Our School Team

Nikki Teague


NNEB, PGCE, BEd Hons Degree, Masters in Education

Hello my name is Nikki. I began my career at Battledown as their first NQT and have since worked across school in different classes and obtained my Masters whilst working. I have been a  member of the Senior Leadership Team and I am now Head teacher. A position which I never imagined I would accomplish, but it is a challenging and rewarding role, that is made possible by the great team I have behind me supporting me all the way.

Seeing the school develop and the children enjoying the wonderful facilities we have is amazing, no day is the same and the Battledown family ethos is something I am very proud to be part of.

Leah Vellam-Steptoe

Assistant Headteacher
Hedgehogs Class Teacher
ECF Inductor
Curriculum Coordinator for My Reasoning

BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGCE Primary

Hello everyone, I’m Leah. Although I have not been at Battledown long, I have been in special educational needs since I left University. I have taught for over seven years, starting as a NQT at Frank Wise School, Oxfordshire (SEN School). I absolutely love working with the children and their families, it is extremely rewarding and I love the challenges it brings day to day. I am excited to be a part of the Battledown team as it continues to develop and grow.

Carissa Palmer-Little

Lead Teacher
Hedgehogs Class Teacher
Behaviour Lead
Curriculum Coordinator for My Communication

BA (Hons) PGCE

Hi, I’m Carissa, I am Lead Teacher, class teacher and behaviour lead. I have been working at Battledown since September 2020. I have been working with children with special educational needs for almost 20 years in a number of roles. I love being able to inspire and motivate the pupils I teach, seeing them develop and achieve their potential.

Jane Davis

Business Manager


My name is Jane, I am married with two boys and I have been involved with Battledown since 2001, starting as parent, BFG chair for three years and then working on the Admin team. My current role is Business Manager. I feel very passionate about the school and what support it offers children and families. My outlook in life has changed considerably during my Battledown journey, I feel very privileged from what the school has given me during my time here both as a parent and member of staff.

Tonicha Alli

Squirrels Class Teacher
Early Career Teacher

BEd in Primary Education with QTS

Hi, I’m Tonicha and I’m a Class Teacher here at Battledown. I joined the Battledown family in September 2021 as an ECT and I’m enjoying every second of it! Whilst everyday brings new challenges, it’s so rewarding. I love working with all our children and their families.

Kerri Antoniak

Midday Supervisor

Claire Beck

Learning Partner

Hi, I’m Claire. My son attended Battledown and loved it, he’s now in his GSCE year at a mainstream school. I have worked part time at Battledown for 10 years, I enjoy watching the children grow & develop, no two days are the same. I work with a wonderful and caring group of people.

Sarah Bell

Family Worker

My name is Sarah and I am the Family Worker. I started working at Battledown in 2004 after my son with additional needs moved on to his next school. I can remember how valuable Battledown’s family support was back then and the difference it made to us as a family. I aim to offer each family the support they need and can work individually or in parent groups. We have regular meet ups and cover a wide range of subjects requested by parents and learn from each other. I believe parent carers are stronger together and a big part of my role is to create opportunities for families to get together and build friendships which continue long after the children leave Battledown.

Debbie Benton

Finance & Staffing Administrator

Hi, I’m Debbie and work in Finance and HR, I have been at Battledown since April 2007. I previously worked in the Private Sector as a “change’ consultant. Everyday at Battledown is a challenge and very rewarding. Being part of such a great team, that everyday gives it everything in order that our children can continue to learn and have fun, is very inspiring.

Sue Birch

Midday Supervisor & Cleaner


Hi my name is Sue and I’m a lunchtime supervisor and have worked at Battledown since September 2020. I trained as a nursery nurse but had different job as well working with adults with learning disabilities. Before l came to Battledown l was previously a lunchtime supervisor in a mainstream school doing a one-to-one with a child with learning disabilities. I joined Battledown as l would like to work in special needs education as l find it rewarding whilst working as a lunchtime supervisor and everyday is different.

Eva Brockhurst

Learning Partner

BSc (Hons) Psychology & Child Development

Hi, my name is Eva and I am a Learning Partner at Battledown. I started at Battledown in 2019 as a volunteer while on a year out from university, after six months of voluntary placement I was put on supply. I am currently full time in Owls class. I adore working with all the children at Battledown and love seeing them develop and grow over their time at school.

Sarah Broderick

Learning Partner

BEd (Hons)

Hello my name is Sarah. I spent many years working and travelling abroad before settling back in England and working in mainstream settings. I first began volunteering at Battledown in 2016 and then in September 2017 I began working as an Early Years Practitioner part time. No two days are ever the same, I work with an amazing team and fantastic children. It is sometimes challenging but always fulfilling.

Tracey Cadogan


Hello my name is Tracey. I joined the cleaning team in September 2020, and usually clean Rabbits and Owls classes. I also clean the reception area and sensory room. I really like how the school includes all the staff in its organisation. As well as working at the school, I am also a trained artist, and sell my own ranges of greetings cards, and original paintings. I also paint murals, and completed a commission for Priors Park community church in Tewkesbury at the start of 2020. I am also in Gloucestershire Dyslexic association, and run a local art group.

Karen Cooke

HLLP / PPA Cover
Curriculum Coordinator for Forest School

NNEB,ADCE, HLTA, BTEC Forest School Leader, RSH Diploma

Hi, I’m Karen. I am a class teacher and Forest School lead. I have worked in child care since qualifying in 1986. My eldest child benefitted from attending Battledown and I joined the staff team in September 2005 as a TA. Since joining Battledown I have qualified as a Forest School Leader and have undertaken courses on PECS, Total Communication, Portage and Behaviour Management. I thoroughly enjoy working with our children and being able to make a difference to them and their families.

Paul Davis


Hi, I’m Paul and have been a caretaker at Battledown since 2018. My son attended Battledown many years ago and I have fond memories of his time here and enjoy working with a great team of people.

Luis De Sousa


Sue Douglass

Speech and Language Therapist

BMedSci (Speech) Hons

​Hi, I am a Speech and Language Therapist, employed by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust and a registered member of the Health Professionals Council and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. My role is to identify need and help develop the skills of parents / carers and education colleagues who support the child in their every-day environment. This ensures that therapy becomes part of the child’s daily life.

Julie Dobbs

Learning Partner

NVQ Level 3

Hello my name is Julie. I started working with children in 2000 as a childminder. After 12 years, I went into nurseries, where I worked up to deputy manager but I decided to work in schools as a SEN 1:1 teaching assistant. I joined Battledown in September 2020 and I am really enjoying the diversity of each day.

Jo Doyle

Badgers Class Teacher
Curriculum Coordinator for How My World Works

BEd (Hons), Masters in Education

My name is Jo and I have worked at Battledown as a Teacher since 2001.

Clarissa Evans

Learning Partner

Kellie Evans

Learning Partner

NVQ Level 2

Hello my name is Kellie. My daughter attended Battledown Centre for seven years which she absolutely loved and thrived in this wonderful school. I also volunteered for two years as I found it helped to develop my own skills and passion for doing support work. I was also employed as a lunchtime supervisor for eight months but I wanted a more hands-on role. So then went on to work for three years in a specialist college & gained my NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care. It’s only recently that I returned to this great school. I’m happy to be apart of this amazing team as a Learning Partner and look forward to meeting some incredible pupils and families.

Carla Finneran

Learning Partner

Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism

Hello my name is Carla. I joined Battledown in 2019. I thoroughly enjoy my role within the school. I feel I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge which has been invaluable to me. Watching the children grow and develop has to be one of the best parts of my job role. I feel lucky to be part of the Battledown team.

Zoe Hadden

Otters Class Teacher
Curriculum Coordinator for Me & My Community

BA (Hons), PGCE

Hello! I am Zoë, I am a class teacher and I started at Battledown in September 2020. I have been teaching for over 20 years, working with children in both mainstream and special school settings. I am so excited to join the wonderful Battledown team, to bring my skills and experience and work with all the amazing children who attend the school.

Abdul Hadi

Owls Class Teacher

BEd (Hons) in Primary Education with QTS

Hello, my name is Abdul, and I am a Teacher working across the school here at Battledown. I have been working in education since 2011, in both mainstream and special educational needs settings, in various support roles. Most recently, I have completed a degree in Primary Education, qualifying as a teacher. I am very excited to be joining the Battledown team, who are very warm and welcoming, and working with pupils to achieve their potential. I feel very honoured to be a part of their educational journey.

Vicky Hammersley

Midday Supervisor & Cleaner

Andrea Hodges

Learning Partner

NVQ Level 3

Hello my name is Andrea, and I’m a Learning Partner. I started working at Battledown in 2021 and really enjoy the the variety of every day here. Before I started working at Battledown I was a nursery nurse and worked my way up to Deputy Manager. When the opportunity came up to work at this great school I couldn’t wait to be part of a loving supportive team who inspire me.

Ali Holtom

Learning Partner


Hi, I’m Ali. I started as a volunteer at Battledown in 2008. I soon went on to do supply work and become a full-time Learning Partner. I am a qualified Nursery Nurse and was a nanny (special needs and mainstream) for many years before I had my own family. I love my work at Battledown. I am so grateful to work with such an amazing team and with such inspirational children and families. I am constantly learning new skills as every day brings new challenges. Each day is full special achievements and always lots of fun. I am always busy and the days go so quickly, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Tracey Hughes

Learning Partner

Hi my name is Tracey, I’ve worked at Battledown for over a year as midday supervisor and am now doing support work in school. I’ve always wanted to work with children and even more so because my daughter is non-verbal autistic. I would like to progress in the special needs education sector with the Battledown team. I learn every day from working with the children. I love making them smile and fulfil their everyday needs and more.

Amy Izzard

Midday Supervisor

Hi, I have been working at Battledown since February 2021. I started working here after my son came here three years ago. I’ve come to know most of the staff and they are the most loveliest people and they do an amazing job with the children. So who wouldn’t want to work in a place like this?

Dawn Jones

Pupil Administrator

BA (Hons) Modern Languages & European Studies

After a degree in French and Spanish and 20+ years of working in the travel industry, I joined Battledown in 2021 as the school’s Pupil Administrator. My association with Battledown goes back much further however as my youngest son was a pupil here for four years. Battledown supported us so much in his early years and as such, it has always been an incredibly special place for myself and my family. I am delighted to be part of the team.

Toby Jones

School Administrator

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business Studies

Hello my name is Toby. I have been involved with Battledown since September 2001 starting out as a pupil in Green Class (now known as Hedgehogs) for three years with Nikki Teague as my teacher. I returned to the school as a volunteer in June 2016 as I wanted to give back to the amazing school that has helped me so much and I have been here ever since. In 2018 I was nominated for the Robert Nairac and Spirit of Youth Awards and I am so grateful for the opportunities Battledown have given me. Working as a School Administrator is varied, challenging and rewarding. I am very lucky and proud to be part of the wonderful team at Battledown and to be able to see and hear about the progress the children in school are making.

Claire Kelley

Learning Partner

​Hi, I’m Claire and I joined Battledown in October 2020. I have worked in education or care settings all my working life and love the fact that no two days are the same. My daughter attended Battledown many years ago and I have lots of happy memories of her time here so I am really enjoying experiencing this wonderful school from a different point of view! I feel privileged to be part of the children’s lives at Battledown and am so pleased that I am able to positively contribute to their progress and development.

Andrise Lawisch 

Learning Partner

BA Art & Design, Level 2 in Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

Hello, my name is Andrise. I moved from London to Cheltenham in 2020 where I completed my Level 2 Certificates in ‘Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities’. I began as a volunteer at Battledown School in 2021 and am now a Learning Partner. Working at Battledown is challenging but also enriching. Each day brings something different and gives me with a deeper understanding of working with children with disabilities. Whilst in London I completed my BA in Art and Design from the University of the Arts London. I plan to begin my PGCE course in 2022 as well as further my knowledge in Child Neuroscience.

Atsuko Layton

Midday Supervisor

Emma McVean

Learning Partner

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
Hi, I’m Emma, and I am a Learning Partner at Battledown. I started at Battledown doing work experience during my university course, and was then lucky enough to be offered a full-time position starting recently in September 2021. I have loved my time at Battledown so far, it is very rewarding seeing the children grow and achieve everyday!
Katie Medhurst

Learning Partner

Hello my name is Katie and I am a part-time Learning Partner. I started volunteering at Battledown in September 2012 and then worked as a supply EYP. It wasn’t long before I became a permanent part-time member of the team. I am a qualified Occupational Therapist and worked in the NHS before having my own children, so it has been great to draw on my previous experience when working with our amazing children at Battledown. I feel privileged to work within such a committed team, and absolutely love working with our inspirational children and their families. No two days at Battledown are alike! Each day brings lots of fun and new challenges so there is never any time to get bored!

Chloe Morris

Learning Partner

Sharde Moxey

Learning Partner Apprentice

Hi I’m Sharde, I joined Battledown as an apprentice in September 2020. Since then I have gained lots of knowledge and experience so far, and I can’t wait to continue to do so.  My younger brother attended Battledown so it was very exciting to start working here. I enjoy working with my team and the children at Battledown.

Cristina Muntean


QTS and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Hello my name is Cristina, and I am proud to be part of the Battledown team as an HLLP. I have been teaching for over 15 years, working with children in both mainstream and special school settings. I am fortunate and blessed to be teaching in an amazing school that has a nurturing, loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their confidence and independence skills. I look forward to continuing to have a positive impact on the children’s growth and to new discoveries with an amazing team of teachers.

Jess O’Hare

Learning Partner

Hi, I am Jess and I am a Learning Partner. I have worked at Battledown since October 2019. I started off being a volunteer in the school and then was able to take a full-time position. I love being part of the Battledown family especially since my youngest child started school this then meant I was able to join the team full time! One of the best things is that no two days are the same and I am always kept on my toes, learning new skills every day. I have found it incredibly rewarding being able to work with such inspiring children and staff.

Amanda Peacey

Midday Supervisor

Pauline Phillips


BEd (Hons)

Hi, I’m Pauline, I am a HLLP and Deputy DSL. I have worked at Battledown since 2007. Prior to this and after qualifying in 1997 I have worked with children in both mainstream schools and nurseries. I have gained a great deal of experience in special needs since working at Battledown and I’m lucky to be part of such a wonderful team. The children are inspiring and make each day fun and rewarding. I have a background in art and design and so I really enjoy all things creative especially seeing what the children can create at school.

Louise Sherlock


Supporting Teaching and Learning Level 2 and 3

Hello my name is Louise and I am a Learning Partner. I have worked at Battledown since January 2020, starting as supply, before moving to a permanent role. I really enjoy working at Battledown and working with a great team.

Jozef Solcani


Gemma Stephens 

Learning Partner

Supporting learning and teaching in schools level 2 and 3.

Hi, I’m Gemma and I joined the Battledown team in January 2022.
Before joining Battledown I worked in a mainstream primary school in Cheltenham supporting children with special educational needs on a 1:1 basis, this included children with Down Syndrome and Autism. I’m very excited to have joined the Battledown team and look forward to all the opportunities it will bring.

Angela Summerfield


Level 3 Children and Young People’s Workforce

Hello my name is Angela and I’m a Learning Partner. I’ve been working at Battledown since October 2020 and I’m learning new things everyday just like the children do.

My colleagues make me feel like I’m part of a team support each other and the children we care for at school.

Before Battledown I worked in a mainstream school for about six years then a playgroup for four years gaining lots of qualifications on my way such as Level 2/3 in children and young people’s workforce, Sendco training, autism awareness, first aid, safeguarding and many more. I’m always wanting to extend my knowledge and I know Battledown is a great place for me to do this.

Helen Tharia

Learning Partner


Hello, I’m Helen and I am a Learning Partner. I have worked at Battledown for many years and during my time here I have had a lot of experience working with children with a wide variety of special needs. I really enjoy being with the children and working with such a great team here at Battledown. My role is fun, inspiring and rewarding. I am the horse riding coordinator.

Georgia Thomas

Learning Partner

Hello my name is Georgia. I started working as an apprentice in 2015. Throughout the last six years I have worked across all of the classes in school.


Zoe Tyler

Woodpeckers Class Teacher
Curriculum Coordinator for My Thinking
ECF Mentor

BEd (Hons)

Hi, My name is Zoe and I am new to Battledown, starting here in September 2021. Prior to this I spent 14 years in Special Educational Needs at Alderman Knight School, starting as a teaching assistant, gaining my teaching degree and working up to Primary Lead. I relish the challenges and rewards that come with teaching Children with additional needs and am excited to continue my career at Battledown.

Ellie Walsh

Rabbits Class Teacher
Early Career Teacher


Hi, I am Ellie, Class Teacher. I started working at Battledown as a supply Early Years Practitioner, whilst doing my Art degree. I love working at Battledown and I was able to complete my teacher training here. I am currently doing my ECT (Early Careers Teacher). Battledown has taught me so much, and I will be forever grateful. It is such a rewarding job, every day is different and special.

Belinda Wilks

Learning Partner

Emma Willmore

Foxes Class Teacher
Curriculum Coordinator for My Creativity

BEd (Hons)

​Hi, I’m Emma. I am a part-time teacher and the designated teacher for Looked After and Previously Looked After Children. My first experience of Battledown was as a volunteer in 1994. I really felt I had found my ‘niche’ and from there went on to train as a teacher. In 2015, after working at schools in Gloucester and later at a local playgroup, I returned to Battledown on supply. A year later I was delighted to be offered a teaching post for a job share in Orange Class (now Foxes). Everyday at Battledown brings new and exciting challenges, it is totally exhausting but immensely rewarding! It is a privilege to be part of the Battledown family, working alongside a fantastic team for the benefit of our inspirational children and their families.

Reina Wood

Learning Partner

BTEC National Diploma in Early Years

Hello I’m Reina. I’ve been working at Battledown since November 2019. I am enjoying working here with all the lovely children and very kind and caring co-workers.

David Wright

Learning Partner

Hi, I’m David, I am a Learning Partner. I first worked at Battledown between 2008 and 2012, then continued to work with many of our children at Bettridge School. Completing the circle, I returned to Battledown in September 2020 and it has been absolutely lovely to be so welcomed back. I love and consider it a privilege to work with special needs children and their families and look forward to doing this for the remainder of my career

Battledown Centre for Children & Families. Harp Hill, Cheltenham GL52 6PZ Tel: 01242 525472 • Fax: 01242 257557

Battledown Centre for Children & Families. Harp Hill, Cheltenham GL52 6PZ Tel: 01242 525472 • Fax: 01242 257557