School Staff Testimonials
St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Fionnuala Brophy, EYFS Lead
Having grown up witnessing first-hand the positive impact and differences her inspirational mother made to the lives of pupils as both a teacher and Headteacher, Fionnuala was driven to work in education.
“St Mary’s immediately appealed to me because of their strong Catholic ethos and the beliefs, values and morals we shared. St Mary’s is unique because you immediately feel part of a community as soon as you step through the doors. Walking into my classroom each morning often feels like ‘coming home’. Being a part of SELCAT enhances that family feeling as there is always someone to turn to for advice, support or guidance throughout the school year.
As a school and Trust, we are constantly evolving and continuously striving to provide the best holistic education for all our young people. What’s more, as a staff member, I am made to feel like my voice and opinions are heard and valued – we all contribute to the way the school is run for the benefit of both staff and children.
Through my Early Years role I get to embark upon the first step in a child’s education which is an absolute privilege and joy. I have ambitions of being a Headteacher in a Catholic school within the Trust and know I will be supported to achieve this. I have recently started my NPQH and am learning a vast array of new skills.”
Rose Pampling, Business Manager
Rose joined St Mary’s in 2022 as the School Business Manager.
“This school has given my family so much over the years that I wanted to join the staff body to give something back. St Mary’s has a special community feel, which is echoed by the values and mission of SELCAT, where pupils are embraced by a warmth and support that is not matched in other schools. They are encouraged to not only reach their academic potential here, but also become kind, responsible and active citizens of the world.
Within my role, no two days are the same, but I always feel like I am making a positive contribution and difference. I am proud to be part of an exceptional and transformational leadership team where I am encouraged to aim high and achieve my own potential.
I want to ensure that St Mary’s continues to shine brightest in our local community, and I know we will achieve this by creating an outstanding learning environment to match the outstanding learning already taking place. In my role, this means having robust and transparent financial procedures in place and working with stakeholders to future proof our school with strategic planning. Being a part of SELCAT is supporting this. The Trust central team has a pool of knowledge and resource, providing excellent guidance in finance, HR and premises. Having expertise like this to call upon at a moment’s notice is rare and appreciated.”
Clare Thaxter, Year 1 Class Teacher, English Lead, Interim KS1 Lead
Clare is in her 10th year at St Mary’s, and is currently a Year 1 teacher.
“Motivated by my childhood education at St Mary’s, and a desire to share my knowledge and experiences, I chose to pursue a career in teaching, after completing my English Literature and History Degree, to inspire the next generation of pupils.
I am proud to say I work at St Mary’s. It is a school at the heart of our local community, providing pupils with an exciting curriculum and a variety of extra-curricular activities within a safe and caring environment. I feel valued, respected and listened to here, and have been provided a plethora of opportunities to make a real and lasting difference to our children whilst developing my own professional career. I have particularly enjoyed the SELCAT Inset Days, hearing from inspirational speakers and collaborating with like-minded individuals in other schools within the Trust. I take away a lot from these sessions and bring back excellent ideas and good practice that I can use in my own classroom and look forward to more of these joint expediencies.
I aspire to gain experience in other year groups in the future to impart my love of reading and have a lasting impact on the children I teach.”
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Bromley
Rachel Cole, Year 5 Teacher and Head of Humanities
Rachel is one of St Joseph’s newest members of the team, having worked at the school as Year 5 Teacher and Head of Humanities for 9 months.
“I was inspired to enter the teaching vocation as a result of my own teachers who made a mark on me when I was younger. After experiencing the buzz of the classroom, volunteering at a local nursery, I realised teaching would be the perfect career to pursue.
When I first visited St Joseph’s, I instantly felt that the school had a great community feel and that everyone goes above and beyond to ensure the very best for each and every child. School is fun and engaging for our pupils, with a variety of extra-curricular opportunities on offer, access to fantastic resources and initiatives such as our OPAL Play Programme which is now running with great success. The school values are consistently reinforced by all staff which is helping our pupils grow and develop into responsible citizens who will thrive and flourish in later life.
Having worked at another multi academy trust in the past, it struck me straight away that SELCAT is an incredibly supportive Trust that has its pupils and staff at the centre of everything they do. Staff wellbeing is taken very seriously, my contribution as a member of staff is always valued and considered, and we are provided with regular opportunities to further our professional development. I hope to take on a role that involves greater responsibility in the future such as key stage lead; and I know that I will be given the support and opportunities at St Joseph’s and SELCAT to achieve this.”
Dora Kluba, Year 3 Teaching Assistant
Dora was attracted to St Joseph’s Catholic because of its small, community feel and has worked here as Teaching Assistant since March 2020.
There is so much to love for St Joseph’s, from our OPAL Play Programme and the many extra-curricular activities on offer to our talented school cook and exceptional school grounds. We take pride in knowing each child as an individual so that we can provide the challenge and support they need to pursue their interests and thrive. Each staff member is valued as an individual too – I feel confident and appreciated by the Senior Leadership Team and my colleagues and have appreciated the extra support and all-round expertise that is on offer thanks to being a part of SELCAT.”
St Thomas More Catholic Primary School
Phillipa Dobson, Class Teacher
Phillipa discovered her love for helping children whilst working in a summer camp in America and so embarked on a teaching degree.
“I joined St Thomas More over 10 years ago during my teacher training period and knew this was the school to develop my career. Everyone, especially my mentor, was so fantastic and supportive. We are an inclusive school, working well as a team to create a fun and engaging learning environment for our children to flourish and develop holistically. We put our children first and ensure they are listened to and are empowered to make change through a strong pupil voice.
During my time here I have been offered countless opportunities for professional development and hope to one day progress and lead the Early Years Team. Joining SELCAT opened a whole range of new and exciting opportunities for staff to gain invaluable experiences that would benefit us professionally and further the quality of education for our pupils. I particularly found the ‘deep dives’ useful in preparation for Ofsted.”
St Anthony's Catholic Primary School
Debbie Linton-Gordon, Foundation Stage Teacher
Having worked in early childcare development for 11 years, Debbie stepped out in faith and retrained as a teacher with a passion to inspire and change lives.
“The Headteacher’s vision and exciting plans of opening a nursery and expanding the early years provision attracted me to work at St Anthony’s. We continuously strive to raise standards and have achieved so much over the years; it is a privilege to be able to provide a supportive environment and inclusive curriculum that allows pupils to learn academically and grow into confident individuals.
The school and Trust are unique as they have a positive impact on children's lives through caring, empathic, passionate and Christ-centred values. Staff also benefit from belonging to SELCAT – as a group of primary and secondary schools, we share expertise, knowledge and resources both within and across key stages to work on challenges and solutions together. There are also professional development and training opportunities on offer to help further our own career.”
Emily Wellsted, Year 6 Early Career Teacher
Emily is an ECT at St Anthony’s working in Year 6 for the last 3 years.
“St Anthony’s has a very strong sense of community and so it comes as no surprise that I was welcomed with open arms when I joined as an ECT. I feel very supported and have positive relationships with colleagues throughout the school. I enjoy watching our young people learn and grow both academically and personally, supporting and nurturing them as they do so.
Being a part of SELCAT has given me opportunities to meet with other ECTs to discuss our experiences as well as working collaboratively and drawing on expertise from a variety of different teachers across the Trust – this has been invaluable and allowed me to develop and focus on my future ambitions. I hope to continue making a difference to the children that I am lucky enough to teach and to be a positive role model for them as they progress through their school life and into adulthood.”
St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School
Angela Molloy, Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion
Transitioning from a career as a nursery nurse to achieving a degree in child and youth studies and a post graduate certificate in education, Angela joined St Peter Chanel in 2022 as Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion.
“I am passionate about supporting the development of all children as individuals, removing the barriers to ensure they achieve the very best they can. Every day in teaching is rewarding, knowing that you’ve made a difference to future lives, whether that be by sharing knowledge, developing skills or nurturing self-confidence and self-esteem.
St Peter Chanel is a small unique school where every member of its community is recognised for their valuable contributions, offered opportunities to develop and grow to their full potential, and celebrated. Learning is challenging, stimulating, creative, interactive and fun, allowing the children to develop their own interests and strengths in a safe and supportive environment.
We are also proud to be a part of SELCAT, an outward facing Trust committed to providing high quality professional development opportunities for its members. The benefits of being part of the Trust include the opportunities for networking, sharing of expertise, resources and best practice across different borough schools. Relationships and connections with others are fundamental in learning.”
Lisa Forsythe, Early Career Teacher
Lisa is St Peter Chanel’s newest staff member, having joined in the Autumn Term of 2023.
“I was fortunate enough to complete my teacher training at St Peter Chanel and knew this was the school to develop my career. The school’s strong ethos and positive learning environment alongside its encouraging and supportive teachers make it a lovely place to work. Children enjoy coming to St Peter Chanel because we work hard to create fun and engaging lessons for them to flourish in their learning. There is a focus around celebrating all their achievements, no matter how small it may be. Being relatively new to the school, I am looking forward to reaping the benefits of being a part of SELCAT and learning from more experienced teachers to be a great one myself.”
Kate Coveney, Pre-School Practitioner
Kate has deep connections with St Peter Chanel, having worked at the school for 15 years and having had four children educated at the school.
“With a passion for making a difference to young people’s lives and supporting children to extend their learning and reach their full potential, I knew a career in primary education would be for me. I was also keen to give others the amazing school experience I had myself.
I was drawn to St Peter Chanel because of the impact the school had on my own children’s lives – it is a lovely small school which laid strong foundations through the imparting of Catholic values. What’s more, the school has beautiful grounds to enjoy as well as an array of extended services and afterschool clubs, allowing pupils to pursue and develop their talents.
What makes my role rewarding is the opportunity to have both academic and pastoral responsibilities, from teaching children the basic skills of listening and speaking to supporting parents and their children with SEN. The impact we have on pupils’ personal and academic growth during their early stages is incredibly fulfilling for me. I am looking forward to continuing my practice and sharing ideas and experiences amongst others within SELCAT. Being a part of the Trust is fantastic as we get to help and support each other by offering and receiving support, guidance and best practice.”
Notre Dame Catholic Girls’ Secondary School
Shani Johnson, Assistant Headteacher
Shani has worked at Notre Dame for over 20 years, progressing to Assistant Headteacher and has ambitions to secure a Deputy Headteacher role within SELCAT.
“From the moment I walked through the school doors, I immediately knew that I wanted to be part of this incredible community. The staff are warm, friendly and supportive, and our students are aspirational, confident and have a real zest for life. The school’s ethos of valuing and nurturing each student’s unique talents and potential really resonates with me – I was attracted to a career in teaching because of my passion to ensure every young person, no matter their background, ability or culture, receives the best possible education to succeed in their future endeavours.
Being part of SELCAT presents us with opportunities to collaborate with other schools within the Trust and thus access a rich network of resources, expertise and best practice, enhancing our offer for both students and staff at Notre Dame. It has been a real learning journey for me, and I am looking forward to what the future holds.”
Matthew Earnshaw, Head of Maths
Matthew has worked at Notre Dame for 9 years and is Head of the Maths Department, inspiring and encouraging students’ interest in the subject.
“Having taught in the local area for 20 years I was inspired to secure a role at Notre Dame because of its strong reputation for being a caring, supportive school that strives to provide students with the challenge, support and experiences to progress and reach their full potential. The teachers here truly go the extra mile to help students become whatever they want to be.
The chance to communicate with other teachers with similar responsibilities in other schools across the Trust has been a real bonus – I am enjoying seeing first-hand the benefits of being part of SELCAT and am looking forward to continuing working together to increase our school intake and ensure we thrive in academic areas.”
Siân Tragheim, Head of RE, Chaplaincy Lead and PSHE Curriculum Lead
Siân has worked at Notre Dame for 10 years and “wears many hats” being Head of RE Department, Chaplaincy Lead and PSHE Curriculum Lead.
“Motivated by the supportive teachers I had whilst at school, and a desire to share my knowledge and experiences, I chose to pursue a career in teaching to become the person I had needed when I was young. I was blessed to be offered a job at Notre Dame and knew this was the place for me. I enjoy being able to teach ethics, philosophy and theology in a school located in the centre of a city known for its diversity, multiculturalism, change and passion – I believe it is critical to the growth, tolerance and pride our young people will have in the future.
Catholic life and mental health are my passions, and within the SELCAT community, these areas are treated seriously and with respect. I aspire to develop further in my career and one day become an Assistant Headteacher with a focus on Catholic life and mental health.”
St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School
Leah Collier, Trainee English Teacher
Leah has worked at St Thomas More for 9 years and is now training to be an English teacher.
“A wide array of reasons made me realise my passion for teaching; the variety of the day, the prospect of giving back to a profession that enabled me to be successful, educating the next generation, and shaping the future. The profession comes with an enormous amount of job satisfaction, especially as you can physically see students progress as a result of your individual teaching and support.
As cliché as it sounds, it is the students here at St Thomas More that make this school a fantastic place to work. They are resilient, caring and hard-working both within and outside the classroom, embracing every aspect of school life. They also embrace our vision and ethos and take pride in supporting charity work on both a local and national level.
We are a strong community, supporting one another and offering guidance and reassurance when needed. This has been fundamental as a trainee teacher. The supportive nature of the school is also evident across the entire Trust with ‘The Hub’ and an abundance of opportunities to collaborate, share best practice, and draw on expertise. The CPD programme and training has improved since joining SELCAT too. I am currently being supported by both the school and Trust to qualify as an English Teacher.”
Bridie Langford, Assistant SENDCo
Bridie has worked at St Thomas More for 19 years and is a proud member of the SEN Department.
“St Thomas More is a thriving Catholic secondary school with a strong reputation in the local community – so it came as no surprise that I was attracted to the school when searching for my next career step. The sense of community that St Thomas More embodies is inspirational. There are positive collaborative relationships between teaching and support staff as we all strive to provide the very best for our students. The high quality teaching, aspirational curriculum, exceptional enrichment experiences and outstanding pastoral care they receive leads to a rewarding learning experience.”
Christopher O’Carroll, Teacher
Christoper is in his second year working at St Thomas More Catholic School.
“St Thomas More is not only a popular choice for students, but also for staff, so when a job opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance. Students are offered a high quality curriculum and extensive extracurricular activities within a safe and supportive environment where teachers go the extra mile to enable them to make great progress on their chosen paths. The support that staff receive from Middle Leaders and SLT is second to none; they are really dedicated to investing in staff and identifying opportunities for staff to grow. I also love how we are trusted to implement the school’s policies rather than being micromanaged.”
St Columba's Catholic Boys' Secondary School
Chloe Natali, Assistant Headteacher
With over 20 years’ experience at St Columba’s, Chloe is proud to be making a difference as Assistant Headteacher.
“What makes my role so fulfilling and rewarding is preparing our young people for their next steps and seeing them achieve their potential as well as seeing our staff flourish in their careers. It is what inspired me to get into teaching and I am grateful that I get to do this every day alongside colleagues within the school and across the Trust. Being a part of SELCAT supports and encourages collaboration, professional development, and the sharing of best practice and expertise so we are constantly evolving, developing and learning to help the young people we serve.”
Michelle Todd, Cover Manager and Safeguarding & Behaviour Admin
Michelle joined St Columba’s in 2019 as a temporary admin support and has never left!
“St Columba’s is one big happy family where everyone is known, valued and supported. I feel incredibly fortunate to work with a fantastic team of colleagues and leaders; their expertise, knowledge and generous nature mean I always feel supported.
Working for both St Columba’s and SELCAT brings many benefits for both staff and students. Our boys receive the highest quality education and experiences to pursue their ambitions whilst making memories and friends. Staff are encouraged to flourish and develop a range of skills to support them in their role through a range of training and CPD opportunities.”
Jack Hovell, Head of Year 7 and History Teacher
Jack is an alumnus of St Columba’s and returned to share his passion and enthusiasm for History.
“Having previously been a student at St Columba’s I knew I would receive unfathomable support from previous teachers of mine and new colleagues. I witnessed first-hand the positive staff experience at the school as well as the strong relationships between students and staff. It made my transition into teaching that much easier.
What I enjoy most about teaching at St Columba’s is the freedom all staff are given to best support students within their role. Everyone’s actions in the school occur because we are driven towards a common goal: ensuring students succeed academically whilst growing into compassionate leaders, fully prepared for life.
Working for both St Columba’s and SELCAT offers the exciting prospect of progression within my career. Having already achieved so much in such a short space of time, I am hoping to solidify my position as Head of Year and to grow more confident in this role for the time being. In the future I hope to look upwards and move into a SLT position.”
Coloma Convent Girls' School
Jotie Nathan, Head of Geography and PSHE
Jotie has enjoyed sharing her passion for Geography and PSHE with students at Coloma over the last 6 years.
“My attraction to a career in teaching stems from a combination of my passion for education, the desire to make a positive impact, the joy of lifelong learning, and the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with students. I hope that they leave my classroom with a desire for knowledge and a commitment to continuous self-improvement as they develop into well-rounded, confident individuals who are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Coloma is unique because it has always been home to dedicated educators who fuel students’ creativity and curiosity in a supportive and nurturing environment. I am privileged to play a role in shaping the experiences of our students, hoping to inspire them just as I was once inspired. Their enthusiasm for learning and their willingness to engage in discussions make every day exciting.
Being part of SELCAT offers a values-based education grounded in Catholic teachings which instils a strong moral and ethical foundation in students, promoting virtues such as compassion, integrity, and social responsibility – and this is what Coloma Convent Girls' School represents. I also appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with dedicated colleagues who share a passion for education. The sense of camaraderie and the exchange of ideas among staff within the Trust are invaluable.”