Our Team


Senior Leadership



Peter Ramsay

My teaching career started in 1995 when I began teaching GCSE electronics and Design Technology at Saint Thomas More Catholic High School in Wigan.  After four years I moved to Matthew Moss High School in Rochdale, where I spent three years teaching Resistant Materials and Graphics. Following this I moved to Prestwich Arts College in Bury, where I was head of Resistant Materials and Graphics, before also becoming Head of Year 7.  In 1999 I moved to become Head of Engineering at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Manchester.  Saint Paul’s had recently become a specialist engineering college and it was a fantastic opportunity to lead the development of the engineering faculty

I later joined the senior leadership team at Saint Paul’s, enjoying three years in the role before the opportunity came to join Manchester Creative Studio. I have followed the studio’s development with interest and when the opportunity to apply for Principal came around I didn’t hesitate. The vision behind this studio school is one that I am fully committed to deliver. I believe that this is an amazing opportunity for creative young people to express themselves and learn in a fully supportive and specialised environment

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 Operations

James Spencer

I have a passion for education, passed on by my parents who were both head teachers. I joined MCS as I believe that the school offers young people unique and early avenues to experiences that they would not normally have, such as access to the professional work environment

I have worked with young people from a broad range of backgrounds who have had a kaleidoscope of experiences.  I feel Manchester Creative Studio offers a nurturing and engaged environment that enables a young person to grow and discover who they are and achieve their goals

My professional background is in Human Resource Management, Financial and Budget Management and Project Management.  I developed these from working in multiple environments including Local Government, the private sector and voluntary sector in both paid and unpaid capacities

Head of Pastoral/SENdCO

Anthony Collins

Having worked in the field of special educational needs for over fifteen years, I enjoy the variation that comes with the role of SENDCO as well as seeing the positive impact that excellent support can have on students learning. I have worked in a range of mainstream and special education settings and with children with a huge variety of needs including moderate and specific learning difficulties as well as wider physical and mental health conditions

 I love the atmosphere at Manchester Creative Studio with its unique mix of creative subjects and academic rigour. The small group sizes and access to working professionals makes it a very different place than that of a typical secondary or post-16 colleges

 I work part-time at MCS and fill the rest of the week working towards my Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Being a student myself constantly reminds me of the challenges that we can all face as learners


Heads of Faculties


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

Graphics Teacher

Hugh Mccreesh

 I joined MCS in September 2016.  I have always been massively interested in the creative industries & education

 My experience ranges from writing and playing music, recording, working with creatives as a designer, animator & editor, so I felt that with this industry background as well as a desire to teach, the ethos of Manchester Creative Studio as an employer-led school is perfect for me

I believe what the students are learning here in terms of how to work with business is much more beneficial to them mainstream school

Computer Science Teacher

Barbara Shaw

History Teacher

Helen Drummond

Coming to work in Ancoats, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, must be every history teacher’s dream so I feel very privileged that it’s become my reality since starting at MCS in 2016.  A Mancunian by birth, I left the north west in the 80s to read History at university

Then, from a distance of 200 miles, I re-discovered the importance of Manchester, the original industrial Victorian city.  Teaching is in fact my third career having worked first in administration and then in law.  Part of what makes MCS unique is that staff are valued for their life experience

  Every adult is able to use practical knowledge to bring learning in the classroom to life.  This makes learning less abstract and more grounded in reality. Outside school, I’m a volunteer for Manchester Histories Festival, a member of the Historical Association and a supporter of the Schools History Project (SHP).  I’m currently involved in research for a National Heritage Lottery funded project concerning Armenians in the First World War.  In the rare moments when I’m not thinking about history, I can usually be found watching football


Mike Macklin

I have over 30 years’ experience as both Maths and Senior Maths teacher across the northwest.  Having moved up the ranks to Assistant Headteacher at a previous school, I then went on to join Teaching Leaders where I work to help senior leaders to develop their capacity across a range of school

Passionate about teaching, and Maths in general, I joined Manchester Creative Studio to support our students through their GCSEs

Outside of teaching I am a family man and passionate supported of Celtic Football Club


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

School Counsellor

Ian Wilmott

I have worked with young people over a number of years both in the UK and at international schools in Germany and Spain.  After training as a counsellor whilst at university, I went on to work with vulnerable young people in a variety of projects in the criminal justice sector, developing government youth intervention programmes in the northwest to ensure that young people could make positive life choices.  I later took this experience where I developed a student support portfolio role

At MCS, I act as the school’s counsellor providing one-to-one support as well as developing group work and home-school liaison projects.  I have introduced restorative approaches at MCS and take an active interest in making sure that all students receive ‘wrap round’ pastoral support

Working at MCS is brilliant as we are small enough to really get to know all our students and understand their particular needs.   I believe that the pastoral care we offer is intelligently managed and solution-focused” As an experienced operational manager and one-time local government councilor, I also support the school through his inputs in areas such as consultative survey work, general administrative support and policy development

Personal Coach

Robert Croll

I have worked with young people over 20 years in formal and informal educational settings as a coach and mentor.  I was also part of the consultation during the development of Manchester Creative Studio which brings a deep commitment to the school

Working as a Personal Coach allows me to develop a positive understanding of our students and their needs, not just as students but as young people

I am committed to seeing young people achieve their full potential in all aspects of their life and am grateful for the opportunity to do this at Manchester Creative Studio