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At Silcoates, we are fortunate to have experienced, well-qualified and dedicated staff, who are always willing to go the extra mile, whether that be as teachers or in a support role. Below is just a selection from the Silcoates team.
Rebecca joined Silcoates in September 1994, after teaching at Intake High School, Leeds. Born in Saltaire, Shipley, Rebecca’s parents moved the family to Redcar, in Cleveland, when she was seven years old.
Redcar is just north of Saltburn, where Silcoates School was temporarily relocated following the fire of 1904. Rebecca was educated at Rye Hills School, and then Sir William Turner’s Sixth Form College before obtaining an Engineering degree at University of Leeds. She then went on to complete a PGCE in Mathematics and Games at University of York. It was during teaching practice, at Easingwold School, where Rebecca discovered her love of walking, whilst supporting a Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition along the GR5, in France. She has enjoyed walking holidays in England and abroad and loves walking on the many footpaths around Penistone with her two Irish Setters.
In addition to teaching Maths, Rebecca has coached teams in hockey and netball and still helps out, on occasion. She played hockey at county level in her youth and has even been known to take part in the staff/student hockey match. Rebecca has also helped run a variety of craft orientated clubs.
Rebecca is married to Andrew and has two children.
Chris has sixteen years of teaching experience in a varied range of schools. After completing his PGCSE at Keele University, Chris worked at St Peter’s School in Gloucester, Marling School in Stroud and, most recently, at Heckmondwike Grammar School, before moving to Silcoates in 2018. In each of these posts, Chris has taken the lead on various stages of pastoral care, giving him experience across all age ranges in the Senior School. He completed his MEd at The University of the West of England in 2012.
Originally from Oldham, Chris clearly had itchy feet. Not only has he moved around the country but, in his passion for travel, he has visited 76 countries and aims to see as much of the world as he can. The urge to travel continues but he is now well settled in the area and has no plans to ever leave Yorkshire!
Not surprisingly, Chris’s main teaching subject is Geography but he also teaches Business Studies. He is also a Senior Examiner for AQA Geography GCSE.
Outside of school, Chris is a huge fan of Bolton Wanderers and regularly attends their matches as well as being a keen follower of local rugby league. He is also a governor at a primary school in Cleckheaton.
Carol was educated at William Gascoigne Secondary School and gained secretarial qualifications at Park Lane College of Further Education.
Carol began her working life at Plant Stainless and the Halifax Building Society in Leeds and then moved to Allied Irish Finance Company, Sheffield, before taking a career break to care for her two children in Norwich. She returned to work part-time as a Ward Clerk on the paediatrics/neonatal ward at Southampton General Hospital, before securing a post at her home town of Leeds as Administration Assistant at South Leeds Arts College.
Since joining Silcoates in September 2004, Carol has enjoyed many varied responsibilities as PA to three Headmasters and has taken part in school activities, such as teaching shorthand to pupils on ‘Try Something New Day’ in Activities Week and performing in ‘Silcoates Does …’, a yearly Sixth Form Charity Fundraiser.
Carol has two adult children and is a besotted grandma. She has performed in various plays, musicals and pantomimes in the past (oh yes she has!) but these days prefers to sing with ‘Melodia’, a local ladies’ choir, and regularly performs concert solos. Carol also enjoys dancing each week with her sister-in-law – a particular favourite being the Cha-Cha-Cha.
Pat studied Zoology at Newcastle University, specialising in the study of parasites, before joining Price Waterhouse to train to be an accountant. After four years, he decided that accountancy was not for me, he trained as a biology teacher at the University of Leeds.
He taught in Keighley and Halifax before being appointed as a teacher at Silcoates in 1994. Initially, he intended to stay for three or four years but appointment as Head of Biology, and a real enjoyment of working in the school, means that he is still here. He was a keen rugby player (now retired) and has coached and refereed rugby throughout his time at Silcoates, mainly at Under 14 level but also at Under 15 and Second XV. He has been fortunate to almost circumnavigate the globe with school, with just a gap between Singapore and Sydney to fill in. This has mainly been with rugby tours but also by organising trips to the reefs and rainforests of Malaysia.
He is a keen scuba diver and has enjoyed introducing Silcoates students to the fascinating underwater world in the South China Sea, Egypt and Lanzarote. Visiting the Yorkshire Dales each year with the A Level biologists, to teach about our own wildlife, is slightly less glamorous but never-the-less, still a highlight of the year. He has been a Sixth Form tutor for many years, where the challenge of helping prepare students for the next stage of their lives is very rewarding.
Jan grew up in Liverpool, attending Deyes High School and, at eighteen began her nurse training at Warrington District Hospital. On completion of her training, Jan secured a post at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool before moving on to Walton Hospital.
After being hit by the travel bug, Jan decided to work in Saudi Arabia, working on the Neonatal Unit, where she met and married her husband. After a few years Jan returned to the UK, where her husband secured a job in Yorkshire and they started a family.
During that time Jan worked at Leeds General Infirmary for twelve years on Neonates and then moved with her family to Dubai where she worked as a School Nurse in an independent school. After two years Jan returned to the UK and, much to her children’s delight, was employed as their School Nurse.
Jan joined Silcoates in 2012 as School Nurse and is a teacher trainer of First Aid and runs training for students and staff. Jan is Mental Health First Aid trained, works at Late Stayers and Holiday Club, supporting students with medical conditions and has been on the Year 11 Battlefield Trip three times.
Jan has four children and one beautiful granddaughter.
James joined Silcoates in September 2015 and is currently in his twentieth year of teaching Economics and Business at both GCSE and A Level.
James was previously Head of Business and Economics and Deputy Head of Sixth Form in a successful school in Halifax. Prior to teaching, he worked in retail management for eight years. James was educated at Holmfirth High School and gained his degree in Business Studies and teaching qualification from the University of Huddersfield.
In addition to teaching Business and Economics at Silcoates, James coaches the U13 cricket team and runs the Young Enterprise activity for our Year 10 students.
James is married with two children, is a keen runner and cyclist and is a season ticket holder at his beloved Leeds United.
Julia joined Silcoates in September 2014, after working at Woodkirk Academy. There she had a variety of roles, including A-Level Literature co-ordinator, KS3 co-ordinator and NQT/PGCE mentor. Julia has also worked in Cambridge, writing SATS English papers, and has worked with the University of Leeds to recruit and interview PGCE students.
After completing her English Literature degree in Lancaster, Julia moved back home to Leeds to undertake her PGCE in English and Special Educational needs.
Since joining Silcoates, she has been a Junior School form teacher and has taught English from Year 6 through to Year 13. She has taken part in various school music events and, in 2017, directed the ‘Oliver!’. She also enjoys helping with the school ‘Bookworms’ and organising theatre trips.
Julia has two children and, in her spare time, she helps to run a community choir, sings in a function band and is learning to play the drums.
Chris took over the leadership of the DT department in September 2002, after teaching for seven years at Ipswich School. Initially educated in Staffordshire, Chris moved south to St Albans to study design and modelmaking.
After various work placements in the London area, including work on the movies ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’, ‘Judge Dredd’ and the TV series ‘Red Dwarf’, he settled on a career in teaching and moved back up north to complete his PGCE in Manchester.
Chris has been a senior assessor for the OCR exam board for around twelve years and is responsible for moderating coursework and delivering training to other teachers around the country. He has helped to develop the new specifications and has written the textbook for the new Design and Technology GCSE.
Chris is married with two children and, when he gets some free time, he likes to camp and mountain bike, often combining the two into ‘bikepacking’. He loves anything sci-fi and has built several replica props over the years. His life size Dalek replica currently lives in the DT office..
Laura joined Silcoates in 2004, after completing her teacher training at Northumbria University. Having been educated at St Thomas More High School in North Tyneside and at Northumbria University, where she obtained a degree in Graphic Design, she moved to West Yorkshire to pursue her career teaching at Silcoates.
In addition to teaching Design Technology, Laura is continuing her professional development working in the field of Special Educational Needs. She is responsible for delivering the Gold Arts Award, which is an enrichment subject available to L6th students. She is a Sixth Form tutor and also Head of Yonge’s House. In addition, she has taught PSHCE in middle school and upper school and is currently teaching Citizenship to year 9. She coaches the U15 hockey team, alongside Dr Green, and runs a rounders team in the Summer Term.
Laura is married with two young children, who keep her extremely busy. Whilst on maternity leave, she completed a nail technician course and now enjoys applying her skills when possible. She enjoys cooking and baking although does not profess to have much finesse in either area! She has achieved her PADI Open Water Diving certification and enjoys skiing when the opportunity arises.
Matthew grew up near Hull, attending Cottingham High School, before graduating the University of Warwick. Matthew’s career has taken him from accountancy to the London Stock Exchange, investment banking and consultancy.
Having retired from his past life at far too early an age, Matthew joined Silcoates in January 2013 as the Bursar. Often seen during term time in a suit and in charge of the non-academic aspects of school life, the school holidays bring out his other work clothes, and boots, and you will find him involved ’hands-on’ with the maintenance and grounds of the school.
During 18months of backpacking around the world in his early years, he discovered a love of rowing, canoeing and kayaking, and remains an avid ‘on the water’ person to date, a keen skier and mountain/fell walker.
His family are grateful that his long-standing, and ever expanding, collection of ties removes all birthday and Christmas present dilemmas each year.
Simon Wardle joined Silcoates in September 2011, becoming Head of English in 2014. Having been educated in Torquay and on the Isle of Wight, he obtained a first class degree in English from the University of Bristol, where he specialised in Shakespeare and Old English.
After working for the Department for Work and Pensions, Simon then studied for a Master’s degree in English at St John’s College, Oxford, where he focused on sixteenth and seventeenth century drama. His Master’s research involved a detailed study of prayer in Shakespeare’s first cycle of history plays. Simon then returned to Devon to complete his teacher training, before moving to Yorkshire.
Simon has continued to develop his subject expertise in recent years by becoming an external examiner for IGCSE and A Level English, as well as writing academic articles for publication. His article about Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘His Knights Grow Riotous’, was published in E-Magazine: The Magazine for Advanced Level English, and analysed the presentation of servants, knights and attendants. In ‘Justice and Revenge in Othello’, also published in E-Magazine, Simon interpreted Shakespeare’s play through the lens of the seventeenth century genre of ‘revenge tragedy’.
In addition to teaching English, Simon runs the school’s Debating Society for Years 9, 10 and 11. As well as school competitions, such as House Debating and House Public Speaking, Simon has coached many successful teams for local and national competitions. In particular, he has coached teams for the prestigious English Speaking Union’s Public Speaking Competition, reaching the North-East Regional Final on many occasions, as well as the National Final in Cambridge in 2016, where the team reached the last eight of over four hundred teams across the country.
Amy Knowles joined Silcoates School in September 2010, after completing her degree in secondary physical education at Lancaster University. After living in Lancashire for the majority of her life, she decided to return to her roots in Yorkshire, where her great-grandfather, Herbert Sutcliffe, grew up and made a successful career as an English professional cricketer, representing Yorkshire and England as an opening batsman. Throughout her three-year course at university, she taught PE in the UK, the US and Germany. She now teaches a wide variety of sports at Silcoates, whilst leading netball and hockey squads from U9 to 1st VII age groups. As well as her passion for PE, she enjoys many other subjects and has taught both Art and ICT at KS3 level.
She was selected for the U19 England Netball Development Squad at the age of 16 and she has continued her love of netball into her adult years. She now is heavily involved with the organisation of netball within Yorkshire, has coached at county and club level and sits on the county panel as the West Yorkshire Schools representative.
In addition to teaching, Amy is Head of Spencer’s house and also leads the highest level sports leaders programme for the Year 12 students. Amy also leads all of the girls’ sports tours to destinations such as Barbados, Gibraltar, New York, Toronto, Malaga and Dubai which prove to be memorable tours which the students cherish into later life.
Tom Verinder joined the History Department at Silcoates in 1995, after completing a joint degree and PGCSE at University of York. Within the department, he has taught KS3, GSCE and A Level History, specialising in The French Revolution and Napoleon topic.
Tom runs the Year 11 World War One Battlefields Trip to Belgium and France and the History, Art and Photography visit to Paris in February half-term.
Tom has taught A Level Government and Politics since 2005 and been Head of Department since 2009. He has run a trip to Washington DC and would like to do so in the future.
Tom coached and refereed rugby at U12, U14 and 3rd Team level up until the building of the schools’ multi astroturf, at which time he switched to Hockey. He coaches U14, 2nd and 1st Team Hockey for both girls and boys. In the Summer Term, Tom helps out with the coaching of Athletics.
Tom is married and his daughter is a pupil at Silcoates.
Beryl was educated at Outwood Academy. After leaving school, she was employed in the warehouse at Sirdar, packing and consigning the wool and patterns for export. Beryl left Sirdar in 1980 to have her son and was then employed to clean the dormitories of the boarding children at Silcoates in 1982.
As Beryl’s son was educated at Silcoates, she enjoyed, in the role of parent, the full experience of being part of the Silcoates family.
Beryl was promoted to Assistant Cook in 1985 and, during that time, she also attended night school at Wakefield College, where she gained her City & Guilds in Catering, followed by additional courses in Food and Technology. Further promotions followed to Cook, Supervisor and, finally, her current post as Head of Catering.
During Beryl’s time at Silcoates, she has supervised after-school care, worked as Pool Attendant and, on occasions, even babysat the Headmaster’s children.
In her leisure time, Beryl enjoys playing the drums and spending time with her three beautiful grandchildren.
Ellen joined Silcoates in 2018 as Assistant Head of Junior School and after a rigorous interview process was appointed Head of Junior School in March 2020. Prior to working at Silcoates, Ellen spent 10 years as a teacher and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) Junior School and previous to that worked at Ford House, Leeds Girls’ High School for 10 years. Ellen also serves on the Governing Board of a school in Leeds.
Ellen was born in Birmingham where she attended Edgbaston High School for Girls from the age of 7 to 18. After leaving school, she completed a Bachelor of Education Degree in Leeds.
Ellen lives in Horsforth in Leeds and is married with two daughters Lucy and Gabriella. Ellen’s interests include travel, theatre and the occasional adult ballet lesson! In her free time, Ellen spends most of her time supporting her two daughters in dance competitions.
Victoria Wilkinson joined Silcoates in September 2014, after completing the Graduate Teacher Programme in 2013 and her NQT year at Kinsley Primary School. Prior to qualifying as a teacher, Victoria worked as a teaching assistant at St Hilda’s School (2006 to 2010) and Sunny Hill House (2010 to 2012) and therefore has been a part of the Silcoates family for many years prior to returning as a qualified teacher.
Victoria studied for a degree through the Open University from 2008 to 2012, whilst working full-time as a teaching assistant, in order to fulfil her ambition to become a teacher after many years working as a legal secretary in a variety of solicitor’s offices in Wakefield, Leeds and Sheffield.
In addition to her busy career as a teacher, Victoria has many varied hobbies and interests but her main focus outside school is performing arts and she has been a member of several local amateur theatre companies since childhood. She regularly performs in local musical theatre productions and is a passionate advocate of the performing arts, particularly as a way to build confidence and team work in children. Other interests include reading, cinema, theatre, travel and spending time with family and friends.
Fiona joined Silcoates in 2008 as PA to the Bursar and became Operations Manager in 2013. She has a background in Sales and Administration Management and has also worked alongside universities, where she was involved in a programme designed to offer students an insight into Management.
Fiona took a career break to raise her two sons and support her husband in his career as the family moved to live in Long Island, New York. On returning from the US, both boys joined Silcoates Junior School.
Fiona’s earlier career was in dancing, which is where she met her husband. She competed at national and international level and regularly travelled as far as London for lessons. She now enjoys watching ‘Strictly’ and admits to appearing on the slightly older version of ‘Come Dancing’, where she represented the North East.
Fiona enjoys foreign travel and has over the last few years developed a love of Italy, for its culture and of course the food. She doesn’t mind which of her family members accompany her, as long as someone stays at home to look after the dog.
Paul joined Silcoates in September 2017 as a Year 4 teacher in the Junior School, after previous teaching posts at Renishaw Primary School in Derbyshire, where he was Head of PE and Music, and at Westbourne Independent School in Sheffield, as a member of the PE Department
Paul came to the profession somewhat recently after enjoying a career as a professional footballer, until injury meant that it was cut short. Out of school, Paul has focussed his attention on coaching gifted and talented footballers, as well as being Head Coach at Mosborough FC. He also has a passion for music and plays in a brass band, competing throughout the country.