Our Teachers

Emily Alder

 After graduating with a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway University of London, Emily first worked in schools to provide specialist provision for students with autism before moving in to teaching.

 Emily has lived in Dorchester her entire life and still lives locally with her husband and rescue greyhound. Having attended St Osmund's herself as a student, Emily is pleased to have been welcomed back to the school as a member of staff.

 As assistant director of a local youth theatre, Emily enjoys drama and theatre and is passionate about empowering young people through the arts.

Mrs Vali Atkinson

Vali arrived in UK in 1999 from Bruxelles, Belgium and settled in Dorchester with her new family. Vali looked after her two boys while her husband worked abroad for the World Health Organisation. She could not speak English initially, as French and Romanian were her native languages, so she embarked on a distance learning Degree in International Studies with French and various other language Diplomas, which she completed while getting involved in volunteering in schools and running local languages clubs over many years.

She embraced the teaching career path fully and worked in the Thomas Hardye School as a teaching assistant before completing the GTP course and training to become a teacher.  She taught in schools in Salisbury and Shaftesbury before coming back to The Thomas Hardye School and then St Osmund’s for the last 3 years.

She has a strong passion for languages and speaks several, continuing to learn Italian and always striving to inspire children to do the same. She believes that putting languages in the context is the best way for students to experience the joy of communicating with others and she always endeavours to foster students’ belief that they can do it.

She keeps her students’ interests at the heart of everything she does and believes that little and often is the key to any language learning. She works hard to ensure that the vocabulary, grammar, and phonics needed, come alive in the classroom in many ways and always keeps an eye on the new developments and strategies that can motivate and engage her classes.

She loves travelling, running, tennis, going to the theatre and reading the news on the European websites.

Mr Jonathan Anderson

 After graduating from University, Jonathan undertook teacher training in London.  He taught there and in the East of England before recently moving to Dorset.

 Mr Simon Beet

Simon read History at University and then with an interest in sport completed his Postgraduate Certificate of Education at Loughborough. He is a passionate advocate of the benefits of the three tier school system and has been privileged to work in Middle Schools throughout his career. He has had wide ranging experiences working within schools, including both as a Head of Department and as Head of Year. He continues to be fascinated by History and thinks that it is important that children have a deep knowledge and understanding of the past and the world around them, in order to become informed and active citizens of the present.

Simon lives locally in a village near Lulworth Cove and feels extremely fortunate to live in an area of such outstanding natural beauty, particularly when out cycling and running. Sport has always played an important part in his life and has been an active participant particularly in cricket and football. Originating from the North – East of England he remains a lifelong Sunderland supporter and as a result is well aware of the truth of the saying that it is always better to travel hopefully.

 Mrs Sian Bell

Sian studied at Cardiff University before moving home to Dorset to work in the public sector. She started her teaching career at a large Weymouth secondary school, teaching both history and sociology to GCSE and A level students before joining St Osmund’s in Sept 2020.

Sian is passionate about ensuring that history is not ‘old and dusty’, encouraging her students to investigate and research through different sources, drama and discussions, her favourite era is the inter war period. She has a special interest in social history, the stories and lives of the ordinary people.

Sian lives with her husband, close to her son, daughter in law and much loved grandchildren, she loves to travel with her family and friends.

Mr Gareth Biddle

Gareth grew up in Cornwall; and loves the county (still) and loved his upbringing - it has certainly led to his constant need to live close to the coast. A keen sportsman, Gareth studied Sport and Exercise Sciences (BSc Hons) at university before moving on to complete his PGCE in Physical Education (secondary). He had been teaching for more than 20 years and remains devoted to education. Protecting and developing children sits deeply in his core; this continues to fuel his passion for pastoral care in school.

 Mrs Kerry Cahill

 Kerry came to teaching later in life having had a family first. She studied English and history at University of Gloucestershire through the University Centre at Yeovil College. Before completing her degree, Kerry worked in business roles, book keeping for local businesses and also worked as an SEN TA at Thomas Hardye School. She completed her PGCE in secondary English at the Graduate School of Education, Exeter University.

 Kerry started her career teaching English and history on Portland and has also taught in Weymouth and Poole before coming to St Osmund’s to teach history and now English. She has taught history and English to GSCE level as well as teaching English Language resit. Kerry has also marked GCSE English Language exams for the AQA Exam Board. As a parent of an SEND child, Kerry is passionate about supporting all learners to access education and to reach their highest possible potential. As a keen reader, Kerry has worked closely with publishers in London frequently reviewing books for them before their release date. She passes on her passion for reading across all genres to her students and is always happy to chat about what books they are reading.

 Kerry lives in Dorchester with her husband, youngest two children and black Labrador, Toby. All three of her children have attended local schools. In her spare time Kerry loves to read, travel, walk her dog, camp in her old VW campervan and weight train.

Shannon Carney 

Shannon graduated from Roehampton University with a degree in Early childhood development and Education and has since taught English as a foreign language in various countries such as Italy and South Korea, over the last few years. She then completed her teacher training locally and was delighted to join the St Osmund's team as her first post. 

Shannon is from a military family and has had lots of moves over the years but has spent the majority of her youth in Dorset and after completing university in London could not wait to rejoin the beautiful Jurassic coast.  

Shannon has a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy called Kovu that is her pride and joy in going for long hikes and exploring the beautiful coastline. 

 Mrs Chloe Carter-Miles

 Chloe went into teaching as a second career, having worked as a commercial property surveyor.

Chloe is primary trained and has taught across all age groups, in a pupil referral unit and in specialist provision. She has also been a school governor. Chloe is passionate about inclusion and enabling all children and young people to access a high quality education. Chloe took the SENDCo role at St Osmund’s in September 2021. 

 Miss Georgia Cartwright

 Georgia completed her PGCE with Special Educational Needs through the University of Exeter in 2021. Her placements were at Weymouth schools with a focus around SEND - including a TADSS Special School - where she enjoyed using a variety of individual teaching strategies to accommodate learners, such as sign language. Prior to this, Georgia gained a First Class Honours Degree in English, where she received a University Assessment Board Commendation in 2019 for academic performance and was shortlisted for Best Student Writer 2020. As part of her degree, she really enjoyed studying different topics such as Historical Fiction, Children’s Literature and Crime Fiction.

She continues to enjoy creative writing and hopes to have her own work published in the future. Georgia is passionate about encouraging reluctant readers, as she initially could never find a book that she enjoyed at school. After discovering her ‘gateway’ book with S.C. Ransom’s Small Blue Thing, she is passionate about helping others find their own ‘gateway book’ and inspiring a love for reading.      

Georgia grew up in the village of Crossways and moved to Dorchester in 2018. She attended local schools including The Thomas Hardye School and Sixth Form. Georgia enjoys reading, landscape photography and spending time with family. Her favourite local place to visit is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, where she likes to take her (very naughty) Cocker Spaniel. 

 Mrs Julie Coombs

Julie’s musical journey started at a very young age after being inspired by an ex-pupil playing the flute in her primary school assembly. She then took up lessons on the flute age 7 and continued with her piano lessons. Julie then studied music at Dartington College of Arts, where she gained her BA (Hons) majoring in performance. She then undertook her Primary PGCE at Exeter University and after having her final placement in a local middle school, developed her passion for teaching middle school age children.

Julie has taught music and many other subjects for 20 years and was Head of Music at a nearby middle school before she went part-time after her first daughter was born. She is now married with 3 daughters, all following her love of music.

Mrs Gina Day

 Gina studied at Exeter University and graduated with a BA in Mathematics and Education. She has taught for over 20 years in a variety of settings including primary and middle schools. Although experienced in teaching across the curriculum in primary schools, she chose to specialise in mathematics and joined St Osmund’s in 2019 where she leads the mathematics department.

 Mrs Sophie Farmer 

 Sophie studied Classical Civilisation at Warwick University. She then went on to complete a PGCE in primary education (with a focus on history) at Roehampton University in London. 

 Sophie started her career teaching key stage one pupils in Byfleet, Surrey before moving to Dorset in 2009. Since moving west, she taught at Bridport Primary School, Burton Bradstock Primary School and Beechcroft Primary School in Weymouth before joining St Osmund’s. In these previous settings, Sophie taught the full range of primary subjects across years five and six as well as leading various aspects of the English curriculum.  Alongside these roles, her experience as a writing moderator for Dorset has equipped Sophie with a range of knowledge and skills to support the continuing development of English at St Osmund’s. She is passionate about the mastery of reading and writing for all pupils. 

 Sophie lives in Poundbury with her husband and enjoys spending time with her nieces. She loves to travel, garden and explore the world through photography. 

 Mrs Jo Haysom

 Jo studied for her GCSE’s and A Levels at Portsmouth High school where she developed a passion for sport and Physical Education. During this time she played Lacrosse at Regional level, and cricket at County level.

This led Jo to take a BEd degree in Physical Education and geography at The College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth, which involved numerous teaching placements throughout the four years.  Jo’s first teaching post was at a girls’ school in Abingdon, where she was senior lacrosse coach and head of year 7.  She went on to teach in a mixed, reception to key stage 4 school in Hampshire, during which time she became a mum to two boys.

Jo and her family made the decision to move to Dorset where they have settled, with both boys attending St Osmund’s.

Jo has coached both netball and cricket locally and is currently a lead moderator at OCR for GCSE Physical Education.

Jo likes spending time with her family, watching live sport and exploring the coast.

 Mrs Louisa Macnair

Louisa studied Music at Cardiff University, followed by teacher training at Reading University. She began her teaching career teaching Music and English in a secondary school in Oxfordshire. Following a sabbatical to study for a Master’s degree at Exeter University, Louisa moved to Dorset in 2002 and began teaching in middle schools. Since then, Louisa has taught a range of subjects, including Music, English, Maths, DT, PSHE, History and French. She first taught at St Osmund’s in 2016.

Louisa loves to continue her learning: she spent a large chunk of the national lockdown in 2020 completing a TSST course, qualifying her to teach Maths up to GCSE level, and has completed a comprehensive training programme in DT teaching. In addition, she has recently qualified as a Wellbeing Champion, to support her role as Staff Wellbeing Lead. She loves working with St Osmund’s Concert Band (playing saxophone), Ossie’s Singers and the newly formed Staff Choir. Louisa is excited to take on the role of PSHE Lead from September 2022.

Louisa is a keen musician, playing piano, saxophone, recorder, drums and ukulele, as well as singing in two local choirs. She lives near Blandford with her husband, her teenage son and enjoys walking her crazy ginger cocker spaniel, Scrumpy.

Mrs Claire Minhinnick

 Born and raised in Norwich, Claire completed a Primary Education with Theology and Philosophy B.Ed. (hons) at the University College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth.  She has worked almost exclusively in Dorset Middle Schools since graduating in 2001, holding various roles including subject leads (RE and English), year leader and senior leadership.  With a young family at home, she now works part-time, teaching her favourite subject, English.  

 Claire is a mum to three young children and two elderly pets.  She loves to read and is currently learning to swim.  

 Mr George Minhinnick

 George studied Music at Birmingham Conservatoire (French horn) and also at the Institute of Contemporary Performance (electric guitar). For some years after graduation, he worked in recruitment, and publishing before teacher training at Winchester University. 

 George started his teaching career as a Music teacher at Gillingham School before joining the Ossie's family in September 2020. George has a real passion for sharing the fun and joy of music with students. Music for him is a massive life enhancer; through singing, learning to play instruments, understanding its cultural/historical significances along with promoting a strong sense of community, music can and does change the world. Sharing this with students is a great privilege!

 George regularly plays guitar in a Dorset based band called Tablula Fire, and enjoys Tennis, Kickboxing, Football and taking his dog (Mr Pooch) out on new adventures. 

 Mr Ali Mitchell

 Ali studied his undergraduate degree at the University of Bath, studying Sport Science. He worked as a prison officer for three years before deciding to go into teaching. He went to the University of Southampton to study his PGCE before moving to the Middle East to complete his NQT year and second teaching year in Qatar. He was a general primary teacher and co-led the maths team for KS2.

 Once Ali returned to the UK, he taught around the Weymouth and Portland area before taking the role at St Osmund's. He has a passion for teaching maths to our students and is currently the KS3 coordinator for the subject. His favourite topic in mathematics is trigonometry despite it being one of the worst-named topics due to triangles only being involved on the surface of the topic. Outside of the classroom, Ali leads the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, including events such as Odd Sock Day and Anti-Bullying Week. 

 In his free time, he is the Chairperson of Weymouth Waves Volleyball Club, the largest volleyball club in South Dorset with men's, women's and junior teams. As well as playing for their men's team, he is a qualified volleyball coach and referee, coaching the women and junior sides.

Ms Hannah Mugridge

Hannah Mugridge grew up in Dorchester and attended St Osmund’s as a child. Hannah left Dorchester after her A-levels and went on to study Geography in London. While in London Hannah worked for Haringey Council and later, she enrolled at Goldsmiths University to complete her PGCE training to become a secondary Geography teacher. Hannah enjoyed working with young people in London where the cultural mix provided opportunities to learn from the students themselves about the Geography of the world.

Hannah began her teaching career in Lewisham in a large secondary school, after a couple of years she became the subject leader for Geography which was delivered up to A Level, she also led the popular option of Leisure and Tourism, a double award GCSE. Hannah enjoyed developing the curriculum and ensured that physical geography fieldwork opportunities were integral for students who, for many, never left their local urban environment.

Hannah decided to leave London when her two children were young because she wanted them to experience life in a more rural setting. Soon after their move Hannah became part of the St Osmund’s School community and her daughter now attends the school and her son will next year. Hannah has a passion for climate justice and animal welfare along with a love of the outdoors. Hannah is very proud of the OCAG group which she leads at St Osmund’s, their motivation to be responsible stewards of the earth is inspirational.

Mr Craig Nicholl 

 Craig grew up and still lives in Weymouth, he loves his hometown. Craig studied History & the Modern World (BA Hons) at the University of Winchester before completing his PGCE in Secondary History.

 Craig has worked in two schools, teaching history in a large secondary school in Weymouth and now at St. Osmunds. Craig feels he is very fortunate as he is working with some of his old teachers that inspired him! 

 Craig’s main interests are socialising with friends and regularly watching his football team (Tottenham Hotspur) lose! 

  Mr Graham Otter

 Graham began his career working as a scientist for the Ministry of Defence where he helped to design and test ship and submarine SONAR. During this time he studied Physics with Computing at Warwick University. After 12 years with the MoD he moved to British Aerospace as a Software Engineer. He worked on projects for the Swedish and Japanese Navies and also the UK Hydrographic Office.

He moved into teaching in 2005 and spent his first year at Wyke Regis Junior School before starting at St Osmund’s where he predominantly teaches maths, science and computing. He has been a class tutor, Lead for science, Lead for computing and is currently the Lead for Year 5.

Jack Oxtoby

 Since graduating from The University of Plymouth in 2020, with a BA(Hons) degree in Education Studies, Jack found himself in a variety of school-based roles before training to become an English teacher. In his time working in mainstream education, he has served as a learning mentor and an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA), in which he spent his time assisting with looking after the wellbeing of 1,000 students in a popular local secondary school.

 As part of his training, Jack completed a placement here at St Osmund’s and instantly became fascinated with the school’s vast, inclusive, and positive approach to learning. Furthermore, Jack also gained valuable experience at The Purbeck school; in this role, he taught students from both the Key Stage 3 and 4 age ranges. Jack values the power of positivity and ensuring that all students have the greatest chance of succeeding in, and out of, the classroom.

 Outside of the classroom, Jack has a keen ear for music and can often be found enjoying a range of concerts from different artists at various venues (of which, the iconic Wembley Arena is a favourite).

  Miss Lizzy Pike

 Lizzy studied Business Finance at Durham University. Following a year out, where she spent some time travelling around New Zealand, she undertook a Secondary Maths PGCE at Exeter, St Luke's College.

 She spent her first few years of teaching working in a Secondary school in the Midlands before relocating to Dorset where she has taught maths and computing in the middle school system ever since.


Miss Emma Restorick

Emma studied Southampton University, with a six month placement in Wollongong (Australia). She spent a year after graduation teaching English to foreign students; her enjoyment of this, alongside her passion for sport, led her to pursue a career in teaching and she completed a further year of study to gain her PGCE.

 Emma’s first teaching post was here at St Osmund’s and she has remained ever since- 18 years now, which says so much about the school! She has a real enthusiasm for the huge benefits to be gained from participating in physical activities- resilience, confidence, and communication skills, to name just a few. Emma has a particular interest in raising participation levels amongst girls and how positively this can impact on both their mental and physical health.

 In her spare time she enjoys playing hockey, water polo, swimming and most of all surfing.

 Mrs Demelza Roberts

 Demelza studied sports science at DE Montfort University in Bedford. After completing the 3 year BSc she decided to complete a PGCE and secured her first teaching post in Hertfordshire teaching PE and Science. After three years at Greeneway Middle, Demelza and her husband moved to Dorset to continue teaching within the three tier system and to be closer to family in Cornwall. After a small break to have children Demelza worked as a SSCo across the Weymouth schools before becoming part of the DASP pyramid. She worked within DASP for a number of years which gave her a good idea of what a special school St Osmunds was. Demelza then started teaching at St Osmund’s in 2011 and after a year went on to lead Year 8. 

Demelza and her family strongly believe in a sense of community and appreciate the beauty and calmness of Dorset living. 

Being able to contribute towards a child's life opportunities and the community is a privilege and remains a fundamental part of both her and her husband's lives.

Demelza loves to travel, read and swim. She also has been known to enjoy the odd party!

 Mrs Katy Skinner

Katy studied Linguistic Science with French and German at Reading University, which included a year studying at the University of Aix-en-Provence in France. After graduating, she worked for a year at the Phonetics Institute at the University of Kiel, Germany. On return to the UK, Katy was offered a graduate traineeship in international marketing with HP Foods, then part of the Danone. She spent 15 years in various international and UK based marketing jobs and was responsible for managing several well-known brands, including Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, HP Sauce and the Chinese Amoy portfolio.  After a mid-career break where she escaped to the French Alps and ran a chalet for a season, she returned to marketing. However, after meeting her husband to be, the pull of teaching could no longer be ignored, and she started a PGCE course at Warwick University. Both her parents were teachers and she felt it was her destiny to inspire a future generation of language learners. Language learning has enriched her life with a love of travel, a strong appreciation of different cultures and led to a successful career in business.

She started her teaching career at a large comprehensive in Warwick (picking up Spanish along the way) but then the lure of living by the sea proved too strong and her family moved to Dorchester when she became Subject Lead of French at St Osmund’s. Her proudest achievement, apart from inspiring many young linguists at the start of their learning journey, has been to persuade DASP to offer the teaching of Spanish at all of our Middle Schools.

Katy lives in Dorchester with her two teenage sons and Freckles the cat. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, walking, tennis and cooking for pleasure.

  Mrs Clare Stripp

 Clare graduated with a BA Honours in Sport and Recreation at The University College of St Mark and St John's (Marjons) in Plymouth. After leaving university, Clare worked in a health centre, working as a fitness instructor and teaching exercise classes.  Although Clare enjoyed working within the fitness industry, teaching in a school was the career she wanted to pursue. Clare was inspired by her PE teacher at secondary school. This teacher made lessons engaging, interesting and fun! Clare now works alongside this teacher - Mr Absolom! 

Clare went on to study her PGCE at Exeter University and one of her placement schools was St Osmunds. Clare was over the moon when a job opportunity came up at Ossie’s and her career began in a school she loved! Clare has grown with St Osmund's, teaching mainly PE and Maths, a period of time leading KS2 maths and also the privilege of leading Year 6. 

 Mrs Sinead Thorpe

 Sinead studied Theology and Philosophy at London University.  After graduating she completed her teaching qualification through the Graduate Teaching Programme.

 Sinead taught Religious Education at Two secondary schools in Hertfordshire before relocating to Dorset with her young family.  Sinead taught GCSE and A-level at a large secondary school in Weymouth before joining St Osmund's Middle School.  

She is passionate about connecting RE to the wider world and loves using the Socratic method of questioning to really get her students thinking.  

Miss Cassie Watters

Cassie grew up in Dorchester and even attended St. Osmund’s, so is making a full circle.  She is proud to be a KS2 tutor and teacher of a variety of subjects including English and Drama.

Cassie went to University in Kingston-upon-Thames in London and, having experienced the rich culture of our capital, felt the need to see more. She therefore left England to teach abroad and spent 8 years in Thailand teaching English as a Second Language to local Thai, Shan and hill tribe children. An amazing, eye-opening and humbling experience!

Cassie grew up with the Harry Potter books so consequently, she admits to being a bit of a nerd (Gryffindor!) but is also a big fan of: C.S Lewis (Narnia); Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games); Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) and J.R.R Tolkien (for obvious reasons).

Cassie enjoys walking, running and connecting with nature; singing with our school staff choir; playing music (a variety of instruments) and spending time with her friends and family including her extended family here at Ossie’s.

  Miss Emily Way

 Emily graduated from Winchester School of Art in 2008 and has a passion for textiles, fashion, colour and pattern. She believes in students solving problems through creativity in their learning. 

 During the course of her teaching career, she has taught a variety of subjects as well as being a head of department and a head of year. She is now thoroughly enjoying teaching maths. 

She has spent much of her career at St Osmund's Middle School and is proud to be part of the school and wider community. 

 Emily lives by the coast and loves nothing more than long sunny days spent by the sea. She enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time with her family.