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 - 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.


Fran Whalley - Deputy Head Teacher/Foundation Stage Co-ordinator/ Safeguarding Lead

I feel very proud and privileged to work at Copthorne Primary School alongside the best pupils, staff and community, where everyone works hard to be the best that they can possibly be, learning new things together, every minute of every day.

I ❤ CPS


Christopher Lloyd - Assistant Head Teacher/Maths Co-ordinator/ Assessment Manager/ Leading Diversity

You know our school is a special place as soon as you walk through the door. With smiles on everyone’s faces we all embrace the new learning opportunities with which every day provides us. We are one big team who want to make every day better than the last one. We share an amazing culture of learning. The children are enthusiastic, curious and motivated. The teachers are inspiring and full of new ideas to stimulate learning and our families are so willing to partner with us with ways to support their children.

Helen Bradley - Assistant Head Teacher/Literacy Coordinator/ Behaviour Management

I have worked at Copthorne Primary for four 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 have the role of class teacher and assistant headteacher 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 have taught in year 6 since joining Copthorne and love teaching the children in their last year of primary school, even though it has its challenges leading up to SATs. I am also the English coordinator and love organising events that help the children in our school develop a love of reading and writing and of the English language.


Andrew Johnston - Teacher/Head of Research & Development/ Science Co-ordinator

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 Munir - Teacher/PE Co-ordinator

Copthorne is my first ever school which I have worked at and it is a pleasure to work alongside such a fantastic, enthusiastic team. I have worked at Copthorne for nearly 2 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it. I am currently a Year 4 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 community.

Claire Armitstead - Teacher/NQT Mentor/Schools Direct Mentor/IRIS Coordinator and BLP Coordinator

I have worked at Copthorne since September 2006 and love being part of the fantastic team with have. As a mentor, I enjoy coaching and supporting colleagues and students, sharing ideas and learning from each other, to ensure we consistently deliver the very best for all our pupils. The brilliant children at Copthorne make every day enjoyable. They have a super attitude towards their learning and always work hard to achieve their best. Watching the children learn, grow and develop day by day makes me proud to be their teacher!

Emily Kneeshaw - Teacher/EYFS Deputy/ Engaging Families/ Investors in People/ Phonics Coordinator

I have worked at Copthorne for 8 years. I started as an NQT and have been supported in becoming an excellent teacher and middle leader. I have a number of extra responsibilities that keep me busy throughout school! 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.

Gemma Townend - Teacher/Student & Volunteer Mentor

This is my fourth year teaching at Copthorne Primary School. 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. I have taught in Year 1 since I started at Copthorne and am excited to do so again this year. Copthorne is a wonderful school community, one that is working together in true partnership to improve the future life chances for all our children. I look forward to another very successful year.

Hollie Birchall - Teacher

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

Since joining Copthorne Primary School in September as a year 2 class teacher, I feel very much part of this amazing family, which I found there to be here. It has been an amazing start to my career and I could not have been part of a better team! The manner and enthusiasm of each and every children is impeccable and makes every day here so worth it. You will find us all to be a passionate bunch who support our students in achieving their full potential, so that they are equipped and ready to deal with life beyond the classroom. Irem Saghir

Jabran Darr - Teacher/ICT Co-ordinator

Pen Portrait – Jabran Darr – Computing Coordinator 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.

Jamie Wallace - Teacher

This is my first year at Copthorne Primary School, and what a year it has been so far! I feel incredibly proud to have the opportunity to work with the energetic and talented pupils from 2 Holly as they continue their learning journey. Coming from Canada, I had no idea what to expect when I first got to Copthorne. I have been amazed by the super attitudes towards learning held by the children and the welcoming gestures from both pupils and staff. So far, some of my favourite moments at Copthorne have been baking “Reindeer droppings” with 2 Holly, and hearing my pupils share stories about their weekend adventures with our class polar bear. Slowly but surely the Copthorne community is also teaching me British lingo: the gym is called the hall, erasers are called rubbers, running shoes are called trainers and the hallway is called the corridor. Thus far the year has been an incredible learning experience for not just my students but also myself; I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!

Jessica McMillan - Teacher/Arts mark/ DT/ Linking Schools

I am in my third year of teaching at Copthorne and I am currently teaching in year 3. I am the school co-ordinator of Linking Schools, Artsmark and Design and Technology. 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 full-fil their academic ability, but become confident, happy and healthy, well-rounded members of the community- something I am proud to be a part of.

Katelyn Brochert - Teacher

This is my first teaching post after having received my university degree in Concurrent Education. I am blessed to have this opportunity to live out my dream of teaching in the UK. Being Canadian I am a long way from home, but Copthorne welcomed me in with open arms. I love teaching Year 1 and getting to experience the excitement and fascination that comes along with teaching such young students. Copthorne is an amazing school to learn in, not just for myself but also our students. Each member of staff is dedicated to supporting and nurturing each student and helping them reach their full potential. I am proud to be part of such an outstanding school, and I cannot wait to see where this year takes us!

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.

Naheed Akhtar - Teacher/RE Co-ordinator

Teaching at Copthorne is an incredibly rewarding job. Children at Copthorne work extremely hard and have an awesome attitude towards their learning. Every day I have the privilege to see children grow in knowledge, confidence and skills, this is a fantastic feeling. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and making a difference in young children’s lives. I teach because I want children to believe in themselves and know that they can achieve anything they want in life, if they put their mind to it. I want them to grow into responsible members of the community and wider world and know that they can make a valuable contribution to the society they live in.

Natalie Beck - Teacher/New to English

I have been at Copthorne Primary school since April 2016. I currently work in the Nursery alongside Miss Chambers. I am also responsible for supporting those children who are new to English, when they first arrive at Copthorne. It’s great to be part of such a wonderful community. Staff and parents are very supportive and, due to the high expectations and experiences provided for the children, children strive to do their very best and are always eager to learn. I look forward to a very successful year at Copthorne!

Raza Rizvi - Teacher/History & Geography Co-ordinator

I started on my journey as a teacher here at Copthorne in 2013. It is such a pleasure to work at a school where staff, parents and children work together to get the best outcomes for our children. I love to see thatlight bulb moment in my children’s learning and the joy that they get from the hard work they put into their work. I strive to ensure that all children (regardless of ability) make outstanding progress in all areas giving them the best possible start for the big wide world! I am currently studying for a Master’s in Education focusing on the impact of the classroom environment on children’s learning. Creating a rich classroom environment is a real passion of mine. It’s great to see the children accessing resources, activities and challenges independently which, in turn, gives them a sense of real pride in their work. Go team Copthorne!

Saima Shah - Teacher/PSHCE Co-ordinator

I have worked at Copthorne since September 2007. Over the years I have worked in KS1, KS2 and foundation stage, during this time I have gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience. I am currently working in year 5 and I also lead PSHE. I love coming into school every day as everyday 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.

Sophie Chambers - Teacher/Music Co-ordinator

I teach 80 wonderful children in the Nursery. It must be the most exciting and exhausting job in the World! Seeing these children make their first steps towards independence, making their first friendships and beginning their journey as lifelong learners is truly rewarding. It is so inspiring to work in a school where everyone works tirelessly to give the children the best education they can possibly receive.

Stefan Pearson - Teacher

Stefan Pearson I have worked at Copthorne since September 2015 and I’m proud to tell people that I work here because of the schools excellent reputation. It is brilliant to be part of such a dedicated and supportive team of staff members. I look forward to coming to work every day because of the children at Copthorne. Our children are dedicated learners, who are polite and supported in their learning by parents who are eager for their children to make progress.

Suzanne Wood - Teacher/SENCO

I am now in my fifth year of teaching at Copthorne 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. For the past three years I have taught in year six, which although can be very challenging at times, is also extremely rewarding. 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 nursery up to year six and support them and help them achieve their very best.