Our Staff

Staff at The Ridge Academy are committed to ensuring every pupil at the school finds their remarkable. Meet our staff below:

Principal

My name is Liz Oakey and I am Principal of The Ridge Academy and have been in post since June 2022. I have been in education and working in schools locally for a number of years both as a class teacher through to Head Teacher. I was most recently Head teacher of a large primary school in Cheltenham.

I love reading and am determined that every child has access to books that they enjoy and can engage with, whatever their interest and ability. I am excited to work with the children, families and staff at the school to ensure excellent academic and pastoral provision for all children.

School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Assistant Principal

Hello my name is Kirsty Doorbar, I started at The Ridge Academy as Assistant Principal in September 2020. I have enjoyed 20 years of teaching and as an Inclusion lead in both special and mainstream schools. I am passionate about helping children reach their personal and academic potential.

I live with my husband, daughter and foster daughter in Stroud after living in Wales for many years. I like to read, do crafts with my family and walk our crazy cocker spaniel Ginger

School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Assistant Principal

Hello, my name is Rob Meggs and I am Assistant Principal here at The Ridge Academy. I have been teaching for over twenty years and only came to The Ridge for one day to help out as a teacher. That was over eight years ago and because it's such a special place to be, I never left!

I live in Bussage with my wife and daughter, who I love spending time with. I love all things Star Wars and superheroes but Marvel is my favourite.

Health and Wellbeing Lead

My name is Charles Shaw and I have worked in a variety of roles over the past 10 years at the Academy. I have worked across all ages from adults with severe Mental Health needs, secondary aged children and now primary aged children. I have a family of four who are mostly grown up. I also have personal experience of the difficulties and challenges of managing a child with special needs.

In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors including walking, cycling and travelling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Health and Wellbeing Officer

My name is Sarah Loveridge and I started at the Ridge Academy in January 2012 when the school relocated to Cheltenham. I started as a Teaching Assistant before moving over to Family Support which is now called Health and Wellbeing.

I thoroughly enjoy my role working with the children and their parents and carers.

I have a husband and two daughters and enjoy spending time with them. I also enjoy walking my two dogs and enjoy cooking when I have the time!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Senior Teacher

My name is Laura Geatches and I have been teaching at The Ridge Academy since 2012. I began my teaching career here and I absolutely love my job!

I have had an opportunity to work across all year groups and I am currently teaching Year 2/3 in Brave Bears. I am a bubbly, happy person who likes to have fun whilst learning in the classroom. I share a class with the wonderful Mrs Pillinger and I work on a Monday, Thursday and Friday.

I live with my husband and two daughters who are aged 5 and 3. Outside of work, I enjoy taking my girls out on day trips, seeing my friends and helping with the kids work at my church. Life is loud in my house but I wouldn't have it any other way!!

School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Senior Teacher

My name is Rachel Jones and I have been a class teacher at The Ridge Academy since September 2015. Previously I have been a TA, working in a school for children with ASD, and have also had various roles in outdoor education and conservation.

I have a gorgeous therapy dog called Ruby, she's a Romanian Shepherd who I rescued in 2018, when she was 4 months old. Ruby was born in the streets of Romania and travelled to England to be rehomed here. She is great with the children and has a lovely calming influence. I love the outdoors and like to spend weekends going for a run or long walks and spend the holidays travelling to new places.

Senior Teacher

My name is Hayley Pillinger and I have been a class teacher at The Ridge Academy for 11 years. I am MFL subject lead and am proud to be a part of the Mental Health team at The Ridge. I currently job share with Mrs Geatches in Brave Bears. I enjoy working at The Ridge and love helping children find their 'Remarkable' everyday!

I have a husband and 2 daughters at home, who keep me very busy! I enjoy family time, walks in the countryside and going to the seaside in my campervan!!

School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Senior Teacher

My name is Rachel McDaid and I am a class teacher and leader of literacy at The Ridge Academy. I have been teaching for over 20 years and started at The Ridge in 2018 following a move to Cheltenham from London.

I have two children who keep me pretty busy but when I do have free time I enjoy reading and I love to travel and discover new places.

Class Teacher

My name is Emma Loveridge and I am a teacher in Discovering Dinosaurs. I started coming to The Ridge as a student and began working full time here in 2019.

Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my two dogs, going on walks, baking and reading.

Class Teacher

My name is Annie Martin and I am the class teacher in 'Remarkable Raccoons'. This is my third year teaching here, previously being class teacher in Starfish. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my partner and my two dogs - 'Rosie' the staffy and 'Possum' the Romanian rescue. I enjoy running, cycling, long walks and generally being active. I am also a big football fan and season ticket holder at Bristol City FC; as well as a player for Swindon Town FC in the fourth tier of Women's football.


Class Teacher

Hello! My name is Bethany Kennedy and I'm a class Teacher in Kangaroos! This is my first year teaching and I am so excited to be working alongside such fantastic children. I have specialised in Special Education Needs at University and believe this is where I thrive. I love finding new ways to make learning fun and exciting. I work in Kangaroos with Mrs Noon and Miss Weir, we try to keep the day upbeat and love a good sing-a-long! We are so excited for all the trips, topics and work we have planned!

Class Teacher

My name is Kirstie Jones-Newton, I’m originally from Manchester and I have been a teacher for almost 12 years. I currently teach in Brave Bears whilst Mrs Geatches is on Maternity leave.


Outside of school I live with my husband and 3 children who are aged 6, 4 and 1.

I enjoy reading, spending time with friends, going on day trips with my children and taking frequent visits up north to visit my family.


Intervention Lead

My name is Beverly Keen. I have a background in art but chose to enter education at a later point in my life.

I have worked within the school since March 2007, as a teaching assistant, a teacher, and currently, in a therapeutic role, as a Thrive practitioner. I am fortunate to be able to work 1:1 with children in the school, using art, craft, and play, to offer them individual support, or in small groups to develop friendships.


School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Nurture and Thrive Practitioner

My name is Emmajane Green and I work as a Nurture and Thrive practitioner in our lovely Amazing Ark room. I have been at the Ridge for nearly 2 years now, and I love supporting the children here, but previously I have worked in primary schools around Gloucestershire for over 14 years.

I live with my husband and my 3 children who are 14, 7 and 4 and I enjoy spending quality time with them at the weekend.

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

Hey! I'm Miss Weir and I help out in Kangaroo class. I have been at The Ridge Academy for a couple of years and I really enjoy it here. I love to sing, dance and enjoy time on the bouncy castle with the children, but most of all I love a big smile and a hug from the children :)

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

Hello my name is Hannah Richardson. I have recently started working at The Ridge as a Learning and Therapeutic Partner in ‘Kind Kangaroos’ class. I moved back up to Cheltenham a few weeks ago after completing my Early Childhood Studies Degree at the Uni of Glos in 2020.


I look forward to building relationships with the children and staff across the school and helping children find their remarkable.


In my spare time I love going out walking, spending time with my friends and going back home to Wales to see my family.

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

My name is Rhiannon Mills. I have been working at The Ridge Academy for a number of years. I work in Respectful Ravens on Thursdays and Fridays and spend Wednesday mornings in the front office assisting with admin related tasks.

I have three children of my own that are 2, 3 and 11 and also have three rabbits named Oreo, Liila and Babbit.

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

Hi! My name is Katie Tremlett and I am a Learning and Therapeutic partner in Respectful Ravens.


I have been working at The Ridge Academy since 2016 and I have to say, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Not only are the children remarkable, the staff are too!


I have 2 young children and a big family so outside of work, I am kept very busy, just how I like it.


I enjoy walking and bike riding, in general, just being outside and I love cooking, especially on a BBQ!

School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

Hello, my name is Gemma O’Hara and I have worked at The Ridge Academy since the end of 2012. I love reading to all you children and I enjoy sing song however, I very rarely know all of the lyrics. I spend most of my time in Respectful Ravens with Miss Noble Miss Mills and Miss Tremlett. Will look forward to seeing you around school.

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

My name is Kate Yarnton. I am a Learning and Therapeutic partner working in Brave Bears. I started this role in February 2022 after working at another SEMH school for 2 years.

I enjoy reading and country walks with my three dogs and partner.


School Photographs courtesy Sharon Mallinson of  Symply Photography

Learning and Therapeutic Partner

My name is Lily De Bank and I am a Learning and Therapeutic Partner in Brave Bears class. I started working at the Ridge Academy in September 2020 and I am looking forward to helping the children find their remarkable.

I enjoy riding my bike, reading and playing the piano.


Kitchen Staff


Hello, my name is Vickie and I work with Katie. I am the catering manager at the Ridge Academy. I love creating new dishes and baking delicious puddings for the children.

Mr Hales' and the children''s favourite is Victoria Sponge!