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Meet Our Senior Leaders
Mr David Astin, Executive Principal
Mr Astin has been teaching for 20 years, and with the Harris Federation since 2008. He began his career at a large school in Milton Keynes in 1995 and then taught at a very successful girls' school in Carshalton.
In 2008, Mr Astin was appointed Assistant Principal of our sister school, Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. After that, he was a leader of the Harris Sixth Form and later the Principal of Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley.
During this time, he helped to lay the educational foundations of the Harris Westminster Sixth Form, a collaboration with Westminster School which aims to prepare London’s brightest state school pupils for entry to the world’s best universities. Mr Astin, who lives in Beckenham with his young family, was appointed Executive Principal of Harris Academy Orpington in September 2018.
Mr Richard Carey, Head of Academy
Richard is an experienced Senior leader having taught for over 20 years and taking on various leadership roles within the Harris Federation for 11 years.
Richard was responsible for setting up a brand new Academy in East Dulwich which was deemed “outstanding” in its most recent Ofsted inspection. He then utilised his experience to assist with the opening of Harris Academy Garrard in Bexley. Richard has a passion for student welfare and feels that all students must have the opportunity for a great academic education, develop their wider understanding of a modern Britain and become well-rounded young adults in the process.
As a local resident, he is fully aware of the need for a great school, serving the local community and welcomes any feedback from parents and carers.
Richard was appointed as the Head of Academy in Easter 2019 and is exceptionally proud of all the students and their achievements.
Mr Gareth Lewis, Vice Principal
Teaching was always something I wanted to do.
I enjoyed International success in athletics whilst at school and University; I then started coaching athletes at Battersea Park athletics track. This became my doorway into teaching. I trained to teach at St Mary’s University College and was selected to study and complete part of my course in Portugal as part of an Erasmus programme.
I’ve enjoyed working in secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and central London where I later qualified as a Lead Practitioner working with the SSAT and then as an Advanced Skills Teacher working with three schools in Southwark and the Youth Sports Trust to develop their sports curriculum offer. I became a Chartered London Teacher in 2013.
As a sports teacher, I have always valued the extracurricular activities a school is able to offer and have led this area in a number of schools; offering Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold award expeditions to the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Lake District. I have also led a number of ski trips to Europe and the United States of America. Culturally I think school trips hold an important opportunity to develop student’s cultural awareness and have run trips for students to Paris, Berlin, New York, Washington DC, and Sydney. During the 2012 Olympics, as part of their ‘get set’ programme, I took a group of students to a remote village called Mwanza in Tanzania to develop the range of sports and engagement in different sports activities.
I joined the Harris Federation in 2016 and have worked in a number of their academies including Peckham, St Johns Wood, Invictus and Orpington. My main focus areas have been curriculum development and constructing effective timetables to enable both breadth and depth of the curriculum in Key Stage 3 and a well-structured and supportive Key stage 4 and 5 with a variety of both academic and vocational courses. I line manage Science and the Humanities presently.
More broadly at Harris Academy Orpington, I lead on Careers, Data protection and GDPR and presently line manage both Key stage 4 and Key stage 5 pastoral teams.
Personally, I enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures and environments. I also enjoy driving and motorsports especially road trips across the United States of America. Practically I enjoy hiking and snowboarding in Switzerland as often as I am able to.
Ms Fay Humphries, Faculty Director
Ms Humphries has been teaching for over 10 years and started her career within the Harris Federation. She was inspired by her own English teacher at school, and it was this teacher's passion and excitement for her subject that led Ms Humphries to obtain a degree in English Literature.
Ms Humphries has had several roles within Harris Orpington, and currently forms part of the Leadership Team whilst also looking after the Year 11 students with Ms Powell. She loves the challenge of working with teenagers and seeing the dedication and commitment from students to succeed. There is a tangible feeling of “family” within the year group, all working hard with integrity and determination having a shared goal and purpose.
Ms Humphries’ passion for literacy and reading is evident to the school, as she encourages students to seek new adventures and explore the world through the pages of a thrilling novel; a suspenseful mystery, a serendipitous tale of romance, or a page-turning horror, each one a passport with the ability to transport us to worlds beyond our reach.
Miss Clare Boyd, Faculty Director
Miss Boyd has been teaching within the Harris Federation for four years. Before joining Harris Orpington she worked at The Priory School. Starting as a middle leader with a responsibility for Science and then promoted to Assistant Principal, leading on Year 11, SMSC and Safeguarding.
Miss Boyd is now responsible for Leadership of the Sixth Form and Science as well as co-ordinating the Careers programme throughout the school.
Miss Boyd has a passion for Science, especially Chemistry. She teaches throughout the year groups, striving for each child to reach their full potential.
Mrs Ginni Puri, Assistant Principal, Mathematics
I have been teaching for 30 years. I started my career in 1990, as a teacher of Science and Maths in India. I have a degree in Science with Maths, Physics and electronics as my main subjects and then did B. Ed. I moved to the UK in 2002, and have been teaching since then.
I have been in leadership roles for the last 6 years and am committed to raising standards in teaching and learning, outcomes and behaviour.
I am passionate about mathematics as I know it is such a powerful subject that can change people’s lives. It allows us to be logical, thoughtful and enhances financial capability. Not only this, it develops patience and perseverance. Ever since, I was little, I just loved maths; I enjoyed doing puzzles, magic squares and Sudoku’s. Mathematics is one of the subjects that provide a huge satisfaction when you are able to solve a problem.
Being in a maths leadership role, I have been able to enthuse pupils’ interest in the subject and have taken the departments I worked with to be one of the exceeding departments in terms of outcomes and teaching and learning.
I joined Harris Academy Orpington in May 2020 and am fully committed to continue to raise standards in mathematics.
Mr Mark Brockwell, Faculty Director
Mr Brockwell has always had a passion for Teaching about Design, Technology and the modern world and is a firm believer in trying to prepare young people for their future in job roles that may not exist yet.
He studied BAEd Secondary Design and Technology at Goldsmiths University and has spent his career teaching in London schools. He joined the Harris Federation in 2007.
Mr Brockwell is an experienced Design and Technology teacher with a background in Resistant materials and Computer aided design.
He was a co-lead in the original ‘Student Commission’ and has led on student behaviour and whole school Health and safety. He has worked with the ‘Harris Teaching School’ to develop beginner teachers and has delivered course content on the NPQSL. He has also served as a School governor.
Mr Brockwell joined Harris Academy Orpington in 2019 as a Faculty Director having previously held the same role at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace.
Mr Martin Paterson, Assistant Principal overseeing Safeguarding
I have wanted to be a teacher from the age of 14/15 years old. I was inspired by my PE teachers at school, and everything that I did from that age was geared towards where I am today, with some bumps along the way!
I love sport and was heavily involved with this as a child and this has been a constant throughout my life. I went to the University of Bedfordshire and studied Sport and Physical Education, followed by a year on a Graduated Teacher Programme, whilst also working as a Qualified Tennis Coach.
Previously I have worked at Harris Academy Purley and now at Harris Academy Orpington, whilst working at a Grammar school in between. I play golf at the weekends, to help stay active.
I am an Assistant Principal with the responsibility of overseeing Safeguarding within Harris Academy Orpington.
Ms Jasmine Marshall-Fraser, Faculty Director
Ms Marshall-Fraser has been teaching for over 10 years. Her career began in a secondary school in Brighton as a Religious Studies teacher and during her time there she took on a number of responsibilities including Student Voice Coordinator, Able and Talented Coordinator and Head of Behaviour.
Ms Marshall-Fraser joined the Harris Federation in April 2019 as an Assistant Principal at Harris Invictus Academy as the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Ms Marshall-Fraser has a BA Hons and MA in Education and is passionate about ensuring all young people have the opportunity to a high quality of education.
Ms Bryoney Calnan, Assistant Principal for Transitions
Bryoney, born and raised in Northern Ireland, is a graduate from Queens University Belfast, where she studied English with Film Studies. During this time, she completed an accredited course entitled ‘Tutoring in Schools Programme,’ where her love of teaching began. She then went on to gain a City and Guilds Qualification in Teaching in Further and Higher Education. Whilst looking for her first teaching role, she managed to secure a position teaching English in Cambridge International School for Girls in Doha, Qatar. Following her year abroad, Bryoney moved to London in 2010 to attend the University of Greenwich, where she completed a PGCE in Primary Education and proudly accepted an NQT offer in her placement school.
Bryoney is a unique asset to Harris Orpington, as she is an experienced Primary leader. During her seven years at different Primary schools Bryoney has worn many hats; including Head of House, Drama Lead, Music Lead, Head of Literacy, Lead Practitioner and Assistant Head. Her move to a secondary school has been a fantastic opportunity for us to use her knowledge of the Primary curriculum and pedagogical methods, to support our latest cohort of Year 7s and the staff who teach them. Bryoney worked hard through our first lockdown in 2020 to ensure the children joining us had a supportive curriculum in place to ease their transition; not just from Primary to Secondary; but to ease their return to school after such an unprecedented, prolonged absence.
Since moving to London, Bryoney has had the opportunity to revisit her favourite past times which include singing and performing. During her time at University Of Greenwich, she was a proud member and soloist at the University Choir. As soon as it is safe to do so, Bryoney hopes to create more opportunities for our students in school to speak up, be passionate, perform and take risks. She firmly believes when growing up, school theatrical productions and amateur dramatic societies gave her the confidence, ambition and drive she has today. She hopes to encourage many students to try new things outside of their comfort zone, so that they may have the confidence and courage to go after the bright future they all deserve!
Mrs Karen Lettington, SENCO
Mrs Lettington is an experienced teacher and senior leader. She aspired to work at Harris Academy Orpington because Orpington is where she was born and educated. In September 2015 she embarked on her own learning journey of how best to support children with additional needs, which included becoming a qualified SENCO. Her aim is to support pupils and families through the challenges and opportunities of having special educational needs. She herself is dyslexic, and her two children have special educational needs. She hopes her own experiences and training helps pupils and parents to have high expectations and realise what potential we all possess.
Mrs Lettington enjoys sports and outdoor activities and has always tried to infuse and support the young people she works with to have opportunities to enjoy the activities she loves. As a qualified mountain leader she has given her pupils skills to achieve the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards by leading school expeditions all across the UK. In addition she had led school expeditions to Mexico, Belize, Nepal and Malaysia. She is a qualified Level 3 Netball coach, and has coached the U19 England selection, County, Club and school netball teams. Leading School Netball tours to South Africa, Barbados, Malaga and across the UK.
She believes in experiential learning, knowing that these opportunities not only help you learn but more importantly, you have fun and it is what you will remember about your school days.
Mr Samuel Clarke, Head of PE
Mr Clarke has been teaching for 6 years and joined Harris Academy Orpington 4 years ago, as a PE teacher, from Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys. He graduated university in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports & Exercise Science from Aberystwyth University. His studies included: Sports Physiology, Sports Psychology, Biomechanics and Nutrition.
Mr Clarke started life after University as a Personal Trainer, but it was here that he discovered his passion for education. Aiming to try and make long-term changes to lifestyles through educating clients on the importance of exercise, nutrition and a balanced diet when dealing with a range of clients with varying needs and goals. Subsequently, he went on to become a cover supervisor at Woolwich Polytechnic school for boys in 2012, gaining valuable experience in the classroom helping to facilitate the education of young children in a variety of different subjects and areas of school life. Mr Clarke worked closely with the PE Department running the rugby, tennis, hockey, table tennis and cricket clubs as well as regularly taking students to fixtures after school and at weekends. Following this experience, he went on to complete his PGCE with Bromley Schools Collegiate in collaboration with the University of Canterbury in 2016. Completing placements in Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys and the Priory. After 4 years at Woolwich Polytechnic school for Boys Mr Clarke joined the PE Department at Harris Orpington in 2016, becoming an integral part of the department. He has overseen several successful cohorts pass through their GCSE and A-level with great success and has helped in developing a comprehensive extra-curricular programme. Mr Clarke was promoted to Head of Department in 2020.
Mr Clarke is passionate about physical activity and sport. Particularly the important positive effects it can have on both physical and mental health. Sport and Physical activity can help with self-esteem, confidence and installs a self-discipline which is useful in studies and later in life. Furthermore, building a love of sport and physical activity helps to promote a long-term healthy lifestyle which has huge benefits.
Ms Nicole Champion, Acting Head of English
Miss Champion has worked for the Harris Federation since 2013 and joined Harris Academy Orpington in 2019. Previously, Miss Champion worked at Harris Aspire and Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley, which was rated outstanding by Ofsted, where she worked as KS3 Lead and Second in Charge of the English Department.
Miss Champion holds a degree in English with specialism of British Literature from the University of Greenwich as well as a PGCE from Goldsmith’s University in London. Her research specialised in the use of literacy strategies to further educational practices. She is currently working towards her Lead Practitioner qualification with a focus on Literacy across the curriculum.
After leaving university, Miss Champion was inspired to work with children after volunteering to support with performing arts and dance productions in the local community.
Miss Champion has a passion for English and reading and believes that this opens the door to a world of creativity and confidence. She believes that no student should leave without the tools to communicate and express themselves to make sure that their voice is heard in the wider world.
Mrs Louise Woolmer, Head of Art, Design and Technology
Mrs Woolmer has been teaching for 22 years and joined The Priory School (now Harris Academy Orpington) in 2014.
Previously, Mrs Woolmer taught art at Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge for 17 years, where she became Head of Art and NQT Induction Tutor, moving on to being the ITT Lead of the Training School and Teaching School.
Mrs Woolmer worked closely with local schools, various teacher training establishments and was also an art tutor at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is passionate about arts education at all levels whether as a pupil or trainee teacher. She continually strives to improve the art and design provision and increase the numbers opting for the subject. Results and pupil numbers have grown and the range of experiences we offer the pupils has widened. Mrs Woolmer is keen for pupils to have a broader awareness of the importance of art and design and strive for all pupils to achieve the best of their ability.
Mrs Amy Harrison, Head of Sixth Form and Social Sciences
Mrs Harrison joined Harris Orpington in 2014 as an NQT and has developed to Head of Sixth Form having established the Social Science department as Head of Subject.
After leaving university she was inspired to work with children having worked at a drug and alcohol service in Brixton, to make a positive difference.
Mrs Harrison holds an undergraduate degree in Forensic Investigation and Social Science and an MA in Education (Inclusion) where her dissertation explored how we can teach resilience to children. She is also a counselling psychotherapist in integrative therapy.
Mrs Harrison aims to bring together her experiences, to develop the sixth form, supporting her students as they enter the next stage of their lives. She aims to ensure they are introduced to all opportunities available, making the best choices for them.
Mrs Harrison is passionate in ensuring all students leave our school with the academic qualifications to open doors and are empowered, autonomous and resilient, ready to face life’s challenges.
Ms Isabel Buckles, Head of Mathematics
Ms Buckles has recently joined Harris Academy Orpington in the role of Head of Maths. Before joining the Harris Federation she undertook a whole school role in a Grammar School in Kent where she was focused on ensuring that all pupils had access to a challenging and stimulating Maths Curriculum. For a number of years prior to this, Ms Buckles worked in a similar Multi – Academy Trust across Schools in South East London, leading predominantly KS4 Maths and the improvement of GCSE Maths outcomes.
Ms Buckles graduated from University of Bristol with an Undergraduate degree in Economics and then continued to complete a Masters in Management. It was never the initial career goal to become a teacher and she spent 5 years moving from Project Manager to Head of Delivery for a large UK Bank. It was while working for this Company that Ms Buckles started to deliver careers advice and apprenticeship information events to school aged pupils. This then led to her hiring an apprentice through the Bank’s well regarded scheme and opened up the possibility of trying to improve access to these careers for all young adults regardless of their background.
She took the decision to then retrain through the School Direct programme where she could train to be a teacher at the same time as working in a school. This accelerated her development and meant that her passion, enthusiasm and skill for teaching Maths could all come together for the benefit of her pupils. Ms Buckles firmly believes that all pupils can be supported and encouraged to get the appropriate grades at GCSE and other work experiences, that signal their readiness and suitability to take on Higher Education either through an Apprenticeship or going to University. Ms Buckles sees herself as a teacher of Maths first and foremost, rather than a mathematician which means her strength in the classroom is ensuring all pupils can understand and be successful with mathematical concepts through great teaching and pedagogy.
Mr Wesley Davidson, Head of History
Mr Davidson was brought up in Burnley in the North West of England and he joined the Harris Federation as Head of History when he relocated to the South East in the summer of 2018. He has an undergraduate Honours Degree and a Masters Degree in History, both from the University of Manchester. During his studies he specialised in the First World War and twentieth century international relations.
He completed his PGCE at Durham University in 2013 and this included placements at an outstanding secondary school in Hartlepool and a school for children with special educational needs in Spennymoor, County Durham. His early career was spent in Blyth in the North East of England, where he took on the challenge of transforming the History Department and introducing new curriculum specifications for GCSE and A level, resulting in vastly improved results. Mr. Davidson also took on the additional responsibility of setting up and managing the school’s participation on the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award programme. The introduction of this initiative was hugely successful and the school is now regarded as one of the flagship schools for the DofE Award in Northumberland.
Mr Davidson feels passionately about the way that education, both inside and outside of the classroom, can empower young people, by giving them life-changing experiences and a sense of accomplishment, personal worth, confidence and self-belief that will positively equip them for the challenges they will face throughout their lives.
Mrs Angelina Sunder, Head of Science
Mrs Sunder joined Harris Academy Orpington in September 2018 after relocating to London from the Midlands. She holds an undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Science and later completed her Masters in Drug Delivery at Aston University.
After completing her Masters, she decided to follow a life-long dream of teaching and joined an outstanding school in the centre of Birmingham. Entering a school using the school direct qualification gave her hands-on experience of working within a school environment and allowed her to develop the core skills needed to teach secondary school students and to then lead a team. The school was going through a transitional change with leadership which called on her to take her initiative supporting the Head of Science and taking a position as a progress lead. She went on to help children achieve across higher grades school-wide and orchestrating a fundamental change needed to improve student grades.
A passion for helping children saw Mrs Sunder grow within Harris Orpington and she has navigated the science department since September 2019. She is keen to share her values with all staff members to ensure pupils achieve not only the highest possible grades but key skills to help after school.
Mr Carl Duffett, Inclusion Manager
Mr Duffett has been working in the education sector for over 10 years since graduating with a Law degree from King’s College University. He chose to follow a career in the education sector rather than the legal sector having gained some experience mentoring some underachieving students whilst completing his studies and found a passion for this line of work.
Having started as Lead Learning Mentor in a large south London school, he completed the Graduate Teacher Programme in Mathematics and started regularly teaching Maths. Mr Duffett then progressed into management positions as Head of Year, Behaviour and Intervention Lead and Acting Assistant Principal (Head of Key Stage 3) in different schools before joining Harris Academy Orpington in January 2020 as Inclusion Manager.
In this role Mr Duffett works to support some of our most vulnerable and at risk students helping them to better access their education and move towards their potential. He has a keen interest in mental health provision and ensuring positive emotional well-being for all, in the knowledge that every student is able to achieve success in their education if they work hard, feel comfortable at school and form positive relationships with the staff that are there to encourage and guide them.