Firs Staff

Meet the teachers at The Firs, who together with a strong team of teaching assistants and support staff make up a body of staff of over 45 employees, who aim to provide your child with the best possible educational experience. All of our staff undergo a continuous cycle of professional development, training and moderation under the leadership of Head Teacher Rosemary Blackburn.  We deliver an exceptional and inspirational learning environment for the students in our care.

  • Mrs Rosemary Blackburn

    Head Teacher

    Mrs Rosemary Blackburn was previously deputy-headteacher of Hoole Church of England primary school. She has extensive experience of primary education having previously worked at several primary schools in the Cheshire area. Mrs Blackburn said: “I am honoured to have been chosen as the new headteacher of The Firs Prep School. It is a great privilege to be given the opportunity to work with the fantastic team at the school and continue to lead an inspirational and very happy primary school."

  • Mrs Helen Jones

    Fir Cones Kindergarten Leader

    BA (hons) Early Years Practice and the Early Years Professional Status (both at Edge Hill University) NCFE level 2 award in safeguarding children and young people (Chester University). Helen has been working in the Kindergarten at The Firs since 2006, latterly as the Leader.

  • Miss Sarah Bettany

    Year 2 Teacher, Deputy Safeguarding Officer and Art and Design Technology Leader.

    Sarah has been teaching in Primary schools in Chester since 2000 and has taught at The Firs since 2005. She has taught across the Primary age range. Sarah has organised art exhibitions and competitions entries for the Firs on many occasions.

  • Miss Sally Astbury

    Year 1 Teacher and Maths Leader BEd (Hons) Chester

    Sally has always wanted to work with children. After having her three boys and being a stay-at-home mum, Sally began to gain experience in a variety of school settings. This experience made Sally determined to train as a teacher. She became a mature student at Chester University and qualified in 2013. Sally studied Primary Education with Early Years specialism. She loves teaching at The Firs and working with the children in Year One.

  • Mr Tim Dann

    Year 5 teacher and Computing Leader BA (Hons) French & PE (Liverpool) Graduate Teacher Programme (Chester)

    Tim taught a Year 4 class at Highfield Community Primary School, Blacon for a year as part of his training, as well as a half-term in Year 2 at Christleton Primary (2011-12). He then taught Year 5 for 2 years at Weaverham Forest Primary School, Northwich (2012-2014).

  • Mrs Susan Wilcock

    Specialist French Teacher and Modern Foreign Languages Leader B Ed (Hons) majoring in French, Chester

    After qualifying as a teacher, Susan taught French and Latin in Secondary Schools in North Wales and Christleton. Later she moved into the Primary sector and has been a teacher at The Firs for nearly twenty years.

  • Miss Sara Roberts

    Year 4 Teacher and PE Leader BA (Hons), MSc, PGCE

    Sara completed her BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Studies in 2013, where she was lucky enough to teach at a Montessori School in Los Angeles, California. She then went on to complete a Masters of Science in Family and Child Psychology, immediately followed by her School Direct PGCE in Primary Education. Sara joined us here at The Firs in 2017.

  • Karla Milton

    Reception Class Teacher, Early Years Foundation Stage Leader and Senior Leadership Team

    Karla previously taught for over 23 years in a large Trafford primary school with half of this spent as EYFS practitioner and leader before coming to The Firs. She believes in creating a nurturing and stimulating environment to allow our youngest children, from Nursery, Kindergarten and Reception to flourish and develop in order to achieve their full potential.' Karla is mum to two boys.

  • Mr David Girvan

    Year 3 Teacher and English Leader BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS at University of Wales.

    After qualifying in 2010 David taught on a supply basis in Primary Schools in North Wales, before taking time out to go travelling in the United States. Whilst in America, David led the Adventure Programme at a summer camp, teaching children how to rock climb and overcome the obstacles on a high ropes course. Upon his return he took a job in Castell Alun, a high school near Mold, as a PE and cover teacher. David came to The Firs in 2013.

  • Mrs Helen Nightingale

    Year 6 Teacher and Secondary Transfer Leader Bsc (Hons) Bath, PGCE (Manchester)

    Helen qualified as a Home Economics teacher and taught in Secondary Schools in Manchester, Suffolk and Lincolnshire before moving to Texas and becoming involved in Primary education. Since retraining on her return to the UK Helen has taught in Cheshire schools for the past twelve years including four years at The Firs.

  • Mrs Jacqueline Grist

    Assistant Head, SENDCo (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Leader) BA Hons in science education Warwick University, Diploma in Special Educational Needs University of Surrey.

    Jacqueline is keen to ensure that all pupils develop a love of learning and are encouraged to be inquisitive and question the world around them. She is passionate about supporting children who have different learning needs. Every child should have a positive experience at school and feel confident that their contribution to the school community is valued.

  • Mrs Zoe Starbuck-Jones

    Year 6 Teacher and Specialist Music Teacher and Leader

    Mrs Starbuck-Jones completed a degree in Landscape architecture at Leeds Metropolitan University before studying to be a teacher with Sheffield University. She has more recently completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies with Birmingham University.

  • Sarah Johnson

    Year 6 Teacher

    Sarah qualified with BA(QTS)English in 1995 from Lancaster University. She has taught all year groups from Reception through to Year 6 in a variety of schools across the country and held the post as Assistant Head at Wellingborough Pre Prep School for 4 years. Most recently she set up her own tutoring business in Kent, preparing pupils for 11+ and common entrance tests. Sarah moved back to Chester in 2017 with her husband and son ( and 2 crazy cockers!) to be nearer her family.

Excellent – above and beyond what we expected.  Best decision we ever made to move our children to The Firs.– parent