The Minster School York, Deangate, Minster Yard, York, YO1 7JA
The Minster School York, Deangate, Minster Yard, York, YO1 7JA
Our teachers and staff are committed to the education, care and well being of every child.
Teaching Staff with Gusto
Madame Suzi Bewell, Languages plus RE, PSHE & Drama
I have the dream job; teaching languages for over 20 years now. Specialising in French, I’m also lucky enough to teach Spanish and Chinese to my enthusiastic pupils at The Minster School York. More strings to my teaching bow include RE, PSHE and Drama. Drama suits my personality because I’m passionate about getting young people to express their feelings, to positively boost their mental health and wellbeing. I started a popular Happiness Club at school in lunchtimes to spread joy throughout school, with lovely resulting acts of kindness.
In my spare time – but relevant to my teaching role – I run my own online languages company where I write children’s books in other languages to be enjoyed for pleasure but also as teaching resources. I sew, bake, read self-improvement books, creatively write, go to music gigs and spend family time on my boat on the River Ouse. I’m married with two teenage children, and two cats, Tilly and Treacle. Interesting fact (that my pupils are too young to appreciate): I have seen the 1990s rock band, Embrace, over 100 times.
Mrs Alison Forster, Director of Music
East Lothian born, I moved to York for university and love it here so much, I’ve never quite left. From age 11, when others dreamed of visiting Mars, I wanted to be… a music teacher! I tell my pupils that dreams can come true if you work at them. I sing and play the recorder, piano, double bass and organ. I organise all music lessons at school, as well as over 50 concerts a year. I’m known for my love of both polar bears and penguins. Mainly, I’m known for surprising my pupils with silly signs during concerts to make them smile, which in turn lifts their voices, with beautiful results. I’m constantly proud of my students and love seeing their progress from, for example, nervous violinists sounding like screeching cats to accomplished violinists playing complex pieces from memory, with a grade 8 certificate in their pocket!
In addition to teaching, I love running both The Minster School York’s Saturday Community Outreach Choir and York Minster’s Choral Outreach project. When not doing anything musical, which is not often, I hike, camp, garden, read and sew. Eight wonderful nieces and nephews all over the place also keep me happily busy.”
Mr Gareth Simpson, History, Computing & Maths
After fifteen years in the marine geophysics industry – working on engineering projects all over the globe – I became increasingly convinced that I was ignoring my true calling to work with young people. I immediately stopped travelling, retrained at the UCL Institute of Education, and haven’t looked back since. I’ve established roots in York with my partner who is handily a Professor of Early Modern British History. She loves coming into school each year to do a probing, university-level session on Mary Queen of Scots with our mature Year 8s.
Each day I am bossed about by my whippet Gillespie. Gillespie and I love a good walk, provided the York weather isn’t too gruesome. I love reading of course, especially poetry, so if you ask me to recite some Yeats, I will gleefully make you regret it. Not very rock and roll, I know, but I immensely enjoy writing articles about historic buildings for Wikipedia.
Dr Andrew Wright, Science & Maths
Born and raised in Hull, post-university, I moved straight into industry where I developed everything from flour and bread to medical devices. Of most interest to pupils is that I made 40 tonnes of Sugar Puffs per day!
While we all work hard together as scientists in class, doing plenty of hands-on practical experiments, my teaching style also involves preparing pupils for more senior education with lectures, Q&As and independent, critical thinking. I push my students to extend their Science-based thinking, regularly question every process and apply this inquisitiveness and curiosity across other curriculum subjects. The best feeling in teaching is when a pupil has been struggling with a new concept and then there’s this sudden intake of breath, and you hear the joyful words, “Oh, I get it now!”.
In my spare time I like nothing more than going on a long bike ride or walking my three dogs, Coco, Harry & Alfie, and eating in York’s many excellent restaurants, which is why I certainly need to go on those bike rides!
Mrs Sue Wallace, Senior Art Teacher
York, born and bred, I grew up in a St. Peter’s school boarding house where my father taught languages and cricket. Not sporty myself – having always been more of a fan of cricket teas than the game – I have always loved all things creative, whether drawing, painting, reading, writing, film or theatre. I’m an artist myself. I always carry a sketchbook to capture the characters of the people I see around me. I’m fascinated by what makes us individual and find joy in helping the children I teach, express themselves through art.
When my three children were growing up, I worked as a freelance artist and created murals and installations in libraries and schools, as well as a darkly atmospheric backdrop for the Viking Centre. I have two favourite pastimes. The first is talking and laughing with family and friends, and the second is going on walks in the beautiful countryside around York with our boundlessly energetic golden retriever, Margot.
Alexandra Nightingale, Latin
Originally an oboe teacher at The Minster School York, I’m delighted to be back here with another string to my bow as it were, teaching Latin. When not immersed in the ancient world, I am generally to be found in an orchestra with my trusty oboe or singing in a local church choir.
Living in York with my husband, the neighbours may be forced to move as my husband likes to try to drown out my oboe with his bagpipes. My four children join the mellifluous harmony with a French horn, a trombone, a piano and a snare drum. The best places to escape the cacophony are on the tennis court or on the Bala Lake Railway in Wales, where I volunteer as a fire officer on the steam engines.