New Durham Free School's new teachers

The new Durham Free School has appointed a team of experienced teachers to teach pupils all the National Curriculum core subjects

Headteacher of The Durham Free School, Peter Cantley
Headteacher of The Durham Free School, Peter Cantley

The team of experienced teachers who will form the first staff of the new Durham Free School has been appointed.

Among the eight teachers are two from Durham Gilesgate Sports College and Sixth Form Centre, which closes this term, including assistant head teacher Julie Normanton.

The free school is due to open in the former Durham Gilesgate Sports College building in September, as a temporary measure, while a permanent site is being found.

Staff have been recruited into all the National Curriculum core subjects the school will offer, including maths and English, science, geography, history, music, design and technology, art, modern foreign languages and PE.

The new teachers met children and parents at the new pupils’ induction event held at the Houghall campus of East Durham College yesterday .

Head teacher Peter Cantley said: “We are delighted to have attracted such a high calibre team of teachers who are both talented and highly qualified.

“We made a promise to parents that this would be the case and we are pleased to have delivered on that promise.

“Most have not only taught their subjects to GCSE and A-level, but also have experience as subject leaders and heads of department.

“Many are coming from high performing schools and bring with them vast experience in providing outstanding education.”

The free school will open with 40 Year 7 children, growing as each year group is added in the future. Teaching and support staff will grow accordingly.

Mr Cantley added: “Our new team is committed to the inclusive Christian ethos of The Durham Free School, where all children are welcome, will be valued and receive a great deal of care and attention, and where education will be inspiring, fulfilling and transformational.

“I know the staff team can’t wait to get started on this very exciting opportunity and we will be working throughout the summer holidays in readiness for opening and welcoming our first Year 7 in September.”

The other teachers include: Julian Eisner, who is coming from Birkenhead School and was previously a head of science and deputy head teacher; Paul Bamling, a former head of music at Farringdon Sports College, Sunderland; and Lee-Anne Butler, an English teacher from Washington School who previously taught drama, English and media studies at Seaham School and works as a GCSE examiner with Edexcel.

They will be joined by Helen Graham, currently a teacher of design and technology and art at Whitworth Park School, County Durham; Steve Mulgrew, a modern foreign languages teacher from Emmanuel College in Gateshead, who is also a regional adviser and trainer, and national INSET leader for languages; and Vickie Richardson, currently deputy leader of learning for science and PE at Durham Gilesgate Sports College and Sixth Form Centre, who will teach girls’ PE.

The team is completed by Nicholas Willings, teacher of boys’ PE who is a sports coach for Durham University, a former director of PE at Durham School and a senior rugby coach for England Schools, with a lifetime achievement award from the Rugby Football Union.


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