” Principal of Blackfriars Academy, an outstanding school for 23 years.”
Principal of Blackfriars Academy, an outstanding school for 23 years. Alison led the school into their last major inspection in September 2017. The Academy’s report stated ‘ You and leaders within the school and trust are having a striking impact on the lives of the pupils who attend both school sites. Leaders have considerable drive and passion. Pupils’ needs are at the heart of decision-making. Outcomes at every key stage are consistently strong.’
Keen to ensure that practice at Blackfriars remains outstanding, Alison undertakes outward facing assignments that inform teaching and learning in the school. As the West Midlands Lead for Whole School SEND, Alison works alongside Local Authorities, schools, organisations and individuals, working together to ensure that every child and young person with SEND can maximise their potential.
Before joining Blackfriars, Alison led the Keele University PGCE and developed an ITT Partnership with 70+ schools across five Local Authorities. She helped to develop the Post Graduate Diploma in International Education ( PGDiE) and led continuing professional development sessions for staff at the Indus school in Bangalore and developed Masters level provision with ITARI, Bangalore, India. In Thailand, based at Harrow International School, Bangkok, she led CPD sessions for teaching colleagues from across the Far East undertaking a Diploma in International Education. Most recently, Alison has collaborated with Staffordshire University on a British Council project working in China with 30 school colleagues from a range of primary, secondary schools and FE settings.
“Ruth set up the Augmentative and Assistive Communication Team at Blackfriars and encouraged the Leadership team to raise the profile of meeting pupils communication needs.”
Ruth has a Bachelor of Education Hons degree. She started at Blackfriars in 1998 as a Teacher in a complex needs class and as Senco, having previously worked at Kemball Special School. Ruth set up the Augmentative and Assistive Communication Team at Blackfriars and encouraged the Leadership team to raise the profile of meeting pupils communication needs.
She encouraged the Local Authority to involve Staffordshire special schools in entering into a Service Level agreement with ACE North to make sure all the school had the tools and training to meet the needs of pupils with communication difficulties.
Ruth was the co-ordinator of the Physical Disability Support Service at Blackfriars leading a team of staff who went out into mainstream schools to train and advise on making buildings and curriculums accessible to all. Ruth leads the Immersive Pathway for pupils with profound and complex needs. She oversees Transition, the EHCPs and Exceptional Needs funding in her role as Vice Principal.
“Carmel teaches a wide range of abilities and qualifications in English from entry level through to Functional Skills and GCSE Language and Literature.“
Carmel has a PGCE in Secondary teaching as well as a degree in Literature and History and has taught English in both secondary mainstream and special school settings Prior to teaching she qualified as a Librarian with a Post Graduate Diploma in Librarianship and Information Studies working for Kent County Council Children and Young People’s Service where she qualified as a Chartered Librarian. Carmel then moved to work in publishing and library supply industry as a Sales Director.
Carmel teaches a wide range of abilities and qualifications in English from entry level through to Functional Skills and GCSE Language and Literature, differentiating effectively for a wide variety of pupil needs in classes ensuring that each young person can achieve their potential.
Since joining the Blackfriars teaching team Carmel has continued to develop professionally, gaining a PGCE in Specific Learning Difficulties which has enabled her to build expertise in delivering bespoke interventions for pupils with dyslexia, or dyslexic tendencies. Her vision is that all children, regardless of ability or background, should have their lives enriched by the written and spoken word. Carmel has also gained the following professional qualifications – NPQML and NPQSL as well as working as a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) advising and working with schools across the region. As a mentor for Associate Teachers from both Derby and Keele Universities, Carmel has had the privilege of working with and training both trainees and newly qualified teachers as part of Blackfriars Teaching School.
Through these roles Carmel has worked with colleagues to build a culture that ensures outstanding practice and routes into teaching and learning are shared and underpin curriculum delivery and development. She has advised on, promoted and enhanced literacy provision both in school and across the West Midlands, delivering training to staff at all levels. Carmel has 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.
“Eloise specialises in working with complex learners especially those requiring support with communication.”
Eloise began her teaching career by obtaining a bachelors degree in Conductive Education. This enabled her to become specialised in working with students with physical disabilities. Following this she completed her postgraduate certificate of education and gained qualified teacher status. Eloise has worked with students across all ages gaining experience working with students who have a range of special educational needs.
Eloise specialises in working with complex learners especially those requiring support with communication. To expand her knowledge in this area she undertook as Masters degree in Education where she explored theory and practical research linking communication and early reading and writing skills. She graduated with her Masters in 2019. Eloise supports the teaching of pupils with complex communication needs and those who access PODD systems across the school as required.
Alongside her role as class teacher she also leads the Exploratory Pathway which students with CLDD access. As part of this role she obtained her National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership in 2022.
“Over the years, I have moved over into classroom teaching, delivering the curriculum across the whole range of leaners at Blackfriars.“
BA Hons Conductive Education & Psychology with Qualified Teacher Status
Upon qualifying from university I gained my first teaching post in the Primary Department at Blackfriars. I worked delivering Conductive Education Task Series, helping pupils with physical disabilities to gain skills and independence in this area.
Over the years, I have moved over into classroom teaching, delivering the curriculum across the whole range of leaners at Blackfriars. In recent years, I have developed a particular passion for developing communication skills.
I am trained in Makaton, PECS, PODD and most recently been instrumental in the introduction of Grid 3 and iPads to facilitate communication
“I came to Blackfriars on a short placement as part of my course and loved it so much that I returned to take up a temporary supply post. Seventeen years later I am still working here and love the job just as much as when I started.”
I came to Blackfriars on a short placement as part of my course and loved it so much that I returned to take up a temporary supply post. Seventeen years later I am still working here and love the job just as much as when I started.
I teach maths at KS3 which involves a lot of practical opportunities to aid learning; using IT programs to see what our faces would look like if they were really symmetrical; using equipment to measure and test theories; carrying out surveys of favourite biscuits for staff and pupils (with the necessary taste testing of course) etc. ICT at KS3 includes using programs for music, graphic design and coding, as well as ensuring students know how to stay safe online. At KS4 students work towards external qualifications at entry level, BTEC levels 1 and 2 and GCSE.
I love to learn and took my second degree through the Open University whilst working at Blackfriars, gaining a first and I hope that this love of learning inspires the pupils I teach.
Whilst in the Conductive Education department I primarily work with students with complex needs and I found out very quickly this is where I wanted to be. I began to lead classes in 2016 still working with the Immersive pathway pupils from years 7-11. My particular interests are all aspects of communication and a multi-sensory curriculum. I qualified as a swimming instructor to enable the students to have extra opportunities towards enhancing their physical management.
“Andy displayed a real talent for making the curriculum sensory and appropriate for the more complex pupils and he started to lead a class in the Immersive Pathway a number of years ago. Andy was awarded the Most Innovate Teacher at the Shaw Trust Awards day.”
Andy started at Blackfriars in 1987 as the Sports Mobility Officer working closely with the physiotherapists in school assisting with the physical management of pupils. This role also involved supporting the PE lessons within the school making them accessible for all pupils no matter what their ability.
Andy was part of the Physical Disability Support Service for many years going into mainstream school across Staffordshire to train staff on how to make the curriculum accessible for all and working with pupils in a 1:1 capacity. Andy displayed a real talent for making the curriculum sensory and appropriate for the more complex pupils and he started to lead a class in the Immersive Pathway a number of years ago. Andy was awarded the Most Innovate Teacher at the Shaw Trust Awards day.
Andy was asked to take over as the Sensory and Physical curriculum lead in September, a move that took him out of the classroom to be based in the P.E. department where he works across all three pathways delivering lessons and activities to develop and maintain the student’s journey towards their E.H.C.P. and Preparation for Adult targets, whilst discovering the enjoyment of physical movement in the hope of students pursuing life long participation.
He is the 4D room manager having researched the amazing technology and encouraged the Leadership team to invest in this incredible system – which is accessible for all the Pathways in school and really helps to enrich the curriculum. Andy is also the Behaviour Manager within school supporting staff with the writing of Positive Behaviour Support Plans and implementation of strategies to support pupils.
“I am very passionate about the well-being of all pupils and as well as my role as Class teacher for Bridgewater“
I am very passionate about the well-being of all pupils and as well as my role as Class teacher for Bridgewater I am qualified as a learning Mentor and I am Proud to be Head of Panthers. I am passionate that the school be part of the community and through involvement in many schemes we have worked with the New Vic Theatre, the Woodland Trust, The Rotary, the Mayor and the Staffordshire County Community Choir.
I also organise the School Council.
“Samantha taught in a range of different schools and completed many Special Needs School placements, which started her ambition to teach in a special needs school.“
Samantha Mitchell is a teacher at Blackfriars Academy where she teaches a range of subjects in an SLD class. She trained as a Primary School teacher at Manchester Metropolitan University for four years. While training she taught in a range of different schools and completed many Special Needs School placements, which started her ambition to teach in a special needs school. As part of her degree she got the chance to live in Finland for a term as part of a programme called ERASMUS, this is where students of Europe have the opportunity to experience life in a different country. Sam observed and taught in a range of Finnish schools and experienced life at a Finnish university. While she was there she was voted to direct a performance about all the different countries that were a part of the ERASMUS scheme. She had to direct 50 students, which was then shown to the students and parents of the university. She graduated university with a 2:1.
After university she completed a year of supply in range of primary schools to gain lots of experience.
She came to work in at Blackfriars in October 2013 where she started off being a 1:1 with a child who was completing his year 6 SATs. She helped mentor him to complete them.
She then completed three years in a Key Stage 4 SLD class helping children to gain accreditations in English, Maths, Science, Sport, ICT and ASDAN. Along with this she now completing a course where she can be a lead IV for all the accreditations in the school.
She also mentors student teachers from Keele University when they come to complete their placements and is currently mentoring a NQT within the school.
“Favourite Food – A really great and huge cooked breakfast with all the trimmings”
Form teacher Royal Doulton
Teaches Science, Work Skills and Life Skills
Degree: 2:2 from Durham UniversityDiploma in Marketing
Previous work life before teaching – Aviation and Automotive Industry up to 2015
Richard worked for an Aerospace company (BAe Systems), then he worked in the food industry, then building cars (Toyota), then back to Aeroplanes for 10 years with his own company called Retro Aviation (old planes and new ones)
Favourite Food – A really great and huge cooked breakfast with all the trimmings
Favourite Films – Good Will Hunting/Arthur(the first one)/The Full Monty/The Thomas Crown Affair
Favourite Sport – Cricket/Rugby also Clay Pigeon Shooting
Music – Everything from Elgar to Rag n’ Bone Man
Guilty Pleasure – Richard loves trains – particularly Steam Locomotives and I have my own railway layout in a shed at home.
“Her passion is teaching humanities creatively to pupils of all abilities through a wide range of multi-sensory learning.”
Jill has a PGCE and degree in History and Religious Studies, which are the main subjects she has taught for many years, both in the UK and Colombia. She initially taught in mainstream secondary schools before joining the Blackfriars team. She has continued to develop professionally through postgraduate studies and on an Erasmus project creating resources to promote an inclusive pedagogy with trainee teachers. Her passion is teaching humanities creatively to pupils of all abilities through a wide range of multi-sensory learning.
Jill also works with trainee teachers at Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education (KNSTE) encouraging new entrants to the profession to develop a dynamic pupil centred approach in their teaching. She is also the school mentor for Early Career Teachers (ECTs).
“Carolina has worked as a teacher in both mainstream and special needs schools in Staffordshire, and is currently in charge of Art and Design provision at Blackfriars.”
Carolina has worked as a teacher in both mainstream and special needs schools in Staffordshire, and is currently in charge of Art and Design provision at Blackfriars.
After a Foundation course in Art, Carolina went onto achieve a BA Hons in 3 Dimensional Design, specialising in glass-making at Stourbridge College of Art (now part of Wolverhampton University). She then went on to Liverpool University to do a P.G.C.E qualification specialising in Art and Design.
Over the years Carolina has taught a full range of abilities from A-Level Art to G.C.S.E, with different exam boards and now more recently, BTEC qualifications.
Carolina enjoys travelling and loves creating her own paintings on location. She uses her travels to ‘collect’ Art as inspiration and ideas for presenting to students back in school, drawing from a wide range of cultures and Artists’ work.
“Hannah started her role at Blackfriars in January 2020 and is so delighted to be part of the team. She feels very fortunate that she is able to share music on a daily basis with the students of Blackfriars.“
Hannah studied music from since a young age and has achieved formal qualifications in both Classical Singing and Piano. She enjoys performing locally, especially in care homes and at charity events. However, most of her enjoyment comes from spreading a joy and love for music to children and young people. Hannah studied Music and Education at Keele University and graduated in 2017 with a 2:1. She then went on to work towards her PGCE in Primary Education at Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education. During her training year, she undertook a 3-week placement at Blackfriars Academy. This experience made it clear to Hannah that she had a passion for working within a SEN setting and wanted to pursue this through her career path.
Following her PGCE graduation, she worked for the Shropshire Music Service, delivering curriculum music lessons throughout many schools in Shropshire. This experience was very rewarding as it gave her insight into how many schools work and how learning can be enhanced through music. She then went on to work within a SEN pastoral role at an Engineering school, working alongside children with additional needs in mainstream classrooms.
Hannah started her role at Blackfriars in January 2020 and is so delighted to be part of the team. She feels very fortunate that she is able to share music on a daily basis with the students of Blackfriars.
“During my time at Blackfriars Academy, I have become increasingly aware of my strength to not only motivate students, but also the staff around me.”
Prior to starting at Blackfriars Academy, I have spent 14 years working in the Private Sector of Children’s Nurseries where I gained extensive knowledge and experience of Early Years. In 2020 I achieved a First Class BA Honours in Childhood Studies.
I began my career at Blackfriars as a 1:1 with a student working incredibly close with the astounding staff in the Immersive Pathway and quickly realised that my true ambition and passion was to teach in this remarkable Pathway. I have since entered my second year of Teaching and continue to be motivated and inspired by the students at Blackfriars. I find myself with a keen interest to soak up a fountain of knowledge to enhance the multi-sensory curriculum and provide a bespoke and student-centred curriculum.
“Blackfriars Academy has now become my full-time job as an Early Career Teacher and I absolutely love it! I have determination and commitment to support and make a difference to our children and young people.“
I have completed a BA Honours Degree in Sociology and Education. I then took time to work with a range of children and young people of all ages with additional needs, which confirmed to me the career I was ambitious to go into. I gained my PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status, specialising in English and SEND very recently, in July 2021. Blackfriars Academy has now become my full-time job as an Early Career Teacher and I absolutely love it! I have determination and commitment to support and make a difference to our children and young people.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, taking walks in the local nature and practicing playing my musical instruments such as the flute.
“I commenced my teaching career at Blackfriars Academy in September 2021 as a Year 7 Early Career Teacher, teaching across the different curriculum subjects.“
I achieved First Class honours in my undergraduate degree in Child and Youth Studies at Derby University; and during my three year studies, I undertook various placements within mainstream and special school settings. Following this, I completed a Primary PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status at Keele University, specialising in mathematics.
Having only recently completed the PGCE, I commenced my teaching career at Blackfriars Academy in September 2021 as a Year 7 Early Career Teacher, teaching across the different curriculum subjects. During my undergraduate degree, I participated in a taster session in Makaton which I really enjoyed so went on to complete Level one and two training and I am eager to develop this further at Blackfriars.
My time outside of school is spent on long walks with my family, at the theatre watching musicals or in a dance class. In my spare time, I am also working towards a Diploma in British Sign Language.