UTC South Durham Senior Leadership Team

Staff Information

We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in our staff team. Please see here for staff profiles for our senior leadership team at UTC South Durham.

Staff Profiles

UTC South Durham Prinicpal

Tom Dower - Principal

I graduated from Cambridge University in 1995 with a 2:1 in Engineering (MA Hons) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science. I then worked for ICI on Teesside for 5 years as a chartered mechanical engineer, project manager and manufacturing consultant.
I then joined Gemini Consulting based in London, leading organisational change projects for 4 years in industry, telecoms and retail for clients such as Corus, Railtrack, Vodafone and Boots.
In 2002, I trained to be a teacher with a PGCE at Goldsmith’s College in London and worked at an outstanding school in south London as Head of Design and Technology. I moved home to Northumberland in 2005 and to Ashington High School, initially and Head of Department and then as a senior leader. I led teaching & learning, safeguarding, curriculum/timetable development and drove a culture change across the school through significant improvements in behaviour, attendance and safety.
I also project managed the design phase of a £3.5m expansion to the school which was excellent preparation for my role in setting up the UTC. I have acted as a leadership consultant with other schools, presented at national conferences and developed materials for the National College of School Leadership middle leadership programme and on-line modules. I completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) in 2013.
With a background as an engineer, business consultant and school leader, the opportunity to lead the UTC combines all of my professional interests and passion for the development of young people and supporting businesses in the North East. I now live in Durham with my wife and three boys, enjoy tennis, woodwork, and designing with my children. I am also a governor at Aycliffe Village Primary School.
Jenny Trapp - Deputy Princiapl and SENCo

Jenny Trapp - Deputy Principal and SENDco

I have been working in education since 2000, specifically, with KS5 students over the past seven years. As well as being in differing leadership roles, I teach IT and the Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). I have a BA (Hons) First Class degree from Northumbria University and an MSc in Educational Leadership from the University of Leicester. I am a Fellow of the Education and Training Foundation as well as The College of Teachers and hold an Advanced Diploma in School Business Management from the National College of School Leadership.
I previously worked at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, Northumberland, one of the top performing state schools in the NE region, where I was an Assistant Headteacher. I have led pastoral teams, been a Designated Safeguarding Lead as well as being responsible for student attainment, progression and careers at both KS4 and KS5. I have also been the UCAS coordinator in two previous schools.
Prior to my education career, I initially gained my commission in the RAF and qualified as an Air Traffic Controller Officer in 1991. I was stationed/deployed in both the UK and overseas, where I safely controlled both military and civilian fixed-wing and rotary aircraft in UK and European airspace. From my diverse military experiences and demands of this complex role, I developed my team-working and leadership skills as well as my clear, calm and honest communication style.
I transferred into civilian life and worked for the John Lewis Partnership for several years. Firstly, as a fast-track graduate manager and then later as a training and recruitment manager being based in stores in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. My insight into the recruitment practices of a successful national employer is extremely useful when working with secondary students getting ready for the world of work.
I have two teenage sons, so I completely appreciate the demands of supporting children (especially boys) through their GSCEs and Post-16 education and progression Post-18. When not at work I enjoy gardening, circuit training and tracing my family history.
Catherine Purvis-Mawson - Vice Principal

Catherine Purvis-Mawson - Vice Principal

Working with young people has always been the focus of my career. I completed my Undergraduate Degree in English and History from Sunderland University in 2001 and went on to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Gender, Culture and Development in 2002, which allowed me to travel to the Canadian Arctic to study Inuit culture and settlements.
I was then successful gaining a job with an environmental charity, Groundwork North East who supported me to complete my qualifications in youth work. I worked in a number of areas across County Durham and Darlington supporting young people to develop their personal and social skills.
After doing detached youth work for 6 years I then moved to working for Newcastle and Durham Universities on a public engagement project encouraging community and academic staff to co create research together that had the aspiration to create social change. During this time, I gained my Masters in Youth and Community work from Durham University.
Working with young people however was always my motivation, so moved to work in a secondary school in County Durham as their Enterprise and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Enrichment Manager in 2008. Here my role was about inspiring young people to enter into a STEM career. Developing relationships with business and industry to allow students to see what was available to them and gain access to a large variety of career opportunities was key to their personal development.
Here at the UTC, I am able to use all of my knowledge and skills of young people as well as my significant network of business and industry partners to allow our students to gain knowledge from an extensive variety of careers and people to ensure they have the best start to their futures.
Vice Principal - Dan Glaseby

Dan Glasbey - Vice Principal

I graduated in 2001 with a Physics degree from the University of York and then with a PGDip in Computing from Napier University in 2004. I have worked in both Finance and IT. I started teacher training in 2005 and achieved a PGCE from the University of Nottingham in 2006. I have been teaching ever since, with the exception of a year out to travel the world 2008-2009, during which I worked for three months in Sydney Australia.
In that time, I have worked in two Ofsted rating ‘Outstanding’ schools in North London, delivered exceptional results at both GCSE and A-Level, and been a Head of Physics, Student teacher-co-ordinator and a 2nd in Science. I have delivered Building Learning Power and Literacy showcase lessons to visitors from across London and been rated Outstanding for my teaching on several occasions, most notably by 'Challenge Partners'.
I have also successfully completed an NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders) and the OTP (Outstanding Teacher Programme).
In my role as Vice Principal, I am responsible for the creation and upkeep of the timetable, the Curriculum for Key Stages 4 and 5, student target grades and setting and the collection and reporting of assessment data. I also line manage the lead teachers of Science, CBI and Geography
Jak Heslop - Deputy Principal

Jak Heslop - Vice Prinicipal

I have been a qualified teacher for 22 years, teaching GCSE Sciences and A Level Chemistry at a variety of schools across the North East. Until moving to UTC South Durham in 2016, I had been Head of Science at a local Ofsted Outstanding school for the previous 12 years, and prior to that, Head of Chemistry, and Head of Science at a local Sixth Form Centre.
Having completed A levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1992 with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and then moved on to do some post graduate research for the Ministry of Defence at Cranfield Institute of Technology. I completed my PGCE in Science with Maths at the University of Leicester. Throughout my teaching career, I have worked as an examiner, marking across the age range and have been involved in piloting new GCSE courses.
As Vice Principal, my primary role is to monitor and develop Teaching and Learning strategies across UTC South Durham, coordinating quality assurance to ensure that all students are able to make the progress of which they are capable and organising professional development opportunities for colleagues. I closely monitor the progress of groups of students, coordinating intervention programmes where necessary.
Although a teacher of Chemistry, in my role as Faculty Director for Core and Inclusion, I have been responsible for the quality of provision, and the progress made in Maths, English, PE and PSHE. I have also coordinated the strategic allocation of the Pupil Premium funding, monitoring whether its use has been effective.
I believe passionately in encouraging students, and in particular, girls, to continue their studies of Science past GCSE. I have strong links with the University of Durham and other County Durham schools developing the profile and up take of Physics Post-16. My students and I were early participants in the Science Ambassadors scheme, and I currently enjoy coordinating the UTC Science Magnets, where our Year 10 students share and demonstrate their love of Science to local primary school pupils and at public events.
Student Support Lead

Leanne Tippey - Student Support Lead

I have been working in education since 2006, specifically, dealing with behaviour and SEBD.

Some of the proudest moments for me professionally, have been the impacts I have made. Throughout my career to date, I have successfully helped to change a negative mind set and relationship with both parents and students, which has been instrumental in improvements in both attendance and attainments. I believe that I achieve results, by actively recognising that students can make progress across all areas, once they have established positive relationships and barriers to learning are removed.

I am also a skilled Restorative facilitator, helping students to understand the consequences of their actions and supporting them to overcome confrontations in a safe and inclusive environment. I am also a strong advocate for ‘student voice’ and have experience of leading and developing many student councils.

Prior to working in education, I worked for the Prince’s Trust at Stockton Riverside College, as a Team Leader, delivering the 12-week Personal Development Programme. I was first introduced to the Princes Trust, whilst working for Darlington Building Society and was asked to complete the course as an employed volunteer. During my 2 years working for the Trust, I was fortunate to be chosen to lead two European Projects to Romania. At the age of 19, I was the youngest team leader to run the Programme. My trips included renovating a children’s hospital ward and building a gym within a Special Needs School.

I really do believe strongly in life-long learning and in my role as an educator I feel it is essential that we equip students with the knowledge, skills, morals and attitudes necessary to enable them to be able to live full lives and make positive contributions to society.

Here at UTC, I’ am privileged to lead the incredibly hard working Student Support Team. Student Support is very much the heart of the UTC, with students often referring to us, as their second parents. As a team, we pride ourselves in having fantastic relationships with all of our students, enabling us to identify barriers to learning quickly, so that supportive strategies can be put in to place. The Student Support door is always open and is a place where all students can feel safe and valued.
Jean Bell - Business Manager

Jean Bell - Business Manager

I am an experienced manager and leader having worked across the public and private sectors. I have been lucky enough to always have challenge and independence in the roles I have undertaken. After leaving sixth form and a brief spell working in a school for the deaf, I went self-employed at the age of 20 working in the retail and off-licence trade with my brother managing two shops and a warehouse. After 9 years I had become a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ so I decided to undertake my first degree in 1990 where I gained a BSc (Hons) in Business Quantitative Methods (Statistics, economics, accounting and business).
I then spent 5 years working in the higher education sector at Teesside University where I developed a love of all things complex such as timetabling, MIS, cost benefit and statistical analysis and programme administration among others. Unusually I was able to move around many of the university departments and gained a valuable insight into the working of the organisation.
In 1999, I was head hunted to work for the Polar explorer Robert Swan OBE. As part of a small team I worked on a project to remove one thousand tons of waste from a Russian research base in Antarctica, all sponsored by some of the largest companies in the world. I managed Robert’s speaker agency and did the bookkeeping for his three companies. This was one of the most interesting jobs I have held, one minute talking to Jessica Schroder of Schroders bank trust or Bear Grylls and the next sending expedition crew to the company Yacht 2041 in the Antarctic (armed with a regular supply of Haribos for the Skipper!), or writing risk assessments for the Foreign Office before designing and sending a certificate to Vladimir Putin to present to Roberts friend a ‘Russian Hero’.
On leaving Mission Antarctica, I went into secondary education at Freebrough Specialist Engineering College. This was a new merger of three village secondary schools and here I worked my way up to the Leadership team managing 89 support staff, having responsibility for finance, administration, IT, estates, data and exams. I was involved in leading two school moves and one new build, working closely with the project team on specifying IT and telephony before planning the final move.
In 2007, I left there to complete a Masters degree in Business Administration before starting a company delivering Education Consultancy. By chance I heard an enthusiastic interview with Tom on the radio and decided to apply and commit myself to a new challenge at UTC South Durham.
Jamie Smith - Head of Manufacturing

Jamie Smith - Head of Manufacturing

I left Carmel College at 16 with a good set of GCSE results. My passion was Design & Technology and other STEM subjects, so a natural step for me was to take an apprenticeship and carve a route into the Engineering industry. I served a four-year apprenticeship at Darchem Engineering in Stillington as a Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator / Welder. During this time, I worked on many large projects for various international companies as well as doing work in the aerospace, aviation, nuclear and offshore industries. During that time, I studied at Darlington College and gained my City & Guilds qualifications as well as an ONC in Mechanical Engineering.

I left industry to travel and lived in Greece during the summer seasons in my early 20's; gaining some invaluable life experience as well as meeting my future wife.

When I returned, I worked for a family engineering company Baydale Architectual Systems, manufacturing bespoke fire rated windows and doors as well as structural steelwork. In 2005, I decided to become a teacher and began a degree in Design & Technology at Sunderland University. With my industry background, I applied for a life cencertship in engineering which allowed me a fast track route through university. I graduated in 2008 and started my Engineering teaching career at King's Academy in Middlesbrough later that year. I had various roles including deputy department lead, acting AST and acting head of year.
In 2013 I became Head of the DT Department at Hurworth School in Darlington. There I launched Engineering into the curriculum, built a well-equipped workshop and CAD suite and had excellent success across the five areas of D&T we offered at GCSE.
I joined UTC South Durham in the summer of 2018 as the Faculty Director for Engineering and Manufacturing
Head of Engineering - Neil McGrath

Neil McGrath - Head of Engineering

On completion of my secondary education, I started a four-year craft apprenticeship in Toolmaking. This consisted of day-release, at what was then Darlington College of Technology, plus four days of training at work. Over the next eight years, I continued this day-release training to complete my full craft apprenticeship qualification, plus an ONC and HNC in Engineering. Over that period, I worked for a number of engineering companies- manufacturing photocopiers, manual and automated transmissions, televisions and superheaters for offshore companies.
I had by then, developed a real interest in learning, so to continue this I enrolled on a teaching degree and soon successfully completed a BEd at York University. I returned to employment working locally in childcare for two years. This was within a secure unit working with some of the UKs most challenging children, working alongside psychiatrists and psychologists. The knowledge I learnt there has been invaluable in my teaching career.
My teaching took another change in direction, working for two secondary schools in County Durham. One enabled me to work with sixth-form students, both as a tutor and teacher of A level courses. I also held the post of Subject Leader for Technology in one school for six years. Promotion quickly followed to a larger school in Sunderland leading the Technology Faculty, delivering a wide range of GCSE courses.
The opportunity to work at the UTC was a massive attraction to me. It has enabled me to work with well-motivated students who have a real interest in engineering, maths and the sciences. The work based skills and excellent education on offer, will give our students the perfect start to employment or further education.