Learning Team

'Those who can, teach.....'

We have a team of teachers with an excellent record of facilitating outstanding student progress and who advocate strongly for multisensory learning.  Their learning approach is visual, active and experiential to enable students to engage and to embed knowledge and skills.

Our team are skilled in specific learning differences and evidence experience of a range of education settings in a range of roles, thus equipping them for the dynamic, aspirational environment at Abbot's Way.

Hellen Papworth

Lead teacher for Science and Maths 

Member of our Senior Leadership Team

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

  • B.Sc. (Hons) Equine Science and Technology
  • Member of ISA

Hellen is an experienced teacher of Science, PSHE, Maths and PE in both private and mainstream schools. During her time in education she has enjoyed curriculum review and design, middle and senior leadership and has taken advantage of a wealth of CPD and networking opportunities which have enriched and accelerated her career to date.

Highlights for Hellen as a teacher;

  • finding the unique 'brilliance' specific to each student, in order to connect and be able to engage them in learning and develop self belief
  • watching self esteem grow and students achieve their potential

Hellen brings empathy, energy and intuition to the classroom at Abbot’s Way.

Anne Baker


Anne has lived and worked in Somerset for 35 years, where she brought up her 2 children, and has recently welcomed a gorgeous granddaughter to the family

With over 30 years teaching experience in mainstream secondary and middle schools and FE, Anne has a range of experience working with young people and adults with a range of learning needs; 19 years of which was spent in a specialist schoool for students with specific learning difficulties and co-morbid learning differences.

As a teacher, Head of Department and SENCO across her career, Anne continually applied her knowledge and experience of different learning needs in order to support students to reach their potential. Her role as SENCo involved oversight and quality assurance of learning, assessment and progress tracking, for which she worked closely with learning and therapy teams. Anne was pivotal in assuring the implementation of IEPs and EHCPs, maintaining collaborative relationships with stakeholders such as local education authorities and other professionals including Educational Psychologists

Anne has previously served on governing bodies as parent governor in local primary schools

‘I found fulfilment during my time working with young people and a specialist team of staff. I welcome the opportunity to contribute to students’ life at Abbot's Way’.

Lorna MacCormac

English and Literacy Lead

  • MA Oxon

A highly experienced and versatile teacher and senior leader within SEN, Lorna MacCormac is delighted to be taking on the role of (English and Literacy Lead) at Abbot’s Way School.

Lorna began her career teaching English overseas before completing her PGCE and working in both mainstream and independent schools in the UK.

Her passion for developing alternative provision for learners with additional needs was sparked when her son began to struggle in mainstream primary and was ultimately diagnosed with severe dyslexia. This prompted a career shift into specialist provision at Appleford School, where Lorna rose to be Deputy Head and developed and delivered a highly successful curriculum, securing excellent outcomes for students and contributing to three consecutive ‘excellent in all areas’ ISI inspections.

To further support the needs of students with SEN, Lorna opted to complete the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination ( NASENCO ), joining Avanti Park School and rapidly securing EHCPs and additional funding for students as SENDCO.

Dynamic and driven, Lorna is thrilled to be joining the inspirational team at Abbot’s Way and to contribute to the development of this vital and ground-breaking school. 

Kirsty Haddleton

Lead teacher for Learning for Life and Humanities

BA (Hons) Theology

PGCE Secondary (RE and SEN)

MA contemporary religions and spiritualities

BSA Qualification

Kirsty has extensive teaching experience across key stages, across curriculum areas and within a range of education settings including SEN.  

She brings a strong sense of community, adventure, and love of learning to Abbot’s Way. Kirsty is an advocate for harnessing the lateral thinking gift that dyslexics possess and assist children in understanding that all subjects are interconnected, enriching students’ understanding of the world.  As a dyslexic herself, with a dyslexic child, she hopes to foster such gifts as well as support students in challenging themselves to push the boundaries.

Kirsty’s approach validates students’ feelings, supports them in recognising complex emotions and simultaneously helping them develop problem solving skills. 

Kirsty has an abundance of experience running trips and organising events.  She can't wait to embark on our ‘Venture’ programme.

Outside of school, Kirsty is a massive music and movie fan and loves nothing more than live music. She's also a traveller and is currently dreaming of her next family adventure.

Sarah Stanislaus Smith

Lead for Creative & Expressive Arts

Sarah is our Arts Award Coordinator and Advisor

We welcome her natural inspiration, wealth of talent and strong background in community engagement. Students warm to Sarah's absolute passion for the Arts and her calm, flexible approach.  She values our student-led ethos and tailors her learning to each student's profile.  

Sarah has valuable experience in supporting students with specific learning difficulties in achieving their potential.  Her strength in sequencing learning and breaking down targets for her learners means that they engage and develop self belief.  Sarah presents information and techniques in a way in which students can understand and apply.  We welcome Sarah's teamwork, collaboration and understated drive.

Apollo (God of Healing and Light)

Apollo - Abbot's Way SchoolNow nearly 14 months old, Apollo is our AWS black lab.  He enjoys running, lots of swimming, eating (anything except children), relaxing and spending time with our students. 

Not to be underestimated as a valued member of our team, his gentle, affectionate approach is a hit with young people and it is amazing to watch the therapeutic effects of such an animal when a child is feeling anxious.

Equally it is great to see Apollo out playing with students chasing balls or visiting classrooms to say hello in his own special way.