Our experienced team is here to support you at every stage of your teacher training journey.

Core Team

Mariella Di Caro - PLS Director

Mariella holds a BA (hons) in English Literature with Politics and a PGCE in Secondary English. She is the Director of Partnership London SCITT and has been teaching for 14 years. She has held a variety of roles of responsibility beginning with Key Stage Three Lead in English, then onto Deputy Head of English, NQT and ITT Co-ordinator. As Deputy Head of English she supported the development of the curriculum and CPD. In her role as NQT and ITT Co-ordinator she has played a key role in developing many teachers to become successful practitioners and go on to make outstanding contributions in the education sector.  During her time at Sydney Russell School, she has gained the role of Specialist Leader in Education, providing her with vast experience for her role as Director today.

Leanne Peck - PLS Curriculum Manager

Leanne Peck is Curriculum Manager and a Secondary Senior Lead in the Partnership London SCITT and a drama teacher at The Sydney Russell School. In her 13 years of teaching experience, Leanne has been; Head of Drama, line manager for Dance, a mentor to four successful drama trainees, an NQT mentor and Professional Co-ordinator Mentor.

She is also an experienced HA form tutor and has supported Key Stage Three, Four and Five students in a pastoral role. Leanne has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She completed a GTP in Drama in partnership with UEL. She also achieved a NPQML qualification from the IoE in 2016. Leanne works tirelessly to provide access to quality arts education for young people. Leanne is dedicated to facilitating and developing initial teacher training, frequently engaging in research and scholarship to inform and improve her practice.

Joyce Mawson - PLS Communications and Marketing Manager and Secondary Lead

Joyce Mawson is PLS Curriculum Assistant and Secondary PLS Tutor. She graduated from Westminster University with a BA (Hons) in English Literature before completing a GTP in English in partnership with UEL. During her eleven years of teaching at Sydney Russell School, Joyce has gained the role of Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) through which she has worked closely with NQTs throughout the partnership. She also completed her NPQML in 2016 and was the Head of Department for Literacy Focus. In her capacity as Head of Department for Literacy Focus, she played a keen part in developing whole school approaches to differentiation and understanding the needs of all students and remains passionate about 'closing the gap' for students with various barriers to learning, particularly with regards to Literacy.

Amanda Arnold - PLS Primary Lead

Amanda Arnold is the Primary Lead for Partnership London SCITT, leading on the primary teacher training programmes.  She graduated from the university of East London with a BA (hons) degree in Communication Studies and a PGCE in Primary Education.  In her 22 years of teaching experience, Amanda has been; Deputy Head of School, Assistant Headteacher, Maths Lead, Data Lead, Disadvantaged Lead and a Professional Co-ordinator Mentor for ECTs and trainee teachers among other positions.   

She began her teaching career in year 3 and has taught across Key Stages 1 and 2.  Her passion is teaching maths and recently worked with Year 5 and 6 children focusing on improving arithmetic skills.   

In her role as PCM, Amanda has worked with many ITT providers, including Teach First, UEL and Essex SCITT.  Whilst working with Teach First, Amanda gained innovative and effective mentor status. Amanda is a highly experienced primary teacher and has mentored and coached trainee teachers and ECTs for the past 18 years.    She is passionate and dedicated to improving the lives of our young people, giving the best start in life enabling them to flourish in the world.


Ko Poon - Primary Tutor

Ko Poon is the Primary Senior Lead for Partnership London SCITT, leading on the primary teacher training programmes.  Prior to taking on the role as Primary Senior Lead for PLS, Ko Poon was a Senior Lecturer and PE Lead on the Primary PGCE Programme at the University of East London. During his career, Ko has also been an acting Deputy Head Teacher, Assistant Head Teacher as well as a Leading Mathematics Teacher in Newham. Ko has a keen interest in ITT which guided his dissertation for his Master’s Degree researching a range of Head Teachers’ viewpoints and perceptions on Initial Teacher Training and Initial Teacher Education.

Gurmit Uppal - Primary Tutor

Gurmit Uppal is a Primary PLS Tutor for Partnership London SCITT.   She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University with a B.Ed (Hons) in Primary Education.  With over twenty years of experience in the education sector, Gurmit has been a primary school teacher, subject leader, mentor, NQT coordinator and a senior leader.  In addition to her past and current experience in schools, Gurmit also has 11 years of experience in initial teacher training (ITT) as a Senior Lecturer, professional tutor and computing lead tutor. Gurmit holds a Master’s in Education, and is currently pursuing her PhD, where her research focus is the online experience of children and online safety. Gurmit is a highly experienced, enthusiastic and capable teacher and teacher-educator, with a proven record of enabling positive outcomes for both pupils and new teachers.  With each year which passes, her passion for the profession remains undiminished.

Shannen Owen - Secondary Tutor

Shannen Owen is a senior leader at St Angela's Ursuline School with responsibility for new staff, ITTs and ECTs and PLS oversight. She has a BA(Hons) in Drama from Loughborough, a PGCE from Goldsmiths and an MA in Arts Management in Education from City University.

She is an accredited OLEVI facilitator and trainer and has led on many OLEVI OTP and CTP programmes. She was a Head of Drama for 13 years, then an AST and a Lead Practitioner. In these roles she has led, developed and supported many arts projects and collaborations in Newham and neighbouring boroughs, including being a director on the Theatre Royal Stratford East board for 10 years. She is committed to being part of the team that develops new teachers with a particular interest in classroom presence, challenge and engagement and transferable drama processes.

Subject Leads

Art - Abbie Almond

Business Studies - Riaz Zahman

Drama - Lorraine Ofori

English - Gemma Ansah

History - Danny Fells

Maths - Danny Hill and Syeda Kazmi 

MFL - Teresa Hall

PE - Danielle Kemp

RE - Brid Larkin

Science - Daniel Clift

Social Science - Bernard Jones

Primary Maths – Shahela Choudhry

Primary Science – Adrian Callender-Ferrier

Primary English – Keisha Smith

Administrative Team

Nicky Dominique  - Finance Officer and PLS Administrator

Nicky Dominique is the PLS Finance Officer and Administrator and has worked in this role since the SCITT was first established in 2015.

She is based at St Angela’s Ursuline School in Newham.

Within her role, Nicky liaises with all the key stakeholders in the community of PLS and ensures the successful administration of the programmes.


Paige Wetherell - PLS Administrator

Paige Wetherell is the PLS Administrator based at Sydney Russell School since 2022. Within her role, Paige ensures effective communication between PLS and PLS teachers, PCMs and mentors as well as any technical difficulties and logistics.



Jenny Wake - PLS Administrator

Jenny Wake is the PLS Administrator and has worked in this role since 2016. She is based at Sydney Russell School.

Her role as PLS Administrator focuses on ensuring all communications between PLS and PLS teachers, PCMs, mentors and other stakeholders are coherent, timely and accurate.