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 and Year 5/6 class teacher
I’ve been at St James’ CE Primary since September 2017. I’m the school’s safeguarding lead. 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.
Lucy Valentine, Y5/6 Teacher
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 and I’m part of the safeguarding team 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!
Mark Mills, Y5/6 Teacher
Hi, I’m Mr Mills. My favourite subjects to teach are maths and PE, but I’m also quite fond of a good piece of writing as well. In my spare time I’m quite sporty and like to swim, cycle and run my way around Yorkshire. In fact, I’ve represented Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships – something which I’m incredibly proud of. I carry on my love of teaching outside of school by coaching other adults in triathlon and running, helping them to be the best they can be. When I’m not doing all of this, you can usually find me curled up on the sofa with a good science-fiction story book.
The teaching assistant in Y5/6 is Michelle Bald.
Claire Gledhill, Y4 Teacher
I’m really lucky to be working at St James’ C of E Primary School this year. It’s 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.
Jackie Freeman, Y3 Teacher
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!
Kerensa Welsby, Y3 Teacher
Originally from Sheffield, I started teaching in London. Since then, I’ve taught in a wide variety of schools in Sheffield, North Yorkshire, Leeds and Wetherby. I love working with children and helping them develop into the adults of the future. My favourite subject is maths and I like nothing better than working out a mathematical problem. The thrill of teaching all subjects is that you always learn something new, especially when teaching Topic! When I’m not teaching, I love to explore the outdoors. I enjoy camping, running with my local club, and walking my mad dog!
The teaching assistant in Y3/4 is Gill Walton.
Lottie Flynn, Y1/2 Teacher
Since a young age, I’ve wanted to be a teacher. I worked in a Nursery for six years whilst studying before becoming a teacher. I was born on a leap year which makes me a similar age to the children I teach! My favourite part of teaching is Phonics. It’s so exciting to teach children the tools to be able to read. I am always looking for ways I can develop as a teacher and learn more. I studied for a Masters in Professional Practice where I enjoyed researching how I can improve my practice as a teacher. Outside of school, I love to bake – I used to work in my family’s cake shop. I also enjoy exploring new places, the outdoors and camping.
Michaela Palmer, Y1/2 Teacher
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.
The teaching assistant in Y1/2 is Lauren Cairnes.
Charlotte Wood, Reception Teacher
From a young age, I wanted to be a teacher – I even had my own class of teddies! In 2016, I completed my Early Years degree at Leeds Beckett University. Shortly after, I started working as a teaching assistant at Moortown Primary. I’m thrilled to have a class of my own here at St James’. I love teaching in Foundation and seeing where the learning journey begins – it’s definitely the place to be! In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, shopping, creating and seeing my family and friends.
The teaching assistants in Reception are Jill Rippon and Olivia Feldman.
Gill Boulton, Nursery Teacher
I started my teaching career many years ago as a teacher of art and design at a secondary school in Pontefract. After leaving the profession to raise a family, I returned to education as a Teaching Assistant and Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Moortown Primary (another school in Sphere Federation) where both of my sons attended school when they were growing up. At Moortown, I worked mainly in Reception Class but also had the pleasure of teaching art to lots of pupils across the school. More recently, I’ve been running a small art and design business, selling my own artwork and delivering art workshops. I’m pleased to be welcomed back into the Sphere Federation community as Nursery Teacher at St James’ and I’m very excited to be an active part of the children’s learning.
The teaching assistant in Nursery is Tracey Small.
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.
Becky Rowley (maternity leave in 2021-22)
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 moved to live in Yorkshire in 2015. Outside of school, I love music; I play the flute and grew up playing in orchestras and singing in choirs. 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 them ‘clicks’ in their head.