Mrs Katrina Nash
Head of Maths
In 2006, Katrina left university in Cardiff with a BSc and went straight into teacher training in maths at Swansea Metropolitan University. She started her teaching career at Didcot Girls’ School in 2008 for four years, before moving to The Bicester School in 2012.
Maths was her passion at school and she spent most of her time in the Maths department through Sixth Form. She studied at University before realising that teaching was what she was supposed to do. That ‘lightbulb’ moment where a student suddenly understands a concept that has been troubling them is what Katrina lives for in the classroom and what excites her about teaching.
When not engrossed in mathematics, Katrina spends her time with her husband and 2 young children as a Bicester local and enjoy a range of singing, dancing and music interests after being brought up in an extremely musical and mathematical family.
Mrs Nicola Laverick
2nd in Maths
Maths in the classroom should be about building students confidence so that they are unafraid and will challenge themselves to “have a go”. Maths in the early stages should be about having fun but also working hard.
“I don’t get it” is a banned phrase unless it is followed up with “I understand up to this bit but after that…”. As then we have something with which to can work towards “I get it now”.
Mr Phil Hollindale
Phil graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics before working for five years as a Government Statistician in The Department of Environment.
After gaining his teaching qualification from the University of Oxford in 1996, he taught in both state and independent schools before arriving at The Bicester School in 2004 as Head of Mathematics. In this role he oversaw a dramatic improvement in exam results during his time in charge. As Assistant Headteacher, his responsibilities now include timetabling and academic data.
Phil hugely enjoys working with young people and sharing with them his love of mathematics. He says: “It is a subject which is often misunderstood. For me, it is not fundamentally about learning sets of rules; it is about developing a way of thinking which can help to more deeply understand all kinds of situations and problems in the world around you. I love trying to develop an appreciation of the subject in pupils and I also love the fact that I use my subject knowledge, practically, within my leadership role in order to support the school’s work to help all our pupils reach their full potential”
Nicola Le Brun
Raising Standards Leader (Associate Assistant Head)
Nicola graduated from Loughborough University with a BSc in Maths and Management before completing her teacher training and then moving into her first teaching post.
She spent the first eight years of her career teaching in Bicester, taking on various roles until she became Head of Maths. To gain wider experiences and take on new challenges, Nicola spent the past four years teaching elsewhere and is excited to have returned to The Bicester School in her new senior role.
As Raising Standards Leader, Nicola is working closely with teachers and students to ensure everyone has the best opportunity to fulfil their academic potential.
Mr Tim Marston
Tim’s background as a SENCo means that he is well placed to support students who find maths a real challenge or who face specific barriers to their progress.
His role is to ensure that the basic building blocks are in place to allow students to make the progress that is expected of secondary school students.
Mrs Katie Schmaltz
Katie has been working in education for ten years. Born and raised in the USA, she received her Bachelors of Science in Business Management with a minor in Finance from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She then moved back to her home state of New Mexico (right off of Historic Route 66) to pursue graduate studies and work full time in the banking industry. She received her Masters in Business Administration from Western New Mexico University.
After working in the banking industry, she followed her dream and went back to Western New Mexico University to complete her Masters in Education. She has taught both primary and secondary in her career.
Katie says: “I love my job and I love it when I get a Math song in my students’ heads! While Maths can be challenging, I aim to make it fun and enjoyable for my students.”
Mrs Helen Holding
After studying Mathematics and Computing at De Montfort University, Helen worked for a variety of organisations, designing and testing computer systems, including the BBC and Citizens Advice. Although she enjoyed computing, she had always wanted to teach and had a real passion for mathematics at school, so in 2006 she retrained as a mathematics teacher.
Helen previously worked at The Hazeley Academy in Milton Keynes as an Advanced Skills Teacher, helping the mathematics department get the best results across the city. She moved to The Bicester School in 2015.
Helen says: “Teaching is truly the best job I have ever had; inspiring and encouraging, supporting and guiding, different every day, what’s not to love about teaching! Always keen to learn new things myself, I started playing the saxophone recently and play in a local band each week.”
Miss Laura Filgate
I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2015 with a degree in Mathematics and then went straight into teacher training at the University of Oxford. I did my first training placement at The Bicester School and was offered a job here after I finished my PGCE.
In my second year of college I decided to do an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on Biomathematics. Mathematics is our way of interpreting the natural patterns we see. As part of my EPQ, I looked at butterfly wings, honeycomb and the golden angle in plants. It is because of this project that I am now slightly obsessed with butterflies! I want to incorporate concepts like this into my lessons to make my students just as interested in maths as I am.
In my spare time I enjoy reading fantasy novels and watching Disney movies. I am still trying to find a way to integrate Disney into my maths lessons!
Miss Victoria Stone
I graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc in Maths and a passion for teaching. After tutoring
undergraduate engineers for a year, I began my teacher training with the University of Oxford.
When I’m not at school, I am often to be found on the dance floor, dancing ballroom and latin dances competitively. The Viennese Waltz and the Jive are my favourites. Although I try to be relaxed and have fun, I have some strict rules in my classroom: ‘straight lines need a ruler’ and ‘saying “I can’t…” is forbidden’. If you work hard though, I may treat you to a mini dance show.
Mrs Andrea Williscroft
Many students find maths difficult because there is a wrong and right answer, making the work seem black and white. This can discourage many students from trying, as they fear they will get it wrong. It is our job to encourage students to “have a go” without feeling anxious that they may not get the right answer the first time.
One rule Andrea has in her class is that when a student is sharing their answer with the class, they never tell them they are wrong: “We wait until they are finished and then help them see their mistake by questioning how they came to the answer, and ask other students to share how they answered the question. It is important that all students feel free to share their answers and thoughts without fear they will be told they are wrong.”