Meet the staff at our school!
Mr Thompson (Headteacher)
Hi, my name is Steve Thompson and I'm very proud to be Headteacher of this wonderful school. I was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire but moved to the North East in 1990. I gained a BEd Honours degree at Matlock College in Derbyshire and have worked in 5 schools in 3 different authorities. I have been at Highfield since the Summer of 2005 and I have witnessed many changes, including moving into our brand new school in 2007. I have a lovely son called Oliver who is currently doing a digital IT apprenticeship. I enjoy most sports, especially football. I play for a football team on Saturday mornings and I often go to watch Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons play.
Mrs Doherty (Deputy Head)
Hiya! My name is Deborah Doherty and I am the Deputy Headteacher at Highfield school. My passion for teaching began when I completed a work experience placement in Year 10. Since then I have completed a three year teaching degree in Primary Education at Northumbria University. I started work at Highfield as an NQT in 2001 and I have worked my way up the ranks to the position I have now. I love working at this school and being part of this fantastic team. I have seen a total transformation in this school and have loved being a part of this. Outside of school, I have a son, James. He is a pleasure to spend time with and certainly keeps me on my toes.
Miss Simpson (Year 1/2)
Hiya, my name is Kirsty Simpson and I'm the teacher in Year 1/2. I first came to Highfield in 2017 as a School Direct Trainee Teacher and I loved it so much I couldn't leave! Before I started teaching I completed an Education with Special and Inclusive Needs degree at Liverpool John Mores University. I then went on to work in a residential children's home for 2 years. Highfield is a really special place to work and I love working with a great team and fantastic children every day. Outside of school I love nothing more than spending time with family and taking my dog, Bert, out for walks.
Ms Johnson (Nursery teacher)
I have been a teacher since 2010. I did my placements at Highfield Primary School and was thrilled to be given the job here. I did my first degree at Manchester University reading English Literature and History. I then worked in several places including a crown court, a newspaper office and even London Zoo! I have lived in Rowlands Gill most of my life. I went to Rowlands Gill Primary School and then to Hookergate Comprehensive. When I am not at school my favourite thing to do is go walking in the Lake District. I love lakes and mountains! I am also part of an all age amateur dramatics group! I am really passionate about education and equality. I love being a teacher. The children at Highfield are a joy to work with and it's a real priviledge to teach here.
Mr Allan (Year 5/6 Teacher)
Hi, my name is Tom Allan and I have been working at Highfield since 2014. I have been teaching for the past 11 years having completed my PGCE at Newcastle University. I actually carried out my final training placement at Highfield and it has been great to catch up with the staff who are still here and meet those who have joined since. Before teaching I worked in television but giving that up, moving back to the north east and into education was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I live in Whitley Bay with my wife and two sons and enjoy watching Newcastle United, playing squash and watching live music. It has been a pleasure working with the children of Highfield Community Primary and I look forward to working with them further over the coming years.
Mrs Hastie (Nursery Teacher)
Hi, my name is Liz Hastie and I love teaching in the Nursery at Highfield. When I left school I completed a Bsc hons in Applied Biology before becoming a teacher in 2008 when I graduated from the Gateshead 3-7 SCITT. I previously worked in Northumberland for 5 years where I taught in the Early Years and Key stage 1. I came to work at Highfield in 2013 and I love working at this school and being part of this fantastic team. I especially enjoy leading Forest school sessions and being in bike club.
Mrs Porthouse (Reception Teacher - Part time)
Hi, my name is Hannah Porthouse I work part time with Mrs Wake as the other Reception teacher. I am originally from Northern Ireland but moved here to complete a Business degree at the University of Northumbria in 1996. I have worked for Charities and Enterprise organisations which focused on helping and mentoring young people. In 2006 I completed a PGCE and up until 2011 had been teaching full time at Harlow Green Community Primary School. In 2011 I had twins, Harriet and Ben, to add to our existing clan of Noah and Sam. When I have any free time I love cooking, running and spending time with my family.
Mrs Wake (Reception Teacher - Part time)
My name is Karen Wake and I have been teaching since 2001. I joined the school in 2014 as the Nursery teacher for two years before moving to Reception/Year One. I love working part time with Mrs Porthouse as the other Reception Teacher. I am originally from Oxfordshire and Surrey but after living in many different parts of the UK, I settled in the North East in 2005. I studied at the University College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth and gained my BEd in Primary Education and Design and Technology in 2001, I have been teaching ever since. My teaching career has been varied, I have taught in Surrey, Barnsley, Newcastle, Stockton and now Gateshead. I have taught all of the Primary age range but Early Years is my passion. I am lucky to have twins, Poppy and Alex. I love spending time with my family and friends and I try to swim and keep fit when I can and I am currently trying to train for The Great North Run next year!
Mr Irving (HLTA)
Hiya, my name is Dan Irving and I work in year 5/6 as a teaching assistant. I started working at Highfield in September 2008, after completing my teaching assistant course at Gateshead college. In the summer of 2012 I completed my HLTA course. I really enjoy teaching and coaching the children in their PE lessons. I hope to continue to develop their sporting abilities and make everyone enjoy PE. I love all aspects of working at Highfield, but giving the children a good education and a good start in life is the main aim. Outside of school life I have a son Luka, and love spending time with him, aswell as fitting in my own sporting ambitions, mainly football and cricket on a Saturday afternoon.
Mrs Connelly (HLTA)
Hi, my name is Ann Connelly and I work as an HLTA in Early Years. I have worked at Highfield since I left school 39 years ago. I enjoy every aspect of my job where I have had at least four years experience in every class. Being a local Highfield girl I feel I have got to know pupils and families really well. I am married to Peter who I got to know during my time in the territorial army. I have two children, Liam and Marcella. They are both very sporty and love the outdoors as much as I do. I have recently become a level 2 forest school practioner. I love to meet up with my sisters and go for lunch to catch up with the latest news, I consider them as my friends aswell as family.
Mrs Dawson (HLTA)
Hi, my name is Alison Dawson and I am the HLTA in Year 1/2. I feel like I have been at Highfield forever! I did my initial training at North Tyneside College where I gained an NNEB qualification in Nursery Nursing. Since then I have worked hard to gain HLTA status. I worked in nursery for 20 years until Mr Thompson dragged me kicking and screaming into the main school. I have to say though, I have never looked back! I have two fantastic daughters Bethany and Erin who are ex Highfield pupils and keep me young at heart!
Mrs Dolan (Teaching Assistant)
Hi, my name is Debbie Dolan and I am a Support Assistant currently in Year 3/4. Previously I worked in an office for 20 years. I started volunteering at Highfield back in 2007 when Abbi started in Reception and Libby in Nursery. I then became a parent governor in 2008. In 2012 I completed a Level 2 Teaching Assistant and in 2013 I completed a Level 3 Teaching Assistant course at Gateshead College. I thoroughly enjoy my role within in school and get great satisfaction when working with the children. I only wished I had retrained years ago!!! I am married to Chris and have a Stepson Kyle and two daughters Abbi and Libby who were both pupils at Highfield.
Mrs McCaughey (Teaching Assistant)
My name is Rebecca McCaughey and I work alongside the lovely Miss Simpson in Year 1/2. I qualified as a teacher in 2005 and I absolutely love working with children and watching them learn. I started working at Highfield in November 2020 and I am really enjoying working in such a great team, and have been made to feel very welcome. I love seeing the children's happy and smiley faces and every morning. I have two daughters who are 13 and 11 and they keep me very busy. When I have any free time I enjoy reading a good book and going for walks.
Lesley Lintern (Learning Support TA)
Hi my name is Lesley Lintern. Since joining Highfield School in 2014 my main role has been providing specialist support to identified children. Also for the past few years I have ran weekly Nurture Group sessions offering a range of planned fun activities, either in school or forest school or through visiting interesting places in the community. I live in High Spen with my husband Keith. We have 2 grown up children and one adorable little grandson Joseph. I grew up in Highfield so coming the work in Highfield school felt a bit like coming home.
Sandra Baker (Clerical Officer)
My name is Sandra Baker and I have been a school secretary for over 20 years, first at a small school near Hexham then here at Highfield since September 1999. I am currently working towards the level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Business and Professional Administration. I have two daughters and I am the proud grandmother of twin boys, who take up most of my spare time and energy. To relax I love going on holidays and spa weekends with my sisters.
Mrs Castling (Learning Support Teacher & SENCo)
Hello! My name is Sally Castling and I have been teaching for more years than I care to remember! I graduated at Newcastle Polytechnic with a B.Ed (Hons). Since then I have had a varied career working for Newcastle, Derbyshire and Gateshead education authorities and have taught children from Nursery to Year 4. I am non-class based and work part-time offering support to children across the school. I have two daughters who ensure there are now no such things as 5 minutes peace, hot cups of tea or lie-ins! We enjoy the outdoors and spending time together as a family.