Teaching Staff

Please click on the name of each member of staff to read what he or she has to say about working at Copthorne.

Duncan Jacques - CEO

Copthorne Primary School has a fantastic reputation in the local area. The outstanding results it achieves are directly linked to the importance the school places on partnership work with parents and the wider community. I am unbelievably proud to lead such a dedicated and hardworking team of staff. This is a special place and our children develop and flourish here. If you would like to come and see the school for yourself, please give the school office a call and make an appointment, we would be delighted to show you around.


Christabel Shepherd - Executive Head Teacher

Copthorne is a unique and inspiring school. Our entire ethos is founded on the belief that there are no limits on what our children can learn. We make it our ambition to develop each of the children to become lifelong learners and to see that, as long as they work hard, they can succeed in a world full of possibilities. Copthorne is a school at the heart of the community, with which it works in partnership, sharing the highest aspirations to enable every child to achieve the very best possible outcomes. It is a pleasure to go to work each day and I am delighted and honoured to be able to lead the school forward.


Stephanie Ngenda - Head of School

At Copthorne we pride ourselves on having the highest expectations of all our children and believe that there are no limits on what they can achieve. Children leave the school confident, articulate and ready to move on to the next exciting stage of their education. The positive ethos, high expectations and hard work from all, make the school a place that everyone should be thoroughly proud of.


Emily Kneeshaw - Assistant Head Teacher/Early Years & Year 1 Lead

I have worked at Copthorne since January 2009. I started as an NQT and have been supported in becoming an excellent teacher and member of the senior leadership team. I am now Assistant Head with responsibility for EYFS, Challenge and Investors in People - among other things! We believe that there are ‘no limits on learning’- this is true for the staff too. I am constantly being challenged and am expected to work hard. Copthorne is a friendly school at the centre of the local community which makes it such a unique place to work. I am proud that I work in such a great school.

Helen Bradley - Assistant Head Teacher/Year 4, 5 and 6 Phase Leader & Reading Lead

I have worked at Copthorne Primary for six years and am proud to say that I'm a member of the Copthorne family. Never before have I worked with such a passionate, caring and fun team who want to do the best for every child and help all children realise that the sky is the limit! I am lucky enough to teach in Years 4, 5 and 6 and be one of the Assistant Headteachers, which means I have the opportunity to teach and work alongside children but also have the chance to manage and make our school even better than it already is. I am also the English Coordinator and love teaching English across school, supporting other teachers in their English teaching. I also relish the opportunity to organise events that help the children in our school develop a love of reading, writing and of the English language. In addition to this, I also lead behaviour and assessment, these roles give me the chance to get to know children in every year group, helping them make the right choices and improve in all areas of the curriculum. I truly believe there are no limits on anyone’s learning!

Suzanne Wood - Assistant Head Teacher/SENDCO, Year 2 & 3 Lead & Assessment Lead

I started teaching at Copthorne in 2012 and every time I walk into the school it still makes me smile. The classrooms showcase the children's learning and reflect both the students' and teachers' passion and creativity for the curriculum. It is a privilege to work with such a dedicated team! All members of staff work extremely hard each and every day to ensure that every lesson they teach is the very best for the children. The children are a pleasure to teach - there is a constant buzz of excitement coming from them and they are always enthusiastic about their learning. I have taught in a range of year groups across the school which has allowed me to see the children grow and leave our school and enter into their next phase of education. Another large part of my role is as the school's SENCO - this is an area I have always had a passion for - it allows me to work with children from when they enter school in Nursery up until Year Six and support them and help them achieve their very best.


Amber Turner - Teacher/PE Lead

My teaching career started in 2019 where I trained as part of the Exceed SCITT programme, with my placement here at Copthorne. I feel unbelievably honoured to continue my journey within the school. The staff are incredibly supportive and we all share the same enthusiasm for wanting the best for the children. I am passionate about making a difference and encouraging children to dream and believe that they can achieve anything they set out to do. Our shared belief that everyone can achieve is just one of the reasons that I love coming to work everyday.

Amy Clayton - Teacher/DT Lead

Since joining the school this September as an NQT in year 4, I have quickly become part of the Copthorne family. The parents and staff have all been incredibly welcoming and supportive and the children are an absolute joy to teach. They never fail to make me smile! I have been overwhelmed by how hard working and dedicated staff are to ensuring that all children are able to reach their full potential. It makes me feel very proud and privileged to be able to teach at Copthorne Primary school and I am excited to see what the rest of the year has in store!

Andrew Johnston - Teacher/Head of Research & Development/ Challenge Lead

Copthorne is a fantastic school, where staff and children strive for excellence: it is incredibly rewarding to be part of this community. As Head of Research and Development, I work with staff and children to ensure our teaching practice is based on the latest pedagogical research, and ensure that we evaluate how this improves outcomes for our pupils. In my classroom, I firmly believe in my pupils becoming confident, independent learners who are not afraid to take risks, and they understand that we all learn from our mistakes. I also work with Teach First supporting and training new teachers in Yorkshire.

Aroosa Ahmed - Teacher/NQT Mentor

Copthorne is the first ever school which I have worked at and it is a pleasure to work alongside such a fantastic, enthusiastic team. I joined the Copthorne team in 2015 and have thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it. I am currently a Year 5 teacher and responsible for coordinating Physical Education throughout school. With the combination of watching the children learn and having the parent’s support, it makes my job so much more enjoyable! I have enjoyed and watched children fulfil their maximum ability, learn new things on their journey, grow into mature children and develop every day in all areas of their learning. It is incredibly rewarding to be part of such a great community.

Ceri Owen - Teacher/History, Drama & Oracy Lead

I started my teaching journey at Copthorne, training as part of the SCITT programme with my first placement within the school. I felt a real sense of comradery amongst the staff members and my journey was fully supported by nurturing and supportive colleagues. After my training year, I decided to apply for a full time post at Copthorne as I had been so overwhelmed by the children’s innate ability to learn and passion to expand their own knowledge. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to share and develop my knowledge within the school and I look forward to seeing what the future holds, whilst I continue my journey here.

Claire Patterson - Teacher

I began my time at Copthorne through the academies’ SCITT programme. From the moment I stepped into Copthorne I knew that I wanted to stay and develop my career here. The school’s ethos on no limits on learning, promoting a growth mindset, fits in with my core values as I believe every child can aspire and achieve whatever they want if they put their mind to it.

Eleanor Heaton - Teacher/Geography Lead

I joined Copthorne in September 2020 as an NQT and since then have thoroughly enjoyed becoming a member of the supportive and dedicated team. From the beginning I noticed that the school was a friendly and welcoming environment, demonstrated by the staff, children and parents. The children are a pleasure to teach and it is so rewarding to see them develop and realise that there really are no limits on learning. I look forward to continuing my teaching career at Copthorne and feel proud to be one of the team.

Gemma Townend - Teacher/Maths Co-ordinator & MFL Lead

I have been working at Copthorne Primary School since 2013. I could not have asked for a better school to work in; the children are a pleasure to teach, the parents are very supportive and the staff are clearly dedicated to their work and to helping the children to achieve their best. Copthorne is a wonderful school community, one that is working together in true partnership to improve the future life chances for all our children. It has been a pleasure helping our children to learn and grow in confidence. I look forward to another very successful year.

Hollie Birchall - Teacher/Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead

I have been working in education since 2005 and joined the Copthorne team in 2016. The school offers children a fantastic environment where they can thrive and learn and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of it and see children’s progression every day. The staff are a wonderful team and I am honoured to work with such committed people who provide children with their very best to make a difference. I have broad range of knowledge within the Early Years, and of how children develop and learn. I’m dedicated in providing the best for them during their time at Copthorne and look forward to teaching them every day to build on their learning.

Irem Saghir - Teacher/Science Lead

Since starting my teaching career at Copthorne Primary School in 2016, I could not have asked for a better start. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of such an amazing team, which feels very much like a family. I enjoy my role as a teacher, as I’m able to support the children in achieving their full potential, so that they are equipped and ready to deal with life beyond the classroom. Their passion and willingness to learn is evident as soon as you step through our doors.

Jabran Darr - Teacher/Computing Lead

I am proud to say that I have been a part of the Copthorne Primary School team since September 2004 and am currently responsible for coordinating Computing throughout school. Coming from a similar background to the children of our school I, as well as the rest of the Copthorne staff and parents, understand the needs of our students and how important it is to have high expectations at all times. I also feel it is important for our children to be given a range of experiences so that they leave our school equipped with the tools they need to be citizens of the world and for them to be the best that they can possibly be.

Jessica McMillan - Teacher/Art Lead

My journey at Copthorne started as a student. From very early on, I recognised that Copthorne is a very special school that is filled with eager to learn, well-mannered and encouraging children and staff. It is because of this that Copthorne is such a wonderful place to work. During my time at Copthorne, I have watched children not only fulfil their academic ability, but become confident, happy and healthy, well-rounded members of the community - something I am very proud to be a part of.

Katie Bray - Teacher/RE Lead

Matthew Rennie - Teacher/Music Lead

Merfat Teizini - Teacher/Arabic Teacher

My name is Merfat Teizini and I have worked at Copthorne Primary School since 2010. I am employed as an Arabic Language Teacher and enjoy teaching the children It is extremely satisfying to see the progress the children have made at the end of each year. The children are very polite and the staff are exceptionally friendly and a pleasure to work with. There is always a lovely atmosphere around school and I enjoy coming to work.

Poppy-Jo Lumley - Teacher/SCITT Teacher

I am currently training to be a teacher through the Exceed SCITT programme at Copthorne and I feel extremely privileged to be a small part of such an amazing team. I previously worked as a KS2 teaching assistant in Leeds and I am currently specialising in KS1 and EYFS. I love coming to school, every day I learn something new and no two days are ever the same! The children are such a pleasure to know and to teach, their attitude to learning and friendly nature are what makes Copthorne so special. The children really strive to succeed and are always encouraged to develop their independence and sense of self. I have been consistently reminded why I embarked on this journey throughout my time here and I couldn't have asked for a better start to my teaching career.

Saima Shah - Teacher/PSHCE Lead

I have worked at Copthorne since September 2007. Over the years I have worked in KS1, KS2 and EYFS, during this time I have gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience. I love coming into school every day as every day provides new opportunities and fresh ideas. The children are enthusiastic and are always eager to learn. The excitement of learning is evident in every classroom and in every corridor of the school.

Samantha Exley - Teacher

Victoria Tordoff - Teacher/Phonics Lead

I am currently part of the KS1 team and I lead Phonics throughout the school. Copthorne is a special place to be and I feel privileged to be a part of the team. Staff and children work hard and truly believe there are ‘no limits on learning’ and have nurturing parents who are able to support them with everything we do in school. I love being a part of the Copthorne Community! ..


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