Hey with Zion CofE / Methodist Primary School

Our Subject Leaders

Our English Leader is Heather McDonald. Heather is a first class honours graduate from University of Cumbria and successfully gained an N.P.Q.M.L. in 2021. She has also supported a fellow member of staff in their N.P.Q.M.L., with a drive on improving spelling outcomes across the school.

She is proud of our Literacy led curriculum and was key in our “Excellence in Literacy” award from U.C.L. in 2018, and again in our S.I.L./ N.L.T. 2022 Reading Quality Mark  She has recently led the development of our virtual book club and has increased our use of local libraries. For three years in succession (2021/2022/2023) Hey with Zion has won the Oldham Reading Challenge. Heather likes to provide children with access to authors who will inspire the children in their work and in their love of reading.  She has facilitated Skype work with Christina Balit, and has brought in authors such as Danielle Corrigan, Crystal Bennici and National Literacy Hero, Richard O'Neill, to work face to face with the children. 


Our Early Reading Leader is Sara Machin. One of our co-headteachers, Sara has led our Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. She has overseen our Foundation Stage children achieving among the highest outcomes in the borough for a number of years. She supports the local authority as one of the town’s main assessment moderators. Hey with Zion pupils’ achievement at Year One phonics, in Early Years writing and in terms of “Good Level of Development” was in the highest quintile throughout the country in the most recent national standardized data (2023). Sara has recently brought in a validated systematic, synthetic phonics scheme (Supersonic Phonic Friends) to secure further development of our already good phonics outcomes. 


Our Geography Leader is Heather McDonald. Heather is a first class honours graduate from University of Cumbria and successfully gained an N.P.Q.M.L. in 2021, with a primary focus on improving outcomes in Geography in KS1. She led our school towards its first ever Geography award (bronze) in 2018 from the Geography Association and continued this for us to achieve silver in 2021. She has liaised with author Julia Tanner and a number of pieces of work from Hey with Zion pupils have been included as case studies for the books, “Leading Primary Geography” and “The Everyday Guide to Primary Geography: Maths” She has recently been approached to work with the Geographical Association to support all of Oldham’s primary schools in the borough’s Geography network. 


Our Art and Design Leader is Sara Machin. Sara is one of our co-heads and recently completed a Christian Leadership course. She has overseen a major boost in our Art and Design curriculum, and enthused the children with our growing Art Gallery. It includes drawings, paintings, photography and more. Around school there are examples of high quality art linking to our Literacy curriculum, designed and created by our children in conjunction with a commissioned artist. Sara is a firm believer in the importance of children having exposure to the highest quality of work available, so has begun to welcome artists into school not just to talk with the children, but to create art alongside them. She regularly arranges art exhibitions where all of our children have their work presented  professionally. Our children have had their art displayed locally such as in an interfaith Oldham competition, and as far afield as the Jubilee Art Centre in London. They have been given opportunities to work with artists of renown such as Chris Cyprus and Tony Husband. 



Our Music leader is Lauren Kelly. Lauren was appointed Music leader in September 2023. A pianist herself, she is keen to continue our school's links with Oldham Music Centre and the Halle Orchestra. Our children each year perform in a concert alongside the Halle Orchestra, and perform informal concerts for parents, such as at Christmas time. Our school choir  sings in a number of community events, for example in our churches and at local nursing homes. 


Our Music second-in-command is Diane Westhead who  is working to support and develop music throughout school. She is keen for all pupils to experience a wide range of musical genres in class lessons and through assembly time and have opportunities to perform and play instruments, including percussion.  


Our Maths leader is Sarah Patterson. Currently our Assistant Head, Sarah has previously followed the Maths Specialist Teacher programme and has more recently completed her N.P.Q.S.L. in which she focussed on developing children’s mastery of multiplication tables. She is closely involved with the N.C.E.T.M.’s local research hub and is proud of the high standards which have been maintained in Maths at Hey with Zion. Her links with N.C.E.T.M. have facilitated access to high quality training for staff in our younger classes to ensure our staff have optimal professional development. From 2013 to 2019, 42 of our Year Six children passed their Maths GCSE to grade c (4) and higher. Our 2017 Ofsted report referred to “exceptional achievement in Mathematics.” 


Our History leader is our SENDCO, Janet Light. Janet completed her SENDCO qualification in 2020, and has been instrumental in leading our school towards various awards in History. Janet made our school a member of the Historical Association and since then has led our school to achieve their silver award (2015) then gold in 2016 and 2020. Also we were awarded the Heritage Schools Award in 2018 from Historic England for work on women’s suffrage in our locality. Janet has led our children to have a much better grasp of chronology and their connectedness with history. 


Our Design and Technology leader is Jessica Holt. Jessica has made our school a member of the Design and Technology Association. She has led c.p.d. for the whole teaching staff around the design process, and has overseen a significant rise in standards in children’s work in the subject. She takes great pride in seeing children’s projects win outside school events, such as a town “design a reindeer” competition which one of our children won in 2020, or in our annual entries to the primary engineer competition. 


Our Science leader is Helen Morton. Helen has led our school to two successive primary science quality marks (2016 and 2020) and has done so by an incremental process of prioritising the five principles of Scientific enquiry in school. Helen has also overseen our annual entries into the Primary Engineers S.T.E.M. competition. Helen is proud that the school has had a Greater Manchester winner (2017) who designed an app for a fridge magnet which could scan food for sell by dates, so as to reduce food wastage. Since taking over as subject leader, Helen has significantly raised the profile of Science, for example by bringing in now established “Science Weeks” and nurturing the school’s status as an Ogden Trust Partnership school. 


Our Physical Education leader is Paula Thompson-Lloyd.  Paula was appointed PE leader in September 2023. A keen footballer and lover of cricket, she has worked closely with specialists from Manchester City and Oldham Athletic to help our children receive what we think is a very special primary school offer. She enjoys the links with these clubs and is looking to build on our previous collaboration with athletes such as Rebecca Adlington MBE (Olympic gold medallist, swimming), Rebecca Gallantree (world champion, swimming), Nicola White (Olympic gold medallist, hockey), Alex Williams MBE (footballer) and Ash Randall (world record holder, freestyle football). Football is a particular strength here, and our teams typically get to play each year both at Manchester City's training complex and on the pitch at Oldham Athletic. 


Our Spanish leader is Haydee Seton-Jones. She is a first class honours graduate from Edge Hill University in Primary Teaching with a Modern Foreign Languages specialism. Haydee teaches Spanish lessons throughout Key Stage Two. Haydee has visited Spain twice in her own time to support our learning in school, in initiatives funded by the British Council. She has set up a link for us with a school in Santander and continues her own learning in Spanish in an evening course. Haydee is considered our best teacher of Spanish, so is taking on the challenge of teaching every KS2 class in a drive to raise standards at our school. This is in the light of Ofsted research about what has worked well in other schools. 


Susan Soanes is our Computing leader. She is currently studying for a NPQML with a focus on developing digital literacy across the school, and has also followed an extended Digital Champions course run by Oldham Council and supported by the local sixth form college. Susan is driving our development of digital learning and has provided much training for teachers and teaching assistants, also making herself available to support parents and carers as required. Susan is involved in NCCE (National Centre for Computing Education) Saddleworth group which enables her to keep up to date with best practice from other local schools so that Hey with Zion is never left behind. She has overseen the effective implementation of much new hardware in our school and a significant increase in digital learning over the last two years. 


Leah Cochrane is our Religious Education Leader Leah was appointed R.E. leader in November 2023. A Catholic herself, she is keen to that all of our children, of all faiths and of none, learn about and understand Christianity and other major world religions and their impact on society, culture and the wider world. She is a first class honours graduate (Law) and wrote her dissertation on philosophy and policy change. She is keen that the children develop their own spiritual/ philosophical convictions, and explore and enrich their own beliefs and values.