, whose results improved dramatically and have been above 80% since 2011. Alongside this, she has been working within the trust as Executive Head of English, working with middle leaders to improve teaching and learning and student progress. Naturally, as the role expanded, she has worked within other faculties to develop leadership skills and to raise overall performance. Currently, she is working as the trust’s Subject Network Lead.

Emma has extensive experience in developing leadership skills, improving teaching and learning, raising results, developing new KS3 and KS4 curricula, improving boys’ attainment and improving literacy across the school. During her time at Hawkley Hall High School, she has also led whole school initiatives on improving literacy across the curriculum and also developing collaborative learning within the classroom. She has also recently reviewed and developed the whole school marking and feedback policy to meet new Ofsted guidelines, including a focus on raising standards of literacy. She has led external CPD training on how to lead an outstanding faculty and has been a facilitator of the Hawkley Hall Teaching and Learning Programme. Emma has completed her NPQSL and has been a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) since 2014, supporting other schools using her developed leadership skills, her expertise in teaching and learning and her knowledge as a GCSE examiner.


John Fiddler

Specialism: Assessment, Closing the gap, Maths, Support for most able pupils

John is a deputy headteacher and has been teaching GCSE mathematics for twenty-four years. He became Head of Mathematics at Hawkley Hall High School in 2006 and was appointed Executive Head of Mathematics for the Rowan Learning Trust (RLT) in 2013. In 2011, he was appointed as a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) within mathematics and data. In his current role as deputy headteacher, one of his key responsibilities is maximising student progress and attainment.

As a National Support School (NSS), Hawkley Hall High School has provided specialist mathematics support over the past decade. John has focused on developing leadership within mathematics faculties, improving teaching and learning within mathematics, implementing effective strategies in raising student attainment and implementing and developing data analysis systems. John has supported over fifteen mathematics faculties during this period. The outcomes have resulted in significant improvements in mathematics, which therefore have contributed significantly, to the individual school’s English and mathematics threshold measures along with the overall attainment and progress measures.


Mandy Turner

Specialism: Mathematics

Mandy is currently an Assistant Headteacher at Kirkby High School (KHS) with responsibility for target setting, recording and reporting of assessment, exams and pupil premium. As part her current role Mandy has embedded an exam system which has clear rationale, moderation and standardisation of assessment that allows students to only be assessed when absolutely necessary. This has resulted in the school having improved accuracy of teacher assessment providing a quality data driven evaluation of the school’s strengths and areas for development.
Mandy’s process for target setting, data submission and quality assurance of data systems has contributed to the development of middle leaders when this is used to hold faculties to account, evaluate individual faculties and target students who require intervention.

Mandy has created clear strategies for planning for disadvantages students in the school and this was recognised by Ofsted as the school has moved out of special measures in to a school where the majority of areas are graded good. Mandy has shared this with other schools throughout the Rowan Learning Trust as an example of good practice.

Mandy is an outstanding mathematics teacher with 15 years experience and was appointed as an Advanced Skills Teacher in 2009. As part of this role, Mandy led initiatives that have significantly improved teaching and learning in maths and across the school.
Mandy completed her NPQSL in Jan 2015 and became an SLE in June 2015.


Maureen Anderson

Specialism: Computer Science and ICT

Maureen is a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) in Computer Science and ICT. Maureen is in her third year of teaching at Hawkley Hall High and has been teaching since 2008 embracing the transition between ICT and Computer Science.
Maureen has extensive experience supporting colleagues, both at Hawkley Hall High School and through school to school support at others schools, and has developed processes to embed changes and improve the quality of teaching. She has also coordinated support work for local primary schools developing staff confidence and knowledge teaching computing. Maureen has facilitated training for staff within school in action groups and she is also an Associated Facilitator for STEM.
Through this role she has been able to share good classroom practice through modelling, mentoring and facilitating other teachers in the development of their own practice and provision.
In the academic year of 2018 - 2019, she led the school to become a Lead School for Computing and has developed the curriculum to encourage girls into Computer Science at KS4.
She is a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) and supports other schools using her developed coaching skills and knowledge as a GCSE moderator.


Michelle White

Specialism: Leadership of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Drama Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) Development

Michelle is currently a senior leader at Hawkley Hall High School with responsibility teaching and learning, NQT/RQT development, school and faculty QA and online provision.

Michelle has been a teacher of drama at Hawkley Hall High since 2009. In 2011 she became acting Head of Drama for one year. In 2015 she became a lead practitioner of teaching and learning, which is her passion. She is a trained facilitator for the NPQML, Olevi Improving Teacher Programme (ITP), Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP), Outstanding Teaching Assistant Programme (OTAP) and Power of Coaching courses.

Michelle became an SLE in June 2015.


Natalie Robinson

Specialism: Mathematics

Natalie has been a teacher of mathematics at Hawkley Hall High since 2008. In 2013 she became a lead practitioner of mathematics after qualifying as an AST, before taking up her current role of as Head of Maths. Natalie has a passion for teaching and learning, and is a trained facilitator for the Olevi ITP and OTP courses. She has developed and delivered a training programme for recently qualified teachers, aiding their induction into the school community. Natalie is an experiences examiner for Edexcel and has extensive experience supporting colleagues, both at Hawkley Hall and through school-to-school support at other schools, and has developed processes to embed change and improve the quality of teaching. Natalie has also coordinated support work with local primary schools, developing staff confidence and knowledge of teaching, and worked to review and develop the whole-school feedback and marking policy, bringing it into line with current Ofsted guidelines. Natalie was awarded SLE in 2015 and completed the Teaching Leaders Programme with Ambition in same year.


Paul Tickle

Specialism: Science

Paul worked as a research scientist for several years before starting his teaching career at Hawkley Hall in 2012. He has significant experience of supporting Teaching and Learning by planning and delivering staff CPD and through the mentoring of ITT and NQT colleagues. He has a passion for curriculum design and has recently been involved in the development of a new KS3 curriculum that aims to give students a real love of science whilst preparing them for the demands of KS4. He has a track record of success at KS4 with classes frequently making above target progress. He was appointed to the position of Assistant Head of Science in 2019 with responsibility for KS3. He has been an SLE since 2019.


Pete Smith

Specialism: Physical Education (PE)

Pete is currently Assistant Headteacher at both Hawkley Hall High School and has also worked in other schools in the Rowan Learning Trust, particularly in the alternative provision sector. This has enabled him to gain a broad skill set in various aspects of senior leadership in both a mainstream and alternative pro setting. A major part of his role at Hawkley is to look at student progress and behaviour and implement interventions and alternative provision for disaffected students.

Pete has previously been a Head of Year and Key Stage, ensuring students achieve their potential across all subjects through tracking, behaviour management and intervention. In 2011, he was appointed Head of Physical Education, consistently achieving GCSE results over 75% A*-C. Along with the excellent GCSE results, he has also developed provision for PE within local primary schools in order to deliver quality lessons at KS2. Pete has been a team leader for Edexcel GCSE Physical Education and has delivered CPD to other schools, resulting in increased grades within the schools he has worked with. He has helped deliver staff CPD as part of the Hawkley Hall Teaching and Learning Programme and is also facilitated the Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) and the Improving Teacher Programme (ITP).


Ross Aldridge

Specialism: Maths / Teaching and Learning

Ross has recently been awarded the status of Specialist Leader of Education (SLE). Presently, he is in his tenth year of teaching at Marus Bridge Primary School. Ross became Deputy Headteacher in September 2016, having spent five years as a member of the Senior Leadership Team with responsibility for Upper Key Stage Two and mathematics. Ross has a passion for mathematics, reflected in his accreditation as Maths Specialist Teacher (MaST) in 2014 as well as consistently high attainment, culminating in 78% of pupils gaining level 5 maths in 2015. Additionally, during his tenure as Year Six teacher and UKS2 leader, he oversaw improvements in attainment and progress that ensured Marus Bridge ranked highly amongst the elite primary schools across the country. Overseeing teaching and learning, Ross works with staff across school to ensure monitoring and CPD provision is worthwhile and impactful, as well as promoting and nurturing future leaders.


Suzanne Carver

Specialism: English

Suzanne is an experienced teacher having taught in primary schools since 2010. She became English Lead at her previous school in 2012 with a proven successful track record including completing the NPQML qualification in 2014. Suzanne has recently been awarded the status of Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) for English. Presently, she is Year 6 Teacher, KS2 English Lead and Raising Standards Lead (PiXL) at Marus Bridge Primary School. Suzanne is proactive at keeping up-to-date with research on English pedagogy, and is passionate about supporting middle and senior leaders in other schools to improve practice and outcomes for children in English, presenting at various staff meetings and INSETs regarding the teaching and learning of English. The role of Raising Standards Lead has presented Suzanne with the opportunities to work collaboratively with teachers to increase rates of progress across KS2 through use of PiXL. She has conducted various worthwhile monitoring activities that include lesson observations, book scrutiny, pupil conferencing as well as data and needs analysis which have led to significant improvements in the teaching of English at Marus Bridge.


Vicky Crawford

Specialism: English

Vicky has been an English teacher at Hawkley Hall High School since 2007. In 2011, she became English KS3 Co-ordinator before taking up her current role as Assistant Head of the English Faculty.  She is also a Specialist Leader of Education and has experience of working as Acting Head of Faculty.  Vicky has supported other schools to develop the new KS3 and KS4 curriculums. In 2012 and 2015, she successfully led the school to achieve the Basic Skills Quality Mark. She has also led a whole school initiative as a facilitator of the Hawkley Hall Teaching and Learning Programme.


Claire Arstall

Specialism: Behaviour Management SEN and SEMH

Claire has worked within SEMH provision for the last eighteen years and has been working at Three Towers AP Academy since 2013. She has been SENCO for the last seven years and holds the national SENCO qualification. She has a vast experience of working with young people and their families particularly those with special educational needs. Claire is now a Deputy Headteacher at Three Towers and has responsibility for pastoral and SEND. Claire has recently trained to become a Mental Health and Trauma practitioner and has worked with schools to deliver CPD raising awareness around Adverse Childhood Experiences and their impact in educational practice. She has led and successfully achieved the ‘Attachment and Trauma Sensitive Schools’ award at Three Towers. For many years Claire has worked collaboratively with schools around their SEND provision and has delivered CPD to support school improvement. She became an SLE in July 2018.