Berni Pearce - Teaching School Director


In February 2012, I was awarded the status of Specialist Leader of Education (SLE). The role of SLE is very specific, it provides the individual the opportunity to work alongside colleagues in another school setting or context. Having been an Advanced Skills Teacher from 2004-2010, I felt I had a great deal of experience having worked alongside colleagues in over 20 other schools.

As an SLE, you are asked to identify what you believe are your key skills and those that you are willing to offer in other contexts. I believe mine include: the English curriculum, teaching and learning, leadership and management and CPD. These skills were applicable to my teaching specialism and my previous role as Assistant Headteacher at Madeley High School and are also relevant to my current role as Blackfriars Teaching School Director.

I see the role of Specialist Leader of Education as being a privilege to be invited in to other schools and to work alongside my colleagues in education. Key to being an SLE is being respectful, ability to communicate at all levels, a good listener, coach and mentor, researcher, flexible, adaptive and committed to the moral purpose in education.

Will Woodvine


Will is a mathematics teacher with 20 years teaching experience. He has successfully led a number of department and pastoral teams in various schools, both within primary and secondary phases. He has been subject leader for mathematics at Madeley High School since 2008 making significant improvements with attainment in mathematics being judged as outstanding by OfSTED in 2013.
Will was designated as an SLE in 2014 having previously worked as a Lead Teacher for mathematics with the Staffordshire Local Education Authority working alongside mathematics advisors to support secondary maths departments and has a proven track record of supporting maths departments in difficult circumstances.

He has also been a Lead Practitioner for mathematics for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, working and supporting primary and secondary colleagues. Through this role he has delivered mathematics CPD sessions and has continued this work delivering mathematics seminars to primary education undergraduates at Manchester Metropolitan University..

Carmel Martin

SEN/Closing the gap/English/Phonics/Assessing for Special Considerations

I am currently Head of the Creative Faculty, which includes Humanities, PHSE, and Performing Arts. This role has allowed me to work with colleagues to build a culture that ensures outstanding practice and routes into teaching and learning are shared and underpin curriculum delivery and development. This leads to positive gains for pupil’s outcomes and facilitates closing the gap initiatives.
I have promoted and enhanced literacy provision both in school and cross federation, delivering training to staff at all levels. I have also been involved in delivering bespoke training to Associate teachers and NQTs. Topics have included: Literacy Across the Curriculum, Preparing pupils to use a scribe, Dyslexia awareness and Autism awareness.
I teach a wide range of qualifications form Personal Progress through to GCSE and differentiate for a wide variety of needs in classes; for example from pupils targeted A* - C to Entry 1. My PGCE in Specific Learning Difficulties has enabled me to build expertise in delivering bespoke interventions for pupils with dyslexia, or dyslexic tendencies. My vision is that all children, regardless of ability or background, should have their lives enriched by the written and spoken word.
I feel privileged to work as an SLE to work in partnership with colleagues to achieve their potential in their setting.

Jodie Cope


My current role is Deputy Headteacher at Ash Green Primary School. Before joining Ash Green Primary School in January 2015, I was Assistant Headteacher and later Acting Headteacher at a single form entry School in Staffordshire. I currently lead on curriculum, assessment, CPD including coaching and ‘Intervention Marking’.
In July 2017, I was awarded the status of Specialist Leader of Education (SLE). I have been fortunate in having the opportunity to support colleagues from inside and outside of my own context, in both a formal and informal capacity. Teaching and learning has always been my passion, through valuable experience, I have been able to develop my own philosophy, gaining an extensive understanding of school improvement. I have an unshakeable belief that all children have an entitlement to the best opportunities regardless of background.

Matthew Mason

Leadership of Curriculum, Assessment, Geography and Initial teacher training (ITT) and newly qualified teacher (NQT) development.

I am currently Deputy Headteacher for Teaching and Learning and the Curriculum at Sir Graham Balfour School in Stafford. I have been in post since September 2016. Prior to this I was Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Teaching and Learning at Sir Graham Balfour School from 2012-2016. I spent the first 9 years of my career working at All Saints Catholic High School in Kirkby as a Geography Teacher, Head of Geography and Head of Humanities. I also have a Master’s Degree from Warwick University in Educational Leadership and Innovation.

I see the role of an SLE as working closely with teachers in schools to ensure a sustainable and long-term improvement in the quality of provision. I focus on building working relationships based on mutual trust, where change is done with people rather than to people. Due to the hugely differing contexts of the two schools I have worked in I can offer a broad perspective, as well as a proven track record in working with people to improve the quality of exam results by strengthening the subject curriculum and improving the quality of teaching and learning. 

Lorna Sykes


Since starting at The King’s School in 2012 I have taken on numerous roles, the most recent being Science Faculty Coordinator.
As the Leader of the Science Faculty I have taken responsibility for the Science department as well as 5 other subjects including: Computer Science and ICT, Business Studies, Geography, Childcare and Health and Social care. I have worked closely with each department to understand the specification and assessment in order to equip myself with the necessary skills to support the development of each of these subjects.

Taking over the Science department in 2013 has been extremely successful with result improving year on year. The most recent results were ‘outstanding’ and exceeded national data. Through close collaboration with fellow colleagues in the Science faculty, we have seen great improvements in Teaching and Learning and this has been reflected in the results achieved.

Working closely with the local primary schools in developing teaching and learning resources and rigorous assessment regimes has helped to support students in the seamless transition between KS2 and KS3 and I hope that I am able to extend this offer of support to other schools in developing Science at KS2.

I started my NPQML at Blackfriars’s Teaching School in 2015 and have developed my skills to effectively coach colleagues in order to achieve excellence. I was designated as an SLE in 2015 and since then I have co-leading CPDT training courses alongside other SLE’s. The SLE role offers exciting opportunities to work with other departments implementing new strategies to support their development..

Andy Mayers

Design and Technology

I was appointed as Head of Design and Technology at Madeley High School in 2005.

In September 2015 Computing and ICT became a welcome addition to my faculty.

I have been an Examiner, Moderator and Controlled Assessment Advisor for AQA for over 10 years.

As a department we regularly look at ways of engaging our local primary schools and their pupils. Our list of activities includes a Design and Technology Summer School, greenpower 'goblin' car training, Operation Spitfire(flying a model plane around a pole), competitions, enterprise and fundraising.

We were a winner of 'Class Act' in 2012 and secured funding to set up a school shop which is run and staffed by pupils giving them valuable experience and bringing in funds.

Currently I am involved in a 3D printing project with local primary and secondary schools.

I have devised a Design and Technology baseline assessment test to help assess a clear starting point for pupils.

Ian Verow

PE/Teaching and Learning

I was appointed as head of PE at Wolstanton High School in 2004. The department saw record results annually and was quickly identified as a lead department in the county. As such, I was involved with the local authority, supporting the AST for PE with the development of planning and assessment models.

In 2010 I was appointed as an Assistant Headteacher with the responsibility for teaching and learning. I have led many whole school initiatives and worked with a number of departments to secure excellent outcomes for students.
I have completed the Teaching leaders 'leading from the middle' qualification and I am currently in the final stage of completing an NPQH. The whole school project work has focussed on moving teaching from 'good to outstanding' and developing a teaching and learning model which pivots on sharing good practice.

Jade Slater

Closing the Gap

I have been teaching Economics and Business Studies at Walton High School for 6 years. I am also a Head of House. I have been involved in school to school support in a variety of capacities: Business Studies, BTEC qualifications, and Behaviour for learning, and have always forged successful relationships with staff and students alike. I recently completed my MA in education and am currently completing my NPQSL. I also work as the MLDP facilitator at my school. I view my role as SLE as an exciting opportunity to work with other schools.

Vickie Keeling

Behaviour Management

Having worked in the construction industry as a finance manager for a number of years I made the decision to move into education in 2006. My first post was Finance Manager within Haywood High School.

I then moved to Staffordshire in 2008 and became the Support Services Manager of NCHS - The Science College. As the education landscape changed, I am now proud to be the Trust Director for United Endeavour Trust. (Alongside my role of governor at a Langdale Primary School)

I am a strong believer that fully integrated systems working alongside clear lines of ownership, responsibility and accountability are key to success within all educational settings. Having a well written and articulated plan is essential in ensuring team outcomes are achieved. Focusing on these four key elements you can achieve outstanding core service delivery.
In recent years I have secured external funding support in excess of £3m for estates capital projects across our multi academy trust and am passionate in ensuring that our young people have the best possible environment we can provide for their learning experience.

  • Support and guidance I am able to offer includes: 
  • Strategic and operational financial management (including deficit budget recovery and management),  
  • Support and academy conversions,  
  • Compliance and quality assurance of governance and company secretary duties,  
  • Management of estates and H&S across multiple settings 
  • Support Services guidance for MATs in centralising core services   .

Deborah Poole

Leadership of CPD, English, Initial teacher training (ITT) and newly qualified teacher (NQT) development.

I am currently Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Teaching and Learning at Sir Graham Balfour School in Stafford. I have been in post since September 2012. Prior to this I was Head of English from 2005 until 2012 at another school in Staffordshire as well as being an Advanced Skills Teacher for English from 2008-2012. I lead the provision of CPD in my own school and I regularly lead CPD sessions for Trainee Teachers in education providers across Staffordshire.

I am passionate about the importance of CPD for all, especially in an educational climate where money is scarce and time is short. I am privileged to work with Trainees and NQTs and relish the opportunity to be part of ensuring the quality of education for our young people for many years in to the future.

I see the role of an SLE as working closely with teachers in schools to be the best that they, and the school, can be, so that our young people receive the best possible education in the time they are in our care. 

Tracey Condliff

Business Manager

I am proud to be Business Manager at Biddulph High School. I am a keen advocate for the role of School Business Managers and the impact we have on school leadership and management. One of my most recent deployments as an SLE was presenting to a team of Teachers on a Fast Track to Leadership, explaining the role of a Business Manager and how, as Leaders of the future they may access the services of a successful SBM even in the smallest schools. 
I trained in the first Co-hort for CSBM with the National College back in 2004, I am a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management and more recently completed the CIPFA qualification.
I am able to offer support and guidance in strategic financial planning, budget setting, HR issues and staff restructuring as well as advice on policies and procedures, health and safety legislature and developing governance.
School budgets are so restricted in these uncertain times, the recently published White Paper states, “schools must make savings on procurement and back office spending in order to invest in teaching and learning.” This is something I feel passionate about, as the children in our schools and the learning experiences they have should be at the forefront of school leadership thinking. As an aid to this I have become very proactive in funding bids, over recent years I have secured over £350,000 in bids to my schools and am able to support in developing bids for a range of external funding.
More recently I have been working closely with other schools as primary lead through the Academy conversion process I thoroughly enjoy my role as an SLE and supporting colleagues in both Primary and Secondary schools and academies.  

Aimee Williams


 I am currently Head of the English Faculty at The King’s and support the coordination of Teaching and Learning within the school. I have over 6 years teaching experience, working in both pastoral and curriculum roles teaching and leading in both Advanced and GCSE levels.

Leading a faculty of seven subjects, including PE, History, RE and Media has given me a vast array of experience of managing colleagues and leading staff towards excellent results; indeed, the English department at The King’s has received ‘outstanding’ results for the past four years. Notably, I received The Pearsons Impact Award in 2015 for improving student outcomes at GCSE.

Throughout my time at The King’s, I have enacted significant change with a view to promote and enhance literacy provision. This has resulted in positive gains in student engagement and attainment, achieved through innovative processes and dissemination of good practice.

I have also delivered numerous staff training sessions for colleagues at school as well as in other institutions, with the focus typically being on quality assurance, marking, feedback, assessment and peer mentoring.

As well as recently completing the NPQML qualification, I have also achieved Level 5 in CMI Coaching which has enabled me to lead on a coaching program I introduced to the school for fellow colleagues.

These roles have all helped to equip me with the skills needed to be an inspiring leader. I believe at the core of a successful leader is the ability to lead and manage change effectively: to determine an agreed starting point, to inspire others through values and vision, and then to manage the change in measurable and acceptable steps. This way of working is something I have developed throughout my professional career.

Since being designated as an SLE, I have provided CPD for NQTs in the county as well as for Heads of department regarding the new English GCSE reforms.

David Bounds

Behaviour Management

 I currently work as Assistant Head at Loxley Hall School which is a specialist SEN provider for boys with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). I can offer practical solutions, support and guidance in areas relating to behaviour difficulties and behaviour management ranging from a strategic level to the 'coal face'.
Since being designated as an SLE I have provided CPD in the following areas: ‘How we contribute to challenging behaviours’, ‘Managing conflict and Reflective Listening’, ‘Beliefs, values and attitudes to behaviour’, ‘Rewards and Sanctions’ and ‘Attribution theory in relation to behaviour’.

I am comfortable providing support for individualised behaviour management plans, behaviour analysis at individual and whole-school levels and emotional support in crisis. I believe Einstein was right in saying that ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results’. If it doesn’t work – try something different!.

David Springer

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