Firs Staff


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Mrs Lucy Davies – Head Teacher

BA (Hons) Durham, PGCE (Exeter), PGCDL (York), NPQH

During the past 24 years Lucy has taught in the maintained sector in Nottinghamshire and in a British school in Qatar in the Middle East. She has held responsibilities for science and maths in large primary schools, been a deputy head in a middle school, been a head of music, taught AS level and headed a large Junior School of 1000 students.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

How children learn, dyslexia and other learning difficulties, the performing arts and bringing the classroom into the outside world.

Areas of Interest Outside School

As a qualified mountain leader Lucy has led many expeditions abroad with groups of teenagers completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, also she has sung in many choirs and small groups, enjoys water sports and reading historical novels, family travel and producing and directing musical theatre.

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Ms Debra Keogh – Deputy Head Teacher, Year 3 Teacher

BEd (Hons) University of Gloucestershire.

After qualifying in 1996 Debra travelled to New Zealand for nine months. Later she taught across the Primary age range in schools in London, Wimbledon and Kent before leaving the UK to teach in the sunnier climes of Thailand. Debra was the senior teacher in charge of Early Years. In 2010 she returned to the Chester area and took up her current position at The Firs.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Debra is keen to develop children’s creativity and confidence to express themselves in different ways. She has run art clubs throughout her career and also creative writing groups. Debra loves getting children to talk, share their opinions and get them writing and drawing. She is very interested in language, phonics, reading skills and general child development.

Areas of Interest Outside School

In her free-time Deb loves to travel and take photographs, usually jetting off at any opportunity. She likes to bring her experiences of different cultures and the wonderful world around us into the classroom.

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Mrs Helen Jones – 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.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Helen is interested in all areas of early child development. She also has a passion for ecology and the environment and runs the school’s ECO club.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Helen enjoys travelling, photography, going to the theatre and socialising with friends. She has a keen interest in horticulture which she shares with the children within the curriculum.

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Mrs Leanne Andrews – Reception Teacher and Humanities and PSHE Co-ordinator

CACHE diploma in childcare and education, BA in Advanced study of Early Years with QTS.

Leanne decided to become a teacher after the birth of her frst daughter and seeing how important the first years of a child’s life are. Leanne began her teaching career at The Firs in 2008 as an NQT working in the Kindergarten. She moved into reception in 2011 after the birth of her second daughter.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Leanne has a great interest in early reading and writing and has attended numerous courses to extend and support her knowledge.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Outside of school Leanne enjoys going to the gym, playing badminton and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

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Miss Sally Astbury – Year 1 Teacher and Maths Co-ordinator

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.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Sally’s professional interests are Literacy, Numeracy and Art and Design. Sally believes in supporting children throughout the learning process by encouraging their interests and stimulating their imaginations. She believes that the classroom environment should be inspiring and inviting. Sally makes time to get to know the children as individuals and provides activities and learning experiences which enable the children to want to discover more about their world.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Sally enjoys participating in many outdoor activities including walks with friends, family and dog. She loves camping holidays and exploring the sites around Wales.

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Ms Sarah Bettany – Year 5 Teacher, Deputy Safeguarding Officer and Art and Design Technology Co-ordinator

BEd (Hons) Chester

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.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Areas of professional interest include Art, Design technology, language acquisition and safeguarding which is of paramount importance in a school. Furthermore she has been persuaded on a number of occasions to join the staff choir, though she is more comfortable with rehearsals than performing!

Areas of Interest Outside School

Outside school Sarah enjoys spending time with friends and family. Her interests include zumba, salsa dancing, reading, baking and she also speaks Greek.

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Mr Tim Dann – Year 2 teacher and Computing co-ordinator

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).

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Tim has a passion for sports and coaching, particularly games. He also has a real interest in how computing technology can be enhanced to help learning.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Having grown up abroad, Tim has a love of languages, French in  particular. Outside school Tim has a love of music, exercising, football, film, chess, friends and family.

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Mrs Susan Wilcock – Year 3 Teacher, Specialist French Teacher and English and Modern Foreign Languages Co-ordinator

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.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

As well as Languages, Susan has a real interest in computing in education. She also loves to share her interest in history, particularly the Iron Age and Roman Britain.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Outside school, Susan’s great passion is walking, mainly on hills; anywhere from the local Clwydian range, Snowdonia and the Lake District to the Alps during the summer months. In winter, she loves to ski.

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Miss Emma Fearnley – Year 4 Teacher and PE Co-ordinator

BA (Hons) in Primary Education with QTS, Sheffield Hallam University

Since qualifying in 2013 Emma has worked in Y3 and 4 at The Firs. Before that she worked at Yarra Valley Grammar school in Melbourne Australia for a year where she worked within the PE department and a Y4 class. Emma has worked in a range of primary schools in Sheffield on her teaching placements with a range of Y1,2,3,4 and 5 classes.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Emma wants to give all children the opportunity to improve their performance in as many activities as possible across the PE curriculum. Emma also wants to to ensure all children and young people have a voice and have the opportunity to play an active role in decisions that affect their learning and well-being.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Emma plays hockey and tennis for local clubs on the Wirral.

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Ms Christina Roach – Year 6 Teacher, Specialist Science Teacher and Co-ordinator, First Aid Leader

Bsc(Hons) Agriculure University College of Wales, postgrad in applied biology University of Cambridge, PGCE in Junior Education, University of Nottingham. ASA teacher of swimming.

Worked in agriculture, advising farmers in the South West, mentored graduates in industry, taught years 3 – 11. in the East Midlands and Cheshire. Head of Curriculum at previous school in Derby. Ms Roach joined The Firs in 2002.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Chris has a deep understanding and love of science and maths and an enormously wide ranging general knowledge.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Chris is a runner and triathlete with interests in photography, art and gardening. She indulges in open water swimming and lots of cycling all over the Cheshire countryside.

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Mr David Girvan – Year 5 Teacher and PE Co-ordinator

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.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

David wants every child to enjoy school through varied lessons which cater for their different learning styles. He cares for the well-being of every child and hopes to develop their social education by being approachable to the children. David enjoys leading PE and English sessions and uses his enthusiasm to help engage the children.

Areas of Interest Outside School

David is a keen rock climber and an ‘adrenaline junky’ willing to give anything a go (Especially kayaking and coasteering with Y6 at Rhoscolyn!) David can regularly be found on the football pitch or handball court as he plays for local teams.

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Mrs Helen Nightingale – Year 6 Teacher and Secondary Transfer Co-ordinator

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.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Professional areas of interest include the development of the student voice through an active school council and the preparation of students to move on from their primary school journey.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Helen enjoys cycling, reading, travel and visiting the theatre and cinema.

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Mrs Jacqueline Grist  SENDCo (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator)

BA Hons in science education Warwick University, Diploma in Special Educational Needs University of Surrey.

Main Areas of Professional Interest

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.

Areas of Interest Outside of School

Outside school, Jacqueline enjoys studying different periods in history as well as reading biographies of key historical figures.  She is a member of the National Trust and enjoys walking with her family.

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Mrs Zoe Starbuck-Jones – Year 4 Teacher and Specialist Music Teacher

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.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Mrs Starbuck-Jones is a pianist and a singer and has run school choirs and played piano for many events and productions.

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Mrs Patsy Coates – Year 3 Teacher and Religious Studies Co-ordinator (part-time)

B.A (Hons) Chester, PGCE Liverpool

Patsy has taught in Primary Schools in the Chester and Wirral area since 1984

Main Areas of Professional Interest

Patsy has a particular interest in the Humanities subjects of History, Geography and Religious Education.

Areas of Interest Outside School

Outside school Patsy has a wide range of interests including walking, cycling, running, reading, theatre, church, cooking, travel, family, music and friends.

Fir Cones Pre School:

Fir Cones Nursery  Key Worker

Mrs A Ankers, NVQ3 Childcare

Pre School Assistant

Mrs P Aplas, NVQ2 Childcare

Kindergarten Leader:

Mrs H Jones, BA (Hons), EYPS

Pre School Assistant 

Miss C Lea, BA Early Childhood Studies

Class teachers:

Kindergarten

Mrs H Jones, BA (Hons), EYPS

Reception

Mrs L Andrews, BA (Hons) Ed

Y1

Miss S Astbury, B.Ed (Hons)

Y2

Mr T Dann, BA, PGCE

Y3

Mrs S Wilcock, B.Ed. (Hons)

Miss D Keogh, B.Ed (Hons) Deputy Head Teacher

Y4

Miss E Fearnley, BA (Hons)

Mrs Z Starbuck-Jones, BA (Hons) PGCE

Y5

Miss S Bettany, B.Ed (Hons)

Mr D Girvan, BA (Hons)

Y6

Mrs H Nightingale, BSc (Hons) PGCE

Ms C Roach, BSc (Hons) PGCE

SENDCO

Mrs J Grist, BA (Hons) QTS, DipSEN

Music

Mrs Z Starbuck-Jones, BA (Hons), PGCE

Alison Dawson (Strings)

Will Hay (Piano)

Mark Hooper (Percussion)

Danny Ortiz (Brass)

Nick Studholme (Guitar)

Rachel Owen (Woodwind & Recorder)

Teaching staff: part time

Mrs P Coates, BA, PGCE

Teaching Assistants

Mrs AM Davey, NVQ 3 Teaching and Learning

Miss C Lea, BA Early Childhood Studies

Mrs A Peel, BA (Hons), NVQ2 Childcare

Mrs E Rodriguez, NVQ 3 Childcare

Mrs J Taylor, BA Early Childhood Studies, NVQ 3 Childcare

Mrs G Warrington, NVQ 3 childcare

Sports Coach

Mr W Gresty

Office Manager

Mrs S Hunt, BA (Hons)

School Secretary

Mrs I Langford

Clerical Assistant & Head Teacher’s PA

Mrs P White

Clerical Assistant & Registrar

Mrs L Traverse, NVQ 3 childcare

 House Manager and Pastoral Support Officer

Mrs S Demnitz

Marketing Manager

Mrs A James, BA (Hons)

Estate Manager

Mr P Toan

Caretaker

Mr C Cartlidge

Chef Manager

Mr J Currie

Chef’s Assistant

Ms Stacy Foster

Kitchen Assistants

Mrs N Jones

Lunchtime Supervisor

Mrs P Broster

Lunchtime Assistants

Mrs C Pagett

Ms T Erskine

Ms A Soltyslak

Mrs S Dainty

Mrs J Kilminster

Cleaning Staff

Mrs S Dainty

Mr M Reilly

Mr P Grundy

Mr A Grundy

Early Birds & Night Owls Staff

Miss S Ankers, Cert Ed

Mrs A Ankers, NVQ 3 Childcare

Miss C Lea, BA Early Childhood Studies

Mrs P Aplas, NVQ 2 Childcare

Mr A Davies

Mr J Davies

Executive Director: Mr T Longman, B.Eng (Hons)

Directors:  Rev E Longman, MA, BSc (Hons), Mrs R Longman, BSc (Hons)

 & Mrs J Longman, BA (Hons), PGCE