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Joanna Garvey


Mrs Garvey joined Priestley Smith Specialist School as Headteacher in September 2021, having previously worked as a Deputy Headteacher in a large comprehensive, and prior to this in a variety of settings as an Advanced Skills Teacher, Specialist Leader in Education and a Lead Practitioner for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.   Prior to her teaching career Mrs Garvey worked as a nurse (R.G.N and R.S.C.N.) in the NHS for 15 years.


Sharon Blair-Burke

Deputy Headteacher

Mrs Blair- Burke joined Priestley as Deputy Headteacher in 2016. She leads Safeguarding and the Secondary Department alongside other key responsibilities.

Prior to this she was an Assistant Headteacher and a Senior Leader in Education at a Special School for 11 years; and before that held various lead positions in mainstream schools in Birmingham and London for 15 years

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Louise Herbert

Assistant Headteacher

Mrs Herbert joined Priestley Smith as Assistant Headteacher in April 2022. She leads the Primary department and has a whole school responsibility for quality of education. Mrs Herbert is a Qualified Teacher of Visually Impaired children and has worked as a VI advisory teacher in a neighbouring local authority for the past seven years. This role enabled her to work with Priestley Smith to support children on her caseload and so she knows the school well. Prior to this role Mrs Herbert worked in a mainstream primary school as a class teacher and had various responsibilities including EYFS lead.

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Fiona Broadley

Senior Habilitation Specialist

Fiona Broadley is the Senior Habilitation Specialist and Coordinator of the Specialist Outreach Services based at the school. 

She has worked at Priestley Smith School for over 30 years teaching Habilitation (mobility, orientation and independence skills) to children and young people with vision impairments (CYPVI) across the whole of Birmingham.  In addition to working directly with CYPVI,  she is a specialist lecturer at Birmingham City University on the Habilitation Top Up degree and also at the University of Birmingham on the mandatory post graduate qualification for teaching children and young people with vision impairments ( Qualified Teacher of Vision Impaired Children QTVI).  Fiona was the Chair of Habilitation VIUK,  the professional body for Habilitation Specialists, for over 10 years and continues to be actively involved both with HabVIUK and other National bodies promoting the interests of CYPVI  including the formulation of a National Specialist VI Curriculum Framework. 

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