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Staff Profiles

Mr Dean Webster - Headteacher

Qualifications: BA PE Education, MA Education and Leadership, NPQH

Mr Webster completed his undergraduate degree in Manchester and later completed his Masters degree in Education and Leadership from the University of Nottingham. He was awarded his National Professional Qualification in Headship in 2015. Before establishing Mercia School, Mr Webster spent his teaching career in two South Yorkshire schools, moving through the ranks from teacher, through middle management, deputy headship and eventually a headship of his own.

In various roles, he transformed behaviour systems and significantly raised achievement. This is perhaps most notable in the renovation of Newfield School; a school that has moved to Ofsted ‘good’ and achieved spectacular outcomes in 2016 and 2017 under Mr Webster’s stewardship. Mr Webster has a deep-rooted belief in high standards of discipline and exceptional quality of teaching – no exceptions. Now, as headteacher of Mercia school, he is determined to establish a world class school that can rival any, including those in the public sector. A keen sportsman, he relishes teamwork and is thrilled to lead Mercia School where every teacher is committed to ending social and educational inequality.

Mr Joshua Fisher - Deputy Headteacher

Qualifications: BA (hons) History, PGCE in Secondary History, MA Education and Leadership

Mr Fisher read history at the University of York, graduating in 2011. He gained his Masters degree in Education and Leadership from the University of Manchester in 2015. Mr Fisher has a particular passion for twentieth century history with his specialism being Germany 1918-45, alongside a longstanding fascination with both the First and Second World Wars. He has always been immensely passionate about history and delights in the prospect of motivating and pushing pupils to become brilliant historians.

Mr Fisher steadfastly believes that to fulfil your potential you must work hard and embrace challenge. This has been shown by his tenacious and imaginative leadership of History, Geography and Humanities departments across South Yorkshire. Having been a teacher, a head of department, a head of faculty and an assistant headteacher across two South Yorkshire schools, Mr Fisher has seven years of experience in the education sector. Mr Fisher is a Teach First Ambassador and has a huge passion for eradicating inequalities in the UK education system. In addition to his roles in schools, Mr Fisher is a senior examiner for the AQA exam board, and he has extensive experience assessing student performance at both GCSE and A-Level.

Ms Ruth Hollingsworth - Assistant Headteacher

Qualifications: BA English Literature and Language, PGCE Secondary English, MA Education

Ms Hollingsworth read English literature and language at Newcastle University, graduating in 2003. Initially teaching in Newcastle- Upon- Tyne, before relocating closer to home and joining the Mercia Learning Trust, Ms Hollingsworth has a range of experience across city secondary schools, most recently as Head of English. Appointed a subject leader for English in 2015, through the National College, Ms Hollingsworth has leadership experience across literacy, standards and curriculum design. Innovative in her approach to reading and creative writing, a love of learning is at the heart of her work and her lessons!

Particularly fond of 19th century literature and contemporary poetry, she can usually be caught reading or maybe even writing. As an exam marker for AQA GCSE literature, Ms Hollingsworth has plenty of passion for English to keep her busy. She’s really looking forward to creating the 19th century literature and contemporary poetry, she can usually be caught reading or maybe even writing. As an exam marker for AQA GCSE literature, Ms Hollingsworth has plenty of passion for English to keep her busy. She’s really looking forward to creating the Mercia curriculum and ensuring there are special ‘Mercia Moments’ for us all to share.


Qualifications: BA Theatre Practice, PGCSE Secondary Art and Design, MA Fine Art, MA Education, Leadership and Management, NASENCo, Specialist Teacher EAA

Mrs Stevenson completed her undergraduate degree in Theatre Practice at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. A lover of art and design, she went on to complete her PGCE in Art and Design at Bath Spa University College. Mrs Stevenson is a vastly experienced teacher, fulfilling a wide range of roles in a number of secondary schools across England. She has achieved sizeable impact in every role she has undertaken; in London schools as a teacher of art, and gifted and talented coordinator and later in Nottingham as Director of specialism and, indeed, in Sheffield, as a Faculty Director of the Arts, Assistant Headteacher and in her current role as the Mercia Learning Trust’s Director of Inclusion. Mercia School is delighted to have such a dedicated individual on the team, she will be invaluable in ensuring we meet the individual need of every single pupil. Furthermore, Mrs Stevenson is an avid reader and highly successful academic. She has completed two masters level degrees: one in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University and one in Education Leadership and Management from the University of Nottingham. She is active in keeping up to date in the latest thinking around SEN and EAL and is a member of the British Psychological Society. Mrs Stevenson is excited to bring her passion for academia and the arts to Mercia School and will endeavour to instil a drive for academic success within the pupils of Mercia School.

Away from work, Mrs Stevenson is a voracious reader who holds a passion for walking, travel, drawing, painting and cooking. Mrs Stevenson cannot wait to play her part in Mercia School’s drive to become one of the very best schools in the country.

Mr Adam Brown - Head of Mathematics

Qualifications: BA Economics and Management, PGCE Secondary Mathematics, MA Economics

Mr Brown studied Economics and Management at the University of Oxford and later gained his Masters in Economics from University College London. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr Brown worked as a Government Economist for almost 9 years in a range of varied roles. These included carrying out economic analysis of the UK housing market during the financial crisis whilst at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and leading a team of economists providing advice to Ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Following his relocation to Sheffield, Mr Brown trained as a teacher through the Mercia Learning Trust’s ‘School Direct’ programme.

His work at an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ school within the Trust has helped Mr Brown become an exceptional practitioner. He has achieved nationally recognised results in GCSE and A-level mathematics and further mathematics, as well as regularly leading A-level economics students to outcomes that rival the very best in England. Mr Brown believes strongly that all children are entitled to an excellent mathematical education and that deep mathematical learning will lead to young people being able to access exciting opportunities across the range of sciences and social sciences.

Mr Sam Cottrill - Head of Science

Qualifications: BSc Natural Environmental Science, PGCE Secondary Science, MSc Contaminant Hydrogeology

Mr Cottrill studied for a degree in Natural Environmental Science, graduating in 2005. In 2007 he graduated from The University of Sheffield with a Masters of Science degree in Contaminant Hydrogeology. Prior to becoming a teacher Mr Cottrill worked as an Environmental Scientist specialising in the assessment and remediation of contaminated land sites, particularly within the petrochemical industry. Mr Cottrill is passionate about empowering young people through their development as scientists and has a particular interest in the ecology of the United Kingdom and genetics.

Mr Cottrill aims to engage students in original research and enthuse learners to take part in national and contemporary scientific projects. He believes that all pupils have the ability and right to acquire the scientific knowledge to better understand themselves and the world around them. Mr Cottrill has a wealth of experience in secondary schools, he has worked as a science teacher, a pastoral middle leader and has also held the position of staff governor. Mr Cottrill is excited to bring his passion for science, alongside his experience in achieving superb outcomes with GCSE and A-level students, and create a department where aspirations are realised.

Mr Ben Drury - Head of French

Qualifications: BA Journalism and French, PGCE Secondary French

Mr Drury read Journalism and French at the University of Sheffield. Before his teaching career, he was a football commentator and radio journalist around the country and was nominated for a national radio award for his reporting. Mr Drury maintains a passion for radio journalism and will support the young students of Mercia School should they show a passion for the discipline. Mr Drury entered the teaching profession in 2011 and he has seven years’ experience within the sector. Mr Drury has led Modern Foreign Language departments in schools in the West Country, East Anglia and Sheffield. A passionate advocate of the French language, he holds a particular passion for the city of Bordeaux, modern French cinema and 20th century French history.

Mr Drury believes that students must have a dedication to positive behaviour and a willingness to achieve if they are to succeed in language learning. Mr Drury is totally convinced that all students, whatever their ability, can become highly proficient in the French language and is incredibly excited to get started. A visitor to Mr Drury’s French lessons will hear a class in good voice and see students who are able to manipulate and adapt the French language to any context.

Mr Daniel Dunn - Head of Geography

Qualifications: BA Geography, PGCE Secondary Geography, MA Applied Professional Studies Education

Mr Dunn read Geography at the University of Sheffield and graduated with First Class Honours in 2007. Throughout his time at university, his major research pieces centred upon social inequalities, identities and urban space. Mr Dunn’s degree was varied and complex, it enhanced the insatiable passion for geography he takes in to every lesson he teaches. After his degree, Mr Dunn completed his Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the university, later flourishing whilst studying his Master of Arts Degree in Applied Professional Studies Education. He completed his Masters whilst teaching in Sheffield and Rotherham schools, a feat showing his commitment to hard work and perseverance – both crucial values of Mercia School. During this time, Mr Dunn completed fascinating research on the importance of home-school relationships, subsequently he is convinced that Mercia School and its valued families must work vehemently together in the interests of the young people we serve.

Before joining Mercia, Mr Dunn taught at an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ 11-18 school in Chesterfield. Here he gained leadership and management experience in a number of pastoral and curriculum roles, whilst driving students towards exceptional exam results at GCSE and A-Level. He is incredibly excited to establish a knowledge-rich geography department and will do his utmost to offer a fully enriched curriculum that assists students in their quest for a university place, or real alternative.

Miss Dara Harvey - Teacher of English

Qualifications: BA English Literature, PGDE Secondary English, MA Education

Miss Harvey read English Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating in 2013. She has recently completed her MA in Education at The University of Sheffield, with her dissertation focussing closely on reading and developing pupil vocabulary. Miss Harvey has a relentless passion for academic study and has already had some of her written work published, she hopes to inspire Mercia pupils to love scholarship and strive for excellence in English and beyond. Miss Harvey believes that teachers are the experts in the room and advocates knowledge-rich teaching in English lessons. Mercia School will champion reading and ensure all pupils achieve superbly, especially pupils who might find learning more challenging.

Miss Harvey has extensive experience in designing high quality curricula, as well as delivering impactful intervention that accelerates pupils’ rates of progress. Away from schooling, she has been involved in scouting for many years where she has encouraged the physical, intellectual, character, emotional, and social development of young people so that they may become accomplished members of society. With her undoubted knowledge and expertise, Miss Harvey will be a tremendous asset to Mercia School’s drive to ensure that all pupils make exceptional progress from their starting points. Miss Harvey believes every pupil is unique and deserves the very best in education and beyond, she is adamant that Mercia School will be an outstanding school and is excited to play her part.

Miss Rachael Ellis - Teacher of Mathematics

Qualifications: BSc Mathematics and Geography, PGCE Secondary Mathematics

Miss Ellis read Mathematics and Geography at the University of Leeds, graduating in June 2011. Miss Ellis is a passionate advocate of mathematics in schools and believes pupils must have a suitable grounding in numeracy and mathematical problem-solving skills in order to thrive inside and outside the classroom. Miss Ellis believes strongly that equality in education is fundamental to any school’s success, she is excited to plan schemes of learning from scratch to ensure all pupils, no matter their ability or background, receive an outstanding quality of education. Without question, Miss Ellis is an ardent mathematician and is tremendously excited to celebrate the mathematical successes our pupils have, no matter how large or small they may be. Great teaching is activated by an enthusiastic teacher, but great learning relies on highly motivated, inquisitive pupils. Miss Ellis absolutely adores working with young people and is genuinely excited about the potential of Mercia School.

When away from the classroom, Miss Ellis is a keen sportswoman. Whilst studying at the University of Leeds, she maintained a full-time hockey schedule as well as her studies and an active social life. Now living in Sheffield, she has found a new passion in rock climbing, which has taken her to incredible places around the globe. A dedicated and determined individual, Miss Ellis is highly motivated for the challenges and opportunities presented by Mercia School and cannot wait to play her part in creating a world-class school.

Mr Jack Jewell - Teacher of Mathematics

Qualifications: BSc Mathematics and Statistics, PGCE Secondary Mathematics

Mr Jewell read Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2016. After successful completion of his degree, he joined Teach First and was placed in a vibrant secondary school in Doncaster. Mr Jewell loves his work in Doncaster and relishes the opportunity to help gifted mathematicians realise their potential. Mr Jewell began his teaching career in 2016 and has gained significant experience in a range of roles. He has a wide variety of experiences including teacher of mathematics, second in mathematics and hopes to gain further leadership experience in the coming years. Mr Jewell has experience teaching A-Level Mathematics which he absolutely loves, indeed, he attributes his own passion for mathematics to the highly enjoyable A-level experiences he received at school. Mr Jewell enjoys teaching the problem-solving element of mathematics because of the challenge it can present – he can’t wait to put Mercia pupils through their paces in a friendly and supportive way!

Away from teaching, Mr Jewell is a keen sportsman and hopes to bring his enthusiasm to the extra-curricular elements of Mercia School’s longer school day, especially when it comes to rugby and cricket! Joining the school in September 2019, he is really excited to ensure that pupils at Mercia receive the very best mathematics education possible. He can’t wait to spend time at the school in its inaugural year and hit the ground running as we embark on our second year in September 2019.

Mrs Fiona Heath - Teacher of Art

Qualifications: BA (hons) Theatre, PGCE Art and Design

Mrs Heath is delighted to be joining Mercia School as its very first Teacher of Art. Mrs Heath is a passionate advocate of the arts, she believes any great school has a thriving arts curriculum and is determined to play her part in delivering a first-class programme at Mercia School. Her passion for the arts led Mrs Heath to complete a BA (hons) degree in Theatre, graduating from Dartington College of Arts in 2001. The positive experience at Dartington led to completion of a PGCE in Art and Design at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2011. She joins Mercia School with a wealth of experience, having most recently worked as a highly effective Head of Art at Walthamstow School for Girls in London.

Away from the classroom, Mrs Heath is a keen sportswoman. She plays netball on a regular basis, as well as enjoys swing dancing and yoga. Last year she completed the Sheffield Half Marathon and she hopes to inspire pupils of Mercia School to lead healthy lives that are filled with high-quality sporting activity. Indeed, Mrs Heath is a keen surfer, bodyboarder, and scuba diver – she hopes to play a role in encouraging pupils to look beyond the ‘norm’ of sporting enrichment. Whilst sport plays an important role in her life, she is never far from the arts, playing the saxophone and painting landscapes and seascapes in her spare time. She is tremendously excited about teaching art at Mercia School, a school that understands the value of art in a vocational capacity as well as the impact that art can have in enriching students' experience of the world.

Mrs Katie Collin - Teacher of Music

Qualifications: BA Music, PGCE in Secondary Music

Mrs Collin is absolutely delighted to be joining Mercia School, she believes in traditional models of schooling and cannot wait to play her part in establishing a rich culture of performance at the school. Mrs Collin graduated from Downing College, University of Cambridge, where she achieved a BA in Music. Mrs Collin feels very privileged to have attended such a prestigious university and hopes to inspire pupils at Mercia School to aim towards similarly prestigious institutions. After graduation from Downing College, Mrs Collin completed her PGCE in Secondary Music from the Institute of Education and has enjoyed establishing a career in secondary education, primarily in London, over the past 12 years. 

Mrs Collin has held a range of leadership roles in a range of secondary schools; in the state, private and further education sectors. She has held the post of Assistant Director of Music at St Olave’s Grammar School in Bromley and Director of Music at Colfe’s School in Greenwich. Mrs Collin’s vast experience in both the state and private sector means she is ideally placed to establish a culture of performance at Mercia School, centered around musical performance and knowledge. She currently works at New College, Doncaster and is a vastly experienced teacher of both GCSE and A-level music.

Away from teaching, Mrs Collin is an incredibly talented musician in her own right. She achieved Grade 8 piano and clarinet, both at distinction level, while studying at the Royal Northern College of Music Junior School, and is relishing the prospect of inspiring Mercia pupils in the musical discipline. She herself plays in various orchestras and sings with multiple choirs in Sheffield and London. She is looking forward to working in a brand new school and developing an exciting new curriculum for the pupils of Mercia School.

Miss Paula Risby - Teacher of PE

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, PGCE in Secondary Physical Education

Miss Risby is thrilled to be joining Mercia School and cannot wait to get started in September. A passionate teacher of PE, she has over 12 years of experience in the secondary sector. Miss Risby achieved a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science from Sheffield Hallam University and has spent a significant amount of time teaching in a large academy trust in Cambridgeshire. She recently moved to Sheffield and currently teaches at the outstanding Tapton School in Sheffield. Miss Risby’s extensive experience is a blessing for Mercia School, we value competition and she is committed to instilling a competitive environment that pervades all elements of the school, especially in PE/games lessons and during house competitions.

Whilst working in Cambridgeshire, she held the role of School Sports Coordinator. This allowed her to work extensively with all year groups, from reception to sixth form, to ensure all pupils could access competitive opportunities across a wide range of sports. This experience, as well as her work at Tapton School, will be invaluable at Mercia School as we seek to ensure our sporting offer on Wednesday afternoons is of the highest possible quality.

Away from teaching, Miss Risby enjoys a wide variety of sports, but most notably athletics. She was a gifted triple jumper and at one point held the National Record. Miss Risby holds a significant number of fitness qualifications having worked in the health and fitness industry for over six years. As well as running around after her little one, Miss Risby likes to keep herself fit through middle and long distance running. She has completed the London Marathon, as well as a number of 10km races and half marathons. Miss Risby is very excited to instill her passion for fitness in the pupils of Mercia School, she wants pupils to appreciate sport at the highest level and can’t wait to get started.

Miss Charlotte Rothery - Teacher of PE

Qualifications: BA in Dance, Sport and Physical Education, PGCE in Secondary Physical Education

Miss Rothery graduated from Liverpool Hope University with a First Class BA (hons) degree in Dance, Sport and Physical Education in 2016. She is a passionate PE teacher who strongly believes in every child’s ability to enjoy and perform well in a wide range of sports and games. In 2018, Miss Rothery completed her PGCE in Secondary Physical Education from Manchester Metropolitan University. Alongside qualifying to teach, she gained valuable experience in a Doncaster secondary school teaching PE and choreographing a wide range of large-scale dance pieces. Miss Rothery is very excited to give all pupils the opportunity to perform, compete and gain confidence in dance and sport. During her PGCE, Miss Rothery took charge of the Year 7 netball team, training weekly and leading pupils during competitive fixtures. Miss Rothery strongly believes that pupils can thrive in a competitive environment and is totally committed to offering a wide range of clubs to the pupils of Mercia School.

Miss Rothery is a very talented sportswoman in her own right. She has trialed for the England Netball Team and has been coached at the highest standard of the game. In dance, she has performed for the BBC, working alongside Strictly Come Dancing choreographer Jason Gilkison and has even been a backing dancer for the Backstreet Boys! Miss Rothery is looking forward to producing a varied extra-curricular programme at Mercia School which gives all pupils the opportunity to shine in a range of sporting activities.