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Senior Leadership Team
Stewart Gynn

Executive Headteacher

I have always loved mystery stories, in particular Sherlock Holmes, so I read Antony Horowitz and Ann Cleaves. I also like a bit of fantasy and have read the whole Harry Potter series, Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights and Terry Pratchet’s Discworld series. Often my sons tell me about books that they have enjoyed and I have recently read Cogheart, Skellig and Holes on their recommendation, although my favourite children’s author is Michael Morpurgo - I can’t believe that Kensuke’s Kingdom has not been made into a film.

Suzanne Le-Doux-Lucas

Head of School and SENDCo - Currently on Maternity leave

My favourite book is Matilda by Roald Dahl. I must've read it dozens of times, sometimes finishing it, then starting it all over again straight away! I always wanted to be like the kind teacher, Miss Honey who saw the best in all children and valued each individual's characteristics and qualities. This book is why I became a teacher really. I do love most Roald Dahl books as the stories are all great as well as the illustrations by Quentin Blake-but in my opinion Matilda is the best!

Emma Williams

Beech Class Senior Teacher - Currently Acting Head of School

In 1986 Rik Mayall read George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl for Jackanory. I was 8 years old and I was hooked. I watched silently, in awe of the mischief making George and totally transfixed by Rik Mayall's storyteller voices- most memorably the evil Grandma. I couldn't wait for the next episode to transport me to the magical world Roald Dahl had created and I still have my original copy which I read over and over and over again. Fast forward 34 years and I have just read that copy to my own children.

I have always loved the way books can transport you to another world and love nothing more than finding a good series, usually magical fantasy lands. From CS Lewis'classic The Chronicles of Narnia, to the modern classic of Harry Potter (I'm Hufflepuff, my wand is Rowan Wood with a Dragon Heartstring 13", reasonably supple, and my patronus is a Piebald Stallion- check out Harry Potter Wizarding World to be officially sorted)

I adore the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I have two daughters and want them to be as caring, astute and fearless as Katniss. As I've grown up, my interest in magical worlds has broadened to include the imagined dystopian futures and I have thoroughly enjoyed Margaret Attwood's dark, dystopian Handmaid's Tale and more recently her Booker Prize winning, The Testaments- a highly recommended read for adults.

Ash Class- EYFS
Sarah Berry

Ash Class Teacher Monday and Tuesday

As a Mum of young children, most of my reading concerns calamitous orange dragons and foolish beasts with poisonous warts and purple prickles. Yes- we are big fans of Julia Donaldson in my house! I love sharing stories which stir the imagination, evoke a sense of adventure and conjure vivid images, both at home and at school.

When I was a child, I enjoyed reading ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ as it transported me to a mythical land where anything could happen. As a teenager, my love of fantasy grew and I devoured ‘The Lord of Rings’ trilogy within weeks of getting them for my birthday. Although it takes me a lot longer to journey to Mordor these days, I still love diving into these stories!

Gemma Illsley

Ash Class Teacher Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” - Frederick Douglass
Books have been my loyal and lifelong companions. Some of my earliest and most
treasured memories are of leisurely mornings spent with my Nanny, immersed in story worlds within the children's section of our local library. Once I could read independently, I lost myself in books and my parents forgot what I looked like for about a decade, while I devoured anything written by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Jacqueline Wilson. 'Walk Two Moons' by Sharon Creech was my favourite young novel of the time, along with 90's classics like 'The Babysitter's Club' series
Nowadays, reading for pleasure usually takes the form of cuddling up with my young daughters to share their favourite stories. When daily life is hectic and intense, those
moments of peace, togetherness and laughter remind me of how important reading and sharing stories is for us all. My children adore Julia Donaldson for her vivid characters and rhyming refrains, Dr Seuss for his silliness and the comforting familiarity of
traditional tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs.
Reading gives us the freedom to continue to learn and develop in any way we choose. I enjoy a lot of non-fiction and am particularly partial to a flick through an atlas!
Although I might not have the time to lose to a book quite as often now, they are always there and ready for us when we need them.

Joanne Tonkin

Ash Class Teaching Assistant

As a child, I was usually found with my head in a 'Famous five' book. I loved their sense of adventure and perpetual youth. I was particularly full of admiration for George's bravery, loyalty and determination. I was also rather envious of her private island...

So I cut my hair very short (like George) and every summer I packed our bags and dragged my somewhat reluctant siblings and Bella (our elderly American cocker spaniel) out looking for adventures of our own - usually imagining that our innocent neighbours were in the midst of some sort of smuggling ring, searching for clues, and leaving codes to each other about them with invisible ink (lemon juice) just like in the stories.

With hindsight, short hair didn't suit me, and poor Bella really didn't have Timmy's energy (nor his intelligence). Futhermore, my mother couldn't find any local islands (with a secret underground tunnel to the mainland) for sale within our price range. However, I will never forget the way those books inspired my imagination and the excitement and the escapism they brought me. They have ignited a love of reading. I find it fascinating that a book can transport you back into the greatest minds in history. Since my famous five days I have been on many other adventures; from exploring the Galapagos islands on the HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin, to travelling to Hogwarts with Harry and all the gang, and everywhere in between!

"If you don't like to read, you haven't found the right book" - JK Rowling

Mary Fox

Ash Class Higher Level Teaching Assistant and Parent Support Advisor

During my childhood I remember my year 1 teacher Mrs Harrison reading many stories that influenced the books I chose to read. We would walk through the magical doors of the wardrobe and end up in Narnia, explore Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and meet the Oompa Loompas. But my personal favourite was imagining I was flying on a magic carpet with Mr Majeka. Mr Majeka was a teacher but no ordinary teacher he knew magic.

As a Mum I have shared these books and many more with my children. You can go on many adventures and the stories we read uplift us and can create a happy place.

But as an adult If I can’t find a story that can take me on an adventure, I enjoy reading books about mindfulness and well being.

Beech Class- Year 1 & 2
Emma Williams

Acting Head of School and Beech Class Teacher Monday - Wednesday

In 1986 Rik Mayall read George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl for Jackanory. I was 8 years old and I was hooked. I watched silently, in awe of the mischief making George and totally transfixed by Rik Mayall's storyteller voices- most memorably the evil Grandma. I couldn't wait for the next episode to transport me to the magical world Roald Dahl had created and I still have my original copy which I read over and over and over again. Fast forward 34 years and I have just read that copy to my own children.

I have always loved the way books can transport you to another world and love nothing more than finding a good series, usually magical fantasy lands. From CS Lewis'classic The Chronicles of Narnia, to the modern classic of Harry Potter (I'm Hufflepuff, my wand is Rowan Wood with a Dragon Heartstring 13", reasonably supple, and my patronus is a Piebald Stallion- check out Harry Potter Wizarding World to be officially sorted)

I adore the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I have two daughters and want them to be as caring, astute and fearless as Katniss. As I've grown up, my interest in magical worlds has broadened to include the imagined dystopian futures and I have thoroughly enjoyed Margaret Attwood's dark, dystopian Handmaid's Tale and more recently her Booker Prize winning, The Testaments- a highly recommended read for adults.

Joel Heagney

Beech Class Teacher Thursday and Friday

As a child I loved to read the legends of King Arthur and the Chronicles of Narnia. I have really fond memories of reading late into the night with my Dad about Lancelot’s dangerous quests and Aslan battling the White Witch.

As a teenager I really enjoyed reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4. I found it intensely funny, a totally different type of read for me, and Sue Townsends portrayal of an awkward, love sick 14yr old made me feel a whole lot better about being an awkward and probably love sick 14yr old!!

These days, apart from being a total Harry Potter nerd, I am a big fan of all things dystopian. Stone cold classics like 1984 and Brave New World as well as younger read stories like the Hunger Games and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station 11 are go-to reads for me. Anything with a bit of real revolution! Reading allows me to go anywhere and imagine worlds - I love it.

Caroline Squire

Beech Class Teaching Assistant

I have always loved reading and loved the whole experience of choosing and sharing a book. I am very much a fan of the traditional book where you can appreciate the feel of a book, the smell of the paper, the clarity of the printed word which, to me hold much more meaning than anything I can read digitally. Stories of my childhood included Beatrix Potter, Brambly Hedge and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories where I keenly followed the adventures of the gang and Timmy the dog.
As I moved onto secondary school, I have fond memories of visiting my Grandparents where I could peruse my favourite bookstore in Kingston which stocked the whole range of Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High stories. This was a bookstore quite unlike what we had in Cornwall at that time, where the whole series of books were freely available. My love of books and the written word encouraged me to study A-Level English at college. This was a great opportunity to get to know a whole host of literature including The Color Purple and Schindler’s Ark. With a strong interest in history, I have read Schindler’s Ark and watched the film adaptation Schindler’s List several times and I gain something different from this harrowing story each time.
As I have got older, my love of reading has centred around those stories that I have read to my three children and those children that I have worked with. Stories that embrace a child’s sense of fun in their storytelling, that make them smile and encourage them to join in with the repeated refrains. Julia Donaldson is a definite favourite as her rhyming verse in stories such as The Gruffalo, The Smartest Giant in Town and Tiddler have encouraged even the most reluctant reader. Whilst my family are now all grown up, we still enjoy the traditional Christmas revival of these familiar stories which continue to encourage new followers through animation.

Tom Howard

Beech Class One to One Teaching Assistant

I was fortunate enough to grow up in the same era as the Harry Potter books were being released. To have something so magical to read every night kept me hooked. As the series grew so did I. 

The characters and the surroundings became so familiar to me, and when the films came along it was stunning to see it all come to life!

 Through my teenage years I became interested in the ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ books. With their alliterative titles and more gloomy storytelling it was certainly a big change from the magic of Harry Potter! 
I worked my way through all 13 books, completely hooked on the Baudelaire’s adventures, and whether they would ever be safe from the vicious Count Olaf! 

My reading nowadays is limited to mainly Stephen King Novels. He certainly knows how to keep a reader in suspense. Isn’t that the sign of a perfect author? 

I’d recommend any of the books I’ve mentioned, although maybe reading Stephen King with your children might have to wait until they’re old enough!!

Sycamore Class- Year 3 & 4
Sharon Mileham

Sycamore Class Teacher

As a girl, I loved reading but found it hard to get any peace and quiet at home because of all my noisy brothers. I was thrilled, therefore to become school librarian at secondary school where I used to sneak away to read at break and lunchtimes. My favourite books then were adventures stories by Enid Blyton. Before the ‘Famous 5’ books were published, there was the ‘Secret Seven’ and in these stories I became lost in a make believe world of excitement and thrill-seeking adventure.

Now I am fully-grown, I still enjoy adventure stories and have just finished Winston Graham’s 12th Poldark novel. I think it’s great to have been able to read the books and watch the Poldark series on television. I know the children in my class love David Walliams and JK Rowling and love the books even more when they are turned into films so that the characters really come alive!

Jessica Mullen

Sycamore Class Teaching Assistant

The earliest book I can remember becoming obsessed with is The complete tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne. When I was at primary school, everything of mine was Winnie the Pooh from my bedding to pencil case to the books on my shelf (with Tigger book ends of course). I loved each character and the description within each book.

My parents used to read me chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling before bed and as I got older (and was able to) I read it myself. I was in KS2 when the first movie was released and the start of college when the last film was made and the films were massive. I could never wait until the next film so as soon as the book was published, I would get it as either a birthday or Christmas present and read it straight away. I loved being able to compare the book to the film to see which parts were adapted or missing.

Lastly, my other favourite book is The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I found the story of The Shire and the Hobbits captivating. I would love to visit Hobbiton in New Zealand (the set of the film) one day. As I got older, I then read the Lord of the Rings Series.

I always make sure to read to my children every night before bed as I want them to love books too and enjoy the journey of following characters and story lines to new places. A family favourite is anything Roald Dahl or Dr Seuss, especially Fox in Socks- try reading it really fast and see if you can pronounce each word. It was always makes me tongue-tied.

Nathan Cooper

Oak Class Teacher

My first memories of really enjoying reading are from when I was about 8 years old and I discovered the 'Fighting Fantasy' books which were a series of stories where you got to decide what happened next by turning to different pages when you made a decision. You also got to fight monsters so it was utterly brilliant! Nowadays I read every single day and love a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, written stories and graphic novels. My favourite author has always been Stephen King who used to write scary stories but in recent years has changed to writing about lots of different subjects. I love how he makes you feel that you have entered a new world for a while and are really invested in new characters.

Mrs Sophie Catchpole

SEND Teaching Assistant (Beech and Sycamore Class)

Oak Class- Year 5 & 6
Tessa Hewins

Oak Class Senior Teacher- Currently on Maternity leave

As a young child I did not enjoy learning to read. Being dyslexic I found it extremely difficult to learn to read as the letters and words were such a muddle. When I was about 8 yrs old, my dad bought me a book called “Katy’s Kit Car.” It was the first book I absolutely loved and read over and over again.

Growing up I still struggled with reading. Back then there weren’t any special resources to help dyslexic learners and I became aware of my peers reading bigger and more challenging books than me. I was also super dedicated to my sports and every day after school consisted of at least 2hrs of training, plus travelling there and back. Unfortunately I couldn’t read in the car due to travel sickness, so I resisted reading more and more.

My breakthrough came when the film, “The Secret Garden” came out in 1993 and I was desperate to see it. My parents made a deal and said I had to read the book before watching the film and so I did. This really helped me persevere and begin my enjoyment in getting lost in a book. I found that the constant repetitive reading of those frequently used words, meant that I learnt them off by heart and didn’t need to struggle with sounding every word out all the time. It enabled my imagination to grow and made me realise the pleasure I could get from reading. From there, my parents found other books that had been made into films or plays for me to watch, after I had read the book. This even included Shakespeare, as living in London meant I could go to The Globe to watch performances.

Throughout university years I found myself having to read a whole host of fiction books for my studies, and the revelation of the internet also became a main source of research based reading for me. I would mainly only get time to read novels for pleasure when on caravanning holidays with my parents and sister. We would take a book each and swap when we had read them. By my late teens and early twenties I had developed strategies to help me read these longer books.

Now as a busy teacher and mum to my three girls, I find the thing I read the most is my “Good Food Magazine” which I get each month, other recipe books and the books I read in Oak class for our class stories.

Nikita Teobald

Oak Class Higher Level Teaching Assistant

I’ve always loved reading even from a young age. Even before I started school I was desperately trying to read the back of my dad’s newspaper! There is nothing like settling down to a good book which allows me to transport myself to another world and escape from my troubles.

Books have so many fond memories for me too. I still have my original copies of Beatrix Potter stories that I used to love reading to my mum and as I got older we would happily re-read Enid Blyton stories, particularly The Magic Faraway Tree collection.

The book that has a special place in my heart though is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I remember when it came out and I read it for the first time at primary school. All I desperately wanted was to receive my own letter from Hogwarts and I still secretly hope it will happen to this very day! From that day on my mum used to pre-order each Harry Potter book as it was released and we would get up early and queue outside the shop to buy it on release day. There was so much excitement and joy in our house and sometimes we would even buy two copies so that two people in our house could read it at the same time without having to wait for someone to finish. Even now both my sister and I make sure we always have a copy of each of the Harry Potter books in the house and regularly go back and re-read them. It is the one book that guarantees to cheer me up and make me feel better due to the fond memories and magical, intricate storytelling.

Support Staff
Susan Grubb

School Secretary

My love of reading started, well, as soon as I could read. I love turning the television off, having a cuppa and the odd biscuit, curling up on the sofa and immersing myself into a good book. In fact, any chance I have, I whip out my current book, be it while waiting in the doctors surgery or while I’m eating my breakfast and disappear into whatever world I’m adventuring in (my tastes are eclectic – it could be anything from a Terry Pratchett science fiction book or a Maeve Binchy Irish love/family story.

When I was young I loved Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series and The Hobbit still holds a very dear place in my heart, so much so I named my Jack Russell dog after a character from the Hobbit, Bilbo’s dad - Bungo who had a mother called Laura Grubb – very apt I thought – although most people call him Bongo or Bingo, much to my chagrin.

Georgie Soper

PE Teaching Assistant

My favourite books to read have always been the Harry Potter books (especially the later books), and these were the books that really made me enjoy reading. Other books I have also really enjoyed reading are the Hunger Games and Noughts and Crosses. Growing up I saw characters such as Hermione Granger and Katniss as really good role models. As I have got older I have enjoyed reading even more so, as I love that it draws you in and creates another world.

Andy Case

Site Supervisor

When I do get time to myself I like to read autobiographies because fact is often stranger than fiction. My favourites so far have been Kate Adie and Dawn French. I also enjoy books on military campaigns and I quite often read Peppa Pig to my 3 year old which he loves.

Tamsin Sleeman

School Cook

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