Ian Bacon


As Head of School, it is my job to make sure that students at Watling get the very best Care, Education and Opportunity during their time with us and are safe, enjoy coming every day, make great progress in their studies and participate in all areas of Academy life. After all, you get out of school what you put into it. We have an environment here where we strive to act with Respect, Responsibility and Kindness to ourselves, others and the environment around us. One of my most important roles is to monitor, listen, support and challenge everyone at Watling to maintain those values. I will also be working closely with our near neighbour Watling Primary School and our other Partner schools – Whitehouse and Fairfields to ensure an exciting educational journey for children within the local area. I do hope that you like what you see and that you will be able to join us next September to experience in person, the excitement of life at Watling Academy.

Helen Fry

Deputy Headteacher

I am Deputy Headteacher at Watling Academy, overseeing Education.  I joined Watling Academy in September 2022, after over 13 years at Denbigh School.  I have several years’ experience of leading provision and support for students with SEND, as well as whole school provision within the areas of both Care and Education.  My role involves ensuring that all students have access to a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum, supporting the development and consistency of Teaching and Learning, as well as planning for future provision at Watling Academy.  I am committed to ensuring that Watling Academy supports all students to achieve their own ambitions and maximises progress both within and beyond the curriculum, provides opportunities to nurture a love of learning and a clear focus on our core values of Respect, Responsibility and Kindness.

Jo Harris

Deputy Headteacher

I am Deputy Headteacher at Watling Academy, overseeing Care and Opportunity. I believe that every student should have access to a range of educational experiences that inspire and motivate them to flourish and succeed, both academically and socially. Inclusion is at the heart of Watling Academy, and part of my role is to ensure that we work collaboratively to remove any barriers to learning, allowing all students to be challenged, engaged, and equipped to achieve their personal best. No two students are the same, and it is crucial that we get to know students as individuals, meeting their needs with the highest levels of support and pastoral care.

James Cassidy

Acting Deputy Headteacher

I am Acting Deputy Headteacher at Watling Academy and I have been at the Academy since we opened in September 2020. In my role I oversee Teaching and Learning to ensure that all students receive the very best teaching and opportunities to learn whilst at school. I work with members of the Senior Leadership Team to monitor standards across the school and to celebrate examples of excellent teaching and learning. As teachers we are very passionate about our work. We are constantly seeking new ways of delivering subject material and providing opportunities to develop students as learners. It is my role to support teachers in developing aspects of their own teaching practice to give students the very best learning experience that we can.

Natalie Bennett

Assistant Headteacher

I am an Assistant Headteacher and English teacher at Watling Academy.  I am also the Academy’s SENDCo. I am passionate about ensuring all our students, regardless of their abilities or experiences, have access to the best education, care and opportunities whilst they are at Watling.  My role includes working with staff across the Academy to ensure our students with SEND, EAL and other barriers to learning get the support needed to achieve their potential.  Another important aspect of my role is making sure all our students feel safe within school, working alongside colleagues to respond appropriately to safeguarding issues as and when they arise.

Anthony Brown

Assistant Headteacher

I am an Assistant Headteacher and a Science teacher at Watling Academy. I believe that all students deserve the opportunity to maximise their knowledge and skills during their time here, and my role is to support teachers in closely and effectively monitoring the progress of all students. This allows us to support all individuals and to provide the best possible education for every student. Another important aspect of my role is making sure Watling provides the most suitable pathways and qualifications for learners as they move through the school, and that the courses we offer cater for all of our students. These things combined are crucial in maximising every student’s chance of success and giving each individual the best opportunity to move onto their chosen career path once they leave Watling.

Martin Gibbs

Assistant Headteacher

As an Assistant Headteacher at Watling Academy I am responsible for Admissions, Punctuality and Transition, I also teach Physical Education. I started at Watling Academy when it opened in 2020 and have enjoyed being involved in a wide range of roles, from Head of Year and Head of Department to being involved in the setting up key areas of the Academy such as the House System and Student Council. I firmly believe that every student should thoroughly enjoy their time at Watling Academy, developing as an individual, whilst being given the opportunity to meet their academic potential. To achieve this, I work with our Heads of Year, Assistant Heads of Year, Form Tutors, and Pastoral Assistants to support our students; identifying and overcoming any barriers they may have along the way. The Pastoral team and I are looking forward to working with students, parents and carers alike to ensure the best outcomes for all at Watling Academy.

Cameron Parks

Assistant Headteacher

I am an Assistant Head Teacher at Watling Academy, where I teach both Computing and Lead the curriculum for Wellbeing.  My role involves supporting and coordinating the Personal Development of students at Watling Academy, including supporting those who may need a personalised approach to make the right choices to success and thrive at school.  I am very passionate about both academic and personal growth of students; I believe every student has the potential to succeed and that developing resilience is a key part of achieving success.  Through the Tutorial and wider wellbeing programme, I am committed to helping students look after their physical and mental health to thrive throughout their time at Watling Academy. 

Jeremy Stormer

Assistant Headteacher

I am an Assistant Headteacher at Watling Academy, having previously been part of the Senior Leadership team at Ousedale School. My key areas of responsibility are leading attendance and the development of opportunity for our students, as well as teaching Physical Education and Geography. I work alongside the attendance and pastoral teams to ensure high levels of attendance, encouraging pupils and families are supported to maximise the educational and broader opportunities available to them. Opportunity at Watling Academy is valued equally alongside Care and Education, and I work alongside the brilliant team of staff here to ensure students receive a wide range of opportunities such as extra-curricular clubs, outdoor education, trips, that broaden their horizons and develop them holistically. I also lead in the continued development of our Careers Provision to ensure all students are well-prepared for their next steps when they leave Watling Academy, be it for education or employment.  Through careers-related activities and our curriculum, students will be prepared for the range of opportunities available and have access to personalised guidance to support their decision-making. I am determined to support our students in pushing their boundaries and going beyond what they believe they are capable of, whilst having an experience they will never forget.

Verity Rhodes

Operations Manager

I am the Operations Manager at Watling Academy, responsible for the smooth running of all of the non-teaching aspects of the Academy. Finance, Health & Safety, Site Operations, Lettings, ICT and Administration all sit within my remit, with each area of Operations being carried out by an experienced and dedicated team. I work closely with the other members of the Senior Leadership team, and colleagues across the Denbigh Alliance, to design and implement processes and procedures that are fit for purpose and ensure that the Academy operates as efficiently as possible, without compromising on our core values. I believe in keeping Watling students at the heart of what we do, and we will always bring every decision back to what is in their best interests.

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