Academy Leadership Team
The Academy Leadership Team (ALT)
Please find below the ‘pen portraits’ for members of the Academy Leadership Team:
Alison Bickle is Principal at The de Ferrers Academy. She was the Senior Vice Principal and led the Quality of Education team to ensure that students receive high quality education which is supported by a well-balanced curriculum taught by hard working and dedicated staff. She is passionate about getting things right for the staff, as she genuinely believes that if leaders look after their staff, staff are more able to look after the students. She is qualified to NPQH level. Alison believes that positivity breeds positivity and that with a ‘can do’ attitude aspirations can be realised. Communication is key to successful partnerships and she works hard to ensure that all stakeholders feel part of the de Ferrers community.
Alison has had a number of leadership roles at de Ferrers since 2002 specialising in Teaching & Learning, KS5, Human Resources and Staffing. She was part of the team that led the successful acquisition of the Sixth Form Campus in 2018. She has supported two schools in Staffordshire leading on school improvement. Alison was a Principal Examiner for OCR ICT and co-authored 2 vocational text books. Prior to de Ferrers she worked for 7 years in an inner-city school in Birmingham teaching PE and ICT whilst having responsibility for Careers and Vocational education at KS5. Her Bachelor of Engineering degree is in Manufacturing Systems and she worked at the Ford Motor Company in both the UK and Germany.
Mr Allen is Vice Principal for Performance. He works closely with the rest of the Quality of Education team to improve performance and support best practice across the academy. He leads the regular data tracking and reporting at the Academy to provide timely summaries of performance for parents, students, staff and Governors. His major responsibility is for faculty performance overseeing a review process to hold faculty leaders to account for student outcomes. Mr Allen also leads an Operational team responsible for data systems, examinations and cover.
Previously, Mr Allen has been responsible for the whole Academy timetable introducing systems to enable efficient utilisation of staff and facilities across three sites. He has also been the Educational visits coordinator and the Director of Learning for Science, successfully leading an improvement in outcomes for students across Science over a sustained period.
Teaching & Learning (QoE)
Andy Jones is a Vice Principal responsible for Teaching and Learning and Curriculum. He is responsible for developing teaching and learning across the Academy, as well as quality assuring teaching provision. Mr Jones is an SLE with a specialism in teaching staff CPD. He has developed and led development programmes for various groups within the school setting as well as whole school CPD. He leads programmes for ITT and NQT, as well as being Academy coordinator for these groups.
Mr Jones has an MA in Education and has completed the National Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL). He is currently part of Ambition Institute’s Fellowship in Teacher Education programme. Through this programme he has helped teachers to develop their understanding of how students learn and improve, via well designed and effective CPD sessions.
Since joining de Ferrers Academy in 2012, he has fulfilled the roles of Director of Learning for PE and Assistant Principal, before becoming Vice Principal in 2019. Mr Jones is a PE teacher who has led students to achieve excellent grades in various examination subjects at KS4 and 5.
Digital Strategy & Trust Director of ICT
From September 2022, Greg spends 2 days a week as Trust Director of ICT, overseeing all aspects of ICT Network, ICT Technician teams and online services across all 7 Trust schools. For the other 3 days a week, Greg will continue as Vice Principal:Digital Strategy at The de Ferrers Academy, responsible particularly for the successful 1:1 iPad programme as well as ICT integration across the curriculum. Greg is an Apple Professional Learning Specialist (APLS), Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) and former member of the EMEIA ADE Advisory Board, a qualified CEOP Ambassador, Showbie, Nearpod and National Geographic Certified Educator. In 2020, Greg was recognised as one of the UK EdTech50 Educators and is part of the UK EdTech Advisory Forum.
Since joining The de Ferrers Academy in 2008, Greg has overseen ICT developments and led the Academy through ICT Mark status (2008/2010), BECTA ICT Excellence award finalist (2009), recognition as both an Apple Regional Training Centre (2014 onwards) and Apple Distinguished School (2015/2017) and a finalist for a TES Digital Innovation Award (2017).
Greg graduated with a degree in Astrophysics from UCL in 1989 and a PGCE in Physics/Secondary Science from University of Liverpool in 1990. He has previously been a Beacon Schools Manager, Assistant Science College Director: (Community) and Head of Physics. In 2005, he received the Salters-Horners A-level Physics Teacher of the Year award, and co-authored the rewrites of AS and A2 Physics textbooks with The University of York. He worked alongside Birmingham Advisory Schools Service (BASS) supporting struggling inner city Science Faculties/Heads of Science and also supported Birmingham ICT Services as an early adopter and researcher into VLEs, video conferencing and Interactive Whiteboards.
Greg has worked with several dozen schools in the UK and overseas on digital strategy, leadership of education technology and STEM integration. He is a published author of 10 digital books on Physics and EdTech leadership as well as a regular speaker at both national and international conferences and training events across UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and Hong Kong. He has been involved in several Erasmus+ research projects on STEM/Mobile technology, as well as delivering numerous ICT vision/strategic planning workshops for schools, MATs, universities and technology briefings for leadership teams from Espresso, Apple, DFE, ASCL, SSAT and TeachFirst.
Head of Dove Campus (B&S)
Mr Lovell is Vice Principal – Head of Dove Campus, with day to day responsibility for the pastoral care, support and progress of the 820 Year 7 and 8 students on the campus. Mr Lovell is also responsible for writing the Academy timetable for the 2,200 students and 130 teaching staff working across our three campuses, as well as being one of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSL) within the Academy. He teaches Physical Education and has a proven track record of consistently achieving excellent outcomes for students at both GCSE and A Level. He also chairs the Secondary Management and Development Board for the School of Education at The University of Nottingham and is a governor of a local primary school. Mr Lovell has also completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).
Mr Lovell started teaching in 2002 in an inner city school in Nottingham having graduated from Loughborough University with an honours degree in Physical Education and Sports Science. He joined de Ferrers in 2007 as the Director of Learning for PE and was promoted to the Academy Leadership Team in 2012. From 2014 to 2019, Mr Lovell with responsibility for the quality of teaching and learning across the Academy, the professional development of staff and co-ordinated our initial teacher training programme in partnership with a number of higher education institutions.
He was involved in the development and establishment of The de Ferrers Trust in 2015, liaising with the DfE and ESFA to establish the multi academy trust (MAT). Mr Lovell was seconded part time from his Vice Principal role at de Ferrers to support the development of the quality of teaching and CPD provision across all academies within the Trust during 2017-18. He was also responsible for leading the successful bid to the DfE which resulted in the Academy gaining the outstanding facilities that have housed our Sixth Form Campus since September 2018.
Head of Trent Campus (B&S)
Greg is Vice Principal with the responsibility of being Head of Trent campus which houses approximately 1,100 students on site. Greg started teaching at the de Ferrers Academy in September 2005 as an NQT. Before that he worked for 6 months as an undergraduate through a supply agency and was posted to a wide range of schools in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle Under Lyme.
He is now currently in his fifteenth year of teaching and has been successfully appointed in a number of roles. He started his career as a teacher of Physical Education and he progressed to become Key Stage 5 leader of PE, Achievement and Guidance Leader – Key Stage 4, Director of Support and Guidance – Key Stage 4, Associate Assistant Principal, Assistant Principal and, for the past four years, a Vice Principal. He is ‘Level 2 Safeguarding’ and ‘Level 4 Safeguarding (DSL)’ trained and is currently part of the safeguarding team.
Greg’s experience includes the line management of English, Mathematics and CRESS, Groups Intervention Leader (including subgroups such as PP and SEN performance) as well as line managing Pastoral staff, such as Heads of year, Assistant Heads of Year, Learning Mentors and Careers Advice. In addition to these responsibilities he has also been line manager to the Literacy and Numeracy coordinator and has also been the EVC (Educational visits coordinator) for the Academy.
Head of Sixth Form Campus (B&S)
Hannah Roberts is Vice Principal: Head of the Sixth Form Campus. Her responsibilities include: creating a culture whereby students have high expectations of themselves and are encouraged to be the very best they can; tracking and monitoring student progress and ensuring relevant intervention strategies are implemented as early as possible; preparing students for life after the sixth form in terms of developing soft skills and providing impartial careers and destinations advice; raising aspirations of subgroups and supporting students through the university application process and preparing students for Oxbridge applications.
She graduated in 2001 with a BA Hons in Humanities (Geography, Sociology and Politics) and began her teaching career as a Teacher of Geography at the de Ferrers Academy in 2002. She held positions of responsibility within Citizenship and Outdoor Education before joining the KS5 pastoral team.
David Griffiths joined The de Ferrers Academy in January 2010 as a Newly Qualified Drama Teacher and has had numerous roles within the Academy since then. He has been Reading and Communication Coordinator and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) Coordinator, but has always had a passion for supporting students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
David became the Academy's SENDCO in September 2017 and oversees the provision for all students on the SEND Register. In August 2019, David completed his Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) and Examination Access Arrangements and recently completed the National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordinators (NASENCo). David is also a registered member of the British Psychological Society (BPS). David works with the Academy's ‘Quality of Education’ team with a focus on driving standards for SEND students and line managing Alternatiove Curriculum, EAL and Anti-Racism. David is also a member of the Academy's Safeguarding team and is Level 4 trained. Furthermore, David has responsibility for transition across the academy including Key Stage 2 to 3.
Behaviour & Attendance
Matt Underwood is Assistant Principal: Behaviour and Attendance. His responsibilities include: KS3 & KS4 Support and Guidance, KS3 & KS4 Attendance as well as line managing the academy’s team of Behaviour Support Assistants. Matt is responsible for ensuring high standards of both behaviour and attendance across the academy, and ensuring the correct help and interventions are implemented to support all students at the Academy. Matt joined the Academy Leadership Team in September 2022 having previously been Director of Learning for Enterprise. Matt has held Pastoral Roles at other schools in the West Midlands before joining the de Ferrers Academy in September 2018.
Matt graduated from the University of Derby in July 2010 with a BA Hons in Business Studies, and a PGCE in Business Education from Staffordshire University in July 2011, before starting his teaching career in September 2011. Alongside teaching, Matt works with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme at the academy, as a qualified expedition leader.
Quality of Education
Tom graduated in 2007 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Economics from the University of Sheffield, before completing a PGCE at the University of Wolverhampton in 2009. He has worked at The de Ferrers Academy for 13 years as a teacher of Mathematics (and occasionally Economics), as Director of Learning for Mathematics, and as Trust Leader for Mathematics. He completed the National Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) in 2021 and joined the Academy Leadership Team in September 2023.
His responsibilities as Assistant Principal include homework, teacher development, and the Culture Curriculum.
Behaviour and Transition
Ross Wickens is Assistant Principal: Behaviour and Transition, joining the Academy Leadership Team and School in September 2023. Ross works closely with the Academy Leadership Team, Heads of Year, and Behaviour and Standards Team, leading on behaviour at our Dove Campus. Ross is also responsible for strategically leading the Year 6 into Year 7 transition for our students. Ross is committed to demonstrating the highest of standards to secure a high quality of education, value of learning, and respect for all students and staff so that every student can reach their potential through high aspirations, pastoral support and excellence in all aspects of education.
Ross graduated from The University of Hull in July 2009 with a BSc in Sports, Health and Exercise Science, before completing his PGCE in Physical Education at Loughborough University in June 2013. Since 2013, Ross has completed a Masters in Education from Loughborough University, an NPQ in Leading Teacher Development and NPQ in Senior Leadership.
Ross started his career in education as a teaching assistant in Northampton, before qualifying as a teacher of Physical Education and fulfilling a range of roles, including, Head of Year, Year 11 Achievement, and Pupil Premium Lead. He has also worked as an examiner for OCR. Ross has a proven record of outstanding results for Physical Education students on GCSE, A-Level, and vocational courses. Ross is a school governor at a secondary school in Leicestershire. Within the role, Ross is responsible for overseeing the management of the school: strategy, policy, budgeting and staffing. He supports the school to run as effectively as possible, working alongside and holding to account senior leaders and teachers to provide excellent education to children.
Quality of Education
Gurpreet Johal is Assistant Principal: Quality of Education. Gurpreet is responsible for Key Stage 3 Intervention and Progress, developing the Quality of Teaching across the Academy as well as the ECT and ITT lead. She joined the Academy Leadership Team in September 2023 having previously been Head of Science. Gurpreet has held Teaching and Learning Roles at other schools in the West Midlands before joining the de Ferrers Academy.
Gurpreet graduated from Keele University in July 2011 with a BSc in Biomedical Science, before completing her PGCE in Science with Chemistry at Birmingham City University in 2012. Since 2012, Gurpreet has completed a Masters in Educational Leadership from Birmingham City University.
Business Office Manager
Steph Dewis Johnson is currently the Business Office Manager, with responsibility for Premises, Health & Safety, Finances and HR. She has worked at The de Ferrers Academy for 2 years, Steph gained her CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resources Management in June 2022 and gained a Distinction in HR Consultant Partner Level 5 Apprenticeship in November 2022.