Senior Leadership Team
Meet our Senior Leadership Team
I joined DCHS as Head of PE in 2010 following my early career at Prudhoe High. I made the decision to pursue pastoral leadership when the head of year 9 post became available and have never looked back, holding the posts of Assistant and Deputy Head Teacher with Pastoral responsibility and Designated Safeguarding Lead. I am proud of what we are able to provide for our children and families; having grown up in Northumberland I am acutely aware of the challenges faced when accessing services.
My career in teaching is down primarily to a member of staff at DCHS. Having grown up in Amble I attended my local high school, however the school did not have a school rugby team. I was given the opportunity by the then Head of Rugby Mr Debbage to come and play for the Duchess’s team. That opportunity led me down an exciting journey, not only into the love of sport, but also a passion to give all children opportunities that may not ordinarily be available for them. This action by a member of DCHS staff is ultimately what took me into teaching, and in 2007, having studied History at Hull University, and subsequently at Worcester University for a PGCE I gained my first position as a History Teacher in Central Birmingham. Having taught across a variety of schools in the Midlands, I fostered a love of teaching, not only of my subject History, but also of teaching Politics and Travel & Tourism. I also reignited my own love of learning in 2016 with the completion of a Masters in Education from Newman University. In 2019, after the birth of my eldest daughter, we relocated to ‘home’ in 2019 pre pandemic, for a Deputy Head role here at DCHS.
I started my teaching career at Bedlington Community High School and joined Duchess's Community High School in 2004 . I have taught a range of subjects in the past including; Textiles, Food, Art, Childcare and Health & Social Care. Most recently my teaching focus has been Health & Social Care. My roles have also varied, from classroom teacher to responsibility for KS3 DT, Head of Department and Head of Faculty, Assistant Headteacher and currently Director of Priority Students. My main responsibility in this role is to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable students are cared for. Although this specifically focuses on our Pupil Premium students, it also encompasses young carers, Services children and children with a social worker. One of my other responsibilities is overseeing the transition of our Y6 Primary students into Yr7 here at Duchess's.
I arrived at DCHS in 2009 as an NQT. My time before that was spent as a psychological assistant in the prison service. I have mostly taught Biology but occasionally Psychology and PE. I have been Head of Year and then Head of Standards (Pastoral) Key Stage 4. I worked on secondment for Northumberland County Council as the Mental Health Lead Coordinator during the pandemic before returning to school and getting my current role. I am now Senior Assistant: Behaviour Attitudes and Wellbeing. I have responsibility as the Senior Mental Health Lead and as a deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Following the completion of my A levels at Bedlington High School (Maths, Biology and Geography) I began a modern apprenticeship in PC support at a pharmaceutical company. After 1 year I decided that University life was for me and attended University of Newcastle Upon Tyne to study Maths & Statistics. I completed a 4 year Master degree and have a MMathStat qualification and then I completed an additional year at the same university to complete my PGCE to become a qualified teacher. Since 2002, I have been part of the Duchess's High School Team. Over the years I have held many different roles and responsibilities as part of our school community including Head of Maths. As well as oversight of the curriculum, reporting and progress across the school, I work with colleagues creating the timetable for all including extra-curricular activities. I'm a parent to two and through these channels I am also a Vice Chair of Governors at a first school in Northumberland.
Having completed a BSc in Ecology at Durham University and remembering the impact my own teachers had on both my academic and personal development, I decided to embark on a career in teaching. I was fortunate to remain in the North East for my PGCE and moved to Alnwick to begin my teaching career as a science teacher at DCHS over 20 years ago! Over the years I have held a number of different roles and responsibilities as part of our school community. These roles have included; Head of Science, SENDCO and currently as Director of Student Support - SEND. I am privileged to work with our dedicated staff to help develop our student support systems and build staff knowledge and expertise in relation to SEND by effective researched informed practice. My length of time at the school is testament to the very special love I have for our community, the positive relationships between staff and students and the ethos of continued development and improvement.
I have been at DCHS since September 1999. I have had a number of roles in the school including Head of English and Drama, strategic responsibility for careers and now Director of Post 16 Education and Guidance.
I take great pride in the potential of the young people within our school to be the best versions of themselves. I work with the wider community in building positive relationships and giving the young people of the area an opportunity to present themselves to the town. I love working with the 6th form student body and the 6th form team in providing educational opportunities to help work with them to prepare young people for the next stage of their lives and truly believe that through building positive relationships success can follow for the students of The Duchess's Community High School.
Having grown up in the area I left at 18 like many to go off to see the big wide world. I have worked as a HR Professional for the past 25 years. Having a young family we decided to come home and I joined DCHS in January 2015 taking on the newly created role of HR Manager for the Aln Federation. DCHS and the Alnwick Partnership have gone through significant change during this time and I have worked closely with a variety of stakeholders. My area of responsibility in school is for the operational management and day to day running of our school which includes strategic business planning, finance, HR and working closely with our Governing Body and community. I genuinely love my job and take great pride in my role working with our students and their families, the staff and our local community.
I have been at DCHS since 2013 as part of the Science department and the Leadership team. My current role as Director of Teacher Education means that I work with staff on their professional development to improve the quality of education in the classroom, leading on the implementation of our Curriculum. Basing our approaches to teaching pedagogy in the well-evidenced field of cognitive science - we apply the most relevant and recent educational research to develop both staff and students' understanding about how we learn - and therefore how we can use this knowledge to learn most effectively.
I arrived at DCHS in 2021 as part of the Reception team, bringing with me over 20 years of administration experience from a variety of different sectors including Local Authority, NHS and in more recent years, Primary and Secondary school settings. My role in school is to oversee the smooth, day-to-day running of the office and also provide PA support to the members of our Senior Leadership Team. Building positive relationships with our students, their families and the local community is something in which I pride myself on.