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

Tuition fee Programme Leader

Defne has been working as part of the SCITT team for five 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

Primary subject specialist and primary school experience co-ordinator

To arrange primary school experience please contact Ellie at teaching.schools@windmill.oxon.sch.uk

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. 

Kate Thirlwall

Senior trainer and wellbeing coach

Kate has been with the SCITT for three years and has been working in education for 15; with the last ten years as a modern foreign languages specialist. She has extensive experience within teacher training, NQT induction and beginning teacher development. Within Cherwell School, Kate has led on teacher training for 6 years, first as Professional Tutor working with the Oxford Department of Education PGCE and more recently as the Senior Link for School Direct. Kate holds an MSc in Learning and Teaching from the University of Oxford, where her final dissertation project focused on the wellbeing and resilience of new teachers. Her research findings have been used by several local schools to inform their development programmes for newly qualified teachers and she has presented her work on student wellbeing nationally, through the British Educational Research Association. Within the SCITT, Kate is part of our training team, with special interests in behaviour management, relationship management and workplace wellbeing. Alongside Sally Price, Kate works as an accredited Wellbeing Coach, creating bespoke support to enable Associate Teachers to reach their potential.

Louise Border

Salaried Programme Leader

Louise joined the team in October 2016 and since September 2017 has been the Salaried 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.

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 works closely with members of the central team and partnership colleagues to deliver bespoke coaching and wellbeing provision for Associate Teachers whilst they train and for the year after they gain QTS. 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 started as MFL teacher 20 years ago and has led on aspects of staff induction and ITT throughout her career. ​

Sally, along with Kate, is Mental Health First-aid (MHFA England) and Wellbeing Coaching trained (British School of Coaching, endorsed by the Institue of Leadership and Management) and speaks nation-wide on wellbeing and mental health in ITT and education, 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.

Sarah McHugh

Secondary school experience co-ordinator

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 fifteen 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.

To arrange primary school experience please contact Sarah at teachingschools@gillotts.org.uk

‘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