Meet the Team

Ellern Mede Orange Tree’s highly qualified staff team provide SEN teaching and support of the highest standard, at a pace and level to suit students who are struggling with mainstream school, for whatever reason. All of our staff have a wealth of experience and continually develop their individual and collective professional skills to ensure that they stay at the forefront of their educational and pastoral practice.


Zoe Ramshaw

Head of Teaching and Learning


Karen Shirbini

Head of Inclusion

Karen Shirbini is the Head of Inclusion at Ellern Mede Orange Tree (Friary Hall). Karen re-joined Ellern Mede School in January 2018. Prior to this Karen held the position of Headteacher at Rhodes Farm School, which was graded as Good with Outstanding features after it’s first inspection in November 2013, this was within two months of the school opening. Prior to this Karen had been the SENCO at Ellern Mede.  In the mainstream setting, Karen was Assistant Head in charge of Inclusion at a large Secondary School within Barnet, her department was graded as “Outstanding” by Ofsted. Karen is passionate about ensuring that all children achieve the best possible outcomes within their educational setting.


Loukia Peara

Teacher of Science


Suzanne Green

Teacher of Art

Suzanne has taught Art and Design for the last 12 years to all key stages in London secondary, non-selective multi-ethnic, comprehensive schools. However, during the last 3 years she has been teaching Art and Design within the Hospital School sector teaching pupils with a wide range of special needs and behavioural challenges. Suzanne believes in inspiring pupils’ confidence, curiosity and commitment allowing them to learn how to think both creatively and critically and to express themselves fully. After completing her Art degree, Suzanne worked within the creative industry for seven years as a graphic designer. She uses her previous work experience to ensure that pupils identify and relate to the professional world. Suzanne returned back to studying and completed an MA in Graphic Media Design at London College of Communication advancing her professional and teaching practice in areas of research, critical analysis and making.


Maria Tuton

Teacher of Maths

Maria has a Bachelor of Education honours degree with mathematics as her specialist subject and has been teaching mathematics for over 30 years in mainstream secondary comprehensive schools in Barnet. Her teaching experience covers all abilities and ages across Key stages 3, 4 and 5. Maria was the head of the mathematics faculty for 12 years and assistant headteacher for 15 years during which time she enjoyed contributing to important decision making which considered the educational and pastoral needs of students. 

For the last 2 years Maria has enjoyed teaching maths in an alternative school setting which has given her an invaluable insight to how young people’s emotional and mental health needs affect learning and progress. 

Maria believes in lifelong learning and is committed to making the learning of mathematics accessible and enjoyable for all.


Benjamin Kastin

Teacher of English

Benjamin graduated in Film and Media studies in 2007, and worked a number of jobs in the film and video game industries of London and Berlin, before embarking on a career in teaching, receiving a PGCE in English language and literature, from Brunel university. He has worked as a teacher in international schools in Vienna, Ha Noi, and more recently Tbilisi in Georgia, but has now put that wanderlust to bed, returning to the only city that ever truly felt like a home, London.


Anders Grys

Teacher of Music and Humanities

Anders Grys teaches Music and Humanities and draws on a varied teaching experience from both local and international schools. Having worked as Head of Music, ESL Teacher and Lecturer of Politics, he has taught students of all ages and levels and works with a student-centred focus putting the needs of his students first using a growth-mindset approach. Anders qualified as music teacher at the Institute of Education, London and has a MA in Modern History and East European studies from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Anders loves incorporating interactive games and activities into lessons, and often the combination of music, geography and history offer great opportunities to work on cross-curricular projects such as protest songs, music representing cultural, ethnic and religious varieties and historical uses of music in promoting nation-building. 

Anders teaches lessons on piano, guitar, ukulele, singing, music theory and technology. In addition, he teaches KS3 Geography, History and Music as well as preparing students GCSEs and A-levels in these subjects.  

In recent years, he has been working with young people with social, emotional and mental health difficulties with a special focus on autism and anorexia.


Elaine Rocha

Teaching Assistant and Teacher of PSHE

Elaine has been an educator for over 20 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Education and is currently working towards an MSc in Psychology. Elaine practises a student-centered approach with a focus on students’ well-being and learning progress.


Margarita Kapsosideris

Teacher of French and Spanish

Margarita Kapsosideris has been teaching languages for over 25 years. She has a BA (Hons) in French and Spanish and lived in Paris and Madrid during her studies. She also has a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages from the Institute of Education, London. She has taught Spanish at local primary and secondary schools, specialising in exam classes at various levels such as GCSE, AS and A level. She has always had a special interest in Special Educational Needs (SEN) and is passionate about teaching Spanish.


Ellie Curtis

Teacher of English

Ellie has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a first class master’s degree in Gender Studies, and believes that in capturing the imagination of young people, literature truly has the potential to change the world. Though she is new to the classroom, she honed her teaching skills through one-on-one tutoring, plus a season of ski instructing in the Canadian Rockies. She enjoys every aspect of classroom support and hopes to fully qualify as a teacher in the future.

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