Specialist Leaders in Education

Meet our Specialist Leaders in Education:

Michelle Cobb (Specialism: Mathematics and Pupil Premium)

I have worked in education for over 20 years and my experience lies within teaching across the primary phase. I am passionate about maths and committed to developing outcomes for all pupils with a particular dedication for supporting disadvantaged learners.

I currently work at Underwood West Academy in Crewe as a Year 4 class teacher and as a Specialist Leader of Education for maths. Since the introduction of the new curriculum, I have worked as part of a team to develop teaching and learning within our school, based on evidence and research and continue to be driven to develop my subject pedagogy and reflect on my practice. In addition to this role, I am also the Place Based Assistant Maths Hub Lead for Cheshire and Wirral and I have previously worked as a Guided Maths Teacher, supporting schools to create an effective implementation plan for maths to improve the outcomes for all pupils.

I have a specific interest in metacognition, teaching children to ‘think about their thinking’ to develop independent learners, who can thrive in their learning. I am dedicated to supporting all colleagues and this is the aspect of my role I most thrive in. I am really excited about undertaking my SLE role to share my experience and enthusiasm with all to maximise the impact we all have on the children we teach.  

Eleanor Warrington (Specialism: Literacy):

I love learning and am seldom seen to be stationary!  My expertise lies within the realms of Reading & Special Educational Needs. 

The child as a communicator lies at the very centre of my educational philosophy.  To this end, the research undertaken for my Masters in Advanced Educational Practice (IOE/UCL) focused on the development of child-initiated language and communication by guiding their talk and the use of Literature Circles.  I love listening to children talk and nudging them to talk ‘deeper’ and ‘wider.’  I can offer practical solutions and activities to get children talking purposefully and effectively.

I was a member of the inaugural ‘Get Reading’ quartet – 4 Reading Teachers who saw the scope in training volunteers to become quality reading support partners.  Appropriate structure and ideas are shared to empower volunteers to support young learners with reading.  To date, there has been a diverse group of delegates from teenagers and secondary undergraduate student teachers to English department teachers.  Sessions are collaborative, fun and full of laughter! 

As a past SENCo and SpLD teacher I can offer practical workshops and support to improve the classroom experiences of the Dyslexic learner, the child with ASC or the child who presents with Attachment difficulties. 

Away from the classroom I love spending time with my family, being musical, reading, and of course – chatting!

Brad Utteridge (Specialism: Writing and PE/Sport):

My experience lies within teaching across the primary phase and in senior leadership. I am passionate about education and have worked in education for 14 years.

I currently work at Parkroyal Community School in Macclesfield as the Year 6 teacher. I am a member of the Senior Leadership team and Phase 3 Lead- responsible for the teaching and learning within Years 4, 5 and 6.

My expertise lies in the leadership of Writing and Sport/Physical Education.

I am committed to developing innovative ways to improve the teaching and learning of Writing. I have led the implementation of the National Writing Project across my school and recently led the implementation of ‘Opening Doors’ to quality writing and to a richer English curriculum across my school.

This academic year (19/20) I have led meetings for new to year 6 teachers-within and beyond the Aspire Trust- on the expectations of the teaching and learning of writing.

I have been a PE/Sport subject lead throughout my entire teacher career thus far and have considerable experience in this area. I currently act as lead in PE/Sport across the Aspire Trust: hosting meetings and offering support to fellow (PE/Sport) subject leads.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and days out with my children. I am regularly out on my bike or running but can mostly be found watching/playing/breathing football.

Charlotte Clowes (Specialism: Literacy & Leadership):

My experience lies in teaching across the primary phase and in senior leadership. I am a Specialist Leader of Education for English and have a particular interest in handwriting, sitting on the executive committee of the National Handwriting Association.

I am committed to supporting ways to bridge the gap between research, evidence and classroom based practice.

I am the Director of the Aspirer Teaching Alliance, and Principal of The Wilmslow Academy, part of the Aspire Educational Trust.

Sarah Gill (Specialism: Leadership & Pupil Premium):

I have worked at Ivy Bank for most of my teaching career where it has given me many opportunities to flourish and develop in to a leader and more recently, headteacher.  This progress built on my previous career in industry as a financial director.  During this time I have also completed a secondment as deputy in to a school requiring improvement and worked on projects for teacher training, EEF research, transition to high schools and pupil premium.

I have strong skills and interest in teaching a rich, broad curriculum, school business improvement, leadership, collaborative work and projects. I like to learn and have enjoyed completing my NPQH and demonstrated confident, secure leadership direction in Ivy Bank's recent Ofsted inspection.  

My SLE commitment is to the disadvantaged.  I believe it is the responsibility of the school to raise the levels of achievement of its pupils and to take an active interest in the whole development of those pupils’ values.  In particular, I have supported schools with innovative ways to engage parents and pupils in their wellbeing and involvement in learning.

Sally Veale: (Specialism: Developing Early Oracy/Helicopter Stories)

I am Vice Principal at Ash Grove Academy, an Outstanding primary school in Macclesfield and part of the Aspire Educational Trust.  I have been teaching for nearly 20 years, covering all age groups from Year 1 – Year 6. 

I am currently Head of Key Stage 2, the school lead for Science, PSHE and Personal Development, and the Designated Mental Health Lead.  These roles have allowed me to work closely with colleagues from Visyon and the Cheshire East/CWP Emotionally Healthy Schools Project to develop ways to proactively support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the children and families at our school.

Ash Grove Academy is also a Helicopter Story Centre of Excellence, the only one in the north of England.  I am accredited with the title of Helicopter Story Champion, having completed my training at Goldsmiths, University of London, with Trisha Lee and Isla Hill, the founding members of MakeBelieve Arts.  I feel passionate about the impact that such a simple approach can have on improving social skills, self-esteem and early literacy in young children.  Helicopter Stories is also a key motivator for children writing independently, as it develops composition, transcription and self-monitoring skills through storytelling and story-acting, and the approach is cited in the EEF’s Preparing for Literacy guidance document.  It is a truly child-centred and inclusive approach, with the voice of the child at the heart of its purpose, and this reflects my personal ethos of teaching and learning.

Kim Clarke (Specialism: Literacy):

I am Assistant Head Teacher at Victoria Road Primary School in and have worked here for 8 years. The school is a single form entry school in Northwich, Cheshire.  I have experience as both Key Stage 1 & 2 lead and have taught in both Year 2 and Year 6. For 5 years, I have led Literacy across school. I have developed many school improvement projects within my own setting including vocabulary development and the Primary Writing Project in which we implemented Talk for Writing. These have also formed part of my National Qualifications in Middle and Senior Leadership. I am extremely passionate about reading and promoting reading for pleasure and have supported strategies to develop this. I have experience in delivering and monitoring phonics teaching, ensuring that all children's needs are catered for. I am currently assessment lead and pupil premium lead for Key Stage One. I really enjoy my role as NQT/RQT mentor and I am keen to support staff that are new to teaching in what can be a challenging and demanding profession. 

This year, I am fortunate enough to be working as an Expert Lead Teacher for the Write Across Project - a collaborative school improvement project between Aspire Educational Trust and the Fallibroome Trust.  My role involves visiting and supporting schools in Crewe and Winsford every couple of weeks with the implementation of IPEELL and leading hub meetings with the lead teachers every half term. IPEELL is a six-stage structured approach to teaching writing based on real experiences. I feel that providing children with real and memorable experiences is an important part of all aspects of literacy combined with ensuring they have a real purpose and audience for what they are being asked to do. As a result, I believe that this has a huge impact on children's attainment and enjoyment in writing.

Outside of school, I am kept busy by my daughter! I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, cooking, visiting new places and spending time outdoors.

Claire Jerome (Specialism: PE):

I have been teaching KS3 and K4 PE for 10 years now. I am passionate about sport and fully support the link between exercise and mental health. I love watching pupils develop their confidence and skills using a variety of sports and through GCSE theory. I have mentored a lot of high school trainee teachers and also developed primary school teachers PE ideas and knowledge. I have also trained trainee primary teachers in dance, athletics, cheerleading and gymnastics as well as core skills.

I currently work at Macclesfield Academy as Head of PE and as Head of Year 7 and 8 pastoral care. I also teach at various primary schools. I am committed to supporting ways to bridge the gap between primary and secondary PE.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, running and playing netball.

Juddith Ceuppens (Specialism: Early Years)

I am a Specialist Leader of Education for Early Years and have been involved with a number of raising attainment projects with Early Years settings in Cheshire, in conjunction with the Trust and the local authority.  I am currently Vice Principal at Ash Grove Academy with responsibility for Early Years and Key Stage 1.  My experience lies in teaching across the primary phase, SEND and in senior leadership

Matthew Ransom (Specialism: Assessment & English)

I am Deputy Headteacher at Parkroyal Community School which is a two form entry school located in the heart of Macclesfield. Before this role, I was a member of the Senior Leadership Team and English lead at Holmes Chapel Primary School. My particular areas of interest and expertise are assessment and English.

I have a particular interest in how children, teachers, schools and parents use assessment information and I am keen to develop practice in this area to benefit all stakeholders. As assessment lead at Parkroyal, I have drawn on external assessment research and best practice from other North West schools to create a system which identifies and addresses next-steps in learning. I am experienced in the use of cloud-based tracking systems and feel that they can support colleagues to quickly and accurately identify trends and respond to areas for development within their area of responsibility. I am also interested in supporting teachers to develop effective and efficient ways to provide feedback to enable children to enhance their own knowledge and understanding.

In my role as English lead I take responsibility for the development of reading, writing, phonics and SPaG. I continue to take a keen interest in these areas of the curriculum and have supported teachers to develop their practice accordingly. I have been an external moderator for the Cheshire East moderation team and have represented the Macclesfield cluster as a local authority ‘lead practitioner’, organising and leading KS1 and KS2 writing moderation sessions for cluster schools. I also undertook a one-year secondment as an ‘expert teacher’ as part of the Write Across SSIF project in 18 schools across Cheshire and Manchester. The project helped to reduce the attainment dip in writing at transition between KS2 and KS3 through developing teachers’ writing pedagogy and helping pupils to develop self-regulation strategies.

Outside of school I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I also love being outdoors and active; I will try my hand at all sports and activities but am particularly keen on football, hiking, cycling and golf.

Sally Burns-Lindop (Specialism: Computing):

I have been teaching now for a number years across the primary phases. I have a passion for computing and how it can be used to enhance all areas of the curriculum. 

I currently work in Crewe as Assistant Head based in year 6. I currently have responsibility for assessment, computing and NQT mentoring whilst supporting other subjects.

I am very committed to supporting others in removing the ‘fear’ from computing and showing others just how exciting and easy computing can be.

Pip Woodward (Specialism: Computing)

I qualified as a primary school teacher in 2010 after completing a four-year BA (Hons) degree in Primary Education.   My first teaching post was at a large primary school in Crewe.  During my six and a half years there, I taught in several year groups and developed my subject leadership skills, first by supporting with coordinating Physical Education and then moving onto leading Computing.  I took over the Computing role alongside an experienced teacher after an Ofsted inspection highlighted a lack of cross-curricular ICT being used.  In addition to this, the National Curriculum 2014 was about to be introduced so staff required support with planning and delivering the new curriculum content.  After a year of shadowing the Computing Leader, I took over the full responsibility of coordinating Computing and during my time as subject leader, I designed whole-school long-term planning and progression documents, led professional development sessions to improve staff expertise and confidence and increased ICT resources to ensure that cross-curricular ICT was embedded in classroom teaching. 

In January 2017, I started my teaching position at Peover Superior Primary and was given a number of subjects to lead, including Computing.  During my time at Peover Superior, I have been given the opportunity to deliver Computing lessons across the whole school as well as providing training for staff; developing planning and progression documents; organising E-Safety assemblies, workshops and trips and increasing ICT resources.  In December 2018, I was designated as a SLE for Computing and since then have supported Aspire staff as well as staff from other schools in the area.  I have held a number of meetings for the Computing Subject Leader Group for the schools in The Aspire Educational Trust and regularly communicate with other Computing leaders to support and advise them about planning, resources and CPD opportunities.  I am also fortunate to have been involved in devising staff training for Online Safety which is currently being rolled out across The Aspire Educational Trust. 

Laura O'Brien Specialism: (Early Years and Phonics)

I am an Assistant Head Teacher at Ashdene Primary School in Wilmslow and my specialisms are Early Years and Phonics. Having worked in Early Years and Key Stage 1 predominantly throughout my career, my expertise is based on a breadth of experience within my own practice and through working with other highly skilled professionals in these areas.

I feel passionate about developing excellent early years practice with an effective balance of adult led scaffoling and highly engaging play provision. I am also committed to establishing smooth transitions for children to support them when they move from a pre-school setting and into Year 1.

Ensuring children are successful in acquiring and retaining phonics knowledge is crucial for them to build effective foundations in early literacy. In my role as phonics lead, I have enjoyed developing a curriculum that is consistent, systematic and engaging for all children. I value a collaborative approach to raising standards and through reflective practice, I endeavor to create a culture of professional dialogue in order to share best practice and enhance teaching and learning experiences for all children.  


Kirsty Gerrity (Specialisms: Maths and Science):

I am passionate about improving outcomes for pupils and enjoy sharing my own knowledge and expertise with colleagues and supporting them to improve their practice. As the Assistant Head at Ashdene, a two-form entry primary school in Wilmslow, a large part of my role is developing teaching and learning across school. I currently teach year 4 and have responsibility for behaviour and attendance as well as being the Key Stage 2 Leader.

My specialisms are maths and science, which I have led many successful whole school improvements projects on during my 9 years of teaching. For maths these have included developing the use of models and images to support fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills; implementing daily fluency sessions to improve mental calculation skills and changing marking in maths to give children more effective feedback. 

As the science lead, I have experience in developing children’s investigative skills and enquiry work. These were the focus for the research project I completed as part of my Post Graduate Certificate in Primary Science and Leadership and as well as the school improvement project I undertook as I completed the NPQML. 

I am committed to developing innovative teaching practice across the primary phase, using research evidence and action research to raise attainment and increase pupil engagement. 

Lucy Bradley (Specialisms: Maths and Early Years):

I am a dedicated Early Years practitioner and have inspired the development of a strong Early Years team at Puss Bank School and Nursery as well as at my previous schools. I am skilled at facilitating learning through play, developing shared, sustained thinking and imagination. My belief that these interactions are the most important vehicle for learning for young children has led me to ensure all the practitioners who I work with, are supported in gaining the skill to facilitate learning through play.

Across Macclesfield, I have worked with PVI and maintained Nursery settings facilitating networking and driving improvement. I have been fortunate to be involved in a project with Early Excellence to improve communication and language through outdoor provision.

I am passionate about teaching Maths and over the last 8 years, I have led Maths teaching and learning across our large primary school. I have trained with Maths Hub 3 to develop excellent Maths subject and pedagoloical knowledge. Since the introduction of the new curriculum, I have led and sustained changes to teaching practices in Maths based on evidence and research and continue to do so in the light of new knowledge about Maths pedagogy.

I am committed to early intervention and have an excellent understanding of assessing gaps in learning. I enable the use of quality first teaching strategies and in the moment intervention to close the gap in attainment. I am skilled at using observation of processes to gauge an understanding of children’s mathematical concepts and use this to develop strategies to support learning. I also have a wealth of knowledge in supporting children with SEND in the Early Years; improving the quality of provision for all children.



Jo Dodd : (Specialism: Science)

My 13 years of experience lies across the Primary phase. I am passionate about remaining in the classroom and actively reflecting on current and delivering new practises.

I am a SLE for Science with a particular interest in the engagement of pupils in Primary schools. I believe passionately that we, as primary practitioners, should nurture the natural curiosity of children. I have worked across many schools facilitating the development of their science curriculum. Recently, I have been appointed Primary Lead across Cheshire and Stockport for the Science Learning Partnership which is an exciting opportunity.

My other research interests include STEM learning, children’s mental health and the well-being of colleagues in education.

I currently volunteer for The Princes Trust – Mosaic Program and with the charity NYAS with looked after children, which I really enjoy.

I have recently taken up jogging and enjoy walking my dog along with my family. I also have a passion for musical theatre and live music along with watching most sports, especially football.