What Staff say about SMSJ - St Mary's and St John's CE School

What Staff say about SMSJ


I am an experienced teacher who has worked in a few different schools, and I have worked at SMSJ for over six years now. It’s definitely the friendliest and most rewarding school I have worked in. Our strong focus on excellent practice, lovely students, hard working SLT, and supportive environment makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.

Flavia McGinnis, Head of Year 7 and Transition, teacher of Drama and English

I have taught for over 18 years working in various schools and SMSJ is by far the most supportive school I have worked in. Expectations from SLT are realistic and there is a strong focus on teaching and learning and collaborative planning which has a hugely positive impact on workload.  

Clare Muller, Acting Deputy Head of Sixth Form, teacher of English 

Coming from abroad and being thrown into the education system here was overwhelming but SMSJ was there for me every step of the way. SLT have supported me through some extremely difficult moments in my career and my colleagues have become incredible friends. I am proud to be part of this school. They provide opportunities to develop and to become an excellent leader. The SMSJ team are the reason I have stayed in the UK for 5 years.   

Breanne Savaria, Head of Year 10, teacher of English

It’s coming up to my 4th Year at SMSJ, I started my career off as an LSA and within a supportive and encouraging team and department. SMSJ has provided the opportunity for me to make progress on my career pathway.  I noticed straight away how welcoming staff are and they are willing to support their colleagues if ever needed. I have also gained so much knowledge throughout the years from experienced individuals at SMSJ. Aided by this I am able to use my skills to guide our creative and ambitious students towards their next chapter.  

Rick Powell, Deputy Head of Year 9, Inclusion mentor

After having worked many years in private industry, working at SMSJ has been a transformative experience. The seamless transition from primary to secondary education fosters a holistic approach to student development. Collaborating with colleagues across age groups enhances professional growth, and this supportive community creates a vibrant and enriching work environment.

Furthermore, a rich tapestry of cultures and religions fosters a unique learning environment, promoting understanding and respect among students and staff. Embracing diversity not only enhances the educational experience but also enriches personal perspectives, creating a truly inclusive and harmonious community. 

Andrew Woodman, Communications and Data Information Manager

I’ve been on the SMSJ leadership team for 8 years, and have worked here for 10 years which has been made possible by the school’s openness to flexible and part-time working. SMSJ also has a forward-thinking approach to workload and wellbeing, in light of which we have made changes to the Professional Development programme such as adding implementation time for colleagues to plan and improve lessons on INSET days and twilight, having a wellbeing day off school in the Autumn Term each year, and reducing the number of after-school meetings. 

Sian Wright, Assistant Principal – Professional Development

I joined SMSJ after a very tumultuous period in teaching, and have never looked back. It is fantastic to work here and I genuinely look forward to my days here. I certainly don’t get the Sunday night dread. I lead a team in a field I’m particularly passionate about and feel supported and valued by everyone. The leadership team genuinely care about staff wellbeing. 

​Phin Adams, Head of Social Sciences

I joined SMSJ 9 years ago as the school was growing from a primary to an all through school and I have loved being part of the school's journey. We are constantly striving to be better than we were the day before but work on this objective in a collaborative and supportive way. We are truly Team SMSJ!  

Anthony McHugh, Head of PE

It has been a delight forming supportive and creative teams with my coworkers. Working for SMSJ is very fulfilling because we work collaboratively to provide engaging, high-level learning that is a joy to teach. Leadership is receptive and supportive and we have really been able to work together to form a vision for the school's future. Working at SMSJ puts the community atmosphere in the forefront which benefits both the students and the staff. 

Carla Lee, UKS2 Phase Leader

There are several reasons why I enjoy working at SMSJ as an ECT. Firstly, I appreciate the mentorship and support provided by more experienced colleagues. They have been invaluable in helping me navigate the challenges of my first year and have provided guidance and encouragement throughout. Additionally, SMSJ has provided numerous professional development opportunities that allow me to continually improve my teaching skills and stay up-to-date with the latest educational practices. 

Lastly, I am thrilled to work with diverse students from different backgrounds and bring unique perspectives to the classroom. This enriches my teaching experience and allows me to learn and grow as an educator. Overall, working at SMSJ as a new teacher is a rewarding experience that allows me to positively impact the lives of my students and grow as a professional. 

Abeda Begum, Year 3 teacher, ECT

Good people, children and adults alike make a school, and SMSJ has this in abundance! Since joining the SMSJ family I have been given opportunities beyond my imagination to further develop and grow my career within teaching. The children have a passion for learning, coming to school with bright smiles and inspiring attitudes that light up my day. ​ 

Louise Holleran, EYFS teacher, Phonics Leader

Working at St Mary's and St John's C of E Primary has allowed me many rewarding experiences.  Within a year and a half of working here, I have been given many opportunities to make meaningful progresses within my career. I have been given training to help support ECT staff members and support in my new role as Key Stage 1's Phase Leader. However, the experience I hold in the highest regard is the opportunity to be part of facilitating the involvement of pupils in the purpose and values of this school, to then be able to take pride in the resulting school achievements. 

Anna-Kaye Kelly, KS2 Phase Leader 

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