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Meet the Staff

Mrs Abigail Clay - Headteacher
Ba hons, AST, NPQH


Abigail became head at Topcliffe C of E Academy in September 2015. Prior to becoming a headteacher she was an assistant head at an outstanding school where she taught across the primary age range from reception to year 6. Abigail has also worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher supporting modern foreign language development across the county. Abigail has written a book to support teachers in delivering languages to young children. Abigail enjoys sport, reading and spending time with her husband and three children.

Mrs Nicky Hartley - School Office Manager


Nicky became School Office Manager at Topcliffe C of E Academy in September 2009.  Prior to starting a family, she worked in the publishing industry first in Battle, near her home town of Hastings, East Sussex and then for a publishing company in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire after she married her husband and moved to Yorkshire.  During her years in publishing, she has gained experience in Marketing Management, Circulation & Distribution Management and Sales. Nicky has 2 children who are now at College but both enjoyed their primary school years at Topcliffe School. 

Mrs Kirsty Costello - Willow Class Teacher

Kirsty studied Early Childhood Education at Leeds Beckett University and graduated in 2018. She has worked within Elevate Multi Academy Trust since September 2018 and joined Topcliffe in September 2020. Prior to teaching, Kirsty was a Teaching Assistant for 8 years. Outside of school Kirsty enjoys spending time with her family and friends, often trying out new places outdoors. 

Mrs Alison Massey - Ash Class Teacher


Alison joined Topcliffe Academy in September 2015 after her first year of teaching at Carlton Miniott. Prior to becoming a teacher, Alison trained to teach at the University of Chestegaining a First Class Honours Degree and worked as a Nursery Assistant across York during University holidays. Alison enjoys spending her weekends and holidays visiting family and friends around the country, going to music concerts and to the theatre. 


Mrs Hannah Parsons - General Teaching Assistant  


After a successful 13 year career in Financial Services, Hannah joined Topcliffe Academy as a Teaching Assistant in September 2015.  She spends time in all the classes in school.  Her interests are literature and writing.  She is currently studying an Honours Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing and she would like to inspire children to develop a passion for reading. 

Miss Rosie Dale -Silver Birch Class Teacher Class Teacher

Mrs Emily Thornton-Shaw - Maple Class Teacher (Year 5)


Emily studied Primary Education at York St John University gaining a 1st class honours degree. She started working at Topcliffe C of E in March 2012. Since starting teaching Emily has taught Years 1-6 so has a good knowledge across the primary curriculum. More recently Emily has taken on the role of Senior Teacher at Topcliffe. This role involves close work with the headteacher. Outside of school Emily enjoys spending time with her family and dogs: often going for walks and taking the dogs to shows. She also helps her husband on their farm and has recently started riding lessons again. 

Mrs Helen Trueman - Advanced Teaching Assistant 


Helen has been an ATA and MSA at Topcliffe Academy for many years. Mainly working in kS2 but now enjoying new challenges in KS1,  as well as delivering Art skills throughout all the year groups. She has enjoyed a varied fun-filled time over the years from residential trips to the proud moments leading the blue team (Neptune) to win on sports days. Helen is happily married to John, a farmer and has two grown up children, Andrew and Catherine. Booking holidays and gardening are her specialty, along with the pride she gets from her displays around the school.

Miss Sophie Howard - Maple Class Teacher


Sophie only recently joined Topcliffe in September 2017. She studied for a BA hons in Childhood Studies, gaining a first-class honours degree, before undertaking her teacher training. Prior to teaching, Sophie has worked for many years as a sports coach, responsible for many aspects of athlete development and guidance, working with a range of different abilities from the complete beginner, to two Olympians! Sophie was also a competitive diver herself before she became a coach. Sophie enjoys nothing more than spending time with her two boys outside of school; walking, cycling or just relaxing and watching a film.

Mrs Gillian Weightman - Higher Level Teaching Assistant 


Gillian Weightman works as a HLTA, her son Sam is seven and is in Maple Class. Prior to having her son she graduated from Leeds University and worked in PR and Marketing. After having her son she changed her career and started working with Early Years until joining the school in September 2015. Gillian loves to run and is currently training for the Manchester Marathon in April.

Mrs Alison Stones - Nursery Lead (Seedlings Class)


Miss Katie Watson - General Teaching Assistant (Seedlings Class)


Mrs Cat Cowton - General Teaching Assistant (Seedlings Class)


Cat first began working in Early Years in 2001 where she began my NVQ level 2 at the age of 18. Since then she have gained my level 3 in Early Years Education and an NCFE level 2 teaching assistant.  Cat joined Topcliffe Academy in the summer of 2017 where she is currently working in Seedlings Class. She has 2 sons, Dylan who is 6 and Oliver who is 2, both of whom attend the school. Cat has a real passion for baking which she does in her spare time and also likes to attend music concerts and festivals when she can.

Mr Freddie Eastham - General Teaching Assistant Apprentice


Miss Carol Adams - Midday Supervisory Assistant


Mrs Becky Binks - Midday Supervisory Assistant


Mrs Danielle Torkington - Cook


Mrs Cari Parker - Before & After School Club Play Leader & Kitchen Assistant