St Martins Academy Chester

'An Outstanding School' – Ofsted June 2015   Read the report here

Staff Profiles



Wenda Smith BA (Hons), PGCE, NPQH

Head of School

Wenda has worked a in a range of state and private primary schools in a variety of urban settings for over 20 years, many of which being here in Chester. She has significant experience at senior management level across three schools. Wenda has NPQH and in addition has worked in partnership with the local authority advisory service raising standards in a variety of different settings.


Stuart Roberts

Assistant Headteacher - Director of Studies

Stuart began his teaching career in 2006 after a successful career in IT left him wanting something more. In that time he has worked in a number of good and outstanding primary school settings, and with a variety of age groups. These include both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, as well as a tutor in Switzerland, linked to a prestigious private school.

He has been a KS2 Phase Leader and a member of the senior management team for a number of years in his previous school.

Stuart is also a Computing At School Master Teacher (Level 2), helping him to shape the way the new computing curriculum is being implemented. This experience will be essential to St Martin's Academy's commitment to providing state-of-the-art technology in the classroom.

Stuart has a young family, and enjoys swimming, cycling, hill walking and music of all types.



Emma Boynton BA (Hons), PGCE General Primary (QTS), MLDP

Teacher and Director of Pastoral Care

Emma is currently in her seventh year of teaching, having taught in two different settings prior to joining the team at St Martin's. Emma has taught in the Foundation Stage and KS1 and is an experienced Early Years Leader as well as having experience working within KS2. She has worked with the Early Years team at Cheshire West and Chester in supporting newly qualified or new to Foundation Stage teachers, providing advice and support in teaching, planning, assessment and developing learning environments in the Early Years.

Emma has successfully completed the Middle Leadership Development Programme and is currently completing a Masters in Teaching and Learning at the University of Cumbria. Prior to teaching Emma was employed as a Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant, specialising in behavioural and emotional interventions and pastoral support in KS2.

Emma is a sports enthusiast and has coached hockey, netball and football and has experience of teaching ballet and tap at a private dance school. She has gained a Sports Leadership award and a Smartac Gym Club award.


Elizabeth O'Donoghue BA (Hons), Primary Education (QTS)


Elizabeth has joined St Martin's Academy after successfully completing her BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS at Liverpool John Moores University and was a part of the outstanding team of teachers in St Martin's second year as judged by Ofsted. Whilst completing her degree, Elizabeth was judged outstanding on four of her placements and also enjoyed success teaching at a prestigious boarding school in the United States.

During her studies, Elizabeth volunteered to set up a 'Reading Café' in Liverpool for adults and children in the local community. This role included setting up, using and showing children how to use Ipads, Kindles and lap-tops.  As a teenager, Elizabeth undertook examinations at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts examination and played parts in ITV productions Fat Friends and The Royal and BBC dramas North and South and Cutting it.

Elizabeth is a keen dancer, cook and horse rider.

Elinor Bowler BA (Hons) Primary Education (QTS)


Shona Valentine BA (Hons), Secondary Physical Education (QTS)

Teaching Assistant and Director of Sport 

 Shona graduated from the University of Cumbria in 2012, where she studied secondary physical education. In her first year as an NQT, Shona worked as a supply teacher in both Chester and the Wirral where she taught at a variety of state and independent schools including The Queens Upper School. Shona was later recommended to cover a leave of absence at The Queen's Lower School, leading her into the primary sector. Before joining St Martin's Academy, Shona worked for Community and Educational Physical Development, coaching a variety of sports in eight schools across Chester.

On top of Shona's PE teaching degree she also has a variety of coaching awards in athletics, football, outdoor education, rounders and sports leadership.


Laura Thombs BSc (Hons)

P/T Teaching Assistant 

Laura spent a Gap Year teaching in a prestigious preparatory school prior to undertaking a Sports Science and Psycohology degree from The University of Chester in 2000.

After successfully completing her undergraduate degree course, she worked as a Marketing Manager for 13 years, where she gained a Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma.

Laura has always had a desire to return to a teaching environment to support the development and learning of children in the foundation stage. She has depth of experience in early years from placements in schools across Cheshire.

Laura has alway been a keen sportswoman and has represented England at Hockey and Sports Acrobatics. She is very keen runner and has completed many 10km events, half marathons and The London Marathon.


 Naomi Boyce 

Teaching Assistant




Annie Howarth

Teaching Assistant 




Alice McMahon

P/T Assistant  Teacher and Playworker

After studying English language, philosophy and ethics and physical education at A-Level, Alice decided to join West Cheshire College in order to gain more qualifications, and to help her become a Teaching Assistant. Whilst at West Cheshire College, she studied Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Level 2) and Higher Level Teaching Assistant (Level 4), whilst also volunteering at a local school.

Alice is also a keen athlete who specialises in the 100m and 200m. She has been a member of West Cheshire Athletics Club since September 2004. During this athletics season, Alice has competed in the Northern Athletics Championships where she finished in second place in both the 100m and 200m. Due to finishing in second place at these particular championships, Alice was then selected to compete for England at the Welsh International Event in Cardiff.



Marcus Walker 

P/T Teaching Assistant 





Sarah Leese BA (Hons)
P/T Office Manager

After completing her studies Sarah started her career within marketing. Working in the chemical and financial sectors in a number of roles, focused mainly in marketing and marketing communications.

Sarah works diligently to ensure the administration of St Martin's Academy runs smoothly and efficiently. She also focuses on ensuring St Martin's Academy parents are communicated to effectively, enabling them to best enjoy their child's journey through school.

Sarah has recently completed Safety for Senior Executives with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and the BSC Level 1 Award in Health and Safety at work (British Safety Council). Sarah has also obtained a Diploma in Business Excellence.

Mother-of-three Sarah has recently started running and was delighted to complete the Sport in the Port 10K event this year.

Robert Williams

P/T Caretaker

Bob joined the team in November 2014 as Caretaker. Prior to this he had left school to start an apprenticeship and became a fully-qualified Instrument Artificer working in the petro-chemical industry in Ellesmere Port.

Around the time the Personal Computer industry was really taking off, Bob changed career paths to work for local IT businesses as an IT Support Technician. He then worked as an IT Manager for a national food retailer, a travel company and in Local Government.

After many years of sitting behind a desk, Bob decided to take up property development and renovation, he enjoyed the hands-on management role where his practical skills were enhanced and are now being put to the test at St Martin's.




Steve Fernyhough

P/T Chef





Nicola Stansfield 

P/T Administration Officer 





Sylwia Szewerniak

P/T Cleaner


Curriculum Enhancement Staff


Edward Hartwell-Jones BMus (Hons)

Edward is a singing teacher and performer and a recent graduate from the Royal College of Music, London. In addition to his role at St Martin's Academy is the current vocal coach for Abbey Gate College in Chester and Chester Cathedral Choir. Edward has performed all around the world including America, Germany, France and Sweden to name a few. In the UK Edward has sung solo at the MEN Arena in Manchester, the Manchester apollo theatre and had his debut performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007

Edward started his musical career as a chorister at Chester Cathedral Choir under the supervision of Roger Fisher and then David Poulter. As a chorister Edward performed in many venues around the UK and abroad, including a solo performance at the MEN Arena in Manchester in front of 10,000 people and a duet at the Manchester Apollo Theatre with Sarah Brightman. He played the lead role of Amahl in 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' and reached the final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year. He has sung solos in St Patrick's Cathedral New York and St Paul's Cathedral London.


Andrew Huddart (AJ) has a BSc (Hons) in Applied Sport and Exercise Science

Andrew – better known as AJ – has recently completed an MSc in Sport Psychology. He has worked as a multi-skills coach in more than ten primary schools and specialises as a LTA qualified tennis coach. His passion for sport and working with children has taken him America for four summers to work at a sports camp. His latest challenge was conquering Mount Kilimanjaro, raising £3,000 for charity in the process.

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