Hayley Carrier – Head Teacher

My first experience of The Orchards, was as a pupil in the Nursery class in 1989, when the school was called Ley Hill Primary School. I was then lucky enough to be offered a job here in 2006, as a Newly Qualified Teacher. During the following 11 years, I have undertaken a variety of roles within the school including PE leader, ICT Leader, Phase Leader and Assistant Head Teacher, among many others! Between 2010 and 2012, I worked for the Local Authority as a Key Stage 1 moderator; a role which taught me an awful lot about the importance and value of accurate assessment.

I was blessed with a beautiful daughter in 2012, and not long after returning to The Orchards from maternity leave, I was given the opportunity of becoming Acting Head Teacher. I can honestly say that I adore my job! Having been a former pupil and long-standing member of staff, I have a real vested interest in the children, families and community that we serve. From my own experience, I know that anything can be achieved if you work hard enough at it, regardless of your starting point. High aspirations are a plus, but quality education from both families and teachers, is essential in allowing every child to love learning and become the very best that they can be. This vision statement drives my pursuit of excellence for our school, and forms the very basis of The Orchards’ ethos.

My experience of teaching Key Stage 1 for many years, as well as the invaluable experience of being a Mother of a young daughter, has given me a real passion for developing provision in the Early Years. I am a firm believer in the importance of a solid foundation for a secure future.

Damon O’Neill – Deputy Head Teacher & Maths Leader

Hello, my name is Damon O’Neill. I am proud to be returning to work in September as Deputy Head of The Orchards.  Since graduating from Westhill College at Birmingham University last century (1999), I have worked in education in a variety of roles as teacher, Assistant Head Teacher and Deputy Head teacher.  I passionately believe that education is a fundamental right, not a privilege, and as such, have worked in a variety of schools in predominantly deprived areas.  I always try to encourage my students to do their best, regardless of their starting point because by trying your hardest, success is inevitable.  In my personal life, I am a secretary of the charity ‘Building Futures in the Gambia’, which I co-founded, and we are close to the completion of the building of our first school, offering hope and life chances to those who may not previously have had it before.  I am also a Master of Ceremonies at a variety of boxing and MMA events- another passion of mine. I look forward to working with everybody involved in the school, helping all children achieve their best and ensuring that The Orchards Primary Academy is a central part of the local community.

Hayley Byrne – Assistant Head Teacher & KS2 Phase Leader

Hello I’m Hayley Byrne and I am starting a new role as Assistant Head Teacher at the Orchards Academy this year.

Having taught for 7 years, I have an extensive experience of the Primary age range; in particular KS2. I have been a class teacher in all junior year groups however I have taught in year 6 for the past four years. During my teaching career I have held a number of responsibilities including: Phase Leader, Science Leader, English leader, NQT Mentor and Lead Assessor.

I love my job- watching children grow, flourish and become passionate about their learning is a joy to be involved with. I am very excited to start my new role at The Orchards and look forward to embracing this new journey in my career.

Outside of school, my main responsibility is being a mum to my beautiful (yet cheeky!) 18-month-old daughter. Family time and making memories is extremely precious to me so during weekends and school holidays I will be found on some kind of fun-filled family day out (or sometimes lazing on a sun-drenched beach!).

Emma Hughson – Early Years Phase Leader

Hello, I’m Emma Hughson and I am starting a new role as Early Years Phase Leader. This will be my second year at the Orchards and I feel extremely privileged to work in a caring and vibrant school.

Having taught for 14 years, I have an excellent knowledge and experience of the Early Years age group. Nearly all my teaching years have been taught in Reception and Nursery. I love working with children and building relationships with families. I will always endeavor to do my very best for all children and supporting families whatever they need.

I have a wonderful family who I spend all my time with. I have a clever and beautiful daughter who keeps me on my toes. She will be joining Pre-school this year which will be a new adventure for her. I love spending time and holidaying with the whole family making memories.

Maxine Bedward – SENCO/Inclusion Leader

Hello, my name is Maxine Bedward, and I am the new SENCO/Inclusion Leader. New to the school I maybe, but with many years’ experience leading Special Educational Needs (SEN) in various mainstream and special school settings I am certainly not new to the role of SENCo / Inclusion Leader. Furthermore, I am very familiar with supporting children with medical needs and disabilities as I worked for over a decade as a hospital teacher specialising in neuro-rehabilitation and other complex needs.

Indeed, I first trained to be a SENCo in 2007 when I was working as a hospital teacher and was given the responsibility of managing SEN and disability provision across several sites. In 2015, as a mainstream school SENCo I re-trained to ensure my knowledge, understanding and experience of SEN support reflects the person-centred values of empathic understanding, and genuine acceptance required by the current SEND Code of Practice (2015).

My passion for practices that personalises learning in partnership with the learner and their families began at the tender age of eight when I learnt the immeasurable joy of feeding my curiosity with reading history as opposed to the recommended story books. This in turn led to a commitment to life-long learning and enabled me to obtain a PhD in pastoral pedagogy (2014) by proving the ability for everyone to achieve their full potential regardless of circumstances if we nurture their minds, body and spirit.

Not surprisingly, I welcome this opportunity, as a member of the senior leadership team, to contribute to the development of The Orchards Primary Academy as a first-class provider that puts the needs and well-being of every pupil, in partnership with their parents / carers, at the heart of its educational practice and vision.