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Meet our Leaders
The Executive Principal of our Academy is David Astin and the Chair of Governors is Ros Wilton.
You can read more about their professional backgrounds below.
Mr David Astin
Mr Astin has been teaching for 20 years, and with the Harris Federation since 2008. He began his career at a large school in Milton Keynes in 1995 and then taught at a very successful girls' school in Carshalton.
In 2008, Mr Astin was appointed Assistant Principal of our sister school, Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. After that, he was a leader of the Harris Sixth Form, of which Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley is a part of.
During this time, he helped to lay the educational foundations of the Harris Westminster Sixth Form, a collaboration with Westminster School which aims to prepare London’s brightest state school pupils for entry to the world’s best universities.
Mr Astin, who lives in Beckenham with his young family, was appointed Principal of Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley in September 2014.
Mrs Rosalyn Wilton
Chair of Governors
Mrs Wilton has been Chair of Governors at Harris Girls' Academy Bromley since it opened in 2011 and she is also Vice Chair of the Harris Federation Board.
In a career spanning four decades, she has held a number of high profile positions in the City, particularly within the finance and technology sectors.
As a Director of the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE), she was the first woman to serve on the board of any Exchange in the UK and Europe. She was also the first woman to be appointed to the Reuters Executive Committee; making her the most senior woman in the Reuters Group at that time.
Mrs Wilton read Mathematics at the University of London. In 2016, she was appointed to the University of London’s Board of Trustees.
She is a familiar figure to our students and staff; regularly giving talks and also overseeing Mathematics at the Academy as part of the governing body’s commitment to support a subject department.
Mr Samuel Rigby
Head of Academy
Mr Rigby joined the Academy in 2013 and was appointed Head of Academy in 2018. Before his latest role, Mr Rigby was the Vice Principal and Faculty Director for the Science, Art, Design & Technology departments. In addition to the pastoral care of the students in his Faculty, he lead on whole school enrichment, trips, parent evenings and the progress of the Most Able and Pupil Premium students.
Mr Rigby is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher of Business Studies and is a firm believer in promoting enterprise, the Arts and Science across the Academy. He strives to provide all students with the life chances they require to achieve the high aspirations they set for themselves. He has developed further within the Harris Federation through completing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at Warwick University and has completed his NPQH.
Mrs Bianca Collett
Mrs Collett is our Vice Principal in charge of teaching and learning.
Prior to joining Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley, she was an Assistant Head of an outstanding school in Lambeth. She began her career as a teacher of modern foreign languages more than twenty years ago and has a joint honours’ degree in German and English.
Why I went into teaching: As part my English degree I spend a year abroad as a Foreign Language Assistant and enjoyed the daily contact with students of all backgrounds, their idiosyncrasies and individual needs. It inspired me to do my Post Graduate degree and work as a Language teacher in England.
As a department lead my focus was to make languages authentic with school exchanges and work experience for the sixth form in France Germany and Spain.
My Eureka moments was taking a coach of pupils on a school trip to Barcelona. When stopping in France two students came to me and said – ‘Miss, I am hungry and would love to buy this sandwich but I only have Euros for Spain’! Our students need so much more from us than academic success in order to prepare them for life in the global work.
Now as a Vice Principal at Bromley Girls my determination is that our girls see their world as their oyster and the sky as the limit. In my practice I focus on challenging lessons to help our students to question things, to reflect and become self–directed. We are striving to embed a growth mindset of not giving up and that mistakes are there to be learnt from.
My two life philosophies:
Fall down seven time, get up the eighth time
You can keep going long after you think you can’t.
Mr Steve Sherwin
Mr Sherwin joined the Academy in 2013 and oversees the of English, Performing Arts, Physical Education departments and the pastoral care of the students in the Red Faculty. He also leads on whole school careers, literacy, rewards and celebration, sports day and Year 8 options. In his role as Acting Vice Principal Steve oversees daily cover and has joined the safeguarding team for the academy.
Before joining Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley, he taught in Hertfordshire as both a Head of Department and Head of Years 10 and 11. Since joining Harris he has worked as Faculty Director of Sixth Form before his current role as the Red Faculty Director.
A passionate teacher of drama and a strong advocate for the teaching of the Arts, he strives for all the pupils at the Academy to achieve the best of their ability. He is currently on the Harris Federation Fast Track to Principalship Programme.
Mr Jimmy Haidar
Faculty Director - Yellow (Humanities and MFL) and DDSL
Mr Haidar re-joined Harris Federation in September 2017, having previously worked at another successful Harris Secondary school. Previously the Faculty Director for Sixth Form at HGABR, Mr Haidar now looks after the staff and students who are part of the Yellow Faculty (Humanities and MFL). He will lead on British Values, SMSC, charity and the tutor and assembly programme.
Mr Haidar is also a language enthusiast and encourages students to be the best they can linguistically, to widen their career opportunities.
Ms Jaya Shiyani
Faculty Director - Green (Maths, Vocational Studies), Safeguarding Team
Ms Shiyani has been teaching for 7 years and has been with the Harris Federation since 2014. She started teaching at a school in Greenwich where she was in charge of KS3 Maths and then 2nd in charge of Maths. She has a first-class honours degree in Mathematics and Finance. During her time at Harris Girls' Academy Bromley she has developed a hardworking, dedicated and strong department filled with teachers with whole school responsibilities. She enjoys teaching and working with students and pushing the students to reach their full potential.
She has also helped students to raise money for a trip to Borneo in 2017, where the students will be doing lots of community project work. She is also managing interest for the 2019 trip to Peru as well as the next destination of Cambodia.
In her new role as Faculty Director for Blue, she hopes to bring a more cross curriculum understanding and appeal to Maths and Science, while developing our students into more STEM related careers.
Mrs Sophie Barling
Faculty Director Sixth Form
In her previous role as Transition Coordinator, Mrs Barling has had the pleasure of meeting Year 6 girls in their primary schools, once they have accepted their place for September. She is responsible for supporting their journey into Year 7, as they begin a new chapter in their school lives. She see's this as a privilege, as this allows her to see how students flourish with all the exciting challenges and opportunities at Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley.
Mrs Barling aims to bring her experience from her previous roles at the Academy and links with Harris Experience, to enable our growing Sixth Form campus the opportunity prepare fully for whatever challenges and career paths they choose, for life after A levels.
Faculty Director - Blue (Science, Art and Design & Technology)
Mr Wood has been working in education and schools for 10 years, which includes working at a Harris Federation school leading a successful science department. In this role he enjoyed fostering curiosity and a quest for knowledge in the classroom, and supporting students to be successful and to enjoy science.
Mr Wood is excited to work with students in the faculty to support them achieve excellent outcomes, and widen their opportunities' inside and outside of the classroom. He is also committed to supporting the students at HABR to become excellent young people with strong values, and big aspirations for themselves and those around them.
Ms Valbona Baci
Ms Baci joined Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley in September 2014 having moved to the UK from overseas. She taught for six years in the USA and Canada, and used her insight of the educational systems there, in developing our internal CPD programme for our trainee and newly qualified teachers, along with our Vice Principal Mrs Collett.
An outstanding Maths teacher, Mrs Baci collaborates with other outstanding teachers to ensure all our ITT and NQT’s can gain the most from others experiences. Mrs Baci has also been certified by NCETM as a Professional Development Lead as well as one of the few in the country to be certified as a Teaching for Mastery Specialist for Secondary Maths.
Ms Gema San Jose Sanz
Ms San José Sanz joined the academy in September 2014 as a Spanish teacher. In her time at HGABR she has developed her career to become SENCO, and is now responsible for overseeing the SEND department, ensuring that all students receive access to the highest possible quality of education, accounting for all of their individual needs.
Ms San José Sanz holds a degree in Humanities (Philosophy, Museology and Literature) from Universidad San Pablo CEU in Madrid and an MA in Museum Studies from Universidad Complutense, also in Madrid. Prior to joining the academy, she worked as an exhibition coordinator across a number of different institutions, including the Instituto Cervantes and the Reina Sofía. She was also an art facilitator for schools, delivering art-based workshops to schools across the Spanish capital.
Ms San José Sanz is a strong advocate for opportunities for women across all walks of life and actively encourages all students to fulfil their potential.
Mrs Reena Boothe
Faculty Director - Red (English, PE and Performing Arts)
Mrs Boothe has worked for Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley for over a year. Prior to this, she worked in two Outstanding secondary schools in Greenwich with experience as Head of Year and Second in Charge of two successful English departments. Mrs Boothe achieved a First Class Honours Degree in BA English at a Russell Group university.
Mrs Boothe fundamentally believes in academic rigour and excellence, coupled with an innate focus on the wellbeing of students.
Ms Amy French
Director - Art and Design & Technology
Ms French joined Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley in 2016 completing her Teacher training qualification through Schools Direct. She is the Coordinator for all subjects within Art and Design & Technology and wants to see students ambitions grow within this field.
Ms French gained a degree in Costume Production from a prestigious drama school and worked in theatre for 13 years before changing careers.
Ms French passionately believes that a young persons’ quality of life can be greatly improved by exposure to beautiful art and design and she aims to make this the ethos for an already successful department.
Mr Stuart Crow
Director – MFL
Mr Crow joined the academy in 2016 as a French teacher and is now Coordinator of MFL, overseeing the MFL department across French, Spanish, Mandarin and German, alongside organising community language examinations in other languages.
Mr Crow studied at Durham University and holds an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages and Cultures (French and German) and an MA in Translation Studies (French and German). Prior to his teaching career, he worked as a professional translator for a translation agency in the City.Together with all teachers in the MFL department, Mr Crow aims to develop an open-minded multicultural perspective among all students in the academy through outstanding and innovative teaching, combined with frequent exposure to all aspects of the target cultures.
Ms Carina Storm
Director - BICT and Vocational Studies
Ms Storm re-joins Harris Federation in September 2018, having previously worked at another successful Harris Secondary school and other educational establishments around the world. With over 17 years of teaching experience, she brings with her a continued curiosity about the neuroscience of learning, which she uses to develop her teaching strategies.
Ms Storm aims to build on student’s resilience when it comes to learning, as she supports their journey to success.
Ms Celestine Heaton-Armstrong
Director – Humanities
Ms Heaton-Armstrong has been teaching for 7 years and in her time at the Academy has developed both the Latin and Classics curriculum. She brings to her role as a Coordinator of Humanities, the experience of being Head of Department for Social Sciences as well as Coordinator for Sixth Form.
Ms Heaton-Armstrong studied Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge, and believes that learning Latin is an enriching experience that all students should have the opportunity to enjoy.
Ms Emma Campbell
Director – Mathematics
Miss Campbell joined the academy in 2016 after graduating with a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, Belfast. Before becoming Director of Mathematics, Miss Campbell oversaw the Duke of Edinburgh’s award in the school and accompanied students on a trip to Peru in 2019 as part of the Camps International trips in the school. She has a strong belief in the importance of student learning both in and outside the classroom, giving them the opportunity to experience new things they may not previously have had the opportunity to try.
Along with the teachers in the maths department, she hopes to instil a love of learning in her students as well as an appreciation of the importance of maths beyond the classroom and the need for logical thinking and problem solving in everyday life.
Ms Catherine Borthwick
Director – Science
Ms Borthwick joined the academy at the start of 2020 and is now Director of Science. She has worked in the Harris Federation since 2014 and brings a wealth of experience from working in a successful science department at another Harris Federation school.
Ms Borthwick studied at the University of Manchester and holds a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering. She believes that learning science opens the doors to many opportunities in life and hopes to encourage more young women to consider careers in STEM.
Ms Emma Levins
Director – English
Ms Levins joined the academy in 2016 and later went on the lead the academy’s KS5 provision for English Literature.
Prior to becoming a teacher Ms Levins studied English Literature and French at the University of Birmingham and later worked with young people in the charity sector.
In her role as Director of English Ms Levins leads a team which is passionate about promoting empathy through the study of literature and about providing students with the tools to fully express themselves in their writing.
Ms Rebecca Hitchings
Director – 6th Form | Lead Practitioner of Spanish
Ms Hitchings studied Modern & Medieval Languages (Spanish and French) at the University of Cambridge and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from the Institute of Education, UCL. Prior to her current role, she was Second in Charge of the MFL department and became accredited as a Lead Practitioner for Spanish. She is passionate about the vital role that a challenging, motivating and enriching sixth form experience plays in preparing students for a successful future and enjoys supporting the students through this stage of their education.
Mrs Rebecca Halka
Head of Welfare | Acting up Designated Safeguarding Lead
Mrs Halka has been working with and supporting children and young people for over 15 years. She is a Specialist Leader in Education for Attendance and Welfare, a qualified Teacher and Youth Yorker. She brings a wealth of experience in higher, community, further and secondary education and has substantial experience of supporting children and their families. She has worked for the Harris Federation since 2014, overseeing attendance and welfare across several academies.
Mrs Halka is passionate about the difference she can make to the lives of young people and she specialises in identifying strategies to overcome barriers to accessing education and improve children’s life chances.
What do our parents say:
"Thank you to you and your staff... they encouraged and nurtured her to push herself and become a better student. They also taught her some great skills in negotiating and working with all types of people at all levels which I know will stand her in good stead once she hits the workplace. I also have to mention that along with the excellent teaching she also received great pastoral care when the inevitable teen anxieties kicked in! This combination led to a positive experience travelling through secondary school which has all helped create the confident young woman she has become."
- Ms Carpenter, Parent of a 2017 Year 11 graduate