Head of School | SENDCO | Designated Safeguarding Lead
I am delighted to hold the post of Head of School at Connor Downs Academy. I completed a BA (Hons) degree in English and Education Studies, obtained from the University of Worcester in 1990. I completed a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, obtained from the College of St. Mark and St. John, in 1991. In 2017-2018, through Plymouth University, I completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination at Masters level.
Teaching has always been a passion for me and over the years, it has been wonderful to see so many pupils make progress both academically and socially. I started my teaching career in 1991, first taking on the post of a Key Stage 2 teacher in a large Cornish primary school. I taught all year groups and held various coordinator roles, including English coordinator. This was a particularly exciting role for me as English has always been a strong interest of mine. In 2000, I became Assistant Head teacher. I found being a part of the leadership team exciting and rewarding.
In 2015, I was delighted to become Head of School at Penryn Primary Academy. During my two years in post here, Penryn Primary Academy linked with Connor Downs Academy and St Uny Academy, as part of the Aspire Academy Trust. This collaboration enabled me to work very closely with the staff and pupils of Connor Downs Academy. Taking up the post of Head of School at Connor Downs, in September 2017, therefore felt very natural and familiar, as I have worked closely with the school community over a long period.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Connor Downs community and know that together, we will provide excellent education for our children.
Lead Teacher KS2 | Year 5 Teacher | Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
I am delighted to join Connor Downs Academy as Lead Teacher for KS2. I completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Genetics at Cardiff University. I then completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Cambridge University.
I have worked at Penryn Primary Academy for many years where I predominantly taught Year 6. I have had a variety of coordinator roles and I have a particular interest in maths. Therefore, I was delighted to be offered the role of KS2 Lead Teacher and Maths Lead at Connor Downs Academy.
In my spare time, I enjoy running. If you see me out and about on my training runs, give me a friendly wave as this always spurs me on.
I look forward to working with you all.
EYFS & KS1 Lead | Reception Teacher
My name is Mr Masters and I am the Reception teacher and EYFS and KS1 lead at Connor Downs Academy. In class, I am supported by my fantastic TAs, Miss Blewett and Miss Pedley. Professionally, I hold a first-class Bachelor's degree in Early Years and Key Stage 1 Education, with Qualified Teacher Status, obtained from Newman University.
In addition to leading both Early Years and Key Stage 1, I also coordinate our Academy’s Phonic provision and KS1 English. Across the wider Aspire Academy Trust, as part of a core group of EYFS leaders, I am responsible for providing support and guidance to Early Years settings across Cornwall.
Prior to joining Connor Downs Academy, I gained invaluable experience across the entirety of the Early Years Foundation Stage, working as both a nursery and pre-school educator and, following this, as a teaching assistant in a Reception class. These experiences inspired me to take the next step in my career and train to become a teacher, specialising in Early Years and Key Stage 1 practice.
Year 1 Teacher
My name is Miss Mathews and I am the Year 1 teacher. I am really excited to be a part of the Connor Downs team this year! In Year 1 we are supported by the brilliant Mrs Hackett and Mr Costello.
I have a BA Honours in Early Childhood Studies and a Masters in Education, both of which were completed at Plymouth University. After these studies, I spent some time working in schools before gaining my Qualified Teacher Status through Cornwall SCITT. I have been fortunate to work in a range of schools so far and have taught across many year groups.
My passions in school are PSHE and anything topic based; I love taking the inquisitive minds of children on new topical journeys - there is always so much to be learnt! I am committed to trying new ideas in school and strive to create a nurturing environment where children feel they are valued as individuals. Every school day is different and there is always an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how big or small. I'm looking forward to helping make that difference alongside the fantastic Connor Downs family.
Outside of school, I enjoy exploring new places and spending time with my family and friends. I love to travel and have travelled across Europe as well as New Zealand. My favourite thing to do is walk along the beach with my new Cockapoo puppy! I love animals so I am thrilled that we get to share our school with animals of our own.
I can't wait to have some super adventures in Year 1!
Year 2 Teacher
My name is Mrs Kitching and I am the Year 2 teacher, as well as History and Geography coordinator, here at Connor Downs Academy. I have been teaching since 1989 since qualifying with a BE’d Honours degree in English from the College of St Paul and St Mary in Cheltenham. After teaching in a number of schools in Gloucestershire, I returned to Cornwall to teach for 9 years at St Columb Major Community Primary School, a move that enabled me to be closer to my family. Since then I have worked in a number of schools throughout the county, teaching children of all age groups. I joined Connor Downs in 2011 and I am delighted to be a permanent teacher at this academy.
Whilst my upmost priority remains the support & teaching of my class, I have also organised many events throughout the school year aimed to reinforce the teaching of History and Geography over all year groups. I was delighted by the enthusiasm of the pupil’s in response to Historical Fun Fridays and World Aims Week, both succeeding to broaden the children’s knowledge of the subjects whilst proving equally entertaining, particularly when all the teachers transformed into different historical characters once a week. I run a KS1 reading club weekly as I am an avid reader and I am keen to support children to become confident, enthusiastic and capable readers. I am registered to take part in standard setting for the new 2016 national curriculum tests.
I look forward to continuing to work with such a dedicated and talented team to ensure that every child is able to make the most of their time here at Connor Downs Academy.
Year 3 Teacher
I am currently teaching in Year 3, alongside Mrs Bartaby, supported by Mrs Ridge as teaching assistant.
I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Primary Teaching and also a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art. At Connor Downs Academy, I am the Art and Design and also Design Technology Coordinator for the school. Extra-curricular wise, I am responsible for running an Art club for children from Year R to Year 3. I began teaching in 1994 and have had the pleasure of working in a range of different schools in West Cornwall. I have experience of teaching across all year groups from Early Years to Year 6.
I am really proud of Connor Downs School especially our children’s excellent behaviour. Cultivating Futures has made our learning and play so exciting. Now working outside the school grounds is a real thrill whatever the lesson might be. I enjoy creating artwork with the children and also growing flowers and vegetables (not to mention eating them). It is important to enable children to take risks and learn independent skills every day. I enjoy seeing children’s happy faces when they have persevered and succeeded in learning a new skill in writing or hitting the ball in cricket …. The list is endless
Year 3 Teacher
Year 4 Teacher
I am excited to be joining Connor Downs Academy as the Year 4 teacher and also leading the school in Music and co-leading PE, two subjects that I am passionate about.
Between 2006 - 2009 I studied Music at Cambridge University and then went on to do a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. I am very impressed with the Cultivating Futures area of the school and I look forward to continuing to support the children of Connor Downs Academy to both better understand and cherish the natural world around them.
After teaching English in France, I decided teaching was the job for me and I completed my PGCE at the University of Exeter in 2012. I love to travel and meet new people and after completing my NQT year, I went on to teach in Brussels and Uganda before coming back to the UK. Despite all my travels, I love coming home and I feel really happy to be starting a new chapter in Cornwall. As a keen cyclist, runner and swimmer, I could not be in a better place to enjoy my hobbies.
Year 6 Teacher
I am thrilled to be the teacher of Year 6 at Connor Downs. I like to ensure all the children in my class feel included, love what they are learning and know what success feels like.
I went to The University of Glasgow and graduated in 2006 with a degree in History. I completed my teacher training in York, which is close to my hometown. Since qualifying, I have taught in schools in Luton and Leeds before relocating to Cornwall in 2015. Most recently, I have been teaching in Upper Key Stage 2 at Probus Primary School, leading Maths and Science.
I am passionate about the arts, language and stories; to me, these all contribute towards developing children’s ability to communicate orally and through their writing. As a result, I am thrilled to be leading English across KS2, as well as guiding the support of our Pupil Premium children in school.
I love going to the theatre and seeing big Westend shows, as well as cooking and reading as many books as I can find the time…and bookshelf space… for.
Outdoor Learning Leader
I love my job as the outdoor learning leader at Connor Downs Academy. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from my studies in core science, environmental science and design for the environment. I am also a qualified teaching assistant and have a Diploma in Horticulture. Before moving to education, I used my chemistry background by working in a pharmacy, dispensing medication and I was a trained health-care advisor. I have a special interest in atmospheric science, especially meteorology and climate change. I am also very interested in zoology and use this in my work every day.
My role at Connor Downs involves me planning learning activities to enrich the science national curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. I work with small groups of pupils, carrying out practical investigations to support their scientific knowledge and understanding. I teach all pupils across the school and focus on environmental studies, science, sociology and geography themes such as globalisation, weather and climate change, living things and habitats, plants science and horticulture. I work with Reception children each week in 'Muddy Mondays' where I support the EYFS curriculum and help pupils develop their their early scientific awareness through fun, practical activities.
I also run an outdoor learning themed 'nurture group' over lunchtimes and an after school club called Nature Detectives. We are very active in our aim to reduce, reuse and recycle. We make our own water filters from recycled materials and create habitats for visiting wildlife, including in our large pond. We grow our own vegetables and fruit from seed and then the children use their produce in their food technology sessions with Mrs Pedley.
Finance Officer/School Secretary
I began working at Connor Downs Academy in January 2015 in the office as Finance Officer/secretary. Previously I had worked for fourteen years at a firm of chartered accountants and qualified as an Accounting Technician, dealing with accounts preparation and payroll, amongst other duties.
My current role on a morning encompasses dealing with the school finances basis, involving ordering, paying suppliers and liaising with members of staff and outside agencies. I am also in charge of all personnel and payroll within the academy and the Single Central Record, a key part of safeguarding. I am front of house dealing with telephone calls, visitors to school and the general running of the school office.
I really enjoy the challenges that this very busy and varied role brings every day and love the fact that I can get to know the children and will see them grow and progress during their time at school.
EYFS Teaching Assistant
Hello, my name is Miss Blewett and I am the teaching assistant in Reception, working alongside Mr Masters and Miss Pedley.
Before joining Connor Downs Academy, I worked and trained in a local EYFS setting, where I obtained a Level 3 qualification in Early Years Education. I am excited to be part of the fantastic team at Connor Downs Academy and to continue developing my knowledge and understanding of Early Years.
EYFS Teaching Assistant / Outdoor Learning Practitioner
I am delighted to hold the postion of teaching assistant at Connor Downs Academy. I support pupils in the class setting, to enable them to flourish and to access all areas of the curriuculum. This is a very rewarding postion to hold and I greatly value working in partnership with the parents to support their children.
I also work as an Outdoor Learning Assistant, supporting Mr Costello, in delivering exciting and engaging lessons in our outdoor space; 'Cultivating Futures.' I have a strong passion for caing for animals and understand the important benefits that working with animals can bring to childrens development. I am currently studying to achieve the Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management, through Duchy College.
Outside of school, I am a qualifed Community First Responder and support South West Ambulance Service to provide first aid care to the local community. I am able to use knowledge learnt in this role, to support First Aid teaching and learning in school.
Year 1 Teaching Assistant
Hello my name is Mrs Hackett and I have recently joined the team at Connor Downs Academy. I am a teaching assistant and a lunchtime supervisor in Year 1 working alongside Mrs Patterson. I hold a Level 2 certificate in the Children and Young People’s workforce.
Before joining Connor Downs Academy I worked at a GP’s surgery for 14 years. I knew I wanted to work within a school setting for a long time so when my children started at Connor Downs Academy I attended the parents sessions to see the topics the class were learning and I also volunteered for school trips and the school disco’s. I loved being in the school setting which gave me the motivation to start a career in Early Years. Whilst studying at Cornwall College, I gained my work experience at a local nursery and this is where I discovered my passion to work with Early Years.
I feel very privileged to be part of an amazing team.
SEND Teaching Assistant
My choice of profession was mainly influenced by my desire to help support and develop children’s skills and encourage them to learn new things.
Before I had my own children, I discovered my love for helping and supporting others. Therefore I studied the CACHE Diploma (NVQ level 3) in Child Care and Education. In addition, I then completed a period of teaching experience by completing a work experience placement within Connor Downs academy. I shadowed various teaching staff, observing their teaching techniques and the ways in which they support the children. I found each day a new challenge as new faces, new personalities were emerging which brought various obstacles my way as different methods of teaching were needed. The most enjoyable aspect of this work environment is that no day is ever the same - new lessons, new people. It was exciting to know I had the opportunity to assist in someone’s learning, gaining satisfaction from seeing the new skill acquired.
I have had experience in working as a Special Educational Needs teaching assistant for Key Stage 1 within the academy and I also gained a distinction on a sensory processing disorder awareness diploma. I am very committed with a strong awareness and passion for children’s learning and development. I enjoy being part of and encouraging inclusive education and promoting good positive learning techniques. I have always had a passion for primary teaching and geared my studies and career in this direction as I feel it is extremely valuable to be helping children develop skills they can continue to use throughout their lives.
Y2 Teaching Assistant | Lunchtime Supervisor
My name is Mrs Smith and I work in Class 2 alongside Mrs Kitching as a Teaching Assistant and as a Lunchtime Supervisor. Previously to this I have worked across KS 1 as SEN support and delivering Fun Fit activities at Connor Downs Academy, and as a 1 to 1 Assistant in KS2 at another local Primary School.
I have a BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Studies, a Level 3 in Teaching and Learning and a desire to continue to develop my professional development, which Connor Downs Academy are always very supportive in doing.
I am relatively new to the staff at Connor Downs Academy, but have felt warmly welcomed and included by staff and children alike since day one. It is this sense of inclusion and acceptance that gives the school a lovely atmosphere to attend and such a pleasure to work in.
As a Teaching Assistant I feel very strongly about inclusion, one which mirrors the school's own ethos. Whilst every child is unique and individual, they should be given the same opportunities in the same environments so they can integrate and learn from peers as well as teaching staff. The children at Connor Downs follow this ethos and are encouraged to support each other in class and in play.
Every day is varied as a Teaching Assistant with different challenges and rewards, but the mutual respect and outstanding level of behaviour from the children enables us to all work together with a smile.
Year 3 Teaching Assistant
My name is Mrs Vicki Ridge and I work as a teaching assistant. I started working at Connor Downs Academy approximately 15 years ago having worked as a volunteer before that for 4 years. After leaving college where I learned shorthand, typing and commerce,
I worked for a Building Society for 17 years and once I had my children I became Chairman of Hayle Pre School Playgroup until my children started here at Connor Downs Academy. My passion for this school, the children and staff is very strong and I am extremely proud of what has been achieved here since Mrs Costello joined our amazing team.
All that we do here is for the children so that they can learn in a happy, safe and encouraging environment. Coming to work every day is a pleasure and I think we are so lucky to have the best job in the whole world, watching the children grow and develop, encouraged to reach their full potential in a a range of opportunities they have, both in and out of the classroom.
Year 4 Teaching Assistant
Year 5 Teaching Assistant | Trauma Informed Schools Practitioner
I have worked at Connor Downs since 2009. I started as a volunteer and then I was fortunate enough to get the role as a SEN T.A. I have worked in all KS1 and KS2 classes.
Whilst I have been working at Connor Downs, I have led several intervention groups including FunFit, Nurture and additional phonics support. I am also a lunch time supervisor working with a Nurture group. I support the children whilst using lots of activities to help them with their emotional and social skills.
I have completed my NVQ 2 in Teaching and Learning and also been awarded accreditation in language for learning and behaviour therapy. I am also first aid trained. I have a certificate of higher education and I have recently graduated from The Open University and now have a Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning. I am a qualified Trauma Informed Schools practitioner and support children in all year groups within the school setting.
I am proud to work alongside such a great team and with the children, watching them develop in all areas, especially seeing them grow more confident and develop their own individual personalities.
Year 5 Teaching Assistant
My name is Miss Reed and I have been working at Connor Downs since 2014. I am the Teaching Assistant for year 5, supporting Mr Pascoe.
I have worked across all classes in KS1 and KS2, which has given me the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to support the children in our Academy.
I have a BA Hons in Professional Practice, and aim to complete my teacher training in the very near future. Also, I am currently working towards a ILM level 3 award in Leadership and Management which will support me to use Restorative Practice methods within our school environment.
With having three children of my own, I feel that it is important for children to feel safe, and to be taught everyday skills to help support them in their future. I am very passionate about inclusion, and that every child should be given every chance to have an education.
I have a huge amount of passion for children and their learning.
I love the "family feel" of Connor Downs Academy, and love coming to work everyday! The atmosphere between the child and staff is really special - I am incredibly lucky to be a part of such a special academy!
Year 6 Teaching Assistant
I am the teaching assistant working in year 6. Professionally, I hold a Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning. I began my career in education 16 years ago at Connor Downs Academy as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant, supporting several pupils throughout their academic journey. After 4 years I became a general Teaching Assistant gathering experience working within both KS1 and KS2. I also have experience working as a Lunchtime supervisor supporting pupils within their play and enabling them to develop socially as well as emotionally.
As a parent and professional, I am a strong believer that children should be taught skills that they can use within their chosen career paths, enabling them to achieve their goals and dreams for the futures. This is something that we strongly encourage at Connor Downs Academy and an achievement that I am very proud to be a part of.