FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Our experienced teaching staff



Andy Taylor

Qualifications: Qualified teacher

I took over as Head of Centre here at Rhyd y creuau in March 2014. I am a qualified teacher and have had a varied career with recent teaching experience in secondary and primary schools, most recently as head teacher of a primary school in Shropshire. I have much experience of delivering high quality outdoor learning to groups from nursery to undergraduate level. I was Principal of Bockleton Study Centre in Worcestershire for 8 years working with primary and secondary schools from Birmingham, I ran an environmental education day centre for Severn Trent Water at Carsington Reservoir in Derbyshire, and I was Centre Mananger for YMCA Fairthorne Manor in Hampshire for a while as well. I was born and brought up in the rural Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. Like many people growing up in a rural area as a child I had freedom to explore woods and fields, build dens, climb trees, catch tadpoles, find birds nests and slow worms and so much more. As a result I developed a deep interest in wildlife and conservation - I have since worked for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and for Herefordshire Nature Trust. I was Education and Cummunity Manager at Herefordshire Nature Trust and managed a number of important and ground breaking people and wildlife projects. I am a keen rock climber and mountaineer and have climbed all over the UK, in the Alps, Pyrenees, Picos de Europa and the High Tatra. I was lucky to attend a school which valued outdoor and adventure learning highly - I started rock climbing in the Peak District at the age of 13 and it is this regular adventure in wild places, more than anything, which has made me who I am today.

Providing high quality outdoor and environmental learning for people of all ages and backgrounds is the common thread in my career to date. Working for the FSC here at Rhyd y creuau allows me to bring all of my interestes and passions together. A fantastic venue for outdoor learning set in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, with quite simply the best team of outdoor education staff, volunteers, cleaners, chefs and administrtaion staff that I have ever worked with.

Jemma Middlehurst

Qualifications: Qualified Geography teacher, BSc Environmental Science

After completing my degree at Lancaster and then working in various areas of the UK and elsewhere, I was drawn to North Wales and initially specifically to the Menai Strait to work as an outdoor pursuits instuctor. Work here meant access to a wide variety of water and mountain activites and a small amount of time spent working as a fieldwork tutor in the area stoked a desire to learn more about teaching. I returned to the midlands to complete a PGCE in Geography and then to worked as a geography teacher in Nantwich teaching from year 7 through to A-Level. I joined the FSC as a senior tutor in 2015 and I find it uniquely combines my love of being outdoors and physically active and my curiosity about landscapes, how they are formed and alter over time, and why.

Having grown up near Stoke-On-Trent and only holidayed by the sea and in the mountains, I still find myself in awe of these amazing landscapes and feel very lucky to be able to spend so much of my time in wild places. At Rhyd y Creuau I am part of a team who share this passion and also for passing on this enthusiasm and love of learning to other people.

Dan Romberg

Qualifications: Qualified Geography Teacher, MSc Environmental Consultancy, BSc Environmental Science.

I moved to North Wales in 2011 drawn by work in the outdoor industry, particularly rock climbing and mountaineering. I have since led school groups in the Snowdonia Mountains as well as abroad in India, Botswana, Jordan, Morocco, Borneo and Peru. Enthused by environmental sustainability, I moved on to complete projects promoting sustainable tourism and encouraging use of sustainable transport in the area. Whilst delivering these projects I missed the energy that young people have when discovering new concepts, ideas and landscapes. To combine my passion for the outdoors and Geography I became a teacher successfully completing the PGDipEd Secondary Geography course at The University of Birmingham. I joined the FSC Rhyd-y-Creuau in 2017 after running the Geography department in a North Wales Secondary School. As a teacher I was struck by the power of high quality field trips to engage students of all abilities. I now see the positive effect these field trips have on student’s understanding and enthusiasm on a regular basis.

I’ll never get tired of combining my passion for Geography with my love of outdoor sports.

Helen MacRae

Qualifications: BSc Hons Geography and International Development Studies PGCE Primary Education

I wasn’t someone that always knew they wanted to be teacher although I always loved to learn new things and take on new challenges. I began my journey into teaching and education through voluntary work with a young carer’s charity in Ellesmere Port. Here, I became acutely aware of the power and positivity that learning experiences in all forms could bring to a young person’s life and this inspired me to complete a PGCE. I trained as a primary school teacher initially and enjoyed working in a creative and dynamic way throughout KS1 and KS2 but soon wanted to explore alternative paths in education and ultimately return to my geographical roots! I joined the FSC in January 2017 and was quickly immersed into a world of exploration, investigation and outdoor education. It is wonderful to guide students in their geographical learning amidst some of the most beautiful (and often the wettest!) natural classrooms that North Wales has to offer, Cwm Idwal being a particular favourite of mine. I recently took on the role as Sustainability Coordinator at Rhyd y creuau and alongside my fieldwork teaching, hope to inspire and motivate students to not only visit and learn outside but to also be mindful and proactive about their impact on our ever changing environment.

Fieldwork and outdoor learning provides a special and invaluable element to the educational experiences of all people. I feel lucky every day to share and facilitate those experiences for so many students from different backgrounds and places whilst also learning so much myself along the way!

Hanni Brett

Qualifications: Qualified teacher of Science and Outdoor Education, MA Educational Practice, BSc Marine Biology and Oceanography, Diploma in Youthwork and Playwork

I have been working at FSC Rhyd y Creuau since April 2018, after making a decision to combine my passion with the natural world with my love of teaching. What a fortunate time to start a career in outdoor education and teaching ecology; to coincide perfectly with the hottest summer on record! However, despite the weather, I’d always rather be outdoors than stuck inside. I have been working with children and young people in one role or another since 2002; I have worked as a nursery nurse, a play-worker, a sailing instructor, a science teacher in a local secondary school and a D of E youth worker.

I love my job here at FSC Rhyd y Creuau, working with a fantastic team who share my enthusiasm for delivering the highest quality outdoor learning experiences. I find fulfillment in kindling a sense of curiosity in the young people I work with and inspiring the next generation of innovators and conservationists.

Rachael Haylett

Qualifications: Qualified Geography Teacher, BSc Geography

I grew up in a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands, and my love for Scotland’s amazing landscapes and my interest in rural places led me to study geography at the University of Edinburgh. After some time traveling and exploring new places and cultures, followed by working for a Scottish Highland estate, I trained as a secondary school teacher, encouraged by my hope to inspire young people to understand, and so want to protect, our environment. After completing my NQT year in Scotland, I made the move to North Wales and joined the Rhyd-y-Creuau team in August 2018.

I’m passionate about the outdoors and it’s amazing to be combining this love with geography teaching in an area with so much to offer – from the mountains to the coast. It’s really special seeing young peoples’ joy in being immersed in these eye-opening environments, and I’m humbled to be a part of it!

Sam Hawkins

Qualifications: Qualified Geography Teacher, MEnv Environmental Geography

Growing up in rural North Wales, I have always had an appreciation for the natural environment. From an early age I would regularly explore, either by bike or on foot, which helped my interest in the outdoors develop. Following school, I worked hard to pursue dreams of travelling, visiting Australia and Indonesia. Through these experiences I became aware that a career working with people in the outdoors was something that I wanted to pursue. I came back to the UK to attend the University of York. Alongside my studies, I was also a member of York Mountaineering Society, which allowed me to introduce and share memorable outdoor experiences with novices and experts alike. This encouraged me to return to university to develop my skills as an outdoor practitioner. In 2015 I undertook my PGCE at York St Johns University and since have gained valuable teaching experience in the classroom. In March 2018 I joined the Rhyd y Creuau team. I am now in a position where each day I can inspire, motivate and make a difference.