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Our team

People and partnerships are the most important thing to us. We value our trainees, university based colleagues and our expert school colleagues and collaborate with everyone to ensure that STTA trainees achieve the best outcomes for themselves but also for the children they teach.

We work really hard to bring the best people into the profession and to offer ongoing support and career development to experienced teachers. We work with over 60 schools in our School Direct network which includes primary, secondary and special schools. Our partners in special education have developed a truly unique SEND training element for all our trainees, this is a key priority for mainstream schools and establishes STTA as different to other providers. Our National Modern Languages SCITT will provide access to the independent school sector so that our trainees in Modern Foreign Languages can experience teaching in both the state and the independent sector all over the country.

Meet our team:


As an outstanding, dynamic and experienced practitioner, I now enjoy the role of Director for Early Career Development. I have been working in teaching for over 30 years and still enjoy every day. Formerly a highly successfully leader in physical education in two schools, my work with early entrants to the profession has become a passion. Based at Silverdale School, my role is to co-ordinate support our early career teachers (ECTs) as well as manage our appropriate body service to ensure that our ECTs follow the statuary induction for the early career framework (ECF) programme. I recruit, interview and place our trainees in our partner schools and lead our school-based training facilitators to provide an outstanding school-based offer. I support, monitor and evaluate tour trainees’ progress and work with the senior mentor coordinators to ensure consistency of practice across the STTA.

I also lead the Physical Education Networking Group across Sheffield as well as being involved in school-to-school support in the region.

My strengths are my commitment, patience, good listening skills, and being able to put the needs of others first. I work well as a team member and have excellent communication skills. My nurturing personality allows me to develop our trainees’ and ECTs’ confidence and resilience to shape and mould future teachers for Sheffield and beyond.

I have a BEd Hons in Physical Education and thirty years’ experience of outstanding teaching.

German is my native language and, having successfully completed my MA in Interpreting and Translation in English, Spanish and Russian, I moved to University of Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, followed by a PGCE MFL Secondary in German and Spanish (University of Nottingham). I remained in England and my career as a language teacher began.

I have worked at Silverdale School since 2002 and became Head of German in 2004 progressing to become Head of Languages in 2007. I am enjoying making a contribution to teacher supply as the Director for the National Modern Languages SCITT.



I have worked as teacher since 1995 and Mentor coordinator at Malin Bridge Primary School since 2004. A special interest of mine has always been supporting trainees’ development and their transition to becoming outstanding teachers. My role as ITE, NQT and RQT mentor ensures continuation of standards and support for teachers in school.
My role is to ensure that teachers in their early career have an impact on standards in school. This is very important in my work with experienced colleagues in school as trainees need outstanding mentors who have a personal interest in mentoring and use this to enhance their own professional learning. I have continued to develop my personal interests in this area by undertaking a Master’s degree in Teaching and Education.

As the leader of the primary team, I oversee the primary routes in School Direct. Our team recruits and interviews prospective trainees and places them in a wide range of schools. I support trainees and mentors in early years and primary schools to ensure consistency of standards and facilitate school-based training sessions for the cohort. The diverse and wide range of people who wish to enter the profession through our school-based route are inspirational and a joy to work alongside.

As Assistant Head Teacher at Rowan Teaching School in Sheffield I have worked extensively with children with complex speech, language and communication difficulties all of whom have a diagnosis of Autism. I now hold a strategic leadership role with STTA. Leadership at STTA is committed to trainees across all phases receiving high quality training in all areas of their practice including meeting the needs of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) pupils in mainstream settings. Working collaboratively with colleagues from other specialist settings, I led a government funded pilot to deliver a higher level of SEND training to a small number of primary and secondary trainees. Following their positive feedback this element has now been incorporated into the core professional training for all trainees at STTA. This is a really unique aspect of our offer and one that sets us apart from other providers.
I have a B Ed degree 2:1 in Education and many other professional qualifications relating to pedagogy and leadership. I worked as a Specialist Leader in Education, (SLE), three years ago. During my teaching career I have taught in nursery, primary and secondary settings. My interest in supporting children with SEND has always been at the forefront of my practice and is an area which has an increasingly significant impact for all classroom practitioners.

With extensive experience working in early career development and having worked closely with the STTA as a Specialist Leader in Education for over six years, I lead the secondary ITT course and support the next generation of teachers through outstanding teacher education.

I began my teaching career in 2009 by working as an RE teacher in a socially and economically deprived area.  My passion for teaching and learning led me to become a Lead Teacher in my third year of teaching and then Curriculum Leader and Early Career Development Coordinator.  I developed a passion for teacher education and have over eight years' experience in supporting and training teachers, orchestrating and leading school-based support and professional learning for trainees and ECTs. I also have extensive experience coaching and professionally developing teachers.

I thoroughly enjoy every day in this hugely rewarding and profoundly important profession. My academic and professional qualifications include a First Class BA Hons in Philosophical Studies, a Secondary PGCE in Religious Education and an accredited coaching qualification.

I am a French national with over 20 years’ experience of teaching NML in the northwest of England. I have taught a range of languages (French, Spanish and German) in both the state and independent sectors.

I have joined the NML SCITT from Bolton School Girls’ Division where I was the Head of French and the Bolton Hub NML SCITT Subject Lead. Previous to this post, I was a Senior Subject Teacher for MFL in a school based in Cheshire, where I also held a pastoral role. I am a Senior Examiner for a leading awarding body.

I am passionate about both languages and teaching, and love travelling and discovering new culture. A keen tennis player, I enjoy using my language skills on a tennis court by taking part in tournaments across the world (including Spain and Germany).

I have worked as part of the team on the provision of School Direct Initial Teacher Training at the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance, (STSA), for the past six years and have been an integral contributor to its growth and development at Silverdale School.

My role as Teaching School Administrator has been pivotal in supporting and facilitating colleagues in the expansion and refinement of our School Direct programmes since our first cohort of trainees in 2012.  Fewer than ten trainees were recruited for the first School Direct PGCE in that year and we now have a cohort of ninety trainees across EYFS, Primary, SEND and Secondary phases.  A major part of my role is providing a central point of communication between STSA, Higher Education Institutions (HEI) colleagues, UCAS, our partnership schools, School Based Tutors and Mentors, trainees across all phases and training facilitators.  I have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the recruitment process and the on-line requirements for reporting trainees’ progress, enabling me to support School Direct applicants, trainees and colleagues. It is a daily part of my role to work collaboratively with other professionals to communicate essential information on a regular basis.   I provide support to the Strategic Manager for the preparation of DfE reporting on Teaching School activity including: keeping records of Initial Teacher Training (ITT), Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) and other related activity.

Values that I adhere to are to be organised, well informed, approachable and professional.  I am able to be effective in my role as my knowledge was established from the start of our School Direct programme and I look forward to continuing this contribution to future developments at the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance.

Over the past 10 years I have worked at Silverdale School and within the Teaching School Alliance in a variety of roles.

During my time at Silverdale School I have developed my skills as an administrator and take pride that I am a self-motivated and enthusiastic person who works well as part of a team and independently. I have a solid understanding of data manipulation using excel and have a substantial knowledge of SIMs.

I feel it is essential to be able to build on prior experience and I am adaptable to different and challenging environments. My strengths include being able to multi-task, remain calm and effective, whilst working to deadlines, and being an effective communicator.

I am looking forward to contributing to the dynamic team in the STSA and to supporting the development of all colleagues through our work in STSA. I am very excited to be supporting the team as we create The National Modern Languages SCITT and begin to work more widely.

I started working at the Teaching School in February 2019 after a decision to move from commercial accountancy into the education sector. This was a conscious decision to change my working environment as I strived for a fulfilling role where I could utilise my skills whilst contributing to the community.

I am a qualified accountant, having achieved my ACCA Professional Qualification in 2014 which is, to date, my greatest accomplishment. It took a lot of commitment and dedication to gain my ACCA membership which shows the kind of attributes that I value.

I previously worked for an accountancy company successfully managing a portfolio of clients, including detailed financial analysis, problem solving and budget management. These are skills which have transferred with me into this role and I now use them to manage the funding of the teaching school.

As finance officer my responsibilities are to provide efficient finance support to guarantee the smooth running of the teaching school by ensuring there is financial structure and that controls are in place. I feel fortunate to be able to work with a group of people whose individual skills and experience, combined together, make a great team. I appreciate the guidance they have shown me through my journey so far and am happy that, in return, I am able to share my finance knowledge and experience with them.

In the short time I have been here I have made efficiencies to policies and procedures which have benefited the teaching school, allowing the team to concentrate on operational business and supporting the trainees on the road to becoming a teacher. I take pride in maintaining high standards of professionalism and believe my strengths in organisation and planning will benefit the team as we continue to grow. I hope to further build on the work I have done to date and continue to develop and improve the finances of the teaching school as we move forward.

Stefanie HighfieldI joined the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance in September 2020, moving from a background in marketing and event management. I hold a degree in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations and a professional diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I also have a qualification in dance teaching from the International Dance Teachers Association. Before joining the team, I gained 10 years’ experience in both large corporate organisations and small family-run businesses delivering events, marketing strategy and communications.

I am a dedicated and self-disciplined individual who enjoys facing new challenges, using my existing skills and developing new ones. I am eager to use these skills in the education sector and learn from my new environment. I believe excellent communication skills, meticulous organisation and planning abilities and exceptional attention to detail are essential in my role, in order to provide the best possible experience and service.

Catherine UnwinI joined the STTA at the start of 2021, having previously worked in finance in a large academy school in Sheffield for 15 years covering all aspects of school finance.

My new role supporting staff, trainees and external providers in all areas of finance, together with reporting to the Department of Education, is a different area of education to my previous work. However, I am enjoying both the challenge of the new job and working alongside the experienced STTA team who have supported and welcomed me.

As finance officer, I am responsible for all areas of finance within the STTA and welcome any communication from anyone requiring assistance in this area.