South Pennine Academy

Academy Effectiveness Team

 Alison Black  - Education Director

Alison is Director of Standards and Continuous Improvement at SPA. She has thirteen years' experience as a headteacher and school improvement adviser and was previously Executive Principal of two of our primary academies in East Oldham. As a headteacher, Alison has successfully led three newly sponsored academies to achieve good inspection gradings as well as achieving outstanding in her first headship. Alison leads the Academy Effectiveness Team to work with schools in a range of activities to support school improvement including monitoring effectiveness through data analysis and reviews, supporting self -evaluation, building capacity in leadership and provision of high quality professional development for the whole workforce.

Sarah Cunningham - Primary Improvement Advisor/Deputy Director HHScitt

Sarah is the Primary Improvement Advisor for South Pennine Academies and the Deputy Director of the recently judged as OUTSTANDING Huddersfield Horizon SCITT.  Sarah has been in Primary Education for over 27 years and has worked in Kent, London, Hertfordshire and Kirklees. She has been an EYFS Foundation Stage Lead, both a Key Stage 1 & 2 Lead, and an Assistant Head/Head of School. In schools she has lead Curriculum Planning, Assessment, Literacy and has also been the subject lead for a variety of other foundation curriculum subjects including ICT, RE, Art, DT MfL and PSHCE. In 2012 Sarah was designated a Specialist Leader of Education. Sarah considers the SLE role to be an important and integral consultancy role supporting teachers in their own learning and professional development. She is a SLE for various areas in Primary Education including Literacy, Cross Phase planning, Early Years, Behaviour Management, SEND and Mentoring. She has a teaching certificate in PSHCE and is an English Specialist.
Sarah has mentored NQTs, coached students through various stages of their teacher training and has delivered regional training for local authorities, Huddersfield University for the BA QTS course, local cluster training groups and in school CPD for whole school training events, NQTs, and Middle Leaders.

‘I chose teaching as a career because I wanted to work with schools in contrasting contexts at the chalk face. I feel strongly that we have a duty of care to enrich children’s lives through carefully planned experiences that encourage autonomy and life skills. We as educators have one chance to get it right and help all children reach their full potential.’

Sarah has also Moderated for Kirklees Local Authority, and is a facilitator for the OLEVI teaching programmes including the Outstanding Teaching Programme Plus+.

 Amanda Underhill - Secondary Partner Learning and Teaching Coach

Amanda is a Secondary Partner Learning and Teaching Coach as part of the Academy Effectiveness Team at South Pennine Academies Multi-academy Trust. Before joining the Trust, she spent the first nine years of her career teaching English in various secondary contexts. During this time, Amanda held a number of middle leader and extended senior leadership roles, including leading a successful English department. She graduated with an MA in Teaching and Learning at Leeds Metropolitan University in June 2013. In 2014, she was designated as a Specialist Leader of Education, supporting schools in developing English curriculum, teaching and assessment. She is the Professional Development co-ordinator for South Pennine Academies, and has experience facilitating various programmes including the OLEVI CTP, OTP, POC and OTP+ teaching programmes and is a facilitator for the new ECT training programme and the reformed NPQLTD through the East Manchester Teaching School Hub. Amanda is really passionate about working with teachers and leaders to review, develop and innovate practice to improve outcomes for learners, as well as to grow and retain talent at classroom and leadership level within the profession.

Nicola Jablonski - Primary Curriculum and Teaching Lead

Nicola is the Primary Curriculum and Teaching Lead and is part of the Academy Effectiveness Team for South Pennine Academies. Before joining the Trust, she spent her teaching career in primary schools within the Oldham borough, with various responsibilities. She has led both KS1 and KS2, and has led many subjects:- Mathematics, Science, PE, RE, Humanities (Geography and History), and PSHCE. She has led many school initiatives. As Assistant Head in two primaries, she had overall responsibility for curriculum, its intent, content and implementation. Throughout her career she has been involved with supporting the development of others through mentoring, performance management, and leading teams. Nicola also works for Huddersfield Horizon SCITT where she is responsible for the design and implementation of the Primary Curriculum and Quality Assurance of many elements of the programme. Within this role she also facilitates and is a visiting tutor for trainees. Nicola was awarded with ‘North West Teacher of the Year’ at the National Teaching Awards. Nicola has successfully completed her NPQH. 

Rebecca Denham - Primary Improvement Advisor

Rebecca is a Primary Improvement Advisor for South Pennine Academies. Rebecca has been a senior leader in primary education for over 23 years. Rebecca has been an Executive headteacher of two primary schools and lead one of the schools from requires improvement to outstanding. The school consistently performed in the top one hundred schools in the country raising as high as 9th in the 2017 league tables. She has Local Leader of Education status and completed her NPQH in 2003. Rebecca has supported other headteachers within the Calderdale and Leeds borough. Rebecca's has a wide experience of primary education and has held the position of CEO and Accounting Officer for a small primary MAT in Calderdale and Director of Primary Education after the trust rebrokered to join another MAT.