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Secondary School (Bideford)

"We are a school first and foremost and proud of our student and their achievements."


Welcome to Secondary School (Bideford)

"We are a school first and foremost and proud of our
students and their achievements."

Discover More



'Building our school, with our students'. 


The website is updated regularly, so please keep checking in as new content is added. 


Meet the team

I am Mark Bithell Headteacher at Marland Secondary School - Bideford. I have been teaching for over 35 years and started in Ilfracombe College as a mathematics teacher after completing my mathematics degree and teaching qualification at Bangor University in North Wales. After teaching at Ilfracombe, I moved onto Callington Community College in Cornwall, then Estover Community College in Plymouth before moving back to North Devon at Bideford College. 


Looking for a new challenge, I then started working at Marland 10 years ago and was Head of the Residential school before moving to open this new provision. This is an extension to the work we do at Marland and I am looking forward to working with the new team and welcoming our students. 


I believe every student should have the opportunity to attend a school which can meet their individual needs, we will be striving to personalise our approach to each student and make this happen at Marland Secondary School, (Bideford). I am really looking forward to the students seeing the school and getting to know the staff who are working hard to ensure we will be ready to support their learning as best we can. 



My name is Jamie Sanders and I am Assistant Head at Marland Secondary School (Bideford). I have been involved in education since leaving school, working initially in a school in Australia, and after my degree I taught in a variety of settings from Primary up to University level. I initially trained as a PE teacher, but have taught a variety of subjects including science, PSHE, business studies, English and geography. In my last post I trained with Plymouth University to be SENCo.


I love the outdoors and being active, I used to play professional rugby and now I enjoy time with my family at home and on the beach or in the sea. I am a very 'people focused' person, I enjoy taking time to get to know people and educating the individual.


I am very excited to be involved at the beginning of this new Marland School and am delighted that we have such a great site and amazing team of teaching and non-teaching staff who are looking forward to welcoming our students and driving engaging and personalized learning for all.   

My name is Rebecca and I am the Curriculum Manager at Marland. I am so excited about being part of the team who has the priviledge of opening and shaping the new school. I have worked in education for over 28 years, and started by following my passion for the creative arts before moving into SEND 9 years ago.


I believe it's my job is to give every individual the opportunity to discover their strengths, fulfil their potential and build their self-esteem. I want their learning experience to be rich and varied with the curriculum, designed to meet all our student's needs.  Subjects will have a strong emphasis on bringing learning to life through real life experiences.  Learning should not simply be the narrow focus of achievement in tests, instead we strive for it to be purposeful, imaginative and designed to celebrate each and every individual success linking our classrooms with safe outdoor spaces.


The students will design and create sensory spaces around the site giving them ownership of their environment.

I am excited to be part of the new school and work within such a supportive team.

I’m Mel and I am the HLTA. I am responsible for providing the targeted interventions to fill in the gaps of missed education.  I have been working in education for the last 10 years, the last 4 years working at Marland Residential school. In my previous school I set up and ran a Nurture Room.


I have 4 children of my own who have additional educational needs and disabilities, so I know how important it is to feel confident that your child is happy at school and learning at a pace that is realistic.

In my spare time I like to be outdoors enjoying our beautiful Devon countryside and coastline with my children, I also enjoy running, surfing and reading.


I am driven by a passion that every student should have the best possible educational experience and I believe every student should feel safe and confident coming to school.

My name is Tom and I am the Learning Support Manager at Marland Secondary School, Bideford.


The things I enjoy in life are sports (mainly football), cooking and enjoying the outdoors. I am most happy when outside in the sun or walking the dog with my family. I love spending time with my friends, barbecues, camping and travelling abroad. Some of the best times I had in my life was travelling the world with my wife when we were younger.


For over 15 years my working life has been based around supporting young people so that they can achieve and progress to where they want to be in life. During these years I have worked with young people in residential schools, SEN/mainstream schools and youth offending.


My role at Marland School is to support students through their day at school. My aim is for you to be as comfortable in school as possible so that you can access your education. I also think it’s important to have fun and enjoy your time here. We will support you to achieve the best out of your education using all we can offer here at Marland.


I am delighted to welcome you to Marland Secondary School, Bideford.

A bit about me – My name is Jay Hopper. I attended Bath University to achieve a BSc (Hon’s) Human Ecology and North West Kent Teacher Trainers to achieve my Post Graduate Certificate in Education. I have dedicated my whole career to special education and have experience supporting our wonderful children and young people across all age groups in a range of settings.


I have learnt so much in my journey over the last twenty plus years and I look forward to sharing my skillset in this new and exciting time at Marland. Our children and young people have the potential to be utterly amazing, and I am committed to making every single day the best day possible for them. It is a privilege to be part of an innovative, exciting and inspirational team, but most importantly, our staff care deeply and want the very best for every child and young person.


My philosophy and vision is simple, we put our children, young people and families at the heart of everything we do, and we work to everyone’s strengths, skills and passions. This growth mindset approach enables our children, young people, colleagues and stakeholders to be themselves, and thrive without risk of being judged. Marland is a community where we support each other every day and celebrate achievements at every level. I am passionate about our children and young people having exciting and new experiences each day and having their needs met with love, care and dignity. We only have one childhood, and it is our responsibility, in close collaboration with our families, to ensure that it is the best it can possibly be for our children and young people.

I love mathematics! I studied maths at Warwick university and have taught and led maths
departments in London for over ten years. I more recently moved to Devon where I led the
mathematics department of a specialist trust which spanned over nine schools. I taught
maths in a pupil referral unit for three years and my passion for supporting students who
need additional support grew.

Mathematics is a subject of exploration with hidden beauty and helps students develop
problem solving skills. I believe all students can love and excel at mathematics and it’s my
job to find a way to support students with this. Students should have the opportunity to
learn in a way that suits them and everyone should feel successful in mathematics lessons.

In my classroom, students will be learning inside or outside, in groups or individually,
through games or more traditional approaches– the students will guide their own learning.

I’m excited to take students on a mathematical journey at Marland that’s unique to them. I
hope the students of Marland will leave us loving mathematics and gaining a qualification
that’s suited to them – entry level, functional skills or GCSE – so that all students are best
equipped for their next steps in the wider world.



My name is Ben and I have been a teacher for 13 years in SEN.  I teach geography, history, PSHE and BV and look forward to teaching you about the world you live in and learning from you how you see our world.

Outside of school I love nothing more than to surf, even during the winter and recently have got into mountain biking.  In the past I have studied martial arts which I hope to return to soon.  Aside from sports and physical activities outside, I’m beginning on a journey to learn to play the guitar.  If any of you also play the guitar and have any tips they will be greatly received.


The inner child in me is still also into gaming.  Although I may not hold a top score on any of the main games, I have grown up with the evolution of gaming from ancient computer systems to the amazing gaming experiences we have in the modern technological age.


I really look forward to meeting and working with you when you start at our school.  I am passionate about helping you become the best you can be and have the confidence to go on to do what will make you happy and succeed in the future.

Joining the team here to teach English in September, has been a great experience both personally and professionally. I studied as a mature student at Winchester University for both my undergraduate degree in education and my PGCE. When leaving school myself, I was set on being a zoo keeper and this is what I did straight from college.

I worked with an array of animals and fell in love with teaching large groups about the amazing animals I worked with.

The opportunity came up for me to start teaching animal management at post 16 level and so this is where my love of teaching stems from. Being a SEN parent myself I really understand how vital it is for all learners to be treated as individuals and value the opportunity to teach in a school that holds the same principles for all our young people.

My name is Connor and I am the IT Instructor at Marland Secondary School (Bideford), as well as the CEOP Education Ambassador. I have been teaching ICT for 4 years now and really enjoy making a difference for our young learners. 


I am aware of how important the digital world is for our young people in today's society and how creative we've become because of it. I aim to use this knowledge during ICT lessons to promote creativity, and form a solid understanding of how we interact with technology safely whilst online.  I also incorporate the Thrive approach into my lessons and interactions and understand the importance of building rapport with students so they feel safe learning. The goal being that our learners leave us equipped with relevant skills, qualifications and knowledge that will support them during their adult life.


I have worked in the SEN sector for over 6 years now, working 1:1 with a variety of complex and SEMH needs. I've also have worked in mainstream primary schools and residential settings for adults with additional needs. 


As to be expected, I love technology and how engaging it can be for all of us. I enjoy gaming and often keep up to date with new and trending games. I also enjoy photography and exploring the North Devon coast with my dog and family. If I'm not gaming or out exploring, you'll usually find me cooking (my favourite food is pizza!) or looking at cars I can't afford.


I look forward to meeting you all and getting to know you better.

After nearly 24 years in the Army, serving in the Corps of Royal Engineers I have served with several different Units, where I have had the chance to deploy across the globe  in both a war fighting and humanitarian Aid role.  Domestically I helped with the security of the London 2012 Olympics and have served at Training units and qualified as a Physical Training Instructor, Mountain Leader, Communications specialist, Team medic and a first aid instructor.


Sports I enjoyed in the military were Hockey, judo and Boxing and represented the Army at Judo.

I enjoy keeping fit and you will quite often see me out running . I am a level 1 Judo Coach at Kingsley school judo Club


I have taken on the new role as the Outdoor Education Leader at Marland secondary where I will pass on skills that I have picked up along my journey and as a level 5 Coach and Mentor I will THRIVE to deliver.


I enjoy eating Curry and spending time with my Family.


"we are all heading for the same place but our Journey will be different"

Hi, I’m Nathan and I have enjoyed designing and making things for as long as I can remember.


I have taught Design Technology for over 20 years in main stream education, I am very passionate about this subject as it allows young people to create and learn in a variety of different ways.

Design Technology allows students to develop new skills and experiment through trial and error.  Whether this is through a focused practical task or developing ideas for a brief or theme with an intended user in mind or using new technologies or learning traditional skills.


What I love about this subject is that it allows us to learn through failure, ( it’s okay to fail…) As we learn we develop skills, make changes and improvements to designs so that we make the best solution for its use or intended user.


I am really looking forward to working here at this school, we have a blank canvas if you like… which means we have so many opportunities to make this a fantastic place to learn, whether that is working indoors in a classroom or outside improving our community.

Hi, my name is Rebecca and I'm a senior TA at Marland.

I've worked with children for about 5 years and I can genuinely say I love my job. My favourite part is building relationships and watching the children become who they want to be, by giving them the tools and confidence to become their own advocates and grow into independent young people.

Outside of work I have 2 young energetic children, who love to bake. We love looking for new recipes and experimenting with different flavours. They also love kitchen science, so my sides are often covered with homemade slime!

After working in a school setting previously and having a teenage son with SEN needs,  this felt like a natural next step for me. 

I have experience in the school kitchen cooking School dinners and also in a 1-2-1 capacity in a primary school. 

I’m super excited to get to know all the students and staff and to all grow and learn together. 

Although I wasn’t very academic in school I loved secondary school and had fun. Im hoping to help all the children have the best school experience possible too

My name is Steph and I am a Teaching Assistant. This is my first time working in a school as I have worked
in care settings previously. I have 3 children and my life experiences have led me to want to be a TA. I
believe that everyone matters and deserves the best chance. This starts in school and I am looking forward to working with our pupils to support them through their education.

I’m Vicky and I’m really excited about being a part of the incredible team at Marland School. I’ve worked with young people in education in North Devon for 15 years, but more recently I worked for the NHS as a Mental Health Care Assistant. I aim to bring a mixture of the skills I have developed through these roles to help our students thrive during their time with us at Marland School. 

I love being outdoors and being active so I won’t need much encouragement to take our students on a fun-filled adventure exploring our beautiful surroundings. Alongside my enthusiasm for exploring, I love nothing more than to sit quietly with a good book, where my imagination can run wild and go on it's own adventure.

Hi, my name is Ellie and I have worked in a school setting for 8 years doing all sorts of jobs from cleaning to a TA.

I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone at Marland school and making new friends.

I enjoy walking, spending time with my family, socialising and going shopping.

My favourite day out is visiting National Trust properties with my husband and 3 chrildren.

My name is Nikki, and I am a TA at Marland secondary. Previously I've worked as a support worker for adults with Autisum and complex needs. 

I love being at the beach or camping with my partner and 2 children.