Platt Bridge Community School

Rivington Avenue, Platt Bridge, Wigan, WN2 5NG

01942 487999

Westbridge Teaching School Alliance


At Westbridge we have recruited some highly skilled practitioners to work with us as Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs). 

We have SLEs in Early Years, Academy Transition, School Business Management, Assessment, Curriculum Leadership, CPD, Closing the Gap, Drama, English, Maths, SEND and the development of ITT and NQTs.

If you would like an SLE to work in your school, please complete the request form and a member of Westbridge Teaching School Allaince will be pleased to discuss your requirements and organise any support required.

Westbridge SLEs

Fay Holderness

Phase: Ealry Years
Areas of expertise: Early Years

I am the Strategic Lead for Early Years and Start Well Family Centre at Platt Bridge Community School, the lead school in Community First Academy Trust. I trained to be a Childcare Practitioner before going to the University of Leeds to complete a degree in Childhood Studies and later a Masters in Early Years. Since qualifying as a teacher I have taught across Year 1, Reception and Nursery. I have always had a keen passion for teaching in the Early Years and giving children the best start to their education.

Platt Bridge Community School provides outstanding provision for children from the age of 2 years and I lead a large team with a clear focus on teaching and learning and improving outcomes for children. In addition, I am passionate about providing opportunities for our families who often come from challenging backgrounds. Since 2014 I have led a very successful parent partnership programme which has now been rolled out to more than 9 settings across Wigan. I am also the nominated Qualified Teacher for the Start Well Family Centre which covers more than 30 schools and nurseries and supports these settings to improve provision and outcomes for under 5’s across the community.

Since 2015 I have delivered Early Years training both locally and internationally. I have provided support, coaching, and bespoke training for trainee teachers and NQTs right through to experienced teacher and leaders. This has covered themes including; quality interactions, developing outstanding environments, outstanding practice in EYFS, outstanding progress and parental partnership, across countries including Germany, Prague and China.

Charlotte Olivia Hindley

Phase: Primary
Area of expertise: English

After qualifying as a teacher in 2010, at Edge Hill University, I completed an MA in Education whilst working at Platt Bridge Community School. This enabled me to investigate and research pedagogical strategies within my own classroom that had the most impact on pupils’ progress. Throughout my degree level education, I chose to specialise in Communication, Language and Literacy, as I have held a passion for English from a young age. I am extremely keen to provide engaging, stimulating experiences for pupils across the curriculum to encourage them to develop a passion for learning whilst making effective progress.

My career spans nine years at Platt Bridge Community School: I have experience of teaching in all classes from EYFS to Y6, where I have worked hard to accelerate the progress of pupils to ensure that they achieve the standard expected at the end of their relative key stages. In addition, I have also led departments in KS1, LKS2 and UKS2 which has resulted in me having an excellent understanding of the different statutory assessment requirements at the end of each respective key stage and also the transition between curricula and children’s different start points. As an Assistant Head, I have previously supported other members of staff through coaching, to reflect upon and develop their practice to become outstanding practitioners. I also supported teaching staff from other settings through school to school support and facilitated English focused CPD both in the UK and internationally.

In my role as English Lead, I have supported colleagues in developing teaching continuums to support the planning and assessment of Reading and Writing and have worked collaboratively to implement a whole school writing process that embodies the recommendations of the EEF’s Literacy Guidance Reports. This process has increased pupils’ independence in writing and has had a positive impact upon the standard of Writing across school.

Now, in my role as Director of Research and Development, I explore new initiatives and innovative practices in order to maintain high expectations and strive for relentless improvement. I believe that it is essential that decisions in school are evidence informed and based upon research. I have been fortunate enough to engage with National research projects as part of the ‘Closing the Gap’ study and the Wellcome Trust’s Neuroscience in Education study and have developed, implemented and ran Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) with a focus on identifying best practice in retrieval practice, vocabulary and spelling.


Kathryn Stazicker

Phase: SEN Primary & Secondary  

Areas of expertise: SEN&D curriculum and assessment / Leadership of continuing professional development (CPD) 

I qualified as a teacher in August 2000 and started my career as class teacher and IT subject lead in a special school. This was to take me to an additional role of a ‘hands-on’ support teacher for IT in 2005 where there was a growing demand for teachers who were proficient in the use of IT to help transfer skills to teachers and support staff working in schools across the borough.

Early on in my career it was recognised that I have the skills and interests in mentoring, supporting and developing others and so I became the school and college lead for ITT placements and mentoring NQTs and I was very proud when I later gained the NPQML Qualification as this recognised my leadership skills. 

As part of our school’s outreach service I was assigned to various settings; offering advice and recommendations for improving the provision for SEN pupils this included delivered training to schools around curriculum and assessment for SEN&D. I have always been interested and particularly enjoy working with a variety of different schools where supporting and encouraging colleagues through discussion, training and advice staff teams can devise and implement strategies to support progress of children in their own settings and by transferring skills to mainstream colleagues for their own CPD strategies will become part of their process of progression for all.

I am currently involved with facilitating the NPQML qualification for teachers in the Wigan area – this is proving to be very successful and something that I thoroughly enjoy being part of.

Within school my role is that of class teacher to a key stage group of pupils with a diversity of needs including, physical, behavioural and communication as well as additional learning needs. I am also curriculum lead for Key Stages 1&2 within the school and I am part of the ‘Curriculum Drivers’ team which is an integral driving force for the new assessments tool we have devised as a school alongside our specialised Curriculum Pathways and includes both Engagement and Progression Steps.

I eagerly look forward to embedding the role of SLE, working in partnership with others and helping to improve the education and outcomes of children and young people.


Nicola Wood

Phase: Primary
Area of expertise: Reading and Spelling

My teaching experience has predominantly been in KS1 but I have also taught in Lower Key Stage 2 and EYFS. I have led KS1 as Key Stage Lead and over the past 2 years, I have been the Assistant Head over LKS2 and the lead teacher for the Teaching School (Westbridge). As part of the SLT, I have developed a systematic approach to both reading and spelling. This has involved consultations with staff, developing purposeful proformas and action plans being developed that are linked directly to the school improvement plan and departmental implementation plans. Having recently qualified as a KS1 SATs moderator, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with other schools and staff, sharing ideas and ensuring I provide honest and appropriate feedback. Coaching is a personal area of strength. It is embedded in my personal practice as I see the importance of developing others through the use of coaching.


Nicola Evans

Phase: Early Years
Areas of expertise: Early Years, Parental Engagement and Initial Teacher Training

I qualified as a teacher in 2007. My experience has predominantly been in the Early Years Foundation Phase in Reception; however, I also have 2 years teaching experience in Year 1. A key aspect of my current role as Foundation Stage Curriculum Co-ordinator is to complete learning walks, scrutinise planning and moderate and oversee the completion of children’s individual learning journeys all the way through from Babies to the end of Reception. A key aspect of my day to day role is to advise on curriculum issues within the setting, lead on moderation tasks and develop and enhance the outdoor learning space. In addition to my classroom based experience, I am an active member of the local cluster group and have played an integral part in establishing links with other local settings, developing interschool relationships that have been based upon the sharing of good practice and the creation of a variety of curriculum enhancements designed to impact on teaching and learning in an innovative and stimulating way. I am also extremely fortunate to have experience of mentoring both graduate and Newly Qualified Teachers. I have undertaken observations, responsibility for training plans and worked alongside these aspiring teachers guiding and advising on best practice and other matters related to teaching and learning. Within my setting I am the Early Lead Practitioner for ECAT (Every Child A Talker) and have advised colleagues both internally and externally on best practice, supporting the completion of action plans, environment audits and supporting the implementation and review of subsequent changes to practise. I am also experienced in implementing the key principles related to Communication Friendly Spaces (CFS) and other Early Years initiatives. In 2013 I welcomed the role and responsibility for parental engagement in the Early Years and have since created action plans, written policies and implemented a variety of initiatives and strategies designed to actively engage parents in their children’s learning. I enjoy the challenge and rewards of working with and supporting colleagues and value the opportunity to help provide the best educational experience for children.


Charlotte Redford

Phase: Early Years
Areas of expertise: Early Years development/Inclusion

I qualified as a teacher in 2008 with a specialist degree in Early Years. My first job was in a Private Day nursery in Leigh where I was the lead professional for the 0-4 provision; my role was to implement the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum which was new at the time. I implemented planning, assessments and learning journeys and did a lot of work ensuring the Welfare Requirements were fully embedded in the setting. I managed a team of 12 staff and delivered staff meetings to look at moderation and assessments. During this time I completed my Postgraduate in Education and my Early Years Professional Status. I then started Westfield Community School where my 9 years teaching have been in Reception and Nursery. During the past 5 years I have been working in an integrated nursery with a private and voluntary provider as the qualified teacher for a 120 place pre-school. This provides a seamless provision for 3&4 year olds offering pupils wrap around care and flexible delivery. The school and nursery has an onsite Starwell Family Centre which is a key part of my role, working and engaging with other settings within our reach. I am a Qualified Teacher working closely with PVI/MaintaIned Nursery/Reception, supporting /advising and maintaining training events. am very keen to provide a stimulating and supportive environment in my class and my setting has consistently been graded as Outstanding. In addition to my passion and enthusiasm for Early Years I am also passionate in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, in particular Early Identification. My current manager’s role in school is the Inclusion Coordinator for Foundation Stage and Key Stage One and I have just completed the Postgraduate degree in SEN Coordination. As part of this role I work very closely with all members of staff and children in identifying any additional needs and how to implement interventions for children who are working below expectation. I monitor and review children’s Individual Learning Plans to ensure they are making progress and the provision that is additional to and different from is having an impact on their learning. I support staff in Key stage one and early Key stage 2 in differentiating provision and ensuring children are receiving high quality differentiated teaching that meets the individual need on the schools Additional Needs List. My particular expertise is around Speech and Language and I have implemented Every Child a Talker from 0-8 to ensure our learning environments are communication friendly. I also work very closely with the specialist Outreach team implementing interventions and assessments for children with complex learning needs. During my teaching career at Westfield I have been part of 4 Ofsted inspections and all four have been graded outstanding, including the Children’s Centre inspection. I am also an active member of the School Governing Body. I have experience of lecturing at Edge Hill University, looking at Early Identification in practice.


Michelle Frost

School and Current Role: Finance Director First Academy Trust
Areas of expertise: School Business Management and Academy Conversion

I have worked in primary school administration for 22 years. For 14 years I worked in a small Catholic primary school, being the sole administrative member of staff, before moving on to a new large community school with responsibility for leading a team of 5 admin members and 3 premises’ support staff. Having worked in both fields, I feel this has provided me with an excellent background and insight into the challenges that can face both types of settings. I take the lead role in financial administration, personnel, site management and health and safety issues. On my appointment to Platt Bridge Community School in 2006, my initial tasks involved the setting up of service contracts, resourcing classrooms and taking a lead role in liaising with partners and contractors for the newly built school. As the school has grown in size and popularity from 1.5 to 2 form entry, this has resulted in both increased budgets and funding streams, together with the building of additional classrooms, appointment of extra staff and greater challenges for the school in general. I acquired the qualification of CSBM through the National College in 2008 and have been undertaken the role of Clerk to Governors in both schools for 20 year. In February 2013, I took the lead role in our Academy conversion process and have since supported other schools going through this transition. I was appointed to the role of Finance Director for the Trust in September 2014. Community First Academy Trust consists of Platt Bridge Community School (Primary), Rose Bridge Academy (secondary), Kingsbridge S.C.I.T.T., Westbridge Teaching School Alliance and Platt Bridge Start Well and Family Centre. Over the last 12 months, the Trust has been actively establishing a central team and as part of this team, I work alongside the CEO and Director of HR to promote the Trust and provide information/support to other schools who are exploring academisation.



Ann Howard

Area of expertise: Closing the gap

I graduated from Edge Hill University as a qualified teacher in 1996. My teaching experience has predominantly been in Year 6 but I have also taught in Lower Key Stage 2 and in Key Stage 1. During my middle management experience, I managed - KS1, LKS2 and UKS2. I was fortunate to have been part of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) that opened a new school in 2006 (Platt Bridge Community School). As part of the SLT, I have developed teaching practices that accelerate learning and ‘Close the Gap’. The first stage in this process has been developing prior learning activities. These identify exactly where the pupils are on a ‘continuum of learning’ and show what the next steps in their learning are. The second stage is to plan for learning. The planning format that we have developed works on a daily basis ensuring that continuous, on-going assessments inform the next step for every pupil. The delivery of the lesson is the third stage of the process. I have worked as part of a team to develop differentiated input lessons. Each ability group receives a daily input based on assessments of the previous days learning. To further ‘Close the Gap’ we have also developed interventions that are delivered at a ‘point of need’ being identified through on-going assessments. In order to deliver differentiated inputs, we have had to develop skills for learning in our pupils so that they are able to work completely independently during the pre-input phase of the lesson. The development of these skills has been a major factor in the success of differentiated inputs and ‘Closing the Gap’. I am also jointly responsible for overseeing Research and Development projects focusing on ‘Closing the Gap’ in a number of different settings. These projects include: Growth Mindsets, Numicon and Breakthroughs in Literacy. I have had the privilege of working with a number of settings and supported them in ‘Closing their Gap’ and am grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for promoting effective practices that improve education for children.


Lucy Ward

Areas of expertise: English and Maths

I qualified as a teacher in 2002 and began my teaching career in a Reception class. During the next eight years, I worked in both Key Stage 1 and 2 classes in two schools and took on the role of English Subject Leader in both. In my previous school, I was lucky enough to work with the Local Authority Senior Consultant for English and gained many skills which have helped me lead other staff effectively and sensitively. In 2011, I started at my current school as Year 6 teacher, English Subject Leader and joined the Leadership Team. Over the past four years I have progressed to Assistant Headteacher and added Maths and Curriculum Subject Leadership to my role! I have been fortunate to have worked in all key stages which I feel has provided me with a comprehensive overview of teaching and learning and leadership across the school. My impact in school has been recognized in many comments in OFSTED reports as well as the standards achieved in Key Stage SATs tests, and I feel proud that my own teaching is graded as Outstanding. I am frequently to be found mentoring, coaching and demonstrating for colleagues who articulate that they feel comfortable and willing to seek my advice and guidance whenever they need it. Another source of pride is that they now feel confident to coach and support each other. My passion is all aspects of English and Maths and I would relish the opportunity to nurture and support other leaders and teachers to develop the teaching and learning of both these areas of the curriculum.


Martin Haskayne

Phase: Primary
Areas of expertise: SEN&D, Behaviour

I qualified as a teacher in 1990 and worked for 10 years in a school for children with severe learning difficulties aged 2-19 years as the coordinator for design technology across the school and nursery class teacher. I became coordinator for information technology two years later and took on a responsibility for developing communication across the school. As part of the school development plan, I became an instructor in the Team-Teach Physical Intervention System in 1997 and introduced this within the school. I have attended regular refreshers and remain an instructor to this day. In 2000, I was appointed to the newly formed Behaviour Support Team in Wigan for whom I worked until 2007. During this time, I was appointed national training manager for the Nurture Group Network, a post I carried out over three days per week whilst continuing to work for the Behaviour Support Team. The training manager role involved developing and delivering training strategy and materials, supporting the director with strategic developments and supporting school staff, managers, Local Authority staff and senior managers to develop their nurture strategies and practice. As the nurture role grew, I left Wigan to carry out the post full time before returning as coordinator for the Behaviour Support Team in 2011, supporting the team manager in developing the service to merge behaviour and learning services into an integrated Targeted Education Support Service. During this time, I achieved the NPSLBA accreditation and a Management Development Programme qualification. In 2013, I was appointed as assistant head for inclusion and SENCo at Platt Bridge Community Primary School. This opportunity has allowed me to develop further my skills in supporting children’s learning and behaviour through direct pupil support, staff development and supporting strategic development within the school. I achieved the National Accreditation for Special Educational Needs coordinators in April 2015. I became deputy head for safeguarding, inclusion and behaviour in 2015 and over the last few years I have delivered training and support to schools within the UK and also internationally, including 'Behaviour for Learning' sessions in Romania and Nigeria. I look forward to being able to share my experiences and knowledge to support colleagues in developing the best practice possible for all pupils.


Rachel Penman

Specialism: Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability.

I qualified as a teacher in 2001 and have worked in teaching since then. My first job was in Skelmersdale in West Lancashire. I worked there for 4 years then moved as part of an amalgamation of three schools to a two form entry school. My experience has predominantly been in key stage two, however I have led and managed in key stage one and had some teaching experience within the early years. I came out of class in 2008 to start a new role of intervention and inclusion manager as well as senior designated officer for safeguarding and child protection. Working as part of a senior leadership team consisting of myself, two assistant headteachers and a lead behaviour professional I feel a lot of my experience came from this role in terms of raising standards across school. The CPD I gained within this role has allowed me to further develop my skills in making an impact across school, particularly raising standards in reading, writing and maths. The use of data analysis, pupil progress meetings, working walls, scrutinies and question level analysis has given me a great insight into how standards can be raised from satisfactory to good. I am very passionate about ensuring that inclusive education is paramount within every school and every child is given high expectations and the opportunity to achieve their true potential. In 2012, I became inclusion manager for my current school, leading a team made up of myself and two inclusion co-ordinators. The school is two form entry with a resourced provision. Working across school, I have a strategic lead to ensure progress is made for all vulnerable learners including EAL, CLA and SEND children. I work closely with the pastoral team ensuring the correct provision is provided for the children in our care. I also work closely with other members of the SLT ensuring that the innovative ways of working has the greatest impact on the more vulnerable learners. I have worked closely with Wigan Authority as they were a pathfinder for the SEND reforms and have undertaken a number of education, health and care plans as part of a graduated approach to SEND. I have delivered training to my peers across the borough for the local authority. I have worked with Edge Hill University delivering lectures and working with PGCE students on interview techniques. As part of the teaching schools alliance, I deliver training mainly around inclusion and behaviour on which I have gratefully received positive feedback each time. My S2S support role has been predominantly working with members of staff who are new to SEND and want further support with new structures within their school setting. Each school has a different approach to SEND so it is important that this is captured. I relish a challenge and am always inspired and motivated by different working practices and how we can get the impact that our children deserve. I am an open and honest communicator and will listen to what already works and how this can be adapted to make progress and raise standards.


Carolyn Penzak

Specialism: Early Years

My name is Carolyn Penzak and I am the Deputy Headteacher of an outstanding nursery school in Wigan. I have been working in schools as a teacher and for school improvement for 27 years across different authorities and have developed an expertise in the Early years. I have the knowledge, skills and experience to help support and empower people to: · Collect, analyse and interpret Early Years data to plan for improvements. · Develop effective learning environments that motivate and engage children, promoting the characteristics of learning. · Develop assessment, planning and tracking systems that remove barriers to learning, respond to children’s interests and abilities and plan for progress. · Refine and create excellent Early Years pedagogy using research and child voice.