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 ten years, and has worked at The Cherwell School in teaching and leadership roles for many 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 ECT Transition documentation.

Hazel Waeland

Southern Hub Co-ordinator

Hazel joined the team as Hub Co-ordinator in 2021 and is responsible for delivering the training at our Southern Hub.

Helen Jeffries

SCITT Administrator

Helen joined the growing SCITT team in early 2017. Her responsibilities include dealing with applications on the APPLY application system, preparing recruitment and selection documentation and communicating regularly with enquirers, 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 gained QTS in 2004 and has a background in primary teaching. She has also been a 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 Oxfordshire Teacher Training curriculum and to ensure that Associate Teachers receive a coherent and structured learning experience.

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 attend our “Get into Teaching” information events.

Patrick Garton

SCITT Director

Patrick has been Director of Oxfordshire Teacher Training SCITT since it was designated as an ITT provider in 2013.  In his twenty five years working in schools he has held a wide range of roles as teacher, Head of Faculty, Headteacher and teacher trainer.  He has taught and led across primary and secondary schools and in every role he has worked with trainee teachers.  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 and beyond 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.

Richard Meadows

Northern Hub Co-ordinator

Richard joined the team as Hub Co-ordinator in 2021 and is responsible for delivering the training at our Northern Hub.

Sally McWilliam

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 ECT 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 also helps out on the Early Career Framework supporting local ECTs and their Mentors as they continue to connect with their local cluster of colleagues across our partnership of schools who recognise Mentors and Early Career Teachers as one of their greatest assets. 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

‘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