Meet Our Senior Leadership Team
Ms S Heppenstall - Head of School
Sally is Head of School at Harper Green. She first joined the school in 2014 as Deputy Headteacher – Director of Pastoral Care. Throughout her time at Harper Green she has worked collaboratively with Rivington and Blackrod High School auditing and action planning provisions in both schools.
She started her career as a Teacher of Geography in 2002 at a rural school in Somerset. Here she advance her career from Assistant Head of Year to Head of Year, before joining the Senior Leadership Team. After moving to Manchester in 2011, Sally progressed to Assistant Headteacher – Inclusion at Wright Robinson College before moving to Harper Green.
Sally has a degree in Geography, a Masters in Meteorology and Climatology and a PGCSE BILD Geography (through the medium of French) amongst other recognised qualifications.
She said, “I initially took up teaching because I loved my subject and missed using it in industry after completing my masters. It wasn’t something I’d even thought about doing until that point, and I hadn’t even considered advancing up through middle to senior leadership, but I truly do believe I’ve found my vocation in life. I absolutely love working with students and making a difference to their lives and their futures.
"I am privileged to be Head of School at Harper Green, a school I love working at and a community I enjoy being a part of transforming. I am immensely proud of the school ethos and community we have built up over the last five years and how this has shaped the young people that have come through our doors.
"Staff at Harper Green are truly committed to making a difference to each and every young person at Harper Green, and that is what makes me want to lead it.”
Ms M Jefferies - Director of Resources
Michelle is Director of Resources at Harper Green and is responsible for Human Relations, recruitment (including onboarding), budget monitoring, policy development, coordination of educational visits and deployment of associate staff.
Her career commenced at Harper Green in September 2002 as a Work Related Learning and Enterprise Officer before becoming a member of the senior leadership team in 2008.
Michelle has a degree in Sports Studies and Urban Policy and various recognised Management and business qualifications.
Michelle said, “Harper Green is a wonderful place to work. It allows you to make a difference in the lives of young people daily. Every member of staff at the school, no matter what role they hold, makes a significant contribution to our students’ experiences of education.
"My role allows me to work with all staff employed at Harper Green, on both a strategic and operational level.”
Miss G Gardiner - Director of Curriculum and Standards
Georgia is the Director of Curriculum and Standards at Harper Green School.
She started her teaching career as a teacher of Mathematics with the charity, TeachFirst and quickly progressed to Head of Department where she spent a number of years as a Subject Ambassador, developing the Mathematics curriculum across the trust and supporting fellow Heads of Departments. Georgia then progressed to Assistant Headteacher, where she worked under the ‘Curriculum and Standards’ umbrella.
Georgia has a first class degree in Music, a masters degree in Educational Leadership and a national professional qualification in Senior Leadership.
Georgia said, “I am proud to be a teacher and school leader. Driven by a passion for improving outcomes, my favourite part of my role is being in the classroom and teaching Mathematics. As a senior leader, I am humbled to work with many outstanding teachers and school leaders to improve the quality of education on offer.
“I am privileged to be a part of the Harper Green School community that puts its students first. The power of education can transform the lives of students, and I am dedicated to ensuring that every young person at Harper Green has access to a broad and balanced curriculum that is personalised for them to ensure that they can achieve their ambitions.”
Mr R Beattie - Deputy Headteacher Director of Teaching and Learning
Rob is Deputy Headteacher at Harper Green and is responsible for teaching and learning.
He started his career as an NQT Teacher of History at Allestree Woodlands School in Derby after completing a PGCE where he stayed for nine years, gaining invaluable pastoral experience and progressing to Head of House. Rob then moved to Murray Park School as Assistant Headteacher, where he implemented his vision for Teaching and Learning before joining Harper Green in 2021.
Rob has a degree in History and a Masters in History Race and Resistance.
Rob said, “I am passionate about the power of education and how it has the potential to open doors for students and allow them to achieve their ambitions and dreams. I was very fortunate to have inspiring teachers when I was at school, including my History teacher, who ignited my love for the past and learning about the legacies left by others and the impact events and individuals have had on the modern world.
“I am the proud father to a five year old and I want the same for her as I want for all students - that they grow into confident, passionate, open minded people with the power and drive to change their own futures.”
Mr S Walsh - Deputy Headteacher - Director of Behaviour, Attitudes and Personal Development
Sam Wash is Deputy Headteacher - Director of Behaviour, Attitudes and Personal Development at Harper Green School and joined Leverhulme Academy Trust in 2022.
Following a brief time as a Lawyer for local solicitors, Keoghs LLP, Sam travelled to China to teach English as a foreign language. He then returned to the UK and joined the charity TeachFirst, located in East London at an all-girls secondary school next to the 2012 Olympic Park. Since then, Sam has worked in a number of roles, including Teacher of English, Student Leadership and KS3 Transition and Progress Leader, before relocating back to Bolton as Assistant Headteacher at Dean Trust Rose Bridge in Wigan, where he worked across a variety of roles such as leading KS3 Assessment, Attainment and Progress Lead, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, and Director of Pupil and Parent Engagement.
Sam has a First Class degree in International Law, a Masters in Educational Leadership and a National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL).
He said, “I love teaching and working in schools. Every day is an opportunity to improve – for myself and the students and colleagues that I’m privileged enough to work with.
"I left law because I didn’t feel like I was adding to society with what I did. Now, as a teacher and leader, I relish the opportunity to help others realise and achieve their potential. The fantastic teachers that I was fortunate enough to have when I was in school have equipped me with a tenacity and drive to support young people to thrive – not only in school but also as confident members of society.”
Mr S Whitehead - Assistant Headteacher – Director of KS4
Sean Whitehead is Assistant Headteacher and Director of Key Stage 4. He started his career as a Music Teacher at Harris Boys’ Academy in East Dulwich before moving to Ark Global Academy in Elephant and Castle, where he spent eight years in various roles such as Head of Music, Head of Performing Arts, Assistant Principal, Head of KS4 and Digital learning lead.
Sean said, “After spending ten years in education, my purpose and drive have only strengthened, and I am committed to providing quality education for all, particularly in the communities that need it the most.
“The best part of the job is seeing alumni success years later as they go on to fulfil their potential.”
Mrs P Holmes-Patel - Assistant Headteacher - Director of Community and Inclusion
Paula is Assistant Headteacher and Director of Community and Inclusion at Harper Green and first joined Harper Green in 1996. During this time, she has been Head of Year for two cohorts, Assistant Headteacher, Assistant Head of Year and an English post holder. She has a degree in PE and English and a Masters in Educational Studies.
Over the years, Paula has created many links with our local community. She finds a strong desire to work with our students and the families in our local area to ensure they are supported and encouraged and to help us work together and provide the best education for their children.
Paula said, “Harper Green is a place I am very passionate about and working with our students is the most important reason to get up in the morning and to make a difference.
“I am so lucky that working with our students and families is not a job, but something that I love doing every single day. Our students make me proud - In the classroom, in the corridor or the sports field, or in the community helping others less fortunate. They put a smile on my face and never fail to amaze me. They are always Harper.”
Mr P Ware - Director of KS4 Student Progression
Peter Ware is Assistant Headteacher at Harper Green and is responsible for Key Stage 4 Student Progression.
He trained as a Geography Teacher at St Peter's High School in Manchester before starting his career as a Newly Qualified Teacher at The Cooperative Academy in North Manchester. He rejoined St Peter's as Head of Geography sometime later, before taking up the role of Associate Assistant Headteacher there.
Peter has a degree in Geography and Sociology, a Masters in Sociological Research and a PGCE in Secondary Geography.
He said, "I love teaching Geography because I firmly believe that it is a subject which helps children to understand the world that they will inherit as adults. By equipping young people with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle the great challenges that face us, such as climate change, we can hope to create a better world for future generations.
“My favourite aspect of teaching is the moment when you know that you have made a difference to a child’s life, opportunities and happiness, and the highlights of my career are certainly some of these moments. Seeing a student collect their fantastic examination grades or meeting a student who has gone on to college or university after being inspired by you is one of the best feelings.”
Mrs R O'Donnell - Assistant Headteacher – Director of KS3
Rebecca is Assistant Headteacher for Key Stage 3 at Harper Green and is responsible for supporting students transitioning from primary school and throughout their first three years.
Starting as an NQT teaching Spanish, Rebecca joined Harper Green in 2001 and has worked in numerous roles, including Head of Year 7 and Head of Key Stage 3.
Rebecca has a degree in Spanish and Portuguese and completed a PGCE at St Martins College in Lancaster. She has also spent time living and working in Spain.
She said, "Many people have asked why I have stayed at Harper Green, and the answer is quite simple. I love what I do, and I come to work each day hoping to make a difference for the students I work with, allowing them to broaden their horizons and hopefully become global citizens ready to explore the world outside of Harper Green.
"Having worked at Harper Green for almost 20 years, I understand the different backgrounds and experiences students bring into school. I have witnessed the amazing achievements that all students can make through the care and guidance given by staff and year teams. I feel my current role places me in an optimum position to provide students with the support and strategies needed to achieve their potential academically whilst simultaneously enjoying their education in a caring, supportive environment."
Mrs S Casey - Director of KS3 Student Progression
Sophie Casey is Assistant Headteacher and is responsible for student progress at Key Stage 3. Sophie joined the Senior Leadership Team in 2021 and is passionate about supporting young people and assisting them in achieving their ambitions.
Prior to joining Harper Green, Sophie has been a Curriculum Leader of English across three different contexts in Manchester. She has a degree in English Literature, a PGCE and an NPQML.
Sophie said, "I was someone who always knew what they wanted to be when I was in school, and that was a teacher. My own English teacher inspired me, and once I achieved this ambition, I became particularly passionate about the curriculum and what it can provide for our young people beyond academia.
“I am an advocate for creating a holistic student, regardless of who they are and where they’re from, and providing them with equal opportunities. Beyond this, I hope to make students feel as happy in school as I did in my English lessons as a student.”