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Teaching Staff at Upperthong J&I School

Carolyn Littlewood 2 (3)

Head Teacher - Mrs Carolyn Littlewood

I am Carolyn Littlewood and have been Headteacher at Upperthong since April 2008.   Prior to coming here I was deputy head at Moorlands, a large primary school in Huddersfield, for 5 years. Having taught in Kirklees for over 30 years at 7 very different schools I have a wealth of experience upon which to draw and many tales to tell!

I have 2 grown up children: one and accountantant and one now training to be a teacher. When I have some free time I enjoy reading, shopping and the occasional theatre visit.

I was born and raised in Huddersfield only venturing further afield for the 4 years I was at university. Although I have spent the vast majority of my life in the hills and vales of West Yorkshire I do enjoy holidays abroad, particularly those which enable me to explore and relax in the sunshine!



Reception Teacher - Miss Ellena Newton

Hi, my name is Ellena and I am currently the Reception teacher and music lead at Upperthong J and I school. I am in my second year of teaching having completed a PGCE in 2022. I was born in Oldham but have spent most of my years studying in Manchester. I am a trombone player and currently play solo trombone with the Brighouse and Rastrick brass band. This means most of my weekends are filled with concerts! I live in Linthwaite with my son Michael. We love to walk along the canal and spend lots of time with our friends and family.


Year 1 Teacher - Miss Danielle Baldwin

Hi, what can I say….. good things come in small packages! I love being a part of  the wonderful staff and pupils at Upperthong, putting all my skills and enthusiasm into practice. After time spent in Y5 and Y3, I am now the Y1 teacher.
 I am a home bird at heart but do enjoy the outdoor life and visiting new places both home and abroad. I have a Boxer called Lola and I enjoy taking her for long walks. I also enjoy camping and the outdoor life. 
All my life I have wanted to be a teacher and I'm proud to be realising my dream at Upperthong.



Year 2 & Leader for Inclusion - Mrs Nicola Ewing

Hello, my name is Nicola Ewing and I am currently the Year 2 teacher and Leader for Inclusion at Upperthong J & I School. I have worked in education for over 15 years now; starting my career in early years and spending the last 10 years or so teaching in Key Stage One.  

I was born and bred in South Yorkshire and moved to the area around 3 years ago. I absolutely love village life, the countryside and feeling part of a welcoming community. It definitely rains more here though!   

I live in Marsden with my husband, my son, Lochlan, who is in Year 1, and our cat, Sadie. I also have an older son, Josh, who is 21 and lives with his girlfriend in Sheffield. In my spare time I enjoy eating out, eating in, going for walks, bike rides (with no hills), visiting the east coast, watching live music and exploring the UK in our touring caravan (Aggy).



Year 3 - Miss Sarah Wilson

Hi, my name is Sarah Wilson and I work in Reception. I trained to be a teacher in Scotland following a graphic design job and I taught year 4 there before moving back to Holmfirth to be near family... and have my own!!

I have worked in year 2 and now in Reception. I am the Early Literacy lead and run Eco schools within the school and really enjoy getting the children involved in such brilliant issues!!!

I love working in Reception and feel privileged to be part of a child’s first experience at school. I care about giving children the best Early Years education and enjoy making their learning journey a happy, exciting, challenging and settled one.

Outside of school life, I live in Holmfirth with my partner and my little boy Alfie aged 12 and my little girl Effie who is 9. I love spending time with family and friends and getting out and about. I am a creative person and like to spend time doing different crafts especially with my children. I like to keep fit running and I also love yoga!



Year 4 Teacher - Miss Amanda Corcoran

Hello, my name is Amanda Corcoran and I am currently the Year 4 teacher at Upperthong. I have been teaching for 5 years in Key Stage 2 and Year 4 is definitely one of my favourite year groups! 

Before teaching, I spent time in the world of TV & Film, appearing in music videos and even a Mars Bar advert. My passion was in acting and dancing and I love linking drama into my teaching and bringing lessons to life. 

I have spent most of my life living in the city centres of Manchester and Liverpool but have now been converted to life in the countryside! Since moving to Holmfirth, we couldn’t have chosen anywhere more perfect to raise our little boy, Woody. We love going on country walks and finding new places to explore. 

I used to have two pet Jellyfish (Peanut & Butter). I’d love to own some more in the future, but for now, one crazy three year old is enough in my house.



Year 5 Teacher & Deputy Head - Mr Alvyn Riley

I’m Mr. Riley and I’m in my 15th year working at Upperthong J and I. In this time I have enjoyed working in year 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. I have recently been appointed as deputy head and I'm looking forward to seeing what the role brings.

Before I started my teaching career, I worked as a swimming teacher, fitness instructor and played semi-professional football. In my spare time I still like to try to keep fit and be active and I play football for my local team when I can. 

I live with my wife, 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter. We love the outdoors so we often spend our weekends getting out and about on walks or bike rides.



Year 6 Teacher - Mr Tom Branston

My name is Tom Branston and I am currently teaching in Year 6. This is my 12th year of teaching, after previously working as an ETA in Year 4 and completing my GTP training at the school, and I am definitely sure I have picked the right career! I have now worked in every Key Stage 2 Class - BINGO!

I have recently moved to Kirkburton after living in Holmfirth all my life (even attending Upperthong School as a child - the headteacher's office doesn't seem so scary now!)

I love this job and all the exciting challenges and little things that come with it. 

Outside of school I love all sports and follow Manchester United with a passion, as well as playing and coaching cricket.  My other passion is music and you can often hear the sound of The Beatles in my classroom.  I think learning should always be fun and I try and make it so every single day!


Sammy White 

Mrs Samantha Elam

Hi, my name is Mrs Elam and I am the Year 6 teacher. I completed my PGCE at the University of Huddersfield and prior to that I studied a sports degree at Leeds Beckett University.

Whilst studying for my PGCE, I was lucky enough to spend 2 months on placement at Upperthong Junior and Infants. I was instantly drawn to the school’s strong sense of community and the genuine care it provides for both staff and children. I love being part of the dedicated and caring teaching team. . I have lots of favorite subjects, but I especially enjoy Math and PE.

When I get the occasional minute to myself outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, visiting new places, going out for meals, swimming and shopping.


KS1 and KS2 PPA Teacher - Mrs Suzanne Mighall


Hello, I’m Suzanne Mighall and I am one of two PPA teachers. I work part-time and currently teach in years R,1, 2 and 4 . I work within the Humanities team and am the leader for RE. I have three children Tom, Lucy & Ben, who all previously attended Upperthong school. When I’m not working I enjoy walking my little dog Milo, socialising with friends and spending quality time with my family. 


PPA Teacher - Mrs Emma Casper

Emma C

Hi, I am Emma Casper and I am one of the PPA teachers working part-time at the school. I began my teaching career in Seacroft, Leeds, before moving to the Holmfirth area to get married and continuing my career here. I have 5 children aged between 8 and 20, so did have a few years out of teaching to raise them, then loved pursuing my career once more, working in a few schools, but for the last 7 years working very locally. In my spare time I love spending time outdoors and being with my family. I love hiking and exploring new places, I also love reading- both fiction and non-fiction. I spend time doing pilates  to keep fit and relax.


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