Leadership Team

Image1 31

John Maher – Headteacher

John gained a degree in English and American Literature from Manchester University and has taught in five schools over a thirty-year career as an English teacher, head of department and senior leader. John became headteacher at Ashfield School in 2017, setting a clear strategic direction for this large and vibrant school. John is proud of the positive culture and caring ethos of Ashfield School. John still teaches and it remains his favourite part of the day.

Image2 32

Derek Nicholls – Deputy Headteacher

Derek completed his teaching degree at Nottingham University, with a specialism in History. He went on to study and complete his Masters in Teaching and Learning and a diploma in School Leadership. Derek has a wealth of pastoral and teaching experience having been a senior leader at Ashfield School since 2009. During his time at the school he has held a number of responsibilities including teaching and learning, careers and pastoral care. Derek’s main responsibilities currently centre on pastoral care, inclusion and safeguarding. He is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Ashfield School. 

HLL 02

Nicola Hillyard – Assistant Headteacher – Teaching and Learning

Nicola gained a degree in Humanities, specialising in History and Media Studies from Nottingham Trent University in 1997.  After completing a PGCE in History at The University of Nottingham, Nicola gained a teaching position at Ashfield School in 1998 and has worked there ever since.  Through her journey as a teacher at Ashfield, Nicola has been the Gifted and Talented Coordinator, a Local Authority AST, working with other schools in the area, and an Assistant Head Teacher. Responsibilities in this role have ranged from Career Professional development for Staff and Teaching and Learning. Nicola’s real passion is being in the classroom teaching the students at Ashfield, a daily privilege as a teacher.

Image4 35

Alan Smith – Assistant Headteacher – Curriculum

Alan gained a Physics degree at The University of Edinburgh before moving to Loughborough University to complete a Masters degree in Sports Science and a PGCE, specialising in Science. Alan joined Ashfield School in 1991 and held a variety of roles in the Science faculty, including Head of Science, before becoming a member of the Senior Leadership Team in 2010. He has had a variety of responsibilities over the years including Quality  Assurance and Post 16. Currently his main responsibilities centre around curriculum, timetabling and budget. When not at work, Alan can be found running endless miles around the streets and woods of Nottinghamshire.

Image7 39

Linda Maguire – Assistant Headteacher – Director of Post 16

Linda studied for her undergraduate degree in French and European Studies at the University of Aston, before completing her PGCE with Maitrise FLE at the University of Nottingham. 

Linda has taught at Ashfield School since 2002 in Pastoral Care from Year 7 through to Year 13, before joining the Leadership Team. Her current role is Head of the sixth form centre and school wide employability. 

Image8 40

Jack Carter – Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral 

After graduating from the University of Hull with a degree in Sports and Exercise Science, Jack completed his PGCE in Physical Education at Loughborough University. Following this, Jack began his teaching career in Leicestershire as a newly qualified teacher in 2010. Jack progressed to have a number of pastoral leadership positions at the school before moving to Ashfield in 2016 as an Achievement leader. In 2019 Jack became Assistant Headteacher for pastoral care, leading on behaviour and attendance.

HUC Website

Zoe Hutchinson – Assistant Headteacher

Zoe studied her BSc Hons Molecular Biology & Biotechnology at Hull University. Upon graduating she worked in a research laboratory, looking at the effect of waste chemicals in UK lakes and rivers. Throughout her studies she worked part-time as a manager at McDonalds, where she then became a business manager leading several restaurant teams. Zoe’s passion in working with young people then led her to combine this with her science knowledge and embark on a teaching career.

Since completing a PGCE at Nottingham University, Zoe has held multiple roles which include head of house, assistant pastoral lead and head of science. She joined Ashfield in September 2017 where she led our large science team through significant change and improvements before promotion to assistant head teacher in September 2022. Zoe holds responsibilities for data, reporting, assessment and championing our priority students.


Kerry Shawcroft – Assistant Headteacher

Kerry studied for her undergraduate degree in Art and Design at York St John University.  Before completing a PGCE at Northumbria University in Art, Craft and Design, Kerry was part of the Inclusion team at Selby High school and worked exclusively with students that had additional needs to support them in school and help them to reach their potential. Kerry qualified in 2012 and has since worked in a range of educational settings developing the Art and Design curriculum in addition to promoting the Arts culture in secondary schools.

Since joining Ashfield school in 2015 Kerry has progressed to have a number of pastoral leadership positions and has successfully led multiple year groups through the school as Achievement Leader. Kerry was appointed to Assistant Headteacher in 2022 leading on parental and student engagement in addition to coordinating events and the ITT/Schools Direct programme. Teaching Art is still at the heart of her responsibilities.


Jason Flaxman – Assistant Headteacher

Jason originally spent 16 years working for an Engineering Company as a Condition Monitoring Engineer.  Whilst working full time he also completed a degree in Computer Science at Sheffield Hallam University.  In 2006 he decided to have a complete career change and completed a PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University in Computing.  Whilst on his second placement at Retford Oaks School he was employed as a permanent member of staff.  Whilst at Retford Oaks he then progressed to Head of the Computing Department.

Since joining Ashfield School in 2014 as the Head of the Computing Faculty, Jason developed the subjects of Computer Science and Creative Media in the new professional IT classrooms.  He developed the Faculty to have high standards and expectations.  Jason was appointed to Assistant Headteacher in 2022 leading on the options process, intervention, extra-curricular involvement and monitoring GDPR.  Teaching the Creative Media subject is still part of his passion and responsibility.