Our Team


Senior Leadership



Vice Principal

Art & Design Teacher

Chris Phillips

I have a passion for all creative subjects, especially art and photography. I joined MCS to help students realise their potential and become successful creative professionals. I have worked in 3 very successful secondary schools which have always been passionate about students’ creative learning. For 9 years I led the Leeds visual arts network which has linked artist, crafts people and designers with secondary school art and photography teachers. This has also developed some exciting partnerships that I would seek to promote at MCS. I have always wanted to work in a creatively focused school and, now I have realised that goal, I feel privileged to be part of Manchester Creative studio’s journey. This is a truly exciting time for Manchester and the visual and digital arts’ industry. We will be teaching and training the young minds of the future to push the boundaries of digital and visual arts

In my spare time I am a practising artist, running a small rug design business, and I have exhibited work across the whole of Yorkshire. The leadership team at MCS have a passion for motorbikes and you will often catch us discussing past and future biking adventures

Head of Pastoral/SENdCO


Heads of Faculty


Head of Faculty, English

Sakinna Dickinson

I have been teaching in schools for 14 years. I worked at St Augustine of Canterbury High School and then Newman College teaching English and leading Media Studies. Prior to teaching, I worked in Tameside and Oldham developing projects for young people in schools and community settings.
I am at MCS because it values and nurtures creativity and independence. The small classes enable meaningful opportunities for personalisation and student- centered teaching and learning

Head of Faculty,
Games design

Dan O'Toole

I am a photographer, videographer, editor, creative designer & post production operative educated to degree level and further professional examinations. I’ve been working in the education sector for over 12 years in both technical and teaching roles and over 15 years experience as a filmmaker and photographer

Head of Faculty, Graphic communicaton

Zoe Rea

I am excited to be working with talented pupils, staff, and industry partners at MCS. I am in my seventh year of teaching, in addition to Graphic Communication, I have also taught Art, Creative Digital Media Production and Photography. I have previously worked at a design agency in Salford, where I learnt the business side of design. Recently, I gained qualifications to become an Adobe Certified Associate in Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator. My personal learning never ends and I want to inspire this attitude within my students too!

Head of Faculty, Interactive media

Kate Mackelvie

I have a degree in Graphic Arts from John Moores University and a PGCE in Creative & Media from Edgehill University Following this I taught Creative Media at Wellacre Academy, before becoming Leader of Media in 2013

As Head of Faculty, Interactive Media I hope to inspire MCS’ students and pass on my passion for the subject and learning on to them.  My favourite areas units to teach are on short film unit and music video production




Graphics Teacher

Kelly McKinnon

I joined MCS in September 2014 as a Graphics Learning Coach and have thoroughly enjoyed watching our talented students grow and flourish in such a unique environment. I passed my NQT last year whilst at MCS in what was a very interesting year that included some amazing projects, such as creating animations with The Politics Project, persuading people to vote with The People’s History Museum (where two of our students now have their work displayed after winning a nationwide competition) and working with charities including 42nd Street, Mustard Tree and Merci on rebranding

I studied for my degree in Graphic Design at University of Leeds and my PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University, working with various companies including Urbis and FutureSonic. I love to travel, seeking out new inspiration wherever I go and have worked as an Arts and Design Counselor in Pennsylvania and at RMITV in Melbourne, as well taking part in Tribewanted in Fiji and speaking to many an artist or designer in far flung places, my favourite being Mumbai. I feel that creativity should be at the heart of education and am a great believer in employers playing a key role in the education of young people wishing to enter the industry, which is why I teach at MCS. Very excited to see where our students head next!


Anna Travis

I recently joined Manchester Creative Studio as a Science teacher. I love teaching science as it’s all about discovering new things about the world we live in today and discussing how a scientist’s initial idea turns into a theory – but science doesn’t have the answer for everything!  What we don’t know is as interesting as what we do know!  It’s up to future generations of scientists to find solutions
When I read MC Studio’s website it mirrored my views on education, work ethic and above all, the need for fun and creative ideas to fully engage students. I have high expectations of the students and really enjoy building relationships which will instil a love of life-long learning and ensure students can make informed decisions about scientific matters as adults

Interactive Media

Sarah Mahoney

I am originally from Yorkshire and have always had a love of film and theatre. I am a huge fan of the classics and the Hollywood greats like Audrey Hepburn and Gene Kelly and I do find myself very often Singing in the Rain

My degree is in Film, TV and Broadcasting where I studied at University of Derby where I then went on to do my teacher training at Bolton. I have over 5 years experience in teaching media and ICT and have had amazing opportunity to work in industry for ITV on Emmerdale

What attracted me to MCS was the creative style of teaching. Being a creative person myself, I believe it is a great way to learn. I also loved the idea of working closely with industry partners to prepare students for working in the industry.  MCS is a school that I would have been very interested in at attending myself as a student

Computer Science Teacher





Support Staff


Director of Partnerships, Employer Engagement
& Marketing

Ravinderpal Gehlon

I have a passion for working with young people and helping them to realise their undoubted potential. This has grown during a professional career that has seen me running welfare to work programmes in the east end ofLondon, developing and recruiting apprentices for corporate companies and more recently employer engagement with the University of Salford

I joined Manchester Creative Studio in November 2015 as the industry partnerships lead to develop a range of engagement with employers including live briefs, Masterclasses and work experience

In February 2017 I became Director of Partnerships, Employer Engagement & Marketing

Exams and attendance officer

Melody Smith

I began my teaching career at Hyde Clarendon 6th Form Centre, which became part of Tameside College. I then moved to Rochdale Education Authority working at Middleton Technology School, teaching IT and computing. From there I moved to spend 12 years working in the City Learning Centre as the Curriculum Development Manager
Joining MCS as a learning coach, when it opened, I now manage the data collected and stored in the MIS system for the school
I see our school as the next evolutionary step in education; linking and involving employers; making sure the students are work ready, by gaining essential, meaningful, work experience and qualifications

Personal Coach & STudent Advocate

Robert Croll

Robert has responsibilities for developing student experience for all students at Manchester Creative Studio through Personal Coaching, Skills for Learning, SEN, Student Voice and Extended Curriculum activities.  Robert has worked with Virgin Media, Oglivy, Boohoo.com, NatWest Commercial Funding Special Branch and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to deliver live briefs that have had international and national media coverage.  

Robert has worked with young people over 20 years in formal and informal educational settings as a coach, mentor or teacher. Robert was the Partnership Manager in opening phase for MCS and led the consultation and recruitment of parents, students and partner employers for Manchester Creative Studio from bid to opening phase in 2014.

Recently, Robert was a founder of the ‘Cities of Hope’ campaign, with MCS, that launched world leading street artists to create art pieces on social issues in the Northern Quarter, Manchester.

Robert has significant experience in developing transformative change within educational institutions since 2006, as Chair of the Board of Trustees MMUnion and Governor of Manchester Metropolitan University, as a team member responsible for award winning initiatives: creating a 5 year student engagement strategy; increasing Student Union block grant to £2.1 million, changing the academic curriculum across faculties; setting tuitions fees and delivering capital builds including Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Birley Fields Campus and The Union MMU.