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Teaching School Faculty

Kelly Ashley

Kelly Ashley (@kashleyenglish) has 20 years’ experience working in teaching and leadership roles in national and international schools as well as consultant roles within LA advisory teams. She works with groups and individual schools across the country, offering bespoke training and consultancy support on all aspects of the primary English curriculum through her own consultancy business, Kelly Ashley Consultancy She also works as an Associate Consultant for Focus Education Ltd providing training and support for schools across the country.

Kelly has firm roots in educational research with two Masters degrees – a Primary Reading Specialismfrom East Carolina University (North Carolina, USA) and Educational Leadership and ChangeManagement degree from York St John University.  She is passionate about supporting schools to explore evidence-based solutions to school improvement.

Kelly is also an active member of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), passionate about the power of high-quality books.  She is pleased to serve as the joint UKLA regional rep for North Yorkshire and Cleveland with Nikki Gamble (Just Imagine Kelly and Nikki will be working together on an exciting project for developing disciplinary literacy in 2019-20 as part of their UKLA work in the north.

Kelly has also been involved in several national-scale school improvement projects.  She supported the Raising achievement in reading project with CPD delivery from 2016-2017 with Stockton EIS as part of the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) North East Primary Literacy Campaign.  She has also supported two Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF) projects – Real Writing: Writing across the curriculum in science project in North Yorkshire with North Star TSA, Focus Education Ltd and York St John University and also the Powerful Words project in East Cambs and Fenlands Opportunity Area with Morris TSA, Mrs Wordsmith and Alex Quigley, author of Closing the Vocabulary Gap (2018).  She is also currently supporting development of several DfE English Hubs located around the country, focusing on approaches to early language development in Foundation Stage and KS1.

Kelly’s first book, Word Power, sharing the impact of her approach to ‘Powering-Up’ vocabulary learning in schools across the country through these projects, will be available to purchase from June 2019.  Word Power explores core ‘Power-Up’ strategies, illustrated with the eight friendly superheroes of the Word Power League who provide fun ideas for ‘Power Practise,’ helping pupils to choose and use new vocabulary for a range of purposes and in different contexts, across the curriculum

Gerard Durcan BA Hons/NPQH

Primary and Early Years Educational Consultant

Gerard Durcan works with schools in the London Boroughs of Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Newham, Havering, Hackney and in Essex in different aspects of school improvement. He works with Primary Schools to create a programme of targeted support, consultancy or training that matches the needs of the school. He is highly professional, committed and enthusiastic with a passion for making learning engaging and enjoyable for all pupils. He specialises in coaching and mentoring staff at all levels of experience including new headteachers, provides Middle Leadership and Senior Leadership training as well as Literacy and Support Staff training. He has been involved in Primary Education for over 35 years, teaching in EYFs to Year 6

Gerard was a headteacher in Walthamstow for 8 years taking a school from Special Measure to Outstanding. Prior to headship, he had been a Literacy Consultant in Waltham Forest supporting schools with the implementation of the National Literacy Strategy including its five Special Schools. Before this, he had worked in three different primary schools which included 4 years as a deputy headteacher.

Gerard supports the development of leadership across a school and has been running Middle Leadership and Senior Leadership Programmes for the past 9 years. The Middle leadership Programme is aimed at early career or less experienced leaders whilst the Senior Leadership Programme targets assistant headteachers, early career deputy headteachers or those in other senior positions. He is a qualified School Improvement Partner and carries out Performance Management for headteachers as well as acting as a coach or mentor to headteachers new to their role.

He offers a range of literacy training courses in which he encourages staff to reflect on ways of making their literacy teaching active, engaging and fun ensuring the inclusion of all pupils. He includes a variety of games and practical activities into all of his training and specialises in using the outdoor environment for the teaching of literacy.

Since leaving headship in 2010, he has been involved with delivering training to NQTs as part of the St Mary’s Teaching School Alliance. He also spent three years working as a visiting tutor for PGCE and GTP students from Goldsmiths and London South bank Universities. Moreover, he delivers training for trainee teachers as part of the SCITT Programme.

He has a desire to increase the subject knowledge and skills of support staff so that they can make a real difference to children’s learning. He offers training programmes aimed at helping support staff in terms of their role and responsibilities, behaviour management, questioning, developing children’s independence as well as training on different aspects of literacy.

Gerard still possesses the same enthusiasm for teaching and learning as he did 35 years ago! He is determined to raise the quality of teaching and learning in all schools so that all children have the best possible life opportunities especially those coming from more socially and economically deprived backgrounds. He loves working with teachers encouraging them to reflect on their practice. He is the father of four lovely children - three boys and one girl – and loves participating in a range of sports.


School Awards


Awards we have achieved so far.

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