SLE 

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are ‘outstanding’ middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools.

The SLE role is designed to help improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning, ultimately raising standards and improving the outcomes for children.

SLEs are be deployed into schools to develop the leadership capacity of individuals and teams using coaching and/or facilitation that draws on the knowledge and expertise in their specialist area. Our SLEs are passionate about improving outcomes for students in all school settings.

All SLEs in the NDTSA have consistently demonstrated;

  •  a successful track record of working effectively within their own school and across a group of schools, or working with a range of leaders within a single school
  • evidence of successfully using coaching and facilitation skills to bring about sustainable improvements
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • an understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in their field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • an understanding of how their specialism and skills can contribute to wider school improvement goals
  • an analytical approach in identifying and prioritising needs
  • the ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
  • the ability to grow leadership capacity in others

Designated NDTSA Primary & Secondary SLE Specialist Areas:

Click the specialist areas to see our SLE’s in this category

Leadership of Continuing Professional Development

Leadership of Curriculum

ITT & NQT

Behaviour & Discipline

Subject Specialists

Early Years

Special Education Needs

Support for More Able Pupils

Please meet our SLE’s

Janice Harris

Head of Early Years, Great Torrington C of E Primary School
jharris@bluecoat-primary.org

I have worked with EYFS aged children and above for 20 years, including teaching EAL classes, 3 years teaching a full time nurture group class and 2 years using the arts to support children who have survived major trauma. I have also led EYFS teams for 12 years across different settings and year one teams for 3 years, giving me experience of transition from EYFS to KS1.

I have had the privilege of working with a wide range of different professionals in a variety of contexts including: infant and nursery school; primary school; international school; overseas university; overseas assessment centre; overseas primary school; Early Years Teaching Centre; pre-school and orphanage. I have been fortunate to work in outstanding settings alongside outstanding professionals who have made me question and develop my own practice and beliefs about teaching and learning.  Our current EYFS team achieved an ‘outstanding’ judgement in 2015 from OFSTED.  I also have a love of the arts and have led this throughout the school for 6 years.

My passion is facilitating the development of the whole child assisting them to see and achieve their full potential. There are many key elements to this, some of which include: developing the learning environment; breaking down barriers to learning; behaviour management; personal, social and emotional well-being; and learning behaviours (Characteristics of Effective Learning/Building Learning Power). I have been fortunate enough to lead workshops on these areas at EYTC conferences and with cluster groups and benefited greatly from hearing about practice across a wide range of settings.  I have also enjoyed carrying out my own action research as part of a local group of schools, which has led to real change in my own practice.  Professional dialogue is, I believe, such an important and exciting part of our CPD and too often there is far too little time for this.  This is something that has drawn my interest to the SLE role, an opportunity to bounce ideas to and fro and develop EYFS practice that is manageable and the best that it can be.  I look forward to working with practitioners in settings across Devon to further develop effective practice in the Early Years.

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Janice Harris

Janice Harris

Head of Early Years, Great Torrington C of E Primary School

Ellie Goulding

SLE - Leadership of Curriculum and Outstanding Teaching and Learning
egoulding@braunton-caen-primary.devon.sch.uk

I joined Caen Community Primary school in 2013 after working in a school in Bideford for 3 years. As an experienced KS2 teacher my strengths lie across all areas of the curriculum, and currently I lead PE throughout the whole school. As well as teaching, I provide training and support to student teachers, NQTs and new teachers who join our school. Over the last 3 years I have also worked closely with teachers across our local learning community to develop high quality dance teaching. When I am not teaching, I can be found walking along the beach with my dog, climbing mountains, or training hard in the dance studio.

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Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

SLE - Leadership of Curriculum and Outstanding Teaching and Learning

Lucy Couch

Head of Early Years, East The Water School
lucycouch@etwschool.com

After completing my degree in Educational Studies and Early Childhood Studies, I took a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) as a route into teaching. I am currently employed by East-the-Water Primary School and have been working here for the past 5 years gaining experience within early years and KS1. I currently lead Early Years and I am responsible for reception and nursery and lead a large team of teachers and teaching assistants within a foundation stage unit. I have been involved in and led training across the NDTSA for EYFS settings, trainee teachers across North Devon. I am also the PE leader for the whole school and have been responsible for  designing an exciting PE curriculum and developing a comprehensive programme of CPD where teachers work alongside experienced specialists. As part of my role I have also been deployed to support PE leadership in another school and regularly lead training for NQTs and trainee teachers across North Devon.

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Lucy Couch

Lucy Couch

Head of Early Years, East The Water School

Louise May

Senior Leader, East The Water School
louisemay@etwschool.com

I studied Geography at University College London (UCL) where I graduated with a First class BA Honours degree in 2007. I then went on to complete a PGCE at Exeter University specialising in humanities. I have experience teaching in a range of schools including both a small rural school and large two form entry schools. I am currently a member of the senior leadership team at East-the-Water School.  During my time at East-the-Water School I have also led literacy, been part of the curriculum leadership team and led a range of research projects.  I am passionate about developing staff and currently hold the role of Lead Mentor for NDTSA.  This entails mentoring and coaching students as well as supporting mentors across North Devon ensuring that all trainee teachers receive the outstanding training and support that they deserve.  I also work closely with middle leaders to further develop their leadership skills and understanding of the leadership cycle in order to support school improvement within their specialism.

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Louise May

Louise May

Senior Leader, East The Water School

Verity Lewin

Lead Teacher - Busy Bees Nursery
v.lewin@swsf.org

I joined Woolacombe in 2015 after 5 years as Lead Teacher and Assistant Head at a large nursery school in Bristol.  I have 17 years experience teaching across KS1 and the Foundation Stage in both large inner city schools and smaller village settings.  My passion is working within early years supporting pedagogy and practice and I am particularly interested in developing creativity, storytelling and outdoor learning in the early years and beyond.  I have been inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach of preschools in northern Italy and believe that a child has 3 educators – their family, their school and their environment. With this in mind I strive to ensure that the children, families and schools that I work with have the best possible experience and therefore achieve the best possible outcomes.

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Verity Lewin

Verity Lewin

Lead Teacher - Busy Bees Nursery

Robbie Fortune

r.fortune@swsf.org

Since the start of my teaching career in Early Years and Primary education, I have endeavoured to promote the provision of and raise the outcomes for music in schools both in England and overseas (rural and inner city). This has involved the planning and orchestration of themed and contextually rich music curricula for schools and their wider communities: continual professional development courses, production of action research in partnership with professional music/cultural organisations, recording studio experiences, music festivals, EYFS/Year 1 nurture group opportunities as part of a cluster, old people’s and care home performances and whole school productions.

 

Over the past three years, I have held the role of ‘Specialist Leader in Cultural Education’ (SLiCE, Curious Minds); a teacher development programme whereby schools are partnered with quality cultural organisations to uncover new ways of thinking and working across the art forms (in my case, music). This experience of collaborative project work and reflective action research has been instrumental in learning how to sustainably raise the profile of cultural education which is what I am most passionate about.

 

These roles involved working directly with ITT students, support staff, teachers, music coordinators, senior leadership, head teachers and executive heads on different music projects and related coaching, mentoring and CPD courses in schools.

 

Quote from participating music coordinator on SLICE:

“Since reflecting on our collaborative SLiCE journey to date and witnessing the incredible impacts of quality music provision and strategy, both myself and the leadership team have since restructured and strengthened our school’s music schemes and providers to ensure the children receive the best experiences available. This success has been mirrored in the teachers’ improved levels of participation and enthusiasm in staff meetings, team teaching opportunities and responses in their end of year ‘teacher voice’ questionnaires”.  

 

It is now my objective to continue to share and develop my music knowledge and skills in new settings with new challenges so that young people access the very best music experiences, whoever and wherever they are.

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Robbie Fortune

Robbie Fortune

Adam Buckeridge

East the Water Primary School — Deputy Head

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

After completing my degree in business and marketing and a career in the post production film industry I took a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) as a route into teaching.   I have held my current position as Deputy Head teacher at East-the-Water Primary School for the past three years.  Prior to this I was a member of the senior leadership team and also worked at both a small rural school and a large three form entry in London.  I am currently responsible for initial teacher training, NQT development and assessment and data.  In past roles I also have experience in leading maths, PE and SATs.

Over the past two years I have supported other schools in the use of data and assessment, pupil premium and developing school grounds.

For the North Devon Teaching School Alliance my main role is leading the School Direct Initial Teacher Training programme developing a new and exciting route into teaching through quality mentoring and outstanding training by SLEs across the alliance.

 

<b>Specialism:</b>

ITT & NQT

 

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Adam  Buckeridge

Adam Buckeridge

East the Water Primary School — Deputy Head

Angela Fernyhough

Woolacombe Primary School — Senior Leadership Team Teacher

Pen Portrait:

I am a Senior Leader in the SWSF and I am an experienced KS1 teacher and currently working in Year 2.  As an experienced KS 1 practitioner and a former AST in Somerset I have strengths in all areas of KS 1, particularly phonics, assessment and literacy. I have completed two Masters modules in Behaviour Management and Improving Writing and both of these research based modules have given me evidence based methods of improving children’s attainment and behaviour for learning.  As an AST I worked in schools alongside colleagues to improve teaching and learning using a coaching approach.

Specialisms:

Leadership of Continuing Professional Development

English

Phonics

Behaviour & Discipline

ITT

 

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Angela  Fernyhough

Angela Fernyhough

Woolacombe Primary School — Senior Leadership Team Teacher

Angela Walsh

Ilfracombe Academy — Head of English

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

I moved to Devon to take up my post as Head of English at The Ilfracombe Academy at Easter 2011. Prior to this, I had been a Head of English at a school in Tameside (near Manchester) since 2004. I have already been developing links with our feeder primary schools and look forward to being able to develop this further for the benefit of our communities.  Having worked in an urban area for most of my teaching career,  I am keen to ensure that  pupils and teachers in rural schools are afforded the same opportunities for success as those in cities and other urban areas.

<b>Specialism:</b>

English (Secondary)

 

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Angela  Walsh

Angela Walsh

Ilfracombe Academy — Head of English

Clare Jackson

East the Water Primary School — Curriculum Leader

<strong>Pen Portrait:</strong>

I studied German at Leeds University, graduating with a BA Honours degree in 2004.  Due to my interest in languages, I then worked in Germany teaching English.  Upon my return I completed my PCSE, and was based in schools across Devon.  I have been teaching for seven years and have taught in two different primary schools, mainly teaching key stage 2.  I am currently employed by East-the-Water Primary School and have been working here for the past 3 years, not only teaching but also leading the curriculum across the school.   When I teach there is never a dull minute when I’m teaching – the day is fast paced, fun and exciting.  I love being able to spark children’s imagination, give them interesting challenges and help them to discover their own personal passions.  I think the main reason why I teach is the thought that everyday I’m helping children learn and achieve their potential.

<strong>Specialism:</strong>

Leadership of Curriculum

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Clare  Jackson

Clare Jackson

East the Water Primary School — Curriculum Leader

Damian Railston

Combe Martin Primary School — Head of School

Pen Portrait

Originally from the North East of England, I journeyed southward when I trained as a teacher in Nottingham and then taught there before moving to Manchester and then to Devon. I have worked in large, small, inner city and rural schools, moving from Teacher to Head of Department, Assistant Head and then Head of School.

I specialise in improving teaching and learning for children, analysing data and creating whole school improvement agendas. Through accurate and detailed triangulation of information.

I work with senior leaders to ensure quality teaching and learning and provide detailed feedback to improve pedagogy.

Specialisms:

Leadership of Continuing Professional Development

Teaching & Learning  Assessments

Lesson Observation & Feedback

ITT & NQT

 

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Damian  Railston

Damian Railston

Combe Martin Primary School — Head of School

Emily Pulleine

Beaford School Teacher

<span style="color: #04b292;font-family: helvetica">My passion for teaching and learning stems from the opportunity to get to know 30 new personalities every year, and this has not reduced over the 13 years I have been teaching. I have experience in bringing out the interests and enthusiasm in children from 0-10 years and love the teaching profession for the constant challenge and reward it provides. I started my career in West Sussex, teaching in Haywards Heath, before moving into East Sussex and then to North Devon after having my two daughters. I have held responsibility for progress and achievement in Science and Maths, as well as being Head of FS and KS1 and ensuring challenge for Gifted and Talented across the school. When not working, I can be found on the beach, in the garden, elbow-deep in flour in the kitchen, or camping with my family in the glorious Devon countryside. </span>

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Emily Pulleine

Emily Pulleine

Beaford School Teacher

Fiona Jeffery

The Clinton School — Assistant Head Teacher

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

I am Senior Teacher at a small primary school in a two school federation. I manage the day to day running of the school in the absence of the head teacher.

I worked as part of the Devon Maths Team for over eight years. I teach the whole of KS 2. Maths and Literacy form the core of my planning to support the children's learning.

<b> </b>

<b>Specialisms:</b>

Maths

Leadership of Continuing Professional Development

Leadership of Curriculum

Support for Most Able Pupils

ITT & NQT

 

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Fiona  Jeffery

Fiona Jeffery

The Clinton School — Assistant Head Teacher

Gail Holmes

Woolacombe National Support School - Head of School

I grew up in Georgeham, North Devon and graduated from Plymouth University after studying a 4 year Bachelor of Education and I started my teaching career in Combe Martin Primary School where I also became the Deputy Head Teacher. I also taught in South Africa in a rural township and am a keen sportswoman with swimming as my primary sport alongside football. After having my first child I took up the position of Deputy Head of Woolacombe School and on Federation became Head of School at Woolacombe and a Senior Leader. I have many specialities ranging from Special Educational Needs to Science and Sport

Specialisms:

 

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Gail Holmes

Gail Holmes

Woolacombe National Support School - Head of School

Gary Bladon

Bampton Primary School — Head of School

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

After a successful career leading in industry, I studied a 3 year Bachelor of Arts degree in Primary Initial Teacher Education at Worcester University, graduating in 2003. I have worked in Worcester and North Devon over the past 10 years in 3 diverse schools, where I have taught all year groups across Key Stage 2, mainly Year 5 and 6. As well as previously leading PE and ICT, I have led Mathematics for the past 6 years across 2 schools. I now also lead Safeguarding in school as well as being a member of the schools Senior Management Team. My responsibilities have involved leading subjects and projects across all areas of school, including the Foundation Stage. I am also currently working with the National College, taking part in a national lesson Study Programme,  focusing on developing and improving teaching in schools.

 

<b>Specialism:</b>

Maths

 

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Gary  Bladon

Gary Bladon

Bampton Primary School — Head of School

Graham Hill

Ilfracombe Academy — Assistant Head Teacher

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

I am currently an Assistant Head teacher at The Ilfracombe Academy, an 11 - 18 school in North Devon. My responsibilities include: behaviour, attendance, child Protection and Multi Agency collaboration. Since joining the school in January I have assisted in reducing the exclusion figures and helped to raise attendance to its highest levels. Prior to joining The Ilfracombe Academy, I was an Assistant Head teacher with the responsibility for Achievement at Oaks Park High School, an 'Outstanding' school in the London Borough of Redbridge. In my previous posts I have undertaken a variety of roles including, the Head of Physical Education, Student Voice, Narrowing the Gap and Equal Opportunities Coordinator. I have taught across the ability range, working with both mixed ability and streamed groups. I have worked with a range of staff and schools acting as a mentor, coach and an advisor. Outside of teaching I have coached and played basketball in the premier league and been involved in the England U23 and Junior programmes. These roles have allowed me to develop my personal skills and given me insight into working under pressure and getting the best out of people

<b>Specialisms:</b>

Behaviour & Discipline

PE/Sport

Art

 

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Graham  Hill

Graham Hill

Ilfracombe Academy — Assistant Head Teacher

John Townsend

Ilfracombe Academy — Head of Languages

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

Born and bred in Plymouth I have always had a keen interest in languages. After completing my P.G.C.E in Secondary MFL teaching I took my first post teaching French in Barnstaple. After 4 years I moved to live and teach in South-Eastern Spain. On my return to the U.K in 2005 I became Second in Languages in a Plymouth Secondary School and rose to be Head of Department there after 18 months. 8 years later I moved to work as Head of Languages at Ilfracombe as I have always retained a very strong affection on North Devon. I love my job as a teacher, and drive to work with a smile on my face every day.

<b>Specialisms:</b>

Secondary /Primary

Modern Foreign Languages

Leadership of Curriculum

 

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John  Townsend

John Townsend

Ilfracombe Academy — Head of Languages

Judith Larrington

Ilfracombe Academy — Assistant Head Teacher & Senior SLE Lead

<strong>Pen Portrait:</strong>

I am a long standing member of the Senior Leadership Team at The Ilfracombe Academy. My role as Assistant Head teacher includes responsibility for Continuing Professional Development, Initial Teacher Training, NQT Induction and whole staff Appraisal processes. I have considerable experience of working with middle leaders, coaching and developing those who are new in post, and those with more experience. I have run leadership development courses for candidates from my own school, and others from neighbouring schools.  I have volunteered as  a Foundation Governor at a small Church of England Primary school for around 6 years, and I have very much enjoyed contributing to my local community in this way. I am a qualified RE teacher, and was Head of RE for around 10 years before moving onto the senior team. I am still involved in the teaching and management of the RE department here at the Academy, and am currently leading the Academy in the areas of Collective worship and RE related to Church school status, and is hoping to shortly be trained as a SIAMS inspector.

<strong>Specialisms:</strong>

Leadership of Continuing Professional Development

RE

ITT & NQT

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Judith  Larrington

Judith Larrington

Ilfracombe Academy — Assistant Head Teacher & Senior SLE Lead

Laura Martin

SWSF - PE Teacher

<span style="font-family: Calibri"><span style="font-family: helvetica;font-size: 12pt">I have been teaching in Primary Schools for over 10 years.  Since I qualified as a Primary School Teacher I have always had a real passion for Physical Education.  Four Years ago I also gained a qualification as a Children’s Fitness Instructor.  I have worked in many Devon schools, reviewing their PE Provision and supporting teachers with their PE Planning both short and long term as well as assessing PE (including lesson observations and helping review children's progression overtime).<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> Part of my role when I support schools’ is also to promote physical education and ensure that it is part of a child's daily life; from an early age to enjoy, have fun and participate in sport.  As part of my job I also help review Lunchtimes trying to make them as active as possible, including MTA training to implement adult and child led games in the playground. I have developed a Young Leaders Programme which has also been very successful in promoting games and activity at lunchtime as well as empowering children at lunchtime.</span></span>

 

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Laura Martin

Laura Martin

SWSF - PE Teacher

Liesa Down

Beaford School - Teacher

<span style="color: #04b094;font-family: helvetica">I trained to become a teacher at Exeter University where I graduated with a BA Honours degree in Education Studies. During my time at Exeter, I carried out research projects about creativity in writing and using talk and drama to support writing. I have always been very passionate about children’s literacy which led me to carry out a Primary PGCE with an English specialism, also at Exeter University.</span>

<span style="color: #04b094;font-family: helvetica">I am currently teaching at Beaford Primary School in a mixed Year 5 and 6 class. Before moving into KS2, I taught a mixed Year 1 and 2 class and held the responsibility for ICT coordinator. I am now part of the humanities team and I lead literacy across the school. Following the new primary English curriculum, I have raised the profile of grammar across the school. I have also introduced a new spelling curriculum which encourages children to take ownership and lead their own learning.  </span>

<span style="color: #04b094;font-family: helvetica">As literacy leader, I take an active interest in talking to pupils, looking at their work and feedback in order to facilitate change. I also take a genuine interest in the work of other staff so I can understand more closely the challenges they face, offer support and recognise good practice.</span>

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Liesa Down

Liesa Down

Beaford School - Teacher

Ossian Pleasance

Woolacombe National Support School - Teacher

Originally from London, I trained as a TEFL teacher after university, and taught adults from a wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities.  After then teaching TEFL in different parts of the world, I  trained to be a primary teacher on the SCITT programme based at Southmead School.  I have  taught across KS2 at Woolacombe School for the past eleven years, and during that time have found more and more that I'm most passionate about the teaching of Literacy.  This has steered me towards a lead literacy role in 2011 for a year, and then onto completing my AMBDA (Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association) qualification this year.  So from my early beginnings as a TEFL teacher, I have endeavoured over my career to constantly improve, adapt and enjoy my involvement with all things Literacy!

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Ossian Pleasance

Ossian Pleasance

Woolacombe National Support School - Teacher

Ruth Cornish

Combe Martin Primary School — Senior Teacher

<b>Pen Portrait:</b>

I qualified as a teacher 20 years ago, after having had my family, and have taught in Plymouth, Surrey and North Devon. I spent the first 15 years as an Early Years and Key Stage One teacher, specialising in Literacy. After training as a Reading Recovery Teacher, and having 'Thrive' training I moved into Lower Key Stage Two, specialising in Special Needs. My Literacy specialism continued, becoming a Literacy Lead Teacher, and a National Trainer for Wave One Literacy Intervention with Fischer Family Trust. I am now part of the Senior Leadership Team at Combe Martin Primary School, where I am responsible for Interventions, Reading, RE and Behaviour. I have class responsibility for a SEN group known as Springboard (16 children, Y3-6).
My philosophy is that ALL children deserve the very best we can give them and my approach is practical, rigorous and fun!

 

<b>Specialisms:</b>

Early Years

English – especially writing

Phonics

SEN

RE

Behaviour & Discipline

Leadership of Curriculum

 

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Ruth  Cornish

Ruth Cornish

Combe Martin Primary School — Senior Teacher

 

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