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Leadership team


Head of School - Mr Joe Birkbeck 

Joe has been Head of Westfield since September 2017, and is thoroughly enjoying the challenge of leading significant change to secure 'Outstanding Achievement for All'.

Prior to working at Westfield, Joe worked on the leadership team at three other schools, including Silverdale School, where Joe led on teaching and learning when Silverdale was judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2014.  Within his three previous roles he has also led on assessment and progress, curriculum and behaviour.

After studying for a Masters' in Twentieth Century History at the University of Liverpool, Joe worked as a Youth Worker in Barnsley before training as a teacher at the University of Sheffield. He began his teaching career in Featherstone, West Yorkshire, as a teacher of history.

Deputy Headteacher - Mr Matt Lambourne 

Matt left a career in the chemical industry to travel to Japan and teach English in primary and middle schools. After three years of teaching English in Japan, he decided to progress his passion for supporting young people to develop a love of learning, by returning to the UK to complete a Science PGCE at the University of Sheffield.

He began as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) in 2001 and progressed to become a Head of Department and then an Advanced Skills Teacher, before becoming an Assistant Head teacher.

Matt was seconded to Westfield school as an Assistant Headteacher in 2013 and subsequently took up a position as Deputy Headteacher later that year.

Matt holds a 2:1 honours degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and technology (UMIST).

Deputy Headteacher - Mr Dan Griffiths 

Dan is currently Deputy Headteacher at Westfield School: a privileged role in which he is excited to help lead forward-thinking change and development under Chorus Education Trust’s pledge of Outstanding Achievement for All.

Dan’s formal education up to the age of 18, was in Ipswich, Suffolk. He moved to South Yorkshire in 1999 to study a BA (Hons) degree in Music, after which he completed his teacher training in Sheffield in 2005. As an NQT, Dan took on the role of Head of Music in a North London comprehensive girls’ school, where he remained for 10 years, later becoming Head of Performing Arts and Assistant Headteacher. Whilst there, he developed strong links between the school and the wider community, setting up and participating in a variety of community performance projects involving children from local feeder primaries, charities and other community organisations.

In 2015, Dan took up the post of Assistant Principal at Bottisham Village College in Cambridge, where he was later promoted to Deputy Principal. During his time there much of his work focused on improving outcomes for students from disadvantaged starting points: he is proud to have closed almost entirely the attainment gap between disadvantaged students and non-disadvantaged students after his first year in post. Dan was heavily influenced by Henry Morris’ philosophy of ‘roots-to-tips’ education which permeated the college’s ethos and the life of the school community.

Excited to return to Sheffield to further develop his practice, Dan was appointed to the leadership team at Silverdale School in 2018 and is seconded to Westfield School as Deputy Headteacher.

Assistant Headteacher - Mr Andy Appleford 

Andy has been teaching Maths in secondary schools since 2005, working in five very different schools.  Along the way, he has held numerous different positions of responsibility, which have helped prepare him for this hugely important role in charge of Maths at Westfield School, and subsequently across Chorus Trust.

Just prior to joining Westfield, Andy was Head of Maths at Silverdale School for three years.  In the final set of results before he left, the students at Silverdale secured both the highest pass rate in GCSE Maths and the highest progress across all their subjects for the whole of Sheffield.  The previous year, Silverdale School was voted as the “Top State School in the North, 2018” by the Sunday Times.

Andy has a degree in Economics and a Diploma in Social Science Research from Nottingham Trent University, completing his PGCE at Hertfordshire University.  A keen reader, he stays abreast of research about effective teaching pedagogy, particularly in relation to Maths. 

His ultimate goal is to incorporate this research, alongside his own extensive experience, to ensure that Maths education is outstanding across Chorus Trust's schools.

See Andy’s Linked In profile here.

Assistant Headteacher - Ms Sarah Bell 

Sarah has responsibility for responsive learners, where she is working with students to develop their understanding of how and why we learn. Her other responsibility is social capital, where Sarah continues to lead staff on the development of wider-world skills projects in the classroom. Sarah has also curated a bespoke form time ‘read aloud programme’, which ensures Westfield students have access to expert reading of high-quality fiction texts.

After completing her Masters in English Literature at the University of Hull, Sarah taught undergraduate students in drama and English at both the University of Sheffield and the University of Huddersfield. It was while writing her PhD thesis at the University of Sheffield – on women dramatists at the Royal Court Theatre – that Sarah began working as a Key Stage 4 tutor at a local Sheffield school, discovering her true love of teaching and passion for helping students become the best they can.

Sarah has taught in four very different school across Sheffield, which includes leading three English departments. Since joining Westfield as Head of English in 2000, Sarah has supported the department to continue to grow and achieve continually improving results in both English Language and English Literature.

Assistant Headteacher - Ms Jemma Fisher 

Jemma began as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) in 2001 after studying for her PGCE at Sheffield Hallam. She has held a variety of interesting roles reflecting her passion for writing, reading and literature. These have included Second in English, whole-school Literacy Coordinator, teaching and learning coach, ITT mentor, Head of English and Associate Assistant Headteacher. Jemma enjoys both literature and film and has a Masters’ degree in Cinema Studies from Nottingham Trent University. She has also spent time teaching English abroad as well as two years as a classroom assistant, supporting young people and adults with learning difficulties.

Jemma has worked in five schools with differing contexts and needs across Sheffield and Nottinghamshire. She has a passion for teaching and learning and has provided training and support to colleagues and departments both within the schools she has worked in, and across other schools. She has a proven track record for successfully leading improvement by ensuring provision of quality teaching, excellent assessment practices and engaging English curriculums which enable students to achieve their full potential.

Jemma works with colleagues across the Trust to ensure that English education is outstanding across all of our schools.

Assistant Headteacher - Ms Sara Tiffin 

Sara has responsibility at Westfield  for responsive teaching. She is growing the continued professional development programme for staff to develop teaching and learning provision across the school.

She decided as a teenager that she wanted to pursue a teaching career after being inspired by her electronics teacher at a local Sheffield school. She qualified in 2003 after completing a BA(Hons) with qualified teacher status in Design and Technology and Education at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her passion for teaching and learning led her to roles such as thinking skills and learning to learn coordinator, subject leader for Design and Technology, Head of Creative and Performing Arts Faculty, Head of House (pastoral leader) and an Associate Assistant Headteacher.

Associate Assistant Headteacher - Mrs Emily Bowler 

Content to follow shortly. 

Associate Assistant Headteacher - Mrs Jess Halliday 

Content to follow shortly. 

Associate Assistant Headteacher - Mrs Katie Palethorpe 

Content to follow shortly. 

Business Support Services Manager - Mrs Sarah Newton 

Sarah graduated from Sheffield Hallam University and, like many visitors to the city, decided she loved  it so much she wanted to stay.

For over 20 years she worked for the local authority, including as Service Manager for Activity Sheffield.  Sarah’s passion is supporting opportunities for people to be healthy and happy.  At Activity Sheffield this ranged from teaching a 79 year old to swim who had never been in the water, to managing the team who took athletes to the Olympics, to accessing funding for play equipment for children and young people in the city.  Sarah was instrumental in influencing government thinking regarding the impact of physical activity on health and has spoken at many conferences about this.

She has now brought her considerable expertise and experience into the world of education. As part of Westfield School's Senior Leadership Team she had responsibility for the operational (non-teaching) elements of running the academy, including finance, IT, HR, risk management and premises.