Our staff

Marcin Kojder

Marcin is a dedicated senior leader with 24 years' experience working in the secondary sector, most recently as the senior deputy headteacher at Hollingworth Academy, an Ofsted Outstanding school in RochdaleAt the school, he was responsible for teaching, learning and curriculum development 

Marcin graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA (Hons) in Geography & British Politics. He then completed his PGCSE at Manchester Metropolitan University before studying for his Masters in Education Leadership at the University of Manchester in 2016. In 2008, he successfully completed the                                                                    National Professional Qualification for Headship.  

Throughout his career he has been dedicated to working with staff to develop their teaching practice, not only in his own school but across the authority. He has delivered professional development sessions for newly qualified teachers, middle, and senior leaders on a range of issues from curriculum design, to effective leadership. He has also spoken at a National Pupil Premium conference in London and to a national delegation from China about educational provision 

Over the past two years, he has been closely involved in the development of Edgar Wood Academy, creating the educational vision, designing the curriculum provisionand establishing the pastoral systems. He has also been involved in the design of the new building, working with architects and the Department for Education, to create a school that the local community will take pride in. Working with the Altus Education Partnership, he has spent the last 6 months at the Ofsted Outstanding Rochdale Sixth Form College, gaining a unique insight about the experience of student destinations after secondary school.  

Marcin is a keen sports person and is an avid football fan, holding a season ticket at his beloved Manchester City football club, and plays at amateur level. His other keen passion is for reading, his interests include works on evidence-based teaching and learning, effective leadership, historyand, for relaxation, crime thrillers. He also enjoys travelling, particularly to Italy where his extended family reside.  

His real joy though, is the day to day work with students. Teaching is, and always will be, a privilege. Each day brings different challenges, but also wonderful rewards, which is why after 24 years, Marcin still loves coming to work every single day. 

I am committed to the principle of outstanding, comprehensive education. Having worked for 12 years in a high performing comprehensive school in Rochdale I understand how successful educational provision can be achieved in Middleton and Heywood. I am incredibly excited and privileged to be taking on the role of Headteacher at Edgar Wood Academy and will work hard to ensure we deliver a world-class education to the students and community we are proud to serve. 

Stephanie Jackson-Horner

With over seven years’ leadership experience including the past three in a senior leadership position in pastoral care and having gained her National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL), Stephanie will be an invaluable member of the Edgar Wood Academy senior leadership team. Stephanie has helped her students achieve high academic standards across the country, having previously worked in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Greater Manchester since graduating from the University of Bedfordshire with a BA (Hons) in Physical Education and Teacher Training in 2011.

Stephanie loves to see her students succeed inside and outside the classroom and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has featured heavily in the opportunities Stephanie has offered to students at her previous schools. Stephanie ensured that all three schools achieved the Gold Award, enabling the students to attend Buckingham Palace to receive their certificate. We look forward to introducing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to all students at Edgar Wood Academy from year 9 onwards.

A true sportswoman, Stephanie loves all things competitive, combining a love of being active and the great outdoors. Stephanie’s work in schools has been no different ensuring engaging and interesting activities and trips have been available to her students: surf trips to Cornwall; teaching rock climbing in PE lessons; and travelling the world with students, allowing them to experience different cultures, history and languages, fostering a passion for lifelong learning.

Outside of school Stephanie demonstrates the high aspirations she wants her students to achieve and has taken her hobby of swimming and running to the very top level, regularly competing across the world in the Aquathlon World Championships. Her best result to date is 9th in the world!

Stephanie starts in the post in April and will work alongside Marcin to ensure that our students experience a smooth and positive transition into year 7.

Becky Worth

Becky joins the Edgar Wood Academy leadership team in early May from Ark John Keats Academy, an Ofsted Outstanding academy in North London where she has worked for the past six years and as a senior leader for the past two years.

Becky is a languages teacher who graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in French & Linguistics, before training to teach with Ark Teacher Training and gaining a PGCE from Canterbury Christ Church University. She has a passion for the mechanics of languages; the structures and systems languages share, and the ways in which they differ.

She developed the school’s Raising Aspirations Programme and was responsible for the careers programme and post-16 careers provision. Becky was also part of the team that led the school to its first set of GCSE results in 2019 which evidenced remarkable progress for the students it served.

Her dedication to improving social mobility originally inspired Becky to teach and is at the forefront of her day-to-day decision making. She believes an excellent school should be at the heart of every community sharing a commitment to nurture and protect every child. Becky will draw on her expertise and experience to develop


strong links with local further education providers and a broad range of universities to help inspire and support students when considering their future career paths. Becky will also deliver an innovative enrichment programme which will be accredited by the Children’s University.

In her spare time, she enjoys creative pastimes such as cooking, crochet and gardening, and will embrace most opportunities to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors!

Barry Young: Head of Mathematics and Numeracy 

Barry brings a wealth of experience to the Edgar Wood team with over 20 years’ experience working in Secondary Education in Edinburgh, London and Greater Manchester. Barry has a wide range of experience having steered the Rochdale Heads of Maths working in conjunction with the Rochdale Pioneers Trust; as Mathematics advisor for 12 United Learning Schools across the North of England and his most recently he is the Maths Trust Lead for 4 schools within the Great Academies Education Trust.

Barry has significant experience in supporting colleagues in their professional development working on several initiatives: he has worked with a number of schools as a Specialist Leader in Education across Rochdale, Oldham and Kirklees improving mathematics provision and outcomes. He has also delivered the Teacher Subject Specialism Training Mathematics Course in collaboration with Plymouth University, helping develop professional colleagues making a change to teaching mathematics.

Barry believes that when a student is provided with the right curriculum design and high-quality teaching they can do well in Mathematics. Developing every child’s understanding of mathematics, and mathematical concepts, is crucial to every students’ learning and for their adult lives; mathematics underpins and drives many successful careers. Barry brings an absolute determination to ensure that students get a world class mathematical education that helps them to apply mathematics successfully throughout their lives.

Barry is a keen golfer having grown up on the east coast of Fife, just south of St. Andrews. His mathematical knowledge allows him to deal with his scores which have been, on occasions, known to fall into 3-digit numbers.


Yasmin Ariff: Head of English and Literacy

Yasmin has worked in various school settings over the past fifteen years, leading on various areas at whole school level, from Careers to the NQT and Initial Teacher Training Induction Programmes. With an NPQSL and as a qualified Specialist Leader of Education, Yasmin will bring a wealth of experience in raising standards and innovation.

 Yasmin is enthusiastic about leading the subject, which captured her heart for from a young age, English.  In the same way Yasmin’s English teacher inspired her when she was a teenager, she looks forward to inspiring the students at Edgar Wood Academy to read the Classics and write with powerful intention.

 Having taught English and led English Departments at Key Stage 3, GCSE and A level and having experience in all-through schools, Yasmin has a comprehensive understanding of how students learn English throughout their formal educational years. 

 From September, Yasmin will be committed to ensuring all students at Edgar Wood Academy have a reading age at the expected level so they can access the curriculum with confidence. She is dedicated to high expectations for all across the English Department; Yasmin will cultivate academically rigorous learning environments where students will enjoy the stories that shape us, the interplay of language and the nuances of meaning. Yasmin is looking forward to working with her colleagues throughout Edgar Wood Academy to ensure the teaching methods within the English Department are actively integrated and embedded throughout all curriculum areas.

 In her spare time Yasmin enjoys practicing and teaching yoga, walking, and, of course, reading lots of books.


Callum Francis: Head of Science

Callum joins Edgar Wood from a secondary school in Rochdale where he helped to lead the Science department. Having studied Biology at the University of Chester, Callum is a Biology specialist, and he also works in the other disciplines of the Science curriculum. Callum is excited to help build young scientists of the future by leading Edgar Wood’s science department.

Using experience gained from studying action research in education at a post-graduate level, Callum has implemented research-led initiatives to improve attainment and engagement from students. Callum has also led staff training on curriculum design and effective use of assessment.

Students appreciate Callum’s passion for teaching and the time he dedicates to supporting them to improve their outcomes. His ability to show initiative and creativity has enabled his students to maintain curiosity in science, thus providing a unique environment and opportunity to seek answers to questions about the world around them.

Outside of teaching, Callum enjoys taking hints from Paul Hollywood from the Bake Off to produce ‘bake off’ worthy treats that staff have said would challenge the king of Bake Off himself. To burn off the calories from baking, he enjoys exploring the UK by hiking with family and friends and is also known to explore a few theme parks from time to time.



Zara Pollard: Head of Humanities

Zara has been the Head of History at Hollingworth Academy, an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ academy in Milnrow, for four years and will be joining the Edgar Wood Academy team in September.

Zara graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in History before joining the Teach First teacher training programme. Whilst working at Hollingworth Academy, Zara completed her Masters in Education and Leadership at the University of Manchester and her National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML).  Zara has a strong commitment to developing trainee teachers: she works closely with the University of Manchester and has recently achieved Associate Lecturer status due to her work in this area.

Through humanities Zara teaches students a wide range of topics that helps them to become active citizens with the ability to evaluate, analyse and build balanced arguments.  Zara feels privileged to teach Humanities; as a subject it has the ability to spark a sense of curiosity in students and seeing students seeking to change the word around them is, both professionally and personally, very rewarding. Zara loves working in education and opening students’ eyes to the world around them. An important part of that has been organising numerous keynote speakers such as Baroness Newlove, Andy’s Man Club and Stonewall to lead talks and workshops at Hollingworth Academy. She also played a key role in leading Diversity Week and is passionate about embedding diversity and inclusion into schools.

In her spare time, Zara loves all things football related. She is a Burnley FC supporter and plays amateur football for a local team.  Zara enjoys travelling and exploring the history of new places. She loves to read books, especially historical fiction.




Rachel Dunn: Head of Creative Arts

Rachel is a passionate and committed middle leader with 10 years’ experience in secondary education. She currently works in Bury as Head of Drama and the Performing Arts and has gained valuable experience of middle leadership in this role. Rachel excitedly joins the Edgar Wood Academy as Head of the Creative and Performing Arts.

Rachel has worked in Education since graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Contemporary Theatre and Performance. Rachel then worked as a Teaching Assistant supporting students with learning difficulties; she completed her PGCertT through the Graduate Teacher Programme with Manchester Metropolitan University. Rachel is currently completing The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) qualification.

Rachel has high aspirations for her students and is committed to ensuring her teaching practice and classroom environment are innovative and just as creative as the subjects she delivers. Throughout her career Rachel has been passionate about the power of the Arts and loves to see her students shine both inside and outside of the classroom. Rachel is excited to play a pivotal role in developing the extra-curricular life at Edgar Wood Academy with a highlight being the annual musical production.

On a personal note, Rachel loves to spend time outdoors and in her free time, can be found in the countryside on long walks and hikes with her beloved dog. Rachel also enjoys horse riding and is a keen equestrian. However, her passion for live theatre is where most of her time is spent, she loves nothing more than attending theatre performances and she looks forward to sharing her love of live theatre with the students of Edgar Wood via extra-curricular trips and visits.



Over the coming months, we will be announcing further members of our founding staff team as we prepare to welcome our first year 7 students in September 2021.