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 - Executive 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 - Head Of School/Outcomes for children/ Safeguarding Lead

I feel very proud and privileged to work at Copthorne Primary School alongside the best pupils, staff and community; learning new things together every minute of every day. At Copthorne, everyone strives to ensure that every child achieves the very best possible outcomes. This is underpinned by our belief that there are no limits on learning for our children and staff alike. It is a pleasure to go to work each day and walk amongst such hard working, inspirational people. .

I ❤ CPS


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.


Amy Clayton - Teacher

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.

Ceri Owens - Teacher

Claire Armitstead - Teacher/Acting Assistant Head/ NQT Mentor/Schools Direct Mentor/IRIS 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!

Claire Patterson - Teacher

I am currently an NQT at the school teaching in year 5. I have loved being a part of the school since completing some work experience in 2017, the school is friendly, warm and welcoming to all (pupils and staff). The ethos of the school speaks to my own beliefs in that all should be treated fairly and equally with no limit on a child's learning. I love seeing the children develop in to their own individual personalities and abilities, and I am grateful that I get to be a part of this process.

Dilnawaz Ahmed - Teacher

I have the honour to call myself a proud and privileged member of the Copthorne community. Having grown up, trained and worked in this community, my time at Copthorne has been the most enjoyable and informative and I am fortunate enough to be a part of the family here at Copthorne. I am surrounded with an outstanding, passionate and supportive team, adults and children alike. We at Copthorne truly believe that there are no limits on learning, and this belief is reflected in everything that we do at Copthorne. I am currently teaching in year 4 and it is a pleasure to see our children learn to the best of their abilities and beyond.

Emily Kneeshaw - Teacher/Acting Assistant Head/ EYFS & 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/Engaging Families Coordinator

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/BLP Coordinator

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.

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.

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.

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!

Rebecca Holmes - Teacher/Music Coordinator

I feel very proud and privileged to be able to teach at Copthorne Primary school. A place where all teachers, pupils and parents really strive to do their best for their children, their education, their school and their community. It is a fantastic place to work, a place where everyone works hard on their ambitions so that each pupil is given an equal opportunity to strive in life. I work in a very positive and loving environment - each child is made to feel special and is encouraged to work to their best potential. I am an enthusiastic teacher and strive to do my best for my pupils – to inspire and nurture them at such an impressionable age – to make them love the education system and school as much as I do. I have been lucky enough to become the Music Co-ordinator at Copthorne. Music is also a part of the Artsmark award, and I will be working alongside Miss Macmillan to ensure we give the best opportunities for our children to exceed. Music is an integral part of the education system and can be applied to all areas of education, enabling a more fun way of learning which I hope I can include in my lessons.

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.

Stefan Pearson - Teacher/Challenge Coordinator

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.

Stephanie Geldard - Teacher

Suzanne Wood - Teacher/SENCO/ Maths Coordinator

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.

Tanya Swain - Teacher/Geography Coordinator

This is my first year teaching at Copthorne since I started teaching in 2007 and it is by far the best school I have ever had the pleasure to teach in. The children are fantastic and a credit to the school and their families. Parents are very supportive and the staff work very closely as a team to help children learn without limits. I have taught for the most of my career in Early Years and Year One so I am committed to giving children the best start so they develop and learn, building on small steps to their own success. I have enjoyed my own learning journey during my first year at Copthorne and I look forward to another successful year.