Owain Johns, Principal
Owain has extensive experience in education. Having graduated from the University of West England, he went on to teach design and technology in Oxfordshire before moving into school leadership roles in Buckinghamshire.
He played a key role in a girls’ grammar school achieving an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted and has led two successful school building projects.
Owain said: “I am excited about leading what will become a world class educational experience. It is a first for Oxfordshire and the challenge will be to ensure that young people are equipped with the key life skills for success in the world of work, in particular science and engineering.”
Sue Lea, Vice Principal
Following a degree in applied biology from Bradford University, Sue began her career in bioscience research before training as a science teacher at Garnett College, London. She taught biological and environmental sciences in Greater Manchester before relocating to Oxfordshire.
Sue has spent the last 15 years at Henley College, including the past five years as Head of Faculty (for science, maths, ICT and business) co-ordinating A-levels and vocational learning.
Sue comments on her new role: “I’m very excited to join UTC Oxfordshire and to be working with our industry partners to ensure the curriculum and labs reflect the working environment and equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. I’ve attended the UTC’s taster events and met some of our future students – I’m really looking forward to teaching these talented and ambitious young people.”
Glen Young, Assistant Principal/Director of Science and Computing
Glen graduated from University of Bath in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2004. For the last four years, he has been Head of Science for an academy in Buckinghamshire where he introduced a diverse programme of visits, speakers and trips to support the science curriculum and led on innovations in science teaching while running a large and busy department.
Glen said: “Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are central to UTC Oxfordshire becoming a hub of excellence. Our combination of academic study and vocational skills and knowledge will be essential in preparing young people for the STEM jobs of the future that don’t exist yet. I’m passionate about lifelong learning and it will be at the heart of what we prepare our young people for.”
Richard Hurrell, Assistant Principal/Director of Engineering and Mathematics
Richard began his career as an apprentice electrical engineer for British Steel. After achieving an HNC in Electrical Engineering and an honors degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering, he was offered a full time position working in the steel industry. 15 years later, Richard was offered the opportunity to design and deliver a range of engineering qualifications for 14-18 years old, most recently working with students at The Chalfonts Community College and Highcrest Academy.
Richard said: “I am extremely excited to join UTC Oxfordshire. With the help of our industry partners and state of the art facilities, we will be able to provide students with practical skills and theoretical knowledge, a combination that I know from my own experience is invaluable.”
Paul Corrie, Lead Practitioner, Mathematics
After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University, Paul took a couple of years to find his way into mathematics teaching and has taught in a variety of schools in Oxfordshire. For the last seven years, Paul has been Head of Upper School and then Head of Mathematics at Fitzharrys School. Paul has transformed underperforming maths department with 51% of students gaining a grade A*-C, to one of the strongest department in the school, with 76% gaining these grades.
Paul said: “For too long we have not been preparing our students adequately for an increasingly technical world. I am looking forward to helping to do something positive about this at the UTC.”
Iris Ferrier, SENDCo, Head of English and Teacher of German
Iris embarked on her professional journey as a chemical laboratory technician in the plastics industry, but changed her career path to enter the teaching profession when she realised the importance of her own children’s school education.
She then completed her BA in English at the University of London and gained a PGCE from the University of Bolton. Whilst teaching English and German and supporting students through their IB, A Level, GCSE and Key Stage 3 programmes on the Isle of Man, Rome and Fleetwood, Iris continued with her own academic studies. This led to the completion of her MA Ed (Open University), with a focus on English as an additional language and special education needs, and her EdD (University of Sheffield) with a focus on linguistics and literacy. At the end of 2014, Iris and her family moved to their permanent home in the local area. She is looking forward to assist students on their path to success and achievement at UTC Oxfordshire.
Susan Smith, Teacher of Science
After graduating from University of Birmingham with a degree in Biochemistry with Biotechnology, Susan worked as a software developer for seven years before training as a science teacher at the Institute of Education in London, specialising in chemistry. Susan taught at an outstanding school in Hertfordshire before taking a career break to raise her own children.
Over the last five years Susan has volunteered for the NCT, Potential Plus UK and Mums in Didcot, run CuriosiTots classes teaching science to children aged 2-5, and tutored GCSE, BTEC, A-level and International Baccalaureate students.
Rosie Hudson, Teacher of Science
Rosie received her secondary education in Didcot and it was whilst still at school that she realised she wanted to be a teacher and her passion for physics was ignited by brilliant teachers, along with a love of art and music. After studying physics at Swansea University, Rosie did a PGCE at Nottingham University and joined the UTC in July 2016.
Rosie is excited to be starting her career at UTC Oxfordshire and is enjoying teaching at such an exciting innovative environment where the pupils are the focus and science is the inspiration.
Joseph Amuah-Fuster, Teacher of Science
Joseph completed his BSc honours degree in Medicinal Chemistry at Kingston University before embarking on another degree in Complementary Therapies at the University of Westminster. In using his scientific background to treat clients through therapeutic consultation (especially in developing their own awareness of their health and how to maintain it), Joseph developed a keen interest in helping people to help themselves.
Since graduating from the University of Roehampton in 2008, gaining his PGCE, Joseph has taught in London and Oxfordshire secondary schools in the role of a science teacher, teaching all sciences at GCSE and BTEC standard, but focusing primarily on Chemistry A-level.
Joseph enjoys the pastoral part of education, helping young people to develop their own sense of worth and confidence in their abilities. He spent four years working with the Harrow School Combined Cadet Force to coordinate access to the cadet programme for students. Joseph set up and coordinated a Duke of Edinburgh programme to develop young adults’ range of experiences and skills. In his role as Deputy Head of Year, he oversaw aspects of the school’s personal development programme, designed motivational materials on exam preparation, and designed and monitored a mentoring programme for his year group and others.
Commenting on his new role at UTC Oxfordshire, Joseph said: “I am excited to be at a place where we can see what teachers have been wanting all along; an environment that supports students to work independently, a space for students to safely interact with staff on a professional level and a hub of technology, industry links and subject expertise of a standard I have not seen in my eight years of teaching.”
Kieran Hughes, Teacher of Science
Kieran graduated from University of Southampton with a BSc in Chemistry in 2011. He then worked as a cover supervisor in a school in Oxford before deciding to enter the teaching profession fully.
Kieran studied for his PGCE at the University of Oxford in 2012-13 before getting his first job at his placement school in Northamptonshire. He taught science and a small amount of maths across all years, but focused mainly on GCSE and A-level.
Kieran joined UTC Oxfordshire as a Teacher of Science in September 2016.
Alex Baker, Teacher of Computer Science
Alex graduated from Reading University in 2007 having been awarded a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics. He has knowledge in network management, programming, and systems engineering.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the team at UTC Oxfordshire. It is such an exciting school that has the potential to really meet the needs for students and businesses alike.”
Sim Richards, Teacher of Engineering and Design
Sim holds a life-long passion for designing, making, breaking, remaking and improving products in an effort to understand how things work and how they could work better.
He acquired a BSc in Product Design from Swansea and soon after spent two years working in Africa and Spain in the fields of solar power, ecological design and sustainable transportation. Following this he spent 10 years in the bicycle trade, latterly with his own business teaching bicycle maintenance and riding skills to thousands of young people across the south.
Sim qualified as a teacher in 2011 through the Oxon Bucks GTP program and since then has taught Engineering and Design & Technology at Cherwell School Oxford before starting work at UTC Oxfordshire in September 2015.
Sim is excited to be bringing his skills and experience to a new location in order to help inspire the next generation of young engineers.
Will Ratty, Teacher of Engineering and Design
Born in Canada, Will’s parents brought him back to England when he was 7. He wanted to teach PE, but after getting Pure and Applied Maths and Physics A-levels, mending an old motorcycle for most of his weekends, he ended up with a Mechanical Engineering honours degree from Bradford.
He spent 30 years in industry, paper mills, steel mills, as a self-employed design engineer, and ended up at Siemens, Eynsham, making MRI magnets. These were all in Management roles.
In 2007 Will was diagnosed with leukaemia, so when he had finished the chemo, he decided on a career change to teaching as this had more ‘life’ than plugging data into a computer.
After qualifying as a teacher, he worked in Cherwell School in Oxford teaching Design and Technology and BTEC. After a career break in 2012 (to run his local pub) he went back to teaching at a further education college. This included teaching a series of HNCs to BMW Project leader staff.
Will has now joined UTC Oxfordshire, and enjoys working with the staff and students here.
Vance Briggs, Teacher of Engineering and Design
Vance joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) at 16 years old as an apprentice, studying BTEC Engineering. During his RAF career he studied twice at the Royal Military College of Science, firstly for an honours degree in Electronic Systems Engineering, and secondly for a masters degree in Military Electronic Systems Engineering. After leaving the RAF he worked for a commercial software company and subsequently Hewlett Packard where he ran a team of specialist engineers who developed and commissioned multi-million pound software systems across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Vance brings a wealth of real-world engineering and computer science experience to the UTC.
Vance said: “I am passionate about engineering and computer science. It was not until I was exposed to engineering subjects when I joined the RAF that I was inspired to take control of my life and education. I hope to be able to inspire the next generation to drive their own destiny and take opportunities open to them in a technical career.”
Georgina Phillips, Teacher of Engineering and Design
Georgina studied Industrial Design and Technology with Education at Loughborough University and then went on to complete her PGCE also at Loughborough University. She then went to work in a secondary school in Northamptonshire teaching a range of Resistant Materials, Product Design, Food Technology and Graphic Design for 11 years. In 2016 Georgina found an advert for UTC Oxfordshire and was excited by the new type of education it promised to provide. Georgina and her family decided to move to Oxfordshire this summer and have so far enjoyed exploring the local area. Georgina is very excited to be starting at the UTC and to take on a new style of education that focuses on helping young people to really love design!
Kate Tyler, Teacher of Mathematics
After working as a Registered General Nurse for 10 years, Kate completed a degree in maths with the Open University and her PGCE at Oxford Brookes University. Since then Kate has spent 11 years teaching maths at Matthew Arnold School, seven of which have been as Assistant Curriculum Leader.
Kate said: “I am looking forward to being part of the UTC Oxfordshire and inspiring young people.”
Kathy Hodgson, Teacher of Mathematics
Kathy graduated with a BEng honours degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Newcastle before studying for an MSc in Radio Astronomy at Jodrell Bank (University of Manchester). Deciding that life as a researcher was not for her, she joined Thames Water as a graduate engineer. After completing training placements across the company, she joined the engineering department and was responsible for designing monitoring and control systems for Advanced Water Treatment works. She then moved into the construction and commissioning team and was able to see her designs in working action before taking responsibility for commissioning the replacement of the control and monitoring system for the whole of London’s clean water treatment.
Motherhood led to a change of scene and once her daughter began school, Kathy started working as a school science technician. She was quickly persuaded by her colleagues to train to teach and gained Qualified Teacher Status via the Graduate Teacher Programme. After a number of years at The Downs School, she decided to gain experience in other types of educational establishment and worked for the Alternative Curriculum before moving on to an international boarding school. As soon as she saw the advert for UTC Oxfordshire she knew she wanted to be a part of it: “I only wish something similar had been available when I was choosing my options as a teenager.”
Chris Podger, Teacher of Mathematics
Nichola Sheath, Teacher of Mathematics
After completing her BSc in Mathematics with the Open University, Nichola went on to qualify as a Mathematics Teacher and has taught in a variety of schools across Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. She has been a Mathematics Teacher and Form Tutor since 2003.
Nichola joined the UTC as a Mathematics Teacher in September 2016 and is extremely enthusiastic and excited about the opportunities the UTC gives to its students, including inspiring the next generation to reach their true potential through hard work and help from a truly dedicated team of teachers.
Melissa Mallows, Teacher of English and Humanities
Maddy Stretton, Teacher of English
After graduating from Bath Spa University with a degree in English, Maddy moved on to do her PGCE at the University of Bath. She taught English at an outstanding school in Wiltshire before deciding to move to Kuwait, in the Middle East, where she continued to teach GCSE and A-level English to students from all over the world, a number of whom are now at university in the UK. On returning to the UK she returned to teaching at an outstanding school in Plymouth before moving to Didcot where she now lives with her husband and son.
Álvaro Camps Gutierrez, Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages
Álvaro graduated as a lawyer from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in 1997. He specialised in Business Law and HR Management and soon started to focus on training, coaching and adult education. After gaining his teaching qualifications in 2007, he started his career in secondary education, as a Business Studies teacher. In 2008 he had his first experience as a Spanish teacher volunteering for a local charity working with immigrants from all over the world. It was such a fulfilling experience, that he decided to specialise in MFL Spanish and moved with his family for three years to Austin, Texas, gaining further experience and new teaching training from University of Texas at Austin. In 2012 he finally arrived to Englad to continue his career as a MFL Spanish (and as a Business Studies) teacher. Álvaro is also an entrepreneur and the Head of Spanish at The Henley College.
Álvaro said: “I want my students to realise, through my personal experience, how languages can change their lives and literally open a new world of opportunities.”
Helen Krajewska, Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages
Lesley Peates, Teacher of Humanities