About Us

Zest Education was founded in 2014 and has become one of the market leading supply teaching agencies across the West Midlands and Staffordshire.

We are a specialist education agency, supplying teachers and support staff to nurseries, schools and alternative provisions across Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

With over 50 years’ of dedicated education recruitment experience, we understand everything that you go through on a daily basis when working in schools, nurseries and other provisions.

Get to know our team a little better below…

Scott Barker

Scott is an education guru of over 12 years and has an exceptional reputation in the industry due to the level of service he provides – a refreshing change in the recruitment world with his non-stop work ethic, transparency and passion for all things education.

Scott is well known for arriving into the office every morning with a Costa Coffee latte – something that certainly allows him to hit the ground running at 7am.

Outside of work, Scott loves nothing more than spending time at home with his wife and two daughters. If he isn’t out enjoying an adventure with them, you can find him enjoying a nice glass of red wine or preparing for his Master Chef audition.

Mike Talbot

With a passion for Education recruitment and over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Mike loves to help people find their first, or next, teaching opportunity. Using his experience as a qualified teacher to advantage, Mike is able to offer a professional and high level of service to both schools and candidates.

Mike hails from Australia and has now made Lichfield his home. Previously, Mike played cricket to a semi-professional level playing for a number of prestigious Midlands clubs. He was once famous for batting twice on the Adelaide Oval, but failing to score a single run.

Now happily retired from competitive sport, he enjoys time with his two young sons, Freddie and Lachie, and wife, Laura.

Beth Mercer

Beth Mercer

As our Head of Operations, Beth has excelled in her career so far, from starting out as a Compliance Assistant in 2018 to now being the office’s ‘go to girl’ for all areas of the business.

With a strong administration background and a keen eye for detail, Beth relishes in her role and loves seeing the candidates come full circle and out working for Zest.

Beth is often found motivating the team (or giving them banter) and is also responsible for helping to organise the all important team nights out.

In her spare time Beth spends time with her partner, friends, family and most importantly her fur-baby ‘Gigi the Frenchie.’

Scott Daly

Scott is our resident Zimbabwean who used to work as a Cover Supervisor, so understands all areas of working within secondary schools. This allows him valuable insight into the day to day running of many of the local Staffordshire schools from both a candidate and a school’s perspective.

Now, having dealt with secondary schools in Staffordshire and the West Midlands for several years, Scott has found a passion in recruiting and placing candidates of a high standard within schools.

A fun-loving African, Scott made the life changing decision to relocate to the UK to pursue a professional cricket career (this was obviously very short lived). However, he is a true team player both on and off the field. When he is not wearing his whites, he enjoys watching/suffering the Red Devils and spending time with his friends and family.

Liam Fitzpatrick

Liam is one of our Principal Primary Consultants who, at the tender age of 22, decided to take the plunge into the world of education recruitment. Now, after several academic years in the industry, he has built a great reputation by working with numerous schools and candidates across the West Midlands.

Before entering the recruitment sector, Liam could be found in the library studying for his first class honours degree. Running alongside his degree, he was traveling across Europe competing in tenpin bowling tournaments as a professional tenpin bowler.

In his spare time he loves nothing more than buying awfully patterned suits and listening to classical music. He is our resident country boy – peace and quiet is his domain.

Megan Jones

Megan is another of Zest’s Principal Primary Consultants who, after a highly successful career in another sector of sales, made a seamless transition into education recruitment several years ago. Megan has now established herself as a highly regarded consultant across Staffordshire thanks to the relationships she builds with her candidates and schools alike and her passion for providing an amazing service to everybody that she works with.

Outside of work, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Her favourite thing to do is eat out at different restaurants and try different foods. Megan loves to travel and experience different cultures – her most recent and favourite place visited was Bali.

Mitch Joss

Mitch is our Specialist SEND consultant, with over five years of dedicated SEND experience, working with special needs schools across Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Having worked within SEND schools himself, he has an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the needs of our special needs environments and the ability to match candidates to each provision.

As a Bachelor of Science and with an Autistic brother, Mitch was naturally drawn to special educational needs. In 2018, he became a Team Teach tutor, which allows him to provide invaluable training to his staff within the SEND sector, as well as developing the understanding of special needs for mainstream staff.

Outside of work, he is a devoted father who can be found at the local train stations waving at the drivers (occasionally taking his son along with him). When he is not at the train station, he can be found at soft plays and local parks chasing after, what can only be described as, the Usain Bolt of toddlers.

Charlie Tims

Charlie is our Senior Account Manager working closely with schools across south Birmingham and Solihull. She has worked in education recruitment for over seven years, with vast experience across all areas of the business. Charlie is passionate about recruiting the right people for the right roles and is always eager to go that extra mile.

When she’s not at work, Charlie is either nose deep in a good book or spending time with the other Charlie (a spirited Labradoodle that needed re-homing, and it just so happens they share the same wonderful name).

Anthony Smith

With over 10 years of teaching and subject leadership experience, Anthony is the newest member of our SEND team. Having worked across various schools and ages, he is knowledgeable about all things education and understands the standards and commitment required of the best teachers and teaching assistants. Passionate about teaching, he is always keen to help candidates find their vocation.

In his spare time, Anthony enjoys going for walks with his pet dog ‘Bo’ as well as trying (and failing) to complete DIY projects with potentially catastrophic consequences. He loves watching and playing sports but has finally come to the realisation that a professional football contract might not be coming his way. When he isn’t being given the run around on the pitch, he’s getting chased around Sutton Park by his 2 children.

Tom Phelps

Tom Phelps

Tom has experience of providing an unrivalled level of service thanks to his previous experience in fleet car sales. Now working closely with secondary schools across the West Midlands, Tom has proven to have an excellent eye for detail.

Tom is into all things sport and tattoos, supporting his local team, Aston Villa. He has a pet cat called Sushi, who he spends a lot of time running after or being attacked by. Tom also loves new and old films and enjoys nothing more than watching a film with a Chinese takeaway, being a self-proclaimed Chinese food connoisseur. Having recently started coaching an under 10s football team, this helps Tom to give back to the community while combining his love for the sport.

Phoebe Ratcliffe

Phoebe has previously worked as management in the retail sector so is easily approachable, happy to help and always goes the extra mile to provide the best level of service around. Now placing staff in secondary schools across Birmingham, Phoebe has proven she will always provide a professional service to everybody that she works with.

When not booking people into schools, Phoebe enjoys spending time with her dog Leo, who definitely keeps her on her toes, and playing netball, a passion she’s had from a young age.

Jo Bates

Jo has previous experience in customer service and marketing so loves to provide our candidates and schools with a friendly and approachable attitude.

She has lived and breathed education from a young age with both her parents being retired teachers.

Being a sports marketing graduate, she previously worked at Old Trafford and loves to stay active, whether that’s finding new walks to take her Border Collie on or smashing the gym.

When she’s not working on the secondary team, Jo loves nothing more than going for a pint with her dad, visiting family in Manchester or having (more than one) Prosecco with friends!

Taylor Fletcher

After studying Primary Education for three years at University, Taylor decided to take a step back from the classroom to explore the path of education recruitment. Having experience working across the different Key Stages, she is up to date with the current curriculum and standards required from the best teachers and teaching assistants.

Outside of the office, Taylor enjoys spending time with her friends and family, travelling to different cities, and exploring the culture of food. Her favourite thing to do, however, is to chill at home whilst being engrossed in a good series.

Jamie Weldon

Jamie joined our Primary team as an Education Consultant, having worked with Zest Education for some time as a Cover Supervisor. Following him graduating as a Bachelor of Science, Jamie was keen to further expand his knowledge and skill sets. Due to Jamie’s previous experience in the classroom environment, he helps provide a valuable insight to the Zest Education process to new candidates, helping them feel confident and comfortable in their roles in the classroom.

Outside of the office, Jamie loves to support his local team Aston Villa whilst also playing football himself (not very well). Besides watching any sport available on TV with a brew and biscuits in hand, he also tries to find the motivation to get to the gym but actually ends up pursuing his healthy passion of napping.

Lucy Walters

Since graduating from the University of Manchester last year, Lucy has joined the Secondary division as a Trainee Consultant and is excited to develop her skills in the Education Recruitment sector.

Lucy has an extensive background in customer service and sales, with management experience in both the Retail and Student Accommodation sectors. She prides herself on being approachable and personable and is extremely passionate about providing a high level of service to both the candidates and the schools she works with.

Outside of the office Lucy loves to stay active, whether that is going to the gym with her partner or going to her Wednesday running club. She spends the rest of her free time with her friends and family, and can be found having an iced latte with her mom each day on her lunch. Lucy also loves to travel and explore new places, having just spent the last few months travelling across Europe with her partner.

Chris Ralph

Chris is newest addition to Zest’s SEND team. Having previously worked in temporary recruitment, and the rest of his work history being in customer service, he understands the value of providing a quality and efficient service. With his passionate, determined and honesty-first approach, Chris is excited to turn his hand to the education sector and is particularly happy to be directly servicing those involved with special educational needs.

When Chris isn’t going above and beyond for his clients and candidates, he can be seen informing his team about what cereal he’s eaten that day, quoting lines from movies to his girlfriend that she’s never seen before or going to bed early. Chris also enjoys walking the family dogs and spending weekends at home watching the football and boxing.

Maisie Rees

Maisie has a background in customer service and has previously worked as a sales manager, so putting people and customers at the heart of everything is something she is used to and is always happy to help others. Maisie is excited to have joined the Zest Primary team and is excited as she progresses down the education recruitment path.

Outside of work, Maisie loves to travel and see new places around the world with her partner and friends. She also enjoys nothing more than a walk up to her local pub for a pint and a catch up with her best friend. Maisie also likes to stay active by going to the gym and for long walks.

Becky Nicholas - Secondary Education Resourcer

Becky Nicholas

Becky is one of our Secondary Education Resourcers. Becky has worked in various customer service roles, so is easily approachable, happy to help and always goes the extra mile to provide the best level of service around. Becky has always had a keen interest in recruitment, as she enjoys helping others and the fulfilment of getting them their dream school or working environment.

When Becky is not at work, she enjoys spending her time taking her very active Collie for walks (although 10 miles is never enough for him), catching up on the latest shows and films on Netflix and trying to perfect her hand in the kitchen.

Steph Guy - SEND Resourcer

Steph Guy

Steph is our SEND Resourcer, who recruits specialist SEND staff for schools across Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Having graduated from University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies and Early Years, Steph went on to become a Learning Support Assistant within an SEND school. Due to Steph’s SEND experience, she has extensive knowledge of special need environments and the specific needs of the children that our staff support.

Outside of the office, Steph enjoys spending time with her friends and family and taking her dog Bertie out for long walks around Cannock Chase. Her favourite things to do are go to a good festival and eat out at restaurants.

Faye Hunt - Education Resourcer

Faye Hunt

After starting her career in the housing sector, Faye joined the Primary team as an Education Resourcer, to develop her knowledge and skills further in the working world. Faye is always willing to learn and improve on her skills within recruitment and education.

Faye enjoys spending time with her family and friends outside of work, especially her Border Terrier, Elvis (her favourite) who really does think he is a human rather than a dog. She also enjoys eating out in local restaurants and trying out new foods.

Rebecca Hardware - Resident primary school teacher

Rebecca Hardware

Becky is our resident primary school teacher. She spent three years teaching in a school before taking the plunge into supply teaching with Zest Education themselves. After being so welcomed and encouraged by her consultants, she decided to make the decision to leave teaching to work as a Primary Education Resourcer with Zest. With her first-hand experience of the classroom, she is passionate about helping others find a work/life balance. Knowing exactly what working on supply with an agency entails, she uses this knowledge and expertise to support and guide our candidates to the best of her ability.

In her spare time, Becky loves to tread the boards in the musical theatre world, performing in shows and fundraising events with her theatre company. She also loves travelling, spending time with friends, family and her partner and cooking up a storm in the kitchen (Nigella Lawson, eat your heart out).

Ellie Wright -

Ellie Wright

An addition to the Secondary team, Ellie comes from a background in customer service and social media. During the lockdowns, Ellie worked for Zest Education as a Cover Supervisor. This invaluable experience helps candidates to feel confident about what it takes when working in schools, especially when going in to their first roles after talking to Ellie.

Outside of work, Ellie can be found travelling and exploring the world with her partner and friends. When at home, she can be found catching up on the latest crime dramas or relaxing with a good book.

Ellie Morley

Ellie recently joined the Primary division at Zest Education as an Education Resourcer. Whilst studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal justice, Ellie has worked in various customer service and administrator roles. Ellie always provides our candidates with a friendly and approachable face and aims to go above and beyond in the service she offers.

In Ellie’s spare time she will be found either in the gym or in bed catching up on her favourite TV shows. Ellie loves nothing more than spending time with her friends and family and trying new restaurants for food and drinks.

Madison Dean

After graduating from university with a degree in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice, Madison joined the Primary division and is eager to advance her career in the field of Education Recruitment. Madison is constantly eager to develop new skills and always provides a warm, approachable face to our candidates.

Outside of the office, Madison enjoys travelling to new places, dining out, and spending time with family and friends. However, Madison spends majority of her time at home with her two beloved cats, Harper and Lacey.

Bethany Wood - Compliance team

Bethany Wood

Bethany is another part of our highly important Compliance team and previously trained as a primary school teacher. After deciding the classroom wasn’t for her, she turned her hand to recruitment and quickly found her feet within the company.

Outside of work, Bethany loves nothing more than spending time with her friends, family and her two Bichon Frises, Marley and Minnie. In her spare time, you are likely to find her watching a good TV series or film, walking the dogs or eating out with her family.

Jennie Ivey - Finance Assistant and Administrator

Jennie Ivey

Jennie has over 15 years’ administration experience and quickly settled into her role as our Finance Assistant and Administrator when she joined in 2020.

Although Jennie was born and raised in Costa Rica, she has lived in London, Bristol, Brighton, Chichester and now Lichfield.

A mother of three quirky children, Jennie enjoys spending time with her family, friends and colleagues. She also loves nature walks, movies, painting and crochet.

Beth Donnelly -

Beth Donnelly

Beth has first-hand experience of the education world, having worked in schools as a Teaching Assistant over the past two years, igniting her passion for all things education. Beth enjoys helping others and is excited to further develop her skills at Zest Education.

When not in the office, Beth enjoys finding different dishes to cook. She also spends most of her time socialising with her friends and family and, if she is not doing that, she is with her King Charles Spaniel, Casey.

Harriet Smith

Harriet Smith

Harriet is our youngest member of the team, hitting the ground running as soon as she finished 6th form. After joining during the summer holidays to help with general admin work, she proved to have a keen eye for detail and is now a valued member of the Compliance team.

In her spare time, she loves spending time with family and friends, going swimming and on long walks. She enjoys travelling to interesting and exciting places, such as Iceland and Croatia. She also loves getting cosy with a cup of tea, her cat and border terrier Tess.

Sarah Daly

Sarah is a new addition to the company having relocated her life from Zimbabwe, she joined the all-important compliance team here at Zest Education.

Sarah furthered her education after school by studying hospitality in Cape Town, she then found herself in the health insurance industry where she worked for 3 years gaining experience in marketing, sales, compliance and administration. With a strong work ethic and being a natural people’s person Sarah has fitted right in!

Outside of work you can find Sarah with her family and friends, occasionally throwing weights around in the gym (not literally) followed by curling up on the couch with a good cuppa and watching a binge worthy series or the odd victory from her beloved Manchester United.

Grace Szamek

Grace is one of the new additions to the Compliance team and is currently studying a Business Administrator apprenticeship with us. Grace has been flourishing in the role already and has shown she has excellent work ethic and determination for success.

In her spare time, Grace enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She is an avid supporter of Aston Villa and often goes to Villa Park. She loves spending time with her dog, Chewy, who certainly lives up to his reputation!

James Parfitt

James is one of the newest additions to the Compliance team and is currently undertaking a Business and Administration apprenticeship alongside his role at Zest. After studying business studies in Sixth Form, James wanted to further his knowledge of the business sector and soon found his feet within the company.

James, now more affectionately known as Jim in the office, is a big Manchester United supporter, loving anything football related and is also part of the coaching team for his local under 11 football team, Lichfield City. Coming from a big family, he is very family oriented and spends a lot of time with them on the weekends.

Work for us...

As well as working with teachers and support staff in schools and other provisions, we want to have the best talent working for us.

If you believe you have the same passion for education that we do and you would like to work in a fun, fast paced and highly rewarding environment, get in touch today.

You can email your CV and covering letter to hello@zesteducation.co.uk.

Our values


Our team are always friendly and approachable and will do everything they can to put you at ease in your search for work. We’re ‘people people’ that love working in partnership with the best talent and schools, nurseries and other provisions from across Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

We will get to know you as an individual as we believe that every day should be fulfilling for our candidates, pupils and our schools and provisions.


We believe in pure honesty at all times. Schools need the right person for the job, and candidates want honest feedback in order to perform at their best.

By being completely transparent, everybody knows exactly what they’re getting, and students are more likely to get the quality education they need.


What drives us is the knowledge that with every placement, we’re changing young people’s lives. So, whilst we enjoy being lighthearted from time to time, such a big responsibility means that we take our work very seriously.

With a dedicated compliance and safeguarding team, we are always fully committed to safeguarding and attention to detail, and pride ourselves on being professional in all possible situations.