Employee testimonials

From the Senior Leadership Team

Helen Seath
Assistant Principal, Raising Achievement
April 2014

I have worked at the academy since Easter 2014, when I started as a Lead Practitioner for Science. In September 2016 I was promoted to Assistant Principal, which is the role I still hold. One of the best parts of working here is the constant availability of opportunities for people who wish to further their career. Since joining Ormiston Denes Academy I have become an SLE, Teaching Leaders Fellow and even had the opportunity to write an article for SecED magazine!

I am lucky enough to have a huge amount of variation in my role. As the Teaching and Learning Lead I was able to help improve the quality of learning our students received and introduce sustainable changes that underpin the high quality of lessons that take place every day. In September 2018 I moved to Assistant Principal for Raising Achievement which means I look closely at, and help raise the achievement of different groups around the academy. I have the pleasure of line managing the English department, which means I am constantly learning and drawing on skills learned from teaching leaders, my SLE role and my time as Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning.

Opportunities aside the staff, students and community of Ormiston Denes Academy, make it an exceptional place to work. Our students are courteous and kind, always holding doors open and being eager to help staff if they can. Staff in the academy are committed, supportive and professional, having developed incredible relationships with our students, helping them to reach outstanding outcomes.


Stuart Aldous
Assistant Principal, Community and Engagement
April 2014

I arrived at Ormiston Denes during the summer term of 2014 as Head of Physical Education. The academy was in special measures at the time, with lower than national average exam results. PE was not considered a strength of the school. I found the staff to be hardworking and willing to go the extra mile for the pupils, but there was disengagement in sporting areas.

Over five years of considerable progress and change, and with clear direction, leadership and an increased range of opportunities, the students responded positively to the array of changes that were brought in, to increase both student outcome and aspirations. I found the administrative and finance departments helpful, in supporting new ventures and exploring opportunities. All staff were on board with a positive attitude to driving improvement. Within a relatively short time, change was evident for both student outcomes and OFSTED ratings, and sport now lies as a major strength at the academy. This highlights the passion and dedication of all staff in wanting to see the academy as the leading school in Lowestoft.

The CPD provided through Ormiston itself has allowed me to progress through my career with confidence. I have taken opportunities provided across the Ormiston MAP to visit and see outstanding practice in action, share excellence and network with colleagues on areas such as transition and trip planning. It is reassuring to have colleagues nationwide who can offer support and advice. The opportunities for sharing good practice, professional development and promotions, are renowned. The responsibilities I have are for departments and faculties, as well as the schools place in the community, including rewards, trips, student voice and transition with local primaries. These duties are wide and varying but make for exciting and rewarding days, where students make a significant contribution towards society and achieving personally and academically.

I would recommend Ormiston Denes Academy as a place to work and thrive, due to the commitment of staff, students and stakeholders in ensuring our reputation as a high quality educational provider at the heart of its community.


Jim Rowbotham
Assistant Principal, Literacy and Independant Learning
September 2011

I started work at Ormiston Denes Academy in September 2011 as a recently qualified teacher. After an extremely short space of time I realised what a genuinely inspirational, vibrant and worthwhile place the establishment is. It is a truly rewarding place to work, in no small part due to the mix of positive students we have that contribute to our diverse learning community. The range of experiences, backgrounds, talents and abilities of the students dictates no day is ever the same, and their shared experiences, fostered by our motivated and inspiring staff, allow them to succeed in exciting new ways.

I have worked in a variety of roles in my time at the academy such Head of History, Summer School Co-ordinator, Head of Humanities and now in my current role as Assistant Principal for Literacy and Independent Learning. Within the Senior Leadership Team, we have a shared commitment to supporting staff development that leads to maximising student progress and achievement. This process has allowed me to develop personally and professionally, throughout my time at the academy, leading to potential future progression.

I would wholeheartedly recommend Ormiston Denes Academy as a fantastic place to work and thrive; the students are excellent, the staff are very supportive and the whole academy ethos is about improving the learning and life chances of our students on our journey to “outstanding”. So now is a fantastic time to join, to be part of the excitement at Ormiston Denes Academy.


From Middle Leaders

Wayne Buisst
Head of Philosophy and Ethics
September 2011

I have been with Ormiston Denes Academy since finishing my training in 2011. I began as an NQT, and was given support and training that helped me to develop my teaching. In 2013, I was promoted to Head of Philosophy, and have held that role since. I have received a great deal of leadership training in my time here, and have been privileged to help the department win several national accolades in our time together, as a direct result of the commitment of my team and the support offered by the school. I have recently been asked to lead whole school programmes in British Values, PSHE and to oversee our Initial Teacher Training. Ormiston Denes Academy has given me many opportunities, and supported me wholeheartedly in succeeding in them. It is an excellent place to start your teaching journey, and develop yourself wherever you are in your career.


Jo Westergate
Head of Art and Design
January 2013

I arrived as a part-time teacher in 2003, soon after completing my NQT year. As a former pupil of the Denes High School, I became a teacher as a result of the positive experience of my own art education at the school. I had not intended to teach in the school I formerly attended but I have found this a really positive experience. Although I began as a part-time member of staff, I have progressed within the school and am now head of department.

As head of department, my responsibilities are not solely teaching and learning but include management of my team. I monitor progress and student attainment and ensure consistency within the department, with lesson observations and learning walks. In recent years we have worked as a team to improve student outcomes to above national average, for art and design and photography. I have been able to build a small but effective team of staff, with different specialisms and skills.

At Ormiston Denes Academy, arts education is incredibly valued and we are encouraged to teach in a way which reflects contemporary art practice and promotes our students independence. We encourage our students to explore a wide range of media and techniques, and have expanded the curriculum to include photography at GCSE. Above all, what makes my job fulfilling is working alongside people with the same passion and drive that I have. This is not something which could have been achieved alone.


Dominic Dack
Head of Business
April 2016

I joined Ormiston Denes Academy in 2016 and soon became appointed as head of business, having improved student outcomes rapidly since my appointment.

The academy offers every staff member the opportunity to develop their own career pathways and there is full support from the senior leadership team. I am currently completing my NPQML through the academy and have recently entered my final year of development, through Ambition School Leadership, to support high-quality leadership and managerial practice.

Ormiston Denes is a vibrant academy to work within, which is rapidly improving across all areas.


Gemma Calver
Head of House, Inspire
March 2015

My role in the academy is to have a strategic overview of academic progress, behaviour and attendance. I support all students within the academy, however specifically with those in Inspire House.

My role is part of a wider pastoral team. I oversee and organise specific intervention and support packages for individual students, so that they can achieve their best potential. I often liaise with external agencies and meet parents on a regular basis.

I love working at Ormiston Denes Academy as there is a real sense of community. Staff, students and parents work hard and always strive to do better. The school has a real heart, which is what I wanted to be a part of, when I very first came for an interview.


From Teaching Staff

Jess Delf
Teacher of English
April 2017

Teaching at Ormiston Denes Academy has been an exciting and extremely rewarding experience. Being part of a supportive, hospitable and outstanding english department has not only enabled me to develop my pedagogy, but has shaped me into the teacher I aspire to be. Working within education has increased my self-belief and resilience and enabled me to understand the importance of supporting each other, as a team.


Claire Wilkinson
Teacher of Mathematics
September 2017

Working at Ormiston Denes Academy is definitely a roller coaster of emotions. You want to be that one teacher that the young people will remember when they are older, and will put everything you have into building their skills, confidence and self-esteem. The students are incredible; they are fiercely loyal and have a great sense of humour. I can’t imagine teaching anywhere else, even when the going gets tough, there will always be someone to pick you back up again.


Hannah Smith-Howell
Teacher of Mathematics
June 2017

As an NQT, I was apprehensive about where to start my teaching career. It soon became clear, however, that Ormiston Denes was the right school for me. The communication and support among staff within my department, within the pastoral team and across the whole school is fantastic, making the odd challenging day far easier! The students I teach are also incredibly loyal and want to impress, making lessons enjoyable and rewarding on a daily basis.


From Support Staff

Tina Green
Cover Co-ordinator
September 2011

I joined Ormiston Denes Academy from my local middle school over eight years ago and am amazed at how quickly the time has gone.

My role as a Cover Co-ordinator is extremely busy but rewarding. When lessons are covered, there are high expectations that learning time is not lost and this is achieved through careful utilisation of our internal cover supervisors. I am responsible for their training and the quality of learning which takes place when they are required. Careful management of this team, including their well being, is essential to ensure we no longer use external agencies. No two days are ever the same!

I also oversee the logistics during exam season; re-rooming and staffing etc, which in itself is quite a pressurised undertaking, making sure that everything runs smoothly throughout the whole academy.

During the academic year there is also the possibility of covering a group in a certain subject for a prolonged period of time; thus giving you a full insight into how a particular department operates and gives you complete ownership of a group, which can be very rewarding.

The staff are supportive and appreciative of the effort and work we put into covering their lessons and this helps to make it a great place to work. The academy works constantly to make it a safe, positive learning environment for all of our students, and is always looking to move forward with new ideas and developments.

I am proud to be a part of it.


James Dean
Tutor of Physical Education
September 2017

I absolutely love working as part of the PE department at Ormiston Denes Academy. Every day offers something different, and being able to engage and interact with the students on a level that is both inspiring and rewarding is an amazing feeling.
This year has seen a huge development in the general fitness and well being of our students, due to a huge investment by the academy. We now have lots of exciting ways in which to incorporate fitness into the PE curriculum.
It’s incredible for me to see the students engaging and enjoying maintaining a healthier lifestyle through fitness, and I feel so proud to be able to play a big part in it.

Duncan Kilford
ICT Support Manager
March 2005

I joined Ormiston Denes Academy in March 2005. I originally worked part time with our partner middle schools. More recently I have taken over responsibility for managing the ICT Support Team and the smooth running of our academy computer network. Ormiston Denes Academy has presented a number of opportunities for progression and promotion throughout my career. I have been supported and encouraged while undertaking a level 5 NVQ through the apprenticeship program operated at the academy. This excellent training, that has allowed me to enhance and extend my skills, is available to all members of staff.

Ormiston Denes Academy is a fantastic place to work. I am proud of the progress and improvements that have been made and am excited for the future, as a member of the Ormiston Denes community.


Emma Forsdicke
Operations and Systems Co-ordinator
May 2013

I joined the academy in May 2013 and had no previous experience of working in a school environment. Although it was a huge culture change and an incredible amount to learn, I have no regrets and can now not ever imagine working in another sector. Ormiston Denes Academy has given me the opportunity to use my skills gained from previous roles and utilise them to help make changes and improvements to how we work here. The staff at Ormiston Denes Academy are always open to suggestion and keen to move forward and progress to becoming a better school and workplace.


Sam Mitchell
Operational Support Assistant
June 2010

The caring and kind nature of staff was noticeable the moment I stepped through the doors at Ormiston Denes Academy, for my interview nine years ago. The work we do is incredibly rewarding knowing that we are making a difference to the young people in the area that we live. Staff are positive and helpful and we all work together to deliver the ethos, visions and values of the academy. I enjoy my job and I feel valued for the work that I do.

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