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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 mange 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 Sarah Donnelly, Vice Principal
Sarah Donnelly joined Harris Academy Orpington as a Vice Principal and line manages the Blue and Red Faculties as well as the Safeguarding team. Sarah studied English Literature at Lancaster University and is an experienced teacher of both English and Psychology. Sarah has a special interest in Growth Mindset and a strong belief in the potential of every single child; she is currently studying her MSc in Neuroscience with King's College London and is fascinated in research into neuroplasticity; especially in how this research will inform teaching practice in the future.
Ms Fay Humphries, Faculty Director
Biography to follow.
Miss Clare Boyd, Faculty Director
Miss Boyd has been working at Harris Academy Orpington since its opening in September 2016. She is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for the Academy and leads on welfare and PREVENT. Before joining Harris Academy Orpington, she worked at The Priory School, starting as a middle leader with responsibility for Science. She then moved into senior management leading on Year 11, SMSC and Safeguarding.
Miss Boyd has a passion for Science, especially Chemistry teaching throughout the year groups, striving for each child to achieve 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.
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.
Mr Samuel Clarke, Head of PE
Biography to follow
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.
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.