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Teaching Staff at Upperthong J&I School, Holmfirth

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 at university. 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 Sarah Wilson

Hi, my name is Sarah Wilson and I work as part of a job-share in Reception Class. 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!!

This is my 11th year at Upperthong and I have worked in year 2 and now in Reception. I run Eco schools within the school and really enjoy getting the children involved in such brilliant issues!!! I am now looking to help set up Forest Schools throughout the school to continue with the fabulous work that goes in our school grounds and get more learning outside!!

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 9 and my little girl Effie who is 6. 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 1 Teacher and Leader for Inclusion

Hello, my name is Julie Bligh-Smith and I am Leader for Inclusion. I have been teaching in schools for 8 years. Before joining Upperthong, I worked at Helme J&I School in Meltham.

I started life working in Personnel and Customer Services, but discovered a passion for teaching when I set up my own business teaching French in nurseries and after school clubs.

I love holidays, running and spending time with friends, my husband and our two children.

Sammy White 

Year 6 Teacher -Miss Samantha White

Hi, my name is Miss White 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.

Year 5 Teacher - Mr Tom Branston

My name is Tom Branston and I am currently teaching in Year 5. This is my 7th 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 lived in Holmfirth all my life (even attending Upperthong J & I School) and ended up studying Exercise and Sport Science and Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

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.  My other passion is music and you can often hear the sound of The Beatles in my classroom.  I enjoy that each day is different and I am looking forward to a long career in teaching!


Year 2 Teacher & Leader for Learning - Mr Riley

I’m Mr. Riley and I’m in my 9th year working at Upperthong J and I. I have enjoyed working in year2 4,5 and 6 but I’m now the year 2 teacher.

Before I started my teaching career, I worked as a swimming teacher and fitness instructor at a sports centre close to where I live. In my spare time I still like to keep fit and be active. I play football for my local team and like to go for long walks, both locally and further afield in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District.

Year 3 Teacher - Miss 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.
 I am a home bird at heart but do enjoy the outdoor life and visiting new places both home and abroad. I love most sports and participate in a few - netball, volleyball, running clubs and gym classes and I always try to encourage my pupils to embrace and enjoy some too.
All my life I have wanted to be a teacher and I'm proud to be realising my dream at Upperthong.

Mrs N accepts that is all she is going to achieve today!

Year 4 Teacher & Deputy Head - Mrs Kate Nussey

Hello – I am Kate Nussey, Year 4 teacher. As I am sure you may have heard, I am the noisy one in school, grabbing every opportunity to perform.

In school, I love teaching writing, art, drama and history.

Outside, I have lots of passionate interests; 1940s and WW2, including Spitfire and Lancaster planes along with all things vintage, family days out,  gardening and amateur dramatics - often with my son Evan - a former Upperthong pupil.

KS1 and KS2 PPA Teacher - Mrs Suzanne Mighall

Hi, my name is Suzanne Mighall. I have been at Upperthong for twelve years and, whilst teaching PPA in Yrs R, 1, 3 & 4, I have enjoyed teaching in different classes and working with a variety of children. I work within the PPSHE Team'

I am married to Nick and have three children, Thomas and Lucy who are at university and Ben who attends Greenhead College.

Out of school, I enjoy keeping fit, travelling and spending time with my family.

Job Share Reception Teacher-Catherine Stitchman

Catherine Stitchman(2)

Hi, my name is Catherine Stitchman and I work as part of a job-share in Reception Class. I am originally from Birmingham and have been teaching for almost 14 year, mainly in Reception but also in Year 1. I have been living with my family in West Yorkshire for just over a year and am still in awe of the beautiful views.

I am very pleased to have joined the Upperthong team. Reception is a fantastic year group to work with and I thoroughly enjoy planning exciting activities, both indoors and outdoors and watching the children develop their skills, independence and love of learning during this very important first year of school.   

In my time outside of school, I enjoy running around after my 2 boys aged 7 and 9, finding new places to visit as a family, reading crime novels, aerobics classes, making patchwork quilts, cooking and going to the cinema.


KS2 PPA Teacher - Mrs Lizzie Mansell








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