Staff Testimonials

Our brilliant teachers, support staff and leaders share a commitment to providing a first class education to the children within their schools and as a Trust we strive to ensure that our provision enables every child to fulfil their potential. As an employer we know that our people are the key to our success and for this reason believe in creating great places to work where people feel supported and encouraged to be the best they can possibly be. Staff within our schools can expect to be challenged and motivated to achieve their ambitions, and such is the scale and scope of the Trust’s school-to-school support work, successful candidates can expect to receive rapid promotion either through direct placement or via secondments from their home school.

Emma Emery

Trust Director for Mathematics

Emma joined The Brunts Academy, a school within the Evolve Trust, 17 years ago as a Newly Qualified Teacher after spending 5 years working in industry alongside securing a first class honours degree. Now the Trust Director of Maths, she coordinates the Maths provision for the schools within the trust and supports staff development. More recently, she has become a NCETM Professional Development Accredited Lead and a Secondary Mastery Specialist. “I have always been passionate about developing the teaching and learning of mathematics and staff development, “ explains Emma. “At Evolve I have been given the opportunity to pursue this interest from completing my Master’s degree to my most recent activities with the NCETM and the East Midlands Maths Hub supporting colleagues within the Trust and within schools in the wider community.”

Emma has seen many changes during her teaching career and was apprehensive about what life would be like working for the Trust. “Having taught at Brunts, a mainstream secondary, for so long, I was sceptical when we became a Trust with the addition of a special and primary school.” said Emma. “But I was very wrong. This has provided tremendous opportunities for staff to develop themselves and to extend their understanding of the way children learn within their subject areas. At Evolve, staff are encouraged to move out of their comfort zone and to keep learning, to challenge, take risks and innovate.”

Radiating throughout the heart of Evolve is the mission to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to, “believe in themselves, achieve their potential and develop the skills needed to succeed and enjoy life.” As Emma describes, “it is this unfaltering resolve that ensures we continually keep ourselves in a position to do the best thing for the children within our community.”

John Richardson

Deputy Headteacher at The Bramble Academy

John joined the Evolve Trust in January 2019 to establish and lead the Nurture Unit at The Beech Academy. He had previously worked in Primary Schools across Nottinghamshire but jumped at the chance to work for Evolve. “The Evolve Trust is unlike anywhere else I have worked before. I am consistently challenged and developed. Opportunities have been given to me that have pushed me out of my comfort zone – but that is where you learn!”

John is now Deputy Headteacher at The Bramble Academy. After successfully establishing the Nurture Unit at The Beech Academy, John moved to Bramble to support the Leadership Team and when the chance came up to join the team there permanently, he had a tricky choice to make. “I really enjoyed working at Beech. It was unlike anything I had done before and I learned a huge amount in a short space of time. The opportunity to take what I had learned and put it into practice at the Trust primary was too good to turn down.” John is already looking for the next challenge in his Evolve Career: “Since working at The Evolve Trust I have developed myself more than I had in the previous 13 years of working in education. I’m excited to see what comes next…”

Nicola Gibson

Early Years Lead at The Bramble Academy

Nicola joined the Evolve Trust almost two years ago as a supply teacher working in the Bramble Academy and is now the Early Years Lead in the academy. “Since working at the Evolve Trust I can honestly say, I am the happiest, most challenged and driven as I have been in my entire career”.

The systems and processes within the trust are robust and expectations are high – “I remember the feeling of upmost dread before my first formal observation during a due diligence review, however the whole process was very supportive and developmental, in fact the organisation is extremely supportive both personally and professionally”.

Professional development is a focus at the trust with inspirational sessions and thought provoking workshops offered to all staff as part of their individualised professional pathway, including whole staff inset days led by Evolve Executive Team and/or outside Agencies. There are a variety of opportunities for staff to develop their careers and staff are well supported to do this.

The wellbeing of staff is really important to Evolve who regularly recognise their staff for going the extra mile. The Trust believes in nurturing its employees and treating them with respect – the staff really do matter to the Trust Executive Team and Academy Senior Leadership Team. Teachers will find themselves opening thoughtful emails from colleagues or seeing a friendly face after a tough lesson.

The values are at the heart of Evolve and Bramble – everyone works together for the good of our children and will consistently go above and beyond to ensure our children become the best versions of themselves. Our Trust CEO, Claire-Marie Cuthbert regularly visits EYFS to talk to the children and will also read to the children with Mabel, the Trust Reading Dog - a Bramble Legend.

Joining The Evolve Trust was the best decision that Nicola has made, she loves her job and feels that the opportunities available to her both develop her career and support others in their careers. 

Craig Foster

Teacher of Drama at The Brunts Academy (Trust Lead for The Arts From Sept 2021)

Craig joined the Evolve Trust in September 2018 as an NQT of Drama. Craig is now entering his third year of teaching with The Evolve Trust and has never felt more at home. “The Evolve Trust is a great way to develop your practice through research, opportunities and a support network that encourages you to stretch yourself to the highest of standards.”

Craig was nervous about joining a new school for his NQT year but this was soon remedied. He explains that “The NQT development pathway is very thorough and supportive and allows you to focus on your own practice through many different lenses. The programme capitalises on the strengths of existing members of staff who run sessions depending on their strengths.”

Further to completing his NQT year Craig has been given opportunities within school to stretch and develop a wide range of skills in the Education Sector. “The opportunities that I have been presented with have allowed me to, not only develop my own educational practice, but they have allowed me to see the Evolve Trust as a place I want to further my career in and become a well-established member of the family.”

When speaking about the trust values Craig said “I have not worked in a place with such strong values before and the value driven culture that the Evolve Trust upholds has become a day to day part of my teaching.”

Natalie Aveyard

Deputy Headteacher at The Brunts Academy (Principal of The Bramble Academy From Sept 2021)

Natalie joined Brunts school, now an Academy within the Evolve Trust family, 13 years ago initially as a PGCE student on her second teaching placement before securing an NQT position. Natalie retrained to be a secondary maths teacher following 3 years in personal and corporate banking. She has a degree in Accountancy along with a Masters in Business Management where she secured a Distinction.

Natalie has successfully enjoyed many roles within the Trust including; Inclusion leader for maths, Head of House, Head of Year, Assistant Headteacher for behaviour and attendance, Assistant Headteacher for Sixth form and Assistant Headteacher for Scholastic Excellence. Currently Natalie is one of the Trust’s Deputy Headteachers placed at Brunts with responsibility for the Quality of Education. “I am extremely appreciative and grateful for all the amazing opportunities I have had at the Trust to develop and grow. Ambition is one of our core values and I feel it is imperative our students see that in staff also, as you can see from my career journey we are all encouraged to step outside of our comfort zones and learn.” Natalie’s latest role is certainly a challenging one as we look to design and plan a curriculum that is fit for purpose in the 21 stcentury.

The Trust is the place to be to get fully involved in having an impact in shaping young people’s lives. Natalie explains, “Over the past few years it has been fabulous to be part of something that truly puts pupils at the forefront of everything that we do. I am born and bred within the local community and am proud to be part of a team giving something back to the local area, raising the pupils aspirations and helping them to go on to have ambitious futures.”

Yasmin Ensor

Teacher of Art & Photography at The Brunts Academy (Trust Lead for The Arts From Sept 2021)

Yasmin joined the Evolve Trust in June 2018 as a teacher of Art and Photography. She has a first-class degree in Photography, has exhibited her artwork in various shows including in an international photography festival and has had her research published in academic journals.

“I was drawn to apply for my role after reading The Evolve Trust’s core values and mission statement, as I believe that Inclusivity within education is of fundamental importance”. Within a few months Yasmin had joined the Fellowship research program, which allowed her to carry out research-based practice in supporting pupils who speak English as an Additional Language. She then went on to disseminate her findings at the NIoE Research Partnership Conference as well as within the trust, and they have since funded Yasmin’s Masters in Education at Nottingham Trent University. She explains: “The Evolve Trust knows the strengths of their staff, recognises their passion and provides opportunities for them to develop as teachers and researchers”. Yasmin has also mentored PGCE students and supported Newly Qualified Teachers within the faculty.

Yasmin values the opportunities and challenges presented to her over the past 3 years and looks forward to the path ahead. She has been really grateful to work as part of a dynamic and supportive faculty, who often work collaboratively on performances and events. “We have been fortunate enough to work on outside opportunities with partners from local creative educational partnerships, including the Emerge festival. We also recently secured a bid through Age of Revolution that has been used to buy Surface Pro tablets for students to produce digital art with. This is fantastic as the students already have access to industry standard materials including Photoshop, a photography studio and VR headsets”.

Mica Coleman Jones

Specialist Teacher & Provision Leader (Head of School From Sept 2021)

Mica joined The Evolve Trust in 2020, as a Specialist Teacher supporting the Senior Leadership Team at The Beech Academy. Mica had previously worked in other special schools, leading their Autism provision in collaboration with national organisations such as The National Autistic Society. Mica quickly stepped up as the Leader of Specialist Provision, and was recently appointed as Head of School from September 2021.

“Since joining The Evolve Trust just over 7 months ago, my role has evolved into something I had dreamed of achieving in years to come. As an autistic woman, I feel incredibly passionate about inclusivity and social mobility. It was the vision and values of The Evolve Trust that had attracted me to join.”

Mica recently completed the Leadership Symposium, a programme handcrafted by our CEO, Claire-Marie Cuthbert. “The Leadership Symposium provided me with dedicated time to engage with the latest pedagogical research and meet with some of the world’s best thinkers of today. I am grateful that I was selected for this unique pathway, as it challenged my own leadership style and enabled me to think strategically about The Beech Academy. 

I am excited about my new role as Head of School, as my appointment has shown what is possible for autistic staff working in schools when their intrinsic value is recognised and nurtured.” 

Thomas McDermott 

Trust Director for English 

There is something about working for the Evolve Trust that just clicks with me. The culture centred around doing the best for the young people and the communities we serve; the opportunities for development and the absolute belief in the core values are all part of what makes being here incredible.

I have never worked in an organisation where I have felt so… what’s the word? At home. I will admit in the short time I have been here I have learned so much and already have had meeting time with educational and culture developing luminaries such as Andreas Schleicher (one of the founders of the PISA Programme) and Bretton Putter (founder of CultureGene). Working with Claire Cuthbert the most values driven CEO, well person, I have ever had the pleasure of meeting has been transformational. To put it simply Evolve has realised that quality training (I refuse to call it CPD) and driven people can effect positive change. It all comes down to: why are doing this? Is it having an impact on our young people? How can we make it better?

I totally espouse the values at Evolve and know it has changed my entire perspective on education, giving me more drive and purpose and feeling of value than I have ever had. So yes, you can easily say I am an ‘Evolver’ and proud to be so. I consider it a privilege to come to work everyday for this Trust.