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Subject Advisors

Our advisors are subject specialists who work directly with Heads of Departments in our schools.  They are ultimately responsible for improving outcomes in their subject by ensuring that pupils follow a challenging and enjoyable curriculum throughout their time in our schools. They are passionate advocates for their subject and know first-hand the importance of responsive teaching and learning and precise assessment, underpinned by deep subject knowledge.

Catherine Barker

Catherine Barker

Head of Music and Performing Arts

Catherine Barker is the Head of Music and Performing Arts in United Learning. Alongside supporting and advising teachers in the Group, she also leads Group-wide performance events, such as ‘Zimbe’ and ‘Wassail!’ – recently recognised at the Music Teachers Awards as ‘Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2018’. Catherine has played a leading role in developing the groupwide cultural festival and the groupwide KS3 curriculum for music. Prior to joining United Learning, Catherine led performing arts faculties in outstanding inner London schools: at Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney and Sacred Heart RC Secondary School in Camberwell, where she began her career as the first Teach First music teacher. Catherine was a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College, Cambridge, and has performed extensively, including on Radio 3 and professional recordings.

Shaun Dowling

Shaun Dowling

Head of Sport

Shaun is Head of Sport at United Learning. His role is to support schools in improving the quality of their PE and school sport and how they use the power of sport to raise standards across the school.

Shaun is a former Head of PE and Director of Specialism (sport) who progressed to vice principal roles in two secondary schools. Having trained at what was then the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education, Shaun later gained his MA(Ed) from Southampton University and his NPQH. Having taken a national role with the Youth Sport Trust Shaun was given the opportunity of delivering some teacher training in Iraq as part of an EU-funded contract with the British Council.

 In 2013 Shaun appeared before the Education Select Committee to give evidence on ‘School Sport following London 2012’. In 2014 United Learning published ‘The A-Z of School Improvement through PE and Sport’ which Shaun produced and co-edited. He sits on the Board of Trustees for Sports Leaders UK, the Board of Directors for the Adur Outdoor Activities Centre and the Education Board for Apex2100.  Shaun is an experienced coach, being Head Coach at his local triathlon club and having achieved his Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring qualification with the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle

Director of English

Brian has 18 years of experience as a secondary school English teacher and has worked with United Learning for 11 years. Brian initially joined United Learning in 2007 as Head of English at Lambeth Academy, before becoming an Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning. Under Brian’s leadership, Lambeth Academy’s English department secured an ‘Outstanding’ judgement in an Ofsted subject inspection and were recipients of an SSAT award for ‘outstanding practice’.

In 2014, Brian was appointed as United Learning’s English subject advisor for the South, before becoming National Director of English in 2017.

Tony Hayes

Tony Hayes

Geography Advisor

Tony has 13 years of experience as a secondary school geography teacher and joined United Learning as the Geography Advisor in September 2016. Tony has worked in a number of different roles, including Head of Geography, Head of Humanities, Assistant Principal, Director of Humanities for another trust, and Lead Practitioner for Teaching and Learning. Tony has been an examiner for over 10 years and also became an SLE for teaching and learning in 2015 for the Cambridge Teaching network. Furthermore, Tony secured the geography accreditation for his department from the Geographical Association in 2013. In 2015 Tony was one of only 3 people to receive a joint award from the SSAT and the Geographical Association, as recognition for his ‘leadership and outstanding expertise in geography education.’

Ben Littlewood

Ben Littlewood

Senior Science Advisor

Ben has worked in education for over 20 years, as a secondary school science teacher, Advanced Skills Teacher, senior leader and advisor. He joined United Learning as the Science Advisor in January 2016, before becoming Senior Science Advisor in 2018.

Ben has worked in several schools on developing science teaching, both as an AST and as a local authority advisor, as well as leading on teaching and learning across a whole school. Ben also has a MA in Education, with a focus in the impact of feedback on students learning.

Sally McCartney

Sally McCartney

History Advisor

Sally retrained from a business background as a history teacher in 2008, completing a PGCE at Liverpool Hope. Returning to London as an NQT she began teaching at Ashcroft Technology Academy and became Second In Charge of Humanities; she delivered the IB, A Level and GCSE history and KS3 humanities. Whilst at ATA the academy moved from Ofsted good to outstanding. In 2013 Sally moved to Burlington Danes Academy as Head of History and then subsequently as Head of Humanities. Ofsted recognised BDA as outstanding in 2014 whilst she was HoD and she became recognised as a teacher of excellence by ARK. Sally also planned and led history CPD across the ARK academies between 2015-2017 supporting teachers and strengthening history provision in the network. She also managed an Education NGO, EdUKaid, in Tanzania and is dedicated to improving education for all young people she encounters, wherever they are, to reach their potential.

Jen Reynolds

Jen Reynolds

Primary Subject Advisor - English

Jen has worked in Primary Education for over 25 years, much of the time combining teaching with other roles. Prior to joining United Learning she was the English Advisor for the CAM Academy Trust and also facilitated writing moderation with large clusters of schools throughout Cambridgeshire.  Jen is a former Local Authority English Adviser for Cambridgeshire; a role in which she supported schools and delivered courses focused on all aspects of English, including leading the St Neots Schools Forum poetry and storytelling festival and working with teachers in museums and out of school settings.

From 2000 to 2014 Jen was a tutor on the PGCE and GTP at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge University; she has also delivered training to teachers in Kazakhstan. Jen has researched several areas of children's literacy, including gender differences in responding to texts. From 2001 to 2004 she was a researcher on the Cambridge University government funded project, ‘Raising Boys’ Achievement’, specifically researching the role of drama and talk to develop writing.

Victoria Sabuda

Victoria Sabuda

English Advisor (North)

Victoria has enjoyed 14 years of experience working as a secondary school English teacher. Whilst she was working at Richard Rose Central Academy in 2013, United Learning took on the sponsorship of the school and Victoria was promoted to the position of 2nd in English, then Head of English and finally, SLE for English across the two UL schools whilst also remaining a part of RRCA's Extended Leadership Team.

Under Victoria's leadership, Richard Rose Central Academy's English department secured the highest outcome in Cumbria for students making more than expected progress in English and in 2016, she was awarded the national Ambition School Leadership/Pearson Impact award in recognition of her work at the school.

In 2017, Victoria was appointed as United Learning's English subject advisor for the north.

Fay Sheppard

Fay Sheppard

Director of Maths

Fay retrained from a finance background as a Maths teacher in 2007. In 2011 Fay moved to Burlington Danes Academy as Second In Charge of Maths and then subsequently as Head of Maths. Ofsted recognised BDA as outstanding in 2014 whilst she was HoD and the department achieved success in both their A-level (ALPS 1) and GCSE results (91% A*-C). Fay has been an examiner for over 6 years and is part of the AQA expert panel.

In 2015, Fay was appointed as United Learning’s Maths subject advisor for the South, before becoming National Director of Maths in 2017.

Jill Todd

Jill Todd

Primary Subject Advisor - Maths

Jill joined United Learning in September 2018. In her previous role she was the Primary Teaching for Mastery Lead for the West Yorkshire Maths Hub and the Primary Maths Lead for Bradford College’s Initial Teacher Education. Prior to this, Jill has taught within Primary, Middle and Secondary school settings, focusing on mathematics, gaining experience as a Maths Coordinator, Key Stage 3 Coordinator and Second in Department. Jill was a Maths Consultant for Education Bradford and was involved in the Comenius European Project 'Weird to Wired' which focused on the development and delivery of ICT led mathematics lessons.

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