Amy is an experienced educator, SENCo and Assistant Headteacher, having been working in education for 23 years. She studied French at the University of Liverpool, before completing her PGCE and starting her teaching career in the same city, then moving to London. Amy’s extensive experience of inner city teaching has led to the passionate belief that regardless of circumstance or challenges, every child has the right to achieve and fulfil their potential; and this is achieved through high quality education, led by those who have the highest expectations of the students they teach and nurture. She is a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) and a Harpenden parent.
Zoe Coomber – Head of Maths
Zoë graduated from Manchester University with a Masters degree in structural engineering before working for PwC Consulting and Capgemini in Australia and the UK. She then led technology delivery at the Telegraph Media Group before making a career change into teaching. Having completed a PGCE at Roehampton University Zoë spent her formative teaching years working for the Harris Federation in inner London. Moving back out to Hertfordshire (where she was born and bred) in 2013, she has worked as Head of Maths in two schools, significantly improving results. Alongside this Zoë has consulted for Herts for Learning and is a GCSE examiner for Edexcel. She has also supported primary schools in Maths, both as an SLE (Specialist Leader of Education) and a parent volunteer. Zoë strongly believes that all students can achieve in Maths and is focused on engaging them to feel confident in the subject. She is passionate about creating positive and successful teams that accomplish great things in her post as Head of Maths in the founding leadership team at the Katherine Warington School.
Grace Aikman – Head of English
Grace Aikman joined our team as part of the founding leadership team in the role of Head of English. After completing her Post Graduate Degree in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, Grace studied for her PGCE with the University of Hertfordshire in 2014 and passed with Distinction. Grace secured a position at Sir John Lawes School as an English Teacher in 2014 and went on to lead on Anti-Bullying and Debating within the school. This contributed towards her success in winning Hertfordshire’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ in 2015. For the last four years, Grace focused on her role as a Head of Year at Sir John Lawes having supported Years 7, 8 and 9.
Grace is currently leading development work as part of her Masters in Education and has been learning more about whole school leadership when she was seconded to Sir John Lawes’ senior leadership team in September of 2018. Grace is thrilled to be a part of KWS and to have developed a robust and engaging KS3 English curriculum.
Sarah Creamer – Head of Science
Sarah studied Physics at Durham University and, before embarking on her final year of study, completed a summer internship for a major consultancy firm in London, which only served to confirm that she did not want a career doing a ‘typical office job’. After graduating, Sarah qualified as a teacher in 2010 through the Teach First teacher training programme and spent the first four years of her teaching career at an outstanding school in Wembley, where she held the role of Head of Physics. Sarah then moved to Harpenden and joined the Science department at Sir John Lawes school and quickly became Assistant Head of Science, a role that she has held there since 2014. Sarah has been immensely excited to be involved in the set up of Katherine Warington School and is keen to use the network of Rothamsted Research, the University of Hertfordshire and Harpenden’s outstanding secondary schools to ensure that students at Katherine Warington School experience the wonder of Science, both inside and outside the classroom.
Zoe Anderson – Maths and P.E. Teacher
Teaching has always been the only career option for Zoe. She gained her undergraduate degree in Education and Mathematics at Keele University, Staffordshire; completing two school placements during her time there. Zoe wrote her dissertation on the gender differences within Mathematics at GCSE level and through this research Zoe has found a passion for helping children from all student groups achieve within the subject. Zoe is completing her PGCE with the University of Hertfordshire in Mathematics and following on from her interest in Gender and Mathematics, Zoe wrote her formative PGCE assignment on Pupil Premium students and their achievement in Mathematics. Zoe started the girls football team whilst she was still at school and was then entered onto the FA Coaching Course and she has continued coaching both children and adults throughout university and whilst completing her PGCE placements. Taking on the position of Mathematics and P.E. teacher at Katherine Warington is a huge step in Zoe’s development and is very excited to be part of the founding staff to develop this new school.
Holly Robinson – Art & D&T Teacher
Holly graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BA honours in Graphic design and illustration before undertaking the Graduate teacher program in 2009. She has taught Art and design, Photography and Graphics courses across several Hertfordshire schools before undertaking her first head of department role in Luton. Holly is currently undertaking her Master’s in education and leadership as well as building her knowledge of whole school leadership through the Ambition institute and is a moderator for AQA. Holly strongly believes that all students should have access to the Arts and that creativity and visual literacy is vital in developing well rounded students. She is an advocate for all art forms and is passionate about building a vibrant, creative and knowledge led curriculum at Katherine Warington School.
Alice Bailey – Music Teacher
Alice is delighted to be part the KWS team as Teacher of Music and brings with her a breadth musical skills and experience. A graduate of both the University of Sheffield (First Class Honours) and University of London; Goldsmiths College, she is passionate about engaging young people in music, whatever their starting point. Alice’s teaching career includes Mill Hill County High School, Barnet, and more recently The Knights Templar School, Baldock. At both schools Alice has enjoyed working with young people across the age ranges, both inside and outside of the classroom. She has also worked as a GCSE and A Level Examiner for both AQA and Pearson Edexcel over many years. Alice plays piano and flugel horn and is a keen brass bander. In 2009 she established the Hitchin Youth Band which she continues to lead. Throughout her work Alice is driven by the essential role which music plays in our lives and through which young people thrive; developing creativity, confidence, discipline and imagination. Alice lives in Hitchin where she is also a Parent Governor at her youngest son’s primary school.
Jacob Church – Drama Teacher
Jacob-John is a graduate from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Before stepping into the joyous world of education, for several years he trod the boards bringing Theatre, Shakespeare and language to a wide range of audiences including writing and directing 2 national theatre-in-education tours in Italy. Up until 2018, Jacob-John worked as the Head of English and Theatre for an Italian education company teaching English through the pedagogy of Drama. It was there that Jacob-John was fortunate enough to create his own curriculum that would be rolled out to students all over the country, led training seminars for Italian English teachers, and trained and headed up a team of over 200 English tutors and actors. Upon his return to the UK Jacob-John embarked on the journey to obtain his PGCE from the University of Bedfordshire. Jacob-John is delighted to be part of KWS and together with the founding staff, build a safe, creative and expressive learning environment.
Jing Luo – Science and Mandarin Teacher
Jing is a graduate from Imperial College London with a MSci. Chemistry with a Year in Industry. She travelled from China to England at the age of 17, adapted to her environment and achieved her A levels and University Degree which enabled her to embark on a career as a Research Scientist for many years in a broad range of industries and research institutes, BASF Germany, Infineum UK Ltd, and most recent years at Rothamsted Research. She then worked as a SEND teaching assistant at Parmiter’s school for 6 months before making a complete career change into teaching and embarking on the journey to obtain her QTS from school direct Alban Federation in September 2018. With her dynamic life and work experiences, her passion for teaching Science and Mandarin, and being a proud parent and runner, Jing is excited to be part of KWS and use the links to Rothamsted Research and China (setting up sister schools in coming years) to provide students with an innovative transformational positive experience, which are both enjoyable and empowering.
Amanda McPartlin – English and Geography Teacher
Amanda holds a Joint Honours degree in English and Geography from the University of Swansea – a combination of creative and analytical skills which stood her in good stead in her former publishing career commissioning university-level textbooks, and which she now looks forwards to utilising in her role as an English and Geography teacher at KWS.
Having worked across both primary and secondary education, Amanda has six years experience as a Teaching Assistant and has recently completed her teacher training at Sandringham School in St Albans. She is thrilled to be involved in Katherine Warington School right from the start and is passionate about helping your young people to develop the knowledge and skills that they need to achieve their potential in whatever walks of life they ultimately choose.
Amanda is a lover of books of all sorts and an avid netball player, coach and umpire.
Samantha Malone – Science Teacher
Samantha’s teaching journey started in 2005. She gained a Sport Science degree at Middlesex University and went on to gain her post graduate degree in teaching. Samantha began her teaching career at an outstanding inner city London school teaching Physical Education. In her second year of teaching Samantha was promoted to Head of PE and Deputy Head of Performing Arts where she led the department for six years.
Feeling she had achieved all she could as a middle leader Samantha turned to the international scene where she was offered the opportunity to teach PE and Science at a very prestigious international school. She taught for four successful years in Malaysia before returning to the UK to study Biology at university. With a love for science, Samantha studied modules part time in biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology and human physiology achieving 1st class grades in all. She has since taken a break from teaching and studying to raise her daughter but is now ready to return.
Samantha is very active, she enjoys competitive sport and plays netball in her spare time. She has competed at an international level for Gaelic football and has recently completed her first triathlon. Samantha loves helping students achieve their full potential, emotionally, academically and socially. Samantha is looking forward to creating a positive learning environment that will fuel her students to become lifelong learners.
Clare Kelly – Spanish Teacher
Clare is excited to have joined KWS as teacher of Spanish. Clare graduated in Applied Languages (Spanish and French) from the University of Ulster and started her career working as a Spanish analyst at Thompson Financial in Dublin and then London.
Realising her desire to teach, she completed her PGCE at the University of Glasgow and has been teaching now for 20 years. Her most recent posts have been as Head of Spanish at St Albans Girls’ School and at Princess Helena College, before taking time out to focus on her three young children.
Clare is passionate about the Spanish language and culture alike and it is her firm belief that one can truly engage with a country’s people when one has the appropriate language skills, and it is precisely for this reason that she places great emphasis on equipping students with key language structures in order to encourage independent learning from a very young age. She will share her enthusiasm and passion for Spanish through engaging and fun lessons at KWS.
Julie Fox – Senior Administrator / Office Manager
Although officially joining the KWS team at the beginning of September, Julie initially began working freelance on the recruitment for KWS staff at the beginning of this year.
Julie comes to KWS with over 30 years’ experience, both inside and outside of the education sector. Having started her working career in education (at the University of London) she has come full circle, during which time she has enjoyed successful careers with the Financial Times Business Publishing Division as a Production Manager and then in banking with Nomura International as a Legal Executive. As her children reached secondary school age Julie secured a role with Roundwood Park School where she spent 13 years in various roles, the last five of which were as HR Manager.
Julie has a vested interest in KWS; one of her previous roles at Roundwood incorporated the responsibility of Project Manager, working alongside the team that established the Harpenden Secondary Schools Trust.
Karen Peters – Chief Financial Officer
Karen has a BSc Accountancy degree from City of London and went on to join Price Waterhouse London, gaining her Chartered Accountancy qualification in 1993.
She remained at Price Waterhouse for two years post qualification, transferring from Audit to the tax department.
During her time at Price Waterhouse Karen specialised in large retail clients including House of Fraser, Harrods and went on to work at both Mothercare Plc and Marks and Spencer upon leaving practice.
Following a four year work placement in Bermuda, she returned to the UK and worked for both Cross Pens and Threshers before deciding to join a local accountancy practice for a work life balance with her four children.
In 2013 Karen joined Roundwood Park as Bursar and has spent the last six years overseeing the department in all aspects of school finance, reporting to Governors, liaising with external auditors, preparing financial information for government bodies and running the functions of a finance office.
Karen brings her expertise and knowledge in school finance to Katherine Warington and become an integral member of the school staff, assisting parents, Governors and staff in navigating the financial aspects of a secondary school.
Jo Reid – Finance Assistant
After graduating from Durham University with a BSc in Psychology, Jo qualified as a Chartered Accountant. She started her career as a specialist in charity audit, before moving in-house to work as a Finance Manager and Financial Controller for national charities including the Down’s Syndrome Association and Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. After taking time out to raise her two boys, Jo has worked more recently at Roundwood Park School here in Harpenden before joining the founding finance team at Katherine Warington School. Spending her spare time running and in exercise classes, (when not accompanying her children to their various sports and activities), Jo brings to the school’s finance department the benefits of her professional background coupled with her experience of working in a local secondary school.
Chrissy Dicks – School Administrator
Chrissy has spent the majority of her career working within the civil service, initially undertaking general admin, then continuing to a customer service reception based role. She progressed to work in press and publicity and then in internal communications.
For the last five years she has worked at a local school for deaf children as Assistant to the Senior Leadership Team and School Secretary.
In recent years she has obtained further qualifications in British Sign Language, GCSE Spanish and Floristry.
She enjoys swimming and flower arranging and is a committee member of her local flower group.
Sarah Parish – Receptionist
Sarah qualified with an NNEB certificate and worked for 17 years in childcare, mainly as a nanny in private homes but also in nurseries and schools. During this time she gained further childcare qualifications and a Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology.
She then moved into elderly care and gained several qualifications including QCF level 5 in management in health and social care.
Following several years of administrative work, Sarah is looking forward to being part of the founding team at Katherine Warington School. Drawing on her varied experiences, Sarah works with both staff and children throughout the school providing support
Shani Brandon – Science Technician
Shani’s first love of science started in secondary school in Ireland where she decided that she wanted to work in a laboratory environment. She studied Applied Biology in London when she left school and went on to work for the National Rivers Authority.
She then graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BSc Hons in Environmental Biology and went on to work in industry, spanning a career over 10 years.
After a maternity break and because of her love of plants, Shani later went on to run her own gardening business and small Garden Centre.
She is now really excited to be back to the laboratory as Science Technician and supporting the Science department at Katherine Warington School and make a real difference to the education of the students.
Philippa Healey – Cover Teacher
Philippa’s first career was in the legal world; she read Law at Exeter University and went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from Oxford University. Philippa trained as a solicitor at the City law firm Nabarro and went on to work at another City practice, Simmons & Simmons.
Philippa loves History and current affairs and she recently completed a Masters degree in Contemporary History and Politics from King’s College London where she graduated with Merit.
After taking time out to raise her children, Philippa is looking forward to a change of direction by working in the education field. She is excited at the prospect of being involved with KWS from its very beginnings and she hopes her subject knowledge and ‘real life’ experience will bring value to the school.
In her spare time Philippa likes to play tennis, read classic works of literature, watch her children play sports and walk her dog.
Ann Gittins – Learning Support
Ann graduated with an honours degree in Modern Foreign Languages before completing a PGCE. She began her teaching career at St George’s, Harpenden where she taught French and German to A level.
Her family then moved to France and she worked at the British School of Paris, supporting children with special educational needs and children learning English as a foreign language.
On her return to the UK she taught French and supported numeracy and literacy at St Adrian’s, St Albans and then worked as an outreach teacher for St George’s, supporting French in Harpenden primary schools.
She became interested in the work of the Speech, Language and Communication Base at Sauncey Wood where she then worked, first as a teacher and then as the Base Leader.
Ann is passionate about supporting every child to reach their full potential whilst nurturing their well-being. She is excited to be joining Katherine Warington School at the beginning of its journey and to contributing to its development and success.
Chris Burke – Learning Support
After graduating from the University of Westminster with an Honours degree in Photographic and Electronic Imaging Science, Chris spent the subsequent fifteen years in publishing, working on a variety of books, monthly and weekly magazines.
A move out of London led to a change in career direction. Chris worked for a start-up company that provided Maths-based P.E. sessions in primary schools around Hertfordshire and North London.
Chris’ passion for helping children led to a move working for a forest school and qualifying as a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner. After seven years Chris decided it was time to come indoors and the exciting new challenge that KWS offered.
Chris is a keen sportsman and qualified FA football coach.
Tom Hutchins – Caretaker
Tom was born and lives in Harpenden. After his formal education he entered into the world of work as an apprentice carpenter and studied for 3 years at the Luton College of Further Education. After successfully completing his apprenticeship he packed his tool bag and lived and worked in both South Africa and Australia.
Upon his return to the UK, he was employed in the construction business in London working mainly in refurbishment. He later took on the role of stay at home dad and carpenter to support his wife’s career in Social Services. For the last three years he was employed as a caretaker at Sir John Lawes School.
He enjoys spending time with his wife and family and their two dogs. He likes watching rugby, playing the guitar and eating out with friends.
Bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience with him, Tom plays a key role in the maintenance and upkeep of the school.
Dean Inns – IT Manager & Business Manager
Dean has worked in education for his entire career to date, mainly in IT, and currently works across both Katherine Warington and Roundwood Park schools. Dean is currently completing the CSBM qualification to become a School Business Manager.
Dean has been involved in the KWS project from the start, having attended design meetings, building meetings and many site visits over the last few years. Dean was also responsible for the IT procurement for KWS, appointing the IT Contractor and overseeing the IT installation on site.
Previously he has also been involved in sound and lighting consultancy work both in local theatres and national venues.
Dean is looking forward to seeing the school open on site and the first intake flourish and make use of our state of the art facilities.
Tony Smith – Headteacher
Tony studied Economics at London School of Economics then worked for the BBC and EMI before setting up his own music and media companies. After an MBA at Cranfield University, he entered the education profession initially as an unqualified teacher. He trained via the GTP programme at the University of Hertfordshire and qualified as a teacher in 2008. Promoted shortly afterwards to the Senior Leadership Team as Assistant Headteacher at Roundwood Park School, he became Deputy Headteacher in 2012. Driving excellence in education by establishing the best structures to enable staff to deliver an enriching teaching experience and for students to thrive in a nurturing learning environment has been fundamental to the classroom and whole school work Tony has undertaken. He contributed to the initial proposal to establish a new secondary school in Harpenden in 2013 and has worked as project manager for the Trust since 2015. He takes up his position of founding Headteacher of the Katherine Warington School in January 2018.