Digital Learning

The Astra Learning Alliance currently has the following SLEs in this category:

Ahsan Abbas (Dr Challoner's Grammar School)

John Hopkins (Dr Challoner's Grammar School)


Ahsan Abbas

School:  Dr Challoner’s Grammar School

Position held: Subject Leader for Geography

SLE area of expertise:  Geography, Leadership, Curriculum Development, Digital Learning, Trips & Expeditions

Current responsibilities:  Leadership and management in Geography from KS3-KS5; Planning and leading extra-curricular visits to compliment the Geography curriculum from KS3-KS5; Reviewing, evaluating and developing the department; Mentoring NQTs & trainee teachers; Experienced tutor from KS3-KS5

Previous career history:

Since graduating from King’s College London and completing my PGCE from the Institute of Education, I have worked in two schools as Student Development Leader and Subject Leader for Geography. I have run middle leadership workshops across a number of schools. I am committed to my own personal and professional development and actively pursue my work in the field of trekking and humanitarian photojournalism outside of school time. I have led a number of short and long-haul expeditions and I have travelled to over 50 countries. I have recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for my contributions to global education and am shortlisted Landscape Photographer of the Year. I was selected to sit on a judging panel for the Royal Geographical Society for their ‘Explore’ photography competition.

What you hope to achieve as an SLE:

I am passionate about improving the quality of teaching and learning in Geography across the county. I am keen on raising the profile of Geography by creating a shared community where teachers can collaborate and discuss how we can create an inspiring and engaging curriculum for our students.

Specific areas of expertise, and how you might be able to help other schools:
  • Geography curriculum KS3-KS5

  • Mentoring staff to Leadership positions

  • Coordinating and promoting Geography in whole school curriculum

  • Provide advice and expertise on extra-curricular school visits

  • Coaching and mentoring new team leaders

Future career goals:

I am looking forward to connecting and collaborating with colleagues across the county to raise the quality of teaching and learning.



John Hopkins

School:  Dr Challoner’s Grammar School

Position held: Subject Leader for Chemistry

SLE area of expertise:  Science and Digital Learning

Current responsibilities:  Management and leadership responsibilities within the chemistry department. Digital learning leader with a particular responsibility for engaging students and their parents with the scheme.

Previous career history:

Having completed a degree in Natural Sciences I also completed a PCGE at Durham University whilst training in comprehensive schools in Middlesbrough. I then started at DCGS as an NQT and in the following six years have taken on the role of Subject Leader for Chemistry and also the role of Digital Learning Leader.

What you hope to achieve as an SLE:

In the role of an SLE I hope to encourage individual teachers and departments to put in place systems that allow all students to maximise their potential in science. I am also keen to embrace the opportunities that arise through the use of new and emerging technologies and hope to allow others to make the best possible use of these too in their departments. I also hope to broaden my own set of experiences by working with other schools and teachers so that I can continue to develop myself both personally and professionally.

Specific areas of expertise, and how you might be able to help other schools:

In the last few years I have gained valuable experience in planning for change both in a science context with the advent of new specifications and also in a whole school context with my role in helping to establish the use of mobile devices and digital platforms. Having taught all three science subjects to GCSE level with strong results I am aware of the challenges that might be faced across a whole science department as well as those more specific to chemistry. This has allowed me to introduce and develop the use of new systems and working habits within the department as a whole. I have also become very familiar with a number of different exam boards and qualifications and feel I am able to see past the minutiae to focus on the most important aspects when developing schemes of work and adapting to new courses. In my role as a digital learning leader I have spent time working with individual members of staff at all levels of the school to help them successfully implement digital devices and platforms within their lessons and working practices.

Future career goals:

I hope to achieve a position where I am able to influence the direction of teaching and learning across a whole school. I also hope to be able to continue to promote and develop the use of practical science to aid in students’ enjoyment and understanding of the subject.