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Harper Green


Meet Our Senior Leadership Team

Ms S Heppenstall - Headteacher

Sally is the Headteacher at Harper Green. She first joined the school in 2014 as Deputy Headteacher – Director of Pastoral Care. Throughout her time at Harper Green she has worked collaboratively with Rivington and Blackrod High School auditing and action planning provisions in both schools.

She started her career as a Teacher of Geography in 2002 at a rural school in Somerset where she advanced her career from Assistant Head of Year to Head of Year before joining the Senior Leadership Team. After moving to Manchester in 2011, Sally progressed to Assistant Headteacher – Inclusion at Wright Robinson College before moving to Harper Green.

Sally has a degree in Geography, a Masters in Meteorology and Climatology and a PGCSE BILD Geography, amongst other recognised qualifications.

She said, “I initially took up teaching because I loved my subject and missed using it in industry after completing my masters. It wasn’t something I’d even thought about doing until that point, and I hadn’t even considered advancing up through middle to senior leadership, but I truly do believe I’ve found my vocation in life. I absolutely love working with students and making a difference to their lives and their futures.

I am privileged to be the Headteacher at Harper Green, a school I love working at and a community I enjoy being a part of transforming. I am immensely proud of the school ethos and community we have built up over the last five years and how this has shaped the young people that have come through our doors.

Staff at Harper Green are truly committed to making a difference to each and every young person at Harper Green, and that is what makes me want to lead it.”

Mr R Beattie - Deputy Headteacher Director of Teaching and Learning

Rob is Deputy Headteacher at Harper Green and is responsible for teaching and learning.

He started his career as an NQT Teacher of History at Allestree Woodlands School in Derby after completing a PGCE where he stayed for nine years, gaining invaluable pastoral experience and progressing to Head of House. Rob then moved to Murray Park School as Assistant Headteacher, where he implemented his vision for Teaching and Learning before joining Harper Green in 2021.

Rob has a degree in History and a Masters in History Race and Resistance.

Rob said, “I am passionate about the power of education and how it has the potential to open doors for students and allow them to achieve their ambitions and dreams. I was very fortunate to have inspiring teachers when I was at school, including my History teacher, who ignited my love for the past and learning about the legacies left by others and the impact events and individuals have had on the modern world.

I am the proud father to a five year old and I want the same for her as I want for all students - that they grow into confident, passionate, open minded people with the power and drive to change their own futures.”

Mr S Walsh - Deputy Headteacher - Director of Behaviour, Attitudes and Personal Development

Sam Wash is Deputy Headteacher - Director of Behaviour, Attitudes and Personal Development at Harper Green School and joined Leverhulme Academy Trust in 2022.

Following a brief time as a Lawyer for local solicitors, Keoghs LLP, Sam travelled to China to teach English as a foreign language. He then returned to the UK and joined the charity TeachFirst, located in East London at an all-girls secondary school next to the 2012 Olympic Park. Since then, Sam has worked in a number of roles, including Teacher of English, Student Leadership and KS3 Transition and Progress Leader, before relocating back to Bolton as Assistant Headteacher at Dean Trust Rose Bridge in Wigan, where he worked across a variety of roles such as leading KS3 Assessment, Attainment and Progress Lead, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, and Director of Pupil and Parent Engagement.

Sam has a First Class degree in International Law, a Masters in Educational Leadership and a National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL).

He said, “I love teaching and working in schools. Every day is an opportunity to improve – for myself and the students and colleagues that I’m privileged enough to work with.

I left law because I didn’t feel like I was adding to society with what I did. Now, as a teacher and leader, I relish the opportunity to help others realise and achieve their potential. The fantastic teachers that I was fortunate enough to have when I was in school have equipped me with a tenacity and drive to support young people to thrive – not only in school but also as confident members of society.”

Mrs S Casey - Associate Deputy Headteacher Teaching and Learning

Sophie Casey is Assistant Headteacher and is responsible for student progress at Key Stage 3. Sophie joined the Senior Leadership Team in 2021 and is passionate about supporting young people and assisting them in achieving their ambitions.

Prior to joining Harper Green, Sophie has been a Curriculum Leader of English across three different contexts in Manchester. She has a degree in English Literature, a PGCE and an NPQML.

Sophie said, "I was someone who always knew what they wanted to be when I was in school, and that was a teacher. My own English teacher inspired me, and once I achieved this ambition, I became particularly passionate about the curriculum and what it can provide for our young people beyond academia. 

I am an advocate for creating a holistic student, regardless of who they are and where they’re from, and providing them with equal opportunities. Beyond this, I hope to make students feel as happy in school as I did in my English lessons as a student.”

Mrs R O'Donnell - Associate Deputy Headteacher behaviour, attitudes and safeguarding

Rebecca is Assistant Headteacher for Key Stage 3 at Harper Green and is responsible for supporting students transitioning from primary school and throughout their first three years. 

Starting as an NQT teaching Spanish, Rebecca joined Harper Green in 2001 and has worked in numerous roles, including Head of Year 7 and Head of Key Stage 3.

Rebecca has a degree in Spanish and Portuguese and completed a PGCE at St Martins College in Lancaster. She has also spent time living and working in Spain.

She said, "Many people have asked why I have stayed at Harper Green, and the answer is quite simple. I love what I do, and I come to work each day hoping to make a difference for the students I work with, allowing them to broaden their horizons and hopefully become global citizens ready to explore the world outside of Harper Green.

Having worked at Harper Green for almost 20 years, I understand the different backgrounds and experiences students bring into school. I have witnessed the amazing achievements that all students can make through the care and guidance given by staff and year teams. I feel my current role places me in an optimum position to provide students with the support and strategies needed to achieve their potential academically whilst simultaneously enjoying their education in a caring, supportive environment."

Mr P Ware - Associate Deputy Headteacher Student Progress

Peter Ware is Assistant Headteacher at Harper Green and is responsible for Key Stage 4 Student Progression.

He trained as a Geography Teacher at St Peter's High School in Manchester before starting his career as a Newly Qualified Teacher at The Cooperative Academy in North Manchester. He rejoined St Peter's as Head of Geography sometime later before taking up the role of Associate Assistant Headteacher there.

Peter has a degree in Geography and Sociology, a Masters in Sociological Research and a PGCE in Secondary Geography.

He said, "I love teaching Geography because I firmly believe that it is a subject which helps children to understand the world that they will inherit as adults. By equipping young people with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle the great challenges that face us, such as climate change, we can hope to create a better world for future generations.

My favourite aspect of teaching is the moment when you know that you have made a difference to a child’s life, opportunities and happiness, and the highlights of my career are certainly some of these moments. Seeing a student collect their fantastic examination grades or meeting a student who has gone on to college or university after being inspired by you is one of the best feelings.”

Mrs P Holmes-Patel - Assistant Headteacher - Director of Community and Inclusion

Paula is Assistant Headteacher and Director of Community and Inclusion at Harper Green and first joined Harper Green in 1996. During this time, she has been Head of Year for two cohorts, Assistant Headteacher, Assistant Head of Year and an English post holder. She has a degree in PE and English and a Masters in Educational Studies.

Over the years, Paula has created many links with our local community. She finds a strong desire to work with our students and the families in our local area to ensure they are supported and encouraged and to help us work together and provide the best education for their children.

Paula said, “Harper Green is a place I am very passionate about and working with our students is the most important reason to get up in the morning and to make a difference.

I am so lucky that working with our students and families is not a job, but something that I love doing every single day. Our students make me proud - In the classroom, in the corridor or on the sports field, or in the community helping others less fortunate. They put a smile on my face and never fail to amaze me. They are always Harper.”

Mr W Javed - Assistant Headteacher, Director of Curriculum and Assessment

Waqas is Assistant Headteacher, Director of Curriculum and Assessment at Harper Green School and is responsible for the planning and delivery of a curriculum that enables our students to achieve their full potential and transform their lives.

He joined Harper Green as Head of Mathematics in 2015 and successfully led a team of 15 to improve the provision of Mathematics for our students. In 2020, he became Head of School Improvement across LCECT to help develop Middle Leaders in driving forward their curriculum areas to further improve the provision for our students.

Waqas started his careers as a teacher of Mathematics at Wellacre Academy in 2007 before taking on the role of Head of Year and successfully seeing the year group all the way through to Year 11.

He has a degree in Mathematics with Business Management from the University of Manchester and a PGCE in Mathematics from Edge Hill University.

He said, “I have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of students, especially from challenging contexts (I refuse to work in any other setting), as I believe them to be the future contributors to our society.

It is my passion to provide young pupils with opportunities to transform their lives through access to education. Being the first in my family to attend university, this is something I relate to very strongly. There have been a few teachers who have not only inspired me over the years, but also shaped me to be the person I am today.”

Michael Thomson – Assistant Headteacher KS3 behaviour, attitudes and safeguarding

I started as an NQT at Wellacre Academy in Manchester as a PE teacher where I stayed for 9 years.  After two years at the school, I gained the role as Head of Year 8.  After the school moving to a full House Structure, I moved to the role as Head of House.  My final role was Associate Assistant Principal for Transition and Student Character.

I have a degree is Sport and Physical Education.  I have completed the Outstanding Teacher Programme, SSAT Future Leaders in Education and NPQSL

I first got into teaching through my love of Sport as I truly believe that Sport and Physical Education can have such a positive impact on a young person’s life.  I realised very early that I wanted to pursue a career in the Pastoral side of school life and subsequently gained the role as Head of year and now Assistant Headteacher for Behaviour, Attitudes and Safeguarding.  Through my current role and working with the fantastic team at Harper Green School, I believe that we can work together to provide all students with the opportunity to be successful and fully prepare them for life after Harper Green.

I still play and watch as many sports as possible to try and keep myself fit and healthy.

I love spending time with my family and doing fun activities with my two children.

Joanne Unsworth – Assistant Headteacher KS4 behaviour, attitudes and safeguarding

Joanne started her teaching career at Harper Green as an NQT in 2004. 6 months into working at Harper Green, Joanne was given the opportunity to take the lead on PSHE / Citizenship working closely with the LEA to develop the PHSE / Citizenship curriculum across local schools.

Joanne has continued to progress her career at Harper Green moving from Assistant Head of Year to Head of Year and then to Director of Achievement for Year 11 in 2014. She has enjoyed opportunities to work across the TRUST implementing strategies to support both Staff and Student Mental Health and Wellbeing and spent many of her early years as a staff governor for the school. Previous to being offered the role of Assistant Headteacher for KS4, Joanne took the lead as Head of Key Sage 3 working closely with Year 7 – 9 with a whole school responsibility for rewards. She has also been given opportunities to lead within the History Department supporting the development of  ‘Teaching and Learning’.

Joanne has a degree in History with Religion and Philosophy from St Martin’s College, Lancaster and a PGCE in History with Citizenship from Edge Hill College.

Since being a little girl, I always knew that I wanted to teach. They say ‘school days are the best days of your life’ and it’s true. It’s a place where I know I can really make a difference and I want to be a part of working collaboratively with an amazing senior leadership team, driving the aspirations and dreams of our young people. I want every student to know that no matter the background or context, anything is possible when you put your mind to it! Seeing students push beyond their boundaries and capabilities and seeing what they can achieve has to be one of the most rewarding jobs.

I love to run. It sets me up for the day when I arrive in work. I’m determined that one day we'll have a running club in school!

Ms M Jefferies - Director of Resources

Michelle is Director of Resources at Harper Green and is responsible for Human Relations, recruitment (including onboarding), budget monitoring, policy development, coordination of educational visits and deployment of associate staff.

Her career commenced at Harper Green in September 2002 as a Work Related Learning and Enterprise Officer before becoming a member of the senior leadership team in 2008.

Michelle has a degree in Sports Studies and Urban Policy and various recognised Management and business qualifications.

Michelle said, “Harper Green is a wonderful place to work. It allows you to make a difference in the lives of young people daily. Every member of staff at the school, no matter what role they hold, makes a significant contribution to our students’ experiences of education. 

My role allows me to work with all staff employed at Harper Green on both a strategic and operational level.”