Leadership Team

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Tanya Hall – Assistant Headteacher

Tanya completed a degree in English Literary Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.  Before embarking on a PGCE course at Nottingham Trent University she undertook the role of Inclusion Support Worker at Ribbleton Hall Secondary School where she worked with disengaged pupils to improve their social/behaviour skills as well as their literacy.   Tanya has worked in several education settings and has gained a wealth of teaching and leadership experience.  As Head of English Tanya oversaw curriculum design and led her team to achieving consecutive positive results for GCSE and A Level students.  Tanya is a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) specialising in English and Leadership.  Having been a senior leader at Ashfield School since 2013 Tanya’s main responsibilities currently focus on Quality Assurance processes, staff absence, HR and Health & Safety.  Tanya is also the point of contact for the TTCT with regards to HR and Health & Safety.

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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. 

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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.

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Gemma Heald – Assistant Headteacher and Trust Lead for Maths

Gemma initially graduated in Law but completed a Maths Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course and PGCE at Nottingham Trent University before becoming a Maths teacher. In 2010 Gemma moved to Ashfield School as Assistant Head of Maths. After 3 years Gemma was appointed Head of Maths, which she will tell you was one of the most challenging yet rewarding roles of her life. Gemma now works as Trust Lead for Maths. In this role Gemma works 2 days a week with the 9 Maths faculties across the Two Counties Trust. For the other 3 days Gemma is Assistant Headteacher at Ashfield School with responsibility for Pupil Premium and Mathematics.