The Role of the Mentor

Our mentors are all experienced subject teachers and heads of department. Your mentor will support you throughout your placement, providing weekly meetings, lesson observations, and training.  Through these they will provide feedback  to help you develop your teaching practice and effective classroom management strategies.Our mentor’s have outstanding subject knowledge and signpost our trainees to other expertise and knowledge, for example subject associations.  


Emma Barnett, Teacher of DT, The Hollins

I have taught Design Technology for 20 years and specialise in Textiles, I also teach Child development.  I have been involved in mentoring trainees for a number of years and this year have been the DT subject coach delivering subject pedagogy to our trainees. 

The best thing about teaching is the variety the job brings.  My advice is that trainees should be flexible, be well planned, be reflective!


Abi Hewson- Second in Department (English), Ribblesdale High School

I have been teaching English Literature and English Language for six years at Ribblesdale High School. Towards the end of my NQT year, I began to oversee Year 8 (within English) and have now been Second in Department for the past four years.  In this time I have taken part in delivered many CPD sessions notably ‘Ownership of Own Learning’ and ‘Robust Assessment for Learning’, as well as subject specific sessions for the department. 

So far, I have mentored five trainees with PLSCITT and am Acting Lead Subject Coach for English trainees. There are so many things that I love about my job.  No two days are the same, there are always new ways to teach topics, teaching is great fun and when a child has a “light bulb” moment there is no greater feeling!  My advice to trainees is to never be afraid to ask, no question is silly!

Kara Bayley – Director of Literacy, The Hollins

I have been teaching for 17 years and have taught everything from KS2 to KS5, but have always had a focus on  English, literacy, reading, writing, etc  In my role I have taken part and delivered many different CPD programmes including Oracy,  literacy for NQTs and trainees, behaviour, management and  marking.  I have worked as a GCSE examiner and led an Oracy network for the Chartered College of Teaching.  I have always been involved in teacher training and have mentored a number of trainees and NQTs.

The best part of my job is being in the classroom.  My top tip is make the most of observing as many teachers and as many contexts as you can. It may feel boring when you’re itching to get stuck in, but this is about developing a variety of approaches to different situations.

Phoebe Smith, Teacher of English, Ribblesdale High School

I have been teaching five years now in the English Department and have had experience with two TLR posts: Student Leader Co-ordinator and Transition and Year 7 Co-ordinator.  Without a doubt, the best thing about teaching is when you gain pupils’ trust and start to see the impact you are having on a class. Seeing young people’s confidence increase is really rewarding and when you develop relationships with classes, it really is enjoyable.

My top tip is to be as organised as possible during your training, as this will prepare you for your NQT year and beyond. Additionally, make sure that you manage your time effectively to ensure that you have time for yourself/well-being. Your trainee year/NQT year is very challenging, but if you run yourself into the ground, you will not be as productive in the long run.

DRAMA – coming soon


Nagina Johnstone – Teacher of Geography/ Year Co-ordinator, The Hollins

I have been a teacher of geography for fourteen years and a year coordinator for ten.  I have been the lead subject coach for PLSCITT for  a number of years and in this role I mentor geography trainees and provide cpd on subject pedagogy and the geography curriculum for both PLSCITT and the North West SCITT consortium.  In addition to delivering CPD about AFL, marking and behaviour management.

Teaching is the most rewarding job with regards to enabling students to mature both academically and emotionally. And my advice to all trainees is to be organised, this will make the job so much easier!


Jamie Cross – Maths Lead Practitioner at The Hollins/ Maths Lead Subject Coach

I have been teaching maths for 18 years and have taught in 4 different schools.  During my career I have worked as Teacher of maths, Numeracy Coordinator, Head of Department, Lead Practitioner and I am a SLE for maths for the East Lancashire Teaching School Alliance.  I have both taken part in and delivered CPD in teaching and learning, subject pedagogy,  and am currently leading a number of National collaborative Projects for three Maths Hubs in the region.As an SLE I have been involved with school-to-school support.  I have been involved in the mentoring of trainees for 15 years.  The best part of my job is still being in the classroom.

Professional collaboration is a fundamental feature of teacher development. My advice for all trainee teachers to engage with other staff and schools as much as possible. 



Helen Wareham, Head of MFL St Christopher’s CE High School

I have been teaching MFL for 23 years. I have spent three  as a teacher of MFL (French and Spanish to A-Level), one as Head of Spanish, and nineteen as Head of MFL in two different schools. All three schools i have worked in have been the  11-18 age range.  I have been a SLE (MFL) for ELTSA since Feb 2018 and in this role I provide school to school support in MFL.  Throughout my career I have been involved in mentoring trainees.  I still love being in the classroom and no two days are ever the same.

My advice to trainees is be organised – don’t leave things to the last minute, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.


Charlotte King, Head of MFL, The Hollins

I followed a school centered training route and since gaining QTS have spent ten years as MFL teacher and nine as head of department.  I have delivered trainee CPD sessions in the use of target language in the MFL classroom, challenge and engagement, use of data and have also led whole school CPD on modelling.  the best thing about teaching is that every day is different.

My advice to trainees is to observe as much as possible as you won’t get this chance again! Also say yes to as many opportunities you get – trips, duties, clubs etc!


Nicole Wood – Teacher of Science (Chemistry) Ribblesdale High School

I have been teaching for 5 years on main pay scale as a teacher of science with Chemistry specialism. I do, however, teach all sciences at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  I have delivered CPD as my role as Microsoft Innovative Educator of the science department. This involves departmental training, sharing resources and having one-to-one meetings with staff to help with E-Learning. I also have a focus on pupil premium boys, I test and deliver strategies through sharing best practice, carry out learning walks and feedback into the DIP.

The best thing about my job when the students finally understand the concept you are teaching – you can see the penny drop for most when they say, “Oh, I get it!” especially with some of the trickier content in science.  My top tip is for all trainees to take a break to have some time to yourself – especially at the weekend!


Julie Carson – Teacher of Science at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School and Professional Mentor

I have spent the last 15 years as classroom teacher specialising in Biology and for the last 10 years have been the professional mentor for trainees this has led me to assist with interview and selection for the ITT programmes at Edge Hill.  I still love being in the classroom this job is never boring and at times teenagers are very funny!

My advice to trainees is to be organised, be positive. Talk to lots of people at school for support, and allocate some time to look after yourself which you don’t sacrifice.


Claire Wilkinson, Chemistry Lead, Ribblesdale High School

I started teaching in 2012 at Our Lady and St John’s in Blackburn. I was both pupil and NQT at OLSJ and stayed there for five extremely happy yet eye opening years. I made the move to Ribblesdale to take on the role of Second in Science. The school is a fantastic place to work with lots of opportunity for CPD with lots of great teachers to learn from and work with.  Whilst at Ribblesdale I took on the role of Chemistry Lead for the PLSCITT and have been involved in delivering CPD sessions  in Engaging Boys.

The best thing about this job is that every single day is different. You can plan your lessons, but you can never plan on what the pupils are going to do or say! Working with teenagers does have its challenges but it can also be very rewarding and quite funny a lot of the time.  My advice to trainees is to use your time wisely in school and take advantage of all the support available to you, not just from your mentor but from all members of the department you’re working in. There will be a lot of experience and a lot of ideas that people are more than willing to share with you. And remember, it WILL get easier!

Carmen Anderson – Teacher of Science (Physics Specialist), The Hollins 

i have been teaching for 10 years now and have been at The Hollins for 8 of these years as a science teacher. I teach both key stages, specialising in physics at GCSE.  I have delivered CPD on cross curricular numeracy, exam marking and required practicals.  I have been a subject mentor for 7 years now and have coached students from a range of pathways, including PGCE, Schools Direct and SCITT.

The best thing about teaching is that every day is different so it never gets boring! It is also a very rewarding job. Young people are brilliant and we are lucky to get to work with them on a daily basis.  My top tip to trainees is to be prepared, do not leave anything till the last minute! Make sure you ask for help/support. Don’t be afraid to try new things in your lessons.