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About us

Who's who at SwitchED 2!

Andy Coates &

the kids

My teaching background is in hospitality having worked in the industry for 10 years. My experience has been in specialised education teaching food technology, maths and science, I have also served as a member of the senior leadership team, responsible for Key Stage 4.

Rebecca Coates

I have been a Primary School Teacher for the past 17 years, leading Science for 10 years in my previous school.
passion is engaging pupils through a hands on practical approach and I enjoy developing children's curiosity through investigations and experiments. I have a keen interest in improving the environment and run an Eco Club where we plant flowers to encourage a range of wildlife as well as growing our own fruit and vegetables.

Jo Sedgwick

I have been privileged to work in the special education sector for the past 32 years, dealing mainly with administration, finance and HR.

I have worked closely with Governors, various Local Authorities and staff, but most importantly, some amazing young people.

I love feeling that although I may only be a very small cog in the wheel, I am part of a team who really are making a big difference to the young people in their care.

Emma Johnson

I am a qualified youth and community worker, and teacher. I have more than 15 years experience working in Further Education, as well as specialist schools.

I have been involved in teaching a number of curriculum topics including citizenship, preparation for working life and also providing advice and guidance to support learners making positive career choices.

I am a qualified assessor and teach PSHE, this role allows me to teach a variety of different topics including, health and fitness, drug and alcohol awareness, relationships and sexual health education and many more.

During my spare time I enjoy socialising with friends and throughout the year I play competitive netball and cricket. I also enjoy spending time with my family, this can often include a gathering on Sundays and will often include a roast dinner, much to the delight of my black Labrador Harvey.

Rachel West

I joined the SwitchED2 team in January 2019 and it is a pleasure to arrive at school every day in such a beautiful setting.

I love taking part in lots of new challenges with the children such as abseiling, climbing, canoeing and tree top rope adventures.

Chris Ferguson 

Prior to beginning this new phase in my life as an Instructor at SwitchED2, I worked as a plumber and contract heating engineer. 

I am thoroughly focussed on helping the students at the school to achieve the best they can whilst at the same time, enjoying the vocational opportunities on offer.

Nicola Braithwaite

I have worked within the education sector for

over 20 years, starting initially in early years

before moving into special education and

latterly further education.

At the moment, I am working 2 days a week

for SwitchED2 in the outreach provision at

Barrow. This is proving to be a fantastic

opportunity to offer bespoke packages to

individuals who wouldn't otherwise access

education and allows me to put my

organisational skills to good use!

In my spare time, I enjoy coaching netball

and supporting my favourite rugby league

team - Leeds Rhinos.

Jo Whyke

I have worked with pupils with SEND for over 20 years in a range of settings including Autistic Centres and Special Schools.

I have managed Post 16 units and have a passion for making learning engaging and relevant for our students.

I am thrilled to be joining the team at SwitchED2.

In my spare time, I enjoy long walks with my spaniel Jasper.

Oli Ronfell

I’​ve just moved across to a full time position at SwitchED2 having worked in education since I left university. My background is mainly in sport in both primary and secondary settings and I have also​ worked for professional rugby teams.

I am focused on ensuring our students reach their full potential with the access to the curriculum that we offer.

In my spare time I enjoy anything and everything sport related from coaching rugby to going and watching my football team every weekend, to going fishing. Any sport I’ll sit down, watch and enjoy! I also regularly socialise with friends and spend time with my family. 

 Abigail S​axon

Hi my name is Abigail Saxon and I’ve been working with SwitchED2 since the spring but formally joined the team at the start of this autumn term. I’ve come to teaching fairly late in life, a second career after 25 years as a Journalist, Radio & TV producer. I retrained as a secondary school RE/Citizenship teacher and swapping temperamental TV presenters for students has been wonderful and incredibly rewarding. While I love telling stories about Hindu Gods and Goddesses or refereeing philosophical debates about the nature of evil, the essence of RE teaching is to help students develop critical thinking skills. Here at SwitchED2 much of our work is exactly that so I believe my skills and experiences are being put to good use.

My weekly timetable is varied, Mondays I join the students for Outdoor Education (Kayaking, rock climbing….what’s not to like!), the rest of the week I have a number of sessions off site delivering 1:1 education to specific students. The bits in between are spent primarily with the KS4 cabin helping out as required – tea and toast as students arrive, cooking, art, what ever is needed to help students get the most out of each day and reach their full potential.

                                           School Report To Date:

  • Achievement: Learnt everyone’s names, including all the Tylers.
  • High Point: Jumping off a bridge into a river.
  • Next Terms Target: Improve my game of pool and pot a few balls.
  • Next Terms Ambition: Sneak a bit of RE into lessons. 

        Rob Davies

I am a qualified teacher and have worked with young people with special educational needs for over 25 years, providing a range of exciting opportunities for them to engage in.

I owned a restaurant for a number of years and feel very fortunate to being able to transfer these skills into the food technology room with the young people which in turn enhances their independence capabilities.

I also enjoy working in the outdoors and in my spare time love to get out on my road bike.


The Herefords 


The Boss!


Skip will greet you with a growl and a bark  but she is just protecting 'her' pupils and letting staff know that we have a visitor on the premises!

She loves nothing more than playing football with them and is regularly used for fetching the ball when it has been kicked down the lane.

My Story

My name is Andrew Coates and my past experiences have been teaching as head of Key Stage 4 in a special educational needs school developing personalised learning programmes for pupils who need a differentiated learning approach.

An Idea is Born

Having worked in this environment for the past 10 years I have experienced a wide range of challenges for pupils to attain their aspirations and academic targets. I have provided a range of creative and bespoke packages that enable pupils to flourish and achieve their dreams.

There are a limited number of places available at SwitchED so please contact me for further information and I will be able to tell you more about the projects and accreditation we can offer.

Sharing the experiences

I have been fortunate enough to have been brought up on the farm and these experiences have given me the platform to achieve my goals and aspirations.

My plan is to provide an environment for pupils to enjoy learning and not just do it because they have to, but because they want to.

Who would benefit?

All young people

We offer provision for young people from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 with an aim to develop self-esteem, confidence, team work skills and problem solving skills which are all accredited through the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Open Awards.

Primary Schools

Primary schools can benefit from this provision to provide a nurturing and holistic environment. This therapeutic approach can be tailored to individual needs and provide an alternative to a young person's weekly routine.

Secondary Schools, Academies and Pupil Referral Services

Schools will benefit through the increased flexibility of vocational experiences with functional skills in recognised accreditation as well as bespoke learning experiences to prepare pupils for their next key stage or post 16 learning journey. 

The history of

Ulpha Farm

Ulpha Farm 1670 - 1950

Ulpha Farm in the early 1900's

Ulpha Farm in the 1960's

Ulpha Farm in the 1970's

Ulpha Farm in the 1980's

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