Central Team

Oxfordshire Teacher Training is led by a dedicated and friendly central team who ensure that everyone who trains with us gets the very best training and support from the Recruitment and Selection Day at the very start of the process, right through into the early years of their teaching career. We have a vast wealth of experience and expertise that ensures you get the very best advice, support and training at every stage.

Defne Boya

Programme Leader, Secondary Full & Part-time

Defne has been working as part of the SCITT team for nine years, and has worked at The Cherwell School in teaching and leadership roles for a number of years. She holds an MSc in Learning and Teaching from Oxford University and has extensive experience supporting trainee teachers. The Programme Leader role involves leading the development, resourcing and delivery of the central training of the programme as well as liaising with Senior Links, Subject Specialists, School-based Mentors and Visiting Tutors in order to ensure a coherent and structured learning experience for all Associate Teachers.


Elena Alder

Programme Administrator

Ellie joined the team as Programme Administrator in May 2016, her role includes assisting the Programme Leaders and SCITT Manager with the administration of the current School Direct programmes and provision for current Associate Teachers. She is responsible for maintaining and updating our online portfolio system on Google Drive, organisation of events and communication with visitors and manages our NQT Transition documentation.

Ellie Armstrong

OTSA Teaching School Director

Ellie is currently the OTSA Teaching School Director for both Windmill Primary School, Oxford and Blessed George Napier Roman Catholic Secondary School, Banbury.  Her specific area of focus within the SCITT is leading the Primary Subject Specialist Sessions and running the Northern Hub of the SCITT in Banbury.  Alongside this, Ellie is a classroom practitioner and currently teaches Reception at Windmill.

Ellie has been teaching for fifteen years and is experienced across the EYFS and Primary age range.  She has been a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Windmill and Edward Field Primary Schools, and a governor for another Oxfordshire primary school.  Since working for the SCITT she has taken on several different roles including Programme Leader, Visiting Tutor and Senior Link.  Ellie has just begun an MA in School Leadership and Management.

Helen Jeffries

SCITT Administrator

Helen joined the growing SCITT team in early 2017. Her responsibilities include maintaining the UCAS application system, preparing recruitment and selection documentation and communicating regularly with enquiries, applicants and schools. Helen is also Clerk to the SCITT Governing Body and manages our SCITT library.

Louise Border

Programme Leader, Primary Full & Part-time

Louise joined the team in October 2016 and since September 2017 has been a Programme Leader. Louise joined us from Tower Hill Community Primary School where she was Deputy Head and Inclusion Leader, and her knowledge and experience from these roles is a great asset for our team.

Louise’s Programme Leader role involves leading the development, resourcing and delivery of the central training of the programme as well as liaising with Senior Links, Subject Specialists, School-based Mentors and Visiting Tutors in order to ensure a coherent and structured learning experience for all Associate Teachers.

Marion Rawlings

SCITT Manager

Marion is our SCITT Manager, she joined the staff at The Cherwell School in 2012 and has been a vital member of the SCITT office team since 2013. Her present role involves the operational management of the SCITT, specifically leading the administrative team. Marion oversees the logistics and administration of all SCITT activity including communication with placement schools and applicants, organisation of recruitment and selection days, marketing strategy and finance.

Matthew Coatsworth

Quality assurance and safeguarding officer

Matthew has been a member of the SCITT central team since September 2016, and is one of our SCITT Governors. He leads on the quality assurance of our programmes and has helped to develop systems and processes that support Associate Teachers, School-based Mentors, Senior Links and Visiting Tutors.

Before joining the SCITT team, Matthew spent twenty years working in a range of primary schools in the maintained and independent sectors, including as Headteacher. He now teaches at The Cherwell School, and is particularly interested in the transition from primary to secondary education.  Matthew also presents our regular podcast, listen here

Michelle Gillespie

SCITT Administrator

Michelle joined the team in the autumn of 2019.  Having been aware of the success and reputation of the Oxfordshire Teacher Training SCITT, through her work at The Cherwell School, she was keen to get involved.  Michelle helps to organise the recruitment and selection days, which local Oxfordshire schools host throughout the year (or more recently have taken place over Zoom!).  She also keeps in touch with potential Associate Teachers, keen to secure a place with us and helps to produce our termly Wellbeing Newsletter.

Patrick Garton

SCITT Director

Patrick has been Director of Oxfordshire Teacher Training SCITT since it was accredited as an ITT provider in 2014 and is also a member of the Senior Leadership Team at The Cherwell School. He has been a teacher for well over twenty years and has held a wide range of roles in both primary and secondary schools. In every role throughout his career he has worked with trainee teachers and is passionate about the importance of state education. He is a trustee and active member of NASBTT (the National Association of School Based Teacher Trainers).

As Director he is responsible for overseeing the day to day workings of the training programmes that we deliver as well as working with the SCITT Accounting Officer and Governing Board to establish the educational vision and values that underpin our work. He works closely with schools across Oxfordshire to develop and strengthen the partnerships that are vital to our approach as well as regularly leading training sessions.

Paul James

SCITT Accounting Officer

Paul is Chief Executive Officer of The River Learning Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust responsible for a number of Oxfordshire Schools and The Cherwell OTSA SCITT.  As Accounting Officer for The Cherwell OTSA SCITT Paul has an overall responsibility for quality and financial regularity and works closely with the Director to ensure the best provision.

Sally Price

Wellbeing and Support Officer

Sally started working in schools as an MFL teacher 20 years ago and has led on aspects of staff induction and ITT throughout her career. In her current role with the SCITT, Sally works closely with members of the central team and partnership colleagues to deliver bespoke coaching and wellbeing provision for Associate Teachers during their ITT and NQT years.  This provision is geared to empower self-confidence and self-managed positive outcomes as teaching experience develops and enables our new teachers to learn and role-model healthy approaches to wellbeing.

Sally, is a Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor and delivers on-line and face-to-face training to trainees and experienced school staff locally and nationally.  She is also a trained Wellbeing Coach (British School of Coaching, endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management) and speaks at national events on wellbeing and mental health in ITT and education, this includes working closely with NASBTT on mental health and wellbeing developments in ITT ensuring that we are at the forefront of developments in these vital areas.

Sally leads on our NQT Keep in Touch Twilights, this continued support proves invaluable to our NQTs embarking upon their new careers. Most recently, at the end of 2019, Sally had her first book published, “Mental Well-being and Self Care” which is one of Critical Publishing’s essential guides for Early Career Teachers – you can listen to the podcast of Sally discussing her book with Matthew Coatsworth, on our website’s BLOG

Sarah McHugh

OTSA Teaching School Director

Sarah is a Director of Teacher School as well as a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Gillotts School. She has been a teacher for eighteen years and has had responsibility for Teaching and Learning for the last ten. Sarah is passionate about state education and maximising the outcomes for every child through excellent teaching – excellence that stems from making sure all teachers have access to the best professional development right from the start of their career.

Sarah’s specific area of focus within the SCITT is in supporting candidates in making successful applications for ITT by coordinating the OTSA School Experience Programme and pre-application workshops as well as running the southern hub for the SCITT down in Henley.

To talk about school experience, please contact Sarah at [email protected]

‘The leadership of the Cherwell OTSA SCITT is outstanding. The director and his team are committed to excellence. Their clear moral purpose and drive have secured an excellent reputation for the partnership.’ Ofsted Inspection report 2017