I joined Connor Downs Academy as Headteacher in May 2012. In 2015 I was appointed as Executive Headteacher at St Uny Church of England Primary School in addition Connor Downs. I took a lead role in the conversion of this school to an academy as part of the Aspire Academy Trust in 2015 because I believed that this would enable our children to access first class educational experiences with highly trained staff. In September 2017 my role changed as I became a Director for Aspire, with a specialism in inclusion. I now have strategic responsibility for Connor Downs and St Uny, whilst also fulfilling my role as Inclusion Director across all Aspire academies.
I am a qualified advanced skills teacher and have been teaching since 1990 in County Durham and Cornwall. I have been fortunate enough to teach children aged from 2 through to 19 in my career and have led a special school as well as enjoying leadership positions in a range of primary schools, a federation, including a secondary school, and a FE college. I have held several senior posts in schools such as Deputy Headteacher and Advanced Skills Teacher and have also worked to support other schools in my work as a Senior Leader in Education (SLE) and as part of Durham School Improvement Service.
I have a BA degree in English and two Master's degrees, a MA in Education and a MSc in Leadership and Organisational Change. I hold the Professional Qualification for School Inspection (PQSI) and the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). I have particular expertise in raising standards and achievement, English and Special Educational Needs.
I love my job and it is an absolute pleasure to spend time with the wonderful children, families and dedicated team of staff at Connor Downs Academy.
Head of School
I am delighted to hold the post of Head of School at Connor Downs Academy. I completed a BA (Hons) degree in English and Education Studies, obtained from the University of Worcester in 1990. I completed a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, obtained from the College of St. Mark and St. John, in 1991. In 2017-2018, through Plymouth University, I completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination at Masters level.
Teaching has always been a passion for me and over the years, it has been wonderful to see so many pupils make progress both academically and socially. I started my teaching career in 1991, first taking on the post of a Key Stage 2 teacher in a large Cornish primary school. I taught all year groups and held various coordinator roles, including English coordinator. This was a particularly exciting role for me as English has always been a strong interest of mine. In 2000, I became Assistant Head teacher. I found being a part of the leadership team exciting and rewarding.
In 2015, I was delighted to become Head of School at Penryn Primary Academy. During my two years in post here, Penryn Primary Academy linked with Connor Downs Academy and St Uny Academy, as part of the Aspire Academy Trust. This collaboration enabled me to work very closely with the staff and pupils of Connor Downs Academy. Taking up the post of Head of School at Connor Downs therefore felt very natural and familiar, as I have worked closely with the school community over a long period.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Connor Downs community and know that together, we will provide excellent education for our children.
Site, Operations & Strategy Leader
I am the site, operations and strategy leader at Connor Downs. I plan for developments across the school, but If it's broken people tend to ask me to get it fixed. I have a wide ranging remit: IT, buildings, the grounds, outdoor learning, transport, educational visits, health and safety and the support services are all areas for me to lead. As a qualified teacher, I also teach. I am found working with our fantastic year 3 children on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, and on other days I can be found teaching children throughout the academy specialising in computing and science. Beyond school I love being outside, and occasionally find the time to get one of my kayaks out on the rivers of Dartmoor.
Lead teacher KS1 / Y1 Class Teacher
Hello my name is Mrs Bartaby and I am Assistant Head Teacher at Connor Downs Academy for EYFS and KS1.I began teaching in 1999 in a school in Darlington in the North East of England. Over the past 15 years I have taught in different schools and all age groups from Reception to Year 6.
In July 2013 my family and I made the most amazing decision to move to Cornwall.I currently teach in Year 1. I am the Maths Co-ordinator for the school.I am currently taking Performing Arts after school club for children in KS1 and EYFS.
I feel very proud and privileged to be working at Connor Downs Academy. The family ethos of the school is very welcoming and the children set an exceptional standard of behaviour. I believe in children learning through practical experiences. Through Cultivating Futures this is proving to have such a positive impact on the children’s learning. Children can be involved in exciting work outside in the school grounds.
Lead teacher KS2 / Year 5 Teacher
I am delighted to join Connor Downs Academy as lead teacher for KS2. I completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Genetics at Cardiff University. I then completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Cambridge University.
I have worked at Penryn Primary Academy for many years where I predominantly taught Year 6. I have had a variety of coordinator roles and I have a particular interest in maths. Therefore, I was delighted to be offered the role of KS2 lead teacher and maths lead at Connor Downs Academy.
In my spare time, I enjoy running. If you see me out and about on my training runs, give me a friendly wave as this always spurs me on.
I look forward to working with you all.
I have always had an interest in the natural environment and have wanted to share this enthusiasm with others. After achieving my honours degree in Botany with Zoology and Geology at the University of Reading, I therefore obtained a Post Graduate Certificate of Education qualification, with a Commendation in the Practice of Teaching.
After spending an interesting five years at Troon School as a KS2 teacher I was employed abroad for several years. On returning to the UK I subsequently enjoyed working with KS1, KS2 and KS3 pupils in a variety of roles in environmental education, firstly in a residential centre in the Norfolk Broads then as Schools Co-ordinator for a wildlife charity in Kent.
Following this I taught in north and mid Cornwall, with primary pupils in KS1 and KS2. Working with pupils from nursery age through to year 6 in specialist educational provision and as a one to one teacher of pupils with special educational needs gave me a wide range of teaching experience.
I was appointed to Connor Downs School as a Learning Support Teacher in January 2010 and spent two interesting and enjoyable years supporting KS1 and KS2 pupils through small group or one to one learning activities.
I then took over as Inclusion Manager in September 2012. In 2012-2013 I attended the one year Plymouth University’s Masters Level course and achieved their postgraduate certificate: The National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination.
My current role as Inclusion Leader includes responsibility for vulnerable groups including pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium and Looked After Children, plus I am Deputy Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer and am involved in the provision for pupils identified as able, gifted or talented.
I am passionate in my hope that every pupil at our academy feels a strong sense of belonging, and knows that we value not only their learning and progress, but themselves as a unique individual.
My particular interests this year are firstly, to foster even stronger links with our parents by continuing to listen to and take account of their views and to provide accessible resources and training to help them understand how they can support their child’s or children’s learning at home, and secondly, to increase the use of our fantastic outdoor learning environment to enrich our children’s learning and to support their emotional well-being.
YR Class Teacher
My name is Mr Masters and I am the Class R teacher here at Connor Downs Academy.
Prior to joining Connor Downs Academy, I gained invaluable experience across the entirety of the Early Years Foundation Stage; working as both a nursery and pre-school practitioner and, following this, as a Reception class teaching assistant. These experiences inspired me to pursue my lifelong goal of becoming a primary school teacher. In 2017, I graduated from the University of Plymouth with an FdA in Childhood Education (3 to 8 Years). Following this, I completed a further year of university study; graduating from Newman University, Birmingham with a BA Honours degree in Early Years Education with Qualified Teacher Status.
I am extremely proud to work at Connor Downs Academy, alongside such a dedicated and supportive team.
Y2 Class Teacher
My name is Mrs Kitching and I am the Class 2 teacher, as well as History and Geography coordinator, here at Connor Downs Academy. I have been teaching since 1989 since qualifying with a BE’d Honours degree in English from the College of St Paul and St Mary in Cheltenham. After teaching in a number of schools in Gloucestershire, I returned to Cornwall to teach for 9 years at St Columb Major Community Primary School, a move that enabled me to be closer to my family. Since then I have worked in a number of schools throughout the county, teaching children of all age groups. I joined Connor Downs in 2011 and I am delighted to be a permanent teacher at this academy.
Whilst my upmost priority remains the support & teaching of my class, I have also organised many events throughout the school year aimed to reinforce the teaching of History and Geography over all year groups. I was delighted by the enthusiasm of the pupil’s in response to Historical Fun Fridays and World Aims Week, both succeeding to broaden the children’s knowledge of the subjects whilst proving equally entertaining, particularly when all the teachers transformed into different historical characters once a week. I run a KS1 reading club weekly as I am an avid reader and I am keen to support children to become confident, enthusiastic and capable readers. I am registered to take part in standard setting for the new 2016 national curriculum tests.
I look forward to continuing to work with such a dedicated and talented team to ensure that every child is able to make the most of their time here at Connor Downs Academy.
Y3 Class Teacher
I am currently teaching in Y3 and am supported by Teaching Assistant Mrs Ridge.
I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Primary Teaching and also a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art. At Connor Downs Academy, I am the Art and Design and also Design Technology Coordinator for the school. Extra-curricular wise, I am responsible for running an Art club for children from Year R to Year 3. I began teaching in 1994 and have had the pleasure of working in a range of different schools in West Cornwall. I have experience of teaching across all year groups from Early Years to Year 6.
I am really proud of Connor Downs School especially our children’s excellent behaviour. Cultivating Futures has made our learning and play so exciting. Now working outside the school grounds is a real thrill whatever the lesson might be. I enjoy creating artwork with the children and also growing flowers and vegetables (not to mention eating them). It is important to enable children to take risks and learn independent skills every day. I enjoy seeing children’s happy faces when they have persevered and succeeded in learning a new skill in writing or hitting the ball in cricket …. The list is endless
Y4 Class Teacher
I am Mrs Patterson, the year 4 teacher. I completed my School Centered Initial Teacher Training course in July 2014.
From 2000-2003, I studied at the University of Birmingham where I gained a BA (Hons) in Education, Theology and English. In 2010, my family and I moved to Cornwall. In January 2011, I started my teaching career with Bodriggy Academy as a Teaching Assistant and gained valuable experience as a general TA across KS2.
In November 2014, I joined Connor Downs Academy and worked part-time as a Specialist Intervention Teacher, working with Pupil Premium children with a focus on Maths. I completed my NQT year as the year 4/5 teacher and went on to teach year 5.
I thoroughly enjoy running the KS2 Performing Arts club at school. I really believe that children can gain confidence expressing themselves through music, dance and drama. We have performed Matilda and Hamlet and also had an amazing opportunity to sing at Truro Cathedral for the Christmas concert.
Y6 Class Teacher
I am very proud to say I am the year 6 teacher here at our wonderful Academy. I have always wanted to be a teacher; I am passionate about learning and feel that every day is a fresh opportunity to learn something new. Even as an adult I have always enjoyed learning; this prompted me to start studying for my degree, which is mainly focused on linguistics and English grammar, through The Open University. One of my aims is to transfer my passion for learning to the children I teach, helping them to develop a healthy growth mind-set and the belief that, with a focused attitude and determination, anything is achievable. I firmly believe that, given the tools and the opportunity, every child can flourish and can reach, or even exceed, their potential.
My journey at Connor Downs Academy started back in 2012 when I started working here as a teaching assistant supporting children with SEND. I then moved on to be a class-based teaching assistant in KS2, which developed my knowledge and experience of classroom organisation, behaviour management and the curriculum. From there, I became a specialist teaching assistant working with specific groups of children across the whole school, which developed my understanding of the expectations of different year groups.
After graduating in 2016, I finally realised my dream of becoming a teacher. I am extremely excited about my future here at Connor Downs Academy and feel very fortunate to be part of such a fantastic team.
Outdoor Learning Leader
I love my job as the outdoor learning leader at Connor Downs Academy. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from my studies in core science, environmental science and design for the environment. I am also a qualified teaching assistant and have a Diploma in Horticulture. Before moving to education, I used my chemistry background by working in a pharmacy, dispensing medication and I was a trained health-care advisor. I have a special interest in atmospheric science, especially meteorology and climate change. I am also very interested in zoology and use this in my work every day.
My role at Connor Downs involves me planning learning activities to enrich the science national curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. I work with small groups of pupils, carrying out practical investigations to support their scientific knowledge and understanding. I teach all pupils across the school and focus on environmental studies, science, sociology and geography themes such as globalisation, weather and climate change, living things and habitats, plants science and horticulture. I work with Reception children each week in 'Muddy Mondays' where I support the EYFS curriculum and help pupils develop their their early scientific awareness through fun, practical activities.
I also run an outdoor learning themed 'nurture group' over lunchtimes and an after school club called Nature Detectives. We are very active in our aim to reduce, reuse and recycle. We make our own water filters from recycled materials and create habitats for visiting wildlife, including in our large pond. We grow our own vegetables and fruit from seed and then the children use their produce in their food technology sessions with Mrs Pedley.
Teacher / Sports leader
I am the sports lead at Connor Downs, meaning I am responsible for the teaching of sports lessons throughout the school, organising extra curricular activities and fixtures and the planning, and increasing the sporting opportunities for our children. The sport is taught alongside the class teacher, ensuring the children get high quality sport teaching and that the staff get professional development to lead sports lessons themselves in the future. My degree is in sport and primary teaching and it is an area i have lead in a variety of settings, as well as being a keen sportsman myself. Previously i have worked in a variety of schools, teaching every year from reception to year 6. I have also held positions of leadership in primary schools, including Head of School, Assistant Head and SENCo. I believe that there is a sport for everyone and am keen to provide a variety of opportunities for the children, in and out of school. Being active is so important in this day and age and sport provides so many benefits as well as being healthy such as learning how to win and lose, teamwork and sportmanship. In addition to sport in our academy, I also help support sporting activities and opportunities across our MAT.
Finance Officer/School Secretary
I began working at Connor Downs Academy in January 2015 in the office as Finance Officer/secretary. Previously I had worked for fourteen years at a firm of chartered accountants and qualified as an Accounting Technician, dealing with accounts preparation and payroll, amongst other duties.
My current role on a morning encompasses dealing with the school finances basis, involving ordering, paying suppliers and liaising with members of staff and outside agencies. I am also in charge of all personnel and payroll within the academy and the Single Central Record, a key part of safeguarding. I am front of house dealing with telephone calls, visitors to school and the general running of the school office.
I really enjoy the challenges that this very busy and varied role brings every day and love the fact that I can get to know the children and will see them grow and progress during their time at school.
School Secretary/Inclusion Admin Support
I started working here at Connor Downs Academy in September 2014. My main role is Inclusion Admin Support however I can also be found covering the secretary.
No two days are the same in my role, with every day being just as busy as the one before and I absolutely love it! It is always a fantastic challenge and I feel very fortunate to be part of such a hard working, supportive team of staff.
All of our children here at Connor Downs are an absolute pleasure to work with.
SEN Teaching Assistant
EYFS Teaching Assistant
I am the teaching assistant for the pupils in YR and work with Mr Masters and Mrs Malyan. I also undertake lunchtime supervision. My choice of profession was mainly influenced by my desire to help support and develop children’s skills and encourage them to learn new things.
Before I had my own children, I discovered my love for helping and supporting others. Therefore I studied the CACHE Diploma (NVQ level 3) in Child Care and Education. In addition, I then completed a period of teaching experience by completing a work experience placement within Connor Downs academy. I shadowed various teaching staff, observing their teaching techniques and the ways in which they support the children. I found each day a new challenge as new faces, new personalities were emerging which brought various obstacles my way as different methods of teaching were needed. The most enjoyable aspect of this work environment is that no day is ever the same - new lessons, new people. It was exciting to know I had the opportunity to assist in someone’s learning, gaining satisfaction from seeing the new skill acquired.
I have had experience in working as a Special Educational Needs teaching assistant for Key Stage 1 within the academy and I also gained a distinction on a sensory processing disorder awareness diploma. I am very committed with a strong awareness and passion for children’s learning and development. I enjoy being part of and encouraging inclusive education and promoting good positive learning techniques. I have always had a passion for primary teaching and geared my studies and career in this direction as I feel it is extremely valuable to be helping children develop skills they can continue to use throughout their lives.
EYFS Teaching Assistant
Hello, my name is Mrs Malyan and I am the teaching Assistant in class R working alongside Mr Masters and Miss Abel. I hold a level 2 certificate in the children and young people's workforce and a level 3 diploma in early years education. Prior to my role at Connor Downs Academy I worked in a pre-school and this is where I discovered my passion for early years education. During my years at the pre-school I attended several courses to expand my knowledge further and I am keen to keep developing it here at Connor Downs. Connor Downs Academy holds a special place in my heart not only is it the school that my own children attend it is also the primary school that I attended as a child and to see how much it has grown and developed over the years is fantastic and I feel very privileged to now be a part of this fantastic school and fantastic team.
Y1 Teaching Assistant/Lunchtime Supervisor
My name is Mrs Rowe and I am a Teaching Assistant in our Year 1 Class and am also a lunchtime supervisor. I have a Level 2 in Supporting Teaching and Learning in schools and a Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce – Early Learning and Childcare Pathway. I joined Connor Downs Academy in November 2010 and during this time I have supported children in Reception and Year 3. I feel very privileged to be able to support and work with children as they begin their journey with Connor Downs Academy.
I am very proud of the family ethos we have at our Academy and that by the time the children leave us at the end of Year 6 they are well rounded individuals, ready for the next chapter in their education. I believe that all children should be given the opportunity to learn to their full potential and that it is important that they are taught skills that they will need later in life, such as perseverance and managing their own risks.
Y2 Teaching Assistant/Lunchtime Supervisor
My name is Mrs Smith and I work in Class 2 alongside Mrs Kitching as a Teaching Assistant and as a Lunchtime Supervisor. Previously to this I have worked across KS 1 as SEN support and delivering Fun Fit activities at Connor Downs Academy, and as a 1 to 1 Assistant in KS2 at another local Primary School.
I have a BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Studies, a Level 3 in Teaching and Learning and a desire to continue to develop my professional development, which Connor Downs Academy are always very supportive in doing.
I am relatively new to the staff at Connor Downs Academy, but have felt warmly welcomed and included by staff and children alike since day one. It is this sense of inclusion and acceptance that gives the school a lovely atmosphere to attend and such a pleasure to work in.
As a Teaching Assistant I feel very strongly about inclusion, one which mirrors the school's own ethos. Whilst every child is unique and individual, they should be given the same opportunities in the same environments so they can integrate and learn from peers as well as teaching staff. The children at Connor Downs follow this ethos and are encouraged to support each other in class and in play.
Every day is varied as a Teaching Assistant with different challenges and rewards, but the mutual respect and outstanding level of behaviour from the children enables us to all work together with a smile.
Y3 Teaching Assistant
My name is Miss Payne and I have just started working as the year 3 Teaching Assistant at Connor Downs Academy. I began my journey here last September where I worked as a Teaching Assistant Apprentice, in the cultivating futures area, alongside Mr Costello. This amazing opportunity helped me to develop my knowledge of the different ways children learn outdoors, and also allowed me to work with children throughout all of the year groups. In addition to this, I have helped with various classes throughout the school, supporting small groups of year 6 children with their reading comprehension in the run up to their SATs.
In the summer I completed my level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Certificate and was very pleased to be offered a position at this wonderful school.
Y4 Teaching Assistant
I have worked at Connor Downs since 2009. I started as a volunteer and then I was fortunate enough to get the role as a SEN T.A. I have worked in all KS1 classes including reception and I am currently a class T.A. in Year 5 working alongside Rich Pascoe.
Whilst I have been working at Connor Downs I have led several intervention groups including funfit, nurture group and phonics additional support. I am also a lunch time supervisor working with a nurture group. I support the children whilst using lots of activities to help them with their emotional and social skills.
I have completed my NVQ 2 in Teaching and Learning and also been awarded accreditation in language for learning and behaviour therapy. I am also first aid trained. I have a certificate of higher education and I have recently graduated from The Open University and now have a Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning.
I am proud to work alongside such a great team and with the children, watching them develop in all areas, especially seeing them grow more confident and develop their own individual personalities.
SEN Teaching Assistant / Outdoor learning assistant
I am a SEND teaching assistant here at Connor Downs. I specilise in caring for the animals around the school, regularly taking groups of children out to care for them.
Y6 Teaching Assistant
I am the teaching assistant working in year 6. Professionally, I hold a Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning. I began my career in education 16 years ago at Connor Downs Academy as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant, supporting several pupils throughout their academic journey. After 4 years I became a general Teaching Assistant gathering experience working within both KS1 and KS2. I also have experience working as a Lunchtime supervisor supporting pupils within their play and enabling them to develop socially as well as emotionally.
As a parent and professional, I am a strong believer that children should be taught skills that they can use within their chosen career paths, enabling them to achieve their goals and dreams for the futures. This is something that we strongly encourage at Connor Downs Academy and an achievement that I am very proud to be a part of.
KS2 Teaching Assistant
Year 3 Teaching Assistant
My name is Mrs Vicki Ridge and I work as a teaching assistant. I started working at Connor Downs Academy approximately 15 years ago having worked as a volunteer before that for 4 years. After leaving college where I learned shorthand, typing and commerce,
I worked for a Building Society for 17 years and once I had my children I became Chairman of Hayle Pre School Playgroup until my children started here at Connor Downs Academy. My passion for this school, the children and staff is very strong and I am extremely proud of what has been achieved here since Mrs Costello joined our amazing team.
All that we do here is for the children so that they can learn in a happy, safe and encouraging environment. Coming to work every day is a pleasure and I think we are so lucky to have the best job in the whole world, watching the children grow and develop, encouraged to reach their full potential in a a range of opportunities they have, both in and out of the classroom.
SEN/Pupil premium Teaching Assistant
I started my school career forty years ago, teaching a reception class in a Cornish village. After getting married, we moved away and I carried on teaching, mostly reception children. Then came another move to Essex and a career break to care for our children. On returning to teaching I taught nursery children for many years before returning to Cornwall in January 2005.
I took a change of direction and worked for six years with charities that support children and their families. During this period, I often worked with young people who had special needs, especially those on the autistic spectrum, and I developed a special interest in this area.
I started working at Connor Downs in January 2012 as a special needs teaching assistant. It is a job I thoroughly enjoy. Without a doubt this is the most committed and caring group of people that I have ever worked with, and an amazing team. I feel privileged to be working here and love to see the progress that the children make in such a happy and supportive environment.