David Roundtree, Head of Federation
I’ve a degree in marketing but didn’t especially enjoy the world of business so I entered the world of teaching instead – I love it! As a teacher, I especially enjoyed English, Maths, Art and PSHE. A few years into my teaching career, I did a Masters degree in Primary Education and later on completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship. I’ve taught in lots of schools and also worked as a primary Maths lecturer in a university. I became a headteacher in 2007 and I’m now proud to be the head of Sphere Federation, a federation of three schools: Moortown Primary, Scholes (Elmet) Primary and here at St James’ CE Primary. As well as leading the three schools alongside their brilliant Heads of Schools, I really enjoy the opportunity to support other teachers, school leaders and schools as a National Leader of Education and strategic partner of Noctua Teaching School. In school, I’m known for my green sludge smoothies (brocolli, spinach, spirulina…). Out of school, I enjoy arty things, including printing and visiting art galleries – and I go to the gym often (though I’m not sure I’d say I enjoy it!).
Natalie Beatson, Head of School
I’ve been at St James’ CE Primary since September 2017. I’m the school’s safeguarding lead. My teaching journey began in Lancaster where I completed my teaching qualification alongside a music degree. Earlier in my teaching career, I worked at Moortown Primary School- one of our other Sphere Federation schools- before moving to London. After teaching in Wembley and Harrow for seven years, I missed Yorkshire so much I decided to move back! I love to teach PE (particularly netball) and English. In my spare time, I love to run and take part in races across Yorkshire. I also have two boys who keep me very busy! I’m so grateful that I’m able to do the job I do. When working with children, no day is ever the same and I absolutely love that!
Sue Quirk, Federation Resources Manager
I love working in the federation! Before this job, I worked as a valuer for an estate agent for a few years, and before that I was a sales manager for a large hotel company. Although I’ve enjoyed all my jobs, this one is definitely my favourite! Working in the busy school office is brilliant: you get to do lots of different things and meet lots of different people. It’s great working with children, too – they make me smile! Outside of school, my time is usually spent running around after my two children, but when I’m not doing this, I enjoy going to the cinema, reading and walking our dog.
Nicola Walshaw, Administration Assistant
Before working for St James’ CE Primary, I was a stay-at-home mum. My previous job was an Airline Cabin Crew Manager for TUI based at Doncaster/Sheffield Airport, where I operated both long and short haul flights. It was an extremely varied role, quite challenging at times but very enjoyable.
Early Years and Key Stage 1
Jade Ward, Nursery Teacher
I completed my PGCE in Primary Education in 2021. Since then, I’ve worked at Scholes (Elmet) Primary, another school in Sphere Federation, as a Teaching Assistant in Reception. I’ve worked in Early Years settings for over ten years and thoroughly enjoy watching the children grow and flourish. In my spare time, I enjoy long family walks in the Yorkshire Dales – Malham is one of my favourite places to visit. I’m quite a creative person and I have a passion for making and decorating cakes.
The teaching assistant in Nursery is Miss Harvey.
Jane Payne, Reception Teacher
I began my teaching adventure in 2012 and have taught in various locations across the UK
and abroad. I feel very proud to be a teacher and to be part of the Sphere Federation team. I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum but particularly enjoy English. In my spare time, I
love to do things outside. I enjoy exploring new places and finding a nice place for tea and
The teaching assistants in Reception are Jill Rippon, Olivia Feldman and Gill Walton.
Michaela Palmer, Y1 Teacher (class share)
I’ve always had a passion to work with children. This began with a summer job working in a nursery, and after that I began to volunteer at my local primary school. Knowing that I am helping children to achieve their full potential and to feel happier and better about themselves brings a huge smile to my face. I moved to Leeds in 2008 to do a degree in Psychology and went on to do my teacher training in York. I started teaching in 2016 at Scholes (Elmet) Primary and I’m excited to continue my teaching career at St James’. Outside of school, I love to cook; I often invite my friends and family over to sample new recipes.
Becky Rowley, Y1 Teacher (class share)
I grew up in a small town in the Midlands not too far away from Cadbury World. I started teaching in 2012 at a school in Dudley and joined St James’ CE Primary in 2015 when I moved to Yorkshire. Outside of school, I’m a mum to two young children: Maddison and Zachary. I love nothing more than getting out and about visiting new places, cities and exploring the countryside with my family. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. It’s lovely to see a child’s face when something that you’ve taught ‘clicks’ in their head.
The teaching assistant in Y1/2 is Lauren Cairnes.
Talia Kay, Y2 Teacher
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since the age of 5. I achieved and believed, making my dream come true working at St James’ CE Primary. I live in York with my family – my Dad was in the army meaning I went to four different primary schools across the country! I always enjoyed school and being a teacher means I can inspire children to love their learning, too. My favourite subjects include Phonics, Maths and PE. My favourite colour is pink – I love it. Before I joined the St James’ family, I was a sports coach at a local gym. In my free time, you’re most likely to find me enjoying a day out with my family and friends, at the gym or at the nail salon (I’m sure you can guess what colour!).
Key Stage 2
Claire Gledhill, Y3 Teacher
St James’ C of E Primary School is certainly a special place to teach and learn. Being able to work with children everyday makes my job so much fun and very exciting! My favourite subjects to teach are maths, history and phonics. I’m from York and studied and lived in Newcastle for five years before becoming a teacher in 2019. Out of school, I really enjoy exercising, reading and cooking. An interesting fact about me is that I am half Australian and enjoyed many childhood holidays in Australia.
Lucy Valentine, Y4 Teacher (class share)
I started teaching at St James’ in 2019 and have now completed the Federation hat trick having begun my teaching career at Moortown Primary in 2013, and taught at Scholes (Elmet), too. I’ve worked across both Key Stage 1 and 2 and also in the Early Years Foundation Stage here at St James’. If you see me around school, you’ll probably see me smiling because being a teacher means I get to see the world through children’s eyes and it’s much more fun than being an adult! I’m known around the schools for my enthusiasm and love of weird and wonderful computer fonts!
Jackie Freeman, Y4 Teacher (class share)
I started my journey into teaching at Moortown Primary, another Sphere Federation school, when my own children attended the school. I’m now delighted to be a teacher here at St James’, another small school with a happy and healthy community feel. Outside of school, I like to keep busy. Being a keen gardener, enjoying a swim and spending time with family and friends are always on my agenda. My greatest passion, and the one I am most proud of, has been watching my own children flourish. We all enjoy family time and visiting new and exciting places together. Another role for me is that of granny!
Brianna Rigley is the Teaching Assistant in Year 4.
Ben Freeman, Y5/6 Teacher
Having grown up in Leeds, I moved to Sheffield to study Sport and Business at university. After returning to Leeds, I began my teaching career and I’ve never looked back! Seeing children flourish and enjoying school is the most rewarding feeling – it reminds me of how my teachers made school so enjoyable for me growing up. In my spare time, I play football for Leeds City in the Yorkshire Amateur Supreme League. Also, I enjoy finding new places to walk and explore with my dog, Millie. I thoroughly enjoy teaching, and look forward to something new, exciting and different every day.
Mrs Bald is the Teaching Assistant in Y5,6, and works around school covering for teachers, too.