Meet the Team
Principal (ADSL): Personnel, Policy and Strategy [Performing Arts, English]
University of Stirling
BA English Studies and Expressive Arts
DipEd (QTS) - English and Drama
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Licentiate in Acting (Musical Theatre)
Chartered College of Teaching
Chartered Teacher: Leadership (in progress)
Cert. Evidence-informed Practice
Fellow: Chartered College of Teaching
Fellow: Royal Society of the Arts
SLE: English, Performing Arts, Curriculum
Principal McCulley joined TLET in September 2020 and launched our Houlton Family in September 2021.
Born in Scotland before growing up in Warwickshire, Mr McCulley is an experienced school leader and educational professional. He is a graduate of Expressive Arts and English from the University of Stirling and trained in Acting (Musical Theatre) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and enjoyed his early career performing. When his attention turned towards teaching it began at the prestigious all-through Jordanhill School in Glasgow. He has worked in a variety of high-performing urban and rural contexts, including a life-changing opportunity to work with children in Somerset West and its neighbouring township schools with the Imibala Trust near Cape Town, South Africa. To this day, he credits this humbling experience with being transformational and informing his educational philosophy of ‘equality of opportunity for all’:
Education was an emancipation for me; teachers unlocked possibilities and a future I never knew was possible, nor that I deserved. This underpins my aspirations for every child who joins our family at Houlton.
Mr McCulley also spent some years at the Local Authority as a School Improvement Consultant, at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) as a Senior National Curriculum Adviser and as a Senior Qualification Development Researcher for the UK Department for Education. An authoritative voice in arts education, he is a founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. Additionally, he has held a variety of voluntary positions of responsibility as Chair of Community and Arts organisations.
Mr McCulley is a strong advocate for the promotion of diversity in education and global citizenship; he has taken groups all over the world as part of their co-curricular education, including visits to the Great Wall of China, language immersion visits to Paris and French châteaux and cultural trips to a number of global destinations, including Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain and New York City, USA.
More recently, Mr McCulley has been supporting schools in a variety of challenging circumstances and has delivered the NPQSL qualification to aspiring educational leaders. His current focus is on the launch and development of the Transforming Lives Educational Trust’s brand new flagship academy – Houlton School.
Vice Principal (DSL): Personal Development, Behaviour and Safety [Law]
University of Warwick
Innes of Court School of Law (City)
PGDip Professional Legal Skills (Barrister)
Hon. Society of the Inner Temple
Called to the Bar
Homerton College, Cambridge
GTP (QTS) Law
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Vice Principal Buckenham joined TLET in January 2021, supporting Principal McCulley with the launch of the Houlton family in September 2021.
Miss Buckenham is a highly skilled school leader who brings with her a wealth of experience to Houlton. She is a graduate of Law from the University of Warwick, then went on to the prestigious Inns of Court School of Law where she qualified as a Barrister in 2003. She made the decision to transition into teaching in 2006, qualifying with the University of Cambridge having realised her desire to effect change in education and to be a catalyst for young people to realise their true potential. Miss Buckenham has worked in a number of
settings and has taken a lead on projects across the secondary sphere that have pioneered lasting change. She is a firm believer in the value of a globally aware curriculum, in positive behaviour management and in Restorative Justice. She is a strong advocate of Student Leadership, encouraging pupils to have a positive voice across both primary and secondary phases.
Miss Buckenham has travelled extensively and has experience working with schools in Asia and Africa. She has worked with World Class Schools, most recently leading a World Class international accreditation in Uganda, the first of its kind in Africa. Miss Buckenham has led a number of excursions for both staff and pupils to Uganda and her experiences there have inspired her to help young people in the UK to not only understand the privileges afforded to the western world, but to appreciate and strive to reach their full
potential. She is a passionate advocate for the importance of the culture in schools and spoke candidly at the SSAT19 Conference on the importance of a character and culture curriculum; her determination to ensure pupils are given equal opportunities to succeed is unashamedly relentless.
Miss Buckenham has supported a number of colleagues as a mentor for the NPQSL as well as delivering CPD on a broad range of school leadership stands across a number of settings. She prides herself in her unyielding positivity and has extremely high expectations. Her current focus is working in close partnership with Mr McCulley to develop and launch TLET’s visionary, brand new flagship academy, Houlton School.
Assistant Principal (ADSL): Learning, Teaching & Teacher Development [Physical Education]
MSc Ed. Teaching and Learning
BSc Sport and Exercise Science
PGCE Physical Education
Additional Designated Safeguarding Lead
AQA GCSE Moderator
Mr Ellis joined the Houlton family in September 2022 following a thoroughly enjoyable, successful and rewarding previous career, including experience of both the independent and state sectors, and in both all-through and secondary settings. Most recently, Mr Ellis worked for the Transforming Lives Educational Trust at a large, high-performing secondary school; he is an excellent leader, dedicated teacher and a consummate professional who is incredibly excited to be able to bring his wealth of knowledge and experience to support the continued development and success of Houlton School.
A graduate of Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University, Mr Ellis has successfully delivered learning experiences within a Physical Education context for over 10 years. The impact of Mr Ellis’ innovative, enjoyable and engaging teaching added great value to the Physical Education department at Ashlawn, where he was initially the Second in Department for Physical Education. In particular, the consistently outstanding results achieved by his academic GCSE and ‘A’ level groups are something of which he is very proud.
After a period of time working in a leadership role within Physical Education, Mr Ellis pursued further career progression within a pastoral sphere. This resulted in the undertaking of a Head of Year role before subsequently taking on the role of Key Stage 3 Leader. Mr Ellis is also a Designated Safeguarding Lead. All of these roles reflect the passion that he has for the holistic development of young people. Importantly, Mr Ellis knows just how crucial both outstanding teaching and excellent pastoral care are in order to ensure that pupils not only fulfill their potential but also feel happy and safe during their secondary school years.
Having led teams of staff successfully for a number of years Mr Ellis is now firmly focused upon, and committed to, driving high standards of learning and teaching at Houlton School.
Assistant Principal (ADSL): Quality Assurance, Assessment & Reporting [English]
Ms Lancini joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Ms Lancini is a highly skilled leader and passionate classroom practitioner with a wealth of experience and expertise. She graduated from the University of Huddersfield, before travelling widely in South America and Asia. She completed her training to be a secondary English teacher at the University of Nottingham in 1996 and has since worked in a range of roles in a number of different of schools across Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. Her most recent post was as Trust Director for English at a large Multi-Academy Trust, where she developed staff and middle leaders across five secondary schools.
Having worked in some areas of high social deprivation, she is a passionate advocate of the empowering and transformational nature of education, alongside the importance of removing barriers to learning to enable all students have access to an innovative, ambitious and creative curriculum. She has coached and mentored many trainees, teachers and middle leaders to improve their classroom practice and curriculum design; this, in turn, has enriched the lives of young people.
A firm advocate of the need for social justice in education, she has worked as part of a trust-wide improvement team to develop more effective learning and teaching across several schools to provide better life opportunities for young people. Ms Lancini has also worked in an independent school as a Head of Sixth Form, where she encouraged fundraising for charity and organised an educational visits to global destinations, for example New York and Washington.
Outside of school, Ms Lancini enjoys spending time with her family. She has two teenage children and two lively spaniels who enjoy long country walks. She is an avid reader and loves music, cinema and theatre.
Head of Faculty: Humanities [History]
University of Leicester
BA History and Politics
Mr Abbott joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mr Abbott is a highly successful middle leader, bringing a wealth of experience to the role. He is a graduate of History and Politics from the University of Leicester and has been in the education profession since graduating in 2005, undertaking a variety of different roles ranging from teaching assistant to leading learning and teaching.
Mr Abbott has recently led a department ranked at the top of the league tables for performance in post-16 History teaching by the British Association of Selective Schools. Having grown up in Rugby, he is committed to providing a world class educational experience at Houlton School ensuring that local children have the ability to achieve their potential.
Mr Abbott’s career has taken in a range of settings, from inner city comprehensives to leading selective and schools. He has most recently taught at a leading independent school in the Midlands. Having successfully led both History Departments and Humanities Faculties, he fully understands the demands of delivering a 21st century curriculum.
Through his previous experience of working with the Institute of Education and Justice to History, Mr Abbott has led projects on diversifying the wider school curriculum to make sure that it is representative of multicultural Britain. He prides himself on offering an educational experience that includes all learners and allows them to fully understand their place in the world as culturally aware citizens.
Mr Abbott is a strong advocate of developing well rounded, confident individuals. Having led a variety of different enrichment opportunities, from sports teams to debating clubs, he understands the value of learning outside of the classroom. He has led successful trips Berlin, the WW1 Battlefields and the USA as well as developing relationships with outside agencies, including the Holocaust Educational Trust, to ensure that a diverse range of voices are heard in the classroom. He truly believes that every child should have the opportunity to broaden their own horizons and understands the vital role that Houlton School will play in this.
Head of Faculty: Inclusion (SENDCo, ADSL) [History]
Mrs Cooper joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mrs Cooper is an experienced school leader with a passion for inclusive education and meeting the needs of all learners. She graduated from the University of Northampton in 2006 with a BA (Hons) in History before embarking on a career in property law. Experience of volunteering in a variety of school settings made her realise her passion for education and working with young people. She went on to study for her PGCE at the University of Warwick in 2009. Mrs Cooper also completed her school-based training with the Transforming Lives Educational Trust and, after achieving QTS in another local school, was invited back to the Trust as a history teacher. Mrs Cooper has successfully undertaken a number of leadership roles, including as Curriculum Leader for History.
During this time Mrs Cooper was approached to provide temporary maternity cover for the role of SENDCo at one of our Trust's schools, and it was this experience that ignited her interest in inclusive learning, propelling her in her pursuit of providing high quality education for all learners. After 10 transformational months, which happened to fall during the 2015 application of national SEND reforms, she was promoted to the Head of Faculty for Learning Development. Then, for five years, Mrs Cooper led a large department dedicated to supporting and raising the achievement of pupils with SEND. Recently she has played in pivotal role in developing strategies for accessibility across the curriculum, working closely with a number of professionals and practitioners.
A mother of two young boys, her personal connection to the importance of transition in ensuring young people and their families and carers are at the very heart of the SEND process, is undoubtable. She is thrilled to be joining the Houlton family. She sees this as an opportunity to realise her vision for high quality, inclusive education which allows opportunities for all to excel.
Head of Faculty: Mathematics & Numeracy
Miss Etheridge joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Miss Etheridge is a passionate, creative, and enthusiastic teacher who enjoys sharing her love for mathematics with her pupils. She completed her Master Science in Mathematics at the University of Birmingham and regularly volunteered in local schools to support pupils. Following her degree, she was awarded the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications scholarship for teaching and completed her PGCE at the University of Warwick, when she began her teaching journey at a Transforming Lives Educational Trust school in Rugby. Within her department she has explored best practice within mathematics teaching and designed schemes of learning to develop fluency, reasoning, and depth as well ensuring pupils enjoy learning maths. She has enjoyed creating a positive learning environment, awarding pupils for their effort and perseverance in maths.
Miss Etheridge continued her pedagogical development working on a Teaching Advance Mathematics course with the University of Warwick; this then led onto her completing a further Master of Arts in Professional Education, which involved independent research and a project in Mathematical Anxiety and developing strategies to support pupils.
Miss Etheridge also has experience of working within the pastoral teams as a Head of Year for both Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils. She found the opportunity to build strong positive relationships with her pupils vital in these roles as well as incredibly rewarding. She believes pupils deserve respect and understanding within school and strives to ensure they feel heard and supported.
Miss Etheridge is incredibly excited about joining Houlton School and cannot wait to welcome our first Year 7 pupils in September to the Houlton family.
Head of Faculty: Science & Computer Science
Mr Griffin joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mr Griffin is a highly dedicated science teacher with subject knowledge spanning across a large spectrum of the various science disciplines. He has spent the majority of his educational career within the Transforming Lives Educational Trust.
At his previous school, Mr Griffin worked in a highly successful science department as Head of Physics, promoting all aspects of science education to all age groups. He is particularly interested in current research based learning and teaching strategies, and incorporating these within his team. He has mentored many teachers within his department, from trainees to more experienced members of staff and developed their classroom practice to benefit pupils. This has resulted in consistently outstanding outcomes for GCSE and A level, far beyond the national averages. He endeavours to make science education enjoyable, accessible and successful for all pupils.
Alongside the academic qualities that his pupils gain, they have also had opportunities to take part in various extra-curricular activities, such as the CREST award, Royal Society courses and Women in Physics conferences. Additionally, he has many years of experience with international visits, including the popular ski trips and intends on continuing this for pupils at Houlton. Mr. Griffin believes that these opportunities are just as important for the rounded development of children as classroom based ones and strives to ensure that the pupils in his care develop to the best of all their abilities.
Head of Faculty: English & Literacy
Mrs Warde joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mrs Warde is an accomplished practitioner who is passionate about delivering quality education to all pupils, regardless of their circumstances. She believes that young people have limitless potential; they are deserving of learning and teaching through which they can explore their personal philosophy and develop their unique voice. Her classroom culture is aspirational, supportive and challenging, meeting individual pupil needs to ensure that pupils can emerge from Houlton School as successful, compassionate and empowered young adults.
In the seven years prior to joining the Houlton team, Mrs. Warde worked in a high performing school in Coventry. There she taught a range of subject areas, including: English Language and Literature, French and Drama. This breadth of experience has combined to inform her pedagogy, which encourages pupils to be engaged, curious and enthusiastic about their learning; she is an advocate of creating curricula which reflect the diversity of (and explores issues faced within) the modern world. This ethos was commended in an independent audit of curriculum planning, in which inspectors were impressed by the programme of study that Mrs. Warde pioneered. She was subsequently commissioned to deliver training in syllabus planning for schools across the city of Coventry.
Mrs. Warde has further conducted research projects into, and delivered training on, areas as diverse as the PHSRE curriculum, mental health, Shakespeare in Action, mantle of the expert and performance art education. This, in addition to her love of reading, her interest in physical theatre (which led her to direct performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and being a self-proclaimed Francophile (having been bilingual from an early age and taken many pupils abroad to France and Belgium) demonstrates her commitment to life-long learning and to education beyond the classroom.
When not in school, Mrs.Warde spends time with family and credits her young son as the motivation behind her pupils receiving an education as thoughtful and rigorous as she would want for him.
Subject Team Leader: Performing Arts - Music
Mr Bridgwood joins the family in September 2023.
Mr Bridgwood is an experienced Middle Leader, having worked in both pastoral and curriculum roles. Graduating from the University of Southampton with a Masters in Musical Performance he decided to go in to teaching through TeachFirst and has since worked as both Head of Year and Head of Music in previous schools.
Most recently Mr Bridgwood has been Head of Music at a school in Islington, working with the Music in Secondary Schools Trust to delivery whole class instrumental strings teaching, and provide instrumental opportunities for pupils who might not have had access to them otherwise. He has worked closely with institutions such as The Barbican, The Guildhall school of Music and Drama, and the City of London to run in school workshops, and exciting trips and opportunities for pupils.
As a Teach First ambassador Mr Bridgwood is committed to providing the best possible music learning experience for all pupils, regardless of their background. As a Musician Mr Bridgwood is a keen Singer and Violinist, previously touring with the London Symphony Chorus across Europe.
Mr Bridgwood is excited to share his passion and expertise with pupils, and to provide them with a wide range of musical experiences that will help them to become highly skilled and well rounded musicians.
Subject Leader: Spanish
Ms Casanovas joins the family in September 2023.
Ms Casanovas was born and raised in Barcelona where she lived until her late 20s when she moved to the UK. She studied teaching at university obtaining her official university degree in Barcelona as a ‘Teacher Specialist in the Education of Children’ in 2011 and followed this with a Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language Certificate in 2020 and received a ‘Teacher Subject Specialism in Modern Foreign Languages (TSST MFL)’ in the UK. She has taught for her entire professional career both in Spain and the UK.
Ms Casanovas' passion for teaching, as well as more than twelve years' experience makes her the perfect person to take on this new role as Spanish Subject Lead at Houlton.
With Spanish being her first language (of three) and her vast experience in working in different environments and countries, Ms Casanovas is able to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds coming from a very multicultural country herself. Ms Casanovas has a strong Catalan identity being born and raised in Barcelona, and she has a keen passion for the outdoors and sport, as well as music and animals.
Ms Casanovas has a great advantage in that she has been through the journey of learning a foreign language herself so knows the challenges that her students are going through, and knows the unique ways to be able to support them.
“Teaching is always challenging but I see myself as someone who is committed to life-long learning and professional development. The best part of being an educator is that there is never a dull moment, your teaching skills are constantly challenged, and you are always learning new techniques.”
Subject Team Leader: Performing Arts - Dance
Miss Connolly joins the family in September 2023.
Miss Connolly is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher of dance who is dedicated to promoting a love of learning amongst pupils. She is a graduate of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), and enjoyed her early career dancing professionally whilst living in London. Her experience as a dancer has equipped her well to deliver high quality dance provision to pupils in Key Stages 3-5.
Alongside dancing professionally, Miss Connolly delivered Performing Arts workshops to children in primary schools across London, which ignited her passion for teaching. This passion became the main factor in her decision to transition into full-time teaching. Before completing her PGCE, Miss Connolly spent some time working as a teaching assistant, supporting pupils with SEND in a range of settings which was an invaluable experience. She then went on to complete her PGCE in Dance at the West Midlands Consortium, which laid the foundations for her teaching career.
Since then, Miss Connolly has worked in a large and lively Creative Arts department in a West Midlands secondary school. Her experience at this school has taught her that all pupils have the potential for success and the capacity to flourish as accomplished individuals, ready for their exciting future in the 21st Century workplace.
Miss Connolly is an advocate for ensuring pupils are exposed to the three key pillars of dance education: performance, choreography, and appreciation. She highly values co-curricular provision and cannot wait to throw herself into inspiring a new generation of performing artists.
Miss Connolly is dedicated to giving pupils the best daily deal, and facilitating an environment which encourages innovation, aspiration, and excellence. She is delighted to have the opportunity to join the Houlton family, taking on the role of Subject Team Leader for Dance.
Subject Team Leader: Computer Science
Mr Cresswell-Peters joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mr Cresswell-Peters is an enthusiastic and motivated practitioner who encourages respect as one of the key principles of his classroom. A graduate of the university of Wales, Aberystwyth, he gained practical, theoretical and industry experience whilst studying film and television studies. Mr Cresswell-Peters entered into the teaching profession with a desire to ensure every student achieves their full potential.
Mr Cresswell-Peters embarked on his teacher training year with the University of Warwick after re-training in Computer Science. His main training placements were at local secondary schools before moving to an all-through school not far from Rugby where he developed his practice teaching Computer Science and Media to a range of students across the key stages.
Mr Cresswell-Peters is looking forward to joining the family at Houlton, where he plans to work with Mr Griffin to build and develop Computer Science, working to ensure that all students develop a love of the subject and all can achieve their best.
Subject Team Leader: Religious Studies
Mrs Ghatora joins the Houlton family Secondary in September 2023, is incredibly excited about joining and cannot wait to welcome our Year 7 pupils in September.
Mrs Ghatora is a highly successful middle leader, bringing a wealth of experience to the role. She has been in the education profession since graduating in 2013, undertaking a variety of different roles ranging from Teacher of Humanities to Head of Religious Education.
Mrs Ghatora is an exceptional educator who projects a genuine passion for Religious Education and a contagious enthusiasm for teaching. With her creative approach and dedication, she captivates the hearts and minds of her pupils, instilling in them a love for the subject that extends far beyond the classroom.
In Mrs Ghatora's classroom, Religious Education is a vibrant and engaging experience. She combines her creative flair with interactive teaching methods, such as group discussions, role-playing activities, and multimedia presentations. Through these innovative approaches, she captures her pupils' attention, making the subject come alive and fostering their curiosity to explore and appreciate the diversity of religious beliefs and practices.
Mrs Ghatora firmly believes in the importance of nurturing a respectful and inclusive classroom environment. She fosters an atmosphere where her pupils feel safe to express their thoughts, ask questions, and engage in thoughtful discussions about religious topics. She encourages open-mindedness, empathy, and the recognition of shared values across religious traditions.
Outside of her professional commitments, Mrs. Ghatora is a devoted mother and cherishes her role as a loving parent to her two young boys. Balancing the demands of her career with the joys and responsibilities of family life, she creates a nurturing and supportive environment both at home and in the classroom.
Subject Team Leader: Performing Arts - Acting
Miss Henry-Moore joins the Houlton family in September 2023 and is incredibly excited to start.
Miss Henry-Moore got the ‘teaching bug’ during her undergraduate degree at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Here, she spent an extensive period of time working with both primary and secondary aged children, facilitating drama workshops in mainstream and SEND schools, in addition to performing at fantastic venues such as The Minack Theatre, Penzance.
After graduating, she went on to co-found her own applied theatre charity for four years where she taught Drama at a number of primary schools, exploring subjects such as Geography and History, through the creative practices of Mantle of the Expert. She also learnt to teach mature students through therapeutic workshops, working with people with dementia in mental health hospitals and those with terminal illnesses at the Cynthia Spencer Hospice. She even gained funding to curate a hugely successful arts showcase with homeless individuals from The Hope Centre, who shared profound stories with the public on how they fell upon hard times.
Following this, Miss Henry-Moore decided she wanted to make more of a long-term difference and set upon the path of completing her PGCE at the University of Warwick, working in large mainstream schools in Northampton and Coventry. Upon completion, Miss Henry-Moore gained a role at a mainstream school in Euston, London, and honed her behavioural management skills. Furthermore, she had the opportunity to lead part of the Erasmus+ scheme, where students from several different European schools met and collaborated on a performing arts project in Mallorca, Spain.
Since returning to her rural routes in Northamptonshire, Miss Henry-Moore was the Head of Drama for six years at a local independent school before joining the Houlton family, where she instilled core acting skills to children aged four to eighteen through an engaging and challenging curriculum.
She believes that learning goes beyond the classroom and regularly invites theatre companies and actors to run workshops with her pupils. Another core principle for her is to ensure that all pupils see live theatre, as it promotes social discourse and gains a well-rounded individual; do expect your son/daughter to be off to the theatre soon!
Miss Henry-Moore has directed five large-scale whole school musicals and one site-specific production and she is looking forward to putting on another whole school musical at Houlton in the summer term.
Miss Henry-Moore is a huge advocate of utilising acting as tool to develop core life skills both in the classroom and within co-curricular endeavours. In 2021, she set up a performing arts ambassador programme, where pupils who have an interest in the arts meet and plan school events and co-curricular clubs, to help make the performing arts amazing in their school. This programme encourages communication, problem-solving, negotiation and leadership attributes. Miss Henry-Moore’s performing arts ambassadors, aged 10 to 17, have recently run a huge five-stage outdoor festival which was attended by over 500 people, choreographed a number of songs for the school musical, led primary dance and drama clubs and ambassadors have also demonstrated initiative when programming and controlling the lighting and sound for the last two school shows.
Miss Henry-Moore is thrilled to be joining Houlton as Subject Team Leader of Acting and cannot wait to embrace the upcoming school year.
Subject Team Leader: Creative [Art/DT/Food]
UAL: Wimbledon College of Arts
BA Fine Art
Royal College of Art
Birmingham City University
PGCE Design and Technology
Pearson National Teaching Award:
Outstanding New Teacher of Year (Silver)
Member: Design and Technology Association
Arts Award Adviser
Drawing & Talking Therapy Practitioner
Mr Hill joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mr Hill is a skilled teacher of creative subjects, specialising in Art & Design and Product Design. He is a graduate of Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art and of the prestigious MA Sculpture programme under the guidance of Professor Richard Wentworth CBE at the Royal College of Art. At the time, he appeared in the Catlin Guide to the 40 most important Emerging Artists in the UK, and was listed in the Independent’s ‘Artists to watch’, subsequently winning the Annual Catlin Art Prize in 2011.
Mr Hill has worked in a number of settings and has contributed to the cultural development of arts charities, theatres and most recently managing events at the Royal Academy of Arts, prior to entering the education sector. He is a firm advocate of challenging pupils’ ideas and encourages creative experimentation.
Gaining significant experience as a Visiting Lecturer at the Brit School, University of the Arts, London and Warwickshire College, Mr Hill was then keen to further develop his professional practice within secondary education. Training with Birmingham City University whilst teaching full time, he was part of a fast-paced, provocative creative department and was instrumental in introducing new technologies, thus broadening the curriculum and establishing innovative enrichment projects, such 3D printing, photography and sculpture.
Mr Hill has an innate passion for the power of the arts to effect change and believes that every child has the potential to contribute to the cultural landscape of our communities, and has been invited to contribute to a TEDx event on this; he is a keen advocate for synthesising academic progress with pastoral guidance and has mentored pupils throughout their school career. Most recently, he has undertaken training in restorative practice, which is a cornerstone of Houlton School’s approach to positive relationships at school.
Mr Hill’s current focus is creating a department that acts as a creative sandbox, where pupils learn, grow and foster critical faculties around current affairs, cultural happenings and social issues; together, we’ll grow the emerging and exciting future creative outputs of our Houlton family.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award Manager
Mr Hunter joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mr Hunter is a highly successful and experienced middle leader who brings experience from schools across the country. A graduate of the Bristol Institute of Modern Music and Teach First he has been working in education since 2011 carrying out a variety of roles including Head of Music, Lead for DofE and Teach First Ambassador.
Mr Hunter has recently been Head of Music across two high performing Coventry secondary schools, one of which was a Free School like Houlton, and he built the department there from the ground up as the school grew from Year 7 only through to Sixth form. Having grown up in Wales and travelled extensively worldwide as a working musician, he is committed to ensuring the best musical opportunities for all young people and that Music has a key role in helping students develop and reach their full potential.
Mr Hunter has worked in a range of settings from rural schooling to inner city schooling and has included working with Teach First working in some of the most deprived areas directly tackling educational disadvantages head-on.
Mr Hunter is a strong believer in the power of music to develop the individual as a whole and the knock on impact that learning a musical instrument has on students achievement across the school. He has led countless trips and believes in broadening students horizons throughout all key stages ensuring that students receive a well rounded and varied experience of music giving them both the opportunity and skills to study further.
Numeracy and Enterprise Coordinator
Mr Lowry joins the Houlton family in September 2023.
Mr Lowry comes to Houlton School from a large Northamptonshire school. Before training to be a teacher Mr Lowry worked in commercial roles in the fast moving consumer goods sector working for a blue chip company with world famous brands. He worked in various leadership roles across the sales and marketing channels and is able to use this experience to discuss career options with pupils when they are thinking of what they want to do in the future. He is also able to use his leadership experience to help others and has enjoyed being a mentor for teacher trainees.
Mr Lowry had always been interested in changing careers to become a Maths teacher and finally decided to make the decision in 2019. In his last role, he worked as a Maths teacher teaching all age groups between year 7 and year 11. He is also an experienced form tutor and had responsibility for leading a STEM project with a government funded research provider. His work on the STEM project was to start research projects in school that could be led by pupils and used real data. By working on real projects pupils could develop their interest in STEM subjects and careers.
Mr Lowry believes that all pupils have the right for a top class education and is keen to bring a passion to Maths by bringing the subject to life with real world examples. He tries to answer the question '...when will I ever need this?' before it is asked! Mr Lowry is keen to look at numeracy across the school curriculum and the cross-over of topics across different subjects.
Outside of work Mr Lowry is an experienced FA level 1 junior coach and managed teams at West Haddon JFC for over 10 years. He is married with 3 children who are at school or university.”
Subject Team Leader: Physical Education
Miss Hartfield joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Miss Hartfield is an enthusiastic and innovative practitioner. She is a graduate of Physical Education and School Sport from Sheffield Hallam University and joined the teaching profession with a desire to inspire future generations, enabling them to reach their full potential.
Following on from Miss Hartfield’s undergraduate degree, she embarked on her training year at the University of Nottingham gaining invaluable experiences in variety of secondary schools, as well as a SEND school. This year built the foundations for the beginning of her professional career in teaching.
Miss Hartfield’s career began at a well-established rural secondary school in the local area, which offered opportunities such as a house lead position to promote and enhance the school’s rewards system, celebrating pupils’ successes.
Promoting success is a strong passion of Miss Hartfield’s, as she believes that every pupil should have equal opportunities to become the best version of themselves and be rewarded for their accomplishments. Whilst her initial subject specialism lies in Physical Education, her teaching experience encompasses Mathematics as well, for which she went on to undertake an additional qualification through the University of Plymouth.
From an early age, Miss Hartfield has worked within the educational system undertaking an array of responsibilities across a broad range of age groups, which has enabled her teaching to be adaptable and innovative. In her early career, she attained numerous professional qualifications to enrich her subject specialist knowledge, which allow her to maintain high quality teaching across two departments. Miss Hartfield is eagerly awaiting the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead on this new and exciting journey at Houlton School.
Subject Team Leader: Modern Languages
University of Toulon, France
BA Langues, Littérature et Civilisations Étrangères avec spécialisation en Langue Anglaise
MA Lettres et Langues avec Spécialité en Français Genèse Littéraire Imaginaire
Cervantes Institute, Spain
Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera
St Hugh's College, Oxford
PGCE Modern Languages
Mr Raffy joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Born and bred in the South of France, Mr Raffy is an indefatigable languages teacher, striving to unlock a wealth of opportunities for his pupils through languages. He is a graduate of the University of Toulon, France, and spent his Erasmus year abroad at Exeter University, where he fell in love with Great Britain and its beautiful countryside. Giving up the French riviera for the English one, he remotely completed his Research Master’s Degree in French Literature, focussing on myth and utopia; he then went on to complete his DELE Diploma in Spanish with the Cervantes Institute, while working as a Foreign Language Assistant in Dawlish, Devon. This is where Mr Raffy developed a passion for teaching languages in secondary schools in England, prompting him to complete his teacher training at the University of Oxford. During his training, he focused on Content and Languages Integrated Learning (CLIL), as an approach to teaching foreign cultures, arts and civilisations through the lens of languages. He has since shared his cross-curricular practice with PGCE tutors and trainee teachers at the University of Oxford.
Before joining the Houlton family, Mr Raffy worked as a languages teacher in a large, successful secondary school in Oxfordshire. Not only does he strive to get the best out of his pupils, he is also committed to the training of new entrants to the profession, having previously worked with Oxfordshire’s SCITT training programme as a mentor and visiting tutor, and joining the interviewing panel for the University of Oxford’s PGCE courses.
Mr Raffy values highly co-curricular visits, which he sees as life-changing opportunities, as he first visited England on a school trip himself. He has organised and run several trips abroad during his career, ranging from day trips to the University of Oxford, to foreign exchanges with a school in Brittany, and trips to Spain and France. He aspires to give his pupils the chance to learn and use languages beyond the classroom.
"I am very excited to join Houlton School, to be at the foundation of a world-class, international school, and I can’t wait to share my passion for languages with our first year group, inside and beyond the languages classroom… À bientôt ! ¡Hasta prunto!"
Subject Team Leader: Geography
Nottingham Trent University
PGCE Secondary Geography
Member of National Geographic Association
EdExcel GCSE Marker
Mr Youmans joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mr Youmans is a highly motivated and enthusiastic subject team leader, encouraging students to always aim high. He is a graduate of Geography from Nottingham Trent University and has been in the education profession since 2017 as part of a successful Leicester City school, holding additional responsibilities such as Head of Religious Education.
Recently, Mr Youmans had the opportunity to attend the COP26 event and discuss the occasion with climate ambassadors from other schools nationally to implement policies and changes to improve our day-to-day activities such as the ‘switch-off campaign’. Mr Youmans is a firm believer in the importance of fieldwork, being out in nature, and enjoying the stunning landscape, from small streams to large glaciated landscapes. He has experienced amazing opportunities including visits to
Granada, Spain and Malham cove in the Yorkshire Dales, as well as leading incredible field trips to Dovedale and Cornwall.
Mr Youmans has had a passion and focus within Geography and believes that every student deserves the opportunity to not only excel in Geography but to experience new cultures, cities, landscapes and sustainable ideas as possible from around the world. He hopes to instil this passion into the next generation of Geographers through outstanding lessons and topics that will enable them to grow up with an understanding and respect for our world to become considerate global citizens.
“Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and
relevant.” Michael Palin
Teacher of Modern Languages
Mr Couch joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mr Couch is fluent in German, French, Spanish and Dutch, having had a passion for languages and linguistics from an early age. This love for learning languages was sparked by inspirational teachers and also involvement in cultural exchanges throughout his teens, wanting to communicate with his peers in each of the countries he visited.
By the time he was 18 Mr Couch had already travelled to France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland and Austria, meeting great people along the way, experiencing cultures and creating some amazing memories; he stayed with host families for most of the trips and was privileged to see life through their eyes and spend time speaking with different generations, in their own languages, about their lives in these exciting countries.
Following his 'A' levels in German, French and English Language, Mr Couch studied German and Dutch at the University of Hull, during which he had the opportunity of living and studying in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Whilst at university Mr Couch established a strong love for volleyball, captaining and eventually running the volleyball club, and for singing, as he joined various student bands in the UK and in the Netherlands.
After graduation, Mr Couch used his languages to enter the interesting and competitive world of International Business, where he spent 16 years selling various products and travelling around Europe, Russia and the Middle East. This allowed him to develop all of his languages to whole new levels, which in turn meant he could build and maintain strong relationships with his various clients in different territories. Then, in 2017 Mr Couch took the decision to re-train to become a teacher. This decision was largely prompted by the desire to share his passion for languages and other cultures with future generations of Brits, as he foresaw a future where British businesses would have an increasing need for linguists to be successful and competitive in international markets.
Before joining Houlton School, Mr Couch worked for four years as a languages teacher in a large, successful all-through academy in Northamptonshire, which was recently awarded World Class Status as a High Performance Learning school. He believes that every child should be given the chance to fulfil their potential and that languages are for everyone. We were born to communicate! He is a big advocate of developing resilience and self-belief in pupils, to try and help them overcome any language acquisition anxieties. He endeavours to make lessons engaging, accessible and challenging.
Teacher of Food Preparation & Nutrition
Mrs Devgun joins the Houlton family in September 2023.
Mrs Devgun comes to us with a wealth of experience. She has been teaching multiple discipline areas of Design and Technology her whole teaching career. She is a graduate from Buckinghamshire Chiltern University specialising in Surface Design.
When carrying out her PGCE in Textiles and Food Mrs Devgun developed her intrigue into Food Nutrition. She has worked in inner-city schools in London as well as being Curriculum Leader of Food in a high-performing school in Coventry.
Mrs Devgun seeks to continuously share her abilities of life skills for students through the element of understanding principles of cooking and nutrition. This has led her to become a specialist in her field. Therefore, she is keen to provide innovative experiences for pupils inside the classroom and outside. Mrs Devgun is a local to Houlton and is very much looking forward to continuing her services to the community through joining the Houlton family. Having watched the development of the school from a stone's throw away Mrs Devgun is keen to be part of the growing family.
Teacher of Mathematics
Mr Malhi joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mr Malhi comes to Houlton family with a vast international experience within the electronics industry ahead of becoming a teacher; a secure foundation in STEM subjects was the key to unlocking his own potential, allowing him to progress through various roles, including: engineer, product manager, sales director, and a VP responsible for the creation and running of a business unit, whilst enjoying the opportunity to live in Bristol, to Milan, to Sicily, Singapore, and Delhi. Mr Malhi then retrained to join the teaching profession with our partners at the Transforming Lives Educational Trust and the University of Warwick.
Mathematics is involved in all aspects of life, so Mr Malhi is committed to taking the subject from the seemingly abstract concepts to concrete, real life applications. Based on secure mathematical foundations , pupils in his classes are be supported to use sound logic and calculations to approach problems in a structured manner, which develops confidence and resilience not only in mathematics but also in life. He hopes to use his personal career journey to inspire the next generation to become the best they can be so Houlton's core pillars of Innovation, Aspiration and Excellence resonate with him well.
Teacher of Science
Edge Hill University
BSc (QTS) Secondary Science (Chemistry)
Mrs Morris joins the Houlton family in September 2023.
Mrs Morris fell in love with teaching after working as a scuba diving instructor in Malaysia. It was during this time that she found a real joy in teaching people things they had never done before. She gained huge amounts of satisfaction and pride from watching pupils develop, gain confidence and be able to master their skills with her help. She knew from then on that teaching was for her!
Upon her return, Mrs Morris qualified from Edgehill University with a First-Class Honours degree in Secondary Science Education, with a specialism in Chemistry. She is now a highly skilled and experienced science teacher and has spent the last 12 years teaching and leading in a very successful school in Northamptonshire. Here she was able to demonstrate her love of science across all three sciences up to GCSE level and has inspired many pupils to continue their studies of Chemistry at A level.
During her teaching career Mrs Morris has also been fortunate in working alongside trainee and early career teachers, guiding and developing their practice to ensure they deliver exciting and challenging lessons that are accessible to all. To inspire pupils and to introduce them to different career options, Mrs Morris recently entered a team of young chemists in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s ‘Top of the Bench’ competition. They were successful in becoming regional finalists, spending the day with forensic and explosion specialists in the science labs at the University of Derby. Mrs Morris’s love of being in the classroom, and her ability to build strong relationships ensures that her pupils feel valued, that they consistently achieve outstanding results and that all her pupils, no matter what their prior attainment, can go on to be the best they can be.
Alongside her successful teaching career Mrs Morris also has a passion for the wellbeing of her pupils. She has worked as a Head of Year across a number of different year groups,
supporting many pupils and their families. For her, the wellbeing of students is crucial and
underpins their experiences and success at school, and, with this in mind, she hopes to provide pupils at Houlton with educational excellence, so that they can access university, higher education, employment, or an apprenticeship which will allow them to lead successful lives.
Mrs Morris cannot wait to ‘dive’ into the new and exciting experiences Houlton will offer and is very much looking forward to joining the family!
Teacher of Science
Mr O'Flaherty joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mr O'Flaherty (or Mr 'Flats' as he's more commonly known by pupils) is a very enthusiastic and energetic science teacher with brilliant subject knowledge spanning across a large spectrum of the various science disciplines. He has spent the majority of his educational career within the Transforming Lives Educational Trust.
Mr Flats previously worked as an integral part of a highly successful science team and supported pupils to achieve impressive outcomes at GCSE and 'A' Level, consistently above the national averages. Whilst he specialises in Biology and has a significant passion for Human Biology, his enthusiasm for Science includes Chemistry and Physics, which is demonstrated by his ability to support, encourage and motivate students across the science disciplines. Mr Flats prides himself on his ability to engage his pupils and to make the subject of science enjoyable and accessible for all pupils.
Alongside the academic qualities that his pupils gain, Mr Flats has also previously held the positions of Pastoral Assistant and Head of Year. His skills as a pastoral leader allow him to ensure that pupils are in the correct frame of mind when in the classroom and to support their wellbeing. He believes that the development of well-rounded individuals is as important as academic success and strives to ensure that the pupils in his care develop to the best of all their abilities as life-long learners.
Mr Flats also holds an extensive sporting background, having played professional Ice Hockey for a number of years; his passion for sport is something he likes to utilise in offering a range of co-curricular opportunities.
Mr Flats is incredibly excited to join the family at Houlton.
Teacher of History
Mr Roy joins the Houlton family in September 2023.
Mr Roy is a conscientious historian, and his teaching approach is centred on providing knowledge-rich learning opportunities that encourage pupils to use high-order thinking skills, critical analysis, and evaluation of historical events and figures; he firmly believes in highlighting the diversity within our shared history.
Mr Roy honed these skills during his teacher training year at the University of Bristol, where he taught pupils across Key Stages 3-5 within both inner-city and rural contexts.
Mr Roy is eager to positively impact the Houlton School community, furthering the institution's mission of fostering a vibrant and inclusive learning environment. He is eager to collaborate with Mr Abbott and Mrs Cooper to make every history lesson an enriching experience for all.
Librarian and Centre for Communications Manager
University of Lincoln
BA Drama and Theatre
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
CILIP Leadership for Libraries
Miss Smyth is excited to join the Houlton family in September 2023.
After completing her Bachelors degree in Drama and Theatre at the University of Lincoln, Miss Smyth realised that she wanted to use her knowledge and experience of the creative arts to encourage pupils to find their passion through reading, writing and experiencing literature and language in all forms - from audio books, podcasts and radio to plays, drama and musicals - hence continuing her studied in Leadership in Libraries with CILIP.
As an avid reader herself, Miss Smyth would like to help all pupils get excited about reading, to be able to get lost in a great book and to create stories of their own. Miss Smyth is excited to introduce discussions surrounding the students’ favourite books and plays and get them involved in group sessions to discuss ideas and theories.
Confidence in reading is very important to Miss Smyth, from her experience of how valuable confidence and fluency in reading can be and how it can impact all aspects of life and can benefit pupils after they leave the school environment.
Miss Smyth has experience with playwriting, producing, narrating and creating radio plays so is looking forward to using the radio station to its full potential and have the pupils create and participate in using the radio facilities to the fullest; she thinks that such a fantastic resource can open up avenues to the Houlton pupils that they may not have thought of before – It can be used for a number of shows, bulletins and educational benefits – she can’t wait to see what the students come up with!
Mostly, Miss Smyth is really excited to encourage the Houlton family to see the library as a fun and safe space, to be motivated to get involved with the groups and activities that will run and to be able to find a place for them that matches their needs and interests, to expand social groups and to enjoy new experiences.
Teacher of English
Miss Straw joins the teaching team from September 2023.
Mrs Straw's career to date has been working within schools, and prior to joining Houlton she taught in a primary school for over 10 years were she worked with children from the ages of 4 to 11. She found it rewarding helping children learn and watching them grow and develop skills to support their own independent learning. She also has experience of to working with pupils on a 1:1 basis to develop their own learning journeys through achieving their educational goals.
As a lifelong learner, Mrs Straw continued her own learning journey since qualifying as a primary phase teacher, including having learned how to use the 'Read, Write Inc' phonics programme to aid children in their development of reading and spelling, as well as a maths leadership qualification under the gateway alliance at Rugby college. She is very much looking forward to bringing her experience in education to Houlton School and, in particular, with the nurturing and development of our young people.
Mrs Straw has always lived in Rugby and, having grown up in the town, her own experiences at primary and secondary schools were positive and inspirational. Ever since she was a child her ambition was to work within teaching and to be working within an education setting; therefore, she was delighted when she qualified as a teacher in 2008. Having encountered some challenges herself along the way, this informed her view that any goals are achievable with the right help and support. She hopes this genuine empathy with some pupils' needs means she can now give back to the pupils at Houlton.
One of Mrs Straw's strengths as a practitioner is her ability to build positive relationships with staff and children quickly. She looks forward to offering pupils new experiences that allow them to develop and gain understanding into their own learning and lifelong goals. She is passionate about education and eager to learn new things - so coming to the secondary phase is a new experience but one to which she is very much looking forward!
'I have seen first-hand the community spirit that the Houlton family has shown. I am excited to be part of the team and work with pupils to help them flourish and grow on their own learning journeys throughout the school.'
Teacher of Physical Education
Mr Williams joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mr Williams has always been a keen sportsman, with an enthusiasm to engage in a diverse range of sporting activities and to learn new skills. This developed into a passion for coaching and sharing his knowledge and experience with others. He completed his degree in Sports Coaching at the University of Gloucestershire and after graduating delivered coaching at a number of different schools and settings. Over the years he has gained additional specialist qualifications in coaching Rugby, Football, Multi-skills, Fencing, Gymnastics and Handball.
Whilst he enjoys coaching across all sports and fitness activities, Mr Williams’ greatest passion is for Rugby and he was privileged to previously play to a high level; he has since coached a number of teams and has contributed to grass roots initiatives, including one focused on inspiring girls to play Rugby. Indeed, he is currently the coach for the Rugby Lionesses and is looking forward to the new season starting. Mr Williams also loves cycling and promoting the benefits of this activity to maintaining a healthy lifestyle: he has even cycled all the way to Santander, Spain!
Mr Williams is looking forward to working with Miss Hartfield and introducing Houlton’s pupils to a range of new sports in order to facilitate pupils’ discovery of their individual passions. He firmly believes that there is a sport out there for everyone and hopes to encourage and support pupils to enjoy sports so that they enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.
Mr Williams is incredibly excited to be a founding member of the Houlton family and looks forward to helping shape the future of sport, health and fitness at Houlton School.
Mrs Forrest joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mrs Forrest has spent her career to date working supporting young people within social care and educational settings, including experience with the scouts, early years, social care, and as a teacher within her own dance school. She thrives upon helping children and young adults learn, and supporting them in achieving their full potential, whether that be on a 1:1 basis or in group situations, so that they develop the essential skills to work as a team, respecting and learning from others.
Mrs Forrest has undertaken a number of specialist qualifications in support of her work with young people and those with SEND needs, working in early years before embarking upon her most recent role supporting families within social care; she is also looking forward to building upon her experience as a choreographer when working with children and young adults at Houlton.
Living in Houlton herself, Mrs Forrest was particularly attracted to the family and community ethos of the academy and its traditional values. As a performing arts specialist herself, she is excited to get involved in the co-curricular programme of enrichment opportunities across dance, drama and music, the power of which she has seen first hand with building confidence in young people.
Mrs Forrest looks forward to working with Mrs Cooper and the whole Inclusion team.
Mrs Ammar started her professional career at the end of high school and continued during her studies. From volunteering at a centre for children with disabilities in Poland, through to a career in guest relations and hospitality in Egypt, more recently she has been working in social care in the UK; this diverse range of experiences have developed her skills in working with clients and dealing with different situations.
Meeting and working with people from many cultures and countries has taught her that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach. She appreciates individuality and believes that everyone deserves to be listened to and treated individually.
Throughout her career she has completed a number of courses, including first aid, fire marshal, and many others to support work in the care sector.
Mrs Ammar hopes to develop her skills and be a support to both teachers and students.
She is looking forward to starting work and getting to know the entire Houlton family.
Mrs Ball joined the Houlton family in November 2023 having worked in education for more than 16 years as both a teacher and a teaching assistant; she became a qualified teacher of History in 2020 through the University of Warwick, going on to teach History until Spring 2023.
As well as working in education Mrs Ball also spent eight years working in Quality Administration within both the manufacturing and the automotive industries specialising in writing and auditing procedures to British Standards. Mrs Ball also worked in a supervisory role within the library service and has spent time working as a Youth Support worker in a children's home. Mrs Ball also enjoys working for English Heritage at a monument in the local area which allows her to share her joy of the subject as well as researching the history of the building.
Learning has always been key to Mrs Ball having achieved a BA in English Literature and Sociology after leaving school at the University of Wolverhampton. At the age of 44, Mrs Ball returned once more to education and studied with the Open University and gained an Open Degree BA (Hons) in 2016 and then felt inspired to pursue a Masters Degree in Art History in 2019, also from the Open University.
In her spare time Mrs Ball is an active member of two reenactment societies having over 30 years demonstrating the English Civil Wars and now also representing the home front in World War II.
Modern Languages Assistant
Ms Cook joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Upon graduating from university Ms Cook worked for a year teaching English as a Foreign Language in a secondary school in Japan. An exciting experience that has led to a life-long love of Japanese food and culture.
Following that, Ms Cook completed her PGCE in Birmingham and enjoyed teaching modern languages in Warwickshire and Cheshire. However, the pull of living abroad was strong and having the opportunity to do so led her to a varied career in South-West France. She particularly enjoyed the challenge working for a busy French notaire, learning lots about French law in the process. Her knowledge and love of French language, culture and architecture continues to this day. A move back to the UK, over a decade later, allowed her to expand her experience working in industry.
Ultimately, her desire to return to education was what led to her working in an independent school and, following that, a SEND school. Both experiences were rewarding and allowed her to advance her knowledge of different educational tools, assisting pupils to achieve their best and enjoy their learning journey. Her most recent employment has been in a primary school setting, where for several years she has supported and taught all subjects, ages and Key Stages. She has enjoyed the variety of 1:1 work with pupils, as much as small group interventions and teaching whole classes French. She is delighted to be joining Houlton School in September, where she is looking forward to meeting the new cohort and working with them to assist in their learning.
Having undertaken a variety of voluntary work over the years Ms Cook now enjoys supporting a local Guide Unit, Church, and Sports Clubs with which her family are involved. She enjoys gardening, loves reading and likes to visit new places. It is highly likely she’ll be joining Houlton's languages and culture club!
University of Gloucestershire
BSc Physical Education
Mr Hillman joins the Houlton family Autumn 2023.
More news about our exciting new appointment will appear here soon!
Mr Hobrow joined the Houlton family in November 2023 having accumulated 20 years of experience working with young people.
After graduating from university, and briefly dabbling in retail management, Mr Hobrow realised his vocation when he joined the careers service (later known as Connexions). There, he qualified as a careers adviser and although later became a manager, he always maintained a role as a frontline practitioner. This was a fulfilling role, working across numerous secondary schools, sixth forms, and post-16 providers, providing impartial advice and guidance, and working with partner agencies to help to remove barriers that might otherwise prevent a young person from moving onto a positive outcome at the end of their statutory education; it was during this immensely enjoyable 16-year career that Mr Hobrow realised his enjoyment for working with groups of pupils in classrooms as well as delivering 1:1 interviews. He made the decision to retrain as a secondary school teacher. After qualifying, he embarked on his new career as a teacher of History and thoroughly enjoyed his role working with children across all key stages and immersing himself into his role as a form tutor.
In 2015, Mr Hobrow made the difficult decision to temporarily put his own career on hold to become a house-parent. He is proud of the hands-on role he played in helping his two daughters navigate their way through their education, before venturing onto university. It was also during this time that he was able to address his burning ambition to write, the result of which was that he became a published author in 2018. However, he never lost sight of the skillset he has built up of working with children and is, therefore, looking forward to applying his experience and working with his new team to help pupils at Houlton.
When not working, Mr Hobrow continues to write. He also enjoys various sports, keeping fit, and family walks. In particular, he enjoys music and going to gigs.
CACHE Cert. Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools
Miss McCabe joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Miss McCabe is an experienced learning support professional, who is looking forward to bringing her depth of knowledge and experience to supporting pupils at Houlton School.
Having lived in Rugby since birth, Miss McCabe was fortunate to enjoy a wonderful experience at both primary and secondary school herself, which inspired in her a passion for giving that back to future cohorts of pupils and working with young people within education. After completing her ‘A’ levels, she embarked on an Apprenticeship, and went on the gain a number of sector-specific qualifications in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
Miss McCabe has number of years of experience working with children of secondary school age and she enjoys supporting pupils with varying abilities and needs, enriching their learning, development and opportunities; she is proud of her track record of building and maintaining positive relationships with young people, including those who are vulnerable or lack confidence; accordingly, she enjoys being to catalyst to empowering young people to grow and flourish as confident individuals who feel valued and included, both academically and emotionally.
Miss McCabe is an enthusiastic and positive practitioner who leads by example and strives to support the holistic development of the pupils to help them to find their strengths and follow their dreams. She, herself, is passionate about sports and fitness, whether it be taking part or spectating, and enjoys supporting pupils’ development in this area, too.
Miss McCabe is excited about the opportunity to be part of an amazing new school and the new Houlton family and is looking forward to working with Mrs Cooper and Mrs Divver to support pupils’ learning - and, of course, she is eager to meet and welcome our founding cohort of pupils this autumn!
Miss Penna joined the Houlton family in the Autumn of 2023.
Education has always been important to Miss Penna. Having experienced early trauma personally when losing a parent at 8 years old Miss Penna found safety, security, structure and stability at school. At secondary school Miss Penna was inspired by some great teachers to develop her questioning and work hard and was successful in her examinations, which unlocked future potential for her.
Following a short spell in the retail industry Miss Penna spent 20 years in construction, first as a Setting Out Engineer, studying for an HNC in Civil Engineering at Coventry University on day release, then as a Site Manager progressing to Project Manager on industrial, retail, distribution and education projects up to £8,000,000.
After starting a family Miss Penna returned to retail part-time to enable her to spend more time with her children during their early years. During this time Miss Penna volunteered at a local primary school, especially enjoying working with children in KS2.
Miss Penna played Premiership Women's Rugby at Lichfield RFC, and has represented West Midlands, Midlands and Emerging England. Miss Penna is proud to have been a pioneer for the women's game, and also has been involved in setting up Kenilworth Womens.
Throughout her working and playing career Miss Penna has enjoyed training, coaching and mentoring young people, and has gained great pleasure in helping them meet their full potential.
Miss Penna's eldest child is a founding pupil. She was so impressed by the school's ambitious, positive and inclusive ethos she wanted to be a part of the Houlton School staff and is thrilled to have joined the family.
Università degli Studi di Macerata
MA Modern American and European Languages and Literature
Università degli Studi 'G. d’Annunzio' Chieti, Pescara
BA Modern Languages and Civilisation
Università per Stranieri “Dante Alighieri” di Reggio Calabria
Cert. Content and Language Integrated Learning
Conservatoire - Classical Piano
Mr Saporosi joined the Houlton family in November 2022.
Mr Saporosi joins us having previously worked as a Teaching Assistant in Secondary education in his native country of Italy, as well as having worked with students as a Teacher of English where English was not their first language.
Mr Saporosi is looking forward to supporting pupils with their learning across the curriculum, and also bringing his talents as a classically trained pianist and multi-instrumentalist to Houlton's co-curricular programme.
Mrs Wood joins the Houlton family in September 2023.
Mrs Wood studied at the University of East Anglia during which gained valuable work experience abroad. Subsequently, she went on to work in a variety of sectors, including retail and accountancy before she found her real passion within education.
Having worked in a specialist educational setting for nine years prior to Houlton, she is highly experienced having supported pupils with various challenges. She has personal experience with complex needs and a sound understanding of the barriers to learning this presents. She brings with her a proven track record of positive outcomes with students who have struggled to integrate into an educational setting.
Mrs Wood is passionate about inclusivity and overcoming perceived barriers to learning and supporting pupils in a pastoral, holistic approach. She is a great believer that by modelling positive behaviours, leading by example and once trust and a positive relationship is built pupils are then able to believe in themselves and build on their confidence emotionally and academically.
She is extremely happy to be joining the Houlton family and looks forward to having a positive, successful impact on pupils' experience in education.
Senior Science Technician
National STEM Learning Centre, University of York
Cert. Skills for New Technicians
Cert. 9-1 Science Curriculum for Science Technicians
Mrs Kirsopp joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mrs Kirsopp is a highly experienced Senior Science Technician, having worked in similar roles in three local secondary schools. A career working in schools follows Mrs Kirsopp’s proud service as a Meteorologist for the Royal Navy, which presented her with many life-affirming experiences prior to starting her family and consequent career-change.
She is delighted to be joining the family at Houlton and looks forward to the challenge of working with Mr Griffin to set up the faculty from scratch in such state-of-the-art and impressive STEM facilities.
Miss Rathbone joined the Houlton family in January 2023.
Miss Rathbone is passionate about all aspect of Art, Design and Technology, though she has particular interests in abstract drawing, colour theory and digital photography.
Having previously worked across different sectors, including running her own online store for her original pieces, Miss Rathbone is thrilled to be joining the Houlton family.
Miss Rathbone believes it is paramount to inspire young people to express their imagination in fun and practical ways; she is eager to support young people to find their creative outlet and is excited to pass on her skills to the next generation of future creatives within the Houlton family.
Food Preparation and Nutrition Technician
Mrs Sandall joins the Houlton family in September 2023.
Having grown up in the North East of England, Mrs Sandall relocated to Rugby in 2000 and although she misses the sight and sound of the sea - and the Geordie accent - she much prefers the central location and the warmer weather here.
Mrs Sandall has acquired a wealth of experience from across a range of settings throughout her career including sales, customer service and management before making the positive change to a school setting 10 years ago, following the arrival of her own children.
Previously working primarily in upper KS2 as a Teaching Assistant, Mrs Sandall provided valuable support for the children in all aspects of their school life and strives to ensure young people are supported and encouraged to achieve their full potential. Showing empathy, patience and understanding has helped develop and nurture successful relationships with both staff and pupils and she is very much looking forward to applying these same skills in her new role.
Both in and out of school, Mrs Sandall loves to cook and enjoys dining out too. She is excited to join the team alongside Mrs Devgun and is looking forward to supporting with the development and delivery of Food Preparation and Nutrition here at Houlton.
Restorative Practice, Welfare & Safeguarding Manager
The Open University
DipHE Health and Social Care
Restorative Practice Instructor
Additional Designated Safeguarding Lead
Miss Fleck joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
With over 14 years of experience, Miss Fleck has gained a wealth of knowledge working across all key stages and across both the secondary and primary phases; she also has also worked within specialist schools, including SEMH and SEN settings. She has held positions in both pastoral and welfare teams, as well as working as a specialist Teaching Assistant supporting students with special educational needs including Autism, ADHD and moderate learning difficulties. Over this time she developed successful strategies to promote inclusion and participation for all pupils.
Miss Fleck promotes pupil wellbeing, understanding the link between academic achievement and developing good social and emotional intelligence. She support pupils individually and in small groups, assessing the need and implementing strategies and interventions to support accordingly. She have supported pupils with their behaviour, social skills and how to manage and cope with their emotions, including with emotional issues, self-esteem, bereavement, divorce, friendship issues and anxiety and she strive to build reciprocal relationships with pupils built on mutual respect, supporting them through life’s challenges and helping them find strategies to cope.
In her most recent role, Miss Fleck was restorative practice facilitator, supporting pupils to strengthen their connections with both staff and their peers to repair harm and restore relationships following transgressions; the central aim is helping pupils to keep connected to a positive school community.
Throughout Miss Fleck’s career she has continued to develop her skills and knowledge by undertaking professional development beneficial to her role and she continues to ensure she maintains a well-rounded knowledge of the issues affecting young people.
At Houlton, Miss Fleck will support individuals and small groups with both their academic studies and their social skills. She will be based within the Malcom Hancock Centre for Communication (our library, information and broadcast hub), which sits at the heart of our Grade II listed Transmission Hall.
Miss Fleck enjoys promoting co-curricular opportunities, including sports, life skills and enrichment activities such as Forest school to enable pupils to enjoy positive experiences. She is passionate about supporting the educational journey for pupils, ensuring they have access to high quality support, aspirational goals, and successful outcomes: accordingly, she is delighted to be joining the Houlton family to embark on this very exciting journey!
Y7 Pupil Experience & KS2 Transition Leader (ADSL)
De Montfort University
BSc Psychology with Health Studies
Mental Health First Aider
Additional Designated Safeguarding Lead
Behaviour that Challenges – Level 2
BSL - Level 1
Mrs Cunliffe joined the Houlton family in September 2022.
Mrs Cunliffe started her career as a Business Bank Manager in Lancashire before embarking on a career change and working with children and young people as a childcare practitioner, during which time her practice was graded Outstanding by Ofsted. During this time Mrs Cunliffe supported various young people including those with SEND needs. Mrs Cunliffe then moved on to working within the education sector, working at a secondary special school, with pupils with ASD, profound and multiple learning difficulties, and speech and communication needs. Most recently, Mrs Cunliffe has worked as a successful Deputy Head of Year at a large comprehensive secondary school in Northamptonshire, where she was responsible for the pastoral needs of a large intake of pupils.
Mrs Cunliffe recognises that each child is an individual learner and should have an equal opportunity to achieve. She believes in promoting an atmosphere that fosters tolerance, resilience and fairness and knows that when children feel safe, happy and are invested in their school they are more likely to integrate well and reach their full potential. She does this by supporting the physical and emotional welfare of all pupils to help them develop into well rounded, creative and confident individuals.
In her spare time, Mrs Cunliffe volunteers with her local Scouting group, where she is currently assistant group leader and section leader for Beavers; she enjoys learning new skills and sparking interest with the children she works with, creating unique opportunities for them in areas such as bush-craft, pioneering and even Tomahawk throwing!
Mrs Cunliffe is excited to join the Houlton family and to support pupils in year 7 so that they have a successful transition and build a positive foundations for their secondary school journey.
Y8 Pupil Experience & Multi-Agency Referrals Leader
Miss Sargent joins the family in September 2023.
Miss Sargent is a motivated and caring individual who cannot wait to support the Year 8s at Houlton. She achieved her Bachelors degree in Criminology and Social Policy at Loughborough University where she managed multiple volunteering projects whilst studying her degree, including running community voluntary projects such as a Soup Kitchen.
Having graduated, Miss Sargent then began her career as a Police Officer for Leicestershire Police. After extensive training in first aid, law, legislation and self-defence, she then served the public as a Police Constable. Miss Sargent had a range of experiences with vulnerable adults and children and developed many skills in communication, de-escalation and time-management. This rich experience of working across multiple agencies and the referral process will support Miss Sargent in the Multi-Agency Referrals element of her new role.
Miss Sargent is excited to work with, and get to know, all of the Year 8s and to looks forward to building rapport with all pupils. She is looking forward to growing with the students throughout their Houlton experience so that the become happy, confident and well-rounded individuals.
Y9 Pupil Experience, Mental Health & First Aid Leader (ADSL)
Miss Divver joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Miss Divver is an experienced, empathetic and motivational pupil support professional who particularly enjoys sharing her love of reading with pupils as a means of addressing challenges. She achieved her Bachelors degree in Learning Disability Nursing at the University of Lancaster, before then moving to Greenwich to work with the children’s service team as a Registered Nurse for Learning Disabilities. She then became the manager of a residential centre for disabled teenagers and worked there for almost a decade before moving to Rugby to raise her family and embark on a new career direction.
Miss Divver has worked across a range of settings, including community, residential and managerial, impacting the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of society. As the mother of four daughters, Miss Divver brings a wealth of personal experience to the role of Pupil Experience Leader, along with a sound professional knowledge developed over five years working at the heart of the pastoral team within another local secondary school.
Miss Divver is a firm advocate of empowering students to get the best they can from their abilities and talents, and advocates that barriers to achievement must be understood in order to be managed and overcome. She is also a campaigner for overcoming social inequality and Miss Divver’s guiding principle for life and work is, ‘Be a nice human…’. This philosophy extends to her voluntary work, from which you may recognise her as she has been an Assistant Leader at Hillmorton Rainbows for nearly 15 years; there, she supports the activities in which her daughters and their peers participate regularly.
Like Mr McCulley and Miss Buckenham, Miss Divver promotes cultural and global understanding; she supports a charity set up to provide help and resources to a school in Uzima (rural Kenya) and often describes her time at the school as a highlight of her career and life.
A life long West Ham fan, Miss Divver has recently caught the bug for researching family history and discovered how excellent a rare surname can be when tracing ancestors: she is thrilled to be bringing her wealth of experience to the leadership of Year 7’s daily school experience and working with Mrs Cooper within the SEND team at Houlton School.
PA to the Principal / Academic Scheduling
RSA - Level 3
SIMS Super User
SIMS Options Online
Mrs Burns joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mrs Burns is a dedicated executive support professional who, having previously worked as a PA in industry, transitioned to working in education nearly 20 years ago.
Having begun her school-focused work at a large, Warwickshire secondary school in 2002, Mrs Burns has since gained a wealth of experience, including having previously established (from their inception) many of the business support functions across two brand new schools.
Mrs Burns has undertaken a number of roles within school support, including as Office Manager, Administration Manager, Academic Scheduler and in her most recent role as PA to the Principal at another TLET academy. Since 2009, Mrs Burns has enjoyed leading on whole school timetabling, a role for which she has a real passion.
As well as timetabling, over the years Mrs Burns has covered many areas of the School Information Management System (SIMS) and takes great pleasure in learning and perfecting new processes.
Mrs Burns is delighted to be joining Houlton School and cannot wait to work closely alongside Mr McCulley and other colleagues joining the Houlton family; she is looking forward to welcoming the founding Y7 pupils in September.
Data, Examinations and Assessment Manager
Miss Smith is delighted to be joining the Houlton family in September 2023.
Miss Smith will support the development of our data, assessment and examination processes as we grow over the coming years; she also looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for sport, sewing and gardening through the co-curricular programme.
Miss Smith is an experienced school administrator who has worked in school support roles
for several years, including most recently as the Examinations Manager at a local secondary school and sixth form. She also brings strong analytical skills and project management experience from her previous work as a scientist and lawyer.
Miss Smith is committed to equality, fairness, effectiveness and efficiency. These shape her approach to work and her determination to deliver systems that support all pupils to achieve their potential.
Attendance, Welfare & Educational Visits Officer
NVQ (L3) Business Administration
Cert. Personnel Practice
Miss March joined the Houlton family in October 2022.
Miss March is a highly experienced business support professional, having spent many years working in a variety of areas, including Logistics, Recruitment and HR within both the public and private sectors before joining the family at Houlton.
She is very much looking forward to maximising the benefits of her previous experience whilst also taking on the new challenges of her role as Attendance, Welfare and Educational Visits Officer.
Front of House and Administrative Support
BTEC Level 3 Business
National Apprenticeship Scheme
BTEC Level 3 Customer Service (Currently studying)
Mr Nash joined the Houlton family in November 2022.
Mr Nash has worked with young people for some time as a leader within Scouting and Air Cadets and is, therefore, very much looking forward to joining the Houlton family.
Having recently completed his studies in Business, Mr Nash is now combining his further study of Customer Service with his role as a key member of our Front of House team.
Lead IT Systems Engineer
Adv.Dip. IT, Software, Web & Telecoms
Dip. Information Technology
Mr Cotton joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Having left school with a great interest in Computing Mr Cotton sought to broaden his knowledge in this area and completed his BTEC Level 3 Diploma in IT at Rugby College.
Whilst studying, Mr Cotton started his career with the Transforming Lives Educational Trust at another local School, initially as an Apprentice IT Technician and ultimately he completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web & Telecoms Professionals with the Trust.
As the Trust has grown, Mr Cotton has enjoyed the opportunity to support the IT Services team and having now worked as an IT Technician for nearly five years he has gained a vast amount of experience providing IT Support to staff and pupils across TLET, working closely with leaders and having been an integral part of a number of key IT projects.
Mr Cotton takes pride in his work and looks forward to applying his expertise when formally joining the Houlton family by delivering a high standard of IT Support as Lead IT Systems Engineer.
Senior Site Services Officer
Dip. Joinery & Furniture-Making
Mr Mistry joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mr Mistry is an experienced site and facilities professional whose career began in the construction industry initially with Warwickshire College; there, he gained a number of vocational qualifications in carpentry and joinery, as well as completing a specialist apprenticeship. He very much enjoyed many aspects of the roles he would go on to do, even describing the carpentry in particular as therapeutic.
Seeking to further his career to benefit the wider community, Mr Mistry reflected on the period spent working on social housing, from which he derived great job satisfaction in the knowledge that the work he was completing would help improve the lives, and life-chances, of others. This sense of moral purpose led him to explore similar opportunities within the local area, ultimately resulting in him securing the position of Site Service Officer at a large, city comprehensive school.
Since working within the school environment, Mr Mistry has realised that providing a well-maintained, secure and hygienic place for students to excel in their education is the perfect role, knowing he is part of a community that holds pupils’ future prospects in top priority.
Mr Mistry is, therefore, delighted to have been presented with the opportunity to work as a Senior Site Service Offer at the brand new Houlton School; he grasped the opportunity of becoming a founding member of the Houlton family with both hands and is now focusing on developing all the knowledge required to operate, maintain and improve the campus and its historic buildings for many years to come.
Site Services Officer
Dip. Carpentry and Joinery
Dip. Site Carpentry
Mr Bullock joined the Houlton family as a founding member of staff in September 2021.
Mr Bullock has experience in a number of hands-on trades, including gardening, joinery and cleaning services; he is delighted to join the team at Houlton and to support Mr Mistry with maintaining such an impressive campus environment for many years to come.
Site Services Officer
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
BSc Countryside Management
Mr Everett joined the Houlton family in May 2023; previously, he enjoyed working with our friends and Trust partners Henry Hinde Junior School.
Mr Everett has a strong interest in conservation and wildlife, which he developed from going on conservation travels across Romania, Canada and Greece, in the 1990s. He went onto study Countryside Management, at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and after graduation went onto volunteer and work for the RSPB and in country parks in various parts of the country, from Lands End to Yorkshire.
‘I love hearing and seeing the Oystercatchers at Houlton; it reminds me of the Cornish coast.’
In 2010, Mr Everett started his own gardening business, throughout Warwickshire, covering all aspects of garden maintenance and soft landscaping. After 12 years he wanted to put his skills and experience into good use, to work as a Site Service Officer.
Outside of work, Mr Everett is passionate about watching his national team: Wales, play rugby and loves to play ‘Disc Golf’ at any opportunity. He is also an advocate for mental health and is currently studying to be a counsellor.
Since working at Houlton, Richard has become a valued member of staff and really enjoys working with Mr Mistry and Mr Bullock as part of the site team.