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Our Team

Jonathan Robinson - Director Advanced Learning Alliance

Jonathan Robinson has been teaching Modern Foreign Languages for 15 years. He graduated with a First with Distinction in German and Spanish from the University of Wales and has taught English in Germany and lectured in Education and Linguistics in China. He has led over 30 international educational study visits and exchanges and has run many extra-curricular clubs from the Arsenal Double Club for younger linguists to Linguistics for Beginners and German Cultural History for A Level students.

Jonathan currently teaches German and Spanish to A level, but has also taught Latin, Mandarin and Portuguese. He has a Masters with distinction in Leading Learning from Hertfordshire University. Jonathan has held many posts in school including subject and departmental leadership, and is currently on the senior leadership team with accountability for driving the Advanced Learning Alliance as well as promoting the Single Equality Duty at Dame Alice Owen’s School and is the Professional Mentor for Initial Teacher Training. Jonathan has been a teacher tutor for MFL at Hertfordshire University for several years and works closely with the university on the delivery of their school-led PGCE.

He is a well-respected CPD trainer, resource developer and consultant in languages, an experienced leadership coach and a champion for tackling homophobia in school.

Jane Hart - Director of Teaching and Learning - Watford Grammar School for Girls.

In nearly 30 years of teaching History Jane Hart has enjoyed the challenge of a number of roles in a variety of contrasting schools. During the last 13 years she has been Assistant Head and then Director of Teaching and Learning at Watford Grammar School for Girls. She has specialized in Initial Teacher Training and Professional Development. She also enjoys line managing several academic departments. She has worked very closely with Hertfordshire University, as a member of the Professional Advisory Group to the School of Education and chair of the School Direct Strategy group. She contributed substantially to the development and delivery of ‘Developing Professional Practice’ modules for PGCE students

As Director of Teaching and Learning she has responsibility for the School Direct Programme for the Alliance, working as Lead Professional mentor. She works closely with other members of the Alliance team to ensure that the CPD offer is innovative, broad and balanced. She has delivered training and professional development for a number of schools, Universities and in her role as a senior A level examiner.

She is a highly experienced A level teacher who relishes enhancing her knowledge of her own teaching subject. Her current focus in school is implementing a programme of teaching and learning focused training supported by lesson observation and the sharing of best practice.

Maureen Hill - SLE lead on School to School Support

Designated specialisms: Leadership of curriculum and English. Based at Watford Grammar School for Boys

I have over 30 years experience as an English teacher and 10 years experience of Senior Leadership in a number of different roles – Curriculum, Training and Professional Development, Partnership Working, School Self-Evaluation.

An accredited Ofsted Inspector, I have developed my expertise in School Self-Evaluation and School-to-School Support through my training and work for Ofsted, research for Masters degrees, responsibilities in my own school, the support I have given to a wide range of secondary schools and the experience of a part-time secondment to the LEA to help lead a local Curriculum Partnership.

One of my current responsibilities is Partnership Working. Through this, I have been able to develop relationships with universities and other schools to help support and enhance the curriculum for a number of schools in the area. I also lead a number of innovative curriculum projects such as Climbing Higher, a Saturday School to support the learning of Year 11 students from 10 local secondary schools who are at risk of not achieving 5A*-C at GCSE, and the Watford Boys STEM Lab which hosts CPD courses for Science teachers and STEM activity sessions for local students from Yr 5 to Yr 13.

Experience as a Head of English and currently teaching all secondary key stages means that I have considerable expertise in the teaching of English in the classroom and the leadership of this key area of the curriculum.

Verity Lane - SLE lead on CPD

Designated specialisms: Leadership of CPD, History, ITT and NQT development. Based at Rickmansworth School

My commitment to driving up standards of teaching and learning not only in my own classroom but across the whole school is demonstrated by the variety of leadership roles I have had over the past ten years. I have been a strategic lead for student voice, a Head of History and an Advanced Lead Teacher. More recently, I have taken on the role of Assistant Headteacher at Rickmansworth School with responsibility for teaching and learning and staff development.

Through providing quality training to staff such as designing and facilitating a good to outstanding in-house programme, launching a coaching initiative, creating a group of Lead Teachers and developing an effective staff led INSET programme, my commitment to empowering staff to be outstanding practitioners has been highlighted. As lead on appraisal systems, I have re-designed the School system to make it fit for purpose and written the School's pay policy.  

I am a TLDW tutor for the HertsCam network which promotes collaborative learning and the sharing of good practice. Outside of the School, I am an examiner for Edexcel and I work closely with the Alban TSA to provide training for History NQTs throughout Hertfordshire. I am also an accredited SLE for the Advanced Learning Alliance and am working towards completing my training as an Ofsted Inspector.

Linda Linwood - Manager Advanced Learning Alliance

Linda Linwood has been working in the education sector since 2002 and is an HLTA. Prior to that time she worked for 15 years in the Travel industry specialising in IT.

Linda works with the Director, Jonathan Robinson, to manage the day to day running of the Alliance. In addition she manages communication with the strategic partners of the Alliance. Linda has organised many events for the Alliance including conferences and the very successful Senior Leadership Programme and the Middle Leaders Programme.

If you would like to find out how the Alliance could help you please get in touch with Linda on linwoodl@damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk

 

Richard Titley - Bid Writer Advanced Learning Alliance

Prior to entering into the teaching profession Richard worked for an international environmental consultancy where he was involved with the tendering, reporting and project management of a portfolio of sites across the UK on behalf of global clients such as Total, Exxon Mobil and Sanofi Aventis.

Richard entered into the teaching profession in 2011 and holds a Masters in Advanced Educational Practice specialising in educational leadership and management from the University of East Anglia. Richard’s final thesis was on the value of independent learning and how it can be implemented at a whole school level.

Before joining Dame Alice Owen’s School Richard was a teacher of geography and a coordinator for a Sixth Form Consortium. Richard is currently the Head of Geography, a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society and also works closely with different exam boards as an examiner for geography.

Ian Cooksey - NLE

Ian Cooksey is the Headteacher of Watford Grammar School for Boys, which is a partially-selective comprehensive school. During his career to date, he has led a great variety of schools, including single sex (boys and girls), mixed, comprehensive and selective, representing schools in every Ofsted category. He joined a comprehensive school in Special Measures in 2010 as Head of School and helped to lift it out of that category in one year.

Not all schools need to change so much, so quickly, but all schools have a duty to their students to ensure that they do not stand still. Even outstanding schools need to change, for ‘outstanding’ is a relative term. Whilst it is true that all change does not lead to improvement, all improvement requires change.’

Ian has led CPD in several different schools to support the development of exceptional teaching and learning across the educational system. He has also supported schools seeking to enhance their self-evaluation frameworks and their approach to strategic planning. Having led one of the most financially efficient schools in the country, he has also developed some expertise in managing financial constraints, without adversely affecting outcomes – a challenge that many schools are being required to engage with in the current climate.

Peter Martin - NLG

Designated specialisms : External Reviews of Governance

 

Peter has been Chair of Governors at Dame Alice Owen’s School since 2009, having first become a Foundation governor in 2001. The first old boy of the school and non-brewer to become Chair since the school’s foundation in 1613, he studied Medieval and Modern Languages at Worcester College, Oxford.

He spent his career in finance with Lloyds Banking Group, mainly in UK retail banking but with secondments to South Africa and Germany. On behalf of the Group he had P&L and operational responsibility for major parts of the bank’s business, inter alia as Regional Director of Business Banking for London and the South-East, Director of Cash Management, Chairman and Managing Director of Merchant Acquiring, ATM Director, Chairman and Managing Director of Goldfish and Director of Credit Cards for the Group. In particular, he developed considerable expertise in turning round under-performing businesses; improving processes, restructuring, revitalising and restoring them to profitability. Outside Lloyds Banking Group he was also General Manager responsible for setting up a merchant acquiring joint venture based in Mumbai, between a major Indian bank and a global US payments processing company. Peter was also a Director of Link, Business Link London and the London Enterprise Agency, and was also Vice-Chairman of the Switch debit card scheme, a Director of MasterCard UK and MasterCard Europe.

Claudette Anderson - SLE

Designated specialisms: leadership of CPD and Geography. Based at Dame Alice Owen's School.

Across seven years of teaching experience, including the last two as an AST, I have developed effective teaching and learning strategies to engage and motivate learners by deploying a wide range of activities. Previous roles I have held include department responsibility for Geography at KS5 and the Co-ordinator of the Year 11 5A*-C programme.

I have led training for colleagues on differentiation, 21st Century learner capabilities and independent learning, with the overall focus being on maintaining the outstanding level of teaching and learning at the school. As well as the development and delivery of INSET, I regularly support staff to further stretch their students through one-to-one assistance, including lesson observations.   Alongside this, I have also supported new colleagues through training on both PGCE and NQT programmes.

Encouraging autonomy, through personalising the challenge and support that students are given, is my current area of focus. In this way, I have seen a real difference in students’ dedication to learning alongside an increased understanding that their achievements are not limited. Through undertaking Teacher-Led Development Work (TLDW) at the University of Cambridge, I have developed unique strategies to support students’ confidence towards becoming more independent.

Nurturing a collaborative culture to embed and disseminate good practice led me to become a tutor on the TLDW course through HertsCam for the last two years. I lead and support colleagues in the Potters Bar group, which covers local Primary and Secondary schools, and seeing the achievements of both colleagues and their students is a real benefit of this work. In addition, I also have experience in supporting the International Teacher Leadership project in Eastern Europe through my work at HertsCam.

Jessica Callow - SLE

Designated specialisms: English, Support for the most able, ITT and NQT development. Based at Watford Grammar School for Boys.

I am a dynamic English teacher, with six years of experience.

Currently Head of English, I am experienced in leading my department through major Key Stage 4 changes, recently implementing IGCSE English Language and Literature courses. As part of this change, I have also been part of the team of examiners for CIE English Language so that I can advise my own department on CIE marking standards. Having co-ordinated different key stages in English, I have managed a large team of teachers successfully and have embraced opportunities to share our department's good practice with other schools.

In particular, I have delivered student revision programmes to stretch and challenge A* learners as well as developing other strategies and pathways to support weaker students in English. This work has taken place both within my department and in collaboration with other English departments from local schools.

For a period of two years, I was the English tutor for the Climbing Higher programme for students from a range of different schools. This successful programme aims to support students who are deemed likely to fall short of their target grades in core subjects.

On a whole school level, I have advised senior leaders on literacy and numeracy across the curriculum.

Zoe Coomber - SLE

Designated specialisms: Assessment, Curriculum Leadership, Maths, Closing the Gap and Mentoring & Coaching.  Based at Mount Grace School.

Having worked as a Head of Maths in two schools I have had experience of working in different settings to bring about improvement, in what is often one of the most challenging Middle Leadership roles. 

I have a proven track record of identifying good and innovative practice and adapting it so that it can be effectively implemented.  This has resulted in improved pupil progress across the board, demonstrated though improved exam results at both GCSE and A-Level, whilst closing SEND and disadvantaged gaps. 

I have turned my own curriculum areas around, and supported others to do so in different subjects – creating a clear vision, setting achievable goals and working through a realistic plan to bring about change.  This has led to faculties that focus forward, rather than constantly fighting fires, and staff that are empowered to take on responsibilities and excel at them.  

I worked in business for nine years before I retrained to become a teacher.  My roles included technology development, project management, business change, strategic planning and stakeholder management.  I thrive on being able to bring my previous business skills into practice in the management side of teaching -  to communicate effectively, build strong teams and innovate working practices – all of which enable staff to do their job in the classroom better.  

I am passionate about teaching Maths creatively to engage students.  I believe that scaffolding and AfL are key components of successful Maths teaching, to ensure that all students make progress from their individual starting points.  I have mentored NQTs and unqualified teachers, as well as colleagues with more experience, to improve their teaching, maximise student progress and effectively manage their workloads to become successful members of the profession.

Adam Cotton - SLE

Designated specialisms: Leadership of CPD, PE, ITT and NQT development. Based at Dame Alice Owen's School.

Adam has been teaching physical education for 18 years, has been a head of department for 10 & an AST for 7. He has a passion for all things teaching & learning, & in particular engaging learners, his specialist area being PE at exam level.

It is in the area of Engaging Learners that Adam has delivered INSET to over 20 schools both in Hertfordshire & further afield. Adam was invited to speak at the Sports Colleges National Conference in 2010 & for 5 years led the Advanced Practice Seminars programme for the Youth Sports Trust across the whole of England.

As a county AST Adam has provided INSET as part of the NQT programme on topics such as classroom practice, literacy & Outdoor Education. He also works with individual departments on developing practice and has also worked one-to-one with teachers in Hertfordshire.

At DAOS, one of Adam’s main roles is the sharing of good practice, through INSET - the PE department meet weekly for an INSET session - coaching & providing a toolkit of resources for teachers to use in the classroom.

Adam still displays his passion for teaching all facets of PE, curricular & extra-curricular. He has coached a National Cup winning football team, was invited to be a selector for England U18 Schoolboys, and has organised football competitions in the county for 16 years.

Amanda Davighi - AST

Based at Dame Alice Owen's School

Amanda has been teaching Design Technology for 27 years, having been a head of a very large successful department for 20 years and she was the first advanced skills teacher in England (June 1998). Recently she has been promoted to a Lead Practitioner specialising in teaching & learning. She has a real passion for her subject and can advise in the teaching and management for all specialisms in this subject. She enjoys all things related to teaching and learning, particularly assessment for learning, progress and planning in DT.

Amanda has previously worked at St Michaels (3 years); Garston and Mill Hill County High school for (24 years), and outreach work in a variety of Barnet schools. However, she has led whole school INSET in Hertfordshire schools, on moving teaching from ‘stubbornly good to outstanding’.

Amanda has supported several schools with teaching and learning needs in DT across the county. Amanda has qualifications in coaching, through working with London Challenge and many years of coaching teachers in school and through her outreach work. She has attended most schools in Barnet and has a reputation for having excellent knowledge of the DT curriculum, advises on refurbishments, recruitment interviews, health and safety and has vast experience in observing and supporting teachers across the authority. She has assisted several primary schools in supporting the delivery of new Scheme of Learning in DT.

As a local authority AST Amanda has provided twilight networking events and INSET. She has been part of the NQT programmes for Enfield and Barnet for several years. She also works with individual departments on developing good to outstanding practice and has worked one-to-one with teachers in central London, Barnet, Hertfordshire and Enfield. She has advised head teachers on curricular developments, staffing abilities, writing of bids related to school specialism and sponsorships. Amanda has created school partnerships with Middlesex University and encouraging close links within the STEM subjects throughout schools. Her students have successfully won several national design competitions, including The London Design Museum, STEM competitions and National Technology Challenges.

Amanda has recently joined Dame Alice Owen’s School.

Amanda outside of school interests including travelling, managing a ski race team and entering school leagues.

Alice Edmonds - SLE

Designated specialisms: Geography. Based at Watford Grammar School for Boys.

I am a dynamic teacher of Geography, with experience of working within my own department, at a whole school level and with colleagues from various schools in the local area. 

As Head of Geography, I have experience of leading a successful and forward-thinking department. I have responsibility for the coordination and monitoring of teaching and learning across key stages 3, 4 and 5. I have worked as part of a team of external examiners for the GCSE Geography course and therefore I have a developed understanding of what is required for examination success. I am passionate about promoting the place and importance of Geography in the school curriculum and am currently undertaking an MA in Geography Education. I am an effective manager of a team of specialist teachers and enjoy taking opportunities to share our department’s good practice with other schools and educators.

A particular interest of mine is the increasingly important role of Geographical Information Systems in school Geography. I am currently conducting research in to the benefits of using technology for learning in geography and how this is relevant to the new GCSE and A-level examination specifications. As a department, we are working on the introduction of ArcGIS software in to our schemes of work across all key stages and, in the next academic year, I intend to lead a ‘GIS in Geography’ support workshop for local geography teachers.

In 2016 I was awarded the Certificate of Teacher Leadership by the HertsCam network. I conducted a project about the use of growth mindset theory in schools and the role that this can play in ensuring effective feedback to pupils. This work has implemented new marking and assessment systems within my own department but also informed feedback policies both at a whole school level and across other schools in the area.

I have mentored several trainee teachers, some outside of the subject specialism. I understand how to support colleagues new to the profession and how to improve their teaching to maximise student progress. In addition to this, I work closely with a range of middle and senior leaders as part of various initiatives.

I am an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher and I am excited by the work that I may undertake as a Specialist Leader of Education.

Robyn Gibson - SLE

Robyn Gibson – SLE

Designated specialism: Curriculum Development and Sociology. Based at Yavneh College.

I completed a degree in Psychology before completing my Secondary PGCE in Social Sciences at the Institute of Education. In 2014 I completed the Early Professional Development Course with the University of Hertfordshire and the Middle Leader’s course with the Advanced Learning Alliance.

I have had a passion for teaching and learning since being an NQT. I strive to stay up to date with innovative new practices mainly by reading blogs and embracing Twitter. I have run whole school CPD sessions on implementing the flipped classroom, using Twitter, motivating students, strategies for teaching sixth form and delivering outstanding lessons.

After successfully establishing Sociology at Yavneh College as one of the most popular and successful A Level subjects, I am now the Assistant Head of Humanities where my responsibilities also lie within Psychology and Geography. I have helped to strengthen the teaching across the department by providing support to members across all key stages.

Keen to encourage team work, sharing ideas and to help teachers cope with changes to the new A Level specifications, I formed the Sociology Alliance in 2015. The initial event was attended by 20 sociology teachers from across the country. It was very successful with follow up meetings happening later that year in order to further support teachers with implementing changes. The second annual conference took place in June 2016. Due to demand, more events will be planned for the future. I am also an AQA Examiner which has enabled me to design and implement a new exam question focused scheme of work

Simon Poliakoff - SLE

Designated specialisms: Leadership of CPD and Science. Based at Dame Alice Owen's School

I am an experienced and enthusiastic physics teacher and have worked as head of physics for the last seven years and as an AST for five years.  I was designated an SLE in the Summer of 2014.

I love teaching physics and am always keen to discover new ways of teaching a topic or interesting practicals to engage students’ interest. My main areas of expertise in teaching and learning are: diagnostic marking (formative assessment), using ICT effectively for learning, google classroom and writing effective schemes of work.

In the academic year 2015-16 I designed and delivered a successful TSST physics subject knowledge enhancement course which continues to run each year at Dame Alice Owen’s School. I have delivered a wide range of INSET including: using interactive whiteboards, google classroom, differentiation, ideas for developing written explanations, visualisers, interactive voting handsets, 20th century learning... I have also overseen the setting up of a peer observation system for teachers and contributed to the development of a range of school policies. In addition I am experienced at working one to one with other teachers to move their teaching to the next level. In my role as head of physics I have overseen a considerable improvement in the departmental results at both GCSE and A-Level which are now some of the best in the school. Before teaching at Dame Alice Owen’s School in Potters Bar, I taught for two and a half years as a VSO volunteer (Voluntary Service Overseas) in a school in a rural town in Ethiopia which gave me useful experience in a very different context.

Sadie Streatfield - SLE

Designated specialism: MfL. Based at Rickmansworth School.

I am an enthusiastic and committed teacher of Modern Foreign Languages teacher with 19 years’ experience teaching German and French in secondary schools firstly as a classroom teacher, then as Head of German and now Head of Faculty. My aim is for teachers to enable students of all abilities to develop their language skills to their full potential, equipping them with the knowledge to communicate in a variety of contexts with confidence. I strongly believe in languages as a skill for life and something students should enjoy and find rewarding. Modern Foreign Languages have remained a core subject at Rickmansworth School where I have taught for the last 14 years. I have led the Faculty through several curriculum overhauls in all Key Stages and more recently have been working hard with the team to reverse a downward trend in results. There has been particular focus on diagnostic marking and collaborative learning with an emphasis very much on pupil-led learning.

Collaboration is truly a key to success. Alongside mentoring NQTs, PGCE students and acting as an appraiser, I am a willing and active participant in whole school teaching and learning drives. I have been very much involved with our Peer Observation and Feedback Programme and I regularly deliver whole school INSET. The most recent sessions have been on Bridging the Gap and Stretch and Challenge.

Katharine Wheatley - SLE

Designated specialisms - MFL KS2 and KS3. Katharine is deployed through our strategic partner The Transformative Learning Alliance.

Based at Dame Alice Owen's School

I am a very experienced modern foreign languages teacher and am passionate about encouraging and disseminating innovative practice to raise standards in MFL across both Secondary and Primary schools. I have, unusually, substantial teaching experience both in Secondary and Primary schools having spent many successful years working as the Primary Languages Coordinator at Dame Alice Owen’s School, working with all the primary schools in Potters Bar. In this role I was able to support schools by leading INSET sessions, creating and developing resources and helping them to organise language-themed events.  I also taught Primary classes on a regular basis, modelling good practice and mentoring individual staff and subject leaders in order to promote high standards and a life-long love of languages. I have worked regionally and nationally with both CfBT and CILT and our local authority advisors, developing initiatives to disseminate best practice at local and national level. I have a focus on embedding creativity into language lessons, as well as using cross-curricular links to enhance and support language learning across the whole school. The introduction of languages in all Primary schools in the UK provides exciting opportunities for all our pupils, and I look forward to working with colleagues to ensure that all are confidently ready to meet the challenges both of delivering high quality language lessons within the Primary School classroom and also of ensuring successful transition to language learning at Secondary School.

Helen Wootton - SLE

Designated specialisms: Assessment, Leadership of CPD, Maths, ITT and NQT development. Based at Dame Alice Owen's School

Teaching Mathematics has always been inspiring and ways to motivate students are ever changing.  I have fifteen years experience teaching mathematics in secondary schools as a teacher, deputy head of department and an Advanced Skills Teacher for the last two years. I have a wealth of experience of subject knowledge across all areas of the maths curriculum across Key Stage 3 to 5, including all aspects of A-Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics.  Departmental responsibilities have been for Key Stage 3, ICT, coursework, performance management. 

My more recent areas have been in whole school teaching and learning initiatives such as planning and delivering whole school INSET, training NQTs, mentoring, running the school joint observation programme.  Specific areas of focus within Teaching and Learning have been in diagnostic marking, differentiation and lesson observation (specifically working with colleagues moving lessons from good to outstanding).  I regularly have contact with other schools, mentoring and sharing good practice. Running the Potters Bar TLDW (Action Research) group through HertsCam utilises all my skills and shows that collaboration is reallly the way forward in teaching.