Meet the Senior Leadership Team
Please find below details of each member of our Senior Leadership Team
Mrs Gillian Middlemas
I am Gillian Middlemas, and I am very proud to be Headteacher of Whitworth Community High School. I was originally an English teacher, held various pastoral and academic leadership roles in schools in Rochdale and Oldham, before joining Haslingden High School in 2005 as Deputy Headteacher. I first came to the school in May 2013 on a temporary secondment, at the request of the local authority, and as part of my school’s commitment to supporting educational developments locally. Having enjoyed leading Whitworth Community High School through an exciting and challenging period, I became the permanent postholder at Easter 2014.
My vision is for us to be an outstanding school, and in December 2014 we made a great step in that direction by achieving an Ofsted ‘Good’ rating for all aspects of our work. Since then, we have achieved the school’s best ever GCSE exam results, and our policies and practices to keep students safe were validated as ‘exemplary’ by Ofsted in December 2015.
My educational philosophy is simple: we have a moral imperative to improve the life chances of all our students and to give them opportunities and experiences which will change their lives and enable them to go on to better the lives of others. I want our young people to be proud of where they come from – of their school and their community - and to be ambitious and aspirational in all they do.
Mr Phillip Donoghue
My name is Philip Donoghue and I am proud to state that I have nearly 20 years’ experience at Whitworth Community High School where I have been part of the metamorphosis into a successful and oversubscribed thriving secondary school.
I entered the teaching profession as a mature entrant after several very successful years in Industry. I taught Geography at an Inner City Comprehensive in Manchester for 4 years before being appointed Head of Humanities at Whitworth in 1998, and was promoted to Deputy Headteacher in 2000. More recently my teaching commitment has focused on Business Studies securing very positive outcomes for students in preparing them with employability skills for adult life after graduating from Whitworth Community High School.
My role covers many aspects of school life, both strategic and operational, with a key focus on promoting the safeguarding and welfare of all in our school community. I firmly support our school’s aim of ‘Climbing Higher’ on all levels, turning out skilled, confident, articulate, compassionate and well qualified positive contributors for society in the future. I have very high expectations of all of our students and believe in a clear, structured and fair approach in supporting young people through school to allow them to become well rounded citizens who are proud to have been part of the success story at Whitworth. I work alongside a superb team of committed and dedicated professionals and we all work relentlessly to improve outcomes and improve life chances for the young people in our care.
In my spare time I love walking the dogs in the hills and occasionally watching Oldham Athletic, one is better for my health than the other!
Mr Andrew Oliver
Assistant Headteacher (Teaching & Learning)
My name is Andrew Oliver and I joined Whitworth Community High School two years ago after having previously worked in schools in Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester; firstly as a Music teacher, then as a Head of Department and most recently as a Faculty Leader. In addition to my teaching commitment in Music and Religious Studies, my remit is to ensure that teaching at WCHS is the best that it can possibly be so that learning opportunities for students are maximised in all lessons.
I work closely with my colleagues on the leadership team and the Directors of Learning to ensure that Whitworth students receive a high quality experience within the classroom supported by a rigorous assessment plan based on the new GCSE specifications. I ensure that students are supported in their learning through focussed and meaningful feedback of their work. I also ensure that Home Learning forms a meaningful and integral part of every students' school career; thus boosting their learning and preparing them for their education and careers beyond school.
I am proud to be responsible for the quality of teaching and learning at WCHS, which has developed hugely over recent years. The quality of provision was recognised as 'good' by OFSTED, which matched the self evaluation at the time. But I share the Headteacher's outstanding ambitions for WCHS which we will achieve through regular monitoring, targeted staff support and our unique continued professional development calendar, underpinned by our shared approach set out in the Teaching and Learning Protocol.
Mrs Jane Howarth
Assistant Headteacher (Literacy & Intervention)
My name is Jane Howarth and I joined Whitworth Community High School nearly two years ago, having moved from my previous role as Head of English at Wardle Academy. This is a post that brings many exciting and varied challenges whilst working closely with other senior colleagues. In addition to my teaching commitment and line management of English, part of my remit is to ensure that literacy and numeracy skills are embedded across the curriculum. Poor literacy skills will act as a barrier to learning and will, therefore, impact negatively on what students can do and how they see themselves. Crucially, at Whitworth Community High School we believe that literate students will ultimately emerge as confident and articulate communicators, fully prepared to enter the adult world, whether to continue their academic studies or to enter the world of work. I am proud of the fact that Whitworth students are confident communicators and our last Ofsted report stated that “Students’ literacy and numeracy skills are developed across a range of subjects; consequently, students are numerate, literate and increasingly well-read.”
Another part of my role is organising and developing intervention strategies, primarily for Yr 11 students in order to maximise our students’ potential to achieve the very best results they can. At Whitworth, I am proud to belong to a team of extremely committed staff (teachers and associate staff) who are keen to give of their time for our students. We run classes over every half-term and at Easter, as well as before, after and during lunch time, which shows our commitment to develop the potential of all our students so they achieve excellence.
Mr Alan Watson
Assistant Headteacher (Data & Performance)
I am the Assistant Headteacher at WCHS with responsibility for data, timetable, options and intervention. My role in school involves ensuring that students are making superb progress and are fully prepared to succeed in their Year 11 exams and in later life. I am privileged to be able to work every day with an amazing group of staff and students, all focused on making the very best of all the superb opportunities we have on offer here for students at WCHS.
Prior to joining Whitworth in September 2015, I have held positions in schools in Bury and Burnley spanning the last 15 years of teaching. My passion for the Humanities subjects in and out of school has led me to explore many wonderful places around the world, with recent visits including South America, China and Africa. I love to learn about the wildlife, the cities, the culture and the landscapes of the world, although it has led to some pretty scary animal encounters! I am a hugely enthusiastic supporter and participant of many different sports, from football to skiing, and love to watch rugby league in Wigan and Rochdale.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your child’s academic progress here at Whitworth, please do not hesitate to contact me in school or via email using the details provided on this webpage.
Mr Paul Dugdale
Assistant Headteacher (Inclusion & Contextual Groups)
I have worked at Whitworth Community High School since September 2015 and was attracted to the school by its family and community feel. I believe that this ethos enables us to care for each individual student irrespective of academic ability or prior background.
I am proud of my own academic achievements having gained a First Class Honours Degree in Biology, and I endeavour to push students to be their academic best. I worked in three East Lancashire schools prior to moving down the valley, holding various leadership positions within both the pastoral and curriculum areas of the schools. I also have a keen interest in assessment systems and have been fortunate enough to hold responsibilities for setting exam papers for one of the leading examination boards.
I was drawn in to teaching due to the inspiration of several of my own teachers, and my personal goal is to inspire pupils to be the very best they can be. My Catholic background has taught me to see the God-given talents within each of our learners, and has given me the patience to allow these talents to be nurtured and developed.
Apart from my teaching vocation, my two other passions are my family and Burnley Football Club. Both regularly keep me awake at night.
Mrs Gaynor Mellor
My name is Gaynor Mellor, I have been the Business Manager at Whitworth Community High School since August 2000. Prior to being appointed I worked as a Bursar at two schools in Rochdale and as a Finance Office for Rossendale Borough Council and Rochdale MBC.
My role within school encompasses the majority of non-teaching areas, including Finance, Personnel and Health and Safety.
I am proud to be an active member of the Senior Leadership Team, and as part of a strong and committed staff who believe strongly that education has the power to provide opportunities and life chances, enabling all students to ‘Climb Higher.’