Our Key People

We have a dedicated team of teachers and professionals who are inspired to provide a high quality education to young people. Meet the team behind Academy21:


Paul Daniell, Head Teacher

Head Teacher Paul has an MSc in Industrial Management and a PGCE in Secondary Science. Paul has been in education for over 20 years. Paul believes that every child should be given the opportunity to make outstanding progress in their learning. As leader of the school, Paul continues to recruit and develop an excellent teaching force to deliver his vision.


Fiona Wilson, Head of Mathematics

Fiona chose a career as a textile engineer after graduating from Leeds University. When her daughter was born, she stayed at home to raise her but found she needed further stimuli. She enrolled with the Open University, studying for a Foundation Maths degree, which reignited her love for the subject. In 1997, she gained her PGCE at the University of Cumbria before teaching Mathematics in Lancashire schools.

She finds teaching online to be incredibly fulfilling. Fee believes that through the virtual classroom she gets to know her students much better than she would in a mainstream school environment; their focus and dedication constantly amazes her.

Outside of the virtual classroom, Fiona enjoys choral singing, reading prolifically, and exploring her creative side making jewellery from precious metals and gemstones.


Mel Jones, Head of ICT, Computer and Business Subjects

Mel took an unconventional route to becoming a teacher, although she began her career teaching outdoor education while working in Health & Safety and Adult Education. She qualified in 2004 after completing a Graduate Training Programme (GTP), which throws candidates in at the deep end and has them teaching from day one.

Mel taught in two state schools in Hertfordshire, becoming co-ordinator for Key Stage 3 ICT at the end of her NQT year and primary ICT co-ordinator teaching Years 5 to 11. She has also taught Business Education, Leisure, and Tourism & Recreation at GCSE and A Level.

In 2007, Mel began teaching online when she relocated to Wales, quickly rising to Head of Department. She joined Academy21 in September 2011. Mel enjoys the interaction with students in a virtual classroom and particularly delights in using the latest technology to deliver the subject of ICT.


Clare Brokenshire, Head of Education

Clare began her teaching experience in the 1980s, when, having completed a degree in Modern Languages, she worked as an ESOL and language teacher in private language schools in London, followed by the two universities in Sheffield, her home town since 1990. She completed an MA in TESOL and contributed to equipping international students with skills to study in Britain.

She loved the buzz of teaching adults from all over the world and gained useful experience in teacher training and managing staff teams delivering pre-sessional courses to international students. However, her burgeoning interest in ICT led her to do a PGCE in ICT in 2002, which led to a new career of teaching ICT in secondary schools. She taught in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, where she contributed to the delivery of key ICT qualifications for KS4 and exciting curriculum developments for KS3.

She joined Academy21 in 2013 and is passionate about helping students engage with learning in the online classroom, which she sees as a key 21st Century development. Her aspiration is to give every pupil a chance for success whatever their educational experiences have been.


Laura Huggins, Head of English

After successfully obtaining a degree in English Literature at the University of Kent, Laura completed her secondary PGCE in English (Media and Drama) in 2001.

Since that time, Laura has worked in a range of mainstream and online secondary schools, teaching English and English Literature at Key Stage 3, 4 and A Level. Over this time, Laura worked in several large mainstream comprehensive schools in the South East, including two classed as 'outstanding' by Ofsted. In addition to her role as an English teacher, she has worked in the areas of E-learning and ICT within her Teaching and Learning management position, examining how to use technology to support and enhance students' experience of learning. Laura has also worked as a private tutor.

Laura joined Academy 21 in 2013 and became Head of English in 2017. She also is the Chief Assessor of Spoken Language for the GCSE English Language course.

Her belief that education should be relevant whilst also exciting has shaped Laura's interest in new innovative ways of teaching and learning. Laura passionately believes that education is more than just examination grades and has enjoyed seeing many students grow in confidence and self-esteem over the years she has worked with Academy 21.


Nick Parry, Head of Science

Nick spent 22 years teaching science and leading science departments in several large mainstream comprehensive schools in Derby until in 2004 when he moved into online education. Since then he has continued to teach science and has led two online schools first as deputy and then as headteacher, until stepping aside in 2015 to get back to the most enjoyable part of the job, working with students as a science teacher.

Nick finds the world around him endlessly fascinating and always wants to understand more about how it works. As a science teacher he enjoys helping students develop an understanding of the world around them and giving them the tools to investigate it further. Nick believe that everyone has the right to an education and he is passionately enthusiastic about the power of online teaching to reach students at risk of missing out on this.