The Teaching Team

Mrs Karen Duke (Deputy Headteacher) - Woodpecker

I joined Shiphay in 1998 and became Deputy Headteacher here in 2009.  I have predominantly taught in Reception and Y1, with the additional experience of Y2 and Y4.  I have many years’ experience of leading and working within the Lower School Team, supporting our youngest pupils to become confident, independent children with a love of learning and playing.  I feel privileged to work alongside so many dedicated colleagues, who strive everyday to provide the very best opportunities for our children, and I am excited to be joining the Middle School Team to support our Y4 pupils in their learning journey. 

I strongly believe that all children deserve the highest quality provision and teaching to meet their needs, not just academic but also their social, emotional and physical needs. I am keen to ensure that all children make good progress, experience success across the curriculum and have access to any additional support they may need. I am responsible for monitoring and reporting on Attendance and Punctuality, helping to ensure that all pupils achieve to the best of their abilities by maximising their attendance in school. I am also the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead in school and the Designated Teacher for Cared for Children.

I am a firm believer that a confident and positive mindset is one of the keys to successful, lifelong learning. I endeavour to help children believe in their own abilities and strengths, have a positive outlook and have the confidence to ’have a go’ in their learning. 

When not in school, I love to be outdoors walking my dogs Billy and Ruby on the moor or by the sea, making the most of our beautiful Devon surroundings.

Mrs Charlie Lawton - Woodpecker

Since qualifying as a teacher in 2015, I have been lucky enough to teach in all year groups from Reception to Year 4. Teaching in different year groups has allowed me to see how the children progress and grow along their learning journey. After recently having returned from Maternity leave, I have been teaching in Year 4, where I am very excited to be continuing my teaching adventures on a part-time basis. 

My degree specialised in Early Years, but I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum, particularly English. I also have a keen passion and interest for Geography and Computing. I am currently the Computing subject lead and support the Online Safety Champions and Digital Leaders.   


I strongly believe that the curriculum should be accessible to all children in a range of fun and engaging ways in an environment that is both safe and nurturing to each child's needs. In the classroom, I aim to create a friendly, welcoming environment where children feel empowered to learn and secure enough to make mistakes in their learning and grow from these. I like to teach in a range of ways that meet many different learning styles so each child can have equal opportunities to access the curriculum. In 2017, I was lucky enough to spend some time travelling the world. During this time, I taught English to children living in the poorest province in Thailand. This experience was invaluable and has made me appreciate how fortunate we are in the UK to have such an engaging curriculum and up-to-date Technology.

I am looking forward to another year in Middle School and supporting the children along their learning journey.


Miss Lucy Drohan (Assistant Headteacher) - Skylark

I am thrilled to be joining Shiphay Learning Academy in September as Assistant Headteacher and classroom teacher. I’m very much looking forward to building relationships with the Shiphay Team including the children and families that form part of the school community. I have taught in a local primary school in Torbay since March 2019. I have predominantly taught in Key Stage Two alongside being part of the Leadership Team; ensuring consistent high-quality teaching and learning across Years 5 and 6. Furthermore, I have taken on additional studies in the National Leadership Qualification in Teaching and Learning.

 Prior to my teaching career, I served in the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineer for five years. Throughout my time in the military, I gained vast experience in teamwork and leadership. I believe my time in the Royal Navy has supported my teaching career hugely and I look forward to bringing my skills and experience into the classroom at Shiphay.

 I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum and have relished the opportunity to redesign the Art and Design Curriculum through my role as Art Lead in my previous school to ensure that children’s learning is experiential and showcases the diverse, creative industries our society has to offer. I love to teach Maths and find it incredibly rewarding when children experience that sense of fulfilment when they have achieved something that they initially found too tricky. II feel strongly that children should have opportunities to feel successful throughout their time in school both academically and personally; fostering in children the idea that talent comes in endless forms and that we all have talent within us. Although challenging at times, I find teaching incredibly rewarding and enjoy getting to know children as individuals, supporting them on their educational journeys and providing them with opportunities to develop their sense of who they are and who they want to become in the future.

Outside of education, I love to spend time with my two children Baye (10) and Ralph (7). As a family, we love to go on dog walks with our cockapoo, Iris, along the beautiful, scenic coastal paths that Torbay has to offer. We also love to go out on our paddleboards in the summer and in the winter, we love nothing more than a cosy Friday film (and sweets) night all together on our sofa!

Teaching Assistannts

Katie Gagg

Charlie Aldridge

Olivia Wooldridge-Pearce

Su Coxell

Rachel Milkins