Meet the Staff
Senior Leadership Team
Lindsay is in her second year of headship at Walton Priory. Before this she was Deputy Head with responsibilities in teaching and learning, standards and assessment. Before joining the school Lindsay worked at the Local Authority as a School Improvement Partner and latterly as Head of School Improvement for Entrust. Her teaching career was in secondary schools in south London and Staffordshire where she taught History up to ‘A’ level. She was also a PGCE tutor at Keele University and gained a Master’s degree in school improvement from there. Away from work Lindsay enjoys exercise classes as well as trying to train her cocker spaniel dog. She also likes following her tall husband up hills in the Lake District, where they married in 2017.
Before joining the Walton Priory Senior Leadership Team, Katie Gaunt was Head of English at a secondary school in Stoke-on-Trent, where she worked for 12 years. During her career, Katie has held other leadership positions including Senior Literacy Across the Curriculum Co-ordinator and Second in English and therefore has a wealth of experience in English and Literacy. Katie has also held a number of responsibilities in her teaching career which have been connected to enhancing and improving Teaching and Learning. In particular, she has led CPD training for teachers and trainee teachers in a number of schools across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire. Katie thoroughly enjoys working with others to support them to be the best that they can be!
On a more personal note, Katie has three children and therefore totally understands the joys and challenges of parenting! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, visiting the theatre and cooking. Coming from a farming background (she grew up locally in Ellenhall) Katie also enjoys spending time outdoors walking and, more recently, has developed a very amateur love of gardening
Mr Townsend graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 1994 with a BEd (Hons) degree in PE and Dance. He taught in Derbyshire in the early years of his career and had national success with school teams in the area of Rugby. The following 2 decades saw him diversify his career and gain experience in leadership with the British Army at Sandhurst and spend a considerable time with Staffordshire Police. With skills in the areas of counter terrorism, intelligence and child protection Mr Townsend returned to education 2 years ago here at Walton Priory Middle School. He is now the Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for behaviour, well-being, safeguarding, data protection and special educational needs. With a family of his own attending Walton Priory, Mr Townsend is passionate in ensuring the education, safety and well-being of our pupils.
Y5 Pastoral Leader & Faculty Leader Creative Arts
Sharon Clarkson has been a teacher, middle leader and senior leader for almost 30 years in a variety of primary and first schools. She has taught in every year group from nursery to Year 6 and has co-ordinated almost every subject area within the primary curriculum at some point. English, maths, music and French are her curriculum favourites, but early literacy is her particular strength and she has been a leading literacy teacher within Staffordshire. She loves to read, can’t help but sing and has led many a children’s choir at all sorts of events from summer fayres to Lichfield Cathedral. She has a passion for the importance of good training for future teachers and enjoys helping them develop their skills. She loves gardening, plays the guitar (only for the ears of children), and likes to get pupils enjoying learning.
KS3 Progress Leader
Andy Chandler originally took a degree in mechanical engineering before following in the footsteps of both his parents and becoming a secondary trained teacher of mathematics. He is currently the equal longest serving teacher having started teaching at Walton Priory in 2001 directly after his PGCE. He has taught maths in all year groups but mainly to KS3 pupils and has been maths coordinator for much of his time at Walton Priory, although he is currently progress lead for Y8. Throughout his time as a teacher, he has endeavoured to improve pupils’ enjoyment and aptitude for learning especially in mathematics. He particularly enjoys problem solving and mathematical puzzles. He has also taught games for much of his time at Walton Priory and likes being active and enjoys participating in or watching most sports. He particularly likes running and playing football having played 684 games for local team, Brocton FC. He also enjoys watching films and reading many different genres including crime, science fiction and fantasy novels.
Nicola Dudley has worked in education for nine years, teaching science across key stages two, three and four. She has taught mainly in middle schools and has experience of teaching a range of subjects, including STEM, ICT, RE and PSHE. Nicola is a very enthusiastic teacher willing to try alternative teaching and learning styles to improve pupils’ performance, engagement and motivation. She aims to include short, hands-on activities in almost all her lessons in order to meet the needs of all learners. Nicola also runs an extra-curricular STEM club after school and organises outside learning opportunities, such as The Big Bang Fair and The Salters Chemistry Festival. A recent STEM club success has been winning a national competition, the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge, with their waterwheel project. Her hobbies include running, craft activities (such as quilting and crochet) and baking some rather yummy chocolate orange brownies, among other things.
Rhian McClarence completed a Dual Honours degree in Psychology and Politics at Keele University before realising her true calling was in teaching. Remaining at Keele University for a fourth year, she completed a Primary PGCE with a focus on Science. Rhian joined Walton Priory for her NQT year and hasn’t looked back since! Rhian has a background in dance and cheerleading and has enjoyed coaching these sports as both PE subjects and extra-curricular activities. She brings an upbeat and energetic enthusiasm to her teaching and aims to engage pupils in their own learning experiences. Rhian values her pupils as unique and individual learners and strives to nurture an environment rooted in mutual respect. Rhian enjoys art and encourages children to explore different creative skills. She also has a brilliant sense of humour- although her pupils might disagree. Outside of school Rhian is a keen skier (regardless of recent injuries…), an avid reader and a member of a nationally competitive all-star cheerleading team.
Jo Stringer qualified as a Primary School teacher in 2011 following previous incarnations as a horse trainer and working in Children’s Services with Staffordshire County Council. Her first teaching job was here at Walton Priory and, as with many teachers, she has fallen in love with the place! Jo is a keen believer in life-long learning and since starting here, has completed her MA in Education with a focus on self-esteem and self-efficacy in children facing Key Stage 2 testing. This is something that she is aware of in her own teaching as she strives to raise pupils’ self-belief and confidence whenever she can. Jo has had two beautiful children in her time with us and loves to spend time at home with them, indulging in their shared love of the great outdoors. She remains a keen horse rider, having competed at various county shows and counts a win at the Horse of the Year Show as her biggest horsey achievement.
As a primary trained teacher with a specialism in food technology, Kate Murray teaches STEM at Walton Priory amongst other subjects. She also organises and runs family learning events in school, encouraging family members to join with their children to work on exciting projects. Since qualifying with a PGCE in 2004, she has taught in middle and primary schools in Staffordshire; in her previous roles, she co-ordinated design and technology and science. She has also spent one year teaching English as a second language in a British school in Gran Canaria and since then has also taught ESL to students in the UK.
Y5 Teacher & Early Intervention Manager
After spending twenty years teaching in primary schools, Sarah Bowen moved to Walton Priory Middle seeking a new challenge. She has, throughout her career, taught all year groups from years 2 to 5 but most of this time has been spent in year 6. Sarah has been the inclusion leader in all schools in which she has worked (at one point, in three schools at the same time!) Sarah has particular skills in teaching English as a second language as her first teaching role was in one of the most multi-cultural primary schools in Staffordshire. Sarah has also worked for the local authority as a lead English teacher, supporting colleagues in their classrooms. Sarah loves singing and can often be found helping pupils to learn spellings by singing them. Spending quality time with her two children, either in the park or other places of interest, means that she is never still. Her oldest child is severely autistic and so she can empathise with families of children who have additional needs. Reading is her secret hobby and she grabs five minutes whenever she can at home to indulge this passion.
Having worked in post-16 education and then trained to teach at primary level, Claire Norton joined Walton Priory as a KS2 teacher and has worked in both Year 5 and 6. An enthusiastic and energetic teacher who endeavours to motivate children to engage with their own learning and become the responsible, independent and resilient learners that life will demand of them, she complements the skills and expertise of Mrs Stringer, with whom the teaching responsibilities are shared. Outside of school life, she has taken up yoga (very Zen), swims regularly and walks her golden retriever.
Nick Brookes has a degree in outdoor education and photography and is a qualified Level 3 teaching assistant. He has worked here at Walton for 4 years. His strengths are maths, science and physical education. He has a passion for photography and the great outdoors, both of which he puts in to practice when he attends the annual ski course. His hobbies include hiking and camping. Family holidays are often spent under canvas looking at the stars with his daughters. The one place he would love to visit and complete is the Inca trail in Peru.
James Cayzer has been working in education in one role or another for nearly ten years. After receiving his teaching status in 2016, James Cayzer went on to begin his teaching career with Year 5, teaching the entire range of primary subjects. Specialising in English and Computing, he is a strong advocate for reading, writing, and using technology to enhance his pedagogy. A love of acting in his youth has left him with a dramatic flair and myriad reading voices, as teachers whose classrooms border his own can confirm. In school, he brings fantasy worlds to life through his Dungeons and Dragons club, which is always oversubscribed! When not teaching, Mr Cayzer enjoys spending time with his wife and son as well as (somewhat obviously) reading, running and occasionally travelling. Aside from helping to shape the minds of tomorrow, his greatest aspiration is to write and publish a fantasy novel.
Sara Houlton has been teaching for thirteen years. She has taught in all key stages over her career and has had a number of different roles in schools including heading a preparatory school in the Wirral before joining Walton Priory last year. She has taught in Year 6 for most of her teaching career. At Walton she teaches in Year 5. Last year, Sara Houlton spoke at the Education Show about new developments in mathematics, an area about which she is very passionate.
Away from school, she enjoys running: she has been lucky enough to gain selection to compete for GB at the ultra-marathon again in 2018.
Before joining the school, Rosie Kent studied at Staffordshire University and graduated with a degree in English literature. She went on to work as a classroom assistant at a foundation school in Wales, and worked with children from nursery age through to Year six. In order to communicate with all pupils, she spent two years learning Welsh and can proudly pronounce the longest place name in Europe. As inclusion support, she works closely with students in and out of the classroom and endeavours to make their time at Walton as enjoyable as possible. She is eager to share her passion for literature and assists children with their comprehension and writing skills, both in lesson and also during homework club, which she supervises. Outside of school, her hobbies include reading, writing fiction, visiting the theatre and baking.
Faculty Leader of English & Humanities
During the past six years of teaching, Grace Cole has worked as an English teacher across Staffordshire middle schools, secondary schools and sixth form colleges. She has taught English to pupils at Key Stage 2, 3, 4 and 5 and draws on this experience as Head of English and Humanities at Walton Priory Middle School. Throughout her time as a teacher, Grace has aspired to instil a passion for reading and creative writing in her subject delivery and curriculum planning. Having studied English literature at the University of Birmingham, she aims to encourage students to think critically and imaginatively about texts and their composition. As a teacher, she endeavours to ensure that each pupil feels valued, challenged and interested in each lesson. Grace’s main hobbies are reading, socialising, spending time with her family and shopping for unnecessary items of clothing!
In a career in education spanning well over a decade, Toby Kemp has worked as an English teacher, middle leader, special educational needs coordinator and a safeguarding officer. He has taught mainly in secondary, recently moving to middle school, and he has experience of teaching media studies, Japanese and humanities. Throughout his time as a teacher, he has always felt privileged to support and help young people to develop and grow both academically and socially. Toby has spent time teaching in Japan and has a keen love of the outdoors. His hobbies include reading, cycling and hiking. He also enjoys family life and entertaining friends.
Just at the beginning of her teaching career, Kirsty Hill is spending her first year as a teacher working in Year 5. She recently graduated from the University of Chester with a degree in primary education. Over the week, Kirsty teaches her class a variety of core and foundation subjects with a focus on the teaching of mathematics. She is enthusiastic and passionate about encouraging children to have a love of maths by using innovative and exciting strategies in the classroom. During her time out of school, Kirsty teaches local cubs and scouts to kayak in the spring and summer. Her hobbies include going to the gym, attending sporting events and spending time with family and friends
I have been a teacher for over 15 years now and have always loved inspiring young minds to achieve their best. I began my teaching career as a year three class teacher in a lower school. I’ve been at Walton Priory for thirteen years now and love the beautiful grounds, which never cease to amaze me each morning as I come down the drive. I am a versatile teacher who currently enjoys teaching PE, humanities, maths and French. I have a particular passion for maths and hope that I can help my pupils also see the wonder and feel the sense of satisfaction with every tick or new problem solved. I aspire to motivate pupils to travel the world, understand the importance of honesty and hard work as well as to value and seize the opportunities available for them. My hobbies include being a mum, playing hockey, travel and skiing.
Verity is very much looking forward to transitioning in to the next stage of her teaching career at Walton Priory. After graduating from Bath Spa University with a degree in Music, Verity spent twenty years developing her business acumen taking on a variety of support and management roles...but her passion for teaching is where her heart truly lies. Verity lives in Stone with her husband and three children and hobbies include reading, baking with her children and family camping (weather permitted). Verity is a keen singer, has taken part in many choral and amateur dramatic performances and has recently started to learn the ukulele.
This year, teaching Year 5, will be the beginning of Miss Patel’s teaching career. She recently graduated from Edge Hill University with a degree in primary education, specialising in mathematics. She is enthusiastic about encouraging children to develop a love of learning and tries to use technology where possible to make lessons more interesting and exciting. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, travelling and reading.
Mrs Matthews has been working in schools for 6 years, both as a Teaching Assistant and a Cover Supervisor. Mrs Matthews has worked across the whole Primary phase from Nursery to Year 6, and has found her niche in Upper KS2. She enjoys seeing children grow in confidence in their own ability, and believes that resilience and perseverance are the key to this. In her spare time she enjoys reading, city breaks, watercolour painting and spending time with her family.
KS2 Progress Leader
During the twenty years that Julie Williamson has been teaching, she has taught mixed aged classes, Year 5 and currently she is progress leader in Y6. She has experience therefore of teaching the whole range of subjects within the primary phase. She particularly enjoys watching children grow with their learning and overcoming problems that they face. This is becoming evident the more she implements ‘Mastery Maths’ which has resulted in greater understanding and independence. With a strongly belief in the importance of giving the children a chance to excel out of the classroom as well, she runs many extra- curricular activities. The proudest moment for her was when she watched Joe Clarke pick up his Olympic gold medal in Canoe Slalom, knowing that she was the one who first put him into a boat and started his paddling career. Her hobbies include regular visits to the theatre, reading a wide selection of books and socialising with friends.
Faculty Leader STEM & PE
So far in his teaching career, Nathan Ball has worked as a PE teacher, head of PE and is now in his current role of Faculty Leader of Creative Arts. He is a secondary trained PE specialist with a wide knowledge of sports science, human biology and PE and sport itself. Having been educated himself in the three-tier system, he appreciates the benefits of middle school education. He believes that providing KS2 students with specialised teaching has a huge impact on the progress these students make, improving their ability and knowledge for the rest of their time at the school. He is an excellent role model with a strong personality who creates an environment where students want to succeed. Enrichment is key to a child’s progress and Mr Ball ensures this happens within the curriculum and during extra-curricular time on a daily basis. He says that the ski courses he leads are amazing learning experiences and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Aside from teaching, Mr Ball plays and coaches cricket to a very high standard within the county. In the last 3 years, he has had some of the proudest moments in his sporting career: he was named Head Coach, Club and 1st XI captain at Ashcombe Park Cricket Club and now plays at the highest level he possibly can representing Staffordshire.
KS3 Pastoral Leader & Careers Leader
Since starting her teaching career at Walton Priory 7 years ago, Helena Smith has seen many pupils develop into mature individuals. This includes teaching some pupils from the age of 5 at Manor Hill First School as part of the Community Federation. With a degree in Primary and Secondary Education and a specialist subject of design technology, the middle school system is a perfect fit. An enthusiasm for teaching food and textiles has helped develop pupils’ life skills and confidence in their own ability. Watching pupils grow and achieve high standards is a key part of her career. A keen interest in art has recently seen her take on the teaching of this at KS3 level. Alongside her specialist subject Helena has a passion for pastoral care, leading on this across the KS3 phase. She spends time building relationships with pupils to better understand their needs and support their wellbeing. Her hobbies include; baking, Girl Guiding, watching local bands and socialising with friends.
Teaching Assistant Level 3 & Assistant SENCO
Sally Hallows provides specialist assistance to pupils who need help to overcome barriers to learning such as behavioural, social, communication, sensory and physical disabilities. Her role is now expanding, and she is delighted to have the opportunity to progress into mental health and wellbeing for our pupils and become the children’s wellbeing champion. She is passionate about supporting pupils who need additional care, guidance and support for key transitions in their lives e.g. bereavement, family breakup, illness or friendships. For this role, she needs to be caring, compassionate and creative, and have a sense of humour; she certainly has all of these attributes. You will quite often hear her humming or singing around the school. She runs a Mindfulness colouring club after school on Thursdays and in her spare time she is a Brownie guide leader at Tittensor Brownies and is a regular at Clubbersise for a weekly dance!
Lesley Tinsley has worked at Walton for nine years. She originally came to Walton on lunch time duties and was then given the opportunity to become a teaching assistant at the school. Her first few years were spent entirely working with a pupil with cerebral palsy; this role gave her great job satisfaction as she was in a position to have a varied structure to her day and to enjoy the added responsibilities of the role. Prior to working at Walton Priory, she was dedicated to raising her own three children as well as being a childminder for five years. She also worked voluntary at Christ Church First School as a classroom helper while her own children were growing up.
Jane West has worked at Walton Priory for many years as a teaching assistant. She has a wealth of experience supporting pupils with a variety of needs and she particularly enjoys and values the benefits of assisting pupils on residential educational visits.
Outside of school, her love of the outdoors is also shown through her commitment to Girl Guiding. She helps at Rainbow, Brownie and Guide units in Stone. Other interests include: swimming, keeping fit and camping.
Kam Webster has had a passion for working within schools for a long time. However, her career initially her in a different direction. After supporting younger children in Pirehill First School and older students at Alleynes Academy, she was appointed to work at Walton Priory. Nearly two years later, she still relishes supporting pupils in a variety of ways as a teaching assistant. She feels that when you see children doing well and being happy, you feel you are giving something back to the community.
In the School Technician role, Gordon Taylor supports pupils and staff across a wide range of tasks, from cooking to photocopying to technology projects. He graduated in mechanical engineering from Glasgow University and worked as a transport engineer for Tarmac Roadstone and Staffordshire Fire Brigade, among others, before retraining in 1990 to be a teacher. He has worked in county schools since then, mostly teaching maths but also taking every opportunity to engage and enthuse young people in every aspect of the STEM subjects.
He enjoys solo cycle touring during the school holidays. In addition to many trips in Europe he’s cycled on his own across the USA twice and Australia once. Mr Taylor is also very probably related to Johnne Gordon (d. 1592) who was one of eighty-two people from Prestonpans, near Edinburgh, who were burned as witches by James VI. But it’s OK, as they were all officially pardoned in 2004.
My name is Claire Rigg and I am the new Reprographics Technician.
I was one of the first pupils to attend Walton Priory Middle School, I am showing my age now and my son Joseph also attended the school. Joseph, as the result of a good education and hard work, has gone on to study for a degree at The Solent University in Southampton.
Whilst Joseph was here at Walton Priory Middle School I was an active member of the PSA eventually going on to Chai the group and I also carried on being a member when Joseph moved up to Alleynes.
I am a very keen cook, I love gardening, and crafting and have recently take up fishing.
With an academic background in law and business, Mrs Wilson worked in higher education for sixteen years before joining the school in 2010. She enjoys the variety the role of Business Manager brings and out of school her hobbies include reading, history, learning Spanish and computer games.
SIMS & Reports Co-ordinator
Mrs Warrilow started working at Walton Priory in 2010 as a clerical assistant and lunchtime supervisor. She took up the full time position of clerical assistant and first aider in 2012. Out of the office, she enjoys walking her two springer spaniels, Louis and Gem, and she is also an obsessive decorator!
Ms Reardon joined the school in 2017, her previous role was HR and payroll Administrator for Staffordshire County Council. Her role in school involves HR, recruitment, payroll and support to the Business Manager and her office colleagues. She has 2 young children that keep her busy, when she gets some free time she enjoys any gym classes, and city breaks.
Leadership Support Officer
Miss Allen joined the school in 2016. Previously she worked in higher education for over 10 years. Her role involves supporting the Senior Leadership Team and Governors, along with the marketing and publicity of the school. She enjoys all the opportunities her role offers and out of school she is kept busy by her two daughters and dog Oscar.
Juliette Lowe, the school librarian, originally trained in public libraries. She enrolled at the Open University, where she graduated with a degree in humanities and philosophy, after the birth of her two children. After that, she became a tour guide with Staffordshire Heritage until she landed the job of her dreams – to be a school librarian. Since she joined the school ten years ago, she has become a grandmother (although she certainly doesn’t look old enough). It is her ambition, one day, to breed goats