inspiring teachers

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Yeats

All of our teachers are interviewed by students before joining the community.

our teachers

Our teachers are all qualified with years of experience. They can teach their subjects up to 16 years old (GCSEs mostly). They are creative thinkers who are looking for a more student-centred way of working with young people. Coercive learning is an anathema to them. They seek to inspire children through their classes to enjoy learning, so creative planning is a must. Listening deeply is a priority to help young people feel understood whether in the class room or as a mentor.
Our teachers understand that they must be learners themselves if they wish to inspire others, and our teachers need to embody the values we wish the students to learn. That’s why mindfulness and self-developmental CPD are key to our approach.

Angela Eastham

Angela graduated from the University of Lancaster in 1994 with a BA (Hons) Degree in History with English Literature and went on to complete an MA in Later Medieval Studies. In 1996 she followed her ultimate ambition to become a teacher when she completed her PGCE at the Institute of Education, London.

Since 1996 Angela has worked in a variety of educational settings across the UK. She has taught children in inner city schools in London and Bradford, trained as a Tutor and Outdoor Education Instructor for the FSC in Cumbria and worked for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London, as a teacher in their pioneering therapeutic educational provision. Angela also took some time out of the classroom to work for Pearson Edexcel as an Assessment Leader and then she embarked on a gap year travelling around the world, rediscovering yoga in India and learning to meditate in the northern tip of Thailand.

In 2014 Angela left teaching to start a family. It was during this time that she became more interested in self directed learning and thus became increasingly involved with the home educating community in West Yorkshire. In 2017 she started to offer creative, child focused, accessible and hands on science sessions for home educated children. She is now better known as ‘Asteroid Angie’ to many. Working with home educating families has been one of the most enjoyable periods of her teaching career so far. The children never fail to inspire and challenge her and creativity knows no bounds!

jo Hurley

Jo graduated from the University of Wales, Bangor in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. From there she worked as a seal handler on the Cornish coast rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing grey seal pups. With her love of the Sea, Jo decided to train as a SCUBA instructor and then take this one step further by starting her own business doing what she loved most… bringing the wonders of the sea to children, through snorkelling, SCUBA and rock pool safaris.
Her love of teaching led her to gaining her PGCE in 2007, where she went onto to teach Marine Biology at Falmouth Marine School in Cornwall. Jo also set up a weekly youth club for the over 5’s. It was here that she co-taught along with her very own college students, who volunteered their time once a week engaging the children in fun marine biology-based experiments.
After sometime teaching, Jo got the travel bug and with a deep personal practice in yoga she decided to take this a step further in Costa Rica and train as yoga instructor, where she worked for a year before emigrating to Canada.
Canada offered untold adventures of the wilderness… Teaching yoga in remote communities was a wonderful experience that she will never forget.
In 2015 Jo returned home to settle on the island of Anglesey in North Wales. Since then she has returned to teaching Science both as a home tutor and at local college lecturing in BTEC’s Biomedical Science and A-Level Biology and Chemistry.
Living in North Wales Jo loves to swim and snorkel, rambling coastal walks and taking care of her array of farm yard critters. She does all of this accompanied by her partner of many years and their mischievous 7-year-old daughter.

Verity Wyatt

Verity grew up surrounded by the moors of West Yorkshire drawing everything she could see and went on to study Fine art in London where she delved deeper into the world of painting and drawing. She went on to teach art, first in England and then in Mexico where she studied both dance therapy and narrative therapy while learning Spanish. In Mexico City she started working within mural and community art projects and leading experimental drawing workshops with children and adults, later going on to create and guide art and history tours with a focus on female artists around the historic center. Verity is a practising artist constantly experimenting with new materials and techniques, whether in printmaking or making natural pigments and is currently studying a postgraduate in art therapy. She is interested in alternative education with a special interest in learning difficulties and the importance of art in education. In her free time she enjoys walking, birdwatching, drawing and dancing.

Rachel Walmsley

After teaching in a wall-less bamboo school in the Balinese jungle where nature comes right into the classrooms, Rachel returned to the UK where she completed an MA in International Education and Development at Sussex University. She also spent 2 years as a primary methodology advisor supporting rural teachers in Rwanda to improve teaching and learning within their classrooms.

Alongside her teaching at The Learning Circle,  Rachel volunteers with VSO working as a girls education specialist and researcher and looks after her four year old daughter.

She has a PGCE from University of the West of England and has worked within education for the past 12 years, initially in the UK, then Dubai and Bali at the Green School.

Sarah Sneddon

Sarah has taught for over two decades in a career that encompasses primary education, secondary education, home education and further education. She graduated from the University of St Andrews with an MA in English Literature and History and then stayed in St Andrews to complete a PhD in English Literature. While she was there, she also completed a LTCL clarinet teaching diploma. Over the years she has taught in the state sector and the private sector both in the classroom and as an instrumental instructor. She began her working life teaching Music, English, Latin and Social Subjects in a prep school, then taught primary in the state sector before teaching for six years in the Music Department at St Andrews University. She was an Associate Lecturer with the Open University for many years teaching interdisciplinary arts courses and the knowledge she gained there encouraged her to move all her teaching online in 2016. For the last five years she has been teaching IGCSE English Language, IGCSE English Literature, A Level English Language and Creative writing. She has been on an ever evolving (and always interesting!) home education journey with her children since 2008. Sarah’s interests include musical theatre, reading, knitting, ice hockey, camper vans and yoga. She qualified as a yoga teacher in 2019 and is working hard on maintaining a daily practice!

Anisha Mistry

After completing a PGCE in Secondary Art & Design from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2012, Anisha has been teaching Art & Design in secondary schools in Folkestone and Bradford. Anisha’s skills and knowledge in Art & Design practice range from drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles and ceramics, she has taught all year groups including A-Level. Anisha draws influence and experience from a wide range of sources to aid her teaching practice and in particular likes to visit galleries and museums, her favourite place to visit is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Anisha studied a BA Hons in Ceramics at Cardiff School of Art & Design where she became a natural at slip casting tableware and decorative ceramic surface design. Before beginning the PGCE, Anisha took a few months out to volunteer for the Kamla Foundation a charity that helps disadvantaged women and children in Tamil Nadu, India. During her time in India, Anisha worked on programmes to empower women of all ages as well as teaching creative English lessons in the schools to you children. Anisha’s main creative role models as a child were her grandfathers, one a carpenter the other a tailor. She firmly believes these early influences shaped her ability to learn a diverse set of skills that continue to aid her teaching practice to this day. In her spare time Anisha enjoys sewing and cooking, she is a huge fan Lego and loves to go to the theatre and cinema. Anisha teaches Art at Hebden Bridge

nimrod evron

Nimrod graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Education and teaching qualifications from a program specializing in Critical Pedagogy. He obtained an MA in Psychosocial Studies from Birkbeck, University of London in 2015. Born in Israel, he has been a peace and social justice activist from a young age. He lived and volunteered in an ecological farm before deciding to learn education.
Nimrod has taught for seven years in a democratic school in Israel. While teaching, he trained in Project Based Learning at the Institute for Democratic Education. He has taught classes from primary to sixth forum, and, with the students, built and invented his own classes, such as Detectives in History, Myth Breaking and Kid’s Philosophy. He was head of the middle school and the mentoring program, before leaving for London. There he taught in a primary school, continued to teach with a focus on theme learning and project based learning.
Other than being a schoolteacher, he has volunteered for ten years in a hotline for distressed youth, helped run a collective “infoshop” and community center, was part of a creative writing group and got involved in different campaigns for social justice. He has initiated and facilitated youth groups for critical thought, helped organize for eight years an annual summer camp for youth activism and has been a guest speaker in Universities on education, media, gender and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Nimrod is Lead Teacher at Hebden Bridge Learning Community.

liva hansen

Liva is a teacher of Maths and Science with a PGCE in Secondary Science. She completed her teaching degree in 2007 at Canterbury Christ Church University. Originally from Denmark, Liva moved to the UK from the United States 13 years ago for an MSc in Primate Conservation. Before teaching, she worked as a monkey veterinary technician in the US, conducted her Masters research on crop-raiding macaques in Indonesia, and helped to run a volunteer expedition conducting wildlife surveys in the Ecuadorian Amazon. After a couple of years of teaching in secondary school as a Science and Spanish teacher, she heard the call of the wild again and travelled for a year through Mexico and Central America and volunteered in a secondary school in Mexico. She has worked for our learning community for 5 years now and teaches Maths and Science, among other subjects, to a wide range of ages and abilities.

Liva has practiced ashtanga yoga for over 16 years, and originally began her meditation practice through yoga and hypnobirthing. She is now particularly interested in the use of mindfulness and meditation in education and how it can foster confidence and positive thinking as well as aid learning. She has two young daughters and a dog named Patch. Liva teaches at our in-person Learning Community in Hebden Bridge.

gemma phelan

Gemma graduated from Bretton Hall with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies in 2003 and went on to work in Theatre for several years. Always having a desire to teach, she worked as a Teaching Assistant and Special Needs Support Assistant as well as teaching Art before gaining a place on the Graduate Teacher Programme. In 2011, she graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Manchester Metropolitan University. She gained employment at the same school in which she was trained and taught KS2 before leaving to become a mum. Instead of returning to teaching she chose to home educate her children which revealed a passion for self directed learning. Over the last few years Gemma has been researching autonomous, democratic education. Gemma teaches at our Hebden Bridge Learning Community

What kind of school would children and educators create together?
Anil Sarna

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