Meet the Team


Mike Donoghue

Mike was appointed Headteacher at John Taylor High School in January 2010 and designated a National Leader of Education in March 2013. He oversaw the first change to 'converter' academy status of an 'outstanding' school in Staffordshire in November 2010 and worked alongside other professional colleague towards John Taylor's designation as a National Teaching School, again one of the first in Staffordshire. Within the Teaching School Mike leads on School to School support and succession planning, coaching staff , with considerable success, on the Aspirant Headteacher  Programme .




Gill Martin

Gill is the Director of the National Forest Teaching School and has overall responsibility  for the strategic development of the Teaching School as well as operational responsibility for Initial Teacher Education and the deployment of SLEs. She works collaboratively with Higher Education Institutions and local schools on highly successful School Direct Programme and was successful in July 2014 in gaining SCITT accreditation for John Taylor High School. Gill is also a trained  facilitator on the nationally accredited Improving and Outstanding Teacher Programmes




James Twynham

James is a Vice-Principal at John Taylor High School. Since entering the profession in 1998, he has taught in contrasting schools in Stoke-on-Trent and Burton-upon-Trent where he has been able to express his passion for all things Biology. More recently he has taken the lead in school on CPD development and staff appraisal. James trained with the National College as a facilitator of adult learning in 2012 and has since led on NPQ programmes as well as developing an extensive programme of professional development that is open to local schools, delivered by teachers, for teachers.




Leah Axten

Since being appointed as Teaching School Coordinator in September 2013, Leah has worked in collaboration with the Strategic Board to facilitate the day to day administration and coordination of the Teaching School.  She plays a key role in developing and growing our partnerships, both with schools and with Higher Education Institutions and is central to the smooth running of all aspects of the Teaching School. Leah is the first point of contact for all enquiries, and  works collaboratively with the Teaching School team to raise the profile of the National Forest Teaching School.